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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I think the overtime's paying off already. I had a chat with my boss this morning, during which he indicated to me that with the extraordinary levels of drug-related talent I've exhibited so far, I'm virtually guaranteed frequent promotion on a grand scale, and in all probability will be running the place on a six figure salary by Christmas. Admittedly it took a bit of reading between the lines for me to reach that conclusion, but I'm pretty sure that when he said "Doors will definitely open for you down at the hospital", he wasn't just referring to my swipe-card security access.

Anyhoo, while I'm impressing employers with my work ethic, Lisa's been reading 'The Virgin Book of Baby Names' (which is undoubtedly the most inappropriate publisher for a pregnancy book) and jotting down her favourites. I can't reveal the shortlist for legal reasons, but suffice it to say I've crossed out Samantha because it reminds me of Essex, Madeleine because I don't like tapas, and Genevieve because it's frankly ridiculous.

On the boys' side, I'm concerned that Lisa's chosen the name of one of our neighbours (thank God we don't have a milkman), but not as concerned as I am by her choice of...

... Rex. Yes, Rex. Or to put it another way...

Nervous Rex
No, it doesn't look any better in Lisa's handwriting.

Admittedly it's got an element of novelty, and Rex Gardner does sound a bit like a film star, but we wouldn't be able to call him in the park without people thinking we've got a dog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's that time of year again...

Hair Today...
... Gone Tomorrow.
It's amazing what you can do while you're waiting for your tea to cool down.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Everyone knows you shouldn't go supermarket shopping when you're hungry, but I don't think I should go charity shopping when it's sunny. I popped into Marie Curie on Saturday for some new work trousers, and came out with a pair of shorts. I know the dress code's relaxed up at Brighton General, but I'm not sure they allow beach wear.

As it turned out though, the shorts (which are now in a drawer, tucked away from the rain which arrived within hours of me buying them) were more of a bargain than I thought, because little did I know that they included a lovely free gift. I always search the pockets of my secondhand clothes in the hope of finding a few fifty pound notes, but sadly the only folding stuff I've ever found is a used tissue. This time, however, I received something far more interesting. Having got the shorts home, I reached into the pocket and found...

... a pair of ladies knickers. Used. I've never been in such a hurry to wash my hands. I was so shocked, I was going to keep them to show Lisa, but she was out at the time, and I was a bit concerned that if she got back and saw a pair of knickers on the table, she might run amok with a frying pan before I had time to explain.

So I chucked them in the bin. Which was a bit stupid really. I should have donated them back to Marie Curie. They looked just her size.

What to Expect. (Sleepless nights for a start).Anyhoo, those shorts weren't the only thing I bought. I also splashed out 75p on 'What To Expect The First Year'. It's the follow-up to 'What To Expect When You're Expecting', a book given to us by Lisa's sister on February 1st. Which is interesting because we didn't find out Lisa was pregnant until February 2nd. They say women can sense these things.

The second book's a lot thicker than the first, which is not surprising - a year's 33% longer than 9 months, and you have more time to read when the baby keeps you up all night.

In a spooky coincidence though, my new book also contained a free gift. Inside the front cover was this post-it note:

Hey Jude!
I bet Jude's thrilled to know that instead of returning the book as promised, Jack dumped it down at the local charity shop. As we speak, Jude's probably wrestling with a nine-month-old (if it was born last July) and making a right pig's ear of it. Personally I'm just glad Jack didn't use his pants as a bookmark.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Be still my beating heart.When I said I'm doing overtime to pay for nappies and maternity wear, I was of course lying. I'm actually doing it so that I can afford to surf the internet buying cheap imported baby gadgets from China. I was halfway through a cheese and ham bagel at lunchtime on Thursday when Lisa phoned me from work to say that one of her colleagues had mentioned that you can buy "things which let you listen to the baby's heartbeat at home". Ten minutes later I'd ordered one from Amazon. I couldn't afford to hang around - Lisa's only pregnant for another five months.

The manufacturers obviously understood the urgency, and having received my order at 1:45pm on Thursday, they managed to deliver the thing at 8:30am the next morning. It's called a 'Foetal Doppler', and is named after a famous Austrian physicist of the 19th century. Which is surprising because the name Foetal sounds more Dutch to me. I was obviously keen to give it a go, but sadly Lisa was out with friends on Friday evening, so I was forced to stay at home alone, reading the instructions and wondering if it would work on a cat.

