Thursday, 31 January 2013

You do know how a button works don't you? No, not on clothes.

OK, so this one's probably going to be late too, not as late as yesterday's but certainly well into, what I like to call, Lunchtime.

I wanted to use a quote from 'The IT Crowd' as a title, and I just got caught up reading through the quotes from Series One, and then I had to have a bit of a sit down and a rest because I couldn't breath properly because I was crying with laughter - I couldn't even tell my workmates what I was laughing about, I was, quite literally, unable to speak.

Anyway, as you've probably guessed by now, today's post is IT related. In it I will relate a few more of the things that have happened to me over the years. During the time when I had to resist slamming peoples' foreheads onto their desks on a daily basis.

The following few 'incidents' that happened whilst I was working for the popular Midlands Builders' Merchant 'Where the Trade Go'. And are all, as ever, completely hamster-fondlingly true.


The thing you don't want to have happen when you've just got into the office after a two and a half hour drive, is to be told that one of the London stores cannot trade because their server has crashed. Do you know how most Back-Office server crashes are fixed in Midlands based Builders' Merchants? Yes, that's right, you turn it off and then back on again.

So, after someone had made coffee for the team, I called the store, with the intention of talking whomsoever answered the phone through the aforementioned task. The sales desk phone rang out... The office phone rang out... Then I took a deep breath and called the Manager's phone.

Now, before we go any further, let me just say that most of the Store Managers we had at the time were pretty good, they knew exactly as much about computers as we did about selling screwdrivers, and that was fine - We understood each other's limitations, but this particular guy was a bit... special. Imagine Del-Boy's mind in a Bond villain's body, but with the vocabulary of Father Jack Hackett. He was also known for having a lot of temper, but not a lot of patience.

He picked up the phone.


'Oh Hi, it's Dandy from IT...'


'You've got a problem with your system, you can't process any sales?'


'The computer, that runs the tills, has stopped working.'


'Well, we're going to take a look at that in a minute, but we can't log into it, we need you to restart it.'


'The big computer, in the metal box, in the office... We need you to turn it off, is that OK?'

'Yeah,' then he dropped the phone, and it went dead... For about ten minutes, then he picked it up again, 'It's not working.'

'Right, OK, Sorry, what exactly do you mean when you say that it's not working?'

'It won't turn off.'

'So, you're pressing the round button on the front?'


'With the little green light?'


'And it won't turn off?'


'OK, can you hold it in and count to ten for me, see if it turns off then?'

'Yeah,' He dropped the phone again, this time, I had time to go and get a sandwich, when he came back he said, 'No, doesn't work.'

'OK, what I need you to do now is...'

'I'm too busy, send someone to fix it.'

'Well, we just need to...'

'Too busy, Bye,' Then he put the phone down.

So, we were stuffed, 'someone' had to drive to London and get the store working again. OK, it was only about a 200 mile round trip and it was a nice day, but I had been nominated as the 'someone'. (Like you hadn't guessed that already). The trip down the M40 took a couple of hours, but on this occasion no laser printers were harmed
I wandered into the cavernous store and made myself known to the guys there. I went behind the counter and knocked on the door of the manager's office, which was duly opened by the man in question.


'Alright? I've come to see why your computer won't turn off.'


I went into his office, where the little rack was sat in the corner, covered in dust.

'Can you show me what you did?'

'Yeah,' He wandered over to the cabinet and pushed the button, 'Doesn't work, see?'

'Ah, I think I've found your problem, the round thing that you're pressing is actually the Dell badge, the power button is the 'other' round thing on the front, with the green light...' I held in the button, powered off the server, turned it back on and service was restored. I then had a fry-up for my lunch, got back in the car, and drove the 100 odd miles back to Birmingham...


Funnily, the remaining two stories are also about a London store, the same one in fact, well, not the same one as the one above, these two stories are about the same one. (That made a lot more sense in my head) However, this one was managed by a wonderful guy, He was an ex-mountain, I don't mean Mountain Rescue, or Mountaineer, but an actual honest to goodness mountain. He was computer literate, outspoken and he knew how to motivate staff, usually by causing a small avalance to form in their general direction.

Anyway, we'd just installed the new system at his store and we were going through the basic training. The tills that we had installed were touchscreens, but you need to remember that this was in the days where phones didn't have them, but PDAs (remember them?) did.

So our training guy had given the sales assistants their standard half-day's training and was spending the afternoon going from till to till, with the manager, watching them putting sales through and answering questions. I was tagging along, just for the hell of it really, I should have gone back to the office, but I was trying to spin it out a bit and then go straight home.

We came to one young lady, who was fastidiously using the keyboard and mouse rather than the touch screen, we looked at each other, looked at her, looked at each other again, and the manager said to me,

'You did check the touchscreen was working didn't you?'

'Yes, definately.'

'Then, why isn't she using it?'

'You're asking the wrong person Dude, sorry,' I said, and pointed to the assistant.

He sighed, waited until she'd finished serving her customer, walked over and asked,

'Why aren't you using the touchscreen? We pay a lot of money for them you know'

'I'm waiting for the thingy'

'You're doing what to the who-now?'

'The thingy, the pokey thing, you know?' She mimed the stabbing scene from Psycho.

The manager turned to me and shrugged in a very accusatory fashion, which is fairly difficult if you think about it, 'Pokey thing? Do we supply pokey things?'

'I think she means a stylus'

'Yeah! stylus, I'm waiting for the stylus,'

'Oh! the Stylus, why didn't you say,' He beamed, 'They each come with ten, and they're pink, you'll love them!'


'Oh yes!' He excalaimed as he reached down and took hold of her wrist, 'Here they are look, one.. two.. three.. four.. five... and the rest are on your other hand!'

She went that shade of red that's normally reserved for the Royal Mail and worked the rest of her shift in complete silence.


The store had been trading for a while, and everything was both Hunky and Dorey. We were well into the business as usual phase and we'd handed the support of the store over to the Helpdesk. One day I overheard a conversation that one of the girls was having with the store.

'I just need you to press 'Escape'... No, that's 'Return'... Escape is the one in the top, left hand corner... No, not F1, next to F1, it has E.S.C. written on it... It's definately there... You are using a computer aren't you?... Well, what's in the top, left hand corner then?' She pressed the mute button on her phone and asked me,

'Dandy, do we give the stores keyboards without an escape key?'

'Not to my knowledge, no, ask them if their keyboard looks the same as another one there.'

'OK, good idea,' She took the caller off hold and asked, 'Can you see another keyboard? Right, has that got an 'Escape' key? No? Can you check another? What about the one in the office? Yeah, I'll wait... What? That hasn't got one either? I don't really understand...'

'Why don't you just log into her computer remotely, do what you need to do, and we'll look at it later?' I suggested, which is what she did.

We thought it was odd, and had a laugh about how stupid you'd have to be to not be able to find the Escape key on a keyboard, but eventually we forgot about it.

Until, I was visiting the store some weeks later, about something completely unrelated when I suddenly had the need to get my email. I went into their little office, logged on, started my email and chanced to look down at the keyboard. Where the Escape key should be there was a hole, no key, no spring, no button, just a hole. I collared one of the guys behind the counter.

'Are all your keyboards like this?'

'Yeah, the Manager did it.'

'Why did he do that?'

'Well, someone from IT said that if we hit Escape while we were doing a Credit Card transaction, it'd muck it up and the sale would go through but the customer wouldn't be charged.'


'So he decided that the best way to make sure we didn't do that was to take the key away.'

'Did he use a drill?'

'Yeah, I think he did...'

'I'll order you some new ones.'

So, it seems he wasn't quite as IT literate as I'd initially thought, although I guess it was lateral thinking on his part.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Piracy on the High Winds



'Which hat? The flying helmet?' She tugged on a shiny leather and brass B6 of uncertain vintage, squinted into the mirror , and removed it, 'or.. The riding hat?' she picked up a miniature top hat, decorated with lace and black roses from the table, and perched it on her head at a jaunty angle.

'I'm... Sorry... I...'

She sighed, sometimes being the corsair captain of your own fighting airship didn't leave time for the finer things in life.

'Access weather control and see what they have planned for all points between our current position and the Straits of Madripoor.'

'Working...' The lights on Frobisher's brass face dimmed slightly as he rerouted power to establish a secure, untraceable, link with The Great Cloud, 'Winds light to moderate from the South West, point seven percent chance of tropical rain, dependant on local humidity, light cloud cover beginning at nine thousand feet, temperature ranging fr....'

'Enough! Riding hat it is! Have the detailed report for the area around Chandra Island fed to my screen on the bridge, after that, put in a request to maintenance and get your contacts cleaned, you're starting to clack.'

'Ma'am.' The construct replied.

The captain fixed the hat to her elegantly coiffed hair with a selection of ornate pins, and strode from her quarters directly onto the bridge. The crew stiffened as she entered, suddenly taking a much deeper professional interest in their respective screens and readouts.

'Dr. When?' she called.

'Aye Ma'am?' He replied, the creaking of her first officer's aged leather overcoat not quite managing to mask the twang of his strange, half Cornish, half Centauri accent.

'Set a course for Chandra Island, Eastern Madripoor, best speed but keep us below detection altitude,' She sank into the command chair and started to digest the information displayed on her screen, 'Notify me at fifty miles.'

'Aye... Alright you dogs, you heard the captain, rig the gasbag for best stealth speed, ramp up the fusion engines, seal all external hatches and report when ready!'

