Friday, April 30, 2004

I'm lucky - my bike ride to work is mostly through fields and forests. The blue-bells are out in force at the moment and look wonderful.

I saw a young deer yesterday morning, running along the road. I suspect that the sight of me alarmed it somewhere as it skittered along in front of my bike (I wear a lot of high-visibility gear and have been compared unfavourably to a grapefruit on a cocktail stick when pedalling my bike.)

"Shoo" I said "Get back into the woods, you might get hurt"

On the way back last night I saw a young deer dead in a ditch by the side of the road.

I cried.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Heavens! I've actually been working rather than writing my journal, and because my little room lacks any sort of internet access (yes, I do feel like someone's cut off my left arm) today's will be brief.

For those who haven't seen it:

I feel a great empathy for this chap.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

In a couple of weekends, I shall be taking first-born to visit her Grandmother in a place called Newark. This is to re-assure my Grandmother that she will still see her great-granddaughter even after all that has happened.


Newark is an anagram of the word Wanker.

Ever since I was a small child, I've found this hysterically funny. Particularly since all the residents of the region are intensely proud of where they live.

Does this make me shallow? Probably. Do I care? Nope.
This is terrible.

My mood is now almost entirely governed by something so tedious as an item of property.

You see, I'm trying to buy myself an apartment (we Brits don't like renting; we like to buy and saddle ourselves with an enormous pile of debt that we generally pay off just before we die. Go figure.)

Its obviously too expensive with too many toys. So the purchase falling through would be for the best.

However, when it looks like its going to fall through I sink into a mood blacker than normal, and when its all going well I'm like a ray of sunshine.

(cue Monty Python: "Your majesty is like a stream of bat's urine, a shaft of golden light when all around is dark")

I hate having my mood decided by this sort of thing, and hate myself for allowing it to be. Its all so materialistic.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Actually, there was a bit of news. First-born stayed over last night. It was great; you see, one thing I always did was 'the bedtime routine' which entailed marching the child upstairs, creating absurd shapes with crazy soap in the bath and putting said child to bed. I'd then spend half an hour reading a story (replete with a variety of Pythonesque voices - first-born happened by when I was watching Life Of Brian and pointed at Terry Jones in drag saying "He sounds like you!" Thankfully, the comparison was only aural.)

I really miss doing that. I wander about my Dad's house like a lost soul from 7:30 in the evening for an hour or so since its been 7 years since I've regularly had that time free. Wierd.

So now I spend the time learning to make cocktails.

But last night, first-born was round, so we had a selection of A A Milne short poems (we like this one best at the moment) followed by Horrid Henry's Underpants. Don't ask.

Happiness was Newly shaped.
Its a slow news day today, so a little more about the man who prefers going off-course with his bicycle to intercourse with a consenting adult.

I generally cycle to work most days - its a 25 mile round trip and helps to clear the cobwebs of last night's debauchery from my remaining brain cells on the way in, and work off general anger and annoyance on the way back. This obviously means I make use of the showers thoughtfully provided by the company. These showers are neat little private cubicles with a private changing area attached. Good for the more modest among us.

However, sometimes in the summer, when the fair-weather cyclists come out, there can be a bit of queue.

So there I am in the shower, singing tunelessly. I turn around to reach for the towel and there he is! Standing behind the glass door stark bollock naked. Hands on hips and feet set a metre apart. He's obviously decided to wait inside the cubicle rather than out.

"Are you finished yet?" he bellows in a voice not unlike Brian Blessed (go see that Flash Gordon movie again - you'll get the idea)

I manage to squeak "Almost". You see, even through the shampoo I can see the chap is, er, a bit excited. "Please let it be a trick of the light" I mutter to myself and, focussing on the back wall of the cubicle where my clothes and safety reside, attempt to squeeze past.

I suppose, on reflection, there was an opportunity for promotion there, but there are some things a person should not have inflicted upon them at 6:30 in the morning. I suspect the female readers of this journal are currently nodding sagely.


Monday, April 26, 2004

An exciting day today.

This evening, first-born is staying with me (rather than me bedding down in the House Of Increasing Oddness.) The ex is making noises along the lines of "She's got a bit of cold, might be too ill, etc, etc". So I'll be bringing my trusty cricket bat in the event that a point needs to be made.

There are also only 80 days left until first-born and I take a vastly overpriced holiday in Disney.

