Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sheepfest

I didn't have a very good week, to be honest. There were a few high points, but in general it was another rung on the ladder of despair...

Roger pointed it out to me on Thursday night, while we were out Bristowing at the Malt Shovel. He said, "It's beginning to get you down, isn't it?" He went on to say that it was obvious on Tuesday night, at the quiz, that I had other things on my mind. We won, but I could barely crack a smile. I wasn't even interested in the quiz, it just proved to be an interesting distraction.

The week wasn't helped by a rejection letter; two letters to inform me that I was not short listed for an interview and the failure of BS Social Care to actually contact me, despite numerous attempts at hooking up with them. I said to the wife, I'd like to know how these agencies survive, especially when willing workers are just arbitrarily ignored. Part of me wants to call them and chew them a new arsehole - but, really, what good would that do? I shall call them again on Monday and ask Sam why she hasn't got back to me, but be tactful and contrite and see if she can do something now, so I'm not contacting her again in a week and feeling even more angry.

On Wednesday, I felt my back go. I had done nothing to aggravate it, I just got out of bed (as I did when I had the prolapsed disc). By Friday, I couldn't get comfortable and my planned weekend of sweaty hot sex has been put on hold. Not that I'm feeling particularly attractive at the moment, what with my growing moobs, overhanging belly and buggered bones. If the wife wanted to trade me in for a working model then I'd probably not blame her.

In all fairness, apart from the lousy weather of the last few weeks, my inability to get a job and my bad back things haven't really been that bad; it's just I'm in a funk; one that seems to have descended darker and deeper since the end of May. I lack motivation, which is weird because you'd think I'd be motivated by virtue of my circumstances.

Still... I'm not dead, yet.

***

Last week was the SDCC or San Diego Comics Convention, something I have a history with. It appears that over the years this has grown from a big event to an absolutely massive thing, with the likes of Spielberg, Jackson and Hollywood's current top actors all attending the western world's biggest geekfest. It is the place to be seen.

While I was writing my book about my life in comics (serialised over on http://alifeincomics.blogspot.com/) I tell some interesting tales about my visit to this biggest of nerd gatherings; I also explore the world of fans and some of their obsessions with dressing up as their favourite heroes; which, to be brutally honest, can look more like a mufty day at the local loony bin rather than a serious gathering of dedicated fans.

Over in San Diego, the attendees have been dressing up as not just superheroes, but as movie characters and RPG wizards. I remember SDCC in 1994 when the focus of attention from most of the males at the convention centre was aimed at a nubile young thing wearing a Vampirella outfit. For those of you unaware of what Vampirella looks like, let's just say, there's never much left to the imagination. However, this being the USA, every square inch of her microscopic costume was held down by a humane version of superglue - she was still by far the most popular attraction at the entire event and more photos are taken with women portraying Vampi than any other character at these events. The incredible thing is the Vampirella comic has always been considerably less interesting than the character's costume.

But Vampirella is a digression; what interested me more about this year's SDCC more than anything else wasn't the announcements, the clips and trailers of forthcoming big projects. It wasn't the big name stars rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed or even the latest model dressed up as Vampirella. It was the young geek dressed up as a Na'vi character from the woefully dull Avatar.

I don't know if my inner geek has resurfaced, but she was by far the sexiest thing I've seen from all the coverage and yet she looks like a cross between an American Indian and a Smurf (and the ears are silly). But the shot, reproduced here, of her standing sending a text seems to have caught the imaginations of just about every newspaper picture editor in the world.

The other thing about the press coverage of SDCC that had me sighing and feeling all nostalgic had nothing to do with comics, film or the insanely clean San Diego. It was the skies. Just about every shot from the event taken outside had this expanse of blue cloudless sky - something we rarely see in this country in the summer now.

A friend of mine who has been bigging up my comics blog said to me the other day about getting my serialised book put into a print form, which I baulked at for being an overly optimistic and ultimately futile suggestion. He then said that it was the sort of thing that would get me invited back to SDCC - the memoirs of someone in comics has never really been done before, especially not as encompassing as mine tries to be. "Wouldn't you jump at the chance of promoting a print version of your book there?" He asked and I thought of the pictures I'd seen and said, "I'd jump at the chance of experiencing that weather again for a week!"

Today it is warm (ish) and overcast in Shoesville. It was like this yesterday and I expect it will be the same tomorrow...

