Thursday, 22 June 2017

How my Mum would tell them it’s late. Again. #DadDirt



You know you are a Great British Dad when...
...you work out the work.


I’m on the street in Theobalds Road, Holborn, London.

ME
I know this building really well.
I remember the dark blue chunky lettering over the entrance.
“DERWENT PUBLICATIONS”.
Except I know it better from the other side.



It’s 1982. We're parked in our white Cortina, outside the empty car park, like we’re planning a bank job. I’m with my sister, on the back seat in early 80s kids clothes.

MUM
Don’t forget. What do you say if someone asks you why it’s so late?

ME
We know.

MUM
Just say “you don’t know but my Mum’s very sorry”.

ME
We know.

MUM
But what do you say if they ask where the rest of it is?

ME
We know. No-one ever asks us.

MUM
Just in case they ask, “Mum said the next batch will be here tomorrow. She doesn’t know what time. No, you don’t need to say that last bit. (TO MY SISTER) You go with Neil.

The two of us waddle the A4 box of envelopes and long index card filing boxes across the empty car park.

ME
We do this every week.
Around 6 o’clock, because Mum did this job to get some extra money.

CUT TO: Mum, in my bedroom, expertly dancing her hands across the keys of an IBM electric golfball typewriter.

ME
She called it Home Typing.
Back then, when companies wanted to send you stuff, someone would have to type up the envelopes.
We never found out what went in them.

A name and address dugga duggas onto the envelope.

ME
She’d get these boxes of index cards with names and addresses, and copy type them.
Paid by the box.
Box after box after box.

The perforated green cards are in batches of twenty, bound by elastic bands, 1000 in a box.
Dugga. Dugga. Click. Click. Dugga.
I’m there now in my pants.

ME
I’d have a go when the boxes were left out. I think the postcodes and counties stuck in my head.

Inside the deserted building, my little sister and I strain the 1930’s staircase door on the fourth floor, and put the box down on a bare counter in the empty hallway that acts as a reception for the floor.

ME
They’re from my Mum.

The uniformed security guard doesn’t look up from his paper.
My sister and I skip down the empty staircase, four steps at a time.

MUM
Did anyone ask why are they late?

We’re back on the back seat, staring out of the window.

ME
No.

MUM
Good boy.

ME
No-one was there.
No-one was ever there.


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I haven’t got aids after I don't know if I was stabbed with a needle by a homeless woman. #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

I haven’t got aids after I don't know if I was stabbed with a needle by a homeless woman. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you think about your near escapes, even if they’re in your head.


2005. Dean Street, London. Or Wardour Street.
Four decades of growing up in the Capital and I still get the two mixed up.

HOMELESS WOMAN
Got any change?

She’s young. In her twenties. Hair tied back, hard face, teeth missing.
But she’s still made an effort.

ME
I’m really sorry.

HOMELESS WOMAN
Ah go on, give me a smile.

I break into a smile.
It’s 1130 at night, and I’ve had a few.

ME
I haven’t got any.
Living on cards.
Honestly, I’m really sorry.

ME
(now) That’s a lie. I’ve got a pocket full of change. But I’m scared. I grew up in this borough, and know if you stop walking, someone else is working with them, they’ll see where I keep my stuff, and why should I give money to the gobby ones when the quiet ones, the ones who really need the help are rotting in the park and I’ll give some money to a proper homeless charity who’ll hand it out fairly I promise when I get the chance. (I know I won't).

HOMELESS WOMAN
Ah, go on.

ME
I’m really sorry.

She blocks my path. I have to stop walking. Her hand is held out.

HOMELESS WOMAN
Well for such a lovely smile can I wish you a good night.

ME
Thank you.

I shake her hand.

ME
OW!

Something dug into the soft bit between my thumb and forefinger.

HOMELESS WOMAN
Oh sorry that must be my ring, it catches sometimes. N’nite.

She strides away, back down Dean Street or Wardour Street and my heart is racing.

ME
It was definitely a needle.

I’m in the flat saying this to my girlfriend.

GIRLFRIEND
Are you sure it’s not bleeding?

I’m in the bathroom, still drunk, trying to focus on the flap of skin between my thumb and forefinger.

ME
There’s a mark. There’s definitely a mark.

GIRLFRIEND
But no blood?

ME
No.

GIRLFRIEND
Maybe it was just her ring.

ME
It was a needle. It was definitely a needle tucked into the ring.

GIRLFRIEND
(outside) You haven’t got AIDS.

I’m left staring at the tiny mark.


Previous post...
Of course we're angry. It's all our fault. #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Of course we're angry. It's all our fault. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
you're really fed up with all the politics.


I’m walking across the town square and my way is half-blocked by a man with a table and rosette.

MAN IN ROSETTE
Excuse me sir, are you going to vote on Thursday?

ME
Thank you. I love that you care enough to even ask.
Your passion's really great. To be out here doing this.

You’ve chosen a side, and you want to make a change.
And try and help it win.
That's brilliant.

But I’ve got this problem.
That it all feels like we’re just filling newspaper websites.
And passing them around to each other, to fill more newspaper websites.
When, everything else is... you know... 2017?

