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Friday, January 30, 2009

I do like to air my dirty linen in public...

... which is why Amelie features on this blog so much.

Actually, now I see how comfy she looks in that thing, I wonder why we bothered getting a Moses basket. Our second child can have a laundry basket from the pound shop.

As it happens though, Amelie may have spent her last night in the bulrushes, because I've managed to lay my hands on some cot bedding. I popped into Asda after work on Wednesday and they're currently holding a 'Baby & Toddler Event'. To be honest, I see some kind of toddler event every time I go to Asda, but this one has less to do with tantrums in the confectionary aisle, and more to do with selling kids' stuff to people like me.

So I picked up a baby bedding bundle for fifteen quid, and we're planning to use it tonight. I'm not saying Lisa lacks confidence in Amelie's ability to sleep in the cot, but she suggested we don't try it on a work night. Not that it makes much difference to me. I may not be due at work tomorrow, but I've got to be up at dawn to take my car to the garage for a new wheel. It won't be the first time I've lost sleep due to my spare tyre, but on this occasion it won't be due to lying awake worrying about my weight.

Oh, and as for the pharmacy van run this morning, by some miracle that went without a hitch. Naturally I had a bit of a run-in with a DHL driver who didn't like me blocking the hospital service road, after which I promptly reversed into a laundry trolley, but that's pretty much par for the course. And besides, I can afford to be reckless. I'm surrounded by doctors, and driving a van full of painkillers. Just how much harm can I come to?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The NHS transport department have said they've got no drivers for tomorrow morning, so they've asked me to do the pharmacy van run. With my recent track record, they have no idea what they're letting themselves in for. But on the bright side, at least I'll have plenty of tranquilisers on hand while I wait for the AA.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Daughter of the DamnedJust look at that optimistic little face. She has no idea her Daddy's cursed by the gods of motoring. If she did, she'd be crying as much as I am.

Suffice it to say it's been another day of joy on the roads. I've had my Mum's car for... oooh, a full three days now, so it's about time I managed to knacker this one too. I was just pulling into a parking space at Brighton General Hospital this morning when I suddenly lost direction in life, and felt a general sinking feeling. I promptly got out of the car, only to be greeted by the pssssssst of a tyre rapidly deflating. Which is not the news you want when it's pouring with rain, you're two minutes late for work, and you've already written off one car this week. With luck like this, anyone would think I'd broken a mirror, but ironically the wing mirrors were just about the only part of my Skoda still intact when they towed it away.

Anyhoo, the good news is I'm getting my money's worth out of the AA. Although if I carry on like this, they'll be following Woolworths into administration. I'm a one-man profit warning. But fortunately they managed to afford the petrol to rescue me again today, and I spent an enjoyable fifteen minutes standing at the pharmacy door, watching a man in day-glo waterproofs kneeling in a puddle to fit my spare wheel. At which point I realised how stupid I'd been not to have kept the one from my old car. I think I was too busy saving my Homer Simpson ice-scraper.

But talking of AA, I was reading this article yesterday about a miracle cure for alcoholism. Apparently taking 270mg of baclofen a day completely removes your urge to drink. Frankly it's not surprising. We stock baclofen tablets at work, and they only come in one strength: 10mg. Never mind supressing your cravings, by the time you've got 27 pills out of a blister pack, you don't have time to open a bottle of wine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So anyway, there I was at work today, singing 'Any Old Iron' as I threw out some expired Ferrous Sulphate, when I came across another love note from India...

I might try those numbers on the lottery.
It's barely five months since I encountered the mathematical genius of the lovely Supaiya, and already there's another woman on the scene. Admittedly Sangeeta appears to have written her message more than a year ago, but it's a long way from Gandhidham to Brighton. And according to Wikipedia, she lives in a "barren land with snakes and scorpions", so it can't be easy getting to a post box. Let's just hope Rusan Pharma makes anti-venom.

But pen-pals aside, I'm pleased to report that as of lunchtime today, my car is officially in heaven. That's assuming it got through the pearly gates without breaking down. My Mum successfully swapped it for an 'Intent of Destruction Certificate', so that's the last I'll ever see of my little blue Skoda. It's a good job it's appeared in the local paper, otherwise I'd have nothing to remember it by.

In other news, it seems that last week's optical illusion is more famous than I thought. Apparently you can get this on a t-shirt...

Toothpaste for Dinner
Although personally I prefer the one which reads "I'm so adjective, I verb nouns!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ok, I take it back. Simple Eye Ointment doesn't cost 3p a box. I checked the computer at work today and it's actually just over three quid a tube. So Boots didn't fleece me for my wool fat after all.