Such things are the thoughts that keep me going.

That, and my attempts to make the perfect layered Zombie. The drink, not the hideously undead creature.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

"A new bicycle is better than sex"

This is a quote from one of the senior managers where I work. It does, I think, undermine any claim the guy has to competence.

However, it must be said, taking a brand spanking new bike out for a short run is very satisfying. No rattles, squeaks or worrying clonks from anywhere. No heart-stopping jumping out of gear (often resulting in one's voice going up by a few octaves.)

Marvellous. But better than sex? Deary, deary me.

So, onto last night. It was a very good evening. Drinks were drunk, food was eaten (and eventually flung around) and women were admired. Yes, I'm certainly reverting to my early 20s.

Cocktail of the evening: Long Island Iced Tea.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

There is something uniquely British about how we take an American concept and then totally screw it up (a bit like when American TV takes a British show and then 'sanitises' it)

Take fast food.

In my (admittedly limited) experience in the US, you can walk into a fast food place, put your conscience in a bucket at the door, order a burger, and be lining your arteries with fat in seconds.

In the UK we like this concept a lot. And yet we seem incapable of implementing it. Today I ordered a chicken fillet thing in a bun with fries. It took 10 minutes for it to turn up. What were they doing in the kitchen? Raising the unfortunate from an egg and then chasing it around the room with cleaver?


More debauched behaviour tonight. Some friends and I are hitting the town again tonight, with the early hours of Sunday to be filled with cocktail related experimentation. Fireworks may also be involved.

Woo yay.
I've just done a really bad thing.

A really, really bad thing.

Some religious group just called around the house. Normally I'd politely ask them to go away and never darken my doorstep again.

But... I don't live here any more. So I suggested they come back tomorrow, when the Ex would be delighted to discuss faith, belief and other topics.

I only feel a little bit guilty. This must be progress.
No sign of the shelves. No sign of Talulah (as the power tool will henceforth be known) either.

I can only hope that sanity prevailed.

The show last night was just great. Really good. We failed to get tickets to the early show and so found ourselves in the midnight performance (also known as "The Nasty Show") Ricky Grover was in fine form along with the other acts (the names of whom escape me for the moment)

The excitement came on the journey back to the flat where I was crashing. If you've been to London, you'll know about Black Cabs. The drivers are licenced, have to take an exam called 'The Knowledge' before being permitted behind the wheel and have an uninformed opinion on pretty much anything. Private Eye do a disturbingly accurate spoof on Black Cab conversations.

Now, the problem with Black Cabs is (1) They're really, really expensive and (2) There is never one around when you need it.

Which opens up a market for unlicenced mini-cab drivers. Now, these chaps wander about the streets offering transportation to the inebriated and stoned. A rate is agreed, and you find yourself hurtling toward your destination in a battered Toyota driven by a chap of dubious legal status and limited vocabularly (at least as far as English is concerned)

The guy last night had clearly been playing far too many video games. Into his old white Honda we bundled, on went his stereo with something so loud it made my ears bleed and we were off. Red lights were run, stationary traffic was dodged and bowels were considerably weakened by the experience.

4 hours sleep, and here I am - back in The House Of Oddness minding first-born.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Today is Friday. This is my favourite day of the week. Work is winding down for the weekend. Tomorrow I get a day with first-born and tonight I'm going to be entertained by somebody who is professionally amusing rather than accidentally so.

Like The Boyfriend.

I had a strange telephone call last night from the ex. It went like this:

She: "Do you know where the chuck is?"

Me: "The what?"

She: "The chuck - the key for the drill"

Me: "Oh, right - its attached to drill itself. Stuck onto the power cable."

She: "Thanks..."

Me: (knowing that the ex has never wielded a power tool in her life) "Er, so, what sort of do-it-yourself are you planning?"

She: "Oh no, not me. xxx (The Boyfriend) is going to put up some shelves"

Me: (long silence) "Oh, ok then. I'll be round on Saturday for first-born"

Now, I'm not a vindictive person. Really, I'm not. But the thought of The Boyfriend drilling holes in the wall to mount shelves had me laughing out loud.

You see, the chap is partially sighted to the point of blindness. He has a white stick. And while this has not prevented him from being more successful at a professional level than most people I know, I really think a Bosch Hammer drill (or Deborah, as I like to call her) might be his undoing.

