Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We went to a tourist attraction.

One of the things that I have found with being the father of a demanding Toddler is that you have to go to tourist attractions at the weekend. People without children just lie in bed on Saturdays reading the newspaper and being brought coffee and having sixty niners. I envy them all, with their relaxing and unpressured lifestyles.

This time, however, I was looking forward to the trip as we were going to see the man who has built a proper miniature railway in his garden.

It is brilliant!!! I had not been there before – it is open only a couple of times a year. We walked up his drive and across the level crossing. ‘Toot toot’ went the train as it zooshed past laden with children.

The LTLP narrowed her eyes at me. “I can tell what you’re thinking,” she warned.

I shrugged off her silliness. Besides, I would have to scrap the chicken idea if I were to have one.

It being the first sunny day since the initial episode of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, we queued for about 3 days for our go. There were children everywhere. I explained the minutiae of railway operation and history to the Toddler as the LTLP clutched her and I carried the satchel of child things and a flask of drink.

“Room for two more!!!” hollered a railway official.

We pushed our way to the front. Unfortunately when we got there the two seats weren’t together, so I had to go on my own in a wagon with another bloke and a young boy. I gave them a broad smile as I sat opposite, the satchel and drink on my lap. He pulled his child closer to him and muttered something.

The train set off. It is incredible!!! He has tunnels and viaducts and everything. I will have to knock through the wall into Short Tony’s if I am ever to do anything like it.

There are people who would say that building a railway in your garden is typical of an English Eccentric. It seems perfectly normal to me, although if you ask me it is fucking eccentric to then invite the general public in to spoil it. If/when I have one I would keep it all to myself, apart from maybe letting a few people from the Village Pub have a go on it after closing time.

I try to explain this to the LTLP on the way down the hill. She just rolls her eyes. If she is not careful she will end up being tied to the tracks.

Friday, July 27, 2007

We go to the snooker club.

The walk takes us down to the edge of the village, past places that one normally just whizzes past in the car. Short Tony carries his brand new professional snooker cue; I do not have a new cue but have four bottles of cider to compensate for this. Big A is equipped with red wine.

We are the first there, so we rack em up (nb that is what we snooker people say when we start playing) for a practice game.

The old barn is beautifully fitted out for snooker – I do not know what it was used for previously. Aside from the large table in the middle there are lots of massive couches, a dressing screen (presumably so you can get changed into your dinner jacket for important games) and various horsey stuff like whips and leather bridles hanging up on the wall. There is a small gallery above so people can watch. It is really professional and impressive.

We have been playing for about half an hour, and several balls are remaining.

“What’s the score?” I ask Short Tony.

“4-1 to me,” he replies.

I do not yet need snookers. I almost pot another red to make the score 4-2, but it misses by about eighteen inches. It is depressing. The thing about playing on a proper big table is that due to trigonometry the amount by which you miss on a proper pub table with 50p’s is magnified by a factor of exponential 10. It had simply not occurred to me that I would be rubbish.

Short Tony goes for a pot and misses by a foot. But he is only that much better than me because of his new cue, the cheat.

Later, I play Big A and beat him. He is rubbish as well.

We are all rubbish, and we have agreed to enter the league this year. We will be laughed at. Not only will we be laughed at but we will probably become an item on the local news ‘and finally’. It is not a cheerful thought.

Martin the IT Consultant arrives unexpectedly to make a foursome.

He is also rubbish. We are doomed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We start a snooker club.

One of the major overlooked issues that bubbles under the surface of on-the-face-of-it idyllic rural life is the lack of snooker clubs in the villages. Retirees moving in, second-home owners, local people being priced out of their own homes – all have contributed to a scenario where it is common now to find a village, or even a large hamlet, without a major snooker club. It is a shame.

Which is why we have decided to do something about it. There is no point waiting for help from central government, as they are all townies or Scottish; I would doubt very much whether Brussels would be interested. Pulling together as a community, we have secured the kind donation of a barn and a full size snooker table. It is brilliant.

Snooker is shit these days, a bit like tennis. None of the old interesting characters play any more (eg Cliff Thorburn the grinder, John Spencer (who picked his nose) and Ray Reardon (who dressed up as Dracula in the funny film)). The new players are not even fat enough to be convincing. There has to be a connection between this and the lack of snooker playing opportunities for interesting fat people in rural villages.

