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Monday, 9 December 2013

Slice of toast, yo! Is that too much to ask?

I am typing this at ten minutes to five in the morning, having been up all night in order to get my sleep pattern back in order, on account of having slept through, well, Sunday. This happens a lot, and has done for many years; no matter how many plans I make and how many alarms I set, my subconscious has apparently decided that nine times out of ten, I am going to sleep through the seventh day.

What are you gonna do, eh?

Anyway, to business!

I've mentioned a couple of times I think, though I can't swear to it, because my memory is shot; a gentleman by the name of Bob. My cousin Ian would stay with old Bob regularly, on account of he was an old friend of the family, and when he did he would hang out with us. Much of that hanging out took place at Bob's house.

Now, Bob was a wee bit... crotchety. He was a heavy smoker, liked a drink, and spent most of his time in a pub, or a betting shop, or in his favourite chair watching the racing to see how much money he'd lost this week. He was, essentially, the living embodiment of the Northern Grandad cliche. All he needed was an allotment.

His many trips to the betting shop and the pub meant that Ian, and by extension myself and my siblings, had free, unsupervised run of his house on more than one occasion; something we never failed to take advantage of. Now don't get me wrong; we didn't run amok and set fire to his curtains and smash holes in his walls to spy on the ladies who worked in the shop behind. No no, we would never do that. What we did, as many an unsupervised child is wont to do, is make a hell of a mess and eat his cupboards bare. Until one day, he said we couldn't.

Now, such an edict would not be a big deal you might think. You might think that, but you'd be wrong. You see, when I arrived at the house Bob was nowhere to be seen, having already made his pilgrimage to whichever den of iniquity he would be patronising that day, and it was just me and Ian. So naturally, I made for the food cupboard. Until Ian stopped me. What The Deuce! He was under strict instructions not to allow me to eat anything. I took this as a personal insult and said that if I wasn't allowed any food then I was going home. Where eating between meals was a shooting offense (and meals themselves weren't always forthcoming), so yeah, I'm not sure what I was thinking there.

Of course, as all tiffs do when you're a wee nipper, this one burned out and was forgotten within a few hours. By everyone except Bob. Bob had come home and found Ian there alone. Naturally curious as to why Ian wasn't hanging out with me, he got the story from Ian who, not having developed my finely honed, and slightly ridiculous, insistence on lying through my teeth to every adult query regardless of whether I actually stood to gain anything by doing so, told him the truth.

Cut to me arriving at Bobs later that day intending to pick right back up where I'd left off with Ian that morning. I didn't even get to the door, because Ian came rushing out as soon as I got through the gate and tried to shuffle me straight back out again. It was a valiant effort, but he wasn't quick enough and lo, who should arrive on the scene, looming in the doorway like some kind of crotchety old man Colossus but Bob himself. Dude was ready to cut a bitch; Ian slinked off back into the house; I was completely oblivious and had no idea what was coming/

Long story short (shut up) I got the earful of a lifetime about respect, about the value of money, about abusing the privilege of being a guest in someone's home... all sorts of things that, really, my own parents would have taught me if they weren't utterly incompetent in the field of child rearing.

Of course, I didn't see it like that at the time; I just thought he'd gone off the deep end and sort of sullenly submitted to the dressing down before spending the rest of the day making senility jokes.

Because I was a knobhead.


Monday, 25 November 2013


So, this is the 100th post on MoaN. I just thought I'd mention that because I keep looking at the title and I can't shake the feeling that it's a little bit vague.

100 posts sounds like a lot until you, you know, actually think about it for more than a second and realise that it totally isn't a lot. There are people posting daily, and even a weekly blog; which MoaN ostensibly is, though you'd never know it from the erratic way I was posting, before I just abandoned it altogether; would notch up 100 posts pretty quickly.

No, 100 posts is not much of an achievement at all. What it is is enough of a milestone that when I noticed that I was sitting on 99 it gave me a shove to round that shit off. So this is me, posting for the 100th time.

Right, that's that done. Now I'm off to watch some more porn. Hmmm, Zoe Britton...


No, of course that's not it! When have I ever come on here and not rambled for f*cking ages? Never, that's right. Gold star for you. But what am I to speak about? I don't want this to be a regular post where I rustle up some traumatic memory from my childhood; it seems like after such a long gap a catch up post is in order. But what great and significant things have happened to me since last I clogged up your eye sockets?

