Sunday, 10 August 2014


You can't start your wedding beauty regime the night before. If you want to look your best it takes effort and planning

Saturday, 9 August 2014

British summer

Lovely day in Worthing. It was full of the sort of people i don't seem to see or hear about anymore. Old men with tattoos in suit and trousers on the beach; entire families in football shirts.

We chose Worthing as we didn't fancy the Brighton traffic or crowds. It was pretty basic, it's seen better days, but everyone was friendly and trying. 

Some of the teenagers enduring their final family holiday may have been longing for Brighton, the fat gay with the purple tongue piercing who served us at the chippy certainly was; but we were very happy in Worthing. And you can see why....

Top entertainment from the likes of Chas and Dave;

The dream double bill, Tony Jacklin and Willie Thorne. On the same night!!!!

Proper fish and chips...

Fiendishly tricky mini golf...

All rounded off with an ice cream in the wind...

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Just 4 years ago a group of 6 regularly went on 'Lads' Holidays'. We once had a whole bar singing to one of our friends in Warsaw, on another occasion we were too drunk to get into any bar in Berlin. At 2am on one night in Krakow we were negotiating with the doorman of a strip club over how much it would be to take one of the girls home, by 4am I was home (alone) with a kebab which cost more than any of the girls would have done. These were great and stupid holidays; we drank at airports at 6am, we invented card based drinking games, hell, I once had a poo while my best friend took a bath in the same bathroom. Crazy days. Wild youth.

Alas, we're all now engaged or married, we have five children between us all now. This year only two of us could go.

Oslo was a strange choice, an absurdly expensive place to drink. Our only option was to pre-drink heavily before going out. With a group, in an apartment this can be great. Two of us, sat on our twin beds with a few cans was a bit more bleak. No matter, we had two great nights, by the time we got out we were pissed and Norway is, genetically, very similar to Sweden. We even found a sports bar/piano bar playing show tunes - appropriately enough called 'Andy's'. A bar to my own unique tastes.

I think the problem came on the last day. We were both wearing t-shirts we'd bought each other (as part of an ill conceived attempt a few years ago to be more "mature" in our gift buying). We both complimented each other on how the gifted t-shirt looked on.

When does a "Lads' Weekend" become a "Mini Break"?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Ċ½eljko Kalac

Martin O'Neil just claimed that he substituted a goalkeeper prior to penalties. It's true, he did. Van Gaal's not the great innovator, but he is the man who dared to do it on the biggest stage. Perhaps that's what counts. Cruyff probably wasn't the first to turn like that. I'm sure Panenka wasn't the first to dink a penalty down the middle.

In the course of looking up O'Neil's claim I discovered that Kevin Poole is still technically a registered player with a football league club. He's the goalkeeping coach at Burton Albion, but keeps himself registered in case of injury crises. He was on the bench twice last year. Given that he was Aston Villa's 3rd choice goalkeeper (behind Jimmy Rimmer and Nigel Spink) when they won the European Cup in 1982 that's phenomenal

And quite interesting

(Wilko's away tonight)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Press Ganged

Wilko finds it hilarious that I was press ganged in 2005. I'm not sure if I really was press ganged but  that's how she refers to it. I think she likes it that I have capacity for the weakness and strength it requires to be press ganged.

At the time this occurred I was going out with a dance teacher. She was the only tall woman I ever went out with. She had huge breasts and no bottom, she was also completely mad. The dance teacher and I had decided we were going to take a two week holiday together, I'd booked the next two weeks off work.


In 2005 Labour were still in power. They loved throwing money at stupid little schemes that only really benefitted the staff of the school I worked at in Middlesbrough. The kids' lot didn't ever improve.

The dance teacher had some funding to do stuff around the Tall Ships festival in Newcastle. She used this money to take me to a party with some of the crews from the Tall Ships race. There was free alcohol at this party. I got drunk.

At the party I got talking to a Dutch woman (or maybe she was German) who was the second mate on a ship. Her ship was short of crew. The European woman lied to me and said that I looked like I'd be useful on a ship. At the time I was 18st of fat. She offered me a job in her crew, she even said I could bring a friend. Drunk, I told her I had the next two weeks booked off work. I even said I'd get my friend Mark to join too. Me and the dance teacher argued all the way back to Hartlepool

Mark was keen. He was keen to do anything then, it was before a Swedish PE teacher fell in love with him and made his life brilliant. I've not seen him since that happened. 

