Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Working through the Bank Holidays when nobody else does, even when they are at work #BRITISHDADSTUFF



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you feel like the worst person on Earth working on a Bank Holiday.


You try to earn as much money as possible.
But Bank Holidays are not meant to be worked.

I've worked through not only the regular national holidays, but also all those extra ones we've been given:

Queen's birthdays (yep, I'm in an office while Brian May is playing live on top of Buckingham Palace)...
National events that are practically a day-off...
and yet more wonderful Royal Family related shutdowns.

The worst one, and a career low, was driving home from work and seeing an actual Red Arrows flypast in my rear-view mirror.

Can you call it a flypast when it's behind you?

I knew right there and then... this can't be right.

There are upsides with working through a Bank Holiday, or for the foreign companies that don't understand how the country grinds to a standstill on random other days.

You've got to love any enterprise that thinks the British will do anything that's any use between December 22nd and January 8th.

Here's the big secret they don't know, that the great thing about working on those days is that no-one else is doing anything that's any use at any other company in the country too.

Isn't it brilliant, after what they've given us, that we can still name our holidays after the banks.

Turns out working through them does not get you ahead of a Banker.


Previous post...
The best shower curtain fall ever. By my mate Rob. And other mate Nicky's toilet. #BritishDadStuff


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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The best shower curtain fall ever. By my mate Rob. And other mate Nicky's toilet. #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you're still best mates with someone you nearly let die on the toilet.


I'm not sure if I have ever written about my favourite moment with Rob.
That time at Nicky's party.
And there was only one toilet.
Because it was a big flat.

But it was a flat. And this is what best mates are for.
If they haven't pulled.

They make sure you're not dying in the toilet.

A queue was building up.
And he hadn't come out.

And the queue was getting angry.
It wasn't even a queue now - it was more of an angry mob.

And I was worried more for Rob versus the mob than whatever was happening in the bog.
I was drunk.
Did I mention we were all drunk?

But Rob was a little more drunk than all.
There's talk now of busting the door open, by the angry mob.
(Who just want the toilet. They have no care for the welfare, of Rob).

I'm even more worried for Rob against the mob.

Here's the moment I know how to get his attention through the locked door.

I make a bellow to my fellow that only a best mate can make and, click, the door opens.

But now I'm sort of barging in - to be the first there ahead of the angry mob, which by this time is pretty much the entire party.

And Rob makes this noise that I've never heard before.
Sort of like a "Woooerrr".

Like a cartoon animal he windmills his arms backwards, as a wrong Mexican Wave, but stops by grabbing the shower curtain behind him to stay up.

"PING! PINGK!" shatter two bathroom shower curtain rings.

"PINGK PINGK PINGK PINK"

"Uh oh" he deadpans as he tumbles from my face...

"PING PING PING PINGPINGPINGPING-PINGK-CRUMP."

Wrapped in shower curtain bits and rawlplugs and rail and what was the bathroom shower curtain.

We hear him groan.
My buddy is okay.
But the bathroom is not.

The angry mob are already all over the toilet.

And all I can say to the mess in the bathtub is
"Dude, that was the best fall. Ever."


Previous post...
Looking at other peoples inboxes before you'd even look at your own #BritishDadStuff


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Friday, 16 December 2016

Looking at other peoples inboxes before you'd even look at your own #BritishDadStuff




You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you're more quick to look at other people's emails than your own.


Whenever I pass people scrolling down their phones, I don't mean to look, but I do.

And I just realised that when they do, that most of their emails are unopened.

They're scrolling up and down their inbox, that's full of unopened messages.

And I leave emails unopened.

Ironically many times from people that I really want to hear from.

It's like I'm saving them for something special.

And now, as I look over this person's shoulder, I realise I'm more excited looking at other peoples' emails than my own.

It's like we're all sending each other emails that we're not looking at, while wondering what happened to ours.


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Teaching my daughter about the important things. Like Leroy from Fame. More #BritishDadStuff thoughts 57-63


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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Teaching my daughter about the important things. Like Leroy from Fame. More #BritishDadStuff thoughts 57-63



Great British Dad thoughts for the week.

Sunday 11th December
Lawyers carrying their documents in pull-along cases hate it when you call them stewardesses.
They prefer "fight attendants".

Monday 12th December
My bank now has "voice recognition". So when I get my balance they know it's me swearing out loud..

Tuesday 13th December
I want to teach my daughter about the important things in life. Like Leroy from Fame.

Wednesday 14th December
Single in the 90’s: No woman’s toilet seat ever ever stood up by itself.

Thursday 15th December
Idea: Draw some pictures and put them up in the hospital corridors without telling anyone. Cheer up the sick.

Friday 16th December
Offering to help a hot girl take a selfie outside a national monument does not count as a good deed.

