Andrex Extra Soft Blog Roll

It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

The Dealership

The Apprentice Lad's bicycle, parked correctly

The Apprentice Lad’s bicycle, parked correctly

I’ve not seen this programme The Dealership. Apparently it’s a fly on the wall documentary about a, erm, dealership. Even though I haven’t watched it I think it should have been filmed at the garage I used to work at.  In fact I remember the salesman saying it would be a fantastic idea to make a fly on the wall documentary about where we worked. I think the best way of describing what the experience may have been like can be summed up in one word: unique.

We were a main franchised dealership for Fiat and Alfa Romeo. I no longer work there and since the dealership no longer holds the franchise. Some of the people I worked with were great, some not so. I’ve focused in on the people who I liked (except the General Manager), and the rather amusing anecdotes. Most of the recollections are “you should have been there” moments, but alas none of you were so I’ll have to tell them.

Day one at the dealership: Tall lanky salesman (who is a top bloke) says “Weellllll, what a load of old shit. What a fucking liberty” as a customer pulls up. I, the service manager, shares same level of enthusiasm and says “what does this prick want now.” On the same day, a second person turns up wanting to do something strange such as buying a car. Prospective customer number one sees the tall lanky one and is sold a car instantly because the customer has interrupted his online Scrabble game. Prospective customer number two makes the fatal mistake of dealing with the sort, dumpy one (General Manager – likes to tell many many tales of rallying, hearing aids and SAGA holidays. In fact, he used to rally hearing aids) drives in an Alfa 156 and leaves in a hearse. Post mortem later revealed customer died of boredom upon listening to stories of rallying, hearing aids and SAGA holidays. His Alfa 156 is in the customer parking spot for so long, it takes up root in the tarmac. (Some poetic licence in this bit, obviously. He hated SAGA holidays)

Day two:  Our beloved Jaguar XK140, one of the many classics for sale, is sold. The new owner, who was rallied by the General Manager, paid cash and like most people had a part exchange which were, unlike most part exchanges, an old tractor and ride on lawn mower. The lawn mower was taken on by someone who “used to rally lawnmowers” and the tractor served its purpose as a backup rally vehicle, after being fitted with a souped-up A+ Series engine from a 1983 MG Metro, the front brakes from a Ford Granada and the indicator stalk from a Peugeot 104.

Day three: Owner’s son shouts at the back my chair (I’m not there because I’m on annual leave): “Yoooouuuuu! You’re going down the road when you get back!” Our Welsh Mechanic stumbles home to his caravan, falls through a hedge into a stream. General Manager says “Oh my!” a lot

Day four: The owner’s son chases the trainee salesman, known to everyone as Ginger Tosser, around the premises with an air rifle. Can’t say I blame him as he really was a tosser. And ginger. Later on, Police are called to arrest a man for and it takes three to take the owner’s son down. General Manager used to rally Police cars, it turns out.

Day five: Chief mechanic, MoT tester and Mexican Freddie Mercury impersonator says to the Ginger Tosser sales trainee “ah well, at the end of the day, in all fairness I’m going to lock you in the fucking boot of that car.” And he did, good man. Chief mechanic glued radio dial onto Classic FM to stop people changing the radio station. Rebuild on Twin Spark engine interrupted by me talking in his voice to him, and the YTS lad speaking to Welsh Mechanic in his voice. Told many, many stories on how “I used to rally Datsun 120Ys” other enlightening rally stories by General Manager. I fall asleep for a while. Before falling asleep, we all talk to General Manager in his voice, because he used to rally it.

Day six: This day didn’t happen as I was still asleep from the rallying stories. Oh, wait, hang on… The owner’s son used to wash the cars and sometimes had to scratch “himself”. Police were called to investigate a man “masturbating into a bucket.” General Manager used to rally buckets, it emerges. News comes from Dealer Principal who has had to go to London for a meeting with Fiat. Travelled by Motor Cycle rather than car, something happened to his luggage – it fell and caught fire on the exhaust. Luggage found at side of the road on fire. Problem solved, new suit from Savile Row. News also filtered down that he opened the wrong door to use the toilet and ended up opening the front door to the hotel room rather than the bathroom and walked into the hallway stark bollock naked. Without a key. General Manager used to rally keys.

Day seven: Son of service manager of other branch steals my office chair. Wondering where it is I launch a full scale investigation to hunt down whatever bastard stole my chair. Its whereabouts are soon discovered. It’s at the back of the yard with a hoover and a photocopier smouldering on a bonfire. Fire brigade called out by the bunch of ejits at the council yard. Fire officer who knew the cheeky arsonist bastard what set fire to my chair, looked at it, basically said DILLIGAF and fucked off. General Manager used to rally chairs, photocopiers and Fire Engines.

Day eight: I try my best to get General Manager to swear and say “fuck”. I try all sorts of things and none of them successful. Closest I get is “bastard” and “shit”. Apprentice mechanic opens bonnet of a car and says “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” a lot. Instantly declares that the air filter on this JTD likes men. Then declares that all his colleagues like men and we’re all going on a trip to The Isle of Men, via a concert at the MEN Arena. General Manager apparently used to rally men.

