Sunday, March 30, 2008

The sickness inside

I’ve been feeling unwell all week, at first I thought I’d just overdone it at the gym, then a cold took over, then flu, then you get to a point where you don’t know what is illness and what is a result of the illness. So is the sore throat a virus, or because of the coughing?

On Thursday, amidst all this, I saw a light on the dashboard of my car. I looked in the manual it said “Engine light”. Initially I took this to mean that the light in my engine was broken – which didn’t seem too troublesome. It then dawned on me that a) I don’t ever remember seeing a light in my engine and b) that was a fairly minor thing to be flagging up on your dashboard alongside things like revs, speed and engine temperature.

Checking further it suggested that something was wrong with my engine and that I should take it to a garage. This I did, where they plugged a computer into a slot I didn’t realise I had, took a reading and checked it on a database. Apparently it was indicating some sort of oil leak. They thought the car may have ‘thrown its toys out of the pram’ and so the warning may be a misreading. They turned the light off and sent me on my way.

The computer was cool though, I was tempted to see if they would put it up my bottom to take a reading to see what was wrong with me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Probably better never than late

I know what you’ve been thinking; what happened to The Ruffs? The annual rundown of my favourite albums of the year. Well, to tell you the truth, I forgot to post it. So here it is:

1. Maths and English – Dizzee Rascal
2. The State of Things – Reverend and the Makers
3. Suck my Deck – A Bugged Out Mix – Simian Mobile Disco
4. Kala – MIA
5. A Bugged Out Mix – Klaxons
6. Hats off to the Buskers - The View
7. Fabric Live 33 – Spank Rock
8. Hourglass – Dave Gahan
9. Cansei De Ser Sexy – Cansei De Ser Sexy
10. Yours Truly, Angry Mob – Kaiser Chiefs

Past winners: 2006, 2005, 2004.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stars in the aisles

We’ve got Tesco just down the road from us. Barely a day goes by when we don’t pop in for supplies. Tonight, whilst perusing the asparagus, a vision caught my eye.  Actually, to be perfectly honest, the asparagus is on a low shelf, and as a result I was initially struck by this woman's curvaceous booty. She was wearing a skirt which barely covered her essentials. She had curves like Jessica Rabbit. She had a main of braided hair. Everything about her was turned up to 12.

At first she was just startling looking. Then as I glanced up, and looked away, and up again, and looked away again… I began to piece together her familiar face in my mind. It matched a face I’ve seen before. Improbably, it was Makosi from Big Brother 5. At the self-service till, she kicked up a stink because she couldn’t get anything to scan. I felt like contacting Heat there and then.

I walked up the road and past the Islamic school. It was kicking out from this evening’s lesson. A small Asian boy, fresh from being spiritually enriched, was singing along to his iPod. As I passed I heard him rapping “…your mother is a ho”.

This doesn’t happen every day in Aylesbury.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Plumbing the depths

Recently we decided that we needed some more space and started investigating the possibility of having a loft conversion. We don’t want to move but could do with a little more space. We were told that it would look like someone had dropped a shed on our roof. Casually, Emma looked at a couple of websites to see what else we could get for our money. We had a look round one house and then… our house bit back.

Firstly, the toilet overflowed, inconveniently I was in Belgium on a stag do and Emma, her dad and our nice-bloke-but-terribly-disorganised plumber - “Plumbing’s an art form, not a science” - battled to bring the thing under control.

I was walking around Brussels taking phone calls and texts about the ensuing disaster. First I would get accusatory calls saying that we would have to throw money at the problem in a ‘don’t you fucking dare even challenge me’ kind of way. It was the only practical answer, obviously. Then I would get a text saying “I know it’s not your fault”. Then I would get another text saying “Call me urgently”.

When I asked why I had to call, Emma’s response was “Well I wasn’t going to pay for it”. Which rather suggests that I had to pay and that, ergo, it was considered to be my fault.

On Thursday a pipe started dripping in an awkward-to-get-to place. We calculated that the dripping would fill the only bowl that would fit the space every hour and a half. So, every 90 minutes throughout the night, we took turns to go down stairs and empty the bowl. “It was worse than breast feeding” said Emma, possibly not referring to the incessant dripping.

The dripping pipe was fixed by the plumber and his monkey wrench. This has once again highlighted an apparent failing of mine – my inability to do DIY. It is considered a source of some hilarity that I am no good at DIY. I admit, had I had a bit more time and application, I should have trained to be a master plumber, carpenter and all round builder. It is not so much that I’m not good at DIY, it’s that I chose not to do it. In the same way that people choose not to rear their own cattle for beef.

Instead, I buy it in. Ultimately, it is more expensive than doing it myself, but that’s why I go to work – to make money to pay for things I want (and don’t want e.g. a weekend of DIY). Strangely, however, being male and not doing DIY is, for some reason, considered effete. I say it’s a choice I have taken, it is fundamental to a functioning economy (specialisation and the exchange of monies) and that because I think like that I am the very essence of modern mankind – rational, specialised (and standing upright). It’s not an argument I often win.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ruffles gold... or Never mind the Ruffles, here's the bollocks

I don’t know where the year is going. Life is like a series of dials, turn one up and another goes down. If you don’t keep tweaking the dials you find one is turning itself up to max to the expense of all the others.

And so it is for me; the work dial has slowly turned itself up to the max eclipsing everything else. As a result I’ve been going to the gym less, football less, I’m getting home only 40 minutes before Millie goes to bed, then I eat and get back on the laptop. And, of course, I’ve been blogging less. I really need to readdress the balance.

So in an attempt to catch up a little, a few excerpts from some recently aborted drafts…

… The vilest spectacle at the Brits was The Brits School. It’s alumni – Kate Nash, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Adele, Mika all got exposure from their sponsors, cheered on by their peers who like the Aliens in Toy Story are waiting to be chosen for stardom.

Thank God then for James Nesbitt who announced the football scores before sneering ‘yeah , football’s big at the Brits School, isn’t it?’ before mouthing ‘wankers’ at the hysterical wannabes …

… The traditional stag do is outdated; the stags I know don’t actually want or need a last night of freedom because being with their partners is not considered any kind of purgatory. In fact, I’ve yet to see a naked woman on a stag do and would be quite scared if I did.

But a stag do is a noble thing; it should go back to fundamental principles and have the stag party ‘laying siege’ to a town of their choosing. Camping on its walls like a Roman garrison; stealing food and drink under the cover of darkness for sustenance. The townspeople should accept this law breaking for the greater principles it is demonstrating; men bonded, proving themselves as the hunter gatherers – a right of passage towards the next stage in their lives ...

... I like to ‘walk’ London because you hear and see the richness of life itself. A tour guide on Carnaby Street got the emphases in his spiel all wrong. The line I heard was “FROM 1964 PRACTICALLY ALL THE SHOPS on Carnaby Street WERE [pause] clothes SHOPS”…

If emphasis is designed to bring out the important components of the sentences – he basically said that “FROM 1964 PRACTICALLY ALL THE SHOPS WERE SHOPS”…

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