Saturday 17th December
Never forget, your A.B.C. Always. Be. Charging.



Previous post...
Checking my phone in front of my son. But I really couldn't help it, honest! #BritishDadStuff


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Checking my phone in front of my son. But I really couldn't help it, honest! #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you feel bad for checking your phone, even though you can't avoid it.


I had to pick up Dad from a really routine thing at the hospital. They make sure that someone comes to pick them up so that they get home safely.

It was Half-Term, what a great chance to take my 7 year-old to London!

He'd get to see Grandad, who's always funny when he's drunk on anaesthetic.

(I love piling him into a cab in that state, explaining to the driver that it's not booze. It'd be great to have my boy there too.
Like a lads' day out.
A beano, as Dad would call it).
What could possibly go wrong.

We hit the South Bank on the first off-peak train, ready to get the call from the hospital. And I'm showing him all the places where Daddy works really hard every day, writing his scenes that are shared online with an eager international audience forever.

Trouble is, he is really good at spotting logos.

"Is that the place we had noodles once?"
What, Wagamama?
"Oooh, I LOVE Wagamama."
You've had it, like, once.
"I REALLY want to eat THERE!"
But... can't we get some cheese and some bread... from the supermarket.
And eat it in the park?
"Oooh, Daddy. I REALLY want a Wagamama's."

But it's 11 o'clock.
And it's really pricey.
(I can't remember if I said that last bit out loud).

"Oooooh. Pleeeeeeeeeease."

I'm torn.
I've got my boy. And I know my days with him are finite.
And we won't get times like this again, ever.

But, I've also got my mortgage. And I know our cash is finite.
And I don't want to end up bankrupt, ever.

So we go in.
Maybe we could walk to the hospital to claw back a couple of quid, if we eat now.

I order the noodle dish he LOVES. And a side dish of dumplings for me.
(A side dish that would pay for an entire meal lower down the High Street chain).

The place is empty.
It's so early, the staff are having their morning briefing right next to us and we get a whole bench for 10 to ourselves.

This is living.

I'll just check the hospital haven't called and--

I miss something.

A Tattooed Waitress In Shorts is bearing down on me.
"I was just checking... to see if your CHILD is okay..."

Is she saying it pointedly, glaring at the phone in my hand?

"Oh, okay th--" but she's already stomping off.

Oh... She thinks I'm one of THOSE parents.
Who aren't in the moment - who look at their phones more than their kids.

I don't know why this is bugging me so much - that I've been busted for a crime I did not commit (when I've got so much else to be busted for.)

And now, ironically, I'm really not enjoying the rest of this experience, because I'm trying to overly-show the Tattooed Waitress In Shorts that I'm COMPLETELY with my boy and giving him all the attention he needs.

And then Dad calls. He's due out and really looking forward to leaving now, and we're at least 40 minutes away from him.

We've got to ditch these steep noodles.
So I'm wolfing them down now because I really don't want them to get wasted.

And yeah.
That's when I'm totally clocked again by the Tattooed Waitress In Shorts.
Slurp.
Beep.



Previous post...
Five biggest complaints of High Street sexbots... #BritishDadStuff



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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Five biggest complaints of High Street sexbots... #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you're the last to hear about the latest High Street trends.


They say the news you need to know will find its way to you.

All I've seen is a story about a chain of sexbot cafes coming to the UK (or rather the other way round).

I didn't even make it to those shops where the fish nibble your feet.

Five things you don't want to hear from the High Street sexbots:

5.
"Please place your items in the bagging area."

4.
"Further assistance is required."

3.
"Would you like to Gift Aid that?"

2.
"Please clear your own tables."

1.
"Don't forget to touch out."

Did I miss any?

Previous post...
How much life-expectancy would you trade for a Chromecast? #BritishDadStuff


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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

How much life-expectancy would you trade for a Chromecast? #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...even your Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) is handing over her life in her head for the home's gadgets.


INT. OUR CAR, NORTHBOUND ON THE M3 - AFTERNOON

I'M DRIVING. MY LONG-SUFFERING WIFE (LSW) IS PASSENGER SIDE.

LONG-SUFFERING WIFE (LSW):
I think... I would hand over some life-expectancy... just to have the Chromecast.

ME:
A Chromecast?

LSW:
Yes. I'll say it. The Chromecast is so good, I would trade it for some life-expectancy. It's that good.

ME:
What, 12 years? You'd lose 12 years for a Chromecast.

LSW:
No. I suppose there are boundaries on that.

ME:
Six months.

LSW:
No, not that much.

ME:
6 weeks. (OFF LSW) 6 to 10 weeks.

LSW:
That's a good deal.

ME:
You'd only be weeing in a bag anyway.

LSW:
And, it's for a gadget that'd be good for say, 10 years?

