EDitorial ± 30-Jan-2007

TT0607, Week 17

Some rode bikes, some drove cars and some hitched lifts to tonight's TT encounter at the Britannia Thunderdome. Two teams enter, two teams leave a bit later that same evening. Had the place to ourselves, unusually, with three available tables: two simultaneous matches and one for a knock with Arvind, our resident Defiants wannabe.

Slow and frustrating start, going down in five ends against their left-hander (who switches to playing right-handed when he gets wound up), then glancing over to see AC come back from matchpoint down (against a girl!) to secure his opening point, the lucky fella. Reversal of fortune next for the two of us, me jammily winning another five-ender and AC losing to the sinister one.

And what of KC? Another end, to his credit, and some good games, but ultimately pointless. Our doubles meritocracy kicked in once more, kicking out KC in favour of those who'd scored most points on the night. And we won, thankfully, to gain a draw. Hey, we didn't lose: that's progress.

Even time for a quick cuppa and as many chocolate biscuits as it's polite to eat chez GS, sometime team member and longtime user of the NHS. Then one got on his bike, two got behind the wheels, and one hitched a lift back home.

EDitorial ± 29-Jan-2007

Bruce Banner, Meet Bruce Wayne

The hand-crafted invitation to G.'s 40th party said to "come dressed as your favourite toy, doll or action figure." And lo, it came to pass that Saturday night at the Garrett Memorial Hall played host to, among others, Princess Leia, James Bond, a policeman, Dora The Explorer, two Doctor Whos (Tennant with screwdriver and Baker with scarf), Bob The Builder, assorted Pirates Of The Caribbean, a Star Trek captain, and crime fighters including Superwoman, The Hulk and Batman. Not to mention a yo-yo, a button and a cardboard doll with cut-out costumes.

Refreshments were top-notch with seemingly unlimited food and drink, even the balloons were co-ordinated, and people were strutting their stuff with what used to be called gay abandon. YMCA, anyone? A personal highlight was seeing The Boy lay down some piratical air guitar to the strains of Don't Stop Me Now. Makes you dead proud.

Enormous fun, and that included the preparation, figuring out what gizmos should grace the utility belt. For now it can be revealed that I, yes I, was the Caped Crusader. Naturally you need a (cardboard) Batarang, and it doesn't take much to transform some de-icer into Shark Repellent Bat-Spray. Top off with a Bat-Rope and a handful of cards to hand out saying Biff, Bang and Kerpow!

There's talk of a rogue YouTube video depicting the Dark Knight struggling through the macarena, but it's probably just a rumour.

EDitorial ± 26-Jan-2007

Dolmio, December 2006

Maths nerd that I am at times, I've just discovered that 2007 has the prime factors 3, 3 and 223, i.e. 2007 = 3 x 3 x 223. Fascinating, ay what? Numbers homework with Eldest tonight: one runner completes a lap in 66 seconds while a slower runner does his in 72 seconds -- when does the first runner catch up the second? While you're scratching your head, here's last month's Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order).

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. December 2006 was spent:

And that was December 2006.

EDitorial ± 22-Jan-2007

TT0607, Week 16

Defiants: our mission -- to stay up. It's that simple. At the impromptu team meeting last week, there was also something muttered about turning up on time. Challenging, yes, achievable, who knows.

Much improved performance in a chilltastic sports hall tonight -- two points to us last time, double that this time -- me arriving midway through AC's first match, incredibly beating their best player. Our man was convinced he'd done the double on someone with a stonking 94% average: turned out AC had beaten a different guy in our first-half encounter. As PaRappa would say, you gotta believe.

Did I mention our fan? Admittedly this was a friend of KC's, last seen at a Defiants TT game when a President named Bush was fighting a Gulf War. His presence spurred on KC to win an end, though not enough to add to his singleton point. C'mon, Kev!

Now, I reckon my spatial awareness is good. I can solve a Rubik's cube (or could when Ronnie RayGun came to power) and my parallel parking, as required by this street, is above average. So why was it that:

  • when I bent down in the bathroom yesterday, I whacked the towel rail off its moorings with my head?
  • when I bent down to pick up the ball tonight, I thwacked my head on a wooden bar hiding behind a curtain?

Ouch times two.

EDitorial ± 21-Jan-2007

Bicycle Thieves

Rather than a will-always-let-you-down electronic organiser, I keep a pile of 3x5 index cards on which I scribble Things I Must Do, where the uppermost card lists items for that week. I do something, I cross it out, all's right with the world. I don't do it -- which *can* happen -- I carry it forward. Mostly. Top entry, since a town centre incident before Christmas involving a beautician's appointment and a locked cycle, has been these two words:

insure bikes

Now picture me and the kids coming out of the Surbiton Road Co-op around 5:45pm yesterday, Sunday, and Eldest points out: Dad, your bike's not there. I try to be green, then a yellow meany recycles my cycle, meddles with my pedals, lifts my lights and generally steals my wheels. Them's the brakes.

At least the kids' bikes were still present and correct. And no, it wasn't locked: I know, I know. Officially, according to Suffolk Police, I am now a victim of crime.

EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2007

Dedication To The Mallow

With marshmallow offerings at critically low levels in the house -- that tiny unopened packet of mini mallows which came with the Dr Who winter warmer mug isn't going to keep body and mind together -- a sizeable parcel plonked through the post.