***

Bill Vague, Britain's foreign secretary, has suggested that Gadaffi Gaduck can stay in Libya without fear of reprisals if he just gives up and surrenders. this is a slight change in tune for this wanted for war crimes tin pot dictator. Could it be that the UK have now run out of contingency money to support this NATO and UN action? Could it be that the experts were all right, when they suggested that Libya could quite easily turn into Europe's Vietnam?

***

Talking of news; Rupert Murdock must have arranged for Norway to experience its own 9/11 and made sure that Whiny Amehouse was offed just to take the interest away from the phone hacking scandal. He must have because the press has seemingly lost interest all of a sudden in a story that for a while was being touted as the biggest thing since Profumo.

***

I have decorating to do...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Four Hounds of the Apocalypse


This is a photo of me and my two dogs from the mid-1990s. We were in Wales and the weather was hot. People who knew us in the 1990s and most of the first decade of the 21st century will remember Megan and Gifford. They were, with their honorary big sister, Kit, a bunch of pretty cool dogs.
Meg was a typical collie cross, all nervous energy and well honed wimpiness. Gifford was quite extraordinary - he's the orange one in the photo. Giff would fill an entire book. He was Elvis Dog.

When they died within 6 months of each other our lives felt pretty shattered; we had had them both for 16 years and everything was empty for a while.

After Giff died, we got Meg a new friend, a little ball of fluff from Battersea dog's home who was originally called Tess, but as Tess was the name of the exterminating vet, we opted for Ness instead. Ness showed her true colours the moment she met Meg; she bullied her, despite the age and size difference.
Ness is a nasty piece of work, yet the most timid creature on the planet. She is a lovely dog to look at, but see her pernicious side and you'd wonder how this dandelion seed of a dog could possibly rule the roost.

Ness is in charge; she is top dog, yet while she growls, bites and generally bullies the other three dogs now, she is also terrified of the following: the fridge, the hoover, the bin men, fireworks, trumpets, the washing machine, duck's farting, the phone ringing and thunderstorms. She'll curl herself around your legs like a cat if something happens she doesn't quite understand. The other dogs take no notice at all, Ness panics for all of them.

You watch her when they're out on a walk and you would seriously wonder why one of the other dogs doesn't just bite her head off. Meet a big shaggy dog while we're out and she turns into the biggest tart on the planet. Rolling over, showing her belly and running around like she's a puppy (which, incidentally, she hates and are the only other things she shows aggression towards when we're out). Ness is 5.

After Meg died, the wife and I did something really stupid; we went to the dog pound and came home with two unknown quantities. The first, Lexy (originally Roxy), came into the house, got bullied by Ness and then settled into a routine that would eventually have us get a dog whisperer in. Lexy decided she was in charge and subsequently, made life hell for a while.

It could be argued that we got her because of the resemblance she bore to Gifford. After a couple of months, I wanted rid of her. She was aggressive, bad-tempered and wilful. But the behaviourist sorted out the problems and as the years have gone past, Lex has turned into a really chilled and sorted dog. I don't know what it is about orange dogs, but they seem to develop traits that are most un-dog-like. Lex is a cross between a Bassett hound and a rottweiler; she has dodgy legs from not being reared properly when she was a pup. She growls pleasure. She would have died had we not brought her home. I'm really glad we did; the hard work has paid off. Lexy is 6.

The other half of the duo from the dog pound is Marley, originally Roly and who we should have called Kali, after the goddess of chaos. Marley is retarded.

I know that's not a politically correct word, but I'm sure as I'm talking about a dog I can be excused. Marley wasn't really much trouble when we got her; she was a stray and scavenged for everything. We thought she was older than she actually was, mainly because she's just about doubled in size since we got her.

We talk about Ness having a load of white noise going through her head, especially when she zones out in a fit of rage at Lexy; but Marley has proved, categorically, over the last four years that she's as thick as the shit she often rolls in. Rules don't stick in her head. Nothing you can do to her in punishment is worth her constant disobedience, but even that is wrong... Marley is a totally lovely mutt. She loves me to bits and is totally devoted to me and seemingly hates upsetting me, yet she is incapable of not going a week without getting herself into some situation that has me pulling my hair out in dismay.