The deck shook as the engineers stoked the huge nuclear engines into life, and the captain could feel the vibration in her bones. She closed her eyes and listened to the creak of the connecting chains tightening around the bags of gas above her. One by one the tell-tales on her panel turned from red to green. As the last one lit, she looked towards Dr. When.

'Stations reporting ready Ma'am, we move on your word.'

'Take us out nice and easy Dr. no showboating this time, Another punctured bag and I'll take it out of your share.'

'All jets ahead one quarter, when we see clear sky take her up to two thousand feet and engage fusion drive.' When turned to the captain, grinned and bowed, 'All hands - prepare for acceleration in ten! Hold on to anything you don't want to be looking for in the stern later!'

The shock of the nuclear reaction always caught her by suprise, its limitless acceleration took them from twenty-five to four hundred miles per hour in an instant. There was a cacophonous noise that rang through the ship, followed by gurgling screams.

'100 credits says cook forgot to secure his pans again?' When commented, hanging on to the guardrail behind the helm.

'200 says it was the kniferack,' The Captain replied, thumbing the switch for the shipboard intercomm, 'Medical team to The Galley on the double, patch up the cook and check the Galley for damage - He does a day in irons for every smashed pot.'

The ship settled into its cruising configuration as the gasbags finally caught up with the main hull, she was a beautiful ship, her hull built to resemble an early 18th Century Barque, the sails replaced by the voluminous gas-bag and the bowsprit replaced by a bronze and copper Ion Cannon, nicknamed 'Daisy' by the crew. She was, rather confusingly, named the Edward Teach, for reasons best known to her Captain.

'Captain!' Barked the Sensor Chief, 'We have a contact, bearing 076 degrees, speed 300, distance 20 miles, closing fast.'


'Looks to be mechanised, showing no lifesigns, minimal biological mass, but plenty of movement. Wait! We're being scanned!'

'Dr When, secure us from best speed, bring Daisy to bear and fire as she rolls.'

'Aye Ma'am!' The Doctor pushed the Helmsman from his seat and took the controls himself, he locked off the engines and threw the ship into a tight turn. The hull slewed viciously under the gas-bag as the chains tried to compensate for the rapid change of vector. The Captain peered through the viewscreen as their foe came into view.

'Spiders!' She called, 'Blow them out of my Sky When!'

The Captain had tangled with the Spiders before, they were a completely mechanical life-form, developed by the military for jungle and urban warfare. Of course, as is the way of such things, they had become too good at their job, finally turning against their controllers and setting off on their own journey, attacking cargo ships and corporate supply ballons, stripping them of their power sources and taking scalps as trophies.

Daisy barked, a glittering beam of blue energy shot from the prow of the ship and hit the Spiders' vehicle amidships, deactivated spiders fell to the ground like metal snow, but the main body was still aloft.

'Hit them again!'


'They're closing!'

'Nearly there!'

'Doctor, now would be a good time!'


The Spiders' were almost within boarding range as the next blast hit them. The remaining Spiders bounced of the side of the hull and fell the two thousand feet to the ground. There was a moment of furious action as everyone checked that there was no damage to the ship.

'Resume course and speed,' Ordered the Captain, finally breathing out.

The rest of the voyage went without incident, and the crew was just settling back into their normal routine when the fifty mile alarm sounded.

'All stop!' Called When.

'Take us up to fifteen thousand feet and continue on jets only.'

The sudden silence as the fusion drive was taken offline was almost deafening, the ship slowly began to rise as air from the still hot exhausts was fed into the bags to supplement the already buoyant Tritium gas. They broke through the cloud layer and started towards the island. The Captain beckoned When towards her.

'Once we are directly over the island we will be storming the base using two drop-pods, pick a team of seven and take one, I'll do the same with the other.'

'Base? What're we after?'

'Whatever we can get our hands on, as usual.'

When grinned, grabbed his chainsword and hit the intercomm,

'Khan, Russ, Guilliman, Jonson, Curze, Corax and Vulkan - Report to the podroom, we drop in 60.'

As her pod fell, the Captain looked at her assembled team, she saw in the eyes of her crewmen the glint of impending action, the lust for new booty...

'Landfall in five... Four... Three...'

The landing rockets fired, almost doubling everyone's apparent weight and the Captain instantly regretted putting on her corset and kneeboots before boarding the pod. The doors fell open as soon as they touched down and the crew jumped out of both pods, screaming like banshees. A wave of constructguards poured from the main door of the building and ran into When's whining chainsword, cogs, gears and oil sprayed in all directions, covering the ground like glistening brass snow. Their cries of 'Invaders must die!' silenced by the churning teeth.

'We bounce in ten minutes, take what you can!' Yelled the Captain, 'Split up, we'll cover more ground!'

As the flow of guards died down, her crew entered the base and scattered in all directions. She made her way through strangely quiet corridors towards the base commander's office. The trip took minutes longer than she expected and when she arrived at the door, she was faced with an ornate lock of an unknown type.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the small glowing sphere that had cost her a month's share from the Dentrassi trader at Long-Pig station. He'd said that it was guaranteed to undo any lock that could be undone, although he did look like the sort from whom it might be difficult to extract a refund.

The Captain did not care, after a few seconds of melodius humming, the door clicked open. As she entered the office, she noticed how tidy it was - She realised she was in the right place and searched the walls for an entrance into the commander's private quarters.

'Where are you? Where are you?'

'Where is who?' Commented a voice from the doorway.

The Captain froze, turning away from the slowly opening cupboard that she had found. She was confronted by perhaps the most beautiful woman she had ever seen, long, red hair, delicately chiseled features, a classically proportioned body and a flowing, black, spidersilk dress. She stood, brushed herself down, cleared her throat and asked,

'And you are?'

'I am Belinda Von Messier, I command this base, who are you and why are you in my office?'

'Well, I am Dorleith Ahralia, countess of Minidandia, Corsair, Pirate and occasional rabble-rouser, I have come to relieve you of your wardrobe.'


Her sentence was cut short by the timely arrival of the Doctor, his repeating siege bolt gun and two explosive shells to the head.

'We need to leave now Captain!'


'No, now, one of the men thinks that he might have accidentally triggered some sort of self destruct mechanism, it said 120 when I left, but it was counting down. Grab what you came for, we have to leave.'

The Captain looked across to the now, fully open, open cupboard and saw:


'We're leaving!'

'But... Shoes!'

When picked her up by the waist, threw her over his shoulder and ran. The sound of huge explosions getting closer and closer. By the time they reached the exit, the wall of flame was right behind them and he could feel his ponytail starting to shrivel. He thew himself into the pod and hit the launch button. He was deafened by the roar, but not before he heard the Captain say.

'Shoes... Lovely Shoes... All gone!'

OK, much like the story about my son knocking the head off the snowman - My daughter went into Town yesterday and saw some nice boots, which she couldn't afford, only I, like, sexed it up a bit.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Are You Experienced?

What're the two most infuriating words that any parent will hear from their children ever, in their lifetime? I don't mean the really scary ones like 'I'm pregnant' or 'It's broken' or 'On fire'. I mean the ones that you hear every weekend and every school holiday and every advert break during an otherwise immensely exciting program?

Yes, that's right, 'I'm boooooored!'

The little cherub, who you not so long ago bought the entire collection of Moshi Monsters for? Who you queued for at 07:30am a week before release day to make sure she was the first of her friends to own the new One Direction CD that detailed not only their tour dates, but a scratch and sniff sampling of their underwear drawer? Who has demanded, and received, every type, style and colour of Nintendo games system past, present and future?

We must have spent the GNP of Lesotho on toys etc. for the Dandies, both Mini and Micro, over their respective lives. But both of them would much rather sit in front of a PC or Laptop or iPad and watch YouTube videos. If for some reason you temporarily take away this dubious privilege, say they've been zoned out for six hours solid, or you actually need to use the device yourself. You get a selection of sighs that could extinguish an Australian forest fire and the occasional theatrical flounce onto the sofa.

There are cries of 'I'm bored!',

To which my normal reply is, 'No, you're lazy!'

And then I go on to enumerate all the things that they could be doing instead, which in fairness gets more and more ridiculous every time - It'll start off as 'Play on the Wii, or the Playstation, watch a DVD, walk the dog, wash the pots, draw a picture...' and ends up with, 'Shave the cat, iron a herring, translate Harry Potter into Klingon, laminate a duck...' By this time they've usually stopped listening, wandered off or slipped into a narcoleptic coma - All of which, I consider to be a win.

But I realised recently that it's not just kids that do this, maybe it's my particular group of friends, but for evey Facebook update I see on my timeline that says 'Today I got up, felt great, walked the dog, took an artistic photo of a thing, made something tasty for lunch and did stuff with a person until my eyes rolled back in my head when I OD'd on the greatness of it all,' there's twenty seven that say, 'Aren't people rubbish, I'm staying in bed, there's nothing to do, it's raining, everybody stop picking on me, it's everybody else's fault, wah-wah-wah!'

For Gods' (yes, pedants, that apostrophe IS in the right place) sake people DO SOMETHING! If your life is crap, do something about it, find out what's wrong and change it. There's no situation that anyone is in that is insurmountable. Then again, you might counter with any or all of the below;

'But I've got depression!' To which I would reply 'Me too!' diagnosed and prescribed for, but the one thing I took to heart is what my Doctor said just before signing the green slip that I took to the pharmacist, 'Mr Dandy, this isn't a cure, this is just to make life easier for you whilst you figure out what's wrong and sort it out.' - Which is exactly what I did, and I'm proud of myself for doing it. I know it's often easier said than done, and I know that a lot of people's triggers are more difficult to sort out than mine, but you're never going to feel any better unless this happens. (P.S. if they offer you CBT, even if there's a long waiting list - Say 'Yes please' - I've seen this really work well... If you go to your CBT appointment and they ask if you need to borrow a helmet and gloves, don't panic, it just means they've booked you on Compulsory Basic Training, not Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - Just go with it, fewer people who can ride motorcycles are depressed - That's a fact... Probably.)

