EDitorial ± 29-Jun-2005

Check It Out

Down to Jamie Oliver's supermarket to give The Boy some practice on his two-wheeled early birthday present. He can only just touch the ground with his toes, so he's fine as long as he keeps moving.

So we do the aisles in search of bread products: sliced wholemeal for kiddies, big tiger loaf for 'dults, four-pack of bagels and a now-only-10p French stick to gnaw on the way home.

At the checkout I rummage through my shorts pockets for my cards, and they're not there. No sign in the body of my rucksack either, and only just over a pound in change, i.e. Not Enough. Cue some very British embarrassment, disgruntled looks from those in the queue behind, and a wait for The Supervisor. At which point I discover the cards in one of the sack's many side pockets.

Now this feels like something out of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I hide the fact that I've found a means of payment - the appropriate time to pay has past - and The Supervisor takes my unpaid-for items to the customer desk. She says: so you need to pop outside to the cash machine? Er, yes, I say, so father and son go through the charade of leaving the shop, withdraw some token cash from the hole in the wall, and return to the desk with our £20 note to claim our bakery goods.

And The Boy does pretty well on the way back home, having only one mishap involving a wheely bin on the pavement.

EDitorial ± 28-Jun-2005

Go, Go, Power Rangers

The Boy turned five yesterday: living room carpet now obscured by Power Rangers, Mega Bloks, Knex and more Power Rangers (Dino Thunder, naturally). He was having fun with his friction powered gold Dalek too, though did manage to drop and break his £1.99 light-up fan in the playground.

So good ol' Dad, who's not just there for the nasty things in life, shelled out for a replacement en route home. Which birthday boy duly let slip on to the dining room floor about 30 minutes later. Upon reassembly, it still lights up but the propellor doesn't propel. Your £3.98 doesn't go far these days.

But, after watching the first Dr Who episode again on his new DVD, we had fun putting together one of the Mega Bloks models - thumbs up for clear instructions and a nice carry case.

EDitorial ± 25-Jun-2005

Like The Man Who Sells Insurance

Bad day for hayfever. My nose has been running the whole day long, much like a young Tom Courtenay keeping pace with a a sweaty Dustin Hoffman. I've used more Kleenex - for we have branded tissues in this place of work - than, well, complete that sentence yourself.

EDitorial ± 24-Jun-2005

King Of The Cycle Path

5.40pm and I'm on the Claud Butler, heading home. Realise there's another peddler behind me, and he looks to have the full kit and caboodle: lycra shorts and even a yellow jersey. Time to engage Eddy Merckx mode.

So, over the stretch of unmade-up road, and I'm first on to the cycle path. Up from 4th to 5th, then 6th & 7th. I'm breathing hard, travelling a teensy bit faster than I usually would if no-one else were around, and staying ahead.

Down and up the first underpass, being sure to keep those pedals turning on both the descent and ascent. Never taken the uphill part as quickly before, and glad there's nobody walking on the other side as I veer out and on to the pedestrian half.

Beginning to slow as we approach underpass two: he's still in position 2 of 2. Reach the end of the path and slingshot out into the road. I can now freewheel and let him pass, which he does.

"Nice riding", I imagine him saying as he swooshes past.

EDitorial ± 22-Jun-2005

Man In A Cape

Not long back from the flicks: playing on the big screen was Batman Begins. Outing was suggested by an old (though two months younger than me) friend. In our impressionable years we scoured the mean streets of Ipswich for DC comics - used to be a well-stocked odd-shaped shop on St Margaret's Plain that we patronised - and later, when at least one of us had a mortgage, we peered through the darkness at the Tim Burton version.

BB didn't disappoint. Sure, there were some po-faced moments ("it's what I do that defines me") and plot silliness (yep, they mislaid the microwave emitter: no instant popcorn for you), but they tried hard to ground the thing in some sort of reality.

Highlights would have to include The Scarecrow with his psychotropic hallucinogens, yielding some genuinely disturbing moments, Liam Neeson as a grown-up Yoda, and some imaginatively choreographed Ninja training scenes.

Also good was the level of hush, to feel that the audience was concentrating on what was being said and not just on the baddies being dispatched. Though when Bruce was fretting about what symbol to use for his crime-fighting persona, I did feel the urge to yell "Er, what about a bat?"

EDitorial ± 19-Jun-2005

Bizarro Brooms

Escaping the scorchio sun down at the shady end of the garden, couldn't help but hear some kids on the other side of the fence. Sounded like they were larking around with some water pistols.