And we’ve already forgotten about all those really important battles and all that arguing the toss, from even 3 years ago.

Can you remember what we were arguing the toss about 3 years ago?
No, me neither.

But oh it was so important with those rentagobs and their soundbites.
And none of them, not one of them is around any more.

But no, this is really important now.
These rentagobs and These soundbites - they're the ones we’ve got to be obsessed about now?
Right.

Like it all comes from up above.
And we’ve got to listen to them.
And agree with them.
Or fight them.
Or “not let them get away with this one”.

Like any of them are going to be around in 2021.

And however urgent and important we try and tell ourselves it is this time - this is the one that counts - I know that my heart really isn't in it.
And it's great.
Because it's one big constant distraction.

And we’re angry.
We’re angry because it couldn’t be a bigger way of speaking to our failings.
To not be curious.

To look to some mythical hierarchy to look after us because we do not want to do the difficult work ourselves.

Because we're all too busy scrolling through our feeds, or watching TV, or doing another lap of Gran Tourismo 5 than actually doing hard work like looking after each other.

Look how self-righteous we get when something bad happens.

“Something needs to be done!”
Yeah!
By whom!
“Somebody else!”

It’s a crock.
It’s held up as really important and noble.
Damn right - it’s important, so we can bin off all the difficult stuff to someone else as a top down relationship.

To people obsessed with “winning” who do really horrible stuff to get to that position.

But they’re the ones we need to look to.
Because we then all get to moan when it’s not done right.

Who would want to do it right.
It’s hard.
That’s why we all hand it over to someone else for five years.

Even though we’re at this crossroads right now where everything has changed - in culture, products and relationships - the ones that matter - nothing else in our lives works like that any more.

I know that nothing will change because we want a system where I get to be distanced as far as possible from the difficult work of changing things for the better.

In a first past the post system that doesn’t even reflect our vote that we can’t be bothered to change.
Because that’s too hard.
But no, no, that one day is sacrosanct.

Choosing to cheer or boo between three or four storylined pro-wrestling characters.
I'm not so sure party politics is the same as Democracy.

We can’t even be bothered to devote more than a day to this deliberately defective process. As if we couldn’t stress any harder how Victorian it is, we 'suspend campaigning' to send someone to London in secret as an expression of shame. “At last. That’s over. I can moan for another 5 years now.”

So, as you can probably imagine, I’m having a tough time deciding whether I’m alright endorsing the system that always has been broken and always will be.

But man, what a beautiful distraction.
Neither of us getting a stroke of work done.
Let’s hope we can keep it going, eh?

MAN WITH ROSETTE
Do you want a leaflet?

ME
Sure.


Previous post...
Any excuse to get my family to be creative #DadDirt


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Monday, 19 June 2017

Any excuse to get my family to be creative #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
... you try to get your family into getting out of your comfort zone.


I'm in the garden with my yellow pad and Long-Suffering Wife (LSW).

LSW
You know you've got pen down the back of your leg.

ME
It's for the blog. I chickened out of taking a picture in the High Street.

LSW
You've spelt you're wrong.

ME
I spelt "you" wrong as well.
Funny how the other one catches the eye.
I'm afraid people won't think it's intentional, even though there's a big U in there.

LSW
You could've spelt the too with one o.

ME
Oh yeah. That would've been better. You know when you stop dead in the street because you just walked into something weird?

There was this hard-looking man, but he'd been stopped by this old lady so she can read the tattoo on the back of his leg. You know, some quote or poetry.

So he's posing, in his shorts, angling himself so that she can read him.

And I'm standing there. Staring at this.
Can't even remember what it said, cos I'm busy thinking "This is beautiful! This is art!"

When it's probably just bad eyesight and rubbish lettering.

But I'm looking at this -- and I want it to be a meaningful moment.
You know, two people being brought together by this... illegible leg poetry.

And he's getting to share what he's always wanted to share, what he's put on his leg to last forever.

And I'm thinking this is how Art spreads.
Because I'm writing this down on the back of my hand in Biro.

And I'm feeling really good about noticing this moment, because it's all happening outside the very place I've come to help my family be more creative.

So I'm walking to the back of the Pound Shop - to the stationery section. And now I'm panicking because I'm still holding this Biro and I don't want them to think that I'm stealing it.

Instead of putting it in my pocket, I put it down on the side openly and I manage to find these hard-backed books that me and my family can come together to fill - with ideas, and doodles and dreams and stories and hey.

It's just like that tattoo.
We can all fill the books in marker pen so it's indelible. Like the illegible poetry on the hard-looking man's leg.

And you can't tear the pages out of these hard-backed books.
My mind is racing at all the ways we can organise this - will we do it against the clock? Or one page at a time?

But then I get home. And I've got to clear the table. That's if I can get everyone else to the table.
All at once.
And there's probably a fight over who gets which colours.
And I can't even get myself to the table, let alone anyone else.

So I try and write it all down.
Staging a photo that I didn't have the guts to take.
By drawing all over myself.

Aww man.

I left my pen in the Pound Shop.