'But I'm missing a leg!' Life's harder with a disability, I truly appreciate that and I've not experienced it first-hand myself, so I'm not really qualified to judge. (Unless you count an inability to stop correcting people on their pronunciation as a disability - It seems the people who give out the Blue Disabled Parking badges don't... Fascists!) But you hear stories every day of people who have conquered seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve what their doctors said was impossible... Be one of those people. If you need a bit of a lift in this department, Google a guy called Taylor Morris, and then try keep a straight face whilst you tell the Dole Office that you can't make it to the shops because you've got a bit of a dicky ankle.

'But I'm thick!' Well, that's as may be, but you can't let lack of education hinder your dreams, book yourself on a course at your local school. Learn about something you're interested in to start with - just to get you back into it, then try learning something that might help you take the next step towards happiness. You never know, you might be lucky and those two things are one and the same. If you can't do this, due to having to look after your young or similar, become a member of your local library, borrow books and actually read them - There are, quite literally, worlds to discover.

'I'm in the middle of nowhere with no transportation!' Walk, no... seriously... walk. There's nowhere (OK, barring islands etc) on the mainland United Kingdom that isn't accessible by you leaving your house, locking the door behind you and walking in the right direction for long enough - It might take a while, you might need to take a snack and maybe a thermos with you but seriously, you can do it. We've only had the Infernal Combustion Engine for the past hundred and thirty years. What do you think people did before that? It wasn't bitch and moan and lie in their own filth watching repeats of Jeremy Kyle all day I can tell you.

'I'm broke!' Me too, again, sorry. I sit around all the time going, 'I could just eat a raisin and biscuit Yorkie, shame I'm broke!' I normally say this in my living room, surrounded by CDs I don't listen to and DVDs that I'll never watch again. If you can't afford to buy the stuff you need (not want, don't waste your money on things you want, spend it on stuff you need, you know, carrots rather than beer and stuff like that) then sell something that you don't need quite as much.

'But!' - This is, without doubt, the most invidious word in the English language, people usualy use it to explain why they're not going to do something. Examples include 'I'd take the dog for a walk, no problem, BUT I've got some some completely ficticious stuff that I've already arranged to do' and 'Yeah, I realise that this is a very important issue, BUT It doesn't effect me directly, so I don't care.' Do me a favour people, if you feel the need to use this word at all, use it in a positive way, as characterised by the axiomatic T-Shirt slogan 'I'm not a gynaecologist, BUT I'll take a look at it for you.' - Embrace the chance to do things, even if they're new, scary and have a medium to high risk of you getting slapped by a complete stranger. At least you'll be meeting new people.

I know that this has all been very flippant, because that's what I do, this is ostensibly a humour Blog after all. I do try and keep it light even when I rant.

And I understand that there are those people who are housebound due to circumstances beyond their control, for whom there is no available assistance, this was not directed at them in any way.

BUT, The rest of you, seriously, grab your life by the nuts and shake every single, solitary experience you can out of it - I'm fat, lazy, bald, not particularly attractive and don't have a huge circle of friends and even I've had enough experiences that I've thought are interesting enough that people would enjoy hearing about them here. (Rightly or wrongly).

Just imagine what things a svelte, vigourous, hirsute, beautiful person like yourself could get up to! - Don't hold yourself back with insecurity, propel yoursef forward with childishness and a blindness to your own inadequacies.

Just like I do!

If you do do this, feel free to tell me all about it via email and you never know, I might include your success story here, in these very pages.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Well, in fairness - I wasn't hungry

OK. It's Friday and we're all (well, those of us in the UK at least) bracing ourselves for the chaos that a flash blizzard containing a whole 3" of snow will bring to us this afternoon.

Roads will close, electricity lines will be brought down, ice-cream sales will drop by 5%, lions will lie down with lambs, and most importantly, brie and pate will be slightly more difficult to cut.

But I don't 'do' weather reports on this Blog, I try not to cover the standard, the usual and the mainstream - That's what Facebook's for. So I intend to perform a handbrake volte-face, whilst everyone is shivering in their caves, hiding from the winter's frozen bite, I will complete the story that I started yesterday, and tell you snippets of the sweatiest night of my life.


As was covered fully in yesterday's post, the Memsahib and myself had found ourselves inveigled into a group of towering transvestites, en-route to one of Europe's premiere parties for the momumentally uninhibited. I had just become Western Europe's newest Gay Icon and the night was still young.

We wandered from the pub, which was virtually next-door to the venue, The Hammersmith Palais (Sadly, no longer with us) and joined the queue of deviants. I remarked to
Patrick-Mary, or possibly Brian-Fifi that there were a number of people there who weren't exactly 'dressed for the occasion', he smiled and knodded, as if to a child who had just asked why the sky was blue, and replied,

'Ah, a lot of the more hardcore types can't, or won't, really wear their gear out in the real world, there are changing rooms inside,'

I pondered on this for a while, I was still a little bit vanilla at the time, but thought it was odd that these people would be embarrassed about, well, anything really. We reached the front of the queue in short order and after being given a quick look up and down by the security staff and a read of about a thousand signs that explained what would happen to you if you were found taking pictures without a press-pass, we entered the hall proper.

What would be the best way to describe the scene? Have you seen Blade 2? There's a party scene in that film that is about the closest to my first impression of that room. Except that there was slightly less gunfire and the attendees of this party were significantly cooler, to the point of being, well, not exactly indescribable - Because there wouldn't be much point in me trying to describe them I guess, but they were certainly 'unusual'.

I'll describe a few of the more memorable guests:

I'm not sure how many of you are conversant with the work of Thomas Gainsborough, the 18th Century painter? But there was a couple there dressed in costumes inspired by his work. However, instead of being made of richly coloured silks and velvets, they were made of PVC, with a giant, yellow and black, houndstooth check pattern, and they were full coverage... As in they were wearing gloves and Luchador style (gimp) masks (with hats on top). I later found out that these were one-piece costumes with a long, single zip up the back from... Erm... crotch to top of the head - Please don't ask me how I found this out...

There was a young lady with an incredible powder blue crinoline shepherdess costume, also made of PVC, complete with white PVC underskirts - Odd you'd think, but not out of the ordinary, you might even just get away with it at a normal fancy dress party. She did have a lamb with her too... Well, I say a lamb, it was actually a hairy gentleman, on his hands and knees, being led around on a collar and lead... He wasn't the only one of these, but he was one of the few wearing pants.

An unusual gentleman, who seemed to have a very particular, I hesitate to use the word fetish, but I probably should. He was wearing a suit made of what I would describe as 'dummy' rubber - That thick, yellow tinged clear rubber that baby's dummy are made of... It had no seperate arms, these were constricted by his sides, and his legs were similarly constrained (I think, although I may be wrong - I remember wondering whether he'd been placed there by a friend or he'd shrugged his way there like 'The Very Perverted Catterpillar'). He spent the entire night lying in the doorway of the Ladies Conveniences, occasionally thanking the people who took the time to tread on him, with stilletos. And you'll notice I said people, not ladies, as both the wearers of the footwear, and the gender of toilet user were fairly mix and match.

The last people who particularly stick in my mind were a very accomodating couple... We went to have a sit down, after and hour or so of being bombarded with Dutch Techno music and performers taking angle-grinders to their codpieces and found a seat opposite them. The young lady was sturdily built and topless. I will not even try to estimate her cupsize, but I'm fairly sure it was at the end of the alphabet where the high-scoring scrabble tiles live. She was providing a service for her boyfriend, normally reserved for hungry new-born babies and for some reason frowned upon in train carriages.

Once he'd had his fill, as it were, he stood up, thanked the young lady, shook the hand of the almost skeletal gentleman sat on the other side of her. (Which I thought was the most insanely British thing I had ever seen in my life) and walked off. It turns out that the skinny chap was her boyfriend and the gentleman with the brand new milk moo-stache was simply a fellow partygoer. He looked at me, rasied his eyebrows, and pointed at his partner. I shook my head, waved my hand in a negative fashion and patted my stomach - Immediately thinking that me not wanting to suckle from his girlfriend/wife because I wasn't hungry was probably not the reply that he was expecting.

We made our excuses and left.

The rest of the evening (Well, early hours of the morning to be exact) passed without many other major incidents, we bumped into our friends a few times, we were 'halloooed' and flashed from the balcony by our new-found transvestite horde, we talked to some people who I've since found out were 'famous' in that particular scene and through them, got invited to a couple of after-parties.

We didn't attend them unfortunately, the thought of getting a cab halfway across town, partying until lunchtime and then doing the walk of shame back to the hotel didn't sound that appealing - And I was pretty tired. But given the chance again... I'd be there like a shot, and you should too. And I now fully understand why a significant number of people there were virtually naked...

PVC's bloody hot to wear...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Then I posed, and he took my picture

Some of you, mainly the people who've known me a while, or worked with me, or attended a formal event that I've gone to, or helped me celebrate a birthday, will know that I occasionally make and wear kilts. Not for any real ancestral reason, although the Dandy line is almost certainly blessed with a bewildering array of Scottish blackguards and jackanapes.

