Monthly Archives: December 2014



No. Not me. I ski nothing like this

PIL, Ed, Greg and CJ are currently in the Spanish Pyrenees skiing. Or as Buzz Lightyear would say, “falling down mountains. With style.” Or was that Woody? Anyway, I’m playing at Billy No Mates and staying at home. It’s not because I don’t ski cos I do but, like my sister Boo, I fall over. A lot! It’s often a case of,

“Oh look. I’m somewhere completely flat and as I’m not moving, I will fall over.”




Yep. That’s more like it!


PIL doesn’t ski but she does drink espresso, look cool and beautiful with incredible ease.


PIL on a skiing holiday


Ed, Greg and CJ are brilliant skiers. I think that’s mainly due to them having started at an early age whereas I started when I was slightly decrepit and worried about broken bones. More Eddie the Eagle than Franz Klammer. It keeps the children amused. The resort authorities are kept informed by PIL when I go on the slopes. It seems I’m considered an avalanche risk. I know that Greg isn’t too fond of me being on the same chair lift as him. He claims that a few years back, due to my fat arse, I knocked him off a chair lift as we were getting on. I don’t know what he’s complaining about, he only fell about 10 feet! Into soft snow! Personally, I can’t see the problem in that. PIL got the serious hump with me on one occasion although I still can’t see why. The boys had gone up the mountain together. Then CJ decided that she wanted to go up too. I volunteered to take her. That was fine but once we got to the slope she wanted to go down, she whizzed off at a million miles per hour. Valiantly, I shot off in pursuit of her at about 3mph. I arrived back half an hour after CJ who had joined up with the boys and left me to face the music. PIL was not a happy bunny.

Now. Why was it they said I couldn’t go this time?

Have a lovely day.

More Dick soon.



When I started this blog I had an idea whereby some of the posts that I publish are linked in some way to previous posts. There would be a thread connecting them. So, for instance, at the end of my first ever post, despite having no medical training, I offered advise on a specific medical condition. In my second ever post I wrote about my experience with that particular medical condition and at the end of it I again offered medical advise on another condition. My third post spoke about that and at the end of that post I offered financial advise and my fourth post was about how having children was economically disastrous. I then posted an email I had sent to my sister Boo some months ago and included a picture that looked nothing like her followed by a post about my sister again with a picture that looked nothing like her. And so on.


Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like this either.

I thought I was being pretty clever with these threads passing through my posts but then I realised (and I admit to being very slow on the uptake here), that it was all nonsense. The latest post is shown first so if you come in half way through then you have absolutely no idea what I’m on about. Of course, it is possible to have the first post first if you see what I mean but that means you have to plough through loads of older posts you may have already read to get to the latest one. What am I to do? I have thought long and hard about this and finally, earlier today I decided what I’m going to do about it. Fuck all.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon



First, I apologise for not having published any posts for a while. It’s been a busy time with work and Christmas shopping. I am a passionate shopper in that I hate shopping with a passion. I know that these days you can purchase everything on-line but unfortunately for me I like to see first hand what it is I’m buying so that means I have to go to the shops.


Shoppers aka Arseholes

It’s not necessarily the act of shopping I hate, it’s all the other people shopping at the same time as me that does my head in. I’m not fond of crowds in the first place which is why I live in the boonies. It just seems to me that shoppers leave their manners and any civilised behaviour at home when they go out and shop. I was in the supermarket earlier today and someone had left their trolley right where I wanted to get something. I looked around to see if I could see who it belonged to but everyone in the aisle either had a trolley or a basket. So I moved it and as I did so a woman came up to me and said,

“Do you mind?”

“Do I mind what?” I replied

“Not moving my trolley.”

“First, I didn’t know it was your trolley and second you’d it left blocking access to the milk and I want some milk.”

“Well don’t move it.”

So naturally I said,

“Well don’t leave it in people’s way then.”

“You rude man.” she said and stormed off.

