Friday, March 26, 2010

Dominatus NotRodentia Interruptus

My suspicions about the NotRats' world domination plans proved well-founded last week when I foiled their plot to recruit and train a rodent army, capable of destroying the delicate balance of power on the planet and turning humans into evil rabbit fodder.

Masterminded by Emma, with Torres carrying out orders unquestioningly, they have been steadily amassing an army of fieldmice from the meadows surrounding Friendly Drive.

Day after day I have cleaned up food scattered about the house by Emma, mistakenly believing she was just fussy and was discarding unwanted items from the foodbowl.

How wrong I was. The food served to entice unsuspecting and innocent countrymice into the house, thence to be brainwashed, trained in the deadly arts of Rodent Dimac, and hidden away under the kitchen kickboards, awaiting the Big Push.

Douglas Adams foretold this years ago, unveiling mice as the real rulers of Earth - only to be dismissed as a brilliant author of fiction, rather than hailed as the Nostradamus of his generation. Future generations of Nobel Prize winners will worship at his teatowel.

I digress.

I was up unexpectedly early to take a train to Leicester, which required a 3-brew pre-departure strategy, so I headed for the kitchen at about 5.30am. Scuttling along the kickboard was a tiny fieldmouse, desperate to reach its bunker. Now, I've spotted them before and done my best to shoo them back out to their natural habitat - investing in humane traps, rather than poison or guillotine them and incur the wrath of animal rights activists.

But this individual refused to cross the back door, despite my best efforts with a soft broom and set off for NotRat HQ. Believe me I did try, but time was a-passing and my tea:bloodstream levels were dangerously low. In the end I took up a pool cue (not my treasured one) and Happy Gilmored it against a cupboard. Instant death.

I paused to reflect on my actions for a second.

Finding my remorse indicator at a safe zero, I brewed up and went for a shower.

Not 20 minutes later, I'm back in the kitchen and there's another one. I scanned the garden briefly to ensure that the first one hadn't miraculously recovered and fought its way back in, but the bloody corpse was still prostrate on the lawn.

I took up the pool cue and despatched the second with an equally decisive blow (unfortunately at the expense of the cue, but it's a small price to pay).

Emma looked on impassively from the lookout deck and Torres took refuge in the wheel.

The next day I rehomed the NotRats with the Cook and her Lover, to let them regroup and draw their plans against us elsewhere.

When questions are asked in the House about the origins of the Rodent War, they won't be pointing the finger at the Ducks of Friendly Drive.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meeting people with bizarre true stories which they sell to Take A Break magazine or form the basis of a Channel 4 documentary #1

Yes, it's a long title for a blog post. I considered 'Catwoman' which I believe was the title of a Channel 4 documentary on the same subject, but I feared there would be copyright issues. Also I didn't want traffic from pervy Halle Berry fans finding their way here from Google, looking for images of That Catsuit and being disappointed.*

Anyway. On with the story.

Tiddler had grommets fitted in his ears last week to improve his hearing and also had his adenoids out, to allow him to breathe through his nose. He and I had an overnight stay on Jungle Ward in our East Lancs. General Hospital.

There was a 14-year-old girl in the bed opposite Tiddler who'd been in for 10 days and I was curious as to why.

So when Tiddler fell asleep, over a late brew and a flick through the Celebrity trash magazines piled high on her bed, I asked her why she was in.

In matter of fact tones, more suited to providing a stranger with the correct time or directions to the local library, she informed me that she was in to have a hairball removed from her stomach, for the third time!

She's been pulling out and eating her own ginger hair since she was two, and has twice before had to have a giant hairball surgically removed from her stomach. She even showed me the scars.

They suspect she has another one now and she was going for a Barium scan the following day to establish just how big this one is.

As I struggled to digest the information and formulate an appropriate response, she commented on the lead article of You'll Never Fucking Believe What Chavs Have Done Weekly magazine featuring a 14 year old Trailer Trash kid still breastfeeding from his 22 stone mother:

'My cousin's still breastfeeding and he's 8. And my other cousin has a club foot.'

We didn't get a chance to say goodbye the next morning because she was in with the psychiatrist!

I could have stayed forever.