Day nine: Fiat/Alfa DET “strategically places” airbag onto battery to see what would happen. It shoots across the floor underneath several scooters, fills the workshop up with smoke and causes Dealer Principal to come out of his office shouting “Who the fuck is letting off guns in the workshop?” General Manager says “shit!”

Day ten: I steal Apprentice lad’s bicycle and Chief Tech and MoT tester parks it in a tree (see picture). General Manager never rallied bicycles, strangely. Trees, however…

August 8, 2013 Posted by | Motoring, Other Stuff! | 2 Comments

A lot can happen in a year, you know!

A year seems like an awfully long time. Three hundred and sixty-five days. Literally some time longer if it happens to be one of those pesky little leap year wassanames. My way of gauging years though has changed throughout time. Whereby most people would rely on the fact that New Years Eve and New Years Day are generally the accepted time to greet the arrival of a new year, generally mine would be the last weekend in March. Why? Because that is when my kitchen clock can begin to tell the correct time again. That’s my new year, when British Summertime (haaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh. Erm…) arrives. It’s only because I can never be arsed to change the thing back and forth. For the record, my kitchen clock was one of the first things Jayne bought me, and it appeals to my motoring nerdiness. It’s an alloy wheel and tyre with a drilled, ventilated brake disc, calipers and pads behind it. It’s awesome, get over it!

However, this is about to change. In a little over a days time, it will be my sons’ first birthday. One year old. Crikey! A lot of things have happened in the last twelve months. Other than the blindingly obvious fact that my wife gave birth to a cracking little boy, quite a turn of events happened. I jacked in a job as an aftersales manager at a car dealership to sell architectural ironmongery at a local family owned, erm, architectural ironmongery firm owned by friends of me and my family. It’s brilliant and I have never looked back. I sacrificed my beloved Fiat Stilo as it was totally impractical and bought a slightly knackered Punto five door, which despite its faults (of which there are many) is a likeable little machine. I even borrowed Jayne’s Corsa for a while and I liked it! What’s going on?

Leo, and us obviously, spent a fabulous Christmas and New Year with Jayne’s family. Leo spent most of his first Christmas playing with wrapping paper and not much else, despite being spoilt rotten with many things! During the first part of this year, Jayne returned to work. Typically, though, she wasn’t at work long before the hotel next door to the one she works decided to inconveniently burn to the ground. Leo started nursery and still continues to love it.

Watching Leo grow and progress over the last year has been my favourite thing. From a fairly traumatic, unplanned home birth to now where he’s chattering, crawling and to some degree, walking. Having to deal with his early onslaught of Colic was not good. Nor is still having to deal with his reflux. He is learning to walk by pushing a walker across the living room floor or one of us holding his hands, though he walks with all the grace of a Thunderbirds puppet. Or if you watch the old Softmints advert, Mr Soft is an accurate depiction of how the little blighter walks.

He’s becoming far more devious as he gets a little bit older, however does tend to give himself away a little. When he knows he’s doing something mischievous he lets off a little cackle and laugh. We hear that, we know he’s up to something. He knows he’s not allowed to play with his Grandad’s TV equipment. So detract attention away from that, he scoots to the other end of the room and collects the most exciting toy he can find and scoots back toward his Granny. At this point, she is sat in front of the TV equipment. Leo hands her said toy and whilst Granny inspects it he scoots on past her to the TV stuff that she is guarding. Not only has he picked up on the idea of decoys and deception, he does so in such a manner that you cannot help but laugh.

He’s also the master of getting to where he wants to in the fastest possible time and the shortest possible distance. He doesn’t crawl so much as drags himself along like a Commando who needs to find a medic. He shuffles along on his legs and arms but at such a rate that Usain Bolt couldn’t keep up. As the poor lady who was a potential client of the Nursery Leo goes to found out. The manager of the Nursery was showing this client around and explaining the facilities whereby at this point Leo has spotted something he wants from the other end of the room. He wants it. He’ll get it. He’s going for it! He scoots over, ploughs his way through the womans legs to grab this object. Poor woman didn’t know where to look and the staff of the Nursery found it incredibly amusing. But we always get feedback that he’s such a chilled out, yet happy little boy. Yay!

In my next little Leo tale, he doesn’t appear quite so chilled out. He’d managed to get the knife out of his plastic cutlery set off the table in the living room and disappeared with it. Only to come back in yielding it in his right hand, which was held aloft whilst scooting toward one of his teddy bears. He then proceeds to give this teddy bear a right old bollocking and shouting a right load of old verbals at him before holding this knife to the body area and stabbing the hell out of it. All I can say is he may have picked up on mine and Jayne’s love of the US hit TV series Criminal Minds.

It’s also a fantastic sight to see him playing so well with our nearest and dearest’s children, and the fact he gets on well with most people. Especially the females. He’s a right bloody tart. Anything female and regardless of his mood and he’ll turn all gooey eyed and becomes a right flirt.