Well, I'm still living in the same place. Still pining over the same woman who won't give me the time of day (I know it's sad but if you knew the woman in question you wouldn't blame me; she lovely). Still doing the same job... Ooh, I did get a pay rise which means that yes, I am now earning more than minimum wage, but no, I'm not yet achieving my lifelong dream of cracking a grand in take home pay. One day, f*ckers, one day!

Er... I've read a few books. Watched a lot of TV. Is that interesting at all? Probably not right? This shit is harrrrrrrd, I'm starting to remember why I stopped doing it in the first place.

I started watching Breaking Bad recently, about a month after everyone watched the finale, cos that's how I roll. It's cool so far. No spoilers, now!

This is degenerating fast...

My boss followed me on twitter. I closed my account then reopened it and blocked him. It seemed like the thing to do. Later my mother followed me on twitter. That shit didn't stand for long either. Begone woman, and never darken my virtual doorstep again!

Ok, it's official, it's impossible to fill a post with stuff about my life, even when you have nearly a year of stuff to work with. God I'm dull. So if I do keep the blog going now that I've revived it, and I make no promises; or more accurately, threats; on that score, it'll be back to telling stories about my childhood. I'm told that's moderately entertaining, in a Lifetime Movie, schadenfreude-esque way.

So until then, whenever then is, I'll leave you with this; Pessimism is realism. Optimism is insanity.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Rubbish Dreams

Howdy, y'all. How's it hanging? Yeah? Great!

Anyway, to business!

I had a dream the other night about Joffrey (from Game of Thrones, as if you needed telling) showing up at my work and trying to drive the wagon. He crashed it, and then started threatening people with a sword, so I had a swordfight with him. I wasn't trying to hurt him; I just waited for him to tire himself out and then I talked him round from his tantrum and convinced him that instead of throwing his weight around he would get on in life much better by asking for help. I promised to teach him to drive the wagon, and he threw away his sword.

Now, first things first, I can't drive the wagon. I can't drive a car, so I'm not going near that big fucker.

Second things second, there is no way in Hell I'm getting involved in a swordfight. That's not how being a quivering coward works.

And third things third, my subconscious mind clearly doesn't understand Game of Thrones, because Joffrey is a fucking sociopath and no amount of calm talk from me is gonna convince him to do anything but chop my bloody head off.

All of that aside though, the thing I took away from that dream is that my life is really fucking dull.

Think about it. My dreams; the subconscious minds sorting and cataloguing of the days issues and events, considered that the most important things we needed to discuss were my job, and a TV show.

It wouldn't be so bad if it was a one time occurrence but having it happen every night, or at least every night that I retain anything from my dreams, is just pouring salt in the wound. The most recent dream that I can recall, for instance, involved my giving marriage counselling advice to famous screen couples; in the warehouse at work, of course; and then someone coming in and looking for ice creams, so I had to help them find what they wanted in the big supermarket style chest freezers that we had apparently had installed in our shed for storing bags of plaster and sheets of plywood.

Now, this last one at least had the excitement of the ice cream hunt, but for the most part it was still people from TV shows turning up at my work. As if there is nothing more to my life than that.

Sadly of course, there isn't; TV and work really do account for something like 90% of my waking life. I'm no great expert on these things, but I'm pretty sure there should be more than that. Right? I mean, I have acquaintances; not friends, never that; and they all seem to have things that they do... playing football, running, gong out to get drunk and cheat on their partners...

I'm not unhappy in my life. I'm not saying I'm happy either; I don't really do happy; but it's not like I'm in some fog of crippling despair. I just have moments sometimes when the
utter pointless blandness of my existence is brought into sharp relief and I face the chilling realisation that I don't really affect the world in the slightest. The day after I die, I'll be forgotten.

There's a cheery little bit of waffle for you. Come back next week when I'll talk about dead pets and serial killer victims.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Back. Again.

Howdy y'all!

I haven't posted on here in ages. I told myself I was taking a couple of weeks off blogging in order to build up a bit of a cushion of posts, for this blog as well as the others I so enthusiastically began and then couldn't keep up with. Turns out, taking time off just meant no deadlines and no deadlines meant no pressure and no pressure meant I had no reason not to watch just one more episode of Doctor Who and... well... you get the idea.

Cut to four months later.