I just like messing with people's heads, and, as has been mentioned in multiplicity before, I am a massive show-off - And there're few things more likely to get you noticed in public than having your knees out and not wearing any underwear - You ask any woman between the ages of 16 and 40.

However, there are times when even wearing a kilt sees you fading into the background, Highland events for instance, or weddings of whacky and/or self-important people. The thing to wear on these occasions, for the fashion concious Dandy at least, would obviously be something like full Roman Imperial battledress or the rear half of a pantomime horse. This situation vexes me greatly, the Chimping Dandy does not do 'fading into the background' easily.

Which is bizarre really, because on one occasion, I was in a room with over a thousand, like-minded, people - And I was probably one of the most conservatively dressed people there, and I had a marvellous time.

Many, many, years ago, I used to work with a young lady, quite pretty, moderately shy, and very efficient at her job. If you looked up the phrase 'Butter would not melt in her mouth' in a dictionary of phrases (if such a thing exists) there would be a picture of her. After we both left the company, we kept in touch by eMail, as Facebook etc. did not exist at the time.

One day, I received an email from her that said something along the lines of, 'We're going to a show in London and can get you some cheap tickets if you're interested'. Now, not being blessed with children at the time, both Mrs Dandy & myself jumped at the chance and immediately started to prepare.

Prepare? I assume that you're asking, 'Why would you have to prepare for a London Show? Unless it was Rocky Horror? Was it Rocky Horror?'


It wasn't...

The young lady in question, and her significant other of the time, had developed certain... erm... Shall we say 'Peccadillos'? that made them very popular with other, like minded, couples (Don't get excited, that's not where this story is headed - Not exactly anyway) - And the show in question was: Skin-Two Magazine's Rubber Ball.

Google it... But probably not at work...

It's a jolly get-together for people who enjoy dressing up and pushing the envelope, or being naked and being sealed in an envelope. And they really won't let you in if you're wearing 'Smart-Casual'. So I put on my Seamstress' head (The one I keep in the freezer for situations just such as these) And knocked up a couple of costumes. I made a PVC hobble-skirt for Mrs Dandy - Which was more zips than PVC. And for myself, I made a kilt, also out of PVC (Which, for those who wish to replicate the experience, is a right, royal, bitch to iron pleats into).

We booked a VERY nice hotel in London, a couple of First-Class train tickets, and waited.

On the night in question, we'd all agreed to meet in a pub around the corner from the venue in, I think, Hammersmith. Of course, when we got there, they were nowhere to be seen (Turns out that they'd 'bumped into some old friends in the hotel' - repeatedly, in several different positions, I'd imagine), but the place was full, almost to bursting, of clinically odd people. We found a table with a couple of spare stools and proceeded to wait.

We shared the table with three giant transvestites, I don't mean they were really, really, transvestite... I mean that they were all just shy of 7 feet tall. I really wish that I could remember their actual names, but I'm just going to have to make them up, they were great... guys?... And introduced themselves with both their male and female names - 'I'm Patrick-Mary, He's Brian-Fifi and that guy at the bar's Steve-Tracey'.

One was dressed in an outfit completely made of car-mats, which gave... him... a distinctly Female Klingon vibe, one was dressed as a bald Nun, with a PVC habit (the clothing item, not the lifestyle choice), but with the buttock area cut out, and the other was dressed in sort of a neon Flashdance ensemble which left very little to the imagination for either his male or female 'identities'.

We spent a happy couple of hours, swapping stories, such as we could with our limited knowledge of this type of thing - it turned out that we'd all turned up unfashionably early. And 'Patrick-Mary' was just telling us about the time his wife came home early and found him dressed in her wedding underwear and pleasuring himself with the toilet-brush when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a German voice said,

'Excuse me, may I haf a vord?'

I looked up and saw a bald, stocky gentleman, with a magnificent handlebar moustache, wearing a tight white T-shirt and a significant amount of rubber/leather.

'My friends unt I noticed vat ju are vearing vhen you vent to ze bar, ve vere vonderink if you minded us takink a few photos?'

I looked at Mrs Dandy, she shrugged, I looked at our new found friends, they grinned and excitedly gave me the thumbs-up. I stood, and then followed the German chap to the other side of the room, where a table of similar gentlemen, clad in various wipe-clean outfits were sat, along with a collection of suspiciously professional looking cameras.

'Ju stand zere und ve take a few photos, yes?'

I nodded, still not 100 percent comfortable with the situation, but did my best to strike a pose that didn't make me look like I'd stepped from the pages of the Littlewoods catalog.

'Nein, nein, nein... More... er... GRRRRRR!'

I did the 'Hulk-Smash' pose, you know where you grit your teeth, and sort of bring your arms into your chest and bend over (towards the camera, before you ask).

'Jah, Jah, ist gut... Now er... More sidevays!'

We were starting to attract a bit of a crowd, and if I'm honest, I was well out of my comfort zone, but it was all in fun and no-one seemed to be taking themselves too seriously (apart from one of the photographers, who REALLY looked to be enjoying himself) - It probably didn't take more than five minutes, it felt like a lifetime though.

'Gut, jah, I sink zat iz enough... Can ju just sign zis?'

They handed me what I assume was a model release form and offered to buy us all a drink, which we accepted. We were there for about another hour before we decided to head off to the event proper. As we left, the chap with the moustache waved and called,

'The magazine should be out next month!'

I might save the sights, sounds and smells of the actual Ball for another episode - I think it probably deserves one of its own.

So, if you ever find yourself rambling in the German countryside, and happen across a gentleman's art pamphlet, designed for one-handed reading, lying unloved in the bottom of a hedgerow, and think you recognise someone in a two-page photospread...

You might not be wrong.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

We don' need no steenking dipthongs

This isn't a new blog, I originally published it on the 23rd. January 2013... It was one of my first - I've updated it a little because things have changed over time (as things tend to do) - If you remember it, you should feel free to skip to the bottom and see what I'm banging on about.


Today's Blog was suggested by my good friend @PedroVader1138 - The basic premise that is, not the theme. I mean, he's not mad or anything.

It's the (almost completely) true account of the Micro-Dandy's first, confirmed, lone kill. Only the setting, era, style, state and type of target, age of hunter, language and most of the other salient facts have been changed to maintain its artistic merit.


The hunter lay hidden in the snow, the cold dampness soaking into his furs as he looked down the ridge at the village below. All was quiet, the only movement, apart from the curl of smoke rising from the long-house chimney, was the sullen dawdle of the single huscarle on guard outside as he circled the building, whistling a tune that Mal Ak'hai didn't recognise. The full moon caught the boss of his shield, and brought the raised kraken motif into sharp relief.

He rose slowly from his prone position and brushed the loose snow from his furs. Moving around the ridge until the whistling huscarle was directly between him and the main building, not wanting his approach to look like he was trying to sneak and cause alarm. It took the man on guard a few minutes to notice his approach.

'Stoppe der!', He yelled, slowly raising his sword.

'I am here to see the Krakensdottir,' shouted Mal, the snow deadening the echo so that his voice sounded flat and emotionless, 'I have heard of your problem, I am here to help.'

The sword was lowered, equally slowly, to be replaced with an empty hand,

'Vent her,' ordered the guard, pointing at the spot where the hunter was stood, his Norse was rusty, but he knew enough to stay where he was.

The door opened and closed, leaving him alone with his thoughts. He looked up into the clear night sky, noticing that the constellation of Orion was directly over his head, and laughed, if that wasn't a good omen, he didn't know what was. He could hear the grumble of conversation from inside the long-house, the few words he could pick out made it plain they were talking about Him,

'Jeager... Frysning... Daemon... Ubevaebnet...'

The last one confused him... He was indeed a hunter, and he was definitely freezing, he was here to help with their demon problem, but unarmed? He wasn't unarmed, he looked down at the hilt of his sword, Lyssvaerd, clipped to his belt. Stroking the smooth length of hand forged sky-iron he smiled, he was about as far from unarmed as it was possible to be.

The opening of the door and a beckoning hand drew him back from his thoughts. He entered the long-house and was immediately blinded by the sheer number of torches that lined the walls and the size of the bane-fire in the middle, he was surprised that any snow survived within a mile.

'Hvad er dit navn?' Asked an aged man, clad in wolf fur and strips of studded leather.

'My name? My name is Mal Ak'hai, I am a hunter from the south, I heard that you had a problem with a d...'

'Pschh!' spat the old man, putting his hand in front of the hunter's mouth and stopping him talking. 

He turned to look at a figure that was barely visible beyond the fire and called,

'Hans navn er Mal Ak'hai! Han er en jeager fra sid!'

'I understand the language of the south, bring him to me.' The female voice, though obviously strong, conveyed notes of tiredness and stress.

He was led by the elbow around the fire and towards the voice. The heat seared his face as he passed, close enough to see the pile of crumbling bones at its heart. He looked up, into the face of Alfrun Krakensdottir, new leader of the Kraken clan, ever since her father had died on their last raid to Vinland, she had led the hundred or so remaining norsemen to times of plenty and prosperity. Until, that is, they had come upon their current trouble.

'Failures,' she said, noticing where he had been looking.


'Yes, we recover the remains of people like you and burn them, it speeds their journey.'

She stared deep into the fire, 'I'm sure it does.'

'Yours will be the 17th body that we burn.' 

Alfrun looked at him with sadness, and a certain amount of longing. She thought that he was handsome, at least in the style of the south, but his hair was blonde and he would have had no problem passing for a Norse prince, if he survived.