Fortunately those instructions kept me entertained for hours. I'm not sure who wrote them, but I don't think English is his first language. Here's what the back of the box says...

Me no speak English.
Fortunately Lisa soon returned with my future baby in her belly, I plugged in the cable of recording, and like a family doctor, it allowed us to enjoy a private communication of kicks and blows with our prenatal baby.

So for anyone not at my side who wants to share the happiness...

The way that heart's pounding, I think it's already panicking about who its parents are.

Friday, April 25, 2008

As everybody knows, the South Downs just outside Brighton is fertile ground for bird-watching. The bushes are constantly full of people twitching, admiring the dykes, and looking out for plump-breasted birds with meaty thighs. I have it on good authority that there are an awful lot of tits about at this time of year.

What not to wear.And tomorrow is no exception. Professional gropers Trinny and Susannah are heading up the hill in the morning to complete their upcoming TV series, 'The Great British Body', by getting starkers in the Sussex countryside. And they're taking five hundred members of the public with them. The idea is to create two giant 'sculptures' made entirely of naked, writhing bodies (though they might only be writhing in my imagination), to illustrate the beauty of Brits in the buff.

If you're wondering how I know this, it's because one of my pharmacy colleagues wanted to take part. Which says just about everything you need to know about the people I work with. He actually phoned the hotline from work this morning to book his place. Yes, his place. It gets more worrying by the moment.

Sadly though, he won't be appearing naked on national TV, because the producers told him that participants will need to be there from 8am until 6pm, and even the offer of a free lunch (I thought there was no such thing) couldn't persuade him that it was worth standing about on a hill without his pants for ten hours. Personally, it's the thought of spending all day with Trinny and Susannah which would put me off.

As it happens, this discussion of nudity was the last act of a condemned man, because at 1pm today this particular colleague left us for good. He handed in his notice a week after I started, but I'm sure that's just coincidence. He's actually moving to Suffolk next week, so I think it must be the law that for every person they send down here, we have to send back one of the locals. It's like a worker exchange programme. So having left Shotley Gate the year before last and finally found a job, someone has to return to take my place.

The result for those of us left behind is that we're now officially short-staffed, and starting next week it's all hands to the pump (that's the Ventolin respiratory pump on shelf 47a). Having given it a lot of thought, I've agreed to do some overtime on the grounds that nappies are expensive and it's more important to keep Lisa in maternity wear than it is to get home and write my blog. Posts might be thin(ner) on the ground, but as of Monday, I'm working for the baby.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

There are definite perks to my job...

Bear-Faced Bribery
I've got a free bear from a drug company rep!

Competitive prices and next-day delivery are all very well, but when I'm deciding who to award the next NHS contract to (I assume I have the authority to do that), I'm going with the pharmaceutical firm that hands out the most cuddly toys.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cole on fire.It's Lloyd Cole! And my mobile phone photography has definitely improved since the last time we saw him. That otter barely looks radioactive at all.

Funnily enough, that blog post from two and a half years ago is quite interesting (what are the odds?) because I appear to accurately predict my future career. So on the basis that everything I write here eventually comes true, I'd just like to say that I have the confident air of a lottery winner.

Anyhoo, Lloyd Cole was very good last night. And it wasn't just the two of us who thought so. Lisa's now 16 weeks pregnant, and according to the pregnancy website I've been studying religiously every week, not only is the baby emptying its bladder every 45 minutes (much like Lisa), but "the ears have also moved from the neck to the head". So it's official - the baby heard every note. I bet it was trying to claw its way out with those well formed fingernails.

This was the first time I've ever been to the Komedia, and I have to say it was very nice. If you like hard seats. I think they only have an interval to allow you to restore the circulation to your buttocks and avoid the risk of gangrene. But other than that, I liked it. Though I'm taking a cushion next time.

As for Lloyd, I still don't know any of his songs, but that didn't stop me enjoying the evening. You have to be impressed by anyone who can entertain you for two hours with nothing but an acoustic guitar. I'm sure Lisa would say the same about me. Lloyd also mentioned that someone had e-mailed him to let him know that at a recent Alice Cooper concert, Alice had introduced the song 'Only Women Bleed' with the words "Not even Lloyd Cole has written a song about menstruation".

