Posts archive for: November, 2005
  • It was thirty years ago today!

    A very important anniversary today – 30 years ago I went to my first concert at the grand age of 13 – actually I was two weeks short of my 14th Birthday. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the start of a new passion that would last me the rest of my life pushing football matches out as the main pastime.

    The band in question were Tiger footed, Lonely this Christmas, Cat crept in, crept out again, Dynamite Glam rockers Mud who were my favourites at the time. My brother was into those Ballroom Blitzers Sweet who I kinda liked too but didn’t want him to think I was copying so found my own heroes. I’m not sure how I found out about the show but I suspect I was a member of their fan club. I probably badgered my mum and she sent off for tickets for me.


    The concert was at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle and my brother and I had tickets in row J. There was a support band called Bilbo Baggins who were ok and we did later buy one of their singles but it was Mud we went to see. I seem to remember that they were wearing the blue suits that they have on the front of Mud rock but I could be mistaken but they ran through all of their hits and it was a buzz to see the people I had been watching on top of the pops for so long. I remember the girl next to me having a long scarf, which she got me to help wave at one point during the show.

    The badges were designed to look like a road sign with Mud on Road written on them and we bought a program. My Dad must have taken us and brought us home because even in the mid seventies I couldn’t imagine my Mum and Dad letting us go to Newcastle on the train at that age – although they would the following year when we went to see Thin Lizzy.

    For many years I was embarrassed about going to this show as it didn’t fit with the sort of music I eventually liked but looking back I’m glad I got to see Mud at that time and not caught them as a bunch of has-beens 10 years later. So driving to work this morning on the 30th anniversary was I listening to Mud? Was I bollocks – today it was a live Miles Davis set from November 1969. From Mud to Miles in thirty years – a musical odyssey. Now that sounds like the title of a book!

    P.S. Tiger Feet was number 1 when my partner Sarah was born!!

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  • The day the music died

    It's been a week where my faith in music has been shaken to it's very foundations by three of the biggest names in rock - two of which are the people who I freely admit to be obcessed with.

    First there was the Grateful Dead who for 40 years have allowed their fans to record and trade their concerts - this was a shrewd move on the part of the band because it kept the fans coming back show after show, year after year. The band had an area set aside for tapers at their shows and even gave out patches from the sound board.

    These tapes were then traded amongst fans and as such very few bootlegs albums circulated - why buy a bootleg when you get get a tape for nothing. The rules were simple - no official releases were to be traded and no money should change hands. There is even an argument to suggest that the internet expanded because Deadheads wanted to trade tapes!! As technology advances and changed; tape trading gave way to CD trading and then to downloading. There was a site called the Live music archive which held over 2000 recordings of the Grateful Dead as well as other bands.

    A few months ago the Dead (or what is left of the organisation) introduced it's download series and started selling some of it's recordings from it's huge vault via it's on line store. These were available in either lossy mp3 format or lossless Flac format. You paid your money and you downloaded the show. Also they released a 10 CD box set of the four shows in 1969 which were recorded for their Live/Dead album - it was limited to 10,000 copies and sold out in less than a few weeks (Luckily I got one).

    Last week however the band announced that they were stopping the downloading of soundboard recordings from the Live music archive and henceforth audience recordings would only be available in mp3 streaming format. This has sent the usually loyal legion of deadheads into a petulant frenzy. There is much finger pointing at the surviving members of the band and even two of their wives. There is talk of boycotting future CD releases, T-shirt and merchandise sales and even concert ticket sales.

    There seems to be the general opinion that the reason that the soundboards have been pulled is because the band intend to increase their download releases and hence start to charge for them instead of having them freely available - hence going back on an unspoken pact with their fans. No statement has yet been released by the band although one is expected soon.

    The second shock came after I recieved a copy of Bob Dylan's show at the Brixton Academy on 21st November. He was dreadful and for the first time I couldn't listen to the show. I know he has been erratic of recent years but I thought this was dire. I'm glad I didn't waste my money going to the shows. It's been two years since I've seen him and boy has he slid downhill in that time.

    In my opinion the Neverending tour he has been on for the last 18 or so years has finally reached rock bottom. Dylan mumbles the lyrics, sings tunes at odds with the backing and has this awful habbit of singing up at the end of a line. The band has lost most of the good memebers and now is only workaday at best. It's time he took a good long look at himself and changed direction like he used to on a regular basis.