'What makes you so sure that you'll be burning my remains? If you don't think anyone can succeed in this quest, why have you had your men travel the country asking for help?'

'We were looking for a hero, one that we could write sagas about, one who's song would be passed down through the ages, that is not you, you come unarmed to the fight.'

'Unarmed?' He looked down at Lyssvaerd, hanging unnoticed at his side, then back up at the warrior queen, 'I will do this thing for you, and I will not be more fuel for your fire.'

'You will go alone to the clearing in the forest to the east of here, that is where the demon makes his home. You must stop him, he raids our farms and kills our children, we find our animals frozen when the sun comes up and the well is solid ice. We cannot last much longer, there will be a bounty... and more'

The hunter bowed, turned, gave the bane-fire one last meaningful glare and walked out into the night, ignoring the shaking heads of the assembled norsemen and their hushed mumblings,

It took two hours for him to reach the clearing. The moon shone down creating short shadows which could serve only as hiding places for rabbits; the demon was not there. The recent snow had covered the tracks of previous heroes, but large patches tinged gently pink showed where they had met their end. He walked slowly, but confidently, out into the moonlight, took Lysswaerd from her thonging and called out to his prey.

'Come and face your end, demon, I have come to save the people of the Kraken clan, leave them in peace or die!' His words echoed around the forest, but apart from a fall of snow triggered by a bird roused from his slumber, there was no reply. 'Filth! come and face me, stop hiding behind your mother's skirts and fight, I am your doom!'

With the sound of a calving glacier, the snow behind the hunter began to rise, climbing into the night sky one hundred feet or more. Its features slowly resolved into those of a demon, with a goat's head and human body.

'Jeg er Hati, der spiser manen!' it howled, it's voice like the tumbling of thunder.

'You are Hati, and you eat the Moon?' Shouted the hunter, 'Why would you eat the Moon?'

The demon paused, looked down in momentary confusion, and replied with a swipe of his giant claws. The hunter jumped aside at the last moment and pressed the stud on the side of Lyssvaerd. A shining blue blade sprung from the hilt and severed the demon's paw at the wrist, as it fell, it turned back into pure, virgin powdered snow. The demon howled even louder, shaking the snow from the trees, and spun around to find his rapidly circling foe.

'Last chance demon!' Screamed the hunter, and held his glowing sword high above his head.

The demon lunged, changing form into a giant dire-wolf with it's maw open, breathing a plume of hoar-frost. The hunter jumped back just out of range of the freezing blast, but tripped on a root hidden under the snow and fell heavily, stunning himself. The impact jarred his sword from his hand and the blazing blade disappeared with a hiss.

Sensing that the game was nearly over, Hati reared once more. He inhaled deeply, intending to freeze the hunter to his very core and stamp him onto shards so small that his bones could never be burned. The giant wolf's head fell towards the hunter, it's icicle teeth bared, the howl of the coming ice-storm reverberated from the far foothills and his eyes closed as the strike came. The hunter rolled, grabbed his sword, loosed the blade, and severed the demon's head with a single stroke. With a sound like the breaking of a thousand glass pianos, the demon exploded into chunks of ice and fell to the ground. As dead as it was possible for a demon to be.

The hunter lay panting in the debris, trying to get his breath back. He looked around the glade, trying to find some proof that the battle had actually taken place, if someone happened across the scene now it would just look like he'd been smashing a block of ice, and none too expertly at that. His eye chanced upon a glinting object, slightly brighter than the surrounding snow. He levered himself to his feet and picked it up, it was a spherical diamond, the size of a watermelon, when he held it up to the sky, he could see the feint impression of a wolf's eye. This would be his proof, and his dowry, Alfrun Krakensdottir would be his queen, and his saga would be told until the Earth froze.

(OK, what actually happened was my son knocked the head off the snowman we'd all built with a stick... But who'd want to read about that?)

If you're interested in what happens next, you could always read the next installment 'What a waste of good pork'


Why have I reissued this story you might ask? - Well, It's World Book Day today (2nd March 2017) and Facebook reminded me of a day, one year ago, where my son went to his school's World Book Day celebration as Mal Ak'Hai Jeageren - He even took a copy of my book 'Mumblings of an Irate Pangolin' with him, to show that he was really a book character... Not that anyone really cared, but he's a stickler for the rules.

My son as Mal Ak'Hai Jeageren, with his bladeless sword, Lyssvaerd

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blogging Blues

(Sung to the tune of every Blues song ever)

Well, ah woke up this mornin',

an' ah couldn't think what to Blog.

Ah say ah woke up this mornin'

an' ah couldn't think what to Blog.

Then ah, got inta work,

and ideas weren't quite as forthcoming as I initially would have wished.

You see, that's the problem with setting yourself unrealistic targets. When I started this Blog, I said to myself;

'Dandy, you're a funny guy - people say it so it must be true, why don't you spend an hour or so each day, writing down funny stuff to make people snigger whilst they're walking their dogs or on the bus or having their lunch somewhere where you're not supposed to bring your own food?'

It's given me a chance to think about some of the, well, quite frankly unbelievable stuff that's happened to me over the past *cough* too many *cough* years. You've had tales of personal injury, idiocy, idolatry, isolationism, irradiation, irony, ineptness, infringement of animal rights and eyes (See what I did there?) and I hope you've enjoyed them.

But I have to apologise, I can't think of a single, solitary funny thing to write about today. Mind you, I think you've done well, you've had something pretty much every day for the past three months, barring work commitments and Janet Street-Porter.

I'm sure normal service will be resumed tomorrow - In fact, I'll probably think of something the second I publish this, kind of like a humourous l'esprit de l'escalier (a French phrase that means thinking of a witty comeback just too late - Literally 'Staircase Wit' - Isn't this Blog a wonderful learning experience? - I should work for the DfE - I wouldn't have shut all the local schools because of the snow so quickly I can tell you!)

In fact, thinking about it, foreign languages have a lot of words that we don't have direct translations for, for instance:

The German words Kummerspeck, which means the excess weight you put on when you're depressed (Grief fat), and Waldeinsamkeit, the feeling you get when you're alone in the woods.

The Japanese use the words Bakku-shan to describe a young lady who is very attractive, but only when viewed from behind, and Arigata-meiwaku, which is when you are forced to feel thankful for someone who has done you what they think is a favour, even though you really didn't want them to, but they did it anyway and then screwed it up and caused you more trouble.

Anywho, there are a bucketload more of these floating around the Interweb, have a search for them - Maybe you could use the time that you would normally spend reading this Blog.

See you tomorrow, hopefully I'll have thought of something by then.

Monday, 21 January 2013

And David Attenborough was no-where to be seen

As promised on Friday, today I will regale you with the story of the day when I trod on a penguin.

It started like any one of a thousand other Saturday evenings, the kids had gone to bed, there was a half-decent film about to start on Sky Premiere (other broadcasters are available), dinner had been successfully eaten and all was right with the world. Apart that is, from one glaring omission...

The whiskey, and its partner in crime, the slightly oversized glass, were still in the kitchen - a whole floor away, rather than being on the table next to the sofa - within lunging distance. I stretched out my hand and concentrated reeeeaaaaly hard... But unlike Luke, in the Wampa cave, with the lightsaber, it didn't spring into my outstretched paw. I asked Mrs Dandy if she was thinking of going down to the kitchen for anything in the near future, but the withering look she gave me told me that I was actually going to have to get up and service myself.

So I struggled to my feet, trudged the length of the lounge and started downstairs - The thought of impending alcohol the only thing keeping me going. It was this momentary lapse of concentration and premature ribaldry that led to my, quite literal, impending downfall.

We've all trodden on things going down the stairs haven't we? Especially those of us lucky enough to be blessed with children. But how many of us can say that we've trodden on things that are roundish, possesed of small, almost fur-like injection moulded feathers, usually found in the antarctic and of a piscavorian persuasion? Contrary to millions of years of evolution, the penguin (for it was he - But I was unaware of this fact at the time) flew across the stairwell, bounced off the clock and disappeared into a boot that I wear very infrequently.

I however, performed an almost perfect vertical triple salchow and finished with an impressive three point landing, the points being the heels of both hands and my left buttock - The assembled audience of the downstairs bookcase, my cashmere crombie and my amusingly ironic cowboy hat all gave me 6.0 for execution, but minus several million for good thinking*.

I proceded to slide down the remaining stairs in the style of a dimensionally blessed Homer Simpson, complete with the '*bang* Ah... *bang* Uh... *bang* Sunnova... *bang* d'oh...' soundtrack, belting my wrists and behind on every single step. When I came to rest, in a heap, at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed that my left forearm looked a bit 'funny' and was flopping about to the point where, apart from the excruciating pain, I could have quite easily done the David Brent, floppy arm-y dance without relying on the optical illusion.

I cradled the offending limb, in much the same way as my Father did the frozen pigeon and let out a distress call to alert Mrs Dandy that her assistance was required. She came to the top of the stairs and peered into the gloom.

'Are you OK?' she asked, 'Only, I heard a noise'

'I'm fine,' I replied, calmly, 'I could do with a hand in the kitchen if you've got a second.'

'The film's due to start, shall I pause it?'

'Yes, that'd be for the best, it might take a few minutes.'

I stood up, gingerly, and walked to the kitchen, opening the door with my good shoulder, I turned to Mrs Dandy and said,

'I need you to hold something for me and not let go.'

'Oh, really?' She replied, smiling, grasping the wrong end of the stick entirely.

'No, not that, this.'