Lloyd said he was chuffed that Alice Cooper's heard of him. After which he played us a song about periods. You can't trust a word these rock stars say.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lloyd ColeLisa and I are going to see Lloyd Cole (in real life his head's less square) at the Komedia tonight. It doesn't start until 8:30pm, so with today being a workday, I was naturally keen to get as much sleep as possible last night, so that I can successfully avoid nodding off halfway through the first song.

So imagine my delight when I was woken up three quarters of an hour early at 6:45am this morning by the gentle thud of Lisa knocking over a glass by the bed. I have to say, it's not until you've spent ten minutes with a tea towel, mopping up half a pint of water from the top of a dressing table, that you realise just how much electrical equipment we keep there. But as I said to Lisa as I attempted to rescue her hair straighteners and watch, whilst avoiding electrocution from the digital clock and CD player as I patted dry the baby scan photo and tried to see if her mobile phone still worked, "You've got to laugh, haven't you?"

I think she agreed with me, but it was hard to tell. Her teeth were so clenched I couldn't understand a word she said. But still, if you're going to see Lloyd Cole, you might as well start the day with a commotion.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Here in Kemptown we're already lucky enough to have a Polish grocer, a Polish delicatessen and a dedicated Polish section in Asda (and I don't mean the Mr Sheen aisle), not to mention the Polish party-planners next door, but I think this is going a bit far...

Polish HairdresserWe've now got a Polish hairdresser around the corner. I'm no expert on Eastern European hairdos, but is a British barber really incapable of giving you the Lech Walesa look for under a tenner? I can't believe you have to be born in Warsaw to achieve this kind of style with a pair of scissors...

The Lech Look

Lisa's uncle has been looking like that for years. But still, if you want to be asked where you're going for your holidays by someone who bought their hair gel in Kraków, you now know where to go.

Anyhoo, hairiness aside, Lisa and I went to Worthing for the afternoon yesterday to visit our friend H, who's recently bought a bungalow there. She's not old, she's just too lazy to climb stairs. I was actually very impressed with the place. Her bedroom's bigger than my entire flat, and she's got a hamster in the lounge. It's my ideal home. On the downside, you can't see through the impressive 15-foot window at the front since her boyfriend caught a stone in the lawnmower and shattered the whole thing a week after moving in.

Having completed the guided tour within twenty minutes, we headed for The North Star (which is nearer than you'd think), where Lisa tried to order something which wasn't on the menu, before stealing all my chips and walking the wrong way out of the car park. We then rounded off our afternoon by popping into the Portslade branch of Sainsbury's, where the girl on the checkout offered me a free fridge magnet...
Take an old bag shopping.
She could obviously see I had Lisa with me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I swear it wasn't me.

Call Special Branch.
If the police are reading this, it happened sometime between 2pm yesterday afternoon and 10am this morning. And I have an alibi for all twenty of those hours.

I can't be certain which ASBO-deserving drain on society committed this wanton act of vandalism (though I'd like to shake them by the hand), but interestingly, just ten minutes after taking that photo, I walked around the corner and bumped into Mike Read in St James's Street. Coincidence? I think not...

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's my brother's birthday today, so Happy Birthday to him. I can't reveal how old he is for legal reasons, but suffice it to say he should now know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. I'll be asking him for that later.

As for us thirty-somethings, Lisa and I went over to Portslade on Wednesday evening to visit Lorraine and her 4-week-old little princess, Leia. We were there for two hours and she didn't cry once (Leia I mean. Lorraine looked like she might burst into tears at any moment). Personally I put it down to the ingenious way I held her, which involved making sure her Babygro rode up over her face so that she couldn't breathe.

Talking of which, we took Lisa's mother with us to see the baby, so I've now heard the killer cat lecture twice. I think it was even more entertaining the second time around. She had a real sense of menace in her voice.