I don't want this blog to die. I don't want The Impossible Quest (wed), Soaps Are Good Too (tue/thur), or the Untitled Blog About Stories (Fri) to die either, so I reckon it's now or never. I probably won't hit all my deadlines, and it's unlikely that they'll all update every single week, but I'm gonna get something up, most of the time.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you've heard it all before. Trust me though, I proper mean it this time. Honest, guv.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Jigsaw Lady: Part Deux

Who remembers the Jigsaw Lady?

It occurred to me the other day; as I was trawling through my terrible terrible memory for any bits and pieces I should mention from my Primary School years, before I finally up sticks and move on to the Secondary phase of what I laughingly call my education; that I had never told about the slightly weird (at the time) and possibly tragic (in hindsight) little postscript to my tale of the kindly old lady who did jigsaws and played Scrabble.

It was a good long while after our initial meeting with the lady in question; we had moved on with our adolescent lives and had, if I'm honest, completely forgotten that she existed. Until the day I turned up to 'call on' Ian and found the dustbins stuffed full of jigsaw boxes, and the bin alcove overflowing with them too. There were hundreds of the things.

Of course, being the intrepid Sherlockian geniuses that we were, we immediately deduced/jumped to the conclusion that they must have come from the old lady over the road who loves jigsaws. Stands to reason, am I right?

Ian's weekend guardian, the delightfully crotchety Bob*, insisted that we go and find out what was going on and why was his yard suddenly full of someone else's rubbish and also what was she doing next Friday night and did she fancy going out for an Indian? So off we trotted.

Her back gate was wide open. Her back door was wide open. Her curtains were all shut. Noises were emanating from her house; scary, bangandclash noises; and suddenly we were much endowed in the shaky scaredy-catness. I nudged Ian to go in, he backed off and nudged me forward, the curtains upstairs twitched and we both ran like buggery.

I don't remember what we told Bob; maybe we made something up, maybe we told him the truth, maybe he lost interest and never actually asked us again; but the fact is we never did get to the bottom of what had happened. We convinced ourselves that we knew; the story we told ourselves, because we were cruel little shits at heart, was that the old woman had gone senile and/or completely barn owls.**

Looking back of course, it's far more likely that she had died, and that the noises and the dumping of her beloved jigsaw stuff in neighbours yards was just her family/landlord clearing out her house (and being a bit cheeky about it); if we had looked in a few other yards, I'm sure we'd have found piles of stuff there too.

So that one very pleasant day that we had spent with her was to be our only. I wonder if she ever watched out of her window, to see if we were coming to say hello, and wondered why we never did. I hope it never hurt her feelings too badly.

* Bob is dead now. This has just occurred to me, as I was writing this post. He was in his 80's at the time, and not in the rudest of health, so yeah, he's dead now, and probably has been for some time. I don't know why I felt the need to add that here but... yeah.

** Barn Owls is TM Brendan Kingston of the Unspoiled podcast. If you don't listen to that, you most definitely should. Read A Song of Ice and Fire first though, fair warning.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Insert witty play on a Shakespearean quote here

I had occasion a couple of weeks ago, to walk out of a room in disgust, halfway through a conversation. This happens more often than you might think, in my place of work, because the majority of my colleagues have some rather...unpleasant, I suppose is the word, attitudes when it comes to, let's see;

Children/Corporal Punishment

And so on. They're tits, basically.

The incident I'm talking about this time, was one involving 'fucking gypsies'; a favourite source of frenzied mutterings of late.

The thing is, I agreed that the people being complained about; the aforementioned 'fucking gypsies', were in the wrong in what they were doing. I had been quite irate with them myself. The difference though,was that I was angry over the behaviour of a small group of people who happened to be Travelers. My colleagues, I suspect, cared about the behaviour only so far as it allowed them the opportunity to have a rant. They were falling over themselves to top each others vile slurs. Which I won't repeat on here, cos this is a fuckin family blog, bitches!

What was this terrible behaviour, I don't hear you ask. Well, I shall tell you. It involved (horrible cliche alert, I'm sorry but it's what actually happened) horses. My place of work is directly opposite a large area of public grass, which is used by the kids to play games and the people of the adjacent estate as a dog toilet. Oftentimes, of  late, horses have begun to sprout up out of the ground there. (Not really, they're put there by their owners)

On this particular day, a group of young lads arrived on said area of grass to install two horses. Stakes were duly staked into the ground, ropes were duly tied to said duly staked stakes, and horses were duly tied to said duly tied ropes which had been attached to said duly staked stakes. Or that was the plan. What actually happened was that the horses bolted before being tied, ran across the main road and trotted, calm as you like, into our yard.