Me? Rude? I thought I’d been quite polite in the circumstances. I didn’t swear or raise my voice. I hadn’t left a shopping trolley in everyone’s way and yet, I was in the wrong according to that silly old bat.

I found myself the other day in Canterbury city centre with an hour or two to spare so I thought I’d do some Christmas shopping. I lasted twenty minutes and then thought,

“Nah. I’m going home.”

People walk out of shops and suddenly stop in the doorway for no reason and you walk into them so they glare at you as if you are going to rob them. Or they walk straight across the pavement at right angles to the flow of pedestrians without looking so you bump into them and they glare at you as if it’s your fault. I cannot be dealing with this but what’s the answer? I want to get nice gifts for my family at Christmas. If you have any ideas on how I can avoid crowds when shopping, please let me know because it’s driving me nuts.

Have a fabulous day.

More Dick











The common wasp. Not my favourite creature

I’m not terribly fond of wasps. Horrible, aggressive little blighters. I was recently reading a post by Steve Morris about how do wasps get into your house. He reckons they teleport in and out. I’m inclined to go along with that because they just suddenly appear and just as quickly disappear again, How else can they do that. I blame the Vulcans. You can find Steve at blogbloggerbloggest. Good stuff.

I’ve been stung twice by wasps and both times it happened I got into trouble.

The first time was a good time ago. I was an Inbetweener aged about 17. One summer my best friend, Omar and I had slung our surf kayaks on the roof rack of his Morris Traveller and gone down to west Wales looking for big waves and girls.


A surf kayaker. Lots of fun

One morning I clambered out of my tent and looked around. It was a beautiful sunny day and the surf looked pretty good. I decided to put my boots on, take a stroll up to the headland, have breakfast, chill out and then go and catch some waves. So I pulled on my boots and as I finished double knotting the laces, ZAP, ZAP, ZAP! Something was stinging my foot. To paraphrase Woody in  Toy Story There was a wasp in my boot! Panic! My laces were double knotted, it would take ages to undo them and in the meantime the wasp continued to sting. I was leaping about, my hair flying all over the place and I was shouting and hollering. I decided to stamp on my foot to kill the bugger. So I started stamping away. Other people on the campsite were climbing out of their tents to see what the commotion was all about. I must have looked like some kind of whirling Dervish! Eventually, the stinging stopped so I sat down to take off my boot and survey the damage. As my boot came off, two things happened. First, the bloody wasp flew out of my boot completely unharmed and second, a big hand grabbed my shoulder and a voice said,

“Hello, hello hello. What’s going on here then boyo?”

It was the local plod who had decided to take a look at these hippy surfers and had seen me doing a war dance. I tried to explain what had happened but to my dismay he said,

“Look you boyo. I am arresting you for suspicion of being under the influence of mind altering narcotics and suspicion of being in possession of mind altering narcotics. Anything you say…….etc etc Tidy.”

WTF! I tried to protest my innocence but I wasn’t exactly coherent, my foot hurt and the evidence had flown off. I showed him my foot and explained that I’d been stung several times by a wasp.

“That’s what they all say boyo. You’re nicked. Tidy.”

“What they all say?” I thought. “Are they plagued by wasps round here?”

“I’m taking you to the police station so the police doctor can carry out an examination. I will also be carrying out a cavity search boyo.”

WTF! I remember thinking to myself (and remember I was only 17),

“Cavity search? What have my teeth got to do with this? Who is this bloke? Is he some kind of amateur dentist? It’s my foot he needs to be looking at not checking my oral hygiene.”

Upshot of all this was that I was cuffed and put in the back of the coppers panda car and driven miles to the local nick which turned out to be the house where he lived with a couple of rooms converted into cells. A large elderly bloke  with the reddest nose I’d ever seen was waiting for us. Turns out he was the local GP who moonlighted as the police doctor and by the look of him was also the local coroner, mortician, funeral director, Baptist minister and publican. He plainly had the place all sewn up.