I shall report on the results tomorrow.

(I made up the bit about the drill's name. If I was to name it, then "Device That Smells Distressingly Of Burning Insulation" would be a more appropriate one. Or possibly "Talulah")

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Debauchery update:

I just tried the old coca-cola and space dust experiment where you fill your mouth with the confection and then add coke.

I can now exclusively confirm that the result is not unlike a strawberry volcano. A bit like an unholy combination of Willy Wonka and the Exorcist.

Now to find a cloth to wipe down the wall.
Around The House Of Oddness last night to check on first-born. Being 7 she was naturally dismissive and more interested in showing off her new school uniform and posh spectacles.

I did, however, find that someone had slipped a drawing into my coat pocket as I got into the car. It was called "xxxx and Dad in Euro-Disney" and contained shaky images not unlike those produced by Charles Schultz in his declining years. Aw shucks.

But I digress.

The ex was in the kitchen, looking like she'd put on about 30 pounds in the last month (The Boyfriend is partially sighted, so I guess he needs something to grab hold of to save fumbling about in the dark. Yuck.)

She: "What's wrong with you? You're looking very grumpy."

Me: "Well, I am homeless, my daughter is a snot monster and you have taken away my entire future. My only consolation is that, statistically speaking, you'll be dead before me"

Ok, I didn't actually say that. That particular conversation comes when the papers are signed, access rights are formalised and I have a handsome sum of money sitting in the bank, waiting to be spent on debauched trips to Prague.

Instead, I came out with the mantra: "I'm fine"

Off to the Comedy Store at Piccadilly with friends tomorrow. Hurrah for stand-up comedy! Hurrah!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Today is the April 21st. It was a month ago today that I discovered that I'd joined the massed ranks of the dumped.

Heck, we make a veritable army. Admittedly, one that spends much of its time sitting around, examining it's collective navel and whining.

So, what has been accomplished?

1) I've packed my life into 4 cardboard boxes
2) I have my own bank account
3) I've found an apartment I really, really like, but can't afford to buy
4) I've skimmed a stone over the fetid porridge that is the English legal system
5) I've drunk a lot of beer and too much tequila

I never knew such a thing existed - I mean, is 'too much tequila' actually possible? Or is it like Cold Fusion - something that researchers can only dream about discovering before waking up and reaching for the box of tissues.

A bad day yesterday. There was much tears and snot from first-born when I headed back to my little room last night. I think the whole situation is finally becoming real: "No, this isn't a business trip..."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

This post is rated 'R' for sickly sweetness. You have been warned.

Woke this morning in the House of Oddness and found a handmade card on the bedside table. It said:

"Dad, I missed you when you were away. Keep coming back!"


Monday, April 19, 2004

Welcome to the House Of Oddness.

I am back in the former marital home for one night only, while I baby-sit first-born. The ex and The Boyfriend are out for the night, and aren't due back until tomorrow.

It means I can do some more packing and get in some quality games of Connect-4 with first-born.

Thing is, the house is odd. Really, really odd. Different stuff is everywhere. It even smells different.

It is, as I said, Odd.
God, I love skiing.

I mean, this isn't a short term relationship based on beer and lust. No, I have a deep, meaningful love for skiing. In my newly acquired status of 'single', I can see a wonderful future ahead of us.

If only I was any good at it. Lets just say my nickname is "Captain Snowplough" owing to my somewhat agricultural method of getting from point A to point B on the slope.

Yesterday was on the indoor white stuff. I've not inflicted myself upon virgin mountain snow for a couple of years. In fact, the last time I did so I ended up suspended from a tree by a ski with my head pointed down a black run. A couple of Germans who had clearly popped out of the womb with planks of wood strapped to their feet almost died laughing as they sped by.

I comforted myself with the knowledge that Germany is the biggest marketplace for David Hasslehoff records. Any revenge of which I could have thought pales into insignificance against such a fact.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Surreal moment of today:

Walking through the town with first-born after the regular Saturday morning swimming session. A brass band made up of the local boy scouts are on the bandstand.

They're playing elements from Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene

With groaning trumpets, squeaking trombones, and somebody playing a seriously out-of-tune xylophone.

Surreal. Very surreal.

First-born, of course, loved it. Seeing a 7 year old attempting to dance to such a cachophony just added to the experience.

I'm going to have buy a video camera, aren't I?
Things are moving on apace.