Milk MonitorAnyhoo, Lorraine's promised us an unwanted baby buggy which is worth more than my car, but we haven't actually taken delivery of that yet because it's at her parents' house, and her Mum's become quite attached to it. But in the meantime we dropped in on Lisa's sister and left with four carrier bags of stuff which Lisa assures me we had permission to take. The Winnie the Pooh mobile I'd heard about turned out not to be a phone after all, but that was the only disappointment. I was particularly pleased with the Tomy Walkabout 2000, a baby monitor which attaches to your belt so that you can wander freely around the house whilst listening to your baby crying in the east wing. Of course my flat's so small that we'll never be more than ten feet from the baby, and couldn't miss it crying if we stuck our fingers in our ears, but that's beside the point. The picture on the box shows it working at the bottom of the garden, so I'm hoping I'll be able to make it as far as the nearest charity shop.

But as if that wasn't exciting enough, there's this essential piece of paternity wear...

Carried Away
Although it wasn't until I put it on that Lisa told me it had vomit on it. I also regret modelling it in a shirt with a horizontal stripe. It makes me look like I'm trussed up like a turkey. Or about to go skydiving. But that aside, I'm all set to hit the town with someone strapped to my chest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The most important thing I've learnt during my ongoing training at work this week is that we have a pharmacy squirrel called Squizz. Unless of course they're winding me up. I haven't met him yet, but I have been introduced to the large bag of nuts under the office desk. Apparently Squizz can nip a bit if you get too close, but the good news is we've got plenty of tetanus shots in stock at the moment.

Anyhoo, vermin aside, I'd like to introduce you to my latest master plan to make room for a baby...

Early RiserI'm going to shove it under the bed.

This may look like an advert for a 300kg woman who'll encourage you into bed, but it's actually a photo of new Lidl 'Bed Risers', taken straight from their latest catalogue. Although I'm sure they appeared in the previous edition as heavy duty plant pots.

Anyway, the point is I've bought a set, and am currently enjoying an extra six inches of storage space under my bed. Lisa can't do any heavy lifting at the moment due to being pregnant (although to be honest, she didn't do a lot before), so I got a pensioner to come round yesterday evening and help me fit them. With hindsight, I probably should have lifted the bed while she put the pots underneath, instead of the other way around, but you never think of these things at the time. Anyhoo, thanks Mum. I hope your back's ok this morning.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I think there's been a shift of power in this city. Less than nine months ago I held such sway with local politicians that I only had to mention my hatred of street trees once on this blog, and a team of surgeons was instantly dispatched to remove the unsightly growths from the face of the earth. Or maybe that was just coincidence. But having lobbied Brighton's first lady in Asda, I don't think I'd be barking up the wrong tree to say that I have a number of city councillors in my pocket.

Unfortunately there must be a hole in that pocket, because something's gone horribly wrong...

Turning over a new leaf.
They've planted new ones. I used to have a few wood chips on my hard shoulder, now I've got more of a trunk road.

Until July of last year, there were three trees outside my flat, providing ample roosting space for any passing bird that wished to defecate on my car windscreen. Two of those were felled in time for my birthday, with the third marked for demolition shortly afterwards. Unfortunately, as the photo above proves, it's still there. That's because everyone ignored the 'No Parking' signs on the designated day, and the lumberjacks couldn't get near it. They had to settle for rebuilding the kerb instead.

Which is the point of this whole thing. The roots of the trees expand, disrupt the pavement and ruin the kerb, so the council have to pay to have the trees removed, the pavement resurfaced and the kerb rebuilt. Making one wonder why they they've now paid to have more trees planted, thus ensuring that they have to do the same thing all over again in a few years time. I can only assume it's some kind of government initiative to keep people in work.

But still, the big black square of tarmac next to the wonky kerb where the last tree used to stand does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the picture above. It's like they're turning my street into a chessboard.

Anyhoo, I don't know who's responsible for this outrage, but my money's on either David Van Day or the Lib Dems. If not, then it's probably the government's attempt to offset enough carbon to power all the red traffic lights that David Cameron cycles through. But whoever's to blame, I think I know just the people to sort it out...

Simon Says...That's my current MP, Des Turner, in the Martin Bell suit, with Labour's next candidate for Brighton Kemptown, Simon Burgess. I like the way they both bought outfits to match their hair. Although if Warren Morgan did the same, he'd have to go out naked. Anyway, Simon is due to battle it out with the Conservatives at the next election, because after eleven years as an MP, Des has decided to stand down. I'm not sure what his reasons are, but for the last three years he's been Chairman of the House of Commons All-Party Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Group, so he's probably a bit tired.