But that aside, I've always said that you don't realise just how much work your colleagues do until one of them is off sick. And judging by how busy we were this morning, I'd say my Slovakian workmate has been running the place single-handed for the past six months. I didn't take the call myself, but having heard how rough he sounded on the phone this morning, our manager seemed quite concerned, and told me that he clearly needs a few days complete rest. So if you're reading this, mate, they're not expecting you back until February. Put your feet up and watch Jeremy Kyle. Lisa swears by it. And frequently at it.

As for the other challenges in my life, all I can say is thank God for parents. No, they haven't offered to pay for my eye ointment (there are limits to their generosity), but they have supplied me with something almost as valuable: a replacement car. Yes, having moved into their retirement bungalow last Tuesday, they've agreed to give up my Mum's Skoda for the good of the NHS.

Yesterday was spent transferring ownership, sorting out insurance, and arranging for my old car to be towed to the nearest wrecker's yard. They're coming to get it tomorrow, so I spent yesterday afternoon removing the new stereo I'd just paid good money to have installed, and carrying out one final search for Lisa's lost engagement ring. I may not have found it, but I did discover a 1p piece under the driver's seat, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Another ninety-nine and I can buy a lottery ticket.

As for today, I had the afternoon off work to take Lisa to the dentist. Her mouth is apparently too full of wisdom, so she had to have some removed before she got too long in the tooth. I was supposed to be looking after her, both before and after the procedure, but I made an informed medical diagnosis and decided she'd be fine if I drove over to Hove instead. So I headed for the council parking department and got a resident's permit for my new car. My Mum's coming back in the morning to read the last rites to my old one, and make sure it gets a decent send-off. Frankly, without my parents, that car wouldn't have been the only one suffering a breakdown this weekend. Thanks, Mum & Dad. xxx

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The good thing about eye ointment is that it makes your vision so blurry you can barely see your broken-down car. And frankly that's the only thing keeping me sane right now. I'd say it's been a trying day, but I'm not so much trying as giving up.

Things got off to a good start when I woke up this morning with even puffier eyes than I had yesterday. The bags under my eyes looked like they were carrying shopping. Due to tiredness and a slight lack of confidence in my own appearance, I never did make it to Asda last night, but having scared myself in the mirror this morning, I headed straight around the corner to the nearest chemist.

We stock approximately fourteen squillion tubes of chloramphenicol eye ointment at work, which we buy for about 3p a box (don't quote me on those figures), so I was hoping they'd sell me some of that over the counter. Needless to say they wouldn't. But having examined me and quickly recommended that I see a doctor (which is difficult when you've got an eye infection), the pharmacist agreed to sell me some alternative eye ointment. It turned out to be 'Simple Eye Ointment', so called because there's nothing to it. We stock that at work too, for about the same price, and it's just a mixture of yellow soft paraffin, liquid paraffin and wool fat. Which I think is the pub in Emmerdale.

Knowing how much it costs, and allowing for retail mark-up, I was naturally expecting to be charged about 29p. So imagine my delight when the assistant scanned the tube and the cash register came up with £5.19. I'd have rubbed my eyes, but frankly they were too sore. So having already taken leave of one of my five senses, I abandoned the other four and handed over the money.

Anyway, as luck would have it, the eye ointment does appear to have helped. On the downside, I can't see a thing for about half an hour after putting it in, which is a problem because I had to look after Amelie all afternoon while Lisa went to get her hair cut. Fortunately I was able to pinpoint her location using two of my remaining senses. I followed the crying until I trod on her.

Which brings me to this evening. I'd planned to spend it shopping at Asda, and to be honest I very nearly did. I actually spent it at the Asda petrol station, blocking a pump with my broken-down car, and waiting for ninety minutes in the freezing cold for the AA to turn up. Despite having spent £500 on a complete service last October, my car's been as sick as a parrot for the past couple of months, and now I know why. It seems my head gasket was on the way out, and the problem wasn't, as my local garage told me, "just the cold, damp weather".

Anyhoo, as the AA man towed my car home at 9:15pm, minus the shopping which I'd never managed to do, he told me that it was likely to cost around £600 to fix. Assuming I think it's worth getting it done. Which I don't. Something tells me I've driven this car for the last time. I just wish I hadn't put thirty quid's worth of petrol in it two minutes before it died.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I woke up this morning with puffy red skin around my eyes, and despite bathing them in cold water at regular intervals, the longer the day's gone on, the more red, sore and itchy they've become. Frankly I look like a panda with sunburn...