    I don't care what he does - sing backed by peruvian noseflutes, get a DJ and do the songs in a hip hop style, gargle the songs on a uni-cycle - anything that would lift him out of the rut he is so surely in backed by a god awful band, plodding through the songs with no feeling

    Boots of Spanish leather and Visions of Johanna were so dire as to almost reduce me to tears. The only high points I heard (I didn't listen to the whole thing) were the fiddle break on It's alright Ma and the Clash cover London Calling which was only just over a minutes worth.

    The final straw was the Rolling Stones announcing their UK dates for next year, they are playing the new Wembley Stadium on 20th August next year as well as dates in Glasgow(25), Sheffield(27)and Cardiff(29). Tickets for these shows are priced £150, £90 and £60!

    They are on sale now but before you dash off to buy one you can only do so in the first instance if you hold an American Express card. The band have a tie up with Amex - very rock and roll!! No doubt corporate hospitality deals are also available. At those prices you can probably expect to be in an audience full of merchant bankers (pun intened).

    I saw the Stones about 25 years ago and I thought they were past it then - if i could see them at Brixton like Mr Zimmerman then I might think about it but I ain't paying £150 to sit in a Stadium and watch a bunch of 60 year olds pretend they're still 18 - no way.

    Anyway it would seem that the stars of yesteryear seem to see their fanbase, most of which are aged betwen 40 and 60, as a cash cow to be milked at every opportunity but the way I see it is summed up by a headline from the NME in about 1978...

    Take this God and stuff it!!

  • Lest we forget

    The papers, and in particular my Guardian, were full of the death of footballing "legend" George Best at the weekend (although most of them had actually published the obituary the day he died). To be honest Best doesn't really get picked up in many childhood memories and I can't help but feel that he has made such of an arse of the rest of his life that he shouldn’t have been afforded the accolades he received - we seem to adore the self destuctive star don't we. I even read that his funeral could be as big as Princess Di's.

    I think the only memory I do have of Mr Best was in the playground in about 1968 we were given balls to play with and I remember my teacher shouting come on dribble the ball like George Best and I thought "who?" I'm sure a few years later I owned a pair of George Best football boots but I can't be sure. He had given up playing football in the UK by the time I started going to football matches just after Sunderland's FA Cup victory in 1973.

    The article that caught my eye was half a column inch on page 11, the last surviving witness of the famous Christmas truce in the trenches during World War 1 died this week aged 109. I couldn't help but feel that here was a story more worthy of coverage than that of the demise of Mr Best. After all Alfred Anderson had been there at one of the most amazing moments in history. An event who's tale is told almost every Christmas, I know it was part of last years Christmas play at the kids school. In the midst of a most horrible war both sides took the message of peace and goodwill towards men to heart - even if it was only for a short while.

    Alfred Anderson was one of a number of the few remining survivors of World War 1 that were interviewed by the Guardian a few weeks ago. I remember reading the article in which they talked about their war experiences. I remembered his story because at one point he was batman to Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon who was the brother of the late Queen Mother. The one thing I know of my Step-Grandfathers time during the war was that he had been a batman to an officer. I remember he showed my father a letter that he had recieved from the officer after the war. In it the officer mentioned that he still owed my Grandad 10/- and if he sent him an address he would forward it. He never did of course!

    If you want to read the article in the Guardian it's here

  • Reasons to hate Christmas Part 3

    Christmas shopping at Bluewater

  • Santa Claus is coming to town

    So after my disappointment ;) earlier in the week at not being able to be Santa at the school fayre my feelings were a mixture of relief and as you probably noticed annoyance.

    So Saturday morning we are just getting ready to go off to Norbury and Sarah's mum's Church fayre when the phone rang, it was Sarah's brother and he was pissed off. They'd got to the church and there was no Santa's grotto as nothing had been organised (he's 18 by the way).

    Ten minutes later the phone rang again, it was Sarah's mum. While she was on the phone Sarah turned round to look and me while saying "I'm sure it would be ok" and I just knew what was coming.


    In the end I enjoyed it. It was worth it to see the look on the faces of the little kids and it took me back to my childhood when I used to go and see Santa in Joblings department store in Sunderland. I was thinking on the way to the church that I really did believe that the man sitting there was Santa and wondered if kids today would still be able to believe that. All I can say is that from my observations - they do!

    One of my favourite answers was from a young girl who when i asked her if she had been good replied "Well I try my best". There were many who got all tounge-tied and couldn't manage to get anything other than their name out - bless. Another revelation was very few managed to answer the question "what do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas".

    Oh and I must have been ok as they were already talking about me doing it again next year - doh!