So, that concludes that Leo’s birthday is my new way of seeing in a new set of twelve months. Here’s looking forward to the next year!

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 1 Comment

Three Weddings and a Funeral

For a change I was struggling to find a topic to write about when thinking of friends and family sprang to mind. I love reminiscing. Great times had with people past and present. Most of my blog entries are structured and for the most part planned. This isn’t. This is me spilling my thoughts out into a blog entry as they enter and leave. It may seem like I’m rambling, which may have something to do with the fact that I am.

The main person in my thoughts presently is my late Uncle John who passed away five years ago last month. The same year I got married. Three times. You see, me and the missus buggered off to Italy to get hitched. We then returned for a celebration reception in St. Ives for the family and friends down this way who couldn’t make it to Italy. Then in October of that year we had a renewal of vows “party” oop north for Jayne’s family who couldn’t make it to Italy. However, days after our return, myself and my family found ourselves at Longstone Cemetery in Carbis Bay, St. Ives burying my Uncle John.

Now it would be in his type of humour to have looked upon the whole thing as “Three Weddings and a Funeral.” But I couldn’t see it like that. This was the first time I’d seen that side of my family in eons. Mourning the loss of a family member wasn’t quite how I imagined meeting up with them again. Especially their dad. He of many wonderful prank phonecalls, practical jokes and wicked sense of humour.

It made me realise how much I’ve missed them. Ironic as I’m currently listening to the Finn Brothers 2004 album ‘Everyone Is Here’. Principally, song number one – ‘Won’t Give In’ with the lyrical refrain ‘Everyone I love is here…’

Katrina, the eldest daughter, now lives over a million and six miles away in New Zealand. Somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and now her citizenship has been accepted I best start saving up for when my son is old enough to understand travelling, and meet her. Unless she decides to “pop over” for a Philps pasty. Tim, the middle child is still at home in Essex. And baby of the family, Hannah now lives in Scotland, which is slightly less than a million and six miles away, but not by much. To the uneducated, Scotland is north of England. Up there. Above the Geordies. Past that wall. Yeah, that’s it, you got it!

Thankfully, through the medium of social networking and blogging (Hannah writes a most excellent blog, I suggest reading it. Oi! Hang on, I meant finish reading mine first! Pft!) I have been able to keep in touch with them which has been fantastic, yet doesn’t quite seem enough somehow. I would love to meet up under different circumstances, and one where mourning isn’t involved in the mix.

My family isn’t vast anyway, and they aren’t getting any younger. Hell, Father, the youngest in a family of six, turns 60 this week! He’s already lost two brothers – Richard at the age of 48 and John at 64. Both his parents only lived to 69. My wife and I turn 30 next year. Later this month my son will be half a year old. My wife’s family, however, is more densely populated. I don’t have much in the way of friends, save for a few close friends, some of which go back to my school days, some are new to the fold within the last couple of years. I’ve never wanted to surround myself with people. Have a few good friends and that’ll do. That’s what you get for being a bit of a loner. I love solitude.

Which brings me neatly back on to social networking, bizzarrely. Looking at my friends list on Facebook and the quantity is below 70. There isn’t anyone on there I don’t interact with in some form or another. Everyone is on there because I want them to be or because we share at least one thing in common. To me, that’s the point of it. It’s absolutely pointless having people on there from your school days that either they ignored you or you ignored them back in the day and now want to get friendly. Yes, you lot can fuck right off.

This whole post has got me thinking about people past and present. Those I never want to see again so as long as I breathe. Those I know it’s impossible to see again. Those I look forward to seeing again soon. Those who it has been far too long since I’ve seen last and those who I miss. Goodnight all. Playing out with Regret by New Order. Which is about not regretting things.

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November 9, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 2 Comments

Technologic 2

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was simple. Well, it would be but as we all know, life itself generally isn’t simple in the slightest. But it’s those tricky bits that help you through. This is the follow-up to Technologic. For reasons of simplicity (read laziness and unoriginality) I shall call it Technologic 2. Ah ha! Weren’t expecting that were e? You see, grumpy, dreary old fart that is me is starting to embrace newer technology for a start. I’ve always loved a gadget or two but until now, mobile phones are one thing I couldn’t warm to.

Following on from my Technologic blog post I have nearly joined the 21st century. For instance I be writing this from the keypad of my Blackberry Bold, which incidentally is neither black, bold or made from berries. It is formed from witchcraft and plastic and is finished in a very stylish white. I needed a new phone and when the opportunity came along to get something, I liked this more than what else was on offer. I didn’t want an iPhone because I hate the bloody things as much as I hate my iPod. This ticks all the right boxes. Qwerty keyboard, it has a good internet facility, the MP3 is a boon and it has a camera that takes better photos than my, erm, camera, which is tres annoying. I also like the look of the thing, and now I’ve got used to how it works prefer using it to my computer quite frankly. I mean, I can access Facebook, Twatter, Ebay, my e-mails and write this shite. All whilst hiding myself away listening to the dulcet tones of ‘Enjoy the Silence’ by Depeche Mode. And it doesn’t have the most loathsome of features; a touchscreen.