Peeping Am
Fortunately I'm now qualified to take photos like that, because I had a half hour meeting this morning with the head of the hospital's Clinical Media Centre (at least I think it was him - I could barely see), and what he doesn't know about photographing hideous eye diseases isn't worth knowing. Admittedly he kept me waiting for five minutes when I arrived, but that's what happens when you cycle into work through a rainstorm. As his secretary said to me, "He's just drip-drying in the next room". But having popped his lycra shorts on the nearest radiator, he gave me a cup of tea, looked me in the eye, and passed on a few tips. I think they've paid off. I look as rough as anything in the photo above.

So I'm off to Asda for some eye ointment. Or failing that, a pair of sunglasses...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here's another optical illusion. The squares marked A & B are exactly the same shade of grey...

I think it's the difference in hair length which somehow fools the eye.

Anyhoo, I've felt slightly less tired today, which is just as well because I've had my annual Performance & Development Review at work, and it's not really something I should sleep through. It was actually scheduled for last November, but things move slowly in the NHS. I think the year you're supposed to review is the one that's passed since they told you about it. But the good news is that I successfully made it to the end of the meeting without getting fired, and as of Monday they're giving me the power to adjust stock levels on the pharmacy computer. So when I drop a bottle of morphine, I can take it off the system myself.

As for Lisa, she took Amelie to a new mother & baby group down the road this afternoon. Amelie attempted to read a cloth book by stuffing it into her mouth (I've heard of people devouring a good book, but that's going too far), while Lisa learnt a new version of the song 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' which involved screaming at crocodiles. I expect they sang it at Steve Irwin's funeral. But the saddest news of the day, as told to Lisa by one of the mothers, is that the Cupcake shop in St George's Road has just closed down. Lisa was distraught. But only because she thought the woman was talking about the bakery around the corner.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've been as tired as a narcoleptic with M.E. today. I knew I shouldn't have licked my fingers after handling the Zopiclone at work. That's what happens when the pharmacy manager brings in doughnuts. So in the absence of a thousand words, here's a pretty picture. The squares marked A & B are exactly the same shade of grey...

Grey Area
I've examined the proof, read the explanation, cropped both squares in a paint program and seen with my own eyes that it's true. Yet somehow I still don't believe it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's a group of God-fearing Christians!

We are gathered here today...
The faces have been blurred to protect the innocent. Or maybe Lisa's sister just couldn't keep the camera still. But despite being no more than a fuzzy blob, you can quite clearly see that I'm now fully indoctrinated in the ways of the church, and ready to step in and give spiritual guidance to my three young godchildren at a moment's notice. I started by telling them the good news of Christ. Which is that Jesus wants them to stand up straight and smile for the camera, instead of running amok in the pews.

But anyhoo, yesterday's christening went without a hitch (so it's a good job it wasn't a wedding). Obviously, given the choice, it would have been nice to have had more than an hour's notice that Lisa's estranged father was unexpectedly driving down from Sheffield for the occasion, but you can't have everything. It kept us on our toes anyway. Apart from when Lisa fainted.

The good news is that I managed to hold a candle without setting fire to the hymn books, laughed at all the rector's jokes, and successfully confirmed my beliefs in a convincing manner. As a result, I'm officially the godfather, and I have the certificate to prove it...

The Godfather
I'm not supposed to have the certificate, but Lisa and I accidentally walked off with it after the service.

Having posed for photos, we left the church via the offering plate, into which Lisa's Mum placed a fiver, I added 20p, and Lisa put nothing at all. So there's no way she's going to heaven. She claimed she didn't notice it, but the Baby Jesus knows when you're lying.

From there it was back to Lisa's sister's for tea and cake. I have to say I admire Lisa's sister. It doesn't matter how her home-made cakes turn out, she just won't give up making them. I like that kind of resilience. The last one looked like a cross between a Jaffa Cake and a molehill (and I got into trouble for saying so), but this one raised the bar even higher. To be honest, when your cake hasn't really risen, I'm not sure you should cover it in white chocolate and cream. It does tend to look like a cowpat in custard. But ironically it tasted very nice. She just needs to blindfold people before they eat it.

So having enjoyed our afternoon tea, we headed home to rescue Marie from the clutches of Amelie. I think they'd had a good afternoon, but Marie hadn't managed to eat the pizza, which is what it's like when you've got a baby. No wonder Lisa's lost weight. I drove Marie to the station in my own version of a fire engine (a Skoda with smoke coming out of it), and returned just in time to welcome Lisa's father for a short visit. So Amelie's now met her grandfather. We took a photo in case it doesn't happen again.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The building's fire alarm went off at 9:30pm last night. Personally I find it reassuring to know that modern smoke detectors are sensitive to cannabis fumes. And encouraging that my neighbours weren't too stoned to stagger out of their flat and key in the right code to turn it off. It's just as well - another five minutes and Marie might have turned up in her fire engine.