ME:
And it'd be used a lot through them.

A PAUSE.

LSW:
Course, all that wi-fi is going to kill us.

WE NOD.


Previous post...
My Boris Bike Crash 5th Anniversary - the night I opened my eyes in A&E #BritishDadStuff


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Monday, 5 December 2016

My Boris Bike Crash 5th Anniversary - the night I opened my eyes in A&E #BritishDadStuff


(It's a self-a&e)

You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you end up in hospital, for yourself.


Happy 5th Boris Bike crash birthday to me,
Happy 5th Boris Bike crash birthday to me,
I was knocked out for five hours,
and then woke up in A&E.


I was cycling to Waterloo through Holborn Circus at 18:30 on 5th December 2011.

Literally, the next image in my head is looking up at an NHS ceiling.
At 23:30.

I didn't know it then, but 5 hours had vanished.
I am 5 hours younger, and using every minute of it.

I had a big neck cage on my head, I was in a corridor, and I could feel my clothes had been cut off.

I asked a passing nurse "Where am I?" and she told me: "The London Hospital, in Whitechapel." I'd had a bike accident in Shoe Lane.

Huh.
I was dosed up nicely.
But my face felt weird.

It was like I was checking bits of my body for the very first time, without moving.
Some teeth were missing. And my lips were stitched.
And I couldn't remember a thing after turning out of Holborn Circus.

The road layout was different then - a terrifying mini-roundabout round a statue that's now moved. (Here's what it looks like in 2008)

After turning onto St. Andrew Street, I always looked over my right shoulder as sometimes I'd have a car up my bum on the run down.
But I don't remember that bit.
I think that's how I crashed.

(Embarrassingly, no-one else was involved.
The Boris Bike basket has a really high centre of gravity.
If you use one, never put your bag in there.
Unless you've got really fat feet and backside).

About a week after the accident, I tried tracking down the City of London police officer who was first on the scene. He'd kindly called my wife from the roadside to let her know what had happened and where I was going.

I wanted to thank him for helping me.

Turns out he'd even checked AND docked my Boris Bike, so I didn't have to sort out a fine.

But really it was bugging me that the policeman told her that I was "a bit of a character."

Uh-oh.

I'm not a character. I am really not a character.

I do not remember one single thing about the aftermath, and I just wanted to know that I hadn't said anything stupid to him.

I sent some wild emails from the A&E bed with my head injury which didn't make sense, and it was around the time of Occupy London.

I felt sick that I'd said something dumb to him, and even dumber almost certainly because growing up in London with school and scout trips to City police stations I think City of London Police are awesome.

I tracked him down via the control room (who remembered the incident and wished me well - I think they get curious about how things turn out), and I got to ask him: what the hell did I say?

A passing taxi driver had flagged him down to get him first on the scene.
(As a cab-driver's son, I liked this detail. London looks after its own.)

He said that I didn't have a clue where I was and I kept asking him if I was going to die.

Seems the brain protects us really well. I do not remember one word of this.

"But this was strange, Neil, you were really good with numbers. You knew your date of birth and even helped guide me through the security pin on your phone."

I do not remember one number of this.

In my head, it's one continuous flow: Turning off Holborn Circus, Hospital ceiling.
Not one beat in between.


Anyway, it changed the course of what I started blogging about, because here's the top ten list I wrote soon after.



10
Face looks like a themed Google logo. Changes by the day.

9
Being known to a handful of healthcare professionals affectionately as ‘that bloke who had the Boris Bike crash’.

8
Talking like Louis Spence.



7
Chunks falling off face like an maxillofacial advent calendar. Festive.

6
Patronising kids in the supermarket who stare to ‘always wear a bike helmet’, like some kind of deranged 1950s superhero.

5
Looking like a vagrant whose stuff never gets touched. Also festive.



4
Hours spent concussed equals hours not spent hearing about Eurozone crisis.

3
Drinking through a straw makes 2 year old son feel superior.

2
Finally being able to look my hero Erik Estrada in the eye.
We both know what this is like.


1
Looking like a Hitler cat.
Or the bloke from Sparks.
Or Blakey from On The Buses.




Previous post...
When people put things in bold in messages to me but not everything #BritishDadStuff


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Sunday, 4 December 2016

When people put things in bold in messages to me but not everything #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...no-one feels like they are being clear with you.


ME:
Hi, I don't know how to say this. So please know that it comes from a really kind place.

EMAILER:
Sure. What's the PROBLEM?

ME:
It's... it's the emails you send me. (THEN) You keep putting bits of them IN BOLD. It's... kind of annoying.

EMAILER:
But I do it to punch through IMPORTANT DETAILS. So you don't miss them.

ME:
But it's like this one here. You've put the DATE IN BOLD! I already know that's an important deadline. Because the words next to it are "This is an important deadline".

