Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Thingy!

Time flies when you're having fun.

2016 has to be the year where I get my arse in gear and start getting things written down. The four novels are mapped out in my head, together with a ton of dialogue; I've drawn the map of the locations and I've even got bits of stuff scribbled down in notebooks but none of that counts for anything if I don't get down to the grindstone.

Best wishes to all from me, the Small Object Of Desire and the Cat I Do Not Have.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 and all that

Well, that's been a rum old year. Luckily nothing too untoward this time; I hope the same can be said for yourselves.

Still working at Helminthdale; seriously considered jumping ship in this year's bloodletting but it works out that there's a considerable financial advantage to hanging on for next year's bonfire of the public services. I've survived it this long I should be able to survive another year, though it's hard work not to be extremely despondent with it all. Many of my friends have jumped ship from their respective local authorities; I can only envy them. I have my list of stuff I'm planning to do when I get paid off.

Helminthdale has been Helminthdale, except perhaps a bit more so: a shrill, last-minute lurch into insanity before the inevitable winding-up that must be in the offing in a year or two.

The Small Object of Desire has had a good year, being involved in a quite spectacular bit of new development for one of this year's quite spectacular new library developments (the number of these is ironic in a year where libraries are being closed or offloaded onto press-ganged volunteers but only the churlish couldn't take some positives from a visit to any one of them).

At home all is cluttered and messy and cheerful. The Cat I Do Not Have has discovered the joy of howling fearfully at the cat from next-door-but-one early on a Sunday morning. The Small Object of Desire has commandeered the dining room as The Sewing Room. Most of the sofa is piled eighteen inches deep in Books To Be Read.

Take care and be nice to each other.

Monday, June 16, 2014


The Small Object of Desire is in that mood where she needs to have been drawn by Leo Baxendale.We'd been round to my parents' for lunch and they'd had "Pollyanna" on the telly, the one with Amanda Burton as the auntie. We were back at mine with pots of tea when she asked:

"That film your mum and dad were watching..." 
"Yes. Pollyanna. What was that all about?" 
"It's a timeless classic. Haven't you seen it before?" 
"No. What was it about?" 
"Well... Gladness and the redemptive power of positive thinking. And that." 
"What a lot of toss. I'm going for a poo."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Everybody say: "Ahhh..."

Stung by reading yet another bit of thin blather, I turned to The Small Object of Desire and said: "I should become a library consultant. I can write a pile of weak bollocks like this."

"No you can't," she said. "Besides, you're not capable of kissing enough arses to get the work in the first place."

This is easily the sweetest thing she's ever said to me.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


2014 set out its stall on day one: more dark and dismal at noon that during the midnight celebrations. The Cat I Don't Own has been bored silly: punctuating periods of mad tear-arsing up and down the stairs with moody longueurs at the doorstep. When I suggest that she may want to go outside for a romp in the garden (or at least a crap) she gives me a look, mutters something about it pissing down then goes to have a kip on the pile of books on the spare bed. (There's a pile of books on the spare bed because the bookcase in the living room fell to pieces again, irreparably this time, due to overloading.)

Strangely enough, it's been mild enough outside for there still to be some bumblebees floating round the garden. There's thin pickings at the moment: just the Mahonia and a few primroses. The cyclamen finished a couple of weeks ago and the snowdrops are only just above ground level. I keep meaning to do something about the Winter flowering in the garden. If 2014 pans out the way I'm hoping it will I should have slightly more time for sorting these things out.


Happy 2014. Hopefully it won't be as shitty as 2013.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Consequences of an overdose of The Beano Book

I so wanted this to be a cover of the Bay City Rollers number.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chrimbo singalong

It's been a rough old year for many of us.

Pull up a glass of sherry and pour yourself some turkey gravy as we sing along to those carols we loved as children.