The next morning I was hungover shuffling around the school. This happened a lot but it didn't matter. Loads of the teachers at a school in Middlesbrough were hungover, In Middlesbrough, in 2005, teaching was an easy life that paid lots more than ICI. Also Teesside University churned out loads of below average graduates for whom a PGCE was the only option. 

Two days later I turned up at the ship and called for the second mate. She told us to come aboard. I don't think this counts as being press ganged. I actually made the the decision to board when sober.


Once on board life was easy for the first 5 days, we were sat in port in the middle of Newcastle. I spent the days impressing Geordies who came to see the ships, in the evenings I went to the Pitcher &Piano 

On the sixth day we had to get moving. After an hour of jolly sailing we came out the mouth of the Tyne. I was instantly sick, and continued being sick for the next 24 hours. 

On a ship you do two 4 hour watches in a 24 hour period. I was on the 12-4 watch. In the afternoons this wasn't too bad, I sat in the drizzle looking at oil rigs. In the night it was awful. I sat in the dark as the waves crashed over my head. I was wearing a Kooga rugby waterproof, the second mate had only asked me for £300 towards my board, she didn't mention that I might need galoshes. The sea was so rough we all had to wear mountain climbing belts and 'clip on' to a wire running around the ship's deck.

When you weren't on shift you had to do jobs around ship. This could mean pulling on ropes, or rubbing things with brasso. Occasionally you had to go aloft but they knew I was shit at this and my legs shook. You also had to eat in your time off. A Danish woman served food that slopped all over you, I remember it involving parsley sauce.

Finally you had to sleep. In our room there were 2 beds between 3 of us. The idea being someone was always on watch. But, we couldn't shower at sea. This meant you continuously slept in another man's salt. Luckily it was all too dreadful for masturbation.

By the time we got to Norway I was miserable. It had been a dry boat on the "race" but it wasn't in Fredrikstad. I drank heavily. Within 24 hours I was banned from the German 'Naval Academy' ship next door, I remember it had a number of teenage girls amongst its crew. When, 3 days later, I left the ship the captain commented he'd not once seen me on steady legs, either at sea or in port.

I don't think this counts as press ganged but Wilko does!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Alabama B&B

Our B&B is Montgomery, Alabama was a strange place. Absolutely lovely, but Wilko and I felt we should pretend we were married.

They rather liked God

The reading material in the room was not quite to our tastes...

But neither of us had the heart to tell the landlady her book's ending was not all it seemed....

Although we were tempted when she said, "Civil Rights wasn't all a good thing"

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Big Easy Part 2

Two days later we tried a more mature, "sophisticated" event. We booked in for brunch at a mighty fancy place. The sort of place with a dress code to eat eggs. Jeans and a tshirt were out, but polo shirt tucked into slacks with an exposed "utility belt" was perfectly alright.

This was my first fancy brunch, (growing up it meant a late cooked breakfast with added oven chips,) so we allowed the waiter to guide our drinking. It felt too early for wine or beer. He started us off on mimosas (an American word for Buck's Fizz). Then he took us on a tour of the cocktail menu. Two hours later I was struggling to stand and the bill was well over $200. In hindsight the waiter might have been fleecing us. 

So we headed off into the French Quarter. You meet some fun people drinking heavily at 1.30 in the afternoon. 

We watched the Kentucky Derby in a bar which allowed us to join the sweepstake. Suspiciously the bar maid had the big favourite (and eventual winner). Still a divorcee barfly claiming to be both CEO of a pharmaceutical company and a life long Man Utd fan bought all our drinks. 

In the next bar we were joined by a guy in a trucker hat with anecdotes about roofies. We insisted on getting the drinks there, then left. 

Finally we (inevitably) fell in with a middle aged gay couple from Arizona, I think we were doing shots with them. The fat one plied me with cigarettes.

As it started to get dark we began the stagger home. About 3 blocks from the hotel my bladder reached code red. I had to run. I felt terrible leaving Wilko to do the last bit on her own (but I was starting to leak). I felt even worse when she arrived at the hotel having fallen over twice on the final stretch. 

We passed out about 8. I woke, saw it was 10 on my clock and dark, and thought it was the apocalypse. The next morning Helen did a lot of sicks.