I can only assume that they went straight to bed after that. And then got up early this morning. Because the alarm went off again at 8am. It didn't bother me too much because I'd been lying awake since six-thirty listening to the sound of Amelie babbling nonsense at the top of her voice, and frankly it was just nice to have something to drown her out for a few minutes. And besides, if you're going to bond with the people who live upstairs, what better way to do it than stood around a fire alarm console in your pyjamas first thing on a Sunday morning.

We're off to the christening shortly. I plan to sleep through the whole thing and hope people assume I'm praying.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I think I'm raising an evil genius...

She's clearly plotting my downfall. I might hire her out as a Bond villain.

Anyhoo, if this blog post makes no sense, it's because I'm currently high on cannabis. That's if passive smoking works with class C drugs. I'm not sure what my neighbours are up to this evening, but the communal hallway smells like a Dutch coffee shop (obviously I wouldn't know what that smells like, but Lisa told me), and having just walked back and forth to my car with a load of baby supplies, I feel strangely mellow. And peckish. Although I always feel peckish.

But that aside, we've had a visit today from the lovely Marie. She last sat on my sofa in December, but she was back on the south coast today for a friend's hen weekend, so she dropped in on us for a couple of hours before heading into town to buy some pink bunny ears and an inflatable willy. As we speak, she's touring the pubs of Brighton in an off-duty fire engine, which is appropriate as I think any dignity she once had will have gone up in smoke by now.

And as if an emergency vehicle isn't enough, the stripper they hired last night came dressed as a fireman, so I assume the bride-to-be must be some kind of pyromaniac. It's a shame Lisa wasn't invited - she could have played London's Burning on the recorder.

Anyhoo, taking advantage of the fact that I had someone to help me with Amelie, Lisa promptly headed off into town for the afternoon, so I fed Marie pasta, ate all the doughnuts she'd brought us, and bored her about my work-life for an hour. It's not surprising she didn't stay long.

Finding myself at a loose end with a baby to entertain, I then decided to take Amelie to the Martlet's Hospice Furniture Warehouse in Hove. It's where I bought both my sofa (although not the saw I used to cut its legs off) and Lisa's dressing table, so I wanted to show Amelie the place to go for cheap furniture. Because frankly she's already got more clothes than her mother and we've run out of storage space.

So we spent a fiver on a high quality chest of drawers. Frankly it's gorgeous, and probably an antique. I'd take a photo, but the flash keeps reflecting off the white formica and plastic handles.

From there I took Amelie to Toys R Us, picked up a cot mattress, and returned home happy in the knowledge that she can now vacate the Moses basket. Until I walked through the front door and realised I'd forgotten to buy sheets.

Following a short break for doughnuts (me) and milk (Am), we headed out again on foot to the nearest branch of Somerfield, where I failed to buy bedding, but did lay my hands on a stuffed crust pizza. Assuming she's not lying in a gutter on the seafront wearing a pink tutu and wrapped in a fireman's hose, Marie's coming back tomorrow to babysit Amelie while her parents are at a christening. She's expecting Sunday lunch, so the pizza's all hers.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I am SO over it.I'm not saying it's been a quiet day at work, but a colleague gave me this sticker at 9am, and by five-thirty it remained the most exciting event of the day. With the possible exception of this advert on the NHS staff noticeboard:

For Sale: Table
Round, 90cm, solid white Italian marble top, black cast iron base, as used in Pizza Express restaurants, £99 ono.

After all, if you're going to nick a table from the local pizza joint, what better place to try and flog it than at work. You can probably get a porter to help you wheel it out on a trolley. Oh, and I can also lay my hands on a McDonalds napkin dispenser if anyone's interested.

But not everything today has been an unexpected delight. Some things were as predictable as tomorrow's lottery numbers. I received a text message from Big Sis this morning, to say that with just two weeks left in Australia, the inevitable has finally happened, and she's managed to kill a parrot. She hit it with the windscreen of her car at 70mph. I think she was aiming for a kangaroo at the time. But the good news is she's now just one kill away from the full house. With fourteen days to go, it's koala or bust.

As for Amelie, she's just received a written report from the Health Visitor...

Babbling Well
It's interesting how babbling is seen as a good thing when you're not hearing it at 5am.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

That's the last time I base my financial future on a cardboard box.