Season's greetings to you and yours. Play nice and stay safe.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I had a slight gardening mishap. Nothing too bad: I'd just jabbed myself with a garden implement. Unfortunately it was in one of those places where the amount of blood pouring out is entirely out of proportion to the size of the wound. I thought I'd managed to patch myself up without spilling any on anything that couldn't be wiped clean, but apparently not. A couple of hours later I heard a shout from the bathroom:

"Eeeww... Is this your blood on the bog roll?"
I don't know what she imagines I get up to while she's out having her hair done.

Friday, November 08, 2013


The Small Object of Desire is at a Time Team Adulation Society meeting tonight

She'll be the one stood at the back, with a bottle of vodka, shouting: "Tony! Tony love! Is that a bit of Samian ware or are you just pleased to see us?"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday singalong

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Music for pleasure

We really do have conversations like this while we're cleaning our teeth...

"Did I dream this or did Max Bygraves die recently?"
"I don't know. Are you sure it was Max Bygraves?"
"No, that's why I was asking."
"Was it the other bloke, the one with the jumper?"
"Val Doonican?" 
"No. The Christmas one."
"Perry Como?"
"No. The other one."
"What other one?" 
"Is Val Doonican dead then?" 
"I don't know. I'll have to look it up on the 'net." 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkins to you, too, madam

Well-heeled couple and their unruly children mooching round St Ann's Square. Children accosting strangers in the dark and yelling: "Trick or treat!" I explain, gently, to one child that it isn't Halloween yet. "You're nine days early," I say.

Yummy-Mummy-manquée looks daggers at me. "Don't deprive them of their childhood! They should have something more than just a skinny frappucino with pistachio syrup and a harlequinade of gaily-coloured crushed macaroons! Look at Rosy-Chi-Chi's creative wearing of an off-the-peg Halloween urchin costume straight from Guardianista Pre-Loved Tat. Give them some money you unfeeling swine!"

Fuck off lady, I can't be doing with it.

I gave a pound to a beggar at the bottom of Deansgate.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

New term

In a fruitless effort to find the pruning saw (it was in the kitchen, under the cat treats) I discovered that we've had a nice little crop of damsons this year. I've had more fruitful years but they've always included a large percentage of wastage. This year I got down a few pounds of nice, show-quality damsons so I'll have to have a bit of a worry about doing something useful with them (I'm thinking perhaps a damson cobbler).

A few weeks ago I cut back all the dead bits off the old flowering currant at the bottom of the garden, revealing that the old currant's gone the way of the great wardrobe spider and that a couple of layered shoots have taken nicely just in front of the original. This has them competing a bit with the damson and a couple of self-sown Cotoneaster. I'll grub out the Cotoneaster as they're not bringing a lot to the party, not even very much in the way of berries. Once I've done that I'll put a heavy mulch over most of the area, taking a bit of care around the hellebores' evergreen leaves and a bit less care where the hardy geraniums will have died down for the winter.

The pruning saw was for the first stage in my "tidying up that hazel tree," The Small Object of Desire's way of saying: "Chop most of that down." I'd already decided that it was time to do a bit of coppicing; I'd last done it five years ago. And I'm not so worried about losing a year's crop of hazels as the squirrel only left the one on the bush (and a huge pile of hazel shells in the back border). So I've taken down the first couple of dozen two-year-old pea sticks and a couple of four-year-old trunks. This involved finding new homes for some red admiral chrysalises (chrysalides?) which puzzles me rather as the nearest nettles are a couple of hundred yards away.

Cutting back the hazel is just one component of this summer's effort at resurrecting the patio. I've cleared out most of the old pots, which had become a bit tatty and haphazardly-supplied with various species of willowherbs, dismantled the relict rose trellis and tidied up most of the paving. I've decided that the marjoram, lemon balm and self-sown black violets can stay but the flag irises (I know, I know) will have to go (I have a home planned for them) and some of the more thuggish elements of the hardy geraniums will need curbing quite a bit. All this will please The Small Object no end as she has a dream of being able to sit on the patio playing tennis with The Cat I Do Not Have.

I've not told her yet that I'm planning on a buying splurge on new plants for the bottom of the garden...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stock romance

"Do you think I should colour my hair?" I asked.

"There's not enough Bisto left in the world to do it," replied The Small Object of Desire.