Thursday, 1 June 2017

A Holiday (Apparently)

So The Boss, the kids and I are due to jet off to sunny Spain a week on Saturday, for what seems to be incorrectly called a ‘holiday’. It will not be. (Incidentally this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks).

Now as any of you with kids will understand, the planning of the holiday began several months ago. At the last time of checking, the list of items to be packed resembled that of a Victorian era jungle exploration mission; only we don’t have the luxury of having 250 native porters with us to help carry all the crap, like they would in one of those god awful black & white King Kong Movies. Nappies, bottles, pushchairs, car seats, baby wipes, creams, baby bath, mosquito plugs, portable DVD players, a library of books, the list is endless, and that’s without clothes and the never ending selection of items required for a day at the beach with two young kids. There are four of us, and we have an eight seater taxi collecting us for the airport.

The airport is a place that I now only associate with stress and ding dongs with The Boss. Once we arrive, I give it ten minutes, at most before the first aggressive exchange takes place. Every year it’s the same.  It’s not always been that way of course. On our first holidays together we would enjoy a breakfast, washed down with a pint of Carling and a perusal of the duty free section. Not now. It’s now all about throwing some sort of Boots sandwich down our necks, baby feeding, bum changing and arranging the selection of kids entertainment that’s stowed away in our hand luggage ready for the plane. Then there’s security. A bit of a pain in the arse at the best of times, chuck in two young kids, a pushchair and baby formula that has to be individually scanned, and you have the recipe for total vein pulsing peril.

Once on board the plane it’s time to play the game of: ‘how long is the crap we brought for the kids going to keep them occupied for’? This is where the portable DVD player and the library of toddler books come in. I estimate these will work for around half an hour before my eldest (4) is kicking the seat in front, and my youngest (1) has shat himself for the third time. Thank god they serve booze on the flight, I’m looked at strangely when I order eight mini cans of Stella Artois, but with a quick point of the finger towards the kids and the hostess smiles knowingly.

Having arrived at the other end and removed the families six cases, pushchair and car seats from the jam packed luggage carrousel, you allow yourself for a very brief moment to look forward to the two weeks of sun and no work. This is brought to an abrupt end as you reach the hire car collection point. The vehicle they want to provide you with looks nothing like the photo on the web page, has two less seats, no air-con and is five years older than described. You then have to carry out the very thorough walk around check, because the bastards will try and charge you through the nose for even the slightest grain of grit in the bodywork.

All of this is before you even arrive at your accommodation. I’m lucky as my in-laws have a place out in Spain and so the stress related to wondering where you will be staying is removed. I know what the room will be like and I know the fridge will be stocked with beer. There is still of course the chore of unpacking. I’m lucky here too as The Boss takes care of most of this. I’m just used as a donkey to ferry the various items into the correct bedrooms situated over the three floors. Of course I usually get this wrong and am chastised for ‘never listening properly’, but the process isn’t usually too bad.

So it’s time to hit the pool. Looking back on holidays gone by, I could lay out on my sun lounger, earphones in ears and read the latest Jeremy Clarkson book in the sun until it was beer o’clock. My four year old daughter frowns upon daddy doing this for some reason. If I even consider exiting the pool for a fraction of a second she turns on the waterworks, combined with a full on meltdown. It’s the same with the sea at the beach. So for fourteen days daddy spends every daylight hour in the water, and when he gets in the shower of an evening, his skin falls off like an overly poached pear due to over hydration.

Eating out in the evening has its challenges as well.  Kids don’t like sitting still and waiting for their meals. You have to choose what you want and order quickly. While it’s being cooked you spend the time not by enjoying the scenery and warm evening sun, but by walking the pushchair up and down some dodgy backroad, trying to calm the little bugger sitting inside down.

It’s a case of rinse and repeat from here really, until the day comes when it’s time to return home. All of the same things happen, only in reverse order.

When you next overhear a couple on the beach telling one another that they’re ready to come home. Odds on them having kids.

More in a couple of weeks


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Grumpy Gardener

I bloody hate gardening. Mowing the lawn, weeding, planting, growing. It’s all one giant pain in the bollocks as far as I’m concerned. I’m not particularly lazy, and I’m quite happy to do the odd thing around the house, but of all the jobs associated with owning a house, gardening sucks the most arse.  It’s also the job that my Mother In-Law likes to remind me about most.