But what about the most important aspect of the phone? The being able to make telephone calls and text people is simply brilliant. It’s the first multitask mobile I’ve used that does what I want it to. In fact it is the best mobile I have had since my old Nokia 3330 many, many moons ago.

Naturally, me being me, I can find something to gripe about. The first is the colour. Now I went for a white one because it was different. That may have been ill-advised as it shows up dirt like a Fleet Street journalist. Also the battery is a bit French. It surrenders long before you’d expect.

But moving on from fruit-inspired phones and more on the subject of Technologic, though. It is with heavy heart that I have packed away my ancient music playing devices and moved on a bit. The record deck has gone into the storage and I have sold my cassette deck. I have no space for them anymore, and as such I have no use for them. I still have my amp and a new CD which plays MP3. So that’s what gets used the most. I also haven’t bought a physical album release in eons. They’ve all been downloads from Amazon. Strange days for me indeed.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the grumpy old fart side of me. I still prefer picking up the bass guitar than turning on the dust-collecting Xbox. Plus I’m selling my Fiat Stilo that has more electrics and gizmos in it than Currys. I’m currently hankering after a late-model Mk2 VW Golf GTi which has as much in the way of electrics and gizmos as a bath sponge. Pure simplicity. Golf GTi and my Blackcurrant phone, that will do nicely as a compromise between old and new. Nice…

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | Leave a comment

I’m going slightly… Dad!

It finally happened, ooh ooh, it finally happened, oh yes. And I don’t mean the ruthless pilfering of the Queen song either. As of Tuesday 24th May I became a father. I am delighted to post that, as predicted by the people in the hospital type place, he is a boy and most important of all doesn’t look anything like the milkman. Oh, and he’s human too, which will help matters when it comes to going to the registry office later on today and the creation of his birth certificate.

To say it was a traumatic birth for me would be unfair. Firstly, even though I looked (look?) pregnant I can rest assure I neither am nor was. Secondly, Jayne gave birth being a woman and this and that and she’d kick my ass. She was scary before pregnancy, during pregnancy and is mildly scary afterward, and I treasure my gluteus maximus as it’s a handy device on which to sit.

It was an unplanned home birth as we had planned to go to the local birthing pool. Jayne (the Amazonian Earth Mother, according to my cousin, for reasons you’re about to read about) had her midwife arrive to check her over so we could travel to the birthing pool. This never transpired as son number one was far too keen and didn’t want to bother with the hassle of being transported 20 minutes away, and instead our bathroom became the birth suite.

Long story (which it is) cut very short is when the midwife examined Jayne, she could touch the hair on baby’s head and see that Jayne was fully dilated. This was at 2pm. Within an hour and a half he was born. The rest of the details I won’t be going into because it’s private and all that, isn’t it, but my son was born in a khazi in Camborne. Inspired choice, my boy. Hmmm. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there’s something in the water around this neck of the woods. Our friend’s second son was born in much a similar way, but even more accelerated and one of her friends also gave birth in the bathroom. And we’re all within 2 miles of each other.

I was talking with a friend over the weekend about the supposed moment you get when you first hold your baby. You know, that moment that is in all the TV shows and all the movies viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. But neither him nor me had that. Tiredness was probably the main contributing factor. As it happened, Jayne was in labour since the previous Thursday so I didn’t sleep at night-time in case I had to rush her to the birthing suite. After it took literally some time to sink in, the main things I remember were as soon as he “arrived”, for want of a better word, his eyes were open immediately and he was silent. Very silent. Freakishly silent, quite frankly. Then the noise happened, oh yes. Eardrums bleeding kind of noise after nothingness. Everything happened so quickly there literally was no time to think about anything. Put simply, baby came out, I cut the cord, midwife wrapped baby in towels and dumped him in my arms and told me to get on with it. Which is just as well because Jayne was carted off into the bedroom to be checked over and fixed where necessary. I had no time to think about what was happening, more like “Right, I have this little thing bundled up in some bath towels, now what do I do?” It would be a further hour or so before Jayne had any contact with baby, so in the mean time I had to keep it together for this little bundle of joy.

It is a truly heartwarming experience afterwards though. You’re holding something so small, so fragile and so precious and it is a wonderful feeling. Especially with our lad, he’s a bright one. He is so alert it is uncanny. He has also rolled over onto his side five months before he is supposed to, much to the concern of our GP who was giving him his 24 hour check over. He managed to roll over onto his side and nearly off the end of the examination bed. The sleepless nights were inevitable and in the first few nights he wouldn’t settle in his Moses basket due to suffering with colic. So I stayed up with him with numerous recorded episodes of Top Gear or whatever I’d sky plussed from Sky Arts previously at the ready to keep me awake and partially sane. Countless cups of tea and even though I hate coffee usually, I’d developed a taste for that. If not for any other reason then just for the caffeine boost to keep me alert. Red bull would be next.