Nervous fumbling revealed a shoebox-sized plastic box full of ice cream marshmallow cones, quantity 150: ah, nature's finest. Retail price is 5p a pop, so the label says. I'd put an honesty box in the kitchen for the kids if I didn't recognise the futility of such a gesture.

One adult and three children have wasted no time in gnawing their way through the upper strata. As Agent Cooper might have said, my, that's good mallow.

Ta very much to Mother dear for this mightily generous and sickly sweet act.

EDitorial ± 15-Jan-2007

Best Policy

It was murder at Broom Acres yesterday. You invite your family round and that's always likely, it goes without saying. All lights, bar one downstairs room where we gathered, were extinguished, and we gingerly chose a folded scrap of paper: D for detective, M for murderer, or blank for potential victim.

I accompanied The Boy into the darkness of the hallway, urging him to duck by the side of a bed or squeeze behind a door, then wait for the scream. Apart, that is, from the time he bravely chose to go solo, returning with the look of a job well done. So, quizzed The Detective, where were you when you heard your sister cry out? Standing next to her, answered Li'l Abe.

When those little ears learn that (a) the game is called Murder, and (b) if you're the Murderer, it's OK to lie, what kind of inferences are being formed within that stegosaurus brain?

I've got a wife and three kids you know
They'll tell you I'm straight
At least I think so
— Madness, Shut Up

Me, I'm as honest as they come. So picture me in Sainbury's the grocers last Thursday when, having asked for £50 cashback, the young fella hands over a tenner and three twenties. My first thought was to scan the check-out area for hidden cameras. Then, not missing a beat, I pointed out the overpayment and handed back Sir Edward Elgar. As I'm sure you'd have done yourself.

Step forward 24 hours to find father and son at the end of a windy bike ride visiting the home of Ronald McDonald. Halfway through assembling his Smiley Repast, I handed the Tropicana OJ on the tray to The Boy, who promptly took it to his seat. When the McEmployee returned with fries and nuggets, he placed another OJ alongside, obviously thinking he'd missed the drink from the order. This time I did miss more than a beat, kept schtum, and took the juice. Bad me: no biscuit with my vitamin C.

EDitorial ± 9-Jan-2007

TT0607, Week 14

I confess: tonight I was beaten 11-0 (I believe the term is "skunked") in one of my table tennis games. My opponent took all available points and, in the next game, grabbed the first six too before I finally scored a point. Not good. Especially when I'd won the opening two ends and clearly had him rattled. You had him beat, said one of their guys. That'll be the story of our season.

Demonstrably not the best of new year starts for the once-proud BT Defiants. KC turned up with new equipment -- where did you get that bat? -- hitting some good 'uns before losing out to superior opposition. AC went deuce mad, going 10-7 up in the final end yet still winning just an "L" on his forehead, though he did secure our one and only point of the evening against their sprightly pensioner ... who beat both me and KC.

Latest league table shows us NOT bottom, surprisingly. Partly 'cos the actual bottom team have played a game less than us. Time for us to get going, shape up, ship out, get out of that kitchen, extract our collective digits and pull our flabby selves together, else it's the abyss of division three staring us in the fizzog. Maybe time for a manager: anyone got a number for Rafael Benitez?

EDitorial ± 2-Jan-2007

Lopping And Losing Sleep

Maybe I was still coming down from the highly-charged and emotionally fraught sock game played out on New Year's Eve. In the white hot atmosphere of an amusement for two teams, accusations were levelled, digits were directed in faces, and Certain Things Were Said. Best if we all move on: it was most likely just the J2O talking.

That same night and The Boy was still Duracell powered. PJs on, he insisted that we read a quick book, time now around 1am. Before heading downstairs for the washing up (full dishwasher load already on, needless to say), I asked him if he knew what year it was. "January?", he guessed. No, that's the month, I pointed out -- it was 2006, and now it's ... "2007", he guessed right, "2007! Spider-Man 3!"

Forward 24 hours, and maybe I shouldn't have watched both episodes of the Torchwood finale. Cracking stuff. That Janitor character most creepy, though couldn't see the significance of his weird name: Bilis Manger. Any road, to bed and the prospect of, gulp, work the next morning. Set the alarm on my mobile and settled down with my booklight beaming on May Contain Nuts:

  • all quiet, all lights out when suddenly I hear a voice/voices? from the hall, though no footsteps: up I gingerly get, open the bedroom door, and realise that the bathroom radio is on Five Live -- it's disconcertingly decided to switch itself on at midnight, clearly having a mind of its own: turn it off and head back to book and bed
  • nearing end of chapter when Cybermen invade the room: that'll be an incoming text message from First Direct triggering my Dr Who SMS tone
  • book down, dozing off when someone immediately outside slams a gate, starts a car and drives off
  • mentally preparing for tomorrow and make note to remember football kit
  • finally asleep when The Boy shuffles in with slightly soggy pyjamas: up, herd him back to his room, lights on and find replacement bottoms, lights out and leave bathroom light on
  • dream that I've forgotten my football kit
  • 0705, mobile alarm goes off

One thirty minute bike ride to work, the wind in my face, and I'm as alert as something that's reasonably alert. With the ability to frame memorable metaphors.