Previous post...
Daddy why do women like saying our names out loud? and 141-147 British Dad thoughts #DadDirt


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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Daddy why do women like saying our names out loud? and 141-147 British Dad thoughts #DadDirt



Thoughts I'll deal with this week.

Monday 19 June
I love how stuff from the supermarket says serves 6 to avoid the fat and sugar looking too high.
It serves 2.
When the two are pigs.

Tuesday 20 June
Singing Happy Birthday down the phone to someone does not have the same status as gift or present.

Wednesday 21 June
My personality profile shows, that I am the type of person who is into personality profiles.

Thursday 22 June
I spend way too much time daydreaming where I would wear my smartphone if I were a moped delivery man.

Friday 23 June
"Daddy, why do women like saying our names out loud in front of everyone?"
"I don’t know son, they just do."

Saturday 24 June
Every time a company asks for my Date Of Birth stupidly raises my already big hopes for next birthday.

Sunday 25 June
Seems life comes down to this simple question.
How can I make a profit from being a Dad.


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My Dairy Alternative vs My Big Belly #DadDirt


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Friday, 16 June 2017

My Dairy Alternative vs My Big Belly #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you look at the stuff that you put in your body.


They put sugar in my dairy alternative.

Second ingredient.

Water. Sugar. Almonds (brackets 2%)

I have dairy alternative for my health.

In my head.

Meanwhile in my belly...

SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR

I like dairy alternative for my health.

And I like my belly.

I must really like being healthy.

Because my belly is big.


Previous post...
They dont live anywhere near us. But they want our vote. #DadDirt


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Sunday, 11 June 2017

They dont live anywhere near us. But they want our vote. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...people already know enough about you.



My Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) dumps all her stuff from her book club on the table. A book.

LSW
We were talking about the election candidates. One of them lives in Hackney.

ME
Hackney? 70 miles away?

LSW
And yet he's standing here. Or, probably sitting down after that far.

ME
We should take the time to write to him. Keep him up to date with the goings on about the town.

LSW
He wrote to us with all his gumpf.

ME
(LOOKING HIM UP ON THE PHONE)
On the upside, I guess he's nearer Parliament.

LSW
"Dear Mr Prospective MP who doesn't live anywhere near us". For that is his name. "We must apologise for taking such time to reply to your correspondence. If only the distance between us weren't so great."

ME
"What news from London? Are our needs being met?"

LSW
And did you see two doors down - the one we're voting for...

ME
I know - they've got a poster up.

LSW
How can you do that? It's so... in your face.
I don't want everyone knowing how I'm gonna vote.
Worse than telling someone your salary.

ME
Oh let's put that in the window.

LSW
"I EARN THIS MUCH"

ME
You'd get an idea of the state of the country.

LSW
Easier than having a flash car.


Previous post...
How I voted wrong for 4 years but it was probably right #DadDirt


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Thursday, 8 June 2017

How I voted wrong for 4 years but it was probably right #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you realise that party politics has absolutely nothing to do with Democracy.


I'm at the other end of the table from my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW), with the kids fighting over the Berries and Red Cherry corner yoghurts.

LSW
Noone wants the red cherries.

ME
I hate elections. They remind me of 2001, and the vote before that in 1997. I voted "Rainbow Alliance".
I thought they were for the Environment.
I couldn't find Green.
It was Camden in the 90's.
How can they not be putting up a green candidate?

LSW
The Rainbow Alliance is Green?

ME
I didn't know. I thought you know... because of Greenpeace, Rainbow Warrior? I wasn't getting much sleep then.

LSW
So you voted for the Rainbow Alliance.

ME
Right. And proudly. Spoke about it freely. Told everyone for four years.

LSW
And that was '97.

ME
Fast forward to 2001. There's talking in the office and I bring this up. "I couldn't find the Green box - in Camden - so I voted Rainbow Alliance".

LSW
I think I know where this is going.

ME
Someone in the office - Nick - knocks on my door - way before all that open-plan balls - he knocks on my door. "Um Neil..." And he's got these printouts about the Rainbow Alliance Party.

LSW
And they're Gay.

ME
How did you know this?

LSW
The flag's a bit of a giveaway.

ME
So I gave my full-on support to this political campaigning group for the Gay movement. For 4 years. I'm kind of proud.

LSW
"You did your bit".

ME
Got the internet now. Not sure I'm that much more on it.

LSW
I like the gay flag. Always wondered why it's a rainbow.

ME
"If you get my gay friends together in a room, you can never get them to agree on anything".

LSW
Probably best you stay off the internet.


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Housework that I do that will never count as housework aka What do you want, a medal? #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Housework that I do that will never count as housework aka What do you want, a medal? #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...chores you claim for are disallowed.


Housework that I do, that will never count as housework
aka What do you want... a medal?

- setting up the wi-fi

- hoovering the car

- filling or even changing the water filter

- clearing things off the TV box

- rinsing the recycling

- getting change for parking meter

- charging up toothbrushes or any item or gadget

- bulk buying birthday cards

- tupperware reconciliation

- hosing down the kids

- emptying tumble dryer fluff tray

- devising digital photo storage “solution”

"Remember your guide.
If it doesn’t take as long for episiotomy stitches to heal... do not bring it up."


