Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Close Shave

Wimbledon is in crisis.  No, don’t panic, they still have strawberries and I believe the cream situation is also under control.  No, this is, if you can believe it, a problem for the well-manicured lawns of SW19.  For, you see, a number of players seem to have grown rather too fond of the grass.  So fond in fact that they have developed a habit of throwing themselves at it rather hard in an effort to make an imprint of their body in it.  This extreme act has, understandably, caused a startling number of injuries and withdrawals from ‘The Championships.’  At current count there have been twelve retirements through injury (though not all of them can be attributed to the grass mania which is sweeping the tournament) and one player is currently in the midst of a medical timeout, (he’s up and about now.  I bet you weren’t expecting a live tennis blog when you came were you?)

Mystery not-injured-anymore player has just gone 2-1 up in the first set on serve.   

It is becoming pretty clear now that this is my year, I have never had a better chance to win Wimbledon than this year. As long as I don’t get struck down by the mysterious grass malady, I think I could go far.

I’m joking of course, I’ll have a much better chance next year when they turn the whole complex into one big soft play to avoid injuries, and decree that the only competition that will be played is mixed doubles where one of the competitors must be 3 years old or younger.  I’d take me and my daughter against any of them in a game which took place in the revamped Centre Court, otherwise known as the biggest indoor ball pool in the world.  Remember when you see the announcements in the press that you heard it here first.  It really is a fool-proof idea which has the added benefit of giving at least some of the players an excuse for squealing and whining like toddlers.

Uninjured player now at 1 set all and is 3-2, on serve, in the third set, he is looking very sprightly as well

Anyway, back to grass.  You see I had a slight run-in with the grass in my own garden just this week,  and when I say a run-in with the grass what I mean is a run-in with my lawn-mower.  And when I say run-in with my lawn-mower what I really mean is that I ran over the wire powering my lawn-mower which meant that having mowed a neat little patch, and then a running track down one edge, progress was halted for quite a while as I attempted to patch up my mess.  This was a relatively simple job for one of my undoubted DIY ability.  All I had to do was get a terminal block and connect the wires up in it and Bob would, in fact, be your Uncle.  This was accomplished with little hassle and I was soon on my way mowing like a champion.  Until there was a massive bang, followed by another explosion, at which point the lawn-mower, understandably I’m sure you’ll agree, decided that discretion was the better part of valour and refused to play its, fairly crucial, part in the mowing of the lawn.

Having established, through the medium of sparks flying everywhere, that the green wire and the blue wire shouldn’t be able to come into contact (although I would like to offer, in my defence, the mitigation that I am colour blind.  I realise that this is not much mitigation as they are the only two wires in there, but I feel something needs to be said in my defence) I then spent the better part of half an hour trying to strip the wires back enough so that they would fit into the terminal block, but not so much that they would be dangling out and therefore at risk of causing my entire garden to go up in flames.  I’m afraid to tell you that my natural talent and flair for all things practical failed me at this crucial juncture and even though I thought I had managed to get the wires just right I still couldn’t make the lawn-mower do any actual mowing, instead it just stood in the middle of the patch it had just mowed sulking and muttering something under its breath about health and safety.

It eventually dawned on me that perhaps, amidst all the pyrotechnics, a fuse may have possibly blown.  Unfortunately, the time now being somewhere in the region of getting up and going to work time, such a thing was unobtainable and thus the adventure with the lawn-mower came to a rather premature end.

The Garden in better days.

I have decided though that this may, in fact, serve a greater purpose.  All we need to do is to get the players at Wimbledon to pop up here for the weekend and spend some time in my garden.  There’s so much grass here they’d be cured of their grass infatuation in minutes.

Final update on unidentified, totally fine man: 8-9 down in the final set, play has been suspended due to slight sog.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Potty Coaching

Job interviews are a phenomenon I am fairly sure only Dr Who can fully get his head around.  With his comprehensive knowledge of timey wimey stuff I eagerly await the episode where he gives a full and convincing explanation about how time can be so quick during the inevitable ‘write nonsense about a hypothetical totally unrealistic and unrelated to the job you are applying for’ test element of the selection process and yet slow down to such an extent that it is always a surprise when you leave an interview and people are still not taking the intergalactic express to commute to work.  Surely that sort of time-bending shenanigans is just begging to be tackled in an episode of Dr Who.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

All Grown Up

Your chips will never be the same again
Let me talk to you about hot sauce.  Oh go on.  A really good hot sauce is a transcendent experience.  You see a really good hot sauce has the potential to completely ruin your meal because:

a) You will not be able to taste anything else for the rest of the day
b) Why would you want to?  