Sort of.

I've pretty much moved out now, and The Boyfriend has moved in. Ok, I know that wasn't the original plan, but having to spend time in the house after he's started moving his gear in proved more than I could handle. It was the little things, like his toothbrush being in the bathroom.

So, I'm staying in a little room with 3 cardboard boxes, and an old holdall for company. The little room is kindly provided by my father and aunt (yes, you read that correctly) who are keeping me in beer and oranges (my two favourite things.)

Amicability is the name of the game. It may be odd right now for first-born, but it would be a heck of a lot odder if there were regular shouting matches.

The next step is for The Boyfriend to sell his house, give me the cash, and I then can purchase my apartment (replete with the tools needed for a life of debauchery) At present, an offer on the house has been made, which he's accepted. So we seem to be off.

I also (finally) heard from my lawyers - the cobweb-encrusted wheels of British justice seem to be turning. The petition appeared yesterday.

Oh such fun.

On a more positive note, I'm going to try my hand at rock-climbing (its payback for a friend who has suggested a night-out cavorting about the town on condition that I get to the top of The Wall. Whatever The Wall may be.)

And tomorrow I go skiing. Indoors. We don't get a lot of snow in England, so there are a couple of indoor ski centres; like being in a giant refridgerator. If anyone is feeling a bit down, and needs an uplift, I'm told the spectacle of me attempting to ski is not to be missed...

Thursday, April 15, 2004

An interesting thing happened a couple of nights ago.

I was out for a curry with some of the chaps from work. Also along for the ride was a charming lady from another department (also recently dumped.)

Drinks were imbibed, curry was ordered and half eaten, and then we tottered back to the place where I was stay, took turns scowling at the cat and played with the satellite television. By early morning, people were calling cabs, or generally staggering home, leaving me and this person alone.

She: (theatrically stretching) "Oh, I'm too tired to walk home"

Me: "Shall I call a cab for you?"

She: "Oh, it would be very expensive this time of night. Why don't I take the spare bed?"

Me: "Nah, the cat's been sick over the floor again"

She: "Well then, where should I sleep?"

Me: "Dunno - oh look, this cab company lets you book over the internet. They'll be here in 15 minutes."

She: (silence)

The beer temporarily obscured that conversation, but it surfaced this morning, coupled with a sober realisation about what she was talking.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Another one to gnaw at my knuckles about.

Somehow I don't think that beer really is the good friend it pretends to be.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A productive day. Paper was pushed around, windows were stared wistfully out of and internet scoured for pornography.

Such is the hectic whirl in which I find myself.

The hamster story has now been aired in the comments section (although I added the 'squeak' for dramatic effect - the indelible memory informs me that it was actually more of a crunch.) Still a memory that makes one's stomach lurch in a guilt-ridden fashion. As said earlier in this journal, pets never lasted long in my childhood, and not all passed away as a result of the nearby road. And this wasn't even my own hamster (my mother wisely forbade such things - I think she was worried my brother would conduct experiments on it and create an army of mutated rodents with a craving for human brains.)

I do actually have another hamster story. But this one is even worse (although I wasn't the creature killer this time, merely a horrified witness to an elderly person's tragic error) so I shall save it for a really slow news day. When nobody is looking.

Had another look at what I hope will be my apartment in a few months (assuming all the ducks line up) - so far we have the jacuzzi in the plans, and the cinema laid out. A friend has suggested some 'plants' for the balcony with the proviso he gets to harvest them. I may pass on that one (thus getting a black mark for debauched behaviour, but a A+ from my remaining brain cells)

Tomorrow, I shall be booking a trip to Disney for me and first-born. Euro-Disney, that is (I just can't face the aggravation of US immigration.) It means suspending my innate cynicism for 3 days, and enduring shows where Tigger speaks with a Texan drawl while Pooh sounds like a Parisian tramp, but first-born loves it. And, I have to admit it, so do I. In small doses.
It seems that lists are somewhat of a requirement for on-line journals, so here we have the top 5 things to do with Staff:

5) Call them 'Jeeves' until they hit you with a frying pan

4) Try and do that scene from Arthur where Dudley Moore is in the bath and discover that it really isn't very funny after all

3) Ask them for the location of the Batcave and steal the keys for the Batmobile

2) This (Parental advisory - highly childish and immature humour)

and the number one thing to do with Staff...?