He’s had a great, if unorthodox, start in life and has got some great people around him. I hope we stand the test of time as parents, but we’re definitely enjoying it and our love for him is immense. But we’ve got such good family around us, and we have some wonderful friends to keep us and him going too. I’m so proud of my wonderful wife, and extremely thankful for giving me such a beautiful little boy.

I’ll end it on a slightly lighter hearted note. I liked my Fiat Stilo a lot, for some strange reason. I’ve talked about it rather a lot. I’ve also talked about how much I hate my wife’s turd chunk of a car. So why am I using the past tense toward my Stilo? Well, I have been forced to concede that ‘Er Indoor’s Vauxhall Bastard Corsa (yes, the car fitted with a gearbox so dimwitted it makes Paris Hilton look like a member of Mensa) is far more baby child friendly than my car. The pram fits in the boot in the Fiat but you can only get it in in such an angle that nothing else fits. And being a three door it’s a pain in the arse getting the car seat in and out. Her shitebox of a car fits the seat in no worries (it’s a five door) and the pram fits in perfectly in the boot. Which is annoying, quite frankly.

And there you have it….

June 8, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | Leave a comment

The Ronald McDonald House – A Reminder

You didn’t think I’d let up that easily did you? We’ve launched a Facebook page – Cornwall’s Fundraising For the Ronald McDonald House, Bristol. You can get to it via this ‘ere link. We’ve amalgamated all the links to the donation page and all the background information on why this charity means so much to us.

But I’ll remind you anyway of why the RMH Bristol has come to mean so much to us. Long story short, at the beginning of March, mine and my wife’s dear friend’s youngest son Callan (our godson) had to be rushed into hospital with respiratory distress. There was nothing our local hospital could do so he had to be transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care unit in Bristol children’s Hospital. We had no idea how ill Callan would be and how long he would be in hospital, or indeed whether he would survive. See Kat’s blog here for the full low-down.

With this kind of stress, the last thing anyone needs to worry about is accommodation, especially in a city like Bristol where the cheapest hotel rooms can be around the £75 per night mark IF you can get a room. And as mentioned, you never know how long your child is likely to stay in hospital. Whether you are from Cornwall, Birmingham or London and your child is critically ill you could end up in Bristol. If you look at it that way, it’s an awful long way from home.

The Ronald McDonald House was set up as a charity to take the sting out of accommodation for parents of sick babies and children. They provide accommodation. A warm bed so parents can be near to their children. Cooking, bathroom and laundry facilities. Tea, coffee. Parents who are in the same sort of circumstances – the ability to talk to one another. It all helps, and is provided free of charge. However, if the donations stop, the house closes down. So, please go to our page on Facebook and join in with us as we venture to find new ways of raising money for these great people. Become a part of our team and create awareness. And please make a donation. You’ll find the donation page here and also on the Facebook group. Even a £1 will pay for a box of tea bags, or even milk.

A big thanks to everyone who has made a donation. We’re currently at £330 excluding Gift Aid contribution. We can do better than that. So, please share the links, create awareness and most of all make a donation. Thankyou for reading.

Cornwall’s Fundraising for The Ronald McDonald House, Bristol

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April 25, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wind of change

I make no apology for pinching the title of a great Scorpions song, but a wind of change is upon me. For a start, this is the third entry I’ve written that is devoid of sarcasm or ranting. It’s also seeing me being ever so slightly wussy and soppy but for good reason I think. My two regular readers as well as myself have known it for 33 weeks. I’m going to be a dad. I’ve been more than comfortable with that concept. In fact I’ve been relishing the notion because  there’s so much to look forward to. So much to pass on, such as my love of music and cars. I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have help with this from someone. ZZ Top and American muscle cars will indeed compliment The Beatles and Italian exotica quite nicely I feel.

However, over the last month it’s really hit me hard. It’s been a strange month tarnished in sadness, frustration, love, waiting, laughter, tears, dog walking and finally happiness. If you’ve read my previous entry about the Ronald McDonald House, you’d have learnt that I nearly lost my 8 week old godson Callan – hence the sadness, tears, frustration and waiting. He’s back home now and is well on the road to recovery. Myself and Jayne basically housesat for close to two weeks which meant we got to babysit Callan’s older brother Kieran, who is just over 18 months old. And what a wonderful lad Kieran is, a testament to his parents. However I wish we got to look after him in different circumstances. Dog walking? Ah yes, they have a dog which I, well, walked.

So we’ve covered frustration, waiting, sadness and dog walking. But how about love?  And the happiness bit? Read on! What I find amazing is seeing people pull together in this sort of scenario and the amount of love and well wishing for someone who hasn’t been in this world for very long. So is reading something as simple as a heartfelt thankyou card.  Seeing Callan at home and on the mend, smiling at me when I hold him. Or when Jayne or when parents Alec and Kat hold him. I can’t explain how happy that makes me feel after seeing him weeks prior on a hospital bed with tubes coming out of him.