We aim to put an end to this unfairness. So far we have me, Short Tony, Martin the IT Consultant, Eddie and Big Andy involved, although Big Andy cannot actually play as it is on Tuesdays when his wife is at badminton. You might say that we cannot play both bowls and snooker to a high standard, well CB Fry managed it AND that was in football and cricket where you can basically rely on other people.

Tonight will be our second club meeting; I shall ensure that the world is kept abreast of events via this journal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I pull the LTLP towards me!!!

We lie for 3 seconds, looking into each other’s eyes. I run my hand over the soft mound of her woman’s breast; her flesh quivers like a jelly that is withdrawing from heroin use.

“Now, up,” I hiss in her ear, with all my male power.

She raises herself obediently on the bed, her knees pressing against the sheets, her bumhole right up in the air. I move behind her and give her a soft stroke using my manhood.

“Now bark,” I command her. “Like a dogg.”

I wake with a start, sweat pouring off me. The LTLP is still snoring and snorting on the other side of the bed. The clock reads 4a.m. and I have no reason to believe that this is not the time.

An email that I have received is preying on my mind. It is from a TV person, and wants to know if I would like to go on TV in my capacity as an “author of a confessional blog” to give my “insight into how you think blogs have revolutionised the way women and men are expressing themselves sexually in the 00's.”

It is exciting, but also a bit daunting. Notwithstanding the fact that I actually write a private secret diary and not a blog (blogs are full of people wittering on about trivial matters), I am worried that I am not fully researched in this area. Normally it is cheating to ask questions of your readership just to get comments, but it is important that I have the full picture. So: do you (and/or) your partner use this journal as erotica? Do you read it e.g. on a laptop in bed? Are there any of the characters within it that you have used within your fantasies and/or dressed up as?

I am happy if you want to leave anonymous comments if there is really personal stuff (note that I will have your IP address though, plus I would rather the really personal stuff was only left by females.)

Thank you in advance for your help.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

We go to the bowls club fun day.

The LTLP, Mrs Short Tony and Mrs Eddie have been told to make sandwiches etc; later on they will get a chance to have a go at bowls!!! It will be funny to watch the LTLP try it in the all-comers event – she is not as naturally athletic as I am, but I am keen to give her every opportunity to realise her potential. Meanwhile, I enjoy a relaxing pint whilst I show them around.

“This is the TOMBOLA,” I explain to Baby Servalan. It is important to increase her vocabulary and get her to know useful words.

“It’s one pound for five goes,” says the nice lady who is running the attraction. Across the trestle table there are a selection of soft toys, games and foodstuffs. I point the Baby towards the box of tickets and she grabs one in a sticky fist.

“130,” reads the lady. “That’s a prize… here… it’s some… mint travel sweets. Would you like to swap those for a little toy?”

“No, I quite like those,” I insist.

The Baby draws another ticket.

“85! Another prize! It’s over here… it’s a… bottle of vodka. Would…?”

“Brilliant!” I say, putting the vodka in the Baby’s little bag.

I am in a good mood all day, and acquire from the raffle an additional bottle of wine and an eight-inch high china model of some cute Victorian urchin children with red rosy cheeks. I plan to give it to the Short Tonies for their new lavatory.

Right at the end, the LTLP is presented with her prize for winning the bowls. She always has to spoil things for me, always, ever.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There is a commotion.

Glancing through the window of my private secret garden shed office lair I can see some activity at the front door. I hasten to investigate. Mrs Short Tony is there, with the LTLP.

The LTLP turns and looks at me with a face like thunder on its period.

“She’s brought round some books for you from the library.”

As soon as I see the titles, I step back guiltily. I had been meaning to mention something about it, but recently all my energies have been diverted elsewhere into concentrating on not mentioning it.

“So this is what you’ve been getting the Builder to do.” She brandishes the books one by one. “'Practical Chicken-Keeping’, ‘Choosing and Keeping Chickens’. ‘Hen and the Art of Chicken Maintenance.’

“I had been meaning to mention…”

“This is another one of your plans, isn’t it?” she demands. She doesn’t actually use the phrase ‘hare-brained scheme’, but I can see her contemplating it tattooed on my face.

“I thought it would be really nice for little Servalan to have some chickens…”

She explodes, like a tin of out-of-date exasperation that has been left in the sun. “Let’s get this straight. I am NOT spending my weekends cleaning out chickens. I am NOT spending my weekends feeding them, or watering them, or doing whatever it is you need to do with chickens. HAVE YOU GOT THAT?”