Previous post...
Why Im not allowed to get on that next train #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Why Im not allowed to get on that next train #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you've got no fight left in you.


I’m sat on a platform on the phone to my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW).

ME
(ON PHONE)
Everyone on that train - that train stuck in front of me - paid extra to get on that train before 10am.

LSW
(ON PHONE)
So why can’t you get on it?

ME
Because it’s a scheduled peak-time train.

LSW
But it’s past 10 o’clock.

ME
And I’ve got an off-peak ticket. So I can’t. But that’s not winding me up. I’ve been those people. They’ve paid extra to travel before 10am. And now it’s past 10. And not one of them will get a refund.

LSW
Is that how you want to spend your time?

ME
No.

LSW
So it’s wrong. What can you do to change it.

ME
Nothing. And that company gets to make a profit from it.

LSW
Is there any way you can make a profit from it?

ME
I’ll use the time to do something else. I think that’s what winds me up - I want to call it out. I want to join with everyone else who knows it’s wrong and bring it to an end.

LSW
There’s a lot out there that’s more wrong. I don’t think you want to be fighting it.

ME
I don’t. And I’ve got a feeling it’s all a distraction anyway.

LSW
From the stuff you’re meant to be doing.

ME
I don’t want to be angry-tweeting.

LSW
Why don’t you just relax. Enjoy the journey. You’re always trying to make something. What if everyone were making something? There’d be no-one to see the stuff...

ME
I don’t know how to answer that.

LSW
What if the world needs spectators.

ME
But they could be making stuff.

LSW
What if that’s just how it is. Some people - most people - are just happy watching everybody else.

ME
That feels like a cop out. They’re just not doing stuff to stay safe.

LSW
What’s wrong with that?

ME
It’s hiding.

LSW
What’s wrong with that. If everyone’s “making stuff” and “being creative” - then there’d be no audience. No-one to change?

ME
My train’s here. I’m gonna be late.


Previous post...
Eyebrow flicker. What happens when you totally throw yourself into your Art. #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Eyebrow flicker. What happens when you totally throw yourself into your Art. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you try to find new ways of finding bliss.


Me and my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) are still at the table, still watching the laptop.

ME
Look at the bass player's eyebrows. Look at them go. It's at 1:14...

VIDEO PLAYS: Squeeze on The Andrew Marr Show, Cradle to the Grave, 10th January 2016



LSW
Oh yeah. Her eyes are really going up.

ME
Doesn't that happen to you, when you really get into something, it's like your eyelids spring up by themselves?

LSW
No. Never.

ME
And then I notice it, so I'm not fully into the thing and it stops.

LSW
I've just realised why. They've changed the last verse? That they're singing to the Prime Minister?

ME
(sings) "I grew up in council housing..."

LSW
So they all know what's coming up...

ME
So they're throwing themselves into their music.

LSW
Completely. All of them. They've decided it. Probably helped with the words.

ME
And all going out as a band, to sing it, on live television, giving it their best shot.

LSW
And that's why their eyebrows flicker.


Previous post...
Why are there more pictures of demolition on my phone than my own family #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Why are there more pictures of demolition on my phone than my own family #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you know exactly how to waste your time.


Me and the Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) are on laptops at the kitchen table.

LSW
Two minutes?

ME
Yep. 7 months down to 2 minutes 9 seconds.

LSW
Play it again.

(Speeded up Waterloo Station Eurostar Terminal demolition Oct 2016 - May 2017 timelapse)



ME
(watching video) I don't know why I made it. It's just bits of the old Eurostar terminal sort of partly being knocked down. I don't know why I get my camera out every time I go past it. But I do. They've got posters up to tell the police if you see people taking suspicious pictures. This is suspicious pictures.

LSW
Like it's not all on Google anyway...

ME
I don't get paid for it. Maybe I spend all day trying to think up something interesting... my mind lashes out and gets me to video other people doing work.

LSW
Doing something useful.

ME
Beautiful isn't it. The men who call this up actually want to see this but can't be there themselves. Why don't women pull their cameras out everytime they pass a major construction project?

LSW
It's the exact opposite of a selfie.

ME
"Don't tell me that demolition didn't take place. I have got the videographic evidence right here."


Previous post...
Taking my son with the £1 coins back to the bank #DadDirt


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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Taking my son with the £1 coins back to the bank #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you're trying to teach everyone the right thing to do.


I'm sat on the rickety spiral tree bench outside the library, with my 8 year old son, laying out 10 shiny new £1 coins.

ME
How does that feel?

SON
(doesn't look up)
Good.

ME
You know, because we're just wandering on a Saturday morning not doing anything better than just going round the shops... you know that I am now going to somehow turn what just happened into some kind of valuable bonding learning experience.

SON
Yes.

ME
What do you think we just learned there.

SON
(playing with the coins)
"It feels good to do the right thing."

ME
(delighted I didn't have to drag that out of him)
That's right! It does, doesn't it. Did you see the look on his face when we went back into the Bank?

SON
Yeah.

ME
He was so pleased. And because of the way you talked to him nicely - that's why he said to his manager that he knew that we'd bring the money back.