I just wish that having said he's getting behind Simon on the campaign trail, Des hadn't proved it by posing on a tandem. They look like a two-man version of The Goodies. But still, having watched him chase Sally Gunnell along the seafront four weeks ago, Simon's definitely got my vote. All I need to do now is bump into him in Asda.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lisa received this yesterday afternoon...

Portion of chips.I'm so proud of her. She even got a round of applause at the end. Although that might just have been because she managed to find the exit instead of walking into a cupboard like she usually does.

Interestingly, she was up at 6 o'clock this morning cleaning the bathroom, so I think she's finally entering that high-energy phase of pregnancy that people keep telling us about. Or maybe she just couldn't sleep. Either way, I should be making a list of things I need doing.

Mind you, our relationship very nearly came to an abrupt end last night after we decided to play along with the new series of 'All Star Mr & Mrs'. Frankly we'd almost broken up by the time Phil & Fern introduced the second couple. I successfully guessed which member of Boyzone she'd like me to look like, and which dress size she thinks she is, but when it came to the question about which item I'd save from my burning flat, she said my computer. The correct answer was of course Chloe, on the grounds that she'd burn more easily.

But as if that wasn't outrageous enough, Lisa then had the question "When are you grumpiest?". I naturally predicted that she'd say 'In the morning', only to find that she'd selected option (c), 'When he's done something wrong'. Which is obviously ridiculous because it's never happened. She's living in some kind of fantasy world there.

We did have some success though, when I said...

I may be over sensitive...
And she said...

... but she makes baby sick on toast.
That's what I hate most about her, and what she hates most about me. And I'm very offended that she got it right.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A few weeks ago, back in the days when our unborn baby was a closely guarded secret known only to immediate family and the two thirds of Brighton that Lisa had told in the first week, we had my future mother-in-law over for the evening. It was during those few hours, possibly fuelled by a heady mixture of Ty-phoo and battered fish, that she revealed to us the biggest threat faced by our first child:

My cat, Chloe. Apparently the child murder rate amongst felines is higher than any other animal (with the possible exception of dingos), and domestic cats are killing babies on a daily basis, all over the UK. In the words of Lisa's mother, "They don't mean to, but they do". It's something to do with the smell of milk coming from the baby's mouth. It turns cats into raging killers, hell-bent on infanticide. Or something. Anyway, the bottom line is that no child will see its first birthday with a cat in the house, and Chloe really ought to be drowned in a sack before October. I'm paraphrasing her there.

But wise as she is, Lisa's mother had reckoned without the power of my local Pound Shop. Lisa may have refused to trust their 3-for-a-pound pregnancy tests back in February, but there's no denying the sheer range of quality goods on offer. I popped in there this morning for some carpet shampoo (because I'm worth it), and look what I found...

Net Profit
It's a Cat Safety Net!

Of course, my cat has been performing without the aid of a safety net for years, and to be honest, I'm not sure it's her safety I need to be worried about, but other than that it's perfect. I've always wanted to follow Michael Jackson's example and dress my children like beekeepers. Of course, we won't be able to see our child through the net, and I'm not entirely sure it'll be able to breathe, but those are minor points. The main thing is that Chloe won't be able to commit murder. Especially as the first time she tries to jump into the cot, she'll rebound off the net like a trampoline, hit the ceiling and die. It might be kinder just to give her the sack.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I almost bought this at the weekend...

Let's rock.It's a 12-string guitar, a 7-string guitar and a 6-string guitar, all built into one ridiculously huge, and probably unplayable, behemoth. And I wanted it. Although I'm not entirely sure why. For a start it's got approximately 19 strings more than I need. I think it was the colour that appealed to me. And the fact that I wanted to see the reaction from my local music shop when I walked in and asked for a case.

Anyway, it was being sold by one of those wacky Germans that seem to populate the guitar section of Ebay. David Hasselhoff aside, they're all into prog rock over there, which probably explains a lot. Although even Genesis in the 1970s might have thought twice about this thing. It must be like wearing a millstone around your neck. Frankly, by the time you've finished strumming the first chorus, you'd have to go and see a chiropractor.