  • Mother did it need to be so high?

    You may have noticed I was Mr Stressy Pants yesterday but there was more to it than just the Santa thing.

    Friday night is changeover night for my two girls, they live with me one week and with my ex wife the next. This friday my eldest was staying on here because she started a Saturday job this morning just down the road, more of that later.

    So anyway i took the youngest one back to her mums, no one in. Now at 13 she's reasonably old enough to look after herself but her mum knew she was coming back on her own and either couldn't be bothered to get back there in time or had gone out before we arrived. This is the woman who dragged me through the courts for a year trying to get full custody of the girls.

    If i thought it was a one off then I might be more forgiving but I'm sure there have been other times when I've taken them back to an empty house and they have covered for her. When they go off for the week at their mums a big hole is left in my life and it hurts me to think of them being left on their own.

    Anyway as I said the eldest has started a Saturday job at a local shop, I took her down there this morning because I think she was quite nervous. It'll do her good earning a bit of money and hopefully give her a bit of responsibility. I had a Saturday job when I was her age - I worked in Woolworth's in the butchers department doing all the crap jobs like cleaning, wrapping joints of meat and making mince! I used to get a £5 and two joints of meat every week.

    The old guy who ran it when I started became ill and had to leave, they promoted the other guy but he wasn't up to the job. He used to piss off down to the pub at lunchtime for several hours and when he came back he'd often piss in the bucket in the cold store (and then expect me to empty it - obviously I refused). Anyway takings went down and they ended up making me redundant at 16, eventually the whole deprtment shut down.

  • I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus

    So after all that I'm not going to be Santa at the School fayre - the whole idea of me doing it was to give the guy who has done it for the last 5 years or so a well earned rest so he can enjoy the fayre with his wife and kids,

    Apparently some reception parents have made it known that if he doesn't do it they won't allow their kids to see Santa. This has pissed me off somewhat - I'm all for parent power but this is a bit much.

    Just suppose that I did do it what would these parents tell their children?

    You can't see Santa because we don't know who he is...but he's Santa mummy!

    or worse still you can't see Santa in case he's a pervert!!

    Now before you chastise me for that comment I was actually asked if I could prove that I'd been Police checked recently (see earlier blog). The fact that I was a parent Governor at an infant school for 6 years and an LEA Governor for a year at a secondary school have made no difference. It would appear that I have to prove I'm innocent first!

    Right I'm stopping now before I get really pissed off

  • You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    The north wind doth blow,
    And we shall have snow...

    Or at least we better have snow!

    The weather men have been predicting blizzards for the last few days, all the kids will go loopy if it doesn't!

  • Exit wound

    I’m a great believer in synchronicity – the connectivity of things and the ability to affect things that would seem to be out of your reach. There have been many occasions where I have listened to a record that I haven’t heard for ages only to find it being played on the radio the following day. I’ve lost count of the times that either Sarah or I have picked up the phone to call the other one only to find it ringing already.

    Over the past few days my mum, who died in 1990 has been in my thoughts a lot. I think this started with a comment on another blog but has grown and grown over the weekend. I don’t think I grieved for her and found it hard to believe that she had gone and it’s only now after 15 years that I feel I can put things into perspective.

    In addition to this I was sitting thinking last night about how, 3 years after splitting from my wife, I finally feel that I’m moving on and how life is finally beginning to make some sense and become “normal” again – probably more so than at any time in my life.

    So this morning I was listening to the recording of the Jackie Leven gig mentioned in my previous post and something he said struck me. Introducing a song called exit wound he said something like:

    An exit wound is a technical term for when you are hit by a high velocity bullet, it makes only a small hole going in but by the time it comes out it’s a wide gaping hole. Emotions get you like that sometimes.

    I thought – yeah ain’t that the truth. I realised what a huge hole the two situations mentioned above have made in me, holes which need to be healed so I can be whole again. My new life is healing my divorce, day by day, little by little but I need to close the hole made by my mother’s death, something my father tried to tell me years ago.

    I’ve decided that I’m going to write about it, get my thoughts down on paper which will be easier than trying to verbalise it. I don’t know what I’ll do with it once I’ve done that – it will depend what it says I suppose. Hopefully this will help me move on.

    Oh well so much for no more personal stuff.

    On a lighter note – Bob Dylan covers the Clash. At Brixton tonight Zimmie did London Calling as his first encore – no I’m not making this up.

    As a postscript to this today I was listening to a previously unheard Radio 3 session from Jah Wobble during which he talked about the same synchronicity I'd blogged about last night - see told you!!