SON
Why didn't he count the coins properly in the first place?

ME
I don't know. Maybe it was because we had that nice chat and he got distracted.

SON
And gave us a sealed bag of 20 instead of 10.

ME
He would've got into a lot of trouble if we didn't take it back. And they didn't have our names or anything, so the bank would've thought that nice man behind the counter stole them. He'd already talked to his boss so it was already serious.

SON
He looked really happy when we went back in.

ME
He did. Banks aren't nice places.

SON
So why do we keep our money there?

ME
Because that's all they care about.

SON
We can go home now.

ME
Hang on. Let me check if there are any other lessons I can cram in here...
(to myself)
Honesty, happiness, helping people, man nice, banks bad...
(to him)
No we're done. Can you pick the money up? You'll lose them.

SON
I just want to look at them a bit longer.

ME
So do I.


Previous post...
Stealing my son's cheeseburger poetry #DadDirt


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Friday, 12 May 2017

Stealing my son's cheeseburger poetry #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you have a go a joining in with the kids' poetry.


My son made this.

Cheesy meat
Hungry for a Burger
Every time you have a treat
Eat and taste that meat
Scrummy food
Enjoyable to eat

Big and brown
Under ketchup
Real food
Great tasting
Excellent food
Really filling
Super nice

C-H-E-E-S-E-B-U-R-G-E-R-S!

It inspired me, but didn't come out so good.

Clear your own table
Happy meal bits causing tears
Eventually get the till
Expensive and Everyone is surly
Sticky seats
Elegance in the cardboard box

Bad meat-to-bun ratio
Undo my belt
Really cold chips
Greasy hands
ECG, Echocardiogram, Endoscopy
Relish on my trousers
Sauce on my white shirt because these are the choices we make even though we know our time on this planet is limited.

Cheeseburgers!


Previous post...
My wife thinks I'm the kind to pick up paper in a public toilet #DadDirt


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Thursday, 11 May 2017

My wife thinks I'm the kind to pick up paper in a public toilet #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you're always picking up after someone else.


I'm at the Dinner Table with my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW).

LSW
In the coffee shop toilet. There's strips of paper on the floor. Would you pick them up and flush them away?

ME
(INSIDE) What have I done now?

LSW
It only takes a second, and noone wants to walk in on that.

ME
I would too. I don't want the next person thinking they're mine.

LSW
How can you be the kind of person to just leave it there? It's yours.

ME
You've sat on it.

LSW
Why would you not pick it up?

ME
I guess we're the kind of people to just be picking up toilet paper.

LSW
Why can't we just leave the toilet paper where it is?

ME
It's toilet paper.

LSW
It's a bit like the garlic bread yesterday. You'd think the frozen would be cheaper, wouldn't you, so I got some.

I'm nodding like I'm following the connection.

LSW
But when I went to the chilled, the fresh garlic bread was cheaper.

ME
Than the frozen? That's weird.

LSW
Right, so now I'm at the checkout. Why can't I just leave it at the checkout? But I feel like I'm being watched - I always do when I'm in there.

ME
You didn't take it back.

LSW
I did. I took it back to the freezer.

ME
Literally no-one will care that you did that. In fact, it's the store's fault for charging extra for the frozen.

LSW
Freezer justice.

ME
You couldn't deliver the freezer justice.

LSW
And that's why we're picking up other people's toilet paper.


Previous post...
Trying to monetise my dead Grandmother talking about the War #DadDirt


A complete guide to my Dad Dirt is coming together here

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Trying to monetise my dead Grandmother talking about the War #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you try to make money out of anything in your home.


Me and my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) are walking down the hill, with me scrolling down my phone.

ME
YouTube just banned my video.

LSW
The rotters.
(THEN) Which one?

ME
No, hang on. "It isn't approved for monetisation."

LSW
The rotters. Does that mean you can't make any money from it?

ME
"...because the content in your video(s) or video details may not be advertiser friendly."

LSW
I didn't think anything in any of your videos is advertiser friendly.

ME
It's the one with Nan talking about what she did in the War.

LSW
Huh. Maybe you don't want an ad in front of that.

ME
Why not?! Isn't that what we fought Hitler for?

LSW
She fought Hitler for.

ME
Right. She's in her twenties, up on the roof of her company's buildings, middle of Kensington during the air raids...

LSW
...and 75 years later you're whacking adverts on it.

ME
Who's gonna get offended? She was on the Good side. Not the baddies.

LSW
Is it what Nana would've wanted?

ME
I have no idea. 3 hours of on-camera interview, and I haven't got a clue.

You can hear the cogs.

ME
She was in the Air Force...

LSW
And they were fighting for free expression...

ME
Yes. And the right for companies to turn a profit whatever the situation.

LSW
Like the company profiting from her being up on the roof...

ME
Protecting their premises during the Luftwaffe drops...

LSW
Why exactly was she on the roof again though?

ME
I don't know! You just did what you were told. No wonder she joined the Air Force.

LSW
I think she wouldn't care if there's adverts on that. She liked the adverts.

ME
It's when she'd go and get a cup of tea.

LSW
How much do you make? On your YouTube videos?