But I don't let things like that put me off. It's almost a year to the day since I bought a guitar from a barking Bavarian, and I haven't regretted it for a single moment. I haven't played it for a single moment either, but that's beside the point. It's a conversation piece. Or it would be if you could see it through the layer of dust.

Anyway, with a couple of hours to go, the triple-necked beauty above was standing at about eighty quid, but after a flurry of late bids, it ended up slipping away for £165. I was willing to part with a hundred pounds or so, but with postage it came to £190, and frankly the only way I'll spend that sort of money on something I'll never use is if Lisa loses her second engagement ring.

Anyhoo, considered purchases aside, I had my final hour of I.T. training at work this morning. I'm now fully up to speed on the pharmacy computer system. At least that's what they think. Interestingly, having taught me how to requisition a tube of ointment for the genito-urinary department, my trainer then asked me when my baby's due, which took me by surprise because I'd forgotten I'd told her. Maybe she just thought I looked pregnant. But it gave me a chance to show her the scan photo in my wallet, whereupon she told me that she has a friend whose husband fainted at their first scan. And I thought I was squeamish.

Mind you, I found out yesterday that the hospital ask for a donation if you want a photo to take away, so by the time Lisa's finished picking her favourites and they hand me the bill, I might not be conscious myself.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ahh... global warming.

And to think some people say the polar ice caps are melting. They should try moving here. I could do with some help digging my car out of a snowdrift in April.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

For the past two months I've had something on the calendar for today. Local historian Geoff Mead, who I've attempted to make famous in a total of four Kemptown Rag articles (the most recent being page 5 of this issue, which features a line I shamelessly stole from Dave without his consent - that'll teach him to comment on this blog), is leading a five mile walk to Plumpton Plain this morning.

Unfortunately, the view from my living room window (taking in the south facing communal courtyard) currently looks like this:

Snow, really.
That's the front door of the £200,000 patio-level flat you can see there.

Anyhoo, call me insane, but the thought of walking halfway to Lewes, uphill, in a snowstorm doesn't really appeal to me, so I'm staying in. I'll go next year instead. Possibly with a pram.

Actually, on the subject of children, we received a gift yesterday from Lisa's mother...

Because they're cuter when they're asleep.I'd say she was being a bit premature, but Lisa's already bought the Supernanny book, my parents have given me 'The Sixty Minute Father', and my Dad was measuring prams back in February. So frankly she's left it a bit late. She should learn from my parents, who are only too well aware that if you want me to get through a book which is designed to be read in an hour, you need to give me a good eight months.

Anyway, bearing in mind that my neighbours are inclined to bang on the ceiling if I make Lisa laugh after 10pm, it's probably just as well to have a book of advice on crying babies. If all else fails, I can use it to beat the child unconscious. Lisa's already read a couple of chapters, while I've flicked through the index, looking for a chapter on partying Poles, which are the main cause of my sleep problems.

Sadly I didn't find anything on that, but I did find this:

All of which are dances I've done at weddings. I know more about babies than I thought.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I knew it was a mistake to say my cat's fine now. She threw up again in the night. Frankly she's had more morning sickness than Lisa.

But despite wading through vomit on a daily basis, Lisa and I did make it to Dave Gorman's book launch last night. Mind you, I had a slight panic when I got home at 5:45pm, dug out the tickets, and saw this...

Fortunately it turned out to be a misprint. The time I mean, not the ridiculous booking fee.

So having eaten a ham sandwich in thirty seconds flat, I rang Lisa's Mum at 6pm to warn Lisa that I was on my way, and ended up having a nice chat with my Dad. I wondered for a few moments what he was doing answering the phone at Lisa's Mum's, before realising I'd pressed the wrong speed-dial button, and hanging up. But I'm sure he was pleased to hear from me.

Despite the wrong number, Lisa and I made it over to Hove and through the doors of The Old Market at 6:28pm. Which is more than I can say for Dave Gorman. He was apparently stuck in traffic and didn't get there until 6:45.