  • May God make you fart!

    I haven't blogged for a while partly because I haven't had anything to say and the alternative being climbing on my soapbox about either the anti-terrorism bill or remembrance day and you wouldn't want either of those - would you dear reader?

    Also I've been having a bit of a crisis about the content of my blog. It was pointed out to me that it might be a bit too personal. At first this didn't bother me, after all I've had a website for 10 years and that has a lot of personal stuff on it and nobody has been round to murder me - yet!!

    But then one of my blog friends was the subject of some really nasty stuff and had some childish tags left on his blog - which incidentally are anonymous so therefore a very cowardly way of having a go at someone. So I got to thinking about what I've been writing and decided to be careful when I stick my head above the barricades for a while till I've come to a conclusion.

    So for now I'll stick to writing about my favourite subject - music!!

    A journalist of my acquaintance once wrote in the Independent something like "Deadhead's like those great obsessives Bob Dylan fans...." I e-mailed him and asked if I was a fan of both Dylan and the Dead did it make me doubly obsessive? Yes he replied!

    It was in these obsessions that my musical listening had been firmly routed last week, starting first with the Dead then progressing onto Dylan before I was jilted out of it by the unlikely pairing of Eminem and Gorillaz. My head feels like it shouldn't like Eminem but I do - I think he is a very talented poet even though his subject matter isn't always in good taste. I once got into trouble on a Bob Dylan group for suggesting that he was as good a poet as Zimmie and this seemed to ruffle a few feathers - hehe!!

    This week I've listened to a diverse range of stuff some of which have brought back many memories of long ago. The first of these was triggered by a fellow blogger who said that she had been given tickets for Chris Rea as a birthday prezzie. Although not the sort of music I would currently listen to I do own a couple of his CD’s. I commented that his song Fool if you think it’s over always reminded me of my mother’s last few months just before she died.

    Dyin' flame, you're free again
    Who could love, and do that to you
    All dressed in black, he won't be coming back
    Save your tears
    You've got years and years

    I dug it out on Saturday morning and while I was listening to it my stepdaughter came and suddenly put her arms around me and gave me a hug. I’ve had a feeling for the last few years that there is a huge mental block that prevents me from remembering the past and particularly the times before my mum’s illness.Therefore it has been very therapeutic recently to listen to music that I haven’t listened to for a while and have it trigger off a memory, which then cascades into others and things long forgotten come streaming back. Once such incident happened this week whilst listening to Rory Gallagher.

    The Rory Gallagher band was probably the second rock concert I went to back in 1977 and I think I saw him 3 or 4 times. I remembered stuff long forgotten such as sneaking into the City Hall at Newcastle to catch his encores after I’d been to see Here and Now at the University and it finished early. I also remembered him playing at Salford University and how I had opened the doors to let him into the building and how I had missed the gig because I spent the night trying to get into the knickers of a fellow student and despite managing to end up in her room I bottled it and ended up walking about 7 miles back to my house.

    Black Uhuru were another band I dug out, this too was from university days and reminded me of my mate Brian. I saw them supporting the Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium – not the ideal venue for reggae as I found out again a few years later when I saw UB40 supporting Bob Dylan there.

    Other things listened to this week include the Peatbog Faeries, Elliot Smith, John Stewart, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Frank Zappa. I’ve also decided that I want to borrow my Franz Ferdinand CD back off my daughter!!

    On Wednesday night I was doing the Cartier Racing awards at the Four Seasons hotel on Park Lane. I left home at 8am to drive up to central London, which is about 35 miles away. I finally arrived at 11:15, three and a half hours later!! I’d put three CD’s into the player to listen to on the journey and the last one was just finishing as I pulled into the hotel car park.

    The meal was absolutely fantastic (my colleague managed to get away with saying “I’m starving, I could eat an horse”) and the show went really well. Afterwards I asked the concierge to get my car out of the hotel car park, which he did. I drove home arriving back at about a quarter to three in the morning only to find he’d left the keys to the garage on the passenger seat.

    Also this week I found out that a fellow deadhead I know via the net turned 50 this week and he managed to get Jackie Leven (see earlier blog) to play at his birthday party – cool eh? Not only that but Jackie Leven agreed to let him record the show and circulate it among trading circles. I’ve downloaded it but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.

