Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Santa

The Little Ducks have decided on BMX bikes for Christmas. I explain that this means there won't be much else from me on Christmas morning as the bikes are big presents.

'That's ok' - they announce 'because we'll still have our Santa presents.'

'Of course you will' - I reassure them.

I'm amazed that at 10 and 8 they're not ready to give up Santa.

In due course lists appear. Mr Duck Senior, Mrs Duck Senior, Sister in China and The Ginger One will be forwarded copies to spread the load. Thanks Guys!

Thankfully they are not long, and unlike last year, they've done away with the niceties of enquiring after Santa's health and enticing him with goodies and come straight to the point with a list of demands.

  • Bike (ticked as we have already been to Halfords and chosen)
  • Call of Duty Black Opps
  • New DS case
  • New Professor Layton
  • New bra and new knickers
  • Video Camera
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book
  • Wee on a jellyfish sting

  • ACB*
  • Pacman alarm clock
  • Need for Speed shit*
  • Movie Deathly Hallows
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Transvestite and the Pottymouth.

* Assassins Creed Brotherhood
* I'm fairly certain he means shift - but as it's Tiddler.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mind The Gap

I have finally been able to unpack my books after two and a half years in Friendly Drive, thanks to the arrival of Billy bookcases (no relation to Bli Guinness).

JP volunteers to assemble them and spends a happy couple of hours with Allen keys (no relation to Alicia), screwdriver, hammer and nails.

They fit perfectly in the recess in the front room and I spend a happy couple of hours cataloguing and sorting books, DVDs and CDs in my own unique OCD way.

Think John Cusack in Hi Fidelity with his vinyl collection and you have some insight into the pleasure it affords me - genre, format, author, series, chronology and so on*

There is a small gap between the bookcases, perfect for a CD and DVD tower - giving me even more space for books.

We step back to admire our handiwork and I realise that JP is staring intently at the bookcases.

'I think I can fit in that gap' - he announces.

'Knock yourself out' says I.

So here it is - proof positive that my 10 year old is no more than 6 inches from front to back and has more of Tiddler in him than I suspected.

* Unlike Yummy Mummy who displays books by colour, to match the room decor.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Tiddler's team has now entered the cut and thrust of competitive football - in the East Lancs Under 9's League. The core members of the team have been together since Under 5's and play some exceptional football for their age group. Three of the team already play in the Excellence Academies of my beloved Manchester United and Bury.

JP has just moved from 7-a-side to 11 a-side and is also captaining the school team this year. He marshalls the defence from his position at full back and is mastering the art of the off-side trap to great effect.

So football continues to dominate the domestic landscape, although they are also doing yoga, street dance and have just taken up karate.

As far as I can see, this just means they can kick the shit out of each other more effectively, do a Michael Jackson spin and crotch-grab to finish, then chill out with a half-Lotus and a glass of herbal tea.

Anyway, back to football.

Tiddler's team are currently second in the League and still in the Cup. He was Man of the Match last week, too and we have goalscorers galore in the squad.

But this week came the news that we have just lost a vital left-footed player, who's been snapped up by Blackpool and they don't allow their Academy players to play for anyone else. Gutted.

No matter. Young Ollie - currently playing for a local rival team - has been on trial with us at training for a few weeks now and so we are signing him up instead.

As assistant manager, this is my first foray into the transfer market*.

Negotiations are swift, but there is paperwork to be completed and new registration forms.

I hasten to the League to get everything stamped before Saturday's game.

I give the paperwork a quick check before signing it and stop in my tracks when I see Ollie's full name.

I am actually signing up none other than Ole Gunnar LancsSurname.

I kid you not.

Ollie, turns out to be Ole - whose namesake is a United legend and personal hero of mine.

I take a photocopy of the form for posterity, break out a new kit - (shame it's shirt #11 not #20) and pray that our new signing has the same magic in his boots as the Baby Faced Assassin himself.

*Yes, I know the transfer window doesn't officially open till January, but East Lancs must be in a different time zone.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black and Blue

‘You think that jacket’s black, don’t you?’ JP observes as I twirl, Anthea Redfern-style, in my vintage suede jacket, courtesy of eBay.

'Not again', I groan.

I simply cannot get into the habit of checking the descriptions on eBay to verify that the colour I can see in the photo, is the actual colour of the object of my desire. My suede jacket is clearly listed as being blue.

I am slightly colourblind.

To whit:

My new black jacket is blue*.
My green Faithless t-shirt is brown.
My grey coat is black.
My gold coins are copper, and worth peanuts.
My black gun is green.

Comedy Gold for my friends – or at least Comedy Copper.

The Little Ducks have a fancy dress day at school on the topic of superheroes.

JP is going as Agent K, but doesn’t have a black suit jacket. I buy a black school blazer on eBay and turn my attention to Tiddler’s costume (more later).

The black blazer arrives and JP rips open the packaging.

You know what’s coming next.....

‘IT'S BLUE', he shouts.

‘No, it’s not. It’s black. It’s fine’ I try to placate him, before defeat rears its ugly head and looks me square in the face.

'It’s blue', he repeats. 'I’m not going as Agent K from Men In Navy!'

I hasten to the haberdashery to purchase some Dylon (remembering to verify with the Checkout Charlie that the black dye I am waving about is actually black) and don my marigolds.

All is good.

Until Tiddler announces that he's going as Captain Underpants.

In just pants and a cape.

In October.

Superhero day dawns. JP is resplendent in black (with a green gun). Tiddler has long black thermals under his red pants and cape, for warmth and decency.....

..... and 6 pairs of assorted boxer shorts on his head.