I proffered the limb in question. which took this opprtunity to flop alarmingly in the wrong direction. Mrs Dandy's visage took on an ashen colour and she backed away.

'Erm... nope,' she squeaked, quite sensibly, 'Go to the hospital.'

'Casualty? On a Saturday night? With my reputation?', I quipped, trying desperately to make her feel more comfortable, 'Look, all you have to do is hold on, it's a really simple dislocation, as it swings, I can feel it wanting to go back in.'

On the whole, this didn't have quite the calming effect that I'd initially thought, and Mrs Dandy's complexion went from grey to white.

'OK, really, just grab my wrist, I'll try and pull it out of your hand, but don't let go - It'll pop back in, then we can go and watch the film.'

'Erm... I don't know.' She said, reaching for my wrist.

I contemplated yelling out as she touched it, but thought better of it. She took hold, braced herself against a cupboard, and closed her eyes, pushing aside the obvious similarities to our wedding night, I gritted my teeth and yanked my left arm back. Apart from a few stars appearing behind my eyelids, and having to resist the urge to invent a couple of new expletives, nothing happened. It seemed that Mrs Dandy hadn't been quite prepared for the violence on the movement involved. My arm waved around at my side like a particularly boneless octopus.

'Shall we give that another go?'

'No, just go to the hospital...'

'Look, really, it will only take a second, you just really need to hold on.'

So, my wrist was dutifully grabbed, the slack was taken up, nods of implied readiness were exchanged and I threw myself backwards. This time Mrs Dandy was ready, she kept hold of my wrist, my humerus and ulna seperated and reloacted with a loud *schlock* and I swore, loudly and earthily.

'I'm just going to have a bit of a sit-down,' I said as I slid to the floor, quite dizzily.

The rest of the evening passed without incident, the occasional twinge perhaps, but nothing more than that. The bruising came out nicely and the story joined the ranks of those that get told when anyone mentions falling down the stairs, whisky, dislocations, stairs, McDonalds, hats, trees, carpet or the number 43 bus (i.e. any time I can shoe-horn it in)

In actual fact, nothing was really mentioned about it until a couple of weeks later when I decided to wear a particular pair of boots. Giving rise to a phrase that I have only uttered once, but may well have printed on a T-Shirt one day;

'Why is there a penguin in my New Rocks?'


*(c) Douglas Adams 1978

Friday, 18 January 2013

It was like the Somme!

Well, here we all are, sat in anticipation of a 'Snow Day' - News reports warning of a massive 6" of snow being expected in 'some areas' during today.

Schools are closed, motorways are empty, people are panic-buying bread, beer and lubricant in case they get snowed in. I know that I for one will be spending the day staring out of the window watching students at the University over the road falling comically on their self-important backsides.

While we're on the subject of self important backsides...

A long-time friend of mine once shared my Blog on Twitter/Facebook with the words...

'Do you ever feel like you're a massive walking disaster*? Well spare a through for The Chimping Dandy, who really is.'

And in a way, he's right - I do have a fair collection of stories that involve gross physical harm taking place on or about my person. Many involve motorcycles, some, such as today's, involve a lack of care or attention, fewer still involve paint, but they're all true and up to a point, educational - I do idiotic stuff to myself so that you don't have to.

P.S. Sorry there wasn't a Blog yesterday, I was in London, trying not to get mown down by Janet Street-Porter


I'm a bit of a rambler, in most senses of the word, obviously, you all know that I could quite happily drive an echidna to suicide with my opinionated diatribe about the true meaning of Ridley Scott's Bladerunner, but in this case I'm talking about wandering about, in the Great British countryside, with a packed lunch and a flask of weak lemon drink. It doesn't take much to convince me that I need fresh air and I am more than happy to drag my progeny with me (Mrs Dandy never requires much convincing, of anything really, she what we used to refer to, in the Olden Days as 'a game old bird').

This particular day we had decided that it would be a great idea to walk the three or so miles to a nice country pub, have a spot of lunch, maybe sample the steeped fruit of the hop and get the charabanc home. So far, so; start of the Enid Blyton book entitled 'Five get drunk and upset some cows'. As has been recounted previously, we used to live a lark's belch from the 'Cundry' so I loaded the Micro-Dandy into his papoose, hefted him onto my back, gathered the clan and we set off.

We'd just left civilisation and started trudging across farmland when the terrain got a bit lumpy, then it became bumpy, and after a while we had to invent a new word, so we chose 'Rabbity', as in -

'I say Muriel, look at all the bally holes in this meadow,'

'Yes Tarquin, it's distinctly Rabbity'

So, we wandered on, through hedges and ditches, honouring the country code at every turn, right up until the point where I put my foot down a rabbit hole. I started to fall backwards, but realised that I had a small person, effectively in my rucksack, so I turned right to try and land on my side. Well, I say I turned, most of me turned, about 97% I think.

My right foot took the unilateral decision to stay pointing in the same direction. It didn't 'really' hurt when I hit the ground - I mean, it hurt, don't get me wrong, and there was definately a wet *crunch* as it happened, but it was more of an 'Oww! you Bugger' than a 'Quick! call the Air Ambulance'. With some assistance, the papoose was removed and the Micro-Dandy checked for ouchies and boo-boos, of which there were, luckily, none.

We continued the walk, at a slightly reduced pace, and finally made our way back to civilisation. The discomfort in my ankle was increasing slowly (I was wearing proper, supportive, walking boots though, which helped) and decided that maybe, it would be for the best, if we cut the walk short and just went home.

Walking home (as it was a Sunday and the buses were once every nine hours) did my minor injury no real favours and I spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the sofa feeling a mixture of nausea and self-pity. Every moan was answered with:

'If it hurts so much, go to the hospital.' Louder and louder, with more and more exasperation behind it every time.

I finally thought that the only thing that could take my mind off the pain away would be a catering pack of Cadburys' Minstrels. Obviously, I was much too weak to make it the three yards to the kitchen, so Mrs Dandy was dispatched on the provender run. She gave me (threw) the chocolates with more force than was strictly neccessary, and I ate them, one after another until the oversize bag was empty.

Eventually, it was time for bed, and Mrs Dandy went to the door, opened it, turned on the stairs light and said,

'Are you coming?'

'I don't think I can get up,'

After a series of exasperated sighs, she came back and helped me up - I was really quite uncomfortable at this point, and she helped me up the stairs. About halfway up, I fell to my knees, suddenly feeling dizzy.

'Come on,' Said Mrs Dandy, 'You're nearly there.'

And she was right, in a way - With a noise that has since been likened to a herring giving birth to a rhinocerous, I threw up the entire packet of Minstrels, my breakfast, and a selection of things that, to this day, I don't remember eating. This all managed to just miss my Dear Wife, but did mean we had to redecorate the stairs. Her reaction to this was priceless, she said;

'Oh my God. I'm so sorry - I didn't think you were really in pain, I thought you were putting it on!'

I leave you with a picture of the offending injury, the day after, when the swelling had gone down somewhat.

And will say that Monday's blog will be about the time I trod on a penguin (there may be photos again).


*For some reason, whenever I re-read that, I usually replace the W, A and L with F, U and C...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Barnaby Wilde (Pt. 2)

First, an apology

Well, yesterday's Blog was a bit of a bust wasn't it? Certainly not one of my best - But hey, if they were all brilliant, you wouldn't be able to recognise the real gems.

For those of you new to the Blog, the top five pages (as chosen by you, the readers) are:

Thermodynamics, it's the law! - My pigeon shattering Father.

Barnaby Wilde (Pt. 1) - Stories of three-wheeled motorcycle mayhem.

Second contact closing fast, bearing 076 - When I upset almost everyone on the M40 at once.

Boobs, Melons and Jumper-Lumps - About shopping at Asda, not about breasts (Well, not a lot anyway).

An eye for an eye - Where my Mother tries to scar me for life, and probably succeeds.

You might want to give them a look if you missed them... Hell, read 'em all, there's only fifty or so posts, you'll be done by tea-time.


So, onto today's gibberings. As you probably figured out by the title (because you're all fabulously intelligent and tremendously physically attractive in your own, special ways) - This group of badly chosen words are yet more tales about three-wheeled motorcycles and the idiot that rides them... i.e. Me.

Remember the Reliant trike that tried to electrocute me into a premature Bisto* in part 1? Well, both of today's stories are about that very machine.

The young lady who owned the vehicle in question, once worked at (and then owned I think) a trailer manufacturing business, their workshops were based in an old yard, about fifty yards long with about a 15 degree slope from the sheds, past the office, to the road. I used to help out there occasionally, wiring things up and making trailer covers etc to earn a bit of beer money (Which was all reported to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs of course). On this particular day, clocking off time came around and I decided to be efficient and move the trike from the yard next door and park it outside the office.

I won't go into all the dicking about with opening huge wooden gates and getting out onto the main road, then shutting and locking gates - But it took a good ten minutes to get the trike into the main yard. I then thought that I'd turn her around so that she was facing the right way for a quick getaway. The yard was shaped like a backwards 'P', with a wider area at the top where you could just about turn a car around, so I rode up the slope, slowly turned around and started to head back down.

I had to stop halfway, as a customer had pulled into the yard and left his car outside the office, exactly where I was going to park. So I did what you would normally do on a bike, I knocked it into neutral, held it on the front brake, and put both my feet down (Remember that last bit, it's important) assuming that he wouldn't be very long, as it was closing time.