She's also as soft as the other kind of shit she likes to roll in, but she has a hate for at least dogs we know and they have to be separated. Some days she's as passive as a passive thing and other days she's try and dominate or fight other dogs; she always seems to do exactly the opposite of what you want. If she isn't getting lost, going off scavenging in bins or rolling in shit; she's fighting, stealing food and charging at people and other dogs like she's going to attack them. She is completely unpredictable, a massive bag of energy with a brain that displays classic schizophrenic tendencies, especially when she is outside in warm weather. She's currently in a period of continuous mischief and if she carries on she'll be bloody lucky to see her 6th birthday!

The final piece in our dog puzzle is the man of the pack. His name is Murray and while Lexy has slowly morphed into a surreal and female version of Gifford; Murray could be Meg reincarnated. He's a bit of a poof (and I mean that in a not homosexual way).

He is the lean, not so mean, running machine. He doesn't stop. Despite him being a real motley mix of breeds, the collie in him is dominant and subsequently he herds. He does everything in circles and he's scared of his own shadow, yet fiercely defensive. people just automatically think he's a collie.

Like Meg he's also overlooked. Most people are drawn to Ness or Lexy because of their strange looks, or Marley because she is a striking dog or because she's causing havoc somewhere. Murray tends to hide behind our legs and do his exploring in bursts. Only once has he ventured more than about 50 yards away from us and he panicked.

The reality is that while Ness victimises the poor bugger, he's actually pretty much in charge. He's the boy, you see. He came to the house as a 6-week old puppy and the three girls mothered him, so now, he gets away with murder and they all submit to him (well, in Ness's case she will play on equal terms, which is an achievement). Murray is 4.

Having four dogs is quite a job. They operate as a pack. A pretty crap pack to be honest, but you can see them looking a bit like dogs before man domesticated them. However, the four of them would struggle to catch a wounded rabbit and would probably starve to death without us around.

For years I wondered if they'd ever mean as much to me as Meg and Giff and the jury is still out; but while they won't ever replace them, they just compliment them. Life is never going to be easy while we have them; booking holidays is a nightmare, because they go with us and we'll probably never get the chance to go away for the weekend on our own and even if we did we'd worry.

I wouldn't have four dogs again though...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jelly Smash

Hacking is a term associated with newspapers, golf, serial killers, coughs and being a bit miffed. I think that's quite apt.

***

There's a growing dream by some of my more militant friends that this business could lead to the downfall of President Dave Blackadder. To them I have this to say, "Be afraid of what you wish for, because you need to consider who would replace him."

***

Rebekah Brooks - a woman whose name is not recognised by spell checks - has fabulous hair. It is just a terrible shame she looks like a harpy crossed with a pug.

***

I still don't have a job.

***

Everything's all quiet on the Fishwife/Fuckwit front. I'm either going out less or they're in stand by mode.

***

I'd like to refer people back to my summer weather forecast in May. I would like to offer my services to people who pay meteorologists shit loads of money and say, "I'll do it for half as much money!"

If 2012 emulates the last few summers, then Usain Bolt will be winning the 100 metres wading competition...

***

I have nothing else...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Your Delectation

Review:
Haven season 2 episode 1

[This contains spoilers; in that if it is possible to spoil anything in this TV series I will eat 14lbs of dog vomit]

I spent a quarter of last year watching a TV drama series that was so bad it was almost a comedy and I told you all about it. Haven was a 13-part series about the exploits of FBI agent Audrey Parker in a small fishing village/town called Haven, which happens to be cursed and have a deputy who can't feel anything except Audrey's touch.

My précis does it a multitude of favours. The reality is it's a series that is so badly put together it makes Crossroads seem like a HBO series paid for by Bill Gates. People actually asked me why I was watching something so remarkably bad and the only real answer I could give was because it resembled a car crash, in that as much as I wanted to look away, I couldn't. I decided that I was going to abandon it as soon as the first series ended. Oh and how bad was the finale? It was so bad that I spent best part of the 43 minutes it was on laughing at the complete and utter madness of it. I suggested that Haven is actually written by a slightly retarded 13-year-old with more money than guidance counsellors.

After 12 episodes and 42 minutes and 30 seconds of the finale, I was ready to kick Haven into touch and then it ended with a cliffhanger that I desperately wanted to see concluded I decided that I had to watch the season two opener. Which I have just done.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah! Please God, I want to know this more than anything else before I die. How the fuck did this even get to a pilot episode stage, let alone two series? Who has the creator slept with? Is the key demographic deaf, dumb and blind people? Is the writer a plumber? Can I have a job?