I gaze weakly at Mrs Short Tony for some support. But I gaze in vain. By rights she should be looking sheepish or guilty for her role in creating this unpleasant scene. But, as with all women, all compassion is set aside under the instinct to show solidarity with another female. If men had that sort of pack mentality then we would have ruled the world for thousands of years.

The LTLP slams the books down on the kitchen table. I retreat back in to the shed.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The sun emerges!!!

This is a cause of much celebration, so after breakfast at the market and afternoon tea at the Village Fete, Big A and I take two cars over to Narcoleptic Dave’s house to watch the ‘Live Earth’ concert.

Despite the weather, it has been a good summer to watch live music on the television, with the Glastonbury festival and the Diana thing as well, and it makes me feel a bit guilty that my own guitar is so under-used at the moment despite me once supporting the well-known Sultans of Ping on one date of their UK tour (which I do not want to boast about but I did). It is depressing. I dream that one day I will still make it to Wembley and Prince Harry will be reading my name out hesitantly from a badly-hidden cue card.

Narcoleptic Dave has two barbecues going, and we sit and watch the ‘Live Earth’ show on his outdoor big screen projection thing; later on the patio heater takes the edge off the cool evening air. We discuss music and Big A asks my opinion about lots of things as I am younger and know more about it (although I have never mentioned to him about the Sultans of Ping thing as I do not want to make him feel inferior).

I have not played a gig since the ‘just after accidentally exposing myself at a party’ fiasco of two years ago and the urge calls me again. Plus I now play the banjo so am officially a multi-instrumentalist like Stevies Wonder, Winwood etc., so the audience would get double value for money.

Being a creative artiste I have a strong inner urge to express myself like a penguin who needs to get up the beach. I resolve to address this. I will get my guitar out once again and see if the old magic is still there.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

“It’s off.”

“It’s off.”


“It’s off.”

A succession of players pass us with the news that it is off. This is not entirely unexpected.

“What now?” asks Big Andy, leaning on the door that leads in to the bar.

“Don’t know really,” I reply, looking through the glass at the welcoming pumps and optics.

“We could pop in for a pint while we’re here?” offers Eddie. Nobody likes to say ‘no’ to him. We should not have let him join our gang. He is a bad influence.

Three pints later and we are still gazing out onto the monsoon swamping down upon the bowling green. There is a nagging sense unease coming from somewhere. The rain drives and flurries, it sweeps down, it churns. It pounds away like an Abi Titmuss, wet, relentless and everywhere.

“There will come a point,” I observe, “when the LTLP will cease to believe that we have been playing bowls.”

The others nod worriedly. We order a fourth pint to consider this.

After a while I realise what is bothering me. We are sat in a busy Social Club, and nobody is smoking. It seems all wrong. And I haven’t smoked for years, since when it was cool.

Big Andy is twice his normal immense size, due to all the patches he has on under his shirt. Eddie, meanwhile, looks just weird without his cigar. He has the air of a man who has gone to the pub without his trousers on, and fidgets like one who's just sat on a colony of beetles.

Short Tony gamely drinks coca cola, having given up alcohol in solidarity.

Across the room, other people look odd; out of place. An immense social change has taken place, and one day Baby Servalan will ask me what it was like.

The rain pours down. And pours. And pours.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It has been a tough month.

The LTLP has been working away from home, leaving me alone to care for a subversive and truculent Baby and merely popping in for the odd weekend in order to make helpful and constructive suggestions. Exhausted and stir-crazy, I was desperate for her return.

There is always a bit of a dilemma in situations like this – after a long time apart it is great to see somebody and spend some quality time with them, etc. Conversely, being stuck on your own within four baby-prison walls means that as soon as relief arrives there’s a strong urge to get out and see some daylight. As it was, she had foreseen this and been to an Asian supermarket in London and got loads of stuff to make a delicious Thai curry for the Friday night.

I explained all this to Big A in the Village Pub, who nodded sympathetically at my predicament. “It’s a shame,” I added. “It looked really tasty.”

I think I understand now how tough it must be being a single parent. I know there are right wing people who say that single mothers are prostitutes and deserve all they get, but this is not always the case.

As it is, I have tasted single fatherdom which is even more difficult due to genetics. It is a state which I would not wish on anybody.