Nothing wrong with my teeth. Nice and clean and sparkly. These aren’t mine by the way. I have my own.

I was taken into a room where the doc examined my foot for a few minutes. Then he turned to the policeman and started to clear his throat for about five minutes. Then the copper started clearing his throat.

“Crikey!” I thought. “I hope that’s not catching. Hadn’t TB been eradicated?” Obviously in rural parts of Wales it hadn’t.

Turns out they were talking in Welsh.

The copper turned to me and said

“Doc says you’ve been stung multiple times on the foot by an insect. Probably a wasp he reckons so you’re free to go boyo.”

No apology. Nothing!

So I asked him how I was going to get back and was told,

“The police aren’t a cab service. You’ll have to get a bus back. Next one’s at 10 o’clock tomorrow.”


Would you let this man examine your teeth?

Brilliant! So I started limping back. Only 7 miles. Half way back I saw Omar heading towards me. He’d got lost trying to get to where I was. By the time we got back it was too late to surf. So we gave it a miss, ate some food and smoked some of our stash of mind altering narcotics! Tidy.

The second time was more recent although it was still 13 or 14 years ago. I was recently divorced and was out with Ed and Greg at football training one sunday morning. Ed was probably 6 or 7 and Greg about 3 or 4. On the way back to what was now their home, something came in through the car window and hit me on the head. I looked around but couldn’t see what is was that had hit me. I asked the boys if anything had gone in the back but they hadn’t seen anything. So I continued on my way and forgot all about it. We pulled up outside their new house and bailed out of the car. As I stood up I discovered what had hit me on the head and also exactly where it had landed. It was a bloody wasp and it had landed on my inner thigh, right at the top. And boy was it ticked off! It stung me right on the soft fleshy bit.

“Fuck” I gasped.

“What does fuck mean Dad?” said Greg.

“Ahhh. Ask your mum son.” I replied. Big mistake! I thought he’d forget.

So I drop the boys off, say goodbye and drive off again. Three minutes later my phone rang. It was PIL. Boy did she bend my ear!

“Why is Greg asking me what ‘Fuck’ means you idiot. Have you no self control. He’s three for Gods sake blah blah blah……….”

Bloody wasps. Nothing but trouble.

Have a nice day

More Dick



Boo. My sister. This looks nothing like her either

Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like this either

My sister Boo falls over. A lot! If there is a kerb stone, twig, tree root or banana skin to trip or slip on, she’ll find it. Sometimes she just falls over for no reason at all! Luckily, she’s not very tall so doesn’t have far to fall and the ground always breaks her fall. The ground is useful like that. It’s not that she has an inner ear problem or has got CJD, although I think she’s sometimes referred to as a mad cow! My sister just likes falling over. Walking alongside her can be an unnerving experience. We can be strolling along chatting when she will suddenly disappear from sight followed a split second later by a soft “Thud” as she hits the deck. Then, after another short pause there will be a muffled “Bugger!” from ground level. And we haven’t even got to the pub yet! We all reckon that it wasn’t fracking that caused the earth tremors near Blackpool in 2011, we believe that Boo had a succession of tumbles that had reverberated all the way from Wales to Lancashire via some previously unknown geologically fault line.

Boo. My sister. She often looks like this

So if you should ever find yourself in the western part of Wales and a woman wearing a Barbour, wellies, a big jumper and carrying a chicken under her arm unexpectedly and for no discernible reason falls over in front of you, don’t worry. It’s only Boo. Please give her a hand up and say “Hi”. She’s very friendly and may offer you a cup of tea and some eggs. She will certainly talk to you. Plus she’s my sister and I love her to bits.

Have a lovely day.