    Sir Hnery at Rawlinson End

    In case you’re interested the title is courtesy of the late great Viv Stanshall whose “Sir Henry at Rawlinson End” I finished the week listening to. I remember listening to this on John Peel’s show in the 70’s but it wasn’t until much later that I found out who and what it was. I passion I shared with a colleague Bill who later turned out to have an alter ego “Mr Blow-up” and won a Eurotrash award for most creative use of a fetish – but that’s another story.

    Next time Ralph has his upper lip pierced so he can see where he’s going whilst whistling.

  • 'tis the season to be jolly

    Oh God it’s official Christmas has started. The pent up tension, wound like a coiled spring has burst upon the streets of Chatham. Christmas decorations have appeared inside and outside the shopping centre and Santa’s grotto stands there awaiting the arrival of the Jolly one.

    Not that anyone else is jolly, why do we put ourselves through this crap every year. Already the stress is starting to show. There was almost a fight in the Bakers Oven this afternoon but luckily it limited itself to verbal fisticuffs

    F*ck off you sh*t c*nt” she screamed across the restaurant showing a remarkable command of the English language. She did come over to us later and apologise for using that sort of language in front of the kids and Sarah mumbled that it was all right but it wasn’t really. And this with 6 weeks still to go.

    I wandered around mumbling, “I hate Christmas” every few minutes – next year I am going to hibernate.

  • Reason's to love Christmas Part 1

    (Ok I've found one, maybe there'll be others)

    Starbucks gingerbread latte (with cream on top)

    Yum :D

  • Cocaine, running around my brain

    According to the Daily Telegraph, 2kg of re-cycled cocaine makes it's way into the Thames every day.

    It's no wonder our water bills are so high!!

  • Shake it up, baby, twist and shout

    Ben keeps getting into trouble for shouting.

    Yesterday he was chucked out of the Doctors surgery for making too much noise during Becky's hearing test. (That's when the picture below was taken).

    Tonight he's been chucked out of Sarah's Body Shop party for being too noisy.

    Sunday we went round Tesco with him in the trolley shouting Dad (or something that sounded like Dad anyway) at the top of his lungs!!

    He is currently sitting on my knee helping me type this.

  • Who me?


  • Reasons to hate Christmas Part 2

    Sarah has volunteered me to be Father Christmas at the School Christmas Fayre

    Ho Bloody Ho

  • Reasons to hate Christmas Part 1

    The first in a continuing series

    Going to Tesco to buy something and finding it's been taken off the shelves to make way for a seasonal line - Grrr!

  • Up's and Down's

    The weekend had it's up's and down's

    The down was on Saturday morning when Sarah's brother Steven went to do the Bungee jump he had been bought for his 18th Birthday by her other brother Daren. We went along to watch - more picture's here

    Steven's Bungee

    The up was obviously the fireworks!! - we went to an organised display on the Great Lines in Gillingham which isn't far from our house.


    My two decided to stay with their friends at the funfare after the fireworks while the rest of us went to a friends house. Unfortunately they managed to come out of the wrong exit and then managed to get lost - heading off in totally the wrong direction. Eventually our friend went out to rescue them.

  • Power in the darkness

    Monday and Tuesday were spent doing another Government conference – the London G8 climate change conference. I’m actually starting to enjoy these now despite the ever-changing requirements. This one was no exception as I found out a few days before that Tony Blair was to speak at the end of the day. There had been a constant stream of questions and requests regarding lecterns, backdrops, lights etc. This had lead to me having to park up in Pratt’s Bottom (no honest) and talk about Prime Ministerial requirements on Friday night making me late for my weekend away.

    And while we are on the subject of the Prime Minister – have you noticed that people have started using Prime Minister as a title referring to Mr Blair as Prime Minister Blair in an awful President Bush sort of way. It grates on me every time I hear it. The Prime Minster, Tony Blair is of course how it should be.

    Anyway back to the story.

    I had volunteered to put the tie clip microphone on Mr Blair and was waiting in the foyer for him but he was late. He was at the memorial service for the 7/7 victims so he did have a good excuse. I was then told to go and wait in one of the rooms for him. I did and found myself all alone in this room waiting for the PM. Thankfully I was joined by an equally nervous looking waiter who was instructed to offer him a cup of tea – “white, no sugar”.

    Suddenly in dashed one of his aides and said, “he’s here” and seconds later the Prime Minister breezed into the room. To my surprise he walked straight up to me and stood inches in front of me. The first thing I noticed was that he was taller than I was expecting, I always thought he was a short-arse but he is about the same height as me - 6ft. Over the years I’ve become quite accustomed to being in the same room as famous people but suddenly looking the Prime Minister in the eyes was still a bit of a shock.

