Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Short break.

I am fed up with being ill. The Baby has given me this conjunctivitis mullarkey, which has closed up my right eye completely. I've gone down with another viral thing, which is making me alternately shiver and boil, is aching all my muscles away, and has closed my throat up completely so I can speak only in a raspy, forced voice. What with the toe causing a theatrical limp, the eye and the throat, all I'm missing is a parrot on my shoulder and one of those iPatch gizmos.

Will return when typing doesn't hurt my fingers so.

Many thanks for your patience.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Occasional Weekend Bulletin Thing

Three years. Must get a life.

Magnus Magazine has asked me to submit some stuff to them!!! It is exciting. It showcases creative work and provides useful information and advice on starting a creative career. I have spent the past few years bashing my head against a large wall attempting to finish a bloody creative career, but it would be quite fun to have some stuff up there.

But what? Does anybody have a favourite post from way back that I should include?

And Amnesty International have sent me an email!!! It is good of them. Probably the worst thing about living with the LTLP and next door to Short Tony is that you lose hope that anybody cares, but now Amnesty are taking an interest I am hoping that conditions will improve.


Boooooo - they just want me to showcase this video of Noel Fielding and some other bloke I don't recognise, as a promotion for The Secret Policeman's Ball. They should know that I don't do unpaid promotions, except for arms manufacturers and makers of leg irons etc. But Noel and I go back a long way; I went to a lot of his early shows and he tripped over my feet once. So if it will help him with his career then I am happy to oblige.

And there is a short questionnairey thing by me here, if you're interested. It is in large type for the hard of eyesight.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

“We’ve sort of brought some food.”

She opens the Marks and Spencer’s bag with a slightly apologetic look. I am crestfallen, not because there is any food whatsoever in the cottage to offer my two guests, but because news that I am a rubbish host has clearly spread far and wide.

I have been so disorganised recently, and this gives me stress. It is ages since I cooked a proper meal for a visitor, or in fact made one iota of effort whatsoever. I blame the Baby. I am a rubbish host.

It doesn’t help that I know that the girls have not visited Norfolk before, and I have probably made one two many ‘haha we locals are going to murder you pretty townies’ jokes in the build-up to the visit, before cutting myself shaving in a spectacular fashion and covering the bathroom in blood just an hour before they were due to turn up. I think I got most of it off the tiles, and I changed the towels to avoid unpleasantness, but it puts me on the back foot.

Booooooo. They think I am a rubbish host. Being a rubbish host is the worst thing you can be accused of in the world ever, except maybe being a rubbish host and a peadaphile. Fortunately nobody has ever accused me of being a rubbish host and a peadaphile, as I am always careful to have enough sweets and a properly clean van.

I am deflated.

I have an idea!!! “You could have some pork pie?” I offer, brightly. “Perhaps with some pickle?”

They politely have some pork pie.

I cunningly take them to the Village Pub, knowing that there are likely to be a few scraps on the bar if we get there quickly. And later on we go to Short Tony’s, who always has bottles of wine ready for visitors. So really although I am a bad host, I have saved quite a lot of money which I will be able to spend on myself.

That thought makes me feel better. The next morning I offer them breakfast. They have brought their own sausages, but I cook them using my gas, so it is a fifty-fifty arrangement and my reputation is saved.

Monday, February 19, 2007

“Hello, I’m back from the Village Pub,” I whisper.

“Will you at least whisper?” she hisses furiously.


“Did you have a good time? Did your friends enjoy it?”

“Yes, although there weren’t ma...”

“Good. Now go to bed.”

“Oh. Ok.”

I leave the Baby’s room, where the LTLP has set up a temporary hospital camp. But a thought occurs to me.

“Do you need a hand with the Baby?”

“I can manage perfectly all right, thank you. Now go to bed.”


I remember something important.

“We went round to Short Tony’s.”


“Yes. And had a game of darts. Although on reflection I think he might have wanted to go to bed. But it was good to have a game of darts and show them Short Tony’s place, and have a few glasses of wine.”


“Thinking about it I think he really did want to go to bed. His dog shat on the carpet!!! One of the girls nearly trod in it. With her feet.”

“His dogg?”

“No, his dog. The new one.”

“Oh. Night night.”


I tiptoe from the room. But another thought occurs to me.

“Are you sure you don’t need a hand with the Baby?”

“No I don’t. Now go to bed.”

I exit stealthily onto the landing.


“What the fuck is it?”

“I’ve hit my toe!!!”

“You what?”

“I’ve hit my toe. I think it’s broken.”

“Go to bed. We’ll look at it in the morning.”

“It hurts and it’s not behaving as a toe should.”

“Go to bed.”

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Flick. Flick. Flick.


I flick through the channels on my new TV system. Flick. Flick.



I have received a text message from a friend!!! He is spending Valentine’s night in Bolton, watching a football match. He is sad. I, on the other hand, am alone in the cottage, watching the Poker Channel.

The LTLP has limped into London to work. Timing is ever her strong point.

The sudden lack of romance concerns me. Two years ago I cooked her a nice sheep’s heart. Last year I got her flowers. Flick. Flick. Back to the Poker Channel.

There seems to be a fault with my digital box. The picture is too wide for the television, and is cut off on the left hand side. This is the bit of screen that the poker people use to show what cards everybody has. I can see only one card. It is unsatisfactory.

I wander into the kitchen. I am hungry, but there is very little in the fridge and I can’t really be bothered to cook for one.

There is a big home-made pork pie!!! I had forgotten. I cut myself a slice and return to the poker.

Honestly, pork pie is the best. I love pork pie. I tuck in to my pork pie contentedly. Munch. Munch. Munch. It really is a particularly satisfying pork pie.