The fact that my son’s nursery is now pretty much complete. The decorating is done with help from Alec. The cot has been built and is located just where we want it. The wardrobe and drawer unit are in there. The nappy stacker, cot tidy, laundry bag and lamp shade are all in position. Just need the curtains and we’re done. The pram/pushchair/car seat system has arrived at the shop resplendent in its black & Ferrari red colour scheme. So the bulk of the preparation is done!

Which is just as well really as in six weeks time give or take, my wife and I will be celebrating the wind of change. The arrival of our own bundle of mischief. Though I feel he has already arrived, through experiencing his wriggles and kicks and generally responding to my voice. The amount he gets talked about by family and friends also makes it feel like he’s here already. I’m telling myself I’m not worried, I’m not nervous, that I’m just understanding just how life will change forever. If I’m totally honest I’m bricking it a little bit.

Can I do the job of dad well enough?
Am I going to be embarrassing enough? I do have a reputation to uphold.
Is a three door car going to be totally practical?
Will Jayne’s Corsa change up to fifth gear by the time he leaves school?
Will one child be enough?
Will our house fit more than one child if we decide we want more?

I’m jumping the gun a bit there on the last two, but they are things that go through your head. But what’s going through my head now? The fact that I want to be able to teach my son how to play cricket. I love the sport personally, and explaining it… well, how hard can it be? And I want him to teach me how to use my mobile phone, because I sure as hell cannot use it. The other thing that is travelling through my head at the speed of light is the knowledge of how loved he will be. That’s the second most important thing below health – end of.

I will end it with a message without sounding like a hippy or meaning to look as clichéd as a Daily Mail reporter. As it has been proven if you’ve been reading, life is precious as is time spent with those you love. Those who can’t be bothered to, don’t bother with them.

P.S. I’ve sent up a Facebook page for the Ronald McDonald House, Bristol and our fundraising efforts for it. Click here to visit it. Please join / like the page, share the link with those you know and perhaps make a donation. Thankyou.

April 1, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 2 Comments

>The pitter patter of tiny feet – A happy blog!!!!

>That’s it, for one blog entry it’s going to be happy! No ranting, no sarcasm, no swearing and no satirical meanderings. No, this time it is personal, which is unusual as I’m a pretty private person. Something happened today that really effected me, and I’ve gotten quite emotional about it to be perfectly honest. Today, I heard my baby’s heartbeat. Let me tell you, it’s the best thing I’ve heard all year and it’s an awesome experience.

Jayne is 24 weeks pregnant and today was one of her appointments with her midwife. I’ve been with Jayne to three scans so far which have seen the baby develop from a jellybean sized fetus right up to a wriggling, kicking little so and so. I liked the scans dearly, especially when I learned of the gender of our child. But none of it compared to when I heard the heartbeat today with the midwife’s fancy gizmo thing. Hearing the heartbeat galvanises the whole thing, makes it very real.

Whereas before I’d get excited over spending hours in record shops looking for, well, records I suppose, I now get excited going into places like Mothercare. Just browsing the fantastic clothing and stuff that is available now for babies. I’m looking forward to getting our Silvercross travel pram system in a near-as-makes-no-difference Ferrari colour scheme. Not like in our day, when all we ‘ad were a shoe box in t’garden and a handful of cold gravel for breakfast. I’m in awe at the support of friends and family and the generosity that is bestowed upon us. And the baby isn’t even here yet!

Five or so years ago I never really wanted children and I know that upset Jayne more than a little. However, three years ago we kind of started trying, even though I still wasn’t particularly sure. To be honest, the idea of having a baby scared the shit out of me. There was a turning point though. Read on.

Basically to cut a long story short our close friends Alec and Kat had a lovely baby boy back in August 2009, and as well as spending rather a lot of time with Alec and Kat, we’ve spent a lot of time with their son. We were chosen as supporting adults for his naming ceremony. He is a wonderful lad and a joy to be around. This is probably the most important and influential factor in changing my thoughts on having children. Added to which Alec and Kat brought in the New Year this year with another wonderful addition to their family – another baby boy. If this one is anything like his brother, he’s going to be an absolute corker. The fact that the two boys have a truly great and loving pair of parents and a fine pair of grandparents are important factors. The added bonus for us is we get to see them all regularly.

This has all brought the excitement and intrigue to the foreground for me. It has also armed me with a Haynes Workshop Manual service and repair book for Babies, so look out. 2011 may have started with a bang, but it’s all going to get better. May is our due date, and trust me on this – I’m counting the minutes! It may well have been a bit of a journey for us to get to the stage we are at now, but the important thing for me is we are at that stage. Jayne has passed the halfway mark in her pregnancy and everything, touch wood, is as it should be. Our baby boy is doing fine. Importantly, Jayne is doing fine.

Start as we mean to go on though, as my lad already seems to be grooving to music, much to my amusement but I’m sure not to Jayne’s! He reacts well to ZZ Top, The Who, Tom Petty and heavier Beatles stuff. That’s my boy!

