Thursday, 24 December 2009

So Here It Is...

As once again the BBC has let us down, here's a meritricious creepy story for Christmas Eve. Apologies.

Well I don’t know. Kids today. I’d’ve had a leathering from the da if I’d carried on like that.

I’m not going to apologise. I’m trying to rest and every night they’re at it with their noise and music and laughs and I think they get a fire going up there and I’m pretty bloody certain that’s not allowed by the council.

I mean I’m not asking for much. Just some peace.

So I made a noise?! So what? You’d have made a bloody noise yourself in my place. Night after night with the music and the shouting. Taking drugs no doubt and that cheap cider. It’s not good enough and I’m not going to lie back and put up with it. I’d go to hell rather. I really would.

Oh did I scare them, the little dears! Well they brought it on themselves with their noise every night and a saint would have broken if five sodding nights running he’d had to put up with it.

So I hammered and shouted and screamed and hammered some more and at last they hushed up and so I shouted at the absolute top of my voice:


And it worked. Blessed silence for a moment and then the screams and the sound of their running away. Typical, can give it out but can’t take it. What do their parents teach them these days? What about the teachers?

I mean, that’s no way to behave in a cemetery.

I just want to rest in peace.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

May All Your Christmases be Decorous

Well that was a year. 2009, when things got spoilt by people or organisations pushing it just a bit too far. Take Remembrance Sunday. As a teenager and a young man, not many appeared to wear poppies and certainly none of my peer group did. Then there was a slow re-emergence of poppy wearing and more people were doing it but it wasn’t commented on particularly. This year however, the Daily Mail spoilt it all by having a moronic campaign attacking anyone not wearing one with particular attention to footballers for some reason intelligible only to them. I’ve been wearing a poppy out of personal choice for ten years or so and I may well not next year if the Daily Mail is going to turn it into one of their dreary outrages. Mind you, they’ll probably be against them by then on the grounds that they cause cancer or because red is the colour of communism or because red is the same colour as ginger hair. And where did that come from? When did it become socially acceptable, nay desirable, to openly express fear and loathing of redheads? I must declare an interest here. I am a redhead, or was anyway. Some people unlucky enough to know me say it’s darkened to a browny colour or start wittering on about strawberry blond. Possibly they’re being kind as having ginger hair opens you up to unwarranted abuse these days, or at least from Tesco and Rod Liddle. In case you missed the story Tesco produced and then withdrew a Christmas card showing a redhead sitting on Father Christmas’ lap with the message ‘Santa even loves gingers’. So not content with destroying the high street and playing merry hell with the planning laws Tesco now see fit to mock the colour of my hair. I want extra points for that. Rod Liddle moaned in The Observer that the mother who complained should have taken the joke and wittered on about being muzzled by political correctness. Well, I’m happy to be accused of being a humourless killjoy by pointing out that restraining from mocking children for having a slightly uncommon physical attribute is not being politically correct, it’s being f**king civilised.

Which rather neatly brings us to the Christmas Number One. Of course I’m pleased that the Cowell nullity has been beaten by something else and there’s enough of the teenager in me left to be amused that this year’s winner has got swearing in it, but I also sigh slightly. Again, it’s gone too far. We wouldn’t be in this odd situation if Cowell had not seen fit to place one of his Midwich songs at the number one slot every bloody year. I have no issue particular with the X Factor, who am I to Jedward or Jedward to me? I fear not for the future of music. This generation’s version of punk will arrive. It always does when too much control from the top is imposed. But I have a nostalgia for the days when there was a minor interest in who would be the Christmas Number 1 and Cowell removed it and I don’t know why. He had to push it that bit too far and here we are.

So a Christmas wish and a hope for the new year, that busybody newspapers and over mighty supermarkets and music tycoons all calm down and leave us to our own devices. Just for a while.

Monday, 14 December 2009

A Burning Issue

I was just wondering, is David Tennant the only person in Britain who can gurn with the top half of his face only?

I haven't got enough to worry about.