I was right, less than a minute later, he came out of the office, saw me, gave that embarrased grin and wave so beloved of people who've realised they parked like an idiot, and reversed out of the yard. I put the trike in gear, released the front brake and lifted my feet about an inch off the ground. They floated backwards slightly, as they sometimes do before you get 'em back on the footpegs. Unfortunately, my left foot hit the rear, left hand wheel and got dragged under - there was a loud and interesting crunchy-snappy noise.

So, if you'd just like to take a deep breath and let me describe the scene. I'm sat, almost upright on the trike, with my left foot, upside down, under the wheel - I was wearing para-boots (which probably stopped me having to have a shiney new foot fitted) and shouting for help. Luckily, there were no other bikers in the immediate area, so no-one was too busy laughing to respond. Long story short, the trike was moved off my foot and I was helped off and layed on the ground, my foot kind of 'sprung' back into place - which hurt probably about as much as when it had first snapped and caused one of the assembled workers to comment 'For a big bloke, 'e screams like a girl dunt 'e?'

One small X-Ray later the doctor comfirmed that I hadn't actually broken my ankle, what had happened was that it had completely dislocated, but one of my tendons had refused to snap and had pulled a 'plug' of bone out of the top of my foot. Once the ankle bones had been re-located, they had to 'manipulate' that plug back in before they could put it in a cast.

And yes, that bloody hurt too - But this time they gave me something to bite on, so I couldn't scream like a girl.


And finally (Cyril) a story about not concentrating and how pure, dumb, luck has been a major contributor to me continuing to breathe.

I used to work in Nuneaton, at the head office of large childrens' clothing store. Every morning I would ride through all the little villages between Derby and there, past Twycross Zoo, past Bosworth Battlefield, past all the little birdies cheeping happily in the trees. It was great, a wonderful ride - You should try it.

Just as I entered Nuneaton, I'd pull up at a garage just before the town centre and take off my helmet and replace it with a pair of wraparound shades. What with being a rufty-tufty biker and needing to look cooler than a polar bear's podules and everything.

Anyone who knows Nuneaton and has come in from the A5 side will know that there's a twiddly-bit where you need to turn left in the right-hand lane, then turn right, almost back on yourself and then go over the railway bridge (Well, there was about fifteen years ago, it's probably got a flyover or a Tesco's Knackers Yard there now.) Just after all this jiggery-pokery there was a little road on the left that took you past the sixth-form college... (what? There's nothing wrong with riding past a sixth-form college on your way to work every morning).

On this particular morning, I decided not to stop at the garage, but to carry on wearing my lid as I went to work. I did the twiddly bits and then turned left down the lane - Although, that makes it sound easier than it actually was, the road dropped away to the left and it was a fairly tight bend, especially if you're going slightly faster than is recommended for the prevailing road conditions. So, I suddenly found myself on two wheels, unfortunately, one of them was the front one.

I sped down the road, under minimal control if I'm being honest, until i clipped a car and took a small, unplanned excursion over the handlebars. I ended up in the front garden belonging to the guy whose car I'd hit, up against the wall, with my face on the ground and my legs in the air.

The guy came out and asked me if I was alright, and we made arrangements for me to sort out the damage to his car. Then I went to check the damage to the trike, it was about as beat up as you'd expect, but the oddest thing was the handlebars, it seems that I was so reluctant to let go, that I'd bent them virtually double as I'd gone over the top.

Seems I didn't know my own strength.

* Premature Bisto - Early Grave-y

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Opinionated isn't even a word

We've covered bigotry in most of its forms before, in my second ever Blog entry in fact (See November 2012's post - I'm a Bigot, You're a Bigot, We're ALL Bigots). But there's one type that I left out. If I were trying to sound clever, I'd say 'I left it out on purpose so that I could cover it now, when I had a bigger fanbase,' but actually - I've only just thought about it.

It's not a recent invention, people have suffered this particular ailment for at least the past hundred years, if not more.

I'm talking about the bigotry that masquerades as 'Brand Loyalty', this is most prevalent in whatever the current emergent technology market is of course - In recent times for example hordes of fan-bois throw insults at each other about their choice of mobile phone operating system -

Android being for the Geeks,

IOS is for the hipsters,

BlackBerry is for the pay-as-you go Jeremy Kyle watchers,

Windows Mobile is for the hard of thinking.

I mean it can get pretty brutal at times, well, as brutal as people who fixate on electronics and their firmware can get, I mean - You might get a Chinese burn from one of them maybe, if they'd known you for a long time, and as long as your Dad wasn't bigger than their Dad. No-one's going to stab you for having an iPhone, well actually, there is a chance that you might get stabbed if you have an iPhone - But it won't be because of your choice of operating system, it's more likely that the stabbist will be chemically imbalaced and he'd like to sell your phone to his mate, Honest Brian (Unlock any phone for a fiver - No questions asked, Very clean Sister, you like her?), down the market, for £15.

Psychologists, or at least people who are currently doing the first year of their Sociology Degree will say that this is all to do with the Homo-Sapien tribal urge, strength in numbers, social stratification etc. And will point you at the collected works of Max Horkheimer (Mainly to get rid of you for a while, as his stuff's a bit off the wall).

I say that it's a lot more simple than that, and that most first year Sociology students are only doing that subject because Media Studies or Sports Marketing was over-subscribed. I reckon it's because everyone thinks that their own, personal opinion is worth about a bajillion times more than anyone else's. I don't mean their professional opinion, I wouldn't take my car to the garage and ask the opinion of the oily chap who'd been fixing cars for the past twenty years, wait for him to look it over for an hour and when he says,

'Your head gasket's gone, it needs replacing,'

Reply, 'No, I think you'll find that the oil and water in the engine have had a bit of a chat and decided to co-exist in a shared living space, embracing their cultural differences and going halves on the shopping.'

I mean that'd be nuts, people are called professionals because they do something as a profession, they get paid for it - The clue's in the name.

But your Brand Loyalist only has a personal opinion, it's subjective and often completely wrong - But that doesn't mean that he (because it's invariably a man) won't defend this opinion up until the point where he foams at the mouth, jumps up and down, grabs hold of his feet and tears himself asunder, leaving only a smoking beanie-hat with a post-it note on it that says 'HTC's are the best phone to buy because I've got one.'

I'm exactly the same, not with phones as such, because I've got an ancient 'Candy-bar' phone that does me just fine when I remember to charge it. I have a work-provided BlackBerry that mostly gets used for playing Texas Hold'em during my 'alone time' at work and an iPad, also work-provided that I use to... erm... well, get my email when I'm not at work.

It's the iPad that causes me the problems, the only reason that every single person in the free world doesn't have one is because they're guinea pig meltingly expensive. Mine was free, and therefore has become (In My Humble Opinion) the single greatest piece of tech the world has ever seen - It has bad points, don't get me wrong, but I don't talk about them, so for all intents and purposes they don't exist. The interface is a bit clunky, even hit and miss sometimes, but that's because I've got old, fat fingers, not because it's a thrown together triumph of form over function. It's sleek, blank visage evokes mystery and familiarity at the same time, it's not just a magnified iPhone at all (You can tell by the way that the iPhone charger fits into it, but it won't charge it very well - that's a feature to remind you how different it is, and how different YOU are for owning one).

The first thing I think when I see people with a tablet that isn't an iPad is:

'Oh, poor you, couldn't you afford a real one?'

Which is odd, because the first thing I think when I see someone with an iPhone is:

'Dude, you seriously have more money than sense, they're not even that good, functionality wise, compared to other SmartPhones'

And I will react in exactly the same way, right up until I get my new iPhone when work replaces my BlackBerry.

Monday, 14 January 2013

And then, I shot myself

OK, here we go... I have yet again had the subject of today's Blog chosen for me. This time by my dear daughter, who told everyone on her Blog that I had once shot myself - And said that I would probably tell you all about it, as you seem to enjoy stories of my misfortunes.

Firstly, I'd like to take a few moments to look at the whole 'accidentally shooting yourself' issue.

Weaponry is a lot more widespread and more easily available over the pond, and as a large proportion (over 25%) of the visitors to this site hail from the Grande Olde US of A, I am expecting all kinds of safety advice is going through their heads right about now, and they're just itching to post it. I'll save some of them the trouble:

  1. Never play with a loaded weapon.
  2. Always make sure the weapon is unable to fire if you're cleaning it.
  3. Never point a weapon at yourself, loaded or not (You wouldn't believe the flak I got for my choice of Facebook Timeline image - Especially when they found out it was The Mini Dandy's hand, and the gun was actually pointed at my head - And when they saw that the safety was off... Well, it took them weeks to wind down)
  4. Never point a weapon at anything that you don't want to make go away. (And by 'Go Away' I mean, to shuffle off this mortal coil and join the choir invisibule)

People shoot themselves a lot more than you think, there's no end of stories of people shooting themselves in the foot, and losing fingers or being hit in the ass by a ricochet *cough* Mrs Dandy *cough* but you don't get many stories that pan out the way that mine did.

I'm hoping that this paticular story will act as a cautionary tale, but I'm also pretty sure it will make you laugh - I mean, who doesn't like to see over-confident idiots getting it really, really wrong and hurting themselves quite badly?

I know I do.

So, just sit back, relax, turn your schadenfreude dial up to eleven, and listen to the tale of:

The Day The Chimping Dandy shot himself.