There are many holes in this episode; so many that you feel that Haven is actually the bottom of a colander. But the one thing that I noticed, quite without trying, was that scenes involving Audrey Parker (1) and Audrey Parker (2) were all filmed in the summer and all the other scenes were filmed in the winter. There were two ways of working this out; one was that the light was different, so different that between cuts it went from bright to dull, unashamedly. The other was that all scenes involving Audrey (2) had leaves on the trees and every scene without her it was in the middle of winter. In fact, it was like the episode had been made over a period of months. I'm even sure that Audrey (1)'s hair was different in scenes that involved a change of seasons.

At the end of the episode, nothing is resolved and a few more subplots are introduced that feel more like padding than polystyrene balls. I laughed. I laughed a lot. I shook my head; moaned and chortled, if such a thing is feasible and I vowed that I would stop watching it. Soon...

0.025 out of 10

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Venezuala

I'm pretty certain that I won't get the job I had an interview for yesterday. I put in a much better performance, but my nerves and the need for a job had me telling myself to shut up at times. I think I impressed them, but just not enough to get the job.

Which leaves me with very few immediate irons in the fire.

All my pay has been sorted out and with the exception of needing good references, my relationship with Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service is now over, completely. I have been working on a blog entry relating to those 6 years for the last couple of months; waiting for a time when it is appropriate to run. Or maybe I just keep it in draft form because I just want have a record of it and storing it in Blogger is convenient.

The fact that I've now had all the money owed to me means that I'm now in a race against time to get some income, but I'm all too aware that I'm kind of restricted to what I can do now.

***

To add insult to injury, not only have I been a bit miserable recently, neither the wife or I have got much sleep since last Thursday night. I'd like to say we've been shagging like a couple of spring bunnies, but the truth is that the dogs - all four of them now - have got kennel cough. We think they caught it off the mother-in-law's dog who also has had it.

It's the second time we've had to deal with KC; the old dogs got it after catching it from Fishwife's boxers when they went to a registered kennel.

It started with Ness, moved to Murray pretty quickly and we were hoping by Friday night that the other two would get it sooner rather than later. I suppose it's a bit like chicken pox and kids - get the thing out of the way. But Marley didn't start coughing until yesterday morning and Lexy started in the night. Ness, if the internet and local vet's are accurate should start to stop coughing by the weekend, but the poor little thing hasn't been happy and will be less so by Saturday.

***

To add to the mounting woes, we also have a wasp nest in the porch roof...

***

I have spent the best part of the last week re-watching Babylon 5. I view it the same way that people watching 1970s Doctor Who episodes must; excusing the special effects, 90s fashions and sometimes wooden acting and wallowing in a story that just hasn't aged.

I'm two-thirds of the way through season 2 and with the exception of whizzing through some episodes on fast forward, it has been a treat. Last night I got to the episode that I believe could be the one to show a non-believer. It's called In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum and encapsulates in one episode just why, at times, this was one of the greatest stories ever made for television.

It's a bit sad that the highlight of the last ten days has been a thrice watched 1990s SF TV show...

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Origin of Fil the Bastard

When I first started working for the Youth Offending Team, my new boss, Wilky, introduced me to my new team mates as 'Phil the Bastard'. He joked that it was the name he'd always known me as, even before he knew me!

Phil the Bastard was a name that was given to me in the 1980s (although it was originally Fil, because I had to be pretentious with my name spelling) and was earned because of one specific subject that I was obstinate and obdurate about and the reason it's popped back into my head recently is because of events on the news.

I suppose it started 27 years ago, in 1984, around the time the Band Aid charity was just establishing itself. This was in an era of my life that was blighted by Margaret Thatcher and the lack of work for someone of my age. We were in a period of austerity, despite the word never being used and everywhere there was evidence of the Tories selling off the country's assets and being directly responsible for destroying the lives of many people - without remorse or conscience.

I took considerable umbrage at Bob Geldof's crusade. Not specifically at Geldof or his campaign, but because he was guilting people out of money with horrific pictures of starvation and famine, while families in the UK were struggling to feed their own children and a lot of communities faced years of struggling well below the poverty line, we were funding an aid package when our government wasn't doing anything about our own problems. However distorted or mixed my beliefs were, as far as I was concerned charity began at home and I wasn't about to give up part of my unemployment benefit for starving Africans; or for things like the newly established Children in Need. I felt it was morally intrusive of these telethons to expect British people to give even more money to charities, when our government was just taking more and more away and not giving a fuck about the consequences.