1) Set them free, and then don a red jacket, blow a silly trumpet and pursue them on horseback.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Gosh. That was a real moping entry. However, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I shall restrain myself from removing it.

Heck, if we all tried to erase the things we felt embarrassed about we'd all be very boring people.

(although I could do with deleting a few memories that leave me gnawing my knuckles whenever they surface. One in particular involves stepping on a girlfriend's beloved hamster when I was aged 8. But thats a story for a slow news day)

Anyway, I have much to be grateful for. Debauchery will shortly be taking over the driving seat (sticking tedious conservatism in the back of the car with a copy of 'Practical Householder' to read.)

You see, I am going to the Isle Of Man TT races A friend's father owns a mansion out there, and has given us the run of the place, and of the staff.

I've never had 'staff' before. I can't wait to find out what you can do with them.

This is surely an opportunity not to be passed up, and a privilege to be abused.

Ho yeah.
Back at the house today, while the ex goes to collect The Boyfriend.

Went to collect some more clothes and found his stuff where mine used to be.

Suddenly a game of "Hide The Poo" seems all the more appealing.


I'll be funny again tomorrow. I promise.

Monday, April 12, 2004

From the bitter and twisted department:

I have found myself alone in the house of ex (three weeks ago it was my house. Since The Boyfriend has more or less moved in, it all seems alien and strange.)

While waiting for the nice chap from Dominos to turn up, I'm pondering some random acts of vengeance. Putting prawns in the curtain poles is so 1990, and burying one of each pair of shoes in the garden seems a waste of a perfectly good lawn.

No, I'm toying with the idea of playing "Hide The Poo", where I will avail myself of some cat faeces and hide it at the bottom of the butter container. A delightful surprise over breakfast in a few weeks time...

Ok. Joking. Really.

The house is weird though. My family always said we'd never stamped our 'personality' onto it. Hence it appears to have been so easy to remove all trace of yours truly. The kiddo has not taken it well.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Cat update:

Owners are back, cat didn't die, I can finally get some sleep.

I left them a gift wrapped bottle of carpet cleaner as a Welcome Home present.
Another conversation with The Godfather:

He: "Look, you have this plan to lead a life of debauchery and the like next year?"

Me: "Yep, that would be the thing"

He: "Well, there is one major blocker for all straight men seeking that particular goal..."

Me: "Which is?"

He: "Straight women, of course. Join the scene, and that particular obstacle will no longer be a problem"

Me: "Er... I was sort of under the impression that homosexuality was a 'you are', 'you aren't' or 'you swing either way' thing, rather than a lifestyle choice"

He: "This is certainly true. But there are other ways to make a man 'turn'"

Me: "Such as?"

He: "I find 6 pints of beer and a few shots of tequila generally do the trick. Another drink?"

Me: "Nooooo... I'll just have water please"

I'm 99 percent sure he was joking. Really.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Went swimming with first-born today.

Heard the following from a woman to what I presume was her offspring:

"Oi, you f**king little b*****d, how many f**king times have I told you not to swear?"

You couldn't make it up. You really couldn't.
Gosh, I'm tired this morning.

Out with the brother last night - he's back from Belgium for the weekend and came armed with all sorts of scary beers. A couple of bottles of something called 'Delirium' (served in a white bottle festooned with pink elephants) made Takeshi's Castle emminently watchable.

We also checked out the Starsky and Hutch movie. Again, the beer made it bearable. Well, except Owen Wilson, who plays a moron so well that you just have to wonder...

A bit of an unpleasant day yesterday as some of the realities of my situation struck home. I was supposed to be taking the kiddo out last night but when I turned up, I found that the soon-to-be-ex had taken her out with The Boyfriend. No note, nothing.

Hence the drinking session with Brother. I was somewhat down about the whole thing. This is not healthy.

On a positive note - there is only 10 hours left of cat watching. Hurrah!

Friday, April 09, 2004

A disaster has occurred.

While clearing up the latest puddle of affection from The Cat I split the marigolds. And these weren't even mine. Their size indicates that they were designed with the feminine form in mind rather than my huge fists.

Plus, I must confess to feeling a little uncomfortable slipping on someone else's latex garments. I've yet to achieve the level of debauchery that will allow me to make use of another's kitchenware without guilt.

So, its off to the store for some new ones.

And yes, they will be yellow.
The car failed the MOT.