It was only a few weeks after the events of Friday's Blog, still summer, still hot, still lazing around the house drinking beer and being irresponsible. These were the times that I refer to, in conversation, as 'The Good Old Days'. SMick and myself were sat, as was our custom at the time, in the front garden of my house enjoying the sunshine. We were drinking beer and thinking of things to do that were a) possible and b) within our somewhat limited budget. The list wasn't particularly extensive if I'm honest and it often contained the words beer, sun, nothing and more beer. And we were in grave danger of spiralling into another day, which whilst not exactly wasted, certainly wasn't turning out to be particularly productive.

Suddenly, the day took a turn for the... ah... well, not exactly better... More sort of... erm... odder, as Gullible Steve pulled up, got out of his car and asked us what we were up to. Steve's presence seemed to act as a catalyst and I decided, that rather than just lying in the sun all day, I'd do a bit of target practice.

Now, I wasn't drunk, as such... I mean I'd never, well not very often at least, I'd say it would be quite unlikely that I'd choose to handle a weapon of any kind whilst drunk - I'd at least think about it for a second or to before doing it anyway... Probably.

So, I suddenly found myself lying in front of my open garage door, on the bonnet of (somebody's) car, with my head on the windscreen, taking aim at the door into the house from the garage (which was a firedoor - I'd assumed that it was in some way 'toughened'). The first shot flew between my outstretched feet and took a decent sized chunk out of the back of the door - The noise was considerably louder than I thought it would be, the garage walls acting as an amplifier, to the point where I thought it might attract the attention of the neighbours. I decided that I'd take one more shot and then call it a day, before the Five-oh turned up.

I looked down the sight, lined up the centre of the door and sent the signal to my fingers to fire. Now, a number of things happened at the same time:

SMick shouted 'Steve!'

Steve, who had wandered into the garage to look at the damage I'd done to the door, moved into my field of view and started to bend down and pick up the chunk of wood that had detached itself.

I pulled my arm up and to the right to try and not shoot Steve in the head.

I fired.

Luckily, the shot went wide, but I still only missed Steve's head by about three inches. It took a fair chunk out of the brickwork around the doorframe and came straight back at me.

It hit me in the left forearm, and it bloody hurt - I've still got the scar, it's about three inches long and pretty feint, you have to bear in mind this was twenty-five years ago. Another thing to bear in mind was that my left arm was tight up against my chest, due to me lying on the bonnet of the car, so if I'd got hit four inches to the right, you wouldn't be reading this...

And then there's the other thing... Most of you reading this will have assumed that I was firing some sort of gun, possibly the .50AE in my timeline picture - This is not, however the case. I was using a 5' Flatbow and I had three feet of wood sticking out of my arm, Oh, yes, and I was holding the bow with my feet.

The arrow was removed in the traditional style, i.e. with uproarious laughter from everyone but Steve. And bandages were amateurishly applied.

Steve stayed frozen to the spot, bent almost double, for a good few minutes, and the garage floor stood silent testament to the fact that he'd been really, really scared.

So, now you know, you have a new story to tell your friends in the pub - about a guy who shot himself - With a bow and arrow (That he'd been holding with his feet).

(Feel free to pass any of the Blog stories on - If you think to credit me then that's be great, even if it's just 'There's this weird guy on the Internet called the Chunking Monkey or something and he did this really stupid thing')

Friday, 11 January 2013

But will it fly SMick?

Firstly can I congratulate my Daughter on starting her own Blog - Gods bless it and all who sail in it. Hopefully it will give you a somewhat skewed teenagers eye view of the Dandy Universe.

Important word of caution, whilst I am usually a good natured, happy go lucky kinda guy with an infinite amount of patience and startlingly good cheekbones, any sniff of abuse or unwarranted* unkindness towards her and I will, most definately, reach down the perpetrator's epiglottis and show them things that would normally only be available via x-ray.


Right, onto the job in hand.

We've all heard stories about people who've found wonderful things in the most unlikely of places. Antiques Roadshow is full of people who have found original Picasso sketches in their Aunt Mabel's loft or there are those despicable people who find an original, fully working, 1920's Brough Superior in a neighbour's garage which they buy for a fiver as 'It was our Derek's and he never used it, even when he was still alive'.

So, imagine my excitement, when everyone's favourite Chilli cook and professional Scotsman, my good friend SMick, arrived at my front door with news of a 'vehicle' that he'd found out about, just lying in the mud in a farmer's field just around the corner. It was, quite literally, just around the corner, as in those days you could spit the distance from my house to the wonderful British countryside - You had to check no-one was in the way of course, things like that didn't go down well with the residents' association, but a well-hawked loogey would land on grass, or in a tree, or on a sheep.

So, dutifully, I clamboured into his Peugeot and drove the 100 yards to the farm. I walked around to the outbuildings, through knee deep mud, in my white Status Quo style white hi-tops (It was around this time that I changed my footwear of choice to second-hand army boots) and said to SMick.

'OK, where is it?'

'There,' pointed SMick, proudly

'Where, is it behind that scabby P.O.S. Mk1 Transit Luton?'

The slow grin that swept across SMick's face told me all I really needed to know.

'You've got to be.. erm... flipping joking, I'll be in the car...' I said, and started to squidge away as fast as I could.

He convinced me that it would be a good idea, a nice little project, something to do during the day when the pubs were shut. And if we couldn't get it going, then the box on the back was aluminium (Not Al-OO-min-um) and we could weigh it in and get some money out of it.

I honestly cannot remember how we got it out of the field, I think I blocked it from my memory the same way that victims of alien abduction do, I'm fairly sure it involved lots of sheets of wood, many, many bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale and an almost Olympic quantity of swearing.

Eventually, it found itself on my drive. It didn't actually look all that bad with a large proportion of the mud washed off. It also turned out to have a V6 engine which was a bonus, which on it's own started a selection of trike/go-kart fantasies. After the battery was left on charge for about six weeks, the engine would succesfully turn over but not 'catch', dutifully we did what any men confronted with a failing engine would do, we stood staring at the engine and scratched our heads.

'I think the carb needs priming,' SMick suggested, sagely.

'Right you are, how do we do that?' I replied - I wasn't then the mechanical whiz that I'm still not now.

'Well, we just take the air filter off, put something flammable down the carbs and see if it will start then.'

'Flammable?' I asked, nervously, not quite liking where this was going, 'Like what?'

'Like... petrol!'

'Like petrol, or actually petrol?'

'Actually petrol, we've got petrol, and it's what you'd expect to find in the carb anyway, should be fine.'

I bowed to his greater knowledge and we poured, what turned out to be significantly too much, petrol into the top of the carburetor and turned the engine over.

Now, I've never seen a real giant lightsaber, but I can imagine it looking something like what came out of the top of the carb - a nine foot high column of flame and noise which existed just long enough to drive my eardrums into my rectum and blow my eyebrows over to the other side of the road - It's a good job, in hindsight that we'd taken the bonnet off else it would have bounced off it and cut a neat porthole in the garage door.

'I think we might scrap it,' Said Smick, batting at his still smouldering sweatshirt.

'What?' I shoulted as I was still mostly deaf and over the other side of the road looking for my left eyebrow.

Over the next few weeks we set about stripping down the van to its component parts. Many interesting and fun times were had during the project.

Do you remember when I talked about our friend 'Gullible' Steve? The gentleman who ate of the baby-carrot and rottweiler chilli? Well, a couple of incidents involved him:

1) He was stumbling about in the back of the van, seeing if there was anything of any worth amongst the rotting hay and mud. When there was a cry, a protracted coughing fit, a torrent of expletives directed at myself, SMick, life in general and birds in particular. I turned to SMick, who was sat next to me in a deck-chair and said,

'Didn't think to tell him about the nest full of rotten blackbird eggs we found yesterday then?'

'Nope,' replied SMick, taking another gulp of his beer. 'But I did put it right near the side door so we wouldnea forget to throw it in the bin.'

2) The roof of the Luton box was made of fibreglass, which is not as weigh-innable as aluminium sheet, so we asked Steve to have a go at taking it off. We assumed (Which taught me that you should never assume) that he would get a ladder, and maybe a saw and cut the roof off. But no, he clamboured up onto the roof with an axe and a hammer.

'Is that a good idea?' I asked SMick, knowing full well that it wasn't

'Idea? No... Opportunity to laugh? Yes.' He replied, reaching down into the crate for another beer.

It took him a good fifteen minutes to fall the eight feet or so into the back of the van as he smashed the roof our from under himself. Thinking about it now, we really should have thrown that blackbird nest in the bin.

I didn't remain completely unscathed through the project, I had countless fibreglass splinters pulled out of my arms with pliers, cuts, bruises and boo-boos of various kinds.

And I understand that SMick still bears the scar of his particular mishap. We had got to the stage of trying to flatten the aluminium enough to get it in the back of the car and take it to the scrapyard and SMick was belting away with a lump hammer at a piece of metal that he was stood on.

Well, he missed... And hit his shin... He went completely silent, looked at the group of grubby schoolchildren that were hanging around watching us, looked at me, said, very quietly,

'Excuse me.'

And went inside the house.

The flow of profanity lasted a good half an hour and featured words that I didn't think could be used in that particular context. It left seven local dogs paralysed down one side and a further three pregnant. He'll show you the scar now if you ask him nicely, it's quite impressive.

I'll never forget that summer - And neither will the person whose drive we dumped the burning remains of the van on.

Anywho, I've been informed that my Daughter has mentioned about the time I shot myself, maybe I'll tell you about that on Monday. Have a good weekend, and if you see me around, feel free to buy me a pint - I think I deserve it, I've had a hard life!

*There are times when my Daughter's Blog will warrant abuse, feel free to fill your boots in situations such as these.