Volume 3 – Chapter 115: Excitement Vs Transport

I’m thirty-five years old.

In fact in less than a month, present-buying fans, I will turn thirty-six.

And today I’m giddy with excitement because we’re off to see Ironman 3.

Having had a conversation – at first jokingly, and later with more seriousness – about the merits of going to see the showing at one minute past midnight because we were both rather excited about the whole thing, but then dismissing it as a silly idea because no-one’s brain is ready to process 3D images at just after the beginning of the Witching Hour and we’d only have about three hours of post-Ironman-comedown sleep before we had to get up for work, we decided that we should go in the evening like civilised people.

Which then, of course, meant I had to get home from work.

And what I’ve discovered, and created a hypothesis for, is that the more excited I am for something that is happening in the evening outside work, the harder it is for me to get home.

Last year a similar situation arose with seeing Sarah Millican in Halifax. I was excited to see her, but having seen the show earlier in the tour, I was not as excited as if it was completely fresh to me. But even so, my excitement permeated into the rail network and caused one Halifax-bound train to break down completely and another to run incredibly slowly and be late. It also caused a woman in M&S to not charge me for a sandwich, though, so I guess it has its upsides.

But today the excitement levels are a lot higher. I’ve heard some very good things about the film and, of course, I’m eager to see what little post-credits nugget is lurking out there (in theory something about Thor seeing as it’s the next movie, but who knows) so my excitement spilt over into the public transport system and, well, effectively wiped all buses that I would need to use from the fabric of existence.

I left work, I just missed a bus. There should be another one in ten minutes. It didn’t exist. I walk up to the train station. A train comes and there are suspiciously few problems with it. If anything, it’s actually early when it arrives in Halifax. I hot-foot it to Sainsbury’s where I catch my bus home from. I have time to kill so nip in and buy the Hairy Biker’s Curry Cookbook. I go outside to wait for the bus.

The bus doesn’t come.

My entire carefully planned night starts to crumble around me. I would have had only forty minutes from getting home to leaving for the cinema. And now I can’t get home, which means I will have less minutes. And no-one wants to go to the cinema wearing what they’ve been festering in all day at work, do they? Do they?

So, I think, the next time I’m really looking forward to something (16th May, Mickey Flanagan) I’m just going to act casual about the whole thing? One of my favourite comedians? Yeah, I’m not bothered.

I just can’t take the chance…

Volume 3 – Chapter 114: In A Flap

So, rather worryingly, it would appear that when ever I’m left at home on my own, I have a problem with an unwanted pussy. If you read my blog at the weekend, you’ll know of the problems I had on Saturday. And again, today, I’ve had problems with a rogue cat.

While I was in the kitchen this morning, just pottering about washing up and generally living the dream, I heard the sound of a cat at the cat flap. Now, I was a little bit confused, because I was fairly sure that both of our cats were accounted for. But I still went through the motions of moving the bin (which prevents Peppa from escaping) and having a look out of the cat flap.

Where I was greeted with the image of a black-and-white cat with a black triangle on its nose.


I did one of those double takes you see in cartoons. There was a cat that looked enough like Peppa to make me want to open the door, but there was also a cat that looked a lot like Peppa lying around on the front room floor acting all innocent having pulled a little tacky string-legged Sherlock Holmes off the mantlepiece.

So I had that discussion that most people have with a cat at some point in their life. You know the one. The one that goes “You don’t live her, cat. You can’t come in. You don’t live here.” And the cat looked at me, ignored me and got down to the important job of licking themselves on the patio.

So I put the bin back. And got back on with washing up and cracking on with the day’s cooking and baking.

And then it came back to the catflap.

Banging at it. Pulling at it. Trying to get it open.

It was like a scene from The Birds. But only if you’d replaced all the birds with one slightly skinny looking cat.

“You don’t live here, cat. You can’t come in. Please go away. Please leave me alone.”

But it just kept at it. The cat flap was rattling. If it had been dark, and I didn’t know a cat was there, I would probably have been shitting myself. As it was, I was home alone, shouting through the back door for a cat to just leave me alone. I don’t even want to think how many shades of crazy that looked, especially when we’ve got a new neighbour and there were some plumbers round fitting a new central heating system as well. And there was me begging and pleading with a cat that wasn’t ours to just leave me alone.

But eventually it did go away. But only after pulling the rubber seal off the catflap itself, thus rendering it completely useless as a lockable cat flap.

Bloody thing.

Volume 3 – Chapter 113: Whoops I Did It Again (I Didn’t, Actually)

There’s a certain time in the evening when the vultures start to circulate. They can smell fresh prey on the horizon, and they know that it will soon be their time to descend and take their ounce of flesh. Or, in this case, baked goods.

I am, of course, talking about the time when the Whoops stickers are applied to the fresh produce in supermarkets.

We went to Asda this evening for some bits and bobs. Primarily for some cooking related items as I appear to be making millionaire’s shortbread for work.

We arrived after the Whoops stickers had been placed. Long after that.

But there were still some items left on the Whoops trolley.

“Would you like these sausage rolls?” Carole asked me, picking up a pack of 3 Whoops’d pastry-encased meat sticks.

Now, as it happened, I didn’t want them. But even if I had, I’m not sure I could have actually taken them because, well, what must me wrong with them that they haven’t been snatched up in the whirlwind of crazy bargain hunters who want to spend nominal amounts of money on something that was fresh today but will be less fresh tomorrow.