Morning Thoughts

Listening to the radio early this morning while preparing to go out and do something necessary but mildly irksome, I heard a report that Tony Blair has announced that he had always been determined to invade Iraq because he believed that it was the right thing to do. I apologise if this is a lapse of taste, but I’m afraid the very first thing that occurred to me was that this was exactly the same defence that Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, used. I tell you one thing, it’s a hell of a thought to start the week with. Beware of people who are absolutely convinced that they are right and are out to do what they believe regardless of censure or condemnation. As Oliver Cromwell said: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.” And this is old Noll speaking, not a man known for his compromising attitudes as Charles I, Parliament, Christmas and the Irish found out in roughly that order. And people wonder why I’m not a morning person.

Monday, 7 December 2009

A Shameless Plug

Feast your eyes upon this:

I really should declare an interest. The authors are family. They were kind enough to ask my advice about the manuscript and as they were then wise enough to ignore it, it’s turned out rather well.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

All I Ask Is A Narrowboat

So I’ve been away for a week. On a canal in a boat. I’ve been boating on and off all my life, apart from a gap during my teenage years when I needed to concentrate on being stroppy for a bit, and have an unaccountable liking for it despite the fact that it can be uncomfortable, is often cold and sometimes wet with the added risk of drowning, being crushed between bank and boat or being sliced up a right treat by the propeller.

I know what you’re wondering and yes, I have fallen in, but just the once. It was at Braunston, a name writ large in infamy, and I managed to cut my hand. I still have a scar, albeit a small wimpy one which I sometimes can’t find. I can recommend the A&E department of Rugby General though. Because canals are, quite frankly, filthy, I was filled up with so many antibiotics that the doctor cheerfully pointed out that my spittle was probably the cleanest substance within a radius of at least five miles. It is typical of the boating fraternity that when I told fellow boaters of my accident instead of cries of admiration and sympathy for my bravery and stoicism I would inevitably get a lament of: “Oh, I really wish I’d seen that”. Somewhere in the family vaults is a photo of me dripping water and gore, the taking of which was the first thing my father did after I’d managed to somehow ‘scramble onto the bank’ as Rolf Harris used to put it.

I shouldn’t complain. One my happiest boating memories comes from a sailing trip off Scotland. We had moored up at Colonsay in the Hebrides and were returning aboard after a night in the pub. One our crew was very carefully climbing down the harbour ladder, focusing on the rungs to such an extent that he climbed past the deck without noticing and continued downwards unaware of his fate until he put his foot in the Atlantic. Memories like that keep me warm during stormy watches.

For all that though, my heart belongs on the inland waterways, particularly canals though it is true, as the great Michael Green puts it, that if sailing is mucking about in boats, then on the inland waterways it’s more ‘boating about in muck’.

Oh, and they’re called narrowboats, not barges.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Anyway, As I Was Saying

Well that was nice. A week away from the cares and woes of daily living and increasingly fretting about outgoing Dr Who's David Tennant’s habit of showing deep emotion by wrinkling his eyebrows into an odd shape and staring into the middle distance slightly to the left of camera. I needed a break.

It is said that for a blog to really be noticed, you have to do a list. So here is the curious list of ways to amuse a small baby you have been left in control of while you are a) childless yourself; and b) a man:


Prod baby in stomach


Say ‘gerrrschhhhhh’ to baby


Prod baby in stomach again


Look around in hope that one of baby’s parents is in the immediate vicinity with the immediate intention of relieving you of baby


Prod baby in stomach


Wave hand in front of baby’s face while saying ‘whee’ in a loud high-pitched voice


Comfort baby terrified by step 6


Sing The Good Ship Venus to baby. Previously absent parents will suddenly re-appear and object vociferously


Talk to baby in low reasonable tones about a subject close to your heart eg music; films; football; the comparative merits of the various actors who have played Dr Who/James Bond; that weird thing David Tennant does with his eyebrows (delete where applicable)


Prod baby in stomach

Follow the above steps and I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be asked to look after said baby again.