The mechanic produced a litany of defects. I'd swear the car was blushing like a naughty child behind him. My poor, poor credit card.
Hmm. It seems there may be a problem with one of my 5 examples of unreasonable behaviour. I understand that, technically, "Invading Poland" is not grounds for a divorce.

I shall have to give it some more thought...

Seriously though, the soon-to-be ex is grumbling about the 5 examples. I give you an example of the conversation:

She: "I don't think these are very fair, what about examples of YOUR unreasonable behaviour?"

Me (external): "I'm sorry. But you know how it has to work, we've all discussed it - I'm the injured party"

Me (internal): "Yeah - if you like, I'll go for ADULTERY and rake up ALL the dirt. Ho yeah!"

And so it goes on.

Other news is that The Boyfriend will shortly be moving in, thus meaning I'll be homeless for a few months. Time to find a comfy cardboard box.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The cat gazed at me with a glare of baleful malevolence during my stumbling about this house this morning. No sympathy from that quarter, it would seem.

I was briefly tempted to exact my revenge upon it for all the little pools of love it has left for my bare feet to find of an evening. This crossed my mind.

But sanity prevailed and I merely prodded the evil creature with a toe before drinking a bottle of mouthwash. Yes, it would seem that the Beer Monkey joined me on my night of debauched behaviour last night.

"Who is the Beer Monkey?" I hear you cry. The Beer Monkey is the creature which, after a night out, empties your wallet and craps in your mouth. I've never seen him, but I know he must exist...
More sage advice from the wise one:

When you find someone's stash of beer, be sure to also find their stash of aspirin.

Ouch ouch ouch.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Day 16 in the Big Brother divorce house.

The remaining housemate is 5 days into his latest challenge. Keeping a much-loved and geriatric cat alive while its owners are away. The penalty for failure is a lifetime of guilt and self-loathing. The reward is being asked to do it again.

On other matters, my ex and The Boyfriend returned from a trip today. He's staying over. The sight of him playing with my daughter made me clench my fists so hard that my palms bled. But, reason prevailed and I smiled and nodded happily. Amicability is the name of the game. But it can be hard.

Plus, I have to persuade my work colleagues that the bandages on my hands are not the result of excessive, er, debauched behaviour.

Today is MOT day for my car.

We have three cars in this household. My wife drives a spanking new Mercedes. I totter around in a geriatric VW and there is also a 'hobby' car at which I throw money with very little return.

My method for fixing the 'hobby' car is to pile money onto a mechanic until he has to either fix it or suffocate under the weight of 50 pound notes.

But today is D-Day for the VW, since it will shortly be my primary mode of transport for journeys inappropriate for my bike.

Now, those of you outside of the UK probably have no idea what a MOT is.

Let me explain:

It consists of a man in a pair of oily dungarees walking around your car, and poking it with a screwdriver. He then checks the exhaust (presumably to ensure that there is enough carbon monoxide with which to commit suicide) and either presents you with a certificate or (more likely) sucks through his teeth and says something along the lines of

"Yessss, looks like yer flange rebate valve is shagged. Cost yer a thousand pounds. And thats just for labour."

The alternative is to go to a really dodgy looking pub, and ask for Honest Al. Who will sell you a certificate he 'acquired' from the back of a lorry.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Monday April 5th - an important day.

I sent the lawyer the instructions, named the 5 examples of unreasonable behaviour and described the agreed settlement which will, at great expense, be converted from English into something that nobody but a highly paid member of the legal profession can understand.

Same thing that computer programmers do, really. I wonder if we can outsource lawyers to India?
As well as the sage advice in these pages on how to handle a marriage breakdown (namely, be as amicable as possible right up until the papers get signed) may I also offer some more advice on looking after other people's pets?


I live in constant fear that this cat is going to die on me. The continuous puking appears to have stopped. But now its developed a pronounced limp. And what is that odd lump above its leg? Was it there last week?

I move back into the cat's house tomorrow for a few nights and cannot wait to find out what delights it has in store (the cat, not the house.)

This sort of thing really cramps a chap's pursuit of debauchery.
One great thing about moving out is going through one's CDs (did I say that my life, sans furniture, fits into a depressingly low number of cardboard boxes?)

Some are horrendous. I mean, take this. What on earth possessed me to buy that?

Although I have to confess to the guilty pleasure of reminiscing about the end of the 80s while listening to it.