More Dick soon!auto


Just look


I think this is a Bee Orchid. I spotted this one in a nearby hedgerow

In my last post I mentioned that things are there to be seen if only you looked. My family and I are lucky enough to live on the Downs and if we walk for just a few minutes we are deep in the countryside surrounded by fields, woods and hedgerows. The new header image on my blogs front page is a photo I took on my Samsung phone a few weeks ago just a short stroll from our home. Walking the dog gives us all an opportunity to walk around in some really beautiful countryside and it’s quite surprising what you can see and find if you look. I remember seeing an advertisement for an online shopping site in a glossy magazine recently. The picture in the ad was of a woman walking her dog in a park and it read along the lines of “Look what I found while walking the dog”. It was a wardrobe! I remember thinking why on earth would you shop on-line while walking the dog? I know it was only a magazine ad but ads and ad men tend to reflect society as it is. For goodness sake, if you’re walking the dog, use it as a way to escape from the endless requirement to be in the loop. Instead, take the chance to actually look at your surroundings, to see what’s there just waiting to be discovered. It doesn’t matter if you live in town, there is still plenty to see and enjoy in the parks that most people can get to. Where I live if you look, you can find some pretty rare orchids (and some pretty common ones too).


Another wild orchid I saw while walking Dexter


There are badgers, foxes, pesky wabbits, hedgehogs, mice, kestrels, sparrow hawks, pheasants, owls and no end of small birds all over the place. If you take the trouble to look you will see them. I recently found out that it’s possible to find black truffles around here.  Haven”t found any yet but no harm in trying is there? Of course, it’s not just the flora and fauna that’s there to be enjoyed. Just looking at the view is a pleasant way to spend a moment or two. Even municipal parks have some fantastic vistas with magnificent trees, flower beds and undulating grassy areas. I was in Battersea Park recently in south-west London and it was awesome. The River Thames flowed along one side, there were hundreds of mature trees, shrubbery and grass. People were jogging, riding bikes, walking dogs and just strolling along. Most of the walkers were on their phones though. What a disappointing way to spend your time when you’re in such a wonderful setting.

Woodland close to where we live

Do yourself a favour next time you go out for a stroll, leave your phone at home. Take the chance to have a look at whats around you. Even if all you do is walk down the road to the shops you will be surprised at what you can see. Give yourself a break.

Sermon over. Have a fantastic day.

More Dick soon.


Emails to my sister 1

Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like his

Boo. My sister. She looks nothing like this

I thought I would post one of the many emails I have sent to my sister. It was these emails that gave her the idea to encourage me to start this blog. The email is dated 24th April 2014.

Funny innit. One part of the back garden hasn’t been touched since we moved in. It’s got shrubs in that corner and a cherry tree and I’ve not paid much attention to it. The shrubs are large now to say the least. One has blackbirds nesting in it every year and I watched a sparrow hawk crash-land into it as it chased one of the blackbirds (the black bird survived). I was standing about 10 feet away at the time and it was one of “those” moments. Not something you get to see every day and when you do, it makes you appreciate the wonders of what goes on outside our little bubbles every day. Anyway, because the dickie birds nest there I’ve just left it. Got a couple of straggly hebes, a heather or two, a purple prickly thing and some leggy old rhododendrons. It’s not just the birdies that like that patch but bees and flutterbys are always foraging there. So I’ve been content to leave it. I was wondering around the garden this morning looking at what was growing, wondering how many days it was going to take to pull out all the poxy weeds and waiting for Dexter to take a crap when I noticed that the rhododendrons were in flower and what magnificent flowers they are. They look fantastic. Naturally, I looked in my RHS Encyclopedia of plants and flowers and I think they might be R.’Beauty of Littleworth’. Then again, they may not. Now I’ve got to figure out how to take care of them and ensure they survive.   20140424_071419 Nice to have a little, pleasant surprise at ten past seven in the morning and I suppose that’s what it’s all about. What needs to happen now is for me to win the euro millions, stop work, potter about in the garden and see what other surprises lay in store although working or not it’s nice to know that surprises are there waiting to pop up and make your day. All you need to do is look. Have a lovely day. 20140424_071328