I won't go into too much detail about what happened next because it was essentially a Benny Hill sketch for almost two hours, but suffice it to say that the lads got on their mobile phones and pretty soon our yard was swarming with a large number of people attempting to corral a couple of horses who were, to my untrained eye at least, absolutely fucking terrified. They really didn't want to go with these lads.

After they had been caught and ropes tied to their necks, they were led out of the yard. One of them obviously knew the game was up and went quietly, guvnor, but the other; smaller, so I'm gonna assume younger, and therefore possibly more scared (I'm projecting human qualities here but fuck it, it's how it seemed to me) was having none of it. It braced with it's back legs and no amount of pulling on the rope or pushing on it's arse was shifting it.

Shall I tell you the ingenious method that was applied to get this horse moving? Don't answer that, because you might say no and that'll be awkward when I do it anyway. Here goes.

They drove into the back of it with a pick-up. They DROVE into a HORSE. Only slowly, mind you, so that's something, but they fucking drove into a horse with a pick-up truck. Come on!

After they got the horses out of the yard they herded them, still using the truck up the arse technique, across the car park of the supermarket next door, and onto the main road that leads to their camp; obviously having given up on the idea of putting them out to graze on the public land. And do you know what happened then? They lost control of the little one again, and it bolted.

 We watched from the canteen window as this horse ran up and down and across a busy main road for what seemed like forever, with these lads chasing after it. It would have been hilarious if not for the ever present threat of a  major traffic accident and the fact that when it was caught it wasn't going back to a particularly well cared for life.

So that's what happened. Were these people Travelers/'Fucking Gypsies?' Yes they were. Was I angry about their behaviour and treatment of those horses? Yes I was. But the two were not related. I know of a hell of a lot of people; more than I'd like; who have proved time and time again that they are not fit to own/care for animals, and it has nothing to do with their social/ethnic group. Some people are just tits.

And that's why I walked out of a conversation in disgust. Not because I didn't believe the people in question were in the wrong, but because I thought they were in the wrong for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that they lived in a caravan.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow (Cos I'm An Original Bastard)

So yeah. it's snowing here.

Snowing when I went to bed last night, snowing when I got up, snowing when I left for work and snowing when I arrived.

I hate snow.

Our yard at work is under a cover of the stuff, and when we arrived w found the manager (God knows what time he'd gotten in), shoveling away like a little trooper. Of course, being a shirt and tie walla  he wasn't having much  luck, and we came to his rescue. An HOUR later, we cleared a moderately decent car parking area, then we gave up.

Since then the coffees have almost reached double figures and I'v read a good chunk of my book. Other than that...

Yeah, I hate snow.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Why hast thou forsaken me?

A lot of posts on here have focused on my Primary School education and it seems that someone up there likes them because every time I think I've exhausted that particular avenue something else comes up to keep me waffling away on that very subject. Case in point;

Remember when I had a sudden batch of memories that I couldn't reconcile with the story of my life? Yeah? Well I've had another one.

At some point after I left Langley Park Primary School; an event which coincided with the end of my parents marriage, and which I remember well, I returned there for a brief time. The thing is, I've no memory of living in Langley Park again, or indeed of when this might have happened.

You see, when my parents split we moved in with my Aunt. From there we moved into the worlds friendliest street (TWFS). And from there; in a development that the blog hasn't reached yet, but probably will soon; we moved to the next town up the road and the house that would be my home for the remainder of my childhood.

I have no memory of any breaks in that timeline.

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that it must have happened around the time of the shift from the Aunts house to TWFS, but that's pure guesswork on my part, based on the fact that I distinctly remember the head teacher, when we were in his office on our first day back at Langley, telling my mother off, in quite stern tones, about moving us from school to school on a whim. That to me tells me that it must have been fairly soon after we had left. I may be wrong, but it's all I've got to go on.

Anyway, the timing of the event doesn't matter; I just thought it was interesting to point out how utterly incompetent my memory is. No, the point of this post is that the over-riding event that stuck out when this period floated to the top of my memory recently, was embarrassment.