Another heartwarming thing to consider for me is it’s ironic that as we trace the dates back, the date of conception coincides with our wedding anniversary. The downside to that is we conceived our child in Devon… poor sod.

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 1 Comment

>This week I have been mostly….

>… falling over on my arse like a complete and utter loon. This episode provides a totally uninteresting insight into “A week in the life of Paul Renowden”. I reserve the right to make you fall asleep at any point within this zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………..

The week just passed was supposed to be my last week at work before starting a week off for annual leave. ‘Twas supposed to be a nice, slow-down week (like there’s anything fast paced in my job) with a week of looking forward to seeing Volbeat in concert with a mate, my wife seeing a show with her mate and decorating. Nothing out of the ordinary.

So, naturally things went smoothly then? Hahahahahaha, I think not. Sunday, get out to the Fiat only to find it won’t turn over and find that the battery is flatter than a witch’s tit. So, out with the jump pack, jump start the car and off we go. Of course, no where is open to buy a battery, except for Halfrauds. By and large I do not particularly like Halfords, but I must admit having a trade discount card for there is bloody useful and ensured a whopping discount.

Later on that evening I receive an e-mail from the Thelka at Bristol (the venue for Volbeat) only to be told that the gig had been cancelled due to Volbeat front man Michael Poulson falling ill and having to stay under supervision of his doctors. Bummer, although, however, his health is paramount and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Then on Monday the snow, ice and other various weather ailments hit Cornwall, to which the local radio stations started panicking the locals with the news of “arctic conditions”. It pretty much brought Cornwall to a standstill but also brought out every wanker on the road who cannot drive. This makes work absolutely dead as most of the work booked in were cancelled due to the aforementioned “arctic conditions”. Wednesday, whilst putting the rubbish out I provided some light entertainment and amusement for the neighbours and nearby wildlife by going skyward and landing back down to terrafirma on my coccyx. Typically, due to the weather conditions the refuse collectors failed to pick up the rubbish for a further two days, which really fucked me off.

Wednesday, as well, also saw my boss sign off someone else’s holiday for the following Wednesday, knowing full well there would be no staff to cover him and that my cover for the week had to go to a funeral on this particular day. The funeral can’t be helped and my condolences are with the guy, and really the other chap who has been signed off has to take his missus to hospital. But the lack of any kind of management there has failed to arrange any kind of cover which means I now have to go in on my day off. Argh! Oh well…

There was a blip on Thursday – nothing went wrong. Reasonable day at work, and the usual visitation to our friends that evening for food, general laughs, puns and reminiscing old vintage cartoon themes was a resounding success as it normally is.

Friday, had to take the Vauxhall to work to get that MOT’d because we both realised the MOT ran out two days earlier. It passed the MOT with flying colours, but really it should have done anyway as it’s just had a new driveshaft joint, driveshaft boot, new tyres all round, service and front brake pads. However, on Saturday proceeded to throw its toys out of the pram by snapping its handbrake cable. Or doing something to its handbrake anyway.

Saturday also saw me creating the death warrant for my local postman, who is an utter anus biscuit. Previously he has delivered mail and left it hanging out the wrong side of the letterbox. He has “delivered” parcels. When I say deliver the parcels, I obviously mean leaves the parcels at the sorting office and just pop the infamous red slip through the door. I’ve actually witnessed what he does, he just posts the slip through the door without bothering to knock and walks off. I’ve seen his delivery bag from my living room window (which is situated above the front door so I can see EVERYTHING!) minus the parcels! However, this weekend he delivered the parcels! But not in the usual fashion which would be knocking at the door and waiting for me to answer. No, instead he saw fit to let himself in, THEN knock and drop the parcels down to the floor! The poor woman at our local sorting office had probably lost the will to live after I finished on the phone, but a formal complaint was in order.

Now as I’m sure you’re aware, my eye sight is close to useless. I’m short sighted and have astigmatism in my left eye, so I have to wear glasses pretty much all the time. But as everything seemed to happen on Saturday, that was the day my glasses decided to make a spectacle of themselves and fall to pieces. True, it wasn’t their fault, they were framed. But the whole scenario was a bit transparent and clear to see.

Did anything else happen on Saturday? Oh yes, the TV cabinet we both like and wanted won’t be in stock. Indefinitely. And because we were waiting for parcels to be delivered (or rather thrown) and were due to be going out later that day (and we were feeling lazy) we ordered our weekly grocery shopping online the night before. And it turned up late. By 45 minutes.

So, in all, a brilliant round-up to start me holiday. So what will I be doing on my first day of leave? Taking the wife’s car to WORK to be bloody fixed. Again. The third day of my holiday will involve me going to WORK to actually work. Yay! Still, as a Supporting Adult (the far superior and far less hypocritical version of a Godparent) I get to babysit my non-God-quite-possibly-atheist-son for a couple of hours on Wednesday and hopefully listen to lots of Volbeat whilst putting the world to rights whilst ‘Er Indoors and her friend go to a show. And I am looking forward to decorating!