EMAILER:
I'm just being super-clear though. So you instantly see the IMPORTANT DATE!

ME:
I know. And I know my attention isn't the best and huh, movie actress Emma Stone cut her foot at a party.

EMAILER:
So I make sure the MESSAGE IS HEARD.

ME:
I know, but it's a little embarrassing. Like I can't be trusted to read an email. Urgent politics. I'll click on that petition later.

EMAILER:
You're upset that I'm just making my emails CLEAR AND EASIER ON THE EYE.

ME:
Yes. Right! If it's that crucial... why don't you just leave only the important bits in the message? Instead of putting SOME OF IT IN BOLD and nothing else? Do you see? It's a bit insulting.

EMAILER:
Okay. I'll stop doing it.
(THEN) ON THE NEXT EMAIL.
(SINGS) I WILL USE A LARGER FONT. INSTEAD.

ME:
Ooh. Ricky Martin's trending in Japan.


Previous post...
McDonalds salads are like dogs balancing treats on noses and 50-56 other Great British Dad Thoughts #BritishDadStuff


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Saturday, 3 December 2016

McDonalds salads are like dogs balancing treats on noses and 50-56 other Great British Dad Thoughts #BritishDadStuff



As a Great British Dad, I have thoughts, hopes and dreams.
Here are the ones I'm having this week.


Sunday 4th December
I got bored sending out change of address emails, and now everyone from P onwards lost me.

Monday 5th December
Me ordering a salad in McDonalds is a bit like a dog balancing a treat on its nose.

Tuesday 6th December
If some air escapes you, the most important call in our house is whether it's forced or accidental.

Wednesday 7th December
Imagine cavemen going for a weekend in a different cave. Or native Navajo pulling themselves away from the bison for a fortnight. I don't think holidays were invented by men.

Thursday 8th December
I listen so badly, I don't know if my wife is talking to me or OK Google. My family now get me with "OK Daddy."

Friday 9th December
That TV presenter does so many adverts that I forget what she wants me to buy next.

Saturday 10th December
We should be kind to the workers at the companies we hate. If they treat us like that, god knows how they treat the staff.



Previous post...
The Night I Shaved My Head Forever #BritishDadStuff


I keep a whole year's worth of 365 Great British Dad Thoughts right here.

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Friday, 2 December 2016

The Night I Shaved My Head Forever #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you have got all your own hair. In handfuls. On the floor.


I don't think I've ever written about this: the first night I shaved my head, forever.

CAPTION:
London. My flat. The landing. 8th April 2003. 19:32

SHUFFLING THROUGH THE REMINGTON BOX PLASTIC HAIR GUIDE CLIPS.
LIKE A HAMFISTED SNIPER.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Baldy is going for it. Let's do it.
Where's a 1. I'll go for a number 1.

ANGLE ON: MEASUREMENTS EMBOSSED ON MORE HAIR GUIDES.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Is a number 1 point one inch... or one m.m.?

ANGLE ON: 0.5MM

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Half a millimetre. That'll do it.

DOWN GOES THE TAPER ARM.
READY FOR THE HIT.
LIKE A PRO.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
And no taper. So... this is it.

REVEAL: ME IN THE MIRROR. NAKED FROM THE WAIST UP.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
No more visits to Ben. Feels like I'm cheating on him.

A CHUNK COMES OFF THE SIDE. IT FLOATS TO THE CARPET.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
No going back now. God, I'll miss those chats.
If your Ex is using him now, it's time to move on.

HALF A HEAD'S WORTH IS GONE. I STARE IN SHOCK.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Man...

MY POV: THE BARE LIGHTBULB ABOVE.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
I can feel it from here.

SWINGING MY HEAD FROM SIDE TO SIDE, COMPARING FEELING THE HEAT FROM THE LIGHT.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Shaved. Normal. Shaved. Normal. (THEN) Huh.

I MOVE INTO THE BATHROOM. THE REST COMES OFF.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Oh my God. I'm free. (RUBS HEAD) Shaved blonde.

MY POV: A PILE OF HAIR IN THE SINK.

ME:
(VOICEOVER)
Is that still blonde?

SCOOPING OUT A CLUMP OUT BY HAND.

ME:
(OUT LOUD, A LA CHAS AND DAVE)
Hair, hair, hair, hair, I've got none on me noddle.

(DANCING OUT ONTO LANDING)
But I don't care as down the road I toddle.

(KICKS CLUMP ON FLOOR, BUT MISSES)
The girls all shout, here comes the thoroughbred,
But I don't care, I've got no hair.
Proud of me old bald head!

(SCRATCHES FURIOUSLY)
AhhhHHH.


Previous post...
Why do other families' homes smell so different? #BRITISHDADSTUFF


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