He strikes a Ninja pose, whips the first pair off and flicks them at me with a battle cry.

'Fear me, for I wield the Boxers of Mass Destruction!'

*Although it does mean it goes with my black jeans, which turned out to be blue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's A Date

‘Am I busy on Saturday night?’ enquires Tiddler, casually.

‘Not as far as I know, why?’ as I busy myself pairing socks for England*

‘I’ve got a date’.

I pause mid-sock and turn to face him.

‘Girl and I are going to see a film’, he explains. ‘There’s a note in my school bag from her mum’.

I agree to liaise with Girl’s mum and say nothing further. JP looks on grinning.

The following morning, I give him the rendez-vous details. He is still very casual. ‘I’m not that bothered anyway, she’s already had 4 boyfriends this term, but…..

At least I’ll get a cinema trip out of it’

In my mind I fast forward 10 years, when I fully expect to hear him say

At least I’ll get a shag out of it’

I decide that 8 is still too young for The Talk (Embarrassing Mum) or slipping condoms in his wallet (Cool Mum) – and return to Sock Mountain.

Today is POAD’s 4 year blogiversary. We started with Tiddler and his then girlfriend, so it seems appropriate to post this today.

*6 feet x 7 days = 42 socks a week by my reckoning, so why do I end up with a sock mountain worthy of the European Commission?

Monday, September 20, 2010


My name is Duck and I am a Globophobic.

I am afraid of balloons.

Really really.

For me, being in proximity to inflated latex is akin to entering a room with a lion in it. Heart pounding, blood pressure rising, hysteria, panic attacks and occasional fainting.

I take only small comfort from the fact that it is considered one of the top ten strange phobias in the world.

Most of my close family and friends know this and balloons are not in evidence at events that I am known to be attending. The Little Ducks understand and don't bring balloons home from parties.

One of the hardest things I have to do each year is pass under the balloon arch at the start of the Great Manchester Run. I have to do it or the electronic timer tag thingy on my ankle won't record my achievement.

It occasionally provides an opportunity for me to embarrass myself in public.

Which is nice.

At the height of the Glazer protests at Old Trafford last year, fans took to bringing yellow and green balloons to the game. My fellow fans in the North Stand were treated to the unexpected sight of me freaking out and screaming like a banshee when hundreds of green and yellow missiles rained down from the second and third tiers directly onto my head.

It took some persuasion for the stewards to put away the straitjacket and and stand down the men in white coats.

But to those who mock and scoff and torment people like me with strange phobias, beware!

Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere, somehow a duck is watching you.

Really, really.

In the weird and wonderful phobia charts, it's right up there with globophobia and its sufferers are subjected to the same level of mockery.

But sometimes there is method in the madness.

Ducks are in fact evil*.

Personally, I think one look into our cold, beady eyes should tell you this, but the big, fat, funny beaks lend us a benign, comic air.

Animal spin-doctor supremo Beatrix Potter did a fabulous propaganda cover-up with her delicate, anthropormorphic creation - Jemima Puddleduck - to the extent that parents willingly expose their offspring to certain death in parks and ponds around the country, with only slices of bread to pacify the ducks' voracious appetites.

So I was mortified to find the true nature of Duckkind exposed on Facebook this week. With no thought for the mass panic that could ensue, someone published this:

So now the world knows our secret** and anatidaephobics the world over can continue to sleep uneasily in their beds.

* Not as evil as rabbits, but getting there.
** Don't worry. The medication keeps me totally under control***
*** Although I couldn't entirely vouch for Tiddler.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I knew I wasn't in Kansas any more, as I watched a lizard pushing a pram across the field.

The Little Ducks are in Spain and I am in a field in Derbyshire wearing armour, chain mail, a tail*, ears** and carrying a sword.

My face is painted white, silver and black and a laminated card hanging from my belt around my neck proclaims me as Uncia - Daemon Snow Leopard.

No, I haven’t been eating cheese late at night. This is for real.

I was always a big Dungeons and Dragons fan at university and I am still a big reader of fantasy novels. JP is also very into Magic Cards – thanks to the Crazy Russian generously gifting him a big box with some great decks in.

I am not a fan of computer games and virtual worlds and avatars. I’m quite enjoying this First Life, thank you very much. And besides, I wouldn’t fancy fighting Tiddler for access to the PS3, when there are vital, virtual football matches to be won and lost.

But it had never occurred to me that you could go and do this stuff in the real world

Oh Yes.

My name is Duck and I am a LARPer.

But this is not the stuff of serious re-enactment societies.

Oh No.

I spend my days and nights with vampires, werewolfs, goblins, orcs, trolls, elves, demons, incantors, necromancers, imps, and all manner of bestial and human creatures – not to mention the undead*** and the unliving***

There are rituals and rites to be performed, like short, improvised street theatre for an appreciative audience – but with the possible rewards of high scores and increased powers for the ritual subjects.

There are battles to be fought – honour to be upheld, nations to be vanquished and monsters to be overcome. I spent Saturday afternoon as a vengeance zombie, whose key characteristic was to regenerate after 10 seconds, each time it got killed. Just as well really, as my first foray into battle got me killed at least 10 times.

On the negative side there is some shopping to be done. Marks and Spencer doesn’t really cater for the kinds of outfits required and desired for LARPing. My wardrobe has distinctly more leather and fur these days – not to mention the daggers – locked away from Tiddler for safekeeping.

Oh, and of course there is a beer tent. Happily it seems that snow leopards like the black stuff as much as I do.

*made out of a scart lead and some suede curtains
** made out of leopard-print shoulder pads
*** Not quite certain of the difference yet.