Not a single winning number. Not even one. And I had to sit through a performance by New Kids on the Block to find that out. Frankly I deserved the money for that alone. I think fate must have got its wires crossed. But on the plus side, the fact that none of my numbers came up last night, means they're all bound to put in an appearance on Saturday. So I've bought another ticket. I can't lose.

To be honest though, I don't really need to win the lottery any more, because Lidl have just slashed the price of cat litter...

Every Lidl Helps
Credit crunch, what credit crunch?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Should that hand really be growing out of her head?If there's one thing I've always said, it's that I can't stand people who talk too much. Especially when I have to share a bedroom with them. Amelie woke me up at six-fifteen this morning, not by crying, but by constantly talking to herself in a loud voice. She started chatting about two weeks ago, and with each passing day she seems to find even more to say for herself. Frankly the girl won't shut up. She's jabbering on night and day about nothing in particular. Much like her mother.

But the good news is that in a couple of hours time I'll be able to build her a soundproof extension, because I plan to win the lottery tonight. Lisa and I were talking on Sunday about the need for a bigger flat, and we both agreed that rather than going down the risky route of savings and investments, we should start buying a lottery ticket every week.

Having discussed the plan, I pointed out the obvious injustice in the situation. Namely that despite deserving to win the lottery probably more than anyone in the country, I don't have any kind of psychic gift or ability to see into the future, and am forced to merely choose six numbers at random along with everyone else. Which is frankly a national scandal. So I concluded by saying that maybe fate would step in and give me some kind of sign before Wednesday night's draw.

I didn't have to wait long. On Monday afternoon we received a delivery at work from a pharmaceutical company, and there, on the side of the box, was the word 'LOTTO' printed in capital letters, next to a string of figures. Some people would say it was just the lot number in a foreign language, but I know a sign when I see one. My colleagues seemed more interested in the contents of the box; in fact there was a certain degree of ridicule when I rushed to get a pen and paper, and claimed I'd be a millionaire within 48 hours, but they'll be laughing on the other side of their faces when I'm turning up for work in a Maserati.

That's assuming I keep my low-paid job when I'm rich. Which I probably will, if only for the free cakes.

Anyhoo, I put the money down last night, so I'm all set for a life of decadence. I can't reveal the winning numbers here for obvious reasons, but if anyone wants them, they're currently in the recycled cardboard skip at Brighton General. You've got about twenty minutes to find them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breaking news from today's NHS All Staff Info-Mail...

Handling Bad News Training
This is a three hour training course for health care professionals. It covers the BSUH 10 Step Peter Kay Framework, which is the recommended way to break bad news and handle difficult situations.

The 10 Step Peter Kay Framework?? What the heck does that involve? Dressing up as Geraldine McQueen and leading the nurses in a chorus of 'Is This the Way to Amarillo'?? "You've got three weeks to live, Mr Gardner, but here's a Phoenix Nights DVD so you can go out laughing"??? Or just handing out cans of John Smith's to people with cancer? You have to wonder...

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's the biggest name in trance, DJ Tiësto!

Is he on the side of a mountain?
You can't see his feet there, but he and I are wearing the same shoes. No, really.

Lisa needed an afternoon nap yesterday, so I wheeled Amelie down to the marina for a couple of hours, in search of a smart shirt for next Sunday. Lisa and I have been asked to fulfill the role of godparents in the lives of her nephews, all of whom are being christened on the 18th (I think there's some kind of three-for-one offer going on). Personally I've never been to a christening in my life (not even my own), but I get the feeling they might not want me providing spiritual guidance to three small boys if I turn up in jeans and a vest. And as previously mentioned, I'm right out of shirts at the moment.

So I went for a bit of quality, and bought one from Asda. I didn't ask Amelie for her opinion, but she cried the whole time we were in the queue, so I'm sensing she doesn't like the colour. Or maybe she just prefers Next like her mother.

From there we headed to the Reebok outlet store, to look for some new trainers for work. Mine are suffering from the number of bottles of morphine I've dropped on them over the past nine months, and I need some grippier soles if I'm going to walk around with fifty grand of Herceptin in my hands. So I was attracted by an offer on a pair of 'Run the DJ Tiësto' sneakers. Speaking as someone with their finger on the pulse of electronic dance music, I'd naturally never heard of DJ Tiësto, but that didn't stop me buying his shoes.

What stopped me was Amelie. It's not easy trying on trainers when everyone's staring at your wailing baby as though you're personally kicking her to make her cry. So I left empty-handed before someone called social services.

But I'm not easily put off. Having read Tiësto's entry on Wikipedia and realised that I'm clearly the only person in the northern hemisphere who wouldn't know him from Adam, I decided that my life wouldn't be complete without a pair of his shoes, and went straight back down there after work today to buy a pair. They were reduced from £74.99 to £22.50. Which shows just how popular he is.