However, I found this, which I haven't listened to for probably, oooh, 8 or 9 years.

The Life Of Riley is still a damn good song to which to jump about the house.
Question from first-born this morning:

"How does a baby get into a woman's tummy?"

Now, I've been preparing for this question for some time. I have read books, sought advice and generally rehearsed The Talk.

However, I also saw this as an opportunity to extract a small amount of vengance while still remaining Captain Amicable and so replied in the manner of so many men over the centuries:

"Ask your mother."

I've no doubt the speech will be still be required when first-born returns with tales of storks, birds, bees and turkey basters.
Ouch, ouch, ouch.

In the end some friends turned up, armed with curry and some really bad films (never was there a more appropriately named film than Bad Boys II - why the II? Was number one so terrible they had to make it again?)

First born was with her grandparents, so much boistrous behaviour ensued culminating in a ill-conceived drinking game (first we tried "a drink every time there's an explosion", but were clearly consuming far too much. Then we tried "a drink every time somebody is killed for no apparent reason other than to fill in the time between explosions". Again, the tequila bottle was emptying way too fast.

So, in the end, we gave up (round about the time Will Smith demolished a cuban shanty town with the aid of a Hummer.)

However, as I gaze proudly at the sleeping forms scattered around the living room and draped on various items of soft furnishing, and admire the detritus of the last evening; the empty beer cans, sundry bottles and print-outs from I can confirm that the first step on the road to a debauched, hedonistic lifestyle has surely been taken.

Sadly, a step backward will also be taken in about an hour when I don the marigolds and clear this mess up.


Sunday, April 04, 2004

Serious stuff (this generally comes out after a few beers drunk alone)

This all kicked off a fortnight ago, and the speed at which its progressed astonishes me. Also the speed at which I'm moving on. I now can't wait to get out of the house and into my new place.

I'm also feeling nothing - nothing - about the departure of my partner of 15 years. The majority of the grief and sorrow is focussed on first-born.

Surely I should be feeling something? Other than a slight wooziness and a craving for pizza.

I'll ask my friend Beer again, for He is wise and knows all. I may even request the opinion of a higher power - the Great Tequila (after first sacrificing a lemon or lime to His greatness)
Cat update.

So far, I have failed to kill the cat. It appears that throwing up all the time is normal cat behaviour. I suspect that this may be the dirty little secret of the cat world and so publish it here in the hope of throwing the full glare of media attention upon it.

The next challenge is to discover the dirty little secret of the dog world. Attempting to have sex with furniture does not count.
Gosh, that was good.

Aside from the inevitable picking of salt out of sundry orifices afterward, you really can't beat a good float.

After the usual tutting and sighing regarding the imminent divorce (he's actually a friend of my wife's who went to school with her), the Godfather has decided to take an active interest in my pursuit of hedonism and debauchery.

Unfortunately, most of his advice is based around me joining the gay scene (he has somewhat of a vested interest) and acquiring a stock of viagra.

This is all a little disturbing. Less than a month ago, my idea of debauched behaviour was eating an entire tub of Haagen Dazs by myself.

Now I apparently need to join the Village People.
Off to visit the in-laws again. Ok - first-born is. I'm dropping her off and then going to talk to her godfather.

Sadly, this chap isn't some Brando-like figure, sitting like a spider in a web of organised crime.

No, he runs a health club specialising in alternative therapies.

Now, I'm not a spiritual person (in fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm a born-again atheist and well endowed with traditional British cynicism) and if I get an odd pain, I'd see a doctor before letting somebody with unverifiable training stick needles in me or dispense hot water containing trace elements of various herbs.

But I do like float-tanks.

If you've never experienced a float-tank, you should. Pitch black, silent, and the saline in the water (at least, I think thats what it is) maintains your buoyancy. Short of running a mini-marathon or going on a REALLY fast rollercoaster, I can't think of anything that leaves me more invigorated afterwards with the brain fizzing like someone's tipped some Space Dust into it.

This chap also cooks a mean breakfast.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

A little personal information.

My daughter is, of course, adorable. She is almost sickeningly cute (I loathe the word 'cute' but it seems the most appropriate)

During our many swimming trips, I have realised that she is more attractive to women than I could ever hope to be. She is also a great conversation opener.

Woman: "Awwwww - she's so cute. What's her name?"