ME
This month? On 58 videos?
Two dollars, seven cents.

Long pause.

LSW
You need to film your Dad talking about the 1960's.

ME
Yeah. Like that's advertiser friendly.


Previous post...
Have you ever been kicked in the face? aka Buying shoes for my daughter. #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Have you ever been kicked in the face? aka Buying shoes for my daughter. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you know just the right thing to say.


In a department store you can guess, children’s shoe shop part which is that brand. My Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) weirdly letting me field this one and in an entirely unconnected note the saleswoman is a perky attractive 20-something amongst tired noisy families letting behaviour slide with the metal contraptions that measure width (and guilt) of kids’ feet that change by the week.

PERKY SALESWOMAN:
10½ F

ME:
10½ F!

PERKY SALESWOMAN:
What was she before?

Blank stare.

ME:
(INSIDE) This pause is going on too long. Like when the bank asked for her Date Of Birth. I'll look to my wife like I am taking in this information.

I look to my LSW who is smiling, because she knows I have no idea.

LSW:
9½. You’ve gone up a size!

MY DAUGHTER:
Hurray!

She’s sat on my lap with the Saleswoman at my knees.
Like I'm some kind of Rasputin.

And I’ve got to look like I’m interested in any of this, but I can’t look at my daughter’s feet without the perky Saleswoman's loose top in my eyeline.

But I can’t look away because that’ll show how uninterested I am in these trainers.

PERKY SALESWOMAN:
This is a good fit.

ME:
(INSIDE) Don’t look down her top.

ME:
Uh huh. (INSIDE) Don’t look down her top. Don’t look down her top.

I accidentally but completely see down her top.

PERKY SALESWOMAN:
How about these ones?

ME:
(INSIDE) I didn’t mean to.

My daughter waves her feet around.

ME:
Have you ever been kicked in the face?

Perky Saleswoman perks even more.

PERKY SALESWOMAN:
All the time. Once in the mouth... Another time so hard, it knocked one of my piercings clean out.

The Sales Woman giggles.

We all giggle.

LSW:
We’ll take them. Thank you.

Then stagger away through the Saturday chaos.

MY DAUGHTER:
Can I keep them on?

ME:
Thank god that’s over.

LSW:
When you got up this morning, did you think you’d ask a woman if she’s ever been kicked in the face?

ME:
No.

Previous post...
My Wife vs the naked plasterer #DadDirt


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Thursday, 27 April 2017

My Wife vs the naked plasterer #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...other men remind you of your place.


ME and the LONG-SUFFERING WIFE (LSW) are in sleeping bags. In a tent. With the kids playing outside.

LSW:
Had another weird dream.

ME:
Was it about the house?
I bet it was about the house.

LSW:
We had a plasterer in and he was this really nice man. You know, professional but friendly. And you could tell from the way he was talking that he was good at his job.

ME:
I know I look tense. I know there’s a but.

LSW:
But he was naked.

ME:
Why do you always take so long to get to the but.

LSW:
Not at the start - he arrived in shorts.

ME:
Big shorts.

LSW:
No. Little you know barely-there shorts.
He’s a little brown man who does plastering with no clothes on.

Long pause.

ME:
Was the plastering any good?

LSW:
I don’t know. I didn’t actually see him do any plastering.


Previous post...
The Cathedral and The Bus Stop on Google Maps #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Cathedral and The Bus Stop on Google Maps #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you can't pass anywhere without leaving your mark on the world.


I don’t know why I have this overwhelming urge to leave this review.
Why do any of us want to leave a mark on the world?
Legacy.

Why do I have an urge to leave a rating.
Fact is - I do.



I will never use this Bus Stop.
And yet the Universe has delivered me to pass this - let’s face it - lamppost - with an ability to judge it.

Who am I to judge it?

Or - conversely - withhold any stars from it?
Isn’t there beauty and optimism in everything?
How can we look for joy in anything when it’s there to be found in what’s here right now.
Look at the service it gives just by being.



The layout of the timetable angered me - it provokes a reaction, like all Good Art
Bad design - maybe - but in the blank page, after the tiny bus times, times 4, lies the struggle for uniformity and compliance.
The bus company finds itself unable to change its layout and make this Bus Stop special or delightful.

That would incite a change that would threaten the safety it wants to maintain.
Look at it.
This is the image it wants to share with the passers by, while the “Bus Stop” itself - the sign that declares its very presence is invisible from this angle.



This combination of sign and information is at 90 degrees to itself:
The two will never meet, and yet they co-exist, at the same time in 2 different planes.

The M is intriguing.
What does it stand for?
Literally and symbolically.
I know deep down there is no A-L.
Only M.
A number - any number - would be too big for a route serving a stop so small.
M for the metal of the post.
The wall that begs to be invisible seating, but as a residential boundary it’s anti-seating.
Making the bus route even more urgent to its smallness.
This post is a portal.
An entry point to destinations unknown.
Beyond the Morrisons, there is no limit.
If this is the starting point - blink and you’ll miss it - you know that the finishing has no point. Movement is all that is missing.

Five stars.



Winchester Cathedral.

Five stars.