To be honest I'm surprised they're not selling, because they come with a lovely picture of him stroking his hair, and the following words of wisdom: "Music is my passion and inspiration in reaching my goals". Which is what you want when you're buying footwear.

So I joined the world's smallest queue, whipped out my debit card, and got talking to the only other person in the shop. He claimed to be a former professional boxer who was buying running shoes in preparation for a cage-fighting contest at Hove Town Hall. Which sounded about as likely as me being a European trance fan. The difference is I had the shoes to prove it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New for 2009, from the people who brought you the singing cat, it's... the silent cow!

Sacred Cow
It's the perfect gift, because Amelie's life revolves around milk. And sure enough, thirty seconds after taking that photo, she was grabbing the bull by the horns and trying to suck its udders.

Pull the udder one.Well, its feet. She's not so much on the breast as on the hoof.

Anyhoo, last night's foray into fine dining was, naturally, a complete success. It's amazing what you can do with a bit of dried pasta and some shop-bought garlic bread. Especially when everyone's distracted by the cow on the sofa. And I don't mean Lisa.

I'd invited our pals S & A (last seen in my living room four weeks ago) to pop around for an evening of culture at 6pm, so I was naturally delighted to receive a phone call at 5pm to say they'd had a power cut and couldn't see to do their hair. Frankly it's a miracle they could find the phone. So I took it for granted that they'd be late, turned the heat down on my tinned tomatoes, and didn't bother to get changed. Making it all the more exciting when they turned up early at five to six. I expect it was all just a ruse to catch me in my Farmyard Friends apron.

But you can't complain when your guests bring you gifts. Last time it was a yule log and singing cat; this time chocolates and a cow. If we keep inviting them round, we'll be surrounded by animals and too fat to move. As for Amelie, she greeted them with a smile, then burst into tears and had to be locked in the bedroom. Which at least gave Chloe the chance for a bit of attention. Frankly she had so many strokes it's a miracle the blood's still flowing to her brain.

Anyhoo, we had an enjoyable evening eating carbohydrates and discussing Gary Glitter, The Village People, Spice Girls and Dolly Parton, before settling down to watch Mamma Mia. And may I say I loved it. It's a good job I'm a man's man, otherwise people might think I'm a bit camp.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's not easy to watch your favourite programme when there's a fearsome animal guarding the remote control...

Big Cat Encounter
Cbeebies is out the window, and we're stuck with Big Cat Live.

But when she's not fighting fat furry felines, Amelie's been visiting Lisa's side of the family. I picked her up from her Nanny's flat after work yesterday, where Lisa's sister handed her to me with the words "I've always wondered what Phil would look like in a dress. Now I know". I'm still not sure how to take that.

Incidentally, it seems I was setting a bit of a trend with Thursday's post. Having given Rob Johnston the life-saving oxygen of publicity, the non-story of his resignation was picked up by the national press, with both The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard publishing their versions of events yesterday. Which is ironic because I thought it barely warranted a mention in the Argus. The Evening Standard manages to leave out the fact that he's from Brighton, in an effort to make it relevant to Londoners, and uses the headline "PC's Blog: I Hate Chavs and Muslims", which is wrong on so many levels. But the article's written by Ed Harris, who was great in Apollo 13, so you have to forgive him really.

Anyhoo, must dash. I'm throwing a dinner party tonight for a couple of friends, so I need to go and prepare a gourmet meal for four, complete with high-quality entertainment. It's like an episode of 'Come Dine With Me', but with a £1 dessert from Asda and a DVD of 'Mamma Mia'. I've only got a three-seater sofa and no dining table, but you can't let these things put you off. And besides, Lisa can always sit on the floor.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I need to be careful what I say here. One mention of a trip to Lidl and I could be sacked on the spot. No, really. It turns out that the Brighton Argus is on a mission to report local bloggers who find chavs annoying, and force them to resign from their jobs. By Monday morning the dole queue could be a mile long.

According to this article in today's paper...

"Rob Johnston, 22, a trainee special constable from Hangleton, Brighton, resigned on Monday after The Argus alerted Sussex Police bosses to his online blog where he listed Muslims and Chavs as things that “annoyed” him."

Blimey. I feel like hugging a hoodie immediately just to safeguard my job. I'd do it right now, but I don't like to go near the Whitehawk estate after dark. It's not that I find chavs annoying; it's more that I feel they'd stab me for the loose change in my pocket. And then use it to buy a chainsaw from Lidl. But I love them like I love my own sister. And I'd like to meet up with them just as frequently.