*If that is you. Can I suggest you go here?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Owen and Out

Friday I wasted two hours of my life calculating the Owen Goal Update.

Minutes after publishing, I got an email saying 'you win' and linking to this.

On the positive side, it means no more Owen Goal posts (if you'll forgive the pun). POAD has given him more coverage this season than his contribution frankly deserves - although he has brought us traffic from people who google him and stumble upon my musings on the subject. So thank you to those Not Rights and Window Lickers - your medication is on the bedside table.

On the very positive side, my roll of tenners is safe and I can plan what to spend my winnings on - avoiding shopping if possible. The bookies are currently offering 16/1 on a United treble, so I'm off to scribble a betting slip and keep my fingers crossed for the Milan game tonight. 

Final tally is:

Appearances: 30/42
Minutes Played: 1160
Goals: 9
Goal Frequency (mins): 1:129
Goals Per Appearance: 0.3

Monday, March 08, 2010

Oh Tiddler, Where Art Thou?

Tiddler was in hospital for minor surgery last week*.

The nurses instructed him to make sure he took a rest every day, whilst enjoying a week off school.

So on Saturday he announces that he's going for a rest and will see us later.

Then promptly disappears.

JP searches the house and I scour Friendly Drive, convinced he's made a break for the outside world.

No sign of him.

JP and I rendez-vous on the landing to review the situation. I recall last summer's Gotcha and check above my head to make sure he's not clinging to the ceiling, about to drop down on top of us.

Suddenly JP pricks up his ears and shushes me.

A persistent, but muffled metallic tune is emanating from the spare room.

'That's Tiddler's DS' - identifies JP.

We pursue Mario's annoying little signature tune, but the room appears empty.

Just as I am about to check my wardrobe to see if Tiddler has stolen my Invisibility Cloak, JP darts forward, lifts the valance sheet and slides back the storage panel under the bed.

Inside, in the small, dark space is Tiddler, complete with pillow and duvet - taking his required rest. His nesting instincts are obviously kicking in again.

We persuade him to leave the panel slightly open to avoid oxygen deprivation and leave him to it.

* More anon about fellow patient 'Catwoman'.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Run JP Run

JP is running for the school cross country team. After his stellar performance in the Manchester Mini Run last year, I'm not surprised. A real chip off the old block. Like me, he obsessively plots his runs on and frets about his shoes. We're planning to train together for this year's Great Run event.

Even Tiddler.

Which is more problematic.

Although his performance at right back continues to fill me with pride, Tiddler still skips around the football pitch like a girl and has recently taken to Premiership-standard petulance and on-pitch swearing. In the Under 8 League, this is an automatic sending off and he's lucky the ref hasn't heard him yet. The odds on him being the first player to be sent off for the team are so short, I'd have to bet the farm just to win a pot plant.

Owen Goal Update

19 games have come and gone since I last reported and it's perilously close. Despite maintaining unusual fitness levels and a frankly unnecessary hat trick at Wolfsburg which skewed all the figures, Owen's appearance rate and average minutes played haven't improved at all and he remains a bit player.

He compensated for the hat trick with a barren spell of 9 games without a goal, but popped up in the last week with one against West Ham and one at Wemberley.

His fitness isn't that surprising given that he's only played 1 full game since the last report, played less than 20 minutes in 6 and not appeared at all in 7. Sure enough, he picked up a hamstring injury on Sunday which puts him out for a week or two. A third of the remaining possible games are Champions League, and the projected goal tally assumes we'll reach the final. After the performance in Milan last week, I'm optimistic. He hasn't featured in the recent big games against Arsenal, Villa and City, and we still have the Rent Boys and Mersey Reds to play again at home, with his selection unlikely.

Appearances: 30/42
Minutes Played: 1160
Goals: 9
Goal Frequency (mins): 1:129
Goals Per Appearance: 0.3
Projected Season Tally*: 12

* Calculated as follows: His average playing time per appearance (39 mins), goal frequency (every 129 minutes or 3.3 games at current minutes per appearance rate), number of possible appearances left (10 Prem games and c5 cup games), and appearance frequency (currently 71%). So 15 games x 71% = 11 appearances. 11/3.3 = 3 more goals