So I became vehemently anti-charity; putting across my argument and trying to gain the moral high ground by turning the discussion back to Thatcher and her army of uber-rich fascists. People didn't disagree with me, they just didn't agree with me. Most of the people who I talked with understood where I was coming from, but still gave to these high profile charities - because someone has to do something.

Thus, Phil the Bastard was christened. I was a bastard because I gave the impression that I abhorred all charity, didn't believe in it and could show no sympathy for starving Africans while people were living on shit in ex-mining communities. My passion for not giving essentially made people think I was a right bastard.

My personal crusade to shun human charities has essentially stuck and while the nom de plume I picked up in the 80s has disappeared into the memory banks, only brought out for a joke, my feelings about giving money to Africa hasn't really changed. I'd like to say I'm sorry to say that, but that would be a lie.

Band Aid was set up not to give a short term fix, but to help rebuild or create infrastructures to enable people to overcome the threat of droughts and disease themselves. So they would never again face the devastation that Michael Buerk originally reported on. Band Aid still exists; Comic Relief gives a huge percentage of its fundraising to Band Aid projects and, of course, we still all give money to organisations like the Red Cross that are always on hand at a time like this.

So how come they're facing their biggest crisis for 30 years? Yes, I know it hasn't rained, but I remember short films showing how efficient water storage systems, wells, bore holes and more importantly education would ensure that these people would never face the shocking humanitarian crisis it faced in the 1980s again.

What happened to all that aid? Has it just been propping these people up rather than liberating them? How come all the fail-safe systems set up; all the new infrastructure, schools and education all been a waste of time? Has it all been build out of balsa wood and candle wax? Suddenly, with enormous amounts of people in this country unemployed, more to follow and the ultra-rich government ministers telling us we have to make sacrifices to bail our own country out of a mess made by them in the first place; we're now getting appeals on the TV and papers asking to give again, to bail out another generation who obviously haven't learned anything from the millions of pounds spent already. Heck, I expect Geldof will be organising a new Live Aid soon and yet Britain spends more money on foreign aid than any other country - arranged so that we pay less interest on our debts - but we'll not see a penny of those billions directed at East Africa.

That's your responsibility.

I suppose I'm still a bastard, especially when it comes to being expected to support Third World famines when I can't even get a job...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Dance Fascists

Facebook...

It's losing it's appeal, apparently. This doesn't surprise me, because as the years pass, humans become less committed to things. The MTV generation always have something new to elevate to.

Facebook execs can argue that some areas of the world are facing saturation point and there was going to be a logical slowing down of their empire's move across the globe; but the truth is I'm not the only person who is cutting down the amount of time I spend on it.

The reality for me is that because of email notifications, part of the main reason for going onto the site is made redundant. The only other reason, I can see, for being logged in is to see what my friends have got to say or what they're doing. That too can be something that can sometimes take upwards of 30 seconds to check.

My mate Chev rages over the injustice of Facebook's privacy policies, but I think he should be raging about the massive con trick that Zuckerberg and his cronies have perpetrated. It has effectively become an operating system to young people. they can access whatever they like through it, from records to videos to news and all manner of games bollocks. Facebook is the portal to the rest of the world and you get to know that your mate has just had a really big shit!

Has anyone ever texted Facebook to confirm you are who you claim to be? I was prompted for this a couple of years ago, when I started to post blogs. Every time I tried to post something it would ask me to complete one of the Captcha things to confirm I wasn't a robot and posting spam to... my... own... page... ..?

For eighteen months, once I confirmed I existed, Facebook never bothered to ask me for proof and then a few weeks ago it started to do it again, asking me to confirm my reality by filling in a Captcha Box. Perhaps I'm no longer who I said I was? It is yet another little panel pin in the coffin of my staying.

Also, this 'hit enter and it gets published' nonsense when replying to peoples comments. You hit the enter button or hard return as I still refer to it as and you can forget about editing what you said; it's up there warts and all...

I've also discovered that people I know 'like' some of the strangest things imaginable. I don't know if it's some kind of elaborate phishing mechanism, but at least one of my friends allegedly plays Mafia Wars, when I asked her, she said the only thing she plays on Facebook is the Scrabble application. Perhaps there's an insidious algorithm designed to tell you that a friend plays a game so that you will be tempted try it out?

Another of my friends is the victim of tagging spam - where he is tagged in photos despite not being on the particular page's list of followers. He has discovered he can't contact the spammer directly and trying to get in touch with Facebook is like trying to get an audience with the pope with a collection of sex toys and flavoured condoms.