America UnchainedHe was worth waiting for though. I have to say, I wish I was Dave Gorman. He has the ability to stand up in front of a hall full of people and talk confidently, interestingly and amusingly, all apparently off the top of his head, for as long as you want him to, without once coming across as arrogant or full of himself. Frankly I think Lisa was in love with him by the end. To be honest, so was I.

I have to come clean here and admit that I was very slightly disappointed with the documentary which was screened on More 4 in February, but in person, Dave Gorman is infinitely more entertaining. And judging by the stories he told, a lot of the highlights of his adventure weren't captured on film. I particularly liked his tales of Eminem lookalikes with guns, and the woman who launched a campaign to boycott Wal-Mart purely because they sold the DVD of Brokeback Mountain. Then there was his line about all McDonalds food being foul, apart from the chicken. (I'm not sure that joke really works in print).

Anyhoo, today is of course the Grand National, and despite discovering yesterday afternoon that access to the Racing Post website is blocked at work (I hope I haven't been flagged up on the system for trying), nothing's going to stop me from tipping the winner, so here we go...

King Johns Castle1st. King Johns Castle at 20-1

D'Argent2nd. D'Argent at 25-1

Chelsea Harbour3rd. Chelsea Harbour at 16-1

Simon4th. Simon at 12-1

Bewley's Berry will look fantastic all the way around, then fade away at the end, while the hot favourite Cloudy Lane will fall at the first. No, really. I'm off to put my money where my mouth is...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Her coat is so warm...As if her own coat isn't thick enough, without stealing mine too.

Frankly I'm lucky she's not throwing up all over it. She hasn't been very well just lately, but the good news is that I think I've diagnosed the problem. It seems to be a little known, yet serious, condition which causes her to projectile vomit across my living room carpet until I stop giving her Lidl cat food, and start buying Iams at three times the price. The sad thing is she's been quite happy with cheap foreign food for the past eighteen months, but Mr Lidl appears to have changed his recipe (possibly going from mouse to rat), and I now have to spend my lunch hour scraping it off the floor. I wouldn't mind, but it's costing me a fortune in carpet cleaner.

Anyhoo, having tried Whiskas with no improvement, I've moved from Lidl Opticat at £1.99 to Iams Senior at £5.88, and wouldn't you just know it, she's fine. That cat knows quality when she tastes it. She probably thinks that by throwing up everywhere and costing me a fortune, she's preparing me for the baby.

But vomit aside, I'm off out tonight. I have two tickets to hear Dave Gorman read aloud from his new book, 'America Unchained'. Obviously I haven't read it, but I have seen the film. Unfortunately I bought the tickets in February, before I knew that I'd be working the kind of hours which would mean I don't get home until 5:45pm. Dave starts reading at 6:30pm. Meaning I have 45 minutes to eat my tea, get ready, pick up Lisa from visiting time at her Mum's, and drive over to darkest Hove at rush hour on a Friday.

But if we make it there before the epilogue, it should be very good. Dave Gorman co-wrote the Mrs Merton Show, so there's bound to be some audience participation. And the best thing is, I won't be the only one writing about it the next day on my blog. We should be able to get his side of the story too. I wonder if he'll mention me as much as I mention him..?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cong Ratu Lati OnsI've had a Congratulations-on-the-New-Job card from Lorraine! She apparently bought one for me a few weeks ago, wrote it, lost it, and had to buy a new one. Unfortunately, before she could write that one, she was forced to abandon her post and go into hospital to give birth. But the good news is that she's now emerged from the maternity ward with her new Star Wars themed baby, Leia (Lorraine's little princess), and having prioritised her workload, she's managed to find enough time to write me a card. Although by the time she came to send it, she'd lost the envelope. Anyone would think she had a lot on her mind at the moment.

Anyhoo, not only is the card lovely, and signed by Lorraine, her fiancé, her daughter and all three of her cats (at least four of whom can't write), it also says this...

Left holding the baby.
... thereby making it the first correspondence I've had from a topless woman since I sent off for Sam Fox's autograph.

As for my own unborn progeny (or should that be prodigy?), Lisa's received an appointment today for her first proper scan (as opposed to last week's nuchal scan for the elderly), and the date they've given us is...

May 29th. Which is our four-year anniversay. The new scriptwriter's working overtime at the moment.