As for Rob Johnston, he's taken down his blog ( and made it redirect to a Canadian site about the the UK becoming a police state, which is quite amusing if you ask me. They could do with creativity like that in the Specials. And let's face it, judging by his YouTube page, the man plays with model trains in his garden. Just how dangerous can he be?

But talking of people who are misunderstood, Amelie's a lot better now, thanks for asking.

Jockey WilsonHere she is playing darts whilst riding an imaginary horse. Which I suppose makes her Jockey Wilson.

Anyhoo, she kept us awake most of Tuesday night, regaling us with tales of just how upsetting her injections had been, and showing us her puncture wounds, but as of yesterday morning she's back to her old self, and smiling at the bags under my eyes.

Vaccination hasn't affected her development either. In fact I'm pleased to report that she's reached an important milestone. Yes, at the age of just three months and one week, Amelie's started picking things up. Lisa left her on the changing mat for a few moments yesterday, and came back to find her with a plastic nappy sack over her face. We're so proud. Mainly of the fact that she's still alive.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that we squirted a tube of teething gel into Amelie's mouth last night, and she slept like a baby. Well, a baby who's not teething and is off her head on Bonjela. The bad news is she had her second round of vaccinations this afternoon.

It's surprising what a difference a couple of injections can make. I took a photo of her at lunchtime, twenty minutes before she left for the surgery, with her smiles lighting up the room so effectively that I didn't even need a flash. By the time I got home from work, Little Miss Sunshine had turned into the Princess of Darkness...

Little Miss SunshineNeedled
                           At Risk                                                                        Immune

She's well and truly needled.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My Mum's visited me twice in the past few days. On Thursday I gave her half my clothes on the grounds that I don't have room for them, I don't really need them, and they'll probably suit her a lot better than me anyway. Two days later I discovered that I don't have a smart shirt big enough to stretch over my yule-log-filled stomach, and I'd have to go to an AA ball looking like a wino.

On Saturday she came back and I returned to her a box of Day Nurse capsules, on the grounds that my cold was much better, I didn't really need them, and I'd never paid her for them anyway. The next day I suffered a relapse and had to take to my bed with a sore throat, headache and no medication.

But there was a third item I merrily foisted onto my Mum: the mattress she'd lent me in October so that I could sleep in the living room on work nights and avoid the death knell of Amelie's all-night singing. Frankly she could have kept a narcoleptic awake in those first few weeks. But I gave the mattress back to my Mum on Thursday, on the grounds that Amelie now sleeps through the night, I don't really need it, and she might be glad of it when Pickfords lose her bed.

I was due back at work today for the first time this year, so the rest is obvious: Amelie's started teething three months early, she had her first bad night in weeks, the only bed is situated two feet from her vocal cords, and I've been up since half past five.

It's a good job I didn't lend my Mum a fiver, or I'd now be struggling to pay the rent.

So I've spent the day back at work, walking around like a zombie on Valium. But how can you be annoyed with something this cute..?

Who, me?
Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. But a teething ring might, so Lisa got her one this morning.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's me at the AA Convention!

Beauty & the Beast
I can't tell you who that is on the right because it's anonymous. But needless to say she was a lot better dressed than I was. Which is what happens when you throw out half your clothes and then realise you don't have a single shirt which fits you.

Anyhoo, if there's one thing I've always said, it's that ninety percent of people on buses are nutters. The other ten percent are me and Lisa. So what better way to travel to the Hilton Metropole than by catching the 1A to Churchill Square. It gives you the chance to meet all sorts of interesting people. I particularly liked the bloke who tried to chat Lisa up while I was sitting right next to her, and the mother who'd accessorised her baby with a pair of glasses, but for sheer entertainment value, you couldn't beat the woman who'd dyed her dog pink. It was like candy floss on a lead. I was going to tell everyone about it when we got to the convention, but I was afraid they'd think I'd been drinking.

We made it there in one piece though, and settled down in the Oxford Room to hear a variety of speakers. Or we would have done if the PA system had been turned up a bit louder and they hadn't all had foreign accents. I'm not even sure one of them was speaking a known language. But fortunately I could hear the chairman loud and clear, which meant I caught every word of his heartfelt tribute to one of the speakers...

We'd just enjoyed the testimony of a American lady, who sat back down to hear these words of gratitude from the master of ceremonies: "Thank you *****. Typical alcoholic - loves the sound of her own voice". Judging by the collective intake of breath from around the room, I'd say that joke didn't so much fall flat on its face, as get steamrollered into the tarmac. Frankly we all needed a stiff drink after that.