Previous post...
The Train Guards don’t know where they’re going next either #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Train Guards don’t know where they’re going next either #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you sometimes worry a bit too much about other people's lives too.


The GUARD checks my ticket and Network Railcard. (I’ve long since learned to have that on show) and he thanks me.

ME:
Can I ask you a personal question? If the company's lost its franchise - what - if you don’t mind me asking - what happens to you? And your colleagues?

He's bulky but visibly crumples and drops his ticket machine to lean on the seats opposite.

GUARD:
I don’t know.
We’re “safe” for 18 months - that’s the legal minimum. But we don’t know what happens next. We did everything that was asked of us. We met every single target they laid down.

ME:
It might be good though? Do you all go to the new company?

He straightens up. Owns the ticket machine again.

GUARD:
Oh you won’t notice any difference. I might be in a new colour - but it’ll run the same the day after the changeover.

ME:
But, what’s the 18 months?

GUARD:
Well, they’re determined to get rid of us. Guards. Which is weird because we’re revenue collection - so we actually pull in more than our costs. All of us.

ME:
So they want this to go driver-only?

GUARD:
Did you get caught up in the chaos last week?

ME:
No. Saw it on the news.

GUARD:
Well, take that. That’s just one incident. Driver’s dealing with a suicide and the immediate impact of that. He’s checking that the train is safe, and the aftermath and the damage and what’s going to happen next. Meanwhile, the guard’s now dealing with a man’s who’s having a suspected heart attack and there’s a heavily pregnant woman who’s getting stomach pains and panicking about that because everything’s at a standstill.

ME:
I didn’t hear about that.

GUARD:
Of course you don’t. So it’s still sold as Driver-Only’s a good idea. But when the driver’s dealing with that on the track...

ME:
“Who looks after us?”

GUARD:
I heard a rumour. It’s only a rumour - you know how these things go around... that they’ve already allocated 13 million pounds for the increase in compensation claims, for injuries and the extra costs of that.

ME:
That’s a great rumour. Of course, why wouldn’t they? It’d be weird if they didn’t.

GUARD shrugs, and moves on.

GUARD:
It’s just a spreadsheet, isn’t it.
So, I’m sorry.
I don’t know how long you’ll see us around.



Previous post...
Put aromatherapy oil in cars. Soothe the town you're polluting. And 134-140 other DadDirt thoughts


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Monday, 24 April 2017

Put aromatherapy oil in cars. Soothe the town you're polluting. And 134-140 other DadDirt thoughts



My thoughts, fears, ideas, and dreams of Dad Dirt this week:

Monday 24 April
Idea: Fill cars with aromatherapy oil.
Soothe the town while you're polluting it.

Tuesday 25 April
She's more than a pet.
She's also the answer to an internet banking security question.

Wednesday 26 April
I hate the broken syntax of Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
Maybe you're not home because the words took too long for to come out of your mouth.

Thursday 27 April
Idea: Weddings triple the cost of everything.
We should run one as a funeral and not tell the venue.

Friday 28 April
People use old cars for weddings to remember the lack of reliability and a sense of danger.

Saturday 29 April
The Dwindle is the speed at which your bank account runs down.
You can speed it up or slow it down, but it will always Dwindle.

Sunday 30 April
If we stopped banging alphas for just 5 minutes the world would suddenly become much nicer.


Previous post...
Another one of those office-based James McAvoy directed shark attack dreams. #DadDirt


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Monday, 10 April 2017

Another one of those office-based James McAvoy directed shark attack dreams. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you are barely awake enough to remember last night.


I had the weirdest dream. Yet again, I was in a corporate building.

And a lift opened out onto someone in a nice suit in a really nice large office, with nice luxury dark-wood office furniture, but his colleagues had their backs to me, processing really grotty receipts, or invoices with receipts attached, and the receipts were for really cheap things like value fish fingers and low-quality plastic stuff, and there were comments from managers about how the forms they’re attached to are filled-in incorrectly. And the line of desks that is processing these forms was backed up right to the lift doors to maximise space. So it was nice but not nice.

Then the rest of the dream flipped between a nice city location, and James McAvoy directing a film of a shark attack, that I was helping him make (even though he had a full crew). And I got caught up in spray painting a small window hole in the floor that needed blocking up. But there was an elaborate pattern on the tiles (a little like the pattern of a Lego building my son had made).

None of this is in my Long-Suffering Wife's dreams and what they mean book.

It's 30 years old. I think I'm going to have to write an updated version.

In Biro.

Over my Wife's copy.

Previous post...
Why can't I wear my shoulderless top to school today Daddy? (and why you cant go on holiday in term time) #DadDirt


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Friday, 7 April 2017

Why can't I wear my shoulderless top to school today Daddy? (and why you cant go on holiday in term time) #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you don't know what to tell your daughter.


INT. BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

I'm sat up in bed with my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW). Both dancing our mugs to avoid the kids kicking them out of our hands. Yes, they are there too.

ME:
Can you go and get dressed for school?

6 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER:
I am dressed. It's for Mufti day today.

MUMMY:
Yes but you can't wear your shoulderless top to school.

DAUGHTER:
Why not? We're allowed to wear clothes to school.