I think it’s partly because, throughout many a shopping trip with my parents, I was always taught never to take the last of anything. If there’s just one left it’s because there is clearly something wrong with it and it should not be taken. That still applies if, further around the store, you see another of the same item abandoned in a random place. Like beans in with the cat food, or toilet paper on the bread aisle.

But I’ve found that when I say that to other people, when I try to explain the reasoning behind never buying the last of anything, I am looked at in a way that says, “You’re a bit strange, really. ” Which is, of course, accurate. But I still think, even after however many years of not going shopping with my parents, that it’s a valid point. Even more so when it comes to something that is covered in yellow stickers and a fraction of its normal price.

It has never been revealed, despite some rigorous questioning, exactly how the last remaining has something wrong with it. It’s just accepted that it is. And whatever it is, it’s clear to all the other shoppers that it should be avoided.

It’s obvious really, when you think about it.

How could anyone fail to understand that?

Volume 3 – Chapter 112: Dream Hair

During the night, which was a very tossy-turny night indeed, I had a strange dream in which I was late for work, but also really excited that I had won a half-price hair cut at some fancy-schmancy hairdressing place.


I wouldn’t have seen that one coming, in all honesty.

For some reason, my dream consisted of me taking some kind of hair survey. Yeah, I don’t quite know what that’s all about either, and then because – for some reason – I couldn’t complete the survey I was awarded this half-price hair cut. And in my dream I remember asking them when I would be able to have an appointment and they didn’t have any spaces until July, so clearly this fictional dream salon is a very, very in demand place.

But then I realised that all this hair shenanigans had made me late for work and as I was rushing to work (and I was at least seven minutes late, this I am most clear on) I was worrying that because I had, apparently, bought some kind of comb set that it would look as if I was late for work because I was shopping for a comb and not because of a reason that wasn’t fully explained at any point during the narrative of my dream.

And then I woke up in a panic that I actually was late, but I was actually one minute ahead of my alarm.

So that was all strange.

But a little bit later on during the day, as I was sitting at my desk doing something that didn’t require 100% of my concentration skills, I had a thought.

Just how much was my half-price hair cut that I’d won? I’d never bothered to find that out. I could have been really pleased because I’d won a fictional hair-cut but actually it would have cost me an arm and a leg and really upset me. Especially because it was a really swanky place run by mainly bald people. That sort of thing, even in a dream, just screams expensive. But try as I might, I can’t remember me ever – in my dream – enquiring as to the price. What does that say about me? Does that say that I’m willing to part with money willy-nilly to get what I want? Does that say that I put no value on anything? Does that say that my subconscious is a really, really strange place?

But, in a twist of fate, as I was walking through the train station this morning, they were giving out free samples of shampoo.

That’s got to be more than a coincidence. That’s bordering on having some kind of psychic gift, I reckon.

I can image that Psychic Sally started off with something like this – a dream and then an associated free gift in the train station.




Volume 3 – Chapter 111: Sock It To ‘Em

I have a set of fun socks. I got them for Christmas. In fact, we both got identical pairs of socks for Christmas as part of a cruel joke on the part of Carole’s father – one of many, many traditional season jokes which have been played on us over the time. Almost as if we are some kind of stooge when it comes to family gatherings.

So we have two sets of identical socks – but they are different sizes. Just slightly. But enough to mean that we’re probably got pairs of socks now that one is a different size to the other. Rather than sit and measure the socks by size, we just go by colour and hope for the best. When you’re enjoying the weekly omnibus of The Archers on Radio 4 while pairing socks, you want to be focusing on the latest crisis to strike the Grundy family or whatever, not whether the socks you’re matching are the same size.

As you might imagine these socks, being the novelty items they are, are all sorts of different colours. They’re the day of the week socks, so each one is adorned with the correct day in a different colour. Since getting them, due to a slight superstition that wearing the socks for the wrong day will lead to some kind of disaster, I’m fairly sure that they are responsible for me missing the bus to work on occasion. Although, curiously, this same level of superstition doesn’t apply to the wearing of Christmas socks at any other time. Yeah, what’s that I’m rocking at work today? The socks with Santa on. You better believe it, buster.

But anyway, I digress.

So these socks, all different colours. All jazzy and funky and uplifting colours. Wednesday is some sort of neon pink affair. There’s blue ones. And yellow. And red. And orange. And green. And then there’s Thursday.

Thursday is grey.

When it comes to the Thursday socks it’s like they’re not even trying. It’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, it’s Thursday. You’ve had enough of the week by now, you’re feeling a bit down because you know it’s nearly the weekend but you’ve got to get though the day and tomorrow before you can relax.”

Thursday’s socks are gloomy.

I’d rather Wednesday’s socks were gloomy.

I don’t work on a Wednesday. I have very little need for the socks as I tend to meander round the house bereft of any kind of footwear. Like I’m an Australian. Or a hobo.

If I nip out on a Wednesday I put them on, sure, but I feel that a trip to Tesco’s for some bread is a bit of a waste of the neon pink fun socks. A quick run out for bread is more a grey sock kind of day. Like my abortive shopping trip the other week, I was wearing the bright pink socks, but my mood was definitely more of a grey sock Thursday as I ummed and ahhed over the merits of mustard coloured trousers.

Of which there are none, incidentally.