    I attached the microphone and he had a quick conversation with his aides, turning down a pre-written speech saying he would do it off the cuff before dashing off up the stairs. I followed and listened to him give what I thought was easily the best speech of the day, although it was panned by the press the following day for seeming to suggest moving away from target based CO2 emission reduction. I have to say though that I do see his point, it will be difficult to force China and India to comply if it means that they must cut back on their economic expansion and therefore other ways of reducing emissions need to be found. Anyway full text of speech is here if you’re interested.

    Tony Blair

    I had a bad moment during the speech when I realised that the microphone had snagged on his jacket and was causing interference. I’m pretty sure it had slipped down after I applied it but we switched to the back up microphone on the desk and all was well.

    At the end of the speech I went to wait outside the room to retrieve the microphone. I told the security guard what I was doing – always a good move as they seem to get upset if you suddenly lunge at politicians!! He stopped and handed it to me, un-snagging it from his belt and as he walked away he turned and gave me a wacky cheesy grin and a thumbs up. A very un-prime minister thing to do but it certainly made me smile.

  • Pointless

    Am I the only person who hates that Sudoku thing that the country has gone mad for. Just can't see the point of it myself. I was glad to see the Guardian used two whole pages to poke fun at it - the artilce was about a newly discovered Japanese game that takes two players to do and involves putting x's and o's into a 9 square grid.

    Give me a crossword anyday!

  • Brighton Rock

    Been a busy bunny this week so I'm only just catching up - probably be several blogs today

    I left work early on Friday, not because we were going away but because Sarah’s girls were and they had to be dropped at the vicarage at 5:30. Unfortunately due to Tony Blair (more of this later) and the wonderful M25 I didn’t get home until nearly 6pm a full two hours after leaving the office, by, which time Sarah, had to make alternative arrangements.

    M25'd again

    We got to Brighton just after 8pm and checked into our hotel. The room was very nice although with the cot and our luggage in it there wasn’t that much room left. But overall it was clean and the four-poster was very nice and comfy. I would certainly recommend the hotel to anyone heading down to Brighton. It was about 10 minutes walk from the pier and away from the noisy parts of town.

    We went out to find somewhere to eat and eventually settled on an Italian restaurant called Bella Italia. The food was fantastic and couldn’t be faulted which is more tha could be said for the service. I ordered a large glass of Rose wine to have with my meal. When the waitress returned with the drinks she put a small glass of red down in front of me. I pointed out that I hadn’t ordered red and she took it away returning a few minutes later with a small glass of white! Eventually I got the rose, which actually wasn’t worth the wait. When my meal came I asked for another glass, which eventually turned up about ten minutes after I’d finished eating and only after I’d asked for it again. I’m also sure I saw the waitress opening a bottle of red out of the corner of my eye!!

    Saturday was spent in the pursuit of retail therapy, although we didn’t actually buy anything. Sarah tried on a pair of shoes, which she had been lusting after since she saw them in a shop in Durham. They are made by a company called Rocket dog and they didn’t have her size in the first shop (despite her embarrassing me by cutting one of her toenails in the shop – gross!!) and we then tried every other shoeshop in Brighton without any luck. She eventually ordered them of the internet when we got home.

    A turn along the pier was accompanied by comments in a suggestive seaside postcard manner involving Candy rock, cockles and winkles – I’m surprised I didn’t get a slap! We planned to go back that evening and take Ben to look at the lights but when it came down to it he fell asleep and missed it. But what a tart that boy is!! He has women eating out of his hands all weekend. Everywhere we went women were fawning over him – it got embarrassing in the end.

    I want to be like Dad

    We struggled to find somewhere to eat that night as we fancied a pub meal but could find anywhere we could take Ben. The only other alternative seemed to be Italian and that’s what we had the previous night. We found a whole street of restaurants and after walking past all of them we decided on one only to be told they had no spaces. We walked back down again and by this time Sarah had a headache! We went into one on the sea front, which was a bit strange, but the food was nice. By the time we got back to the hotel we were zonked.


    Breakfast at the hotel was a scream as the guy who was serving was very entertaining – and as camp as a row of tents but this is Brighton after all. Ben tried some toast which he seemed to enjoy but we were finding soggy bits of it everywhere. After we checked out we went into town again – I walked off with the room key and the hotel phoned me!! I bought two hats to keep my head warm this winter as Sarah thinks a beanie makes me look like a gnome. After lunch we headed home having had a very enjoyable weekend.

    Another hat

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