First born: "My name's xxx. I've just turned 7 and I like drawing pictures. Would you like to see one?"

Woman: "Awwwww, I could eat her all up! She's so lovely!"

Me: "Yes, she is. Will you sleep with me?"

You see, the problem is the jump between the third and fourth lines. I suspect some important stuff needs to be in there, but I've been out of the dating game so long that I forget.

And to be honest, the last time I was traipsing that particular trail, I was 17 and things were slightly different. Having endured the attentions of the psychotic nuns at the local catholic school, I was convinced that sex was the number after five.

This presents a problem. Debauched and hedonistic behaviour surely requires the participation of more than one person.

I have another three or four months in which to find a solution.

I will keep you posted...
The fall-out continues.

Conversation with small child today:

"What's for breakfast?"
"Why won't you let me go to that website?"
"Why are you and Mummy splitting up?"
"Can I have a goldfish?"

Its downright cunning the way children slip the really hard questions in amongst the innocuous ones. I mean, a goldfish?
Calling all cat lovers.

I'm house-sitting for a friend at the moment, and have been asked to feed his elderly cat (I shall refrain from the obvious 'pussy' joke. Damn.)

Now, I know bugger all about cats. Pets in my childhood never used to last very long living, as we did, next to a major road: "Hello Mother, where's Rover?" (screeeeech) (splat) "Tiddles?" (screeeeech) (splat) "Rufus the goldfish?" (screeeeech) (splat) - seriously, every domesticated animal with which I ever tried to forge a relationship ended up smeared over at least two, and sometimes three lanes of traffic.

But, as usual, I digress.

At 4am this morning, I was awoken by the sound of someone throwing up. At first I wondered if it was me (my pursuit of hedonism consisted of drinking 8 pints of Belgian beer last night followed by cocktails. No joy on the hedonism front, but if I were you I'd be buying shares in aspirin manufacturers) until I saw a ball of fur beside the bed emptying itself onto the carpet.

Now, is this normal behaviour for a cat? A sign of affection perhaps?

Still, wielding the carpet cleaner at 4 in the morning will stand me in good stead for the debauchery to come.

Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

One of the purposes of this blog was to be informative. However, I've had so much fun dumping my thoughts that I've slipped a little too far into whimsy.

And she was such a nice girl too.

But I digress.

Here's how it stands:

I've come to an informal arrangement with the two other parties. Unreasonable behaviour looks like being the name of the game, and the legal costs look like being around the 500 - 600 pound sterling mark.

Unreasonable behaviour can be pretty much anything ranging from "She looked at me funny one day" to "I think she's actually Bin Laden in a cunning costume". You just need 5 examples replete with dates.

Those 5 things are between you, the other parties and the legal system. They never get out into the public domain (unlike Adultery) we're all being amicable. The small child concerned won't be subject to shouting matches. And I get to pick some shiny new kitchen appliances from a catalogue.

So why do I feel so empty?
You guys worry me.

Hear I am, pouring out my heart in the hope that those about to embark on a similar odyssey can gird their loins appropriately and what is the most asked question?

"What colour were the marigolds?"

They were yellow. The one true colour.

(Seriously - thanks all for the comments. Except for the chap offering me pictures of his sister enjoying, er, relations with a labrabor. You scare me more than the marigold people)
This is an open letter to the UK division of KFC.

Please, please, please ensure that your operatives can speak English.

I spent some quality minutes in the 'restaurant' at Chessington World of Adventures trying to explain to the operative what "Regular Diet Pepsi" meant. Many loud, clear words and hand gestures were required before a drink appeared.

It was coffee.

I felt like an American tourist in Paris.
And so the dusty wheels of the English justice system start turning. Ever read Charles Dickens' Bleak House? The first few chapters sum it up pretty well.

Actually, Dickens has always made me laugh. His characters always have great names. You get people like "Mrs Lovely" and "Mr Complete-Bastard". I guess its a bit like sitcoms sticking on laughter tracks so the audience knows when something amusing has just happened.

But I digress. The deal is this. I have to come up with 5 examples of unreasonable behaviour (being a little naughty between someone else's sheets apparently doesn't count.) Total cost will be about 500 pounds sterling. The first visit to the lawyer was free... but then the first of most things generally are.

Forms get signed, cash changes hands and then, as if by magic, within 3 months the last 11 years will be as if they never happened. Oh happy day.