So we headed for the tea and coffee room, and began to browse the merchandise stall. At which point Lisa nudged me in the ribs, and I looked to the left to see that I was standing right next to one of my musical heroes. Let's face it, when you've spent good money on concert tickets and travelled all the way to London just to hear someone sing, you don't expect to find yourself in a Brighton hotel, fighting them for an AA bookmark. But such is life. I was going to start a conversation, but I was worried he might ask me when I stopped drinking. So I played it cool and pretended I was more interested in the button badges.

The Lottery of LifeAs for the evening's entertainment, we boogeyed the night away to the sounds of Abba and Cyndi Lauper, before the raffle was drawn at 10pm. I'd invested large sums of money in ticket numbers 00156, 00157, 00158, 00159 and 00160 in the hope of winning four hundred quid's worth of Currys Digital vouchers, so when the MC drew the winning ticket for the star prize, and said "Zero... zero... one... five..." before pausing for dramatic effect, I could practically taste that Blu-ray player and home cinema system.

When he finished with "... two", I felt like heading straight for the bar. The twelve steps might be fine for Lisa, but I'd rather take the lift.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Amelie had a visit yesterday evening from one of Lisa's oldest longest-standing friends. I haven't seen her since September 11th 2004, when she used to call herself Mrs Bruno. She's dropped that name now. Possibly because she's no longer married. Anyway, it's a good job Lisa answered the door because frankly I would have refused to let her in. It's not just that she's changed, it's that I'd forgotten what she looks like.

Anyhoo, I may not have seen her for more than four years, but her first words to me were "How's your cold?". If only everyone was that dedicated to my blog. I'd never have to meet anyone in person.

The last time we met, we talked about Knott's Landing, the career of Sinitta, and the size of Daniella Westbrook's breasts, but this time we decided to discuss more trivial matters. Unfortunately I don't have time to spill the beans, as I'm off to the Hilton Metropole to pose as an alcoholic for the afternoon. Yes indeed, it's that time of the year again: the 6th annual Brighton AA Convention.

I went to last year's event, and no one rumbled the fact that I've never been that interested in booze, so I'm going back to hang out with AA members again this year. If nothing else, they might be able to fix my car.

Friday, January 02, 2009

It's 2009! And what a year it's been so far. In a shocking twist of fate, Lisa and I ended 2008 by finding out that we'd once again be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet...

Big Cat EncounterYes, that's right, Chloe's back. My Mum dropped her off yesterday with a tin of tuna and a huge sigh of relief. We'd placed Chloe into care in September in the hope of avoiding any incidences of feline infanticide, but as of today, Amelie is a quarter of a year old, and capable of fighting off any animal attacks by beating Chloe around the head with a singing dog. So we felt it was safe for the two of them to live together.

On the downside, after three months living with my Mum, Chloe's now so fat she could squash a small horse. So if she trips and falls as she's waddling past the playmat, we could have a major incident on our hands.

Not that I think we need to worry. The scene on the left is the closest Chloe's come to Amelie in the past twenty-four hours. Given the choice, she'd rather not be in the same room. She was just leaving when I snapped that photo.

Anyhoo, as responsible parents, Lisa and I spent New Year's Eve on the sofa watching 'The Most Annoying Celebrities of 2008' on BBC3. It was on for five hours, so there are obviously a lot of irritating people out there. But having slobbed out for the evening, I welcomed in the new year with a day of tireless DIY. As a result, Amelie now has a cot in the bedroom...

Note to self: buy a mattress.
Obviously it only has three sides, but that's because I can't work out how to put the front on. In the meantime it makes a handy stand for the Moses basket.

As for the rest of the bedroom, that's had a complete makeover. I've thrown out half my clothes to make room for baby stuff, and I'm gradually blocking out the light from the window with furniture, but Amelie seems to find it all quite relaxing...

Spot the baby.
No really, she is in that photo.

As for today, well Lisa celebrated Amelie's three-month birthday by heading off into town for the afternoon. So faced with sole responsibility for my daughter, I did the only sensible thing: I took her into hospital and let my work colleagues look after her for an hour. It's a lot easier to care for a baby when you've got four other people to hold her and one to make the tea. And as a bonus I might try to claim an hour's overtime.

Everyone was polite enough to comment on how much Amelie's grown, without mentioning the weight her Daddy's gained, but having already remarked upon just how alike we are, one of my colleagues waited until Amelie put on her chubbiest-cheeked, double-chinned fat face, and then said "Oooh, she really looks like Phil now". Frankly she needs to make the most of it. The way she's growing hair and I'm losing weight, we'll look like strangers in a couple of months.