I had a friend, who has been mentioned on MoaN before, during the Langley Park years. His name was Peter and in my very early years he was, most certainly, my best friend. So when we returned to LP School, I immediately started to hang around with him again. In my mind, we were still best friends.

In fact, another of the crystal clear incidents was of us getting on the bus to go for swimming practise and me rushing to sit next to him; one of the adults on the bus saw this and asked me if we had been friends when I was at the school before. "Yes Miss", I exclaimed. "We're best friends!" The look on his face when I said that made me cringe.

It was the same at break times. I would hang out with him and his group of friends; a group of friends that he hadn't had before I left. One day, one of them asked me why I always hung around them and told me I should go away and play with someone else. My reply was a rather plaintive "I don't know anybody else, though."

I should have taken the hint. Inside, I did; I knew full well that he had moved on and was not nearly as invested in our friendship as I had been. On the outside though, I kept pretending I hadn't noticed. The truth is that after we left LP the first time I always still thought of him as my best friend. I always assumed that we would go back one day and he would be there and we would pick up where we left off. No-one that I met at my new school came close, in my eyes. So to think that he had just... forgotten about me, would have broke my heart if I let it.

The brief stint back at LP Primary was exactly that; brief. Soon it was all change again and back to Chapel Street Primary, and a reunion with the Brancepeth Boys. A reunion I have no recollection of, if I'm honest; there's that shitty memory again.

Remembering this tiny little moment in my life; one that I had perhaps repressed all these years; has actually shone some light on one of the most long lasting of my personal 'not a real boy' quirks. That being, my inability to assume that I'm welcome anywhere.

When I was at Comprehensive School, I always ate my lunch with the same person (Chris); if we arrived at the dining hall together, or if he arrived after me. You see, if we arrived together we'd stand in line together and get served together and go to our table together and... you get the idea. If he arrived after me, he would get served and then he'd look around and find me and join me at my table. Simple. If I arrived after him though...

I'd get served, look around for him, see him sitting at whatever table, with whatever people, and... head in the other direction, pretending not to see him. Because after all, he was talking to those other people, so why would he want me to interrupt? I knew that he sought me out if he arrived late, so obviously wanted to sit with me, but for me to instigate it... wasn't gonna happen.

Even now, in my adult life, I can't sit down next to someone I know on a bus, or walk across to someone I know if I see them in the street. I'll go over if they see me and beckon me over, but I'm never gonna be the one to instigate contact. I just don't have it in me. At least now I know the roots of that particular social inadequacy; only 97 more to go.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's the same old shit on the blog.

Well, I'm back. Took December off from most of the blogging stuff that I do and last week, well, last week was New Years week and who can be bothered, right? So it's been a while.

Never fear though, because I'm all set and raring to go now, for another year of embarrassing confessions, knee jerk rants about things I don't understand and of course, everyone's favourite; horrifying glimpses into my depressing childhood.

Easing us back in gently; and by us, I mean me, because I always struggle to start this shit again after I've had a break; by-product of my chronic laziness, I suppose, for which I have an official Doctors note, so you aren't allowed to tut tut at me; I thought a quick bit of waffle about what I got up to over the break would suffice.


What did you get up to over Christmas? Eat too much? Get drunk? Course you did, no need to deny it, we're all friends here. I, of course, didn't do those things, being both a contrary bastard who refuses to participate in societally mandated 'fun' and afraid of alcohol, which doesn't agree with me.

Instead, I hid myself away like the emotionally stunted hermit that I am and attempted once again, as I do every year, to sleep through the whole wretched affair. Didn't succeed mind you, because I never do, but one day...

Why didn't I succeed? Family of course. No matter how much I protest, they will insist on including me in their nonsense and this year was no exception. So, I was picked up and ferried down to the scene of the festivities, went to sleep until the food was cooked, ate the food, made mindless small talk when I had to; which wasn't often, because I went to sleep again once I'd finished eating; and then got home in time for Doctor Who, which is the important thing. Obviously.

Oh, and this happened

New Year

Slept through it. The end.

There you go, a relatively painless first post of the year I think; although feel free to tell me otherwise in the comments if you want to, because if you don't tell me when you think I'm shit, I'll never impr... hahahahaha... I'm joking, I'm never gonna improve. You can still slag me off in the comments though, I don't mind.

I'll be back next week. No idea what I'll be writing about, but I'll be back. Until then, Au Revoir, mon, er, reader people.