Greg, Ed & CJ with Dexter

L-R: Greg, Ed & CJ with Dexter. Note normal dress for them – track suit bottoms, hoodies, trainers and back to front caps

I love my kids. I think they’re great. I’ve spent their whole lives watching them grow up from tiny, helpless bundles to the characters they are today. Naturally, I’m biased but they are a constant source of wonder and bewilderment to me. Both PIL and I have tried our best to bring them up to be responsible human beings and I think we have succeeded. They are intelligent, well-mannered, humorous and generally a delight to be around. Bringing them up has been challenging on occasion. Despite all the books on bringing up kids (none of which we’ve read) it’s really a case of making it up as you go along. Being English, the only language I speak is English. So that’s the language we taught them. The Germans have a joke. “If you speak four languages you are upper class. If you speak three you are middle class. If you can speak two then you are working class. If you can speak only one you are English”. Sehr gut ja? I don’t know about other children but when my two boys reached the age of about 13 they spoke a different language to the one we taught them. Neanderthal. A typical conversation back then went something like this:

“Have a good day at school?”


“Good. I’m pleased you had a good day. Have you got much homework?”

“Uggg. Yisall snark issleorf.”

“Getting stuck into tonight then?”

“Erph gnarf plyder wobtet. Hungry.”

“Will you want any help?”

“Hirft debfor vingal. Food.”

“Dinner about 6.30. That ok?”

“Snert bupyit tergif meat”

You get the idea. I had no idea what they were on about. PIL claimed she did but she is a woman and they know everything. (Oops, am I digging a hole for myself here?) They both grew out of that stage but even now I often wonder what on earth they are on about. You’ll notice the only words I understood were about food. Good God above can they eat! I remember buying thirty eggs (free range) one saturday because the whole tribe were home for the school holidays. By Tuesday they had all gone! All three of them are incredibly sporty. They train almost every day for the sports they play and enjoy so they must burn a million calories a day each but boy, do they know how to replenish. I’ll fancy an apple. All gone. A banana then. Also gone. Orange? None left. Some grapes? All scoffed. A bowl of cereal would be nice. Only three cornflakes left in the box. (Why they would leave three cornflakes is beyond me. One each perhaps?) Ok an egg sandwich? Its Wednesday, there’s none left. Bacon sarnie? No bacon. Aha! Some cheese. I’ll make myself cheese on toast. No blinking bread! Most people save to go on holiday. We save to buy food when the kids are on holiday. Their appetites are phenomenal and our pockets are empty!

Seeing their sense of humour develop as they’ve all grown up is also a fascinating thing to experience. It starts to develop with ‘knock knock’ jokes, progresses through the three ‘P’s (Pee, Poo and Puke) to a more developed sense of humour that often means listening to stories of things they, or their friends, have experienced. It must be said however that my two boys have not really grown out of finding breaking wind immensely funny mainly because of the reaction they get from PIL and CJ. I was recently pottering around in the back garden while the three of them played cricket. I was regularly hit by the ball which they found hilarious. It was only later when we were having dinner that I discovered that I was part of the score. A direct hit was a four, a hit on the head was a six and a hit in the goolies was a century! PIL almost choked on a carrot she was laughing so hard. They all found it extremely amusing. I was just covered in bruises.Thank God they were using a tennis ball. I hasten to add that no-one scored a century although they did get close. Gardening is dangerous with my lot!

Children are a delight. Mine are anyway.Along with PIL, they are without doubt the best thing that’s ever happened to me. PIL thinks the same. Watching them grow and develop has got to be the most fulfilling experience anyone can have. It is endlessly fascinating and economically disastrous. So they always have their hand in my pocket (and PILs), but I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you guys for being such wonderful human beings. You all make my day every day.

Enough already. Time to risk life and limb in the garden. I hope you have enjoyed my latest post. Let me know some of your own experiences as a parent. I look forward to hearing from you.

More Dick soon!