When one of them started sobbing, perhaps after being on the receiving end of a supersoaking sniper shot, mum appeared: What's up with you?, she shouted; One minute you're happy, the next you're crying! Just calm down, will you?!

Not long after, dad came on the scene, evidently trying to get them into the car. Will you please come along?, he said, attempting to stay calm. No, replied one of the kids, I don't want to go.

Come on!, his volume rising. We Need To Go! Said the child: No!

That's us, we thought. That is exactly us. We've been there. We have those T-shirts. Maybe that six-foot fence acts as some weird distorting mirror. When their kids are bad, ours are good. When those parents have lost it, we're still grasping the plot. That family in the next road along are the Bizarro versions of us.

In which case (a) their eldest daughter was being positively angelic around 3.30pm, but (b) later they had a dreadful family barbecue. 'Cos we had a jolly relaxing outside meal. Which was nice.

EDitorial ± 18-Jun-2005

Hobbling Into Holby

So, there I am last Thursday morning, lying on the dining room floor in a cold sweat, successfully freaking out the kids. Comfortable down here, I'm thinking; here we go again.

Night before I'd been doing bad mint on (as the predictive text would have it), went for a shot close to the net, and felt a mighty pain in my ankle. By the time I'd risen and hobbled to the bench, the joint had become elephantine & Merrick-esque. Drove home in discomfort, cursing my stick shift, and limped into bed.
A hundred times the doctors say
I am ok
I am ok
I'm not ok
--- Eels, Electro-Shock Blues
Next morning couldn't put any weight on My Daniel Day Lewis, but hopped across the landing and down the stairs. Sitting down at the dining table, felt like a Jean-Paul Sartre novel. Next thing I know, the room's out of kilter by 90 degrees.

As it happened, good lady wife was phoning my mum to see if she could get me checked out at the 'ozzy. You need your mum at times like these. And I'd recommend Thursday mornings at casualty if you're able to time your minor mishaps. Into triage - blood pressure OK - saw doctor, had X-rays, re-saw doctor - no broken bones - and out within an hour.

Bearing in mind incident 1 and incident 2, that gives me a MTBF (mean time between fainting) of approx. 7-and-a-half months. I'll be sure to update you around the end of January 2006.

Hence the lack of socks.

EDitorial ± 17-Jun-2005

Tyranny Of Socks

What with my bad ankle (of which much more at a later time, you lucky people), I've spent the last two days at work wearing, shock horror slight smell, no socks. This has been a liberating experience.

I'm reminded of (a) that happy period in the early noughties when it became acceptable to not wear a tie, and (b) that Bruce Willis advice from the first Die Hard film about savouring the feel of carpet underfoot after a flight.

Come on chaps, let's assert our right not to wear short stockings.

EDitorial ± 16-Jun-2005

Man With One Clock Knows The Time

Big company announcement yesterday: projector plus screen, tripod-mounted speaker, the works. First email, two days in advance, said kick-off was 10am.

Follow-up email, the day before, said 10am GMT, in bold. Much confusion ensued.

Then got this at 9.30am (BST):

Just to confirm that this Announcement shall take place in 30 minutes - at 10.00 AM UK TIME

Ah, the joys of unambiguous communication in a small company.

EDitorial ± 15-Jun-2005

Seriously, When's Your Bus?

To the NT-owned Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds last night to see the much-loved John Shuttleworth on tour. It's two years ago since he graced the Wolsey but, truth be told, not a lot changes in his world. Which is a big part of why we love him.

Last night's show was entitled Fawn Again, and found JS initially despondent about growing old, "no longer able to wear the vibrant colours of youth nor the pastels of middle age." Selected highlights:

  • a terrific song about the perils of tucking into treacle sponge when there's still shepherd's pie to be had, entitled I Can't Go Back To Savoury
  • the poster shows John with a ping-pong bat, though he's at pains to point out that this was merely posed with a sponge bat and not his own preferred hard bat
  • a short & sweet King Of The Hill-style animation called Unaccompanied Lady
  • re the interval, he advised solitary types to find an alcove and pretend to read about forthcoming events while tucking into a tub

Good old dependable John.

EDitorial ± 14-Jun-2005

Top Lapse

Popping in to Tesco on Sunday pm, bumped into one of my EDitorial (ex?) readers. I imagine Nick Hornby gets this all the time.

"You've not updated freston.net in ages", he said in a J'accuse fashion.
"Been busy", I mumbled back, knowing the facts were on his side, and sloped off.

So, spurred on by shame, here's my latest effort at keeping current, staying with it, and generally not letting the zeitgeist get completely out of sight.