This is a really good hot sauce remember, which, when done properly is just the most sublime of tastes that there is (except for maybe a raspberry which is just the greatest flavour of them all).

It is not just hot sauce that is like this though, sometimes you experience something which just spoils you for everything else.  Something which is so far and above your ordinary experience that it leaves everything else lacking in lustre just a little, something which is of a quality that it seems as though it will never be matched, even though you keep trying to recreate the moment.  

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Rearing 'The Whirlwind'

Last week my wife was ill.  This is a distressing event at the best of times, but as she was also pregnant, experiencing stomach pains, unable to sleep and not desirous of food we were a little more worried than perhaps we needed to have been.  She is well on the way to being better now but for a week she couldn’t really get out of bed.  This meant that I had to take some time off work to look after N while she was incapacitated.


In the end I spent 4 whole days with her and came away with a renewed appreciation for my wife and a hearty dread of ever having to look after my daughter for an extended period of time without proper adult supervision ever again.  It was a grueling four days of playdough, crayons, playdough and crayons, stickers, stickers being unpeeled from crayons, stickers being unpeeled from walls and tables, playdough being scraped from the table, quick run in the garden, lunch, sleep, playdough, Ivor the Engine, tea, bath, all of which took us to about 2 in the afternoon.  I’m pretty sure when she grows up N’s wrestling nickname will be ‘The Whirlwind.’

The illness was the reason why I was dispensed to do the shopping with N which led to the joyous incident that I wrote about in this post.  It was also the reason why nothing domestic seemed to get done in our house for pretty much the entirety of last week.  I just about kept on top of the washing up, but if you are expecting me to have managed to tidy up after each day’s wrecking ball type activities, or done those jobs which are mysteriously being added to the kitchen notice board, I’m afraid we need to have a little chat about your expectation levels.

Each evening after ‘The Whirlwind’TM  had finally been put to bed (which is a blogpost all of its own) I would curl myself into a little ball wondering how much mileage there was in calling in a storm chaser to supervise my daughter for a day.  

And yet my wife somehow makes it all look very effortless, like the moment of complete stillness achieved by Pele in the build up to That Goal, or the moment of time-slowing brilliance exhibited by Joe Montana for The Catch.  She is the area of effortless yet effective calm in the middle of my daughter’s daily imitation of El Nino.

It just so happens to be our anniversary today and there’s really only one thing I want to say.  Thank-you.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere

In the year 480 BC Athens was in trouble.  Xerxes I had defeated the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae and had turned his attention to the next obstacle, the men of Athens.  In response to this threat the Athenians did the only thing a Classical Greek person would do.  No, not run, or fly the white flag, they turned to the Oracle at Delphi.  When the envoys had arrived and as they walked in, they would have read the words inscribed in the wall of the fore court, ‘γνῶθι σεαυτόν,’ gnothi seauton, which would have commanded them, before they went in, to ‘Know yourself.’    

This phrase was debated endlessly by men in antiquity, even Socrates weighed in on what he thought it meant, but basically it seems to have been an injunction to understand your own limitations in the face of the god Apollo, the god who was the power behind the Delphic oracle, and to accept his words without question.  Those of you who have read any of this blog before, particularly the DIY parts, or who have read the ‘About me’ page (go and have a quick look now if you want, I won’t go anywhere), will know that I am quite familiar with a number of my limitations, mostly because they are illuminated on a daily basis by my wife and my daughter, mostly my daughter.  Such an illumination took place today when N and I went shopping.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Much A-Doing About nothing

My life currently feels like it is a television show being hosted by David Dimbleby, and not one of those nice ones where people are driven around in horse-drawn carriages to open parliament or get married at Westminster Abbey.  No, my life currently feels like David Dimbleby is hosting and moderating a debate in which members of the audience get to fire questions at me non-stop until either I crack or they fall asleep.  So far it has been rather more of the former than the latter unfortunately.