All I know is that while Facebook is excellent as a self-publicity tool, it also exposes just how mundane most of our lives are.

I'm pissed off with it; and despite recommendations from people who should know better I wouldn't do Twitter. I struggle to update my Facebook status now that it is no longer the sole reason to use it, so waffling inanely for 144 characters is as appealing as having a garden hose inserted into my Jap's eye.

I see an email revival happening. For starters you have more chance of them being private...

***

The interview went... well, I don't really know. I know I was sweating profusely and I think I had a couple of waffly moments, but the questions ended up being easier than I expected, which threw me slightly after the extensive OxBridge styled grilling I got when I tried to apply for a job at my most recent employer.

I'm going to sit on the fence, but I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get it. The next interview is in Corby for a job based in Daventry for an organisation working out of Kettering...

***

At 1:00pm it was 25 degrees and hot, now it's is cool and raining, less than two hours later. Go figure.

To Protect and Serb

I don't want anyone to think I'm defending a war criminal, but watching the news this morning to discover that Ratko Mladic has been forcibly removed from his War Crimes Tribunal in Den Hague and given a severe warning by the judge made me laugh. What are they going to do with him? I mean, if he's found guilty he's likely to be sentenced to death, so what is a judge going to do that has any impact whatsoever on the way Mladic behaves?

Serbia is very much in the news. what with that other Serbian chap winning Wimbledon, or rather making Rafa Nadal look a bit Andy Murray. I don't tend to watch that much tennis; it's the hope and expectation that kills me (and I find it a wee bit dull and four sets too long), but I watched the first two sets of the Men's Final yesterday and was pretty much impressed by the new champion and also resigned to the fact that Andy Murray will only win a grand slam if several people die or retire first.

***

Apparently, the 2014 world cup has started! Matches played at the weekend between Palestine and Afghanistan, as well as a game between The Philippines and Sri Lanka - all of them starting a journey that will not see them end up in Brazil.

***

I have an interview for a job tomorrow. Ironically, it's for a job that I applied for 6½ years ago but ended up being offered a managerial position instead. It shows how much forward this country is going when the only jobs available to me now are ones that pay £5k less and are essentially a step back on the old ambition ladder.

I'd like it though. I'm slowly going mad(der) with boredom.

***

My mate Roger is going to interview former Yes lead vocalist and barking mad eccentric Jon Anderson for a prog rock thing. As he is aware that I'm just as big a fan of Yes as he is, he contacted me and asked if I could suggest any questions to ask the man who originally came from a rural Lancashire town.

All I could come up with were: Is he as barking mad as everybody says he is? What in hell's teeth was Olias of Sunhillow all about? Is it true he keeps his nan's old spare leg in a closet at his daughter's house? As he's originally from Burnley, has he ever said, "You'll never take me alive, copper. Not without a proper shoot out!" In his broad Lancastrian accent?

Suffice it to say, Roger will not be using my suggested questions (even though I thought the White Heat one was inspired). However, Roger tends to finish his interviews off with a silly question...

***

Pigeons have eaten all but one of my gooseberries...

***

Fishwife has gone on a course for a week; leaving his occasionally flirtatious wife (and two brats) all on her own. This is a good thing because we will have a relative week of peace. Fishwife's wife is considerably sterner than Fishwife.

Double whammy of excellent goodness is that Fuckwit and Lard Girl are also away for a couple of days; meaning I can go into the garden without fear of too much distraction...

It makes me remember when we first moved into this house in 2000. We still had Fuckwit and Lard Girl on one side, but where Fishwife lived was a single mother with her 19 year old daughter. The safest thing you could say about Chris was she was a bit dippy; but her daughter was as thick as clotted cream, liked to get pissed out of her face and used to sun bathe topless in the back garden with a couple of her friends. This was often a highlight of sultry summer days, especially as the fence between houses in 2000 was half the height it is now.

Like Fishwife, the previous owners were heavily into barbecues and often had a garden full of friends while cooking half a dead animal. They often used to invite us, but we'd decline because of our vegetarian views. Talking over the fence later in the year, the daughter was saying how she hated the autumn and really missed the barbecues. Then without a hint of irony or innuendo, she said to me, "I like a good spit roast," and I was left to bite my tongue, make my excuses and beat a hasty retreat. They moved in the spring of 2001...

***

Duck shit and sawdust awaits...