December 5, 2010 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 2 Comments



It doesn’t help sometimes that my wife keeps telling me I’m ancient before my time. True, I am what can only be classed as a grumpy old man. But at 28 I’m really starting to believe her. Mainly because I really do not know how to use my portable telecommunication relaying device (that’s a mobile phone to the youth of today) properly. That, and I’ve started saying certain phrases that members of my staff have said that I’ve subsequently used to impersonate and mock them. The favourite is “Back in the day”. But worryingly I have actually started saying it seriously which makes me sound about 60. But then Jayne would argue the fact that my hair is rapidly going grey that I look it too.

Anyway, back in the d… oh shit, there we go already. But back in the day I thought myself as quite learned toward technological things and was considered by many to be a geek. I could build a computer, wire up a HiFi system quite nicely and program a VCR (how old does that sound?) to do everything include blow up the Pentagon. I even did bits and pieces of web design and computer programming. Hell, I even use to create multi-track recorded songs on the computer using loops, keyboards and this that and the other.

But give me my current portable telecommunications relaying device and I’m stuck. Only a 6 year old could program the events timer on my DVD recorder. And these days I’m lucky if I can just turn on a computer to do such trivial items as check Facebook and write this silly little blog thing. At work there are many programs I have to use, which I have been using in one form or another for getting on close to ten years. It still doesn’t mean I’m any good at using them. Only today, my wife and our friend were engrossed in an amusing conversation over the differences of many different varieties of Microsoft Office programs and how they’ve changed over the years. Seriously, my tiny little brain is retarded enough without having to cope with that. I mean, I’ve not progressed past Office 1997. The one I used whilst still at school. Sorry, for the young and uneducated, that is skool.

However I’ve now joined Twitter, which I admit I’m fairly late in getting into. But when I get into something I get into it in a big way so I’ll no doubt be tweeting whenever I can. This does mean I’m buggered as being a male I’m unable to multitask. I will now have to juggle Facebook, blog, Twitter and Media Player at once. Well Media Player if I’m not listening to vinyl or CD or other such mediums that young people would refer to as “old skool”. Although that particular way of spelling it winds me up. People who spell it like that seriously need to go back to school to realise the correct spelling of the word.

Which neatly brings me onto my equal love-hate relationship with MP3s. I like them for convenience and laziness as it means I can have whatever song that’s in my vast collection at the touch of a button whilst typing this inane drivel. It also makes it easier to have more music because with the vast amount of CDs, tapes, records et al that I own, I’ve run out of room to store them. But the minus side to me is I like to see the artwork of an album and what went into the making of it. It just seems a shame now that an artist can pour heart and soul into a piece of work, go through the motions of having the artwork designed, booklets etc, only for it to become a file on a computer that’s pretty meaningless. It just seems a bit cold. I also dislike MP3s for their inferior sound quality as my computer’s sound card outputty type thing is connected to my slightly vintage stereo separates system, which new would have been the cost of 10 iPods. It shows up all the flaws.

But back to phones. It goes to show as a friend phoned me (on the aforementioned device) to ask for advice on which new mobile was best on the market. I think it was something like an eye phone, a Black berry (which I assumed was actually some fruit) and something that was made up of initials, something like HTSCSFGHJVFHGFFG. Or it could have been PIACTWIR (which stands for Paul Is A Complete Tool Who Is Rubbish). Because I was a geek in a previous life, my advice was called upon. However the best answer I could give her was “Er….. what are you talking about?” to which her reply was priceless – “You’re rubbish”.

So, mobile phones are not my forte, and I prefer to play vinyl rather than MP3. I prefer to play the bass guitar than my XBox 360 and they are located inches apart. In a lot of cases I’d rather read than watch television. Don’t get me wrong, I do genuinely love technology and I love what it can do and I’m not totally allergic to it. Anything to make my life easier is fine by me as I’m a lazy sod at times. But my main pet peeve is when technology doesn’t change something for the better and/or over complicates things. It’s a total disaster zone as far as I’m concerned.

A microwave oven for instance is a good example. There are some posh microwave ovens, which technically is a contradiction in terms. All those different settings for essentially doing one thing: heating stuff. All I want to do is set the temperature, the time and switch it on. Nothing more, that is all it needs to do in life. Essentially that is all I want my mobile phone to do. Not heat food, obviously, because that would be stupid. Then again, there probably is a setting for it to do so somewhere that I’ve not found yet. No, I want to be able to use it as a phone and to send text messages primarily. The other add on bits are nice, but not at the cost of being able to make phone calls and send text messages (mk phn cls n snd txt msgs to you young people reading). Or maybe I should get a simpler phone and look much less of a retard than I already appear.

I used to keep up with technology back in the d… Oh bollocks, I’ve done it again. But it’s moving so fast I’ve been left so far in the shade I can feel the beginnings of hypothermia.

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Other Stuff! | 2 Comments

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