You make the garden all nice and tidy and 2 weeks later it’s back looking like a scene from Jurassic Park with added cat shit. Why does stuff have to grow, and why does the neighbour’s cat have to shit in the exact same spot each time? Always on the direct route to the shed from the house, and always trodden through the kitchen so The Boss goes ballistic. (Speaking of cat shit, can anyone tell me why it always smells so cheesy)?

It’s not just the gardening work itself; it’s all of the different variations of equipment that you need in order to get it looking half decent. And it’s this equipment that fills my untidy shed. A shed I could have otherwise used as a man cave, a place of solace and some rest bite from the kids. After unloading the 3 ½ tonnes of rakes, brooms, shears, spades, forks, watering cans and trowels you get the extension lead out, plug it in, trail the lead out of the kitchen window, plug in the mower, push the mower down the other end of the garden to begin, and then realise you forgot to switch the fucking plug on at the wall in the kitchen!

After an unnecessary stroll back to the house, you begin mowing. Now this part of the process isn’t too bad really. You stroll up and down trying to keep the lines nice and tidy and begin to imagine future barbeques and family gatherings on the patio. You almost raise a smile. Then, just as your mind drifts off to a happy place, you’re hit in the face by a shard of gravel the kids have thrown on to the lawn. The mower having sliced it in half, creating one of those Neanderthal spear heads that they find on an archaeological dig on the Discovery Channel.

Lawn mowed and face shredded it’s time for the dreaded shears. You need these as apparently no matter how close to the fence you mow, you’re always left with a line of tufty grass. Grass that appears to mock you and take the piss. Now I don’t know if you have ever had the misfortune of using a pair of shears, but they always seem to design them so that when used your knuckles on each hand bash together until your bones break through your skin.  After 45 minutes of trimming and pruning those tufts of grass look no different, but you think “that’ll do” and the weeding, feeding, sweeping and planting can wait until next time.

After spending another half an hour reloading the untidy shed, winding up the extension lead and emptying the grass cuttings, you look out at your creation and mutter the words “see you in two weeks you bastard”. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Kids pictures - what the hell is that?

My 4 year old daughter frequently brings pictures and paintings home from nursery, and they’re not always her own work. I can tell this because some of them actually look like what they’re supposed to be.

If she says it’s a picture of a dog and it indeed looks like a dog then I instantly smell a rat and know that one of the nursey staff have helped her out. If it looks like a turd, then I know it’s her hand that has drawn it, and it takes pride of place on the fridge with the other turds. In fact, we have so many turds on the fridge at the moment that we need to invest in some heavy duty, Hadron Collider type magnets to stop the turds from dropping on to the kitchen floor.

You teach your kids that lying is wrong, but at the same time you lie through your teeth to them about a whole selection of events that occur in their lives, because it ‘keeps the magic alive’.

Well I say screw the magic. If I was a single parent, and not living under the military dictatorship of The Boss, then I would seriously consider taking the lead from those parents who are completely honest with their kids. They tell them the truth about how those Christmas presents arrived. They don’t make up sinister stories concerning flying midgets that distribute coin in exchange for enamel. And I guess they tell their kids when their pictures are shit.

Good on them I say. The amount of times I have been holding a picture that my daughter has drawn at nursery only to hear a little voice say “silly daddy. It’s upside down”.  Well I’m sorry. Couldn’t the nursery at least write ‘this way up’ on the top in pencil to give us parents some sort of clue as to which way up we should be holding this drawing. (Of what appears to be a green stick man with dandruff performing oral sex on a badger).

Your head is thinking ‘what the actual fuck’, but your parental programming kicks in and the standard dishonest response of “wow” pops out with a smile and a nod. See this is the problem. If I continue down this slippery slope over the next few years, my daughter will continue to think she is good at art, when in fact she is shit. This could lead to her choosing the wrong subjects at school, embarrassing herself in class, or going to university to study something she’s awful at, at the expense of my bank account.

I am not suggesting that my review of her work should berate and torment her to the point of tears. But a gentle reminder that sometimes she could do better, and that if she concentrated when drawing or painting then perhaps that brown smudged turd with eyes would in fact look something like a dog and daddy wouldn’t have to lie so much.

Below are some examples of kid’s pictures and paintings that show what I mean. Images from

That is one happy fireman!

A large breasted teacher with cheddar on her head?

A very suspicious looking hoover!
What the actual fuck?

Beginning to see a theme here you dirty lot

A Holiday (Apparently)