But, on reflection, it is not a blow job.

This taints my enjoyment of the pork pie. I do try very hard to enjoy it as much. But it is not the same, even smeared with pickle. I finish my pork pie, leaving a small bit of excess crust.

I can hear the tick of the kitchen clock from the other room.

Flick. Flick.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"How are you, then?" I sympathetically enquire.

Short Tony is depressed about his upcoming 40th birthday. I can understand this; I will probably feel the same when I reach the same point in many years time. I explain this to Short Tony, but it does not cheer him.

"Plus I've lost my karaoke tape," he adds.

I send one eyebrow ceilingwards, a more-than-usually puzzled look crossing my face.

"I had a few drinks last night, and decided to sing some karaoke," he explains. "I'm surprised you didn't hear me?"

I shake my head. I can hear nothing over the LTLP's snoring. Meteorites could have devastated Earth for all I know.

"Anyway, I usually record myself, so I can listen in the car the next day. Except I couldn't find the tape anywhere. Then I realised - when I traded in the old car I must have left it in the tape machine. So there's a tape of me singing Meatloaf numbers on some garage forecourt in Norfolk somewhere."

I look at him and shake my head sadly.

"You do realise," I say slowly and kindly, "that there wasn't a single word in that speech that reflected anything other than horribly badly on you?"

"I know," he replies miserably.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The notice is brief and to the point.

"Following advice from the Environmental Health Inspector," it informs, "We will be cooking our yolks hard. If you would prefer a soft yolk please ask."

There is a man whose job it is to advise roadside trailer cafes how to cook their yolks!!! But we do not have to take his advice. It must be frustrating for him, having all that responsibility but no real power.

I take my bacon and mushroom sandwich and drive off, bidding the ladies a cheerful 'farewell'. Next time I will get something with a soft yolk, to stick it to the man. The frost sits crisp and heavy as I park up on the Common to devour my breakfast.

The view from here is magnificent. Norfolk is a bit Tamsin Greiggy as a place - it is not what you would call conventionally beautiful, but the more you explore her the more you are likely to find an interesting or unusual bit that is nourishing to the eye. A drop of grease falls into my lap, and I have one of my periodic post-flu coughing fits.

It is one of those views that makes one feel profound. "Please God," I mutter to the roof of the car. "Make me well again. I'll cut out all the swearing and the fornication."

There are no cars or people for miles around; the view goes on forever.

"Most of the fornication," I clarify.

I finish my sandwich with relish. It has not been a good week for food. Bernard Matthews faces a PR disaster here, with people discovering that his turkeys come from Suffolk after all. And now there is the hard yolk debacle. But there is not much a bacon and mushroom sandwich cannot make better.

Snow is forecast. But I have enough bottled gas, and several shot things in the freezer courtesy of Short Tony and Len the Fish, some of which are almost intact. I gun the car into life and head off unhurriedly back to the warmth of the Cottage.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I am struck down with the flu.

This would be bad enough as it is. However a side-effect seems to be that I have totally and utterly lost my voice. I honestly thought complete laryngitis only happened to people in 1970s situation comedies, but here I am, totally without speech, croaking like a Suffolk turkey.

It happened just like that, a consequence of prolonged bouts of coughing. On Thursday I was crossly informing an important business contact that she would have to call me back as I'd just finished cooking my faggots; on Friday I had a voice but an achey and unauthoritative one; now I am as silent as Stephen Hawking in a power cut. It is immensely frustrating.

I popped round to Short Tony's, but the conversation was unrewarding; I cannot even say things like 'because I tell you to' to the Baby, and I had to mime in the Village Shop.

The LTLP has flu as well, although she has not lost her voice as there is no God. It is all a bit of a worry when you have a little Baby to look after. Both of our families live outside Norfolk, in the sticks, so we do not have them to call on for support in such a time.

Of all the Baby-related things that I have had to consider (which nursery should she attend/what injections should she have/should I have her circumcised etc), the idea of moving house to be nearer family simply didn't occur to me. It would be useful in many ways.

These are the feverish thoughts that race through the mind of a delirious sick person, as he lies on the couch in front of a non-working TV. I console myself that when I am better I will be able to pretend that they did not occur to me at all.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

There is still no TV!!!

I stare at the thing moodily. I get some sound on BBC1, and ITV gives you a wavy sort of drug-induced ITV behind the snow, but that's it. No TV. There is no TV. TV there is none.

I clench my fists in frustration.

I do not even watch much TV. But in the TV-less situation it suddenly becomes the object of crazed desire. I want to watch Heartbeat!!! I need to see a plasticky-faced woman fronting a rigged quiz game!!! Tonight with Trevor McDonald!!! Trevor, I need you!!!

Not EastEnders, though.

A beep signifies a text message. It is Mrs Short Tony inviting us round to watch 'Midsomer Murders'.

I do not need her pity-fucks.

The statistics are as follows. Of all aerial people in the vicinity, 25% are not answering their phones. Another 25% are answering their phones but telling you that there is no possibility of a mended aerial in the near future. A full 50% - yes 50% - have an answerphone message basically telling you to piss off and haven't-you-heard-there-were-big-storms-the-other-week that broke lots of aerials and do not even bother trying to track me down because I am Not Interested, what do you think I am, a fucking aerial repair man?

I crack and telephone Rupert Murdoch. I do not get through but his people are helpful and will be arranging television for me as from next week.

That is it. I have sold out to an Evil Corporation.

Midsomer Murders is rubbish, even by the standards it sets for itself, which are rubbish standards from the University of Rubbish (formerly Rubbish Polytechnic). Mrs Big A arrives half way through, expecting Friday-night wine and lively conversation. She leaves ten minutes later.

"You're all fucking sad," she comments on her departure.