MUMMY:
Yes, but go and get changed, it's not quite right.

DAUGHTER:
But why?

I'LL FIELD THIS.

ME:
Well, in the 1800s children were allowed to go to work. Millions of them. And they were great. Because they were cheap. They didn't know how to ask for money and they did dangerous jobs. And when they died, the Industrialists just got more children. The adults didn't like this because the work was going to the children and they weren't being paid, but the Industrialists didn't want to get rid of the kids so the Government struck a deal with them. They said they'd look after the children during the day, and it'll be great because they'll train them to do as they're told and follow instructions so they will be easier to train. When they're old enough to go into the workplace, they'll know how to do the task they've been given and be judged by their manager or supervisor in the production line, who will decide if their work is passed or defective and must be done again (being in an office is just like being in an army, hospital or factory too). A literate workforce can also be advertised to and made to feel inadequate and missing out so they'll want to buy more of the things made by the Industrialists and work harder to earn money to stay in the system that keeps them. It's a beautiful lock-in really, and it extends to a uniform so how we look is as easy to process by the managers as acceptable or defective, and although today is a Mufti day for charity, we fear that your shoulderless top strays too far from the leash we have been given for this one day.

ON 6 YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER.

DAUGHTER:
I like what Mummy said better.

MUMMY:
You'll be cold.

DAUGHTER:
I'll get cold.

(With thanks to TU and Seth)

(See also... How can I get my daughter to say "Thank you. It's not for you.")

Previous post...
My son wants a YouTube channel. That’s worse than a pony. Is creating better than spectating? #DadDirt


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Thursday, 6 April 2017

My son wants a YouTube channel. That’s worse than a pony. Is creating better than spectating? #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...your family wants to put your stuff out on the Internet too.


My son wants a YouTube channel.

I want him to have a YouTube channel.

He’s not even into double-digits, so yes, it's yet another thing to fear for his safety.

Dads before me struggled with giving their sons a bike.

It’s the same thing.

Except two billion people can watch you falling over.

Do I give him the super racer with the killer saddle,
or a three-wheeler with stabilisers?

I do this for a living, which means I can mess up at home and work.

He makes videos all the time, even when there is not a camera in the room.

It’s a generation who looks up everything.
My generation just wants to watch everything.

I want to be selfish - thinking that I can get him ahead with subscribers in his life.
Like some pushy Dad trying to monetize him before the channel's even got a name.

But these are the 3 choices I think I have right now:

- Set him up with a channel under my channel
Safe, completely under my guidance, with me editing things on there... but that’ll affect what goes out too.

- Create an anonymous channel.
Without his name on it. It’ll be safe, but his name’s not on it.
If he ends up being proud of it, will he regret that? What’s the point?

- Create a channel, in his name, to grow from scratch.
So it ultimately means something - putting stuff out there generously as “here, I made this.”

Will he be embarrassed at 12 about the things he did 4 years ago?
Or will that be normal, and everyone his age in the same position, and not a “thing”?
Is what he’ll learn better than any of the downsides?

Forward worrying never helps making things today.

What's wrong with me that all I can think of are the bad things and what could go wrong, instead of the upsides and generosity of sharing which he really wants to do.

All I know is that creating is better than spectating.
And getting it wrong is the only way to making it right.

I’ll make sure he’s got the right stabilisers.
And knee pads.
And helmet.

And some goggles.
For that first video that will almost certainly be a slow motion of a toilet being smashed.

Previous post...
Men's fashions. For me, it stops here, and it stops now. Again. #DadDirt


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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Men's fashions. For me, it stops here, and it stops now. Again. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when your wardrobe is done.


The button down collar shirts are now a thing again?

Like 1994 and 1998?

And after that I lost track.

I wasn't even on track.

This is where I get off.

I noticed but never cared, but now I actively want whatever is "not".

When I was growing up, the 40-something men on TV (and making TV) all wore Pringle sweaters.

Val Doonican, Tarby, Brucie, The Ronnies.

That is where they drew the (V-neck) line in what they wear and stuck with that for the rest of their lives.

If I could get my wardrobe down to a smock, I would.

But the High-Street brands would still try to put on some nonsense or buttons.

Smock hems are in.
Now they're not.

They know we're tired of fitting in, but don't want to be sticking out.


Previous post...
We can all learn something from Leroy from FAME #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

We can all learn something from Leroy from FAME #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you teach your kids about the Greats.


The mention of Leroy in a previous post sparked a wave of Leroy love from my friends.

He came into our home with the Top Of The Pops 1982 repeats on BBC Four.

(A couple of weeks of the theme from Fame being at number 1, saw TOTP go to New York to shoot a video of Irene Cara miming while walking on the NY streets. Another 3 weeks of this it must have worn thin for the show. Not us, my girl and I watched this a hundred times. But they then put more clips from the movie into the walking miming video)

Which is where I got to show my 5 year old daughter the magic of Leroy.

Let us not forget that Leroy wasn't actually auditioning himself - he was helping his friend with her audition but got the space at the school instead of her because of his awesome dancing.

He can also perform with his vest pulled over his head.

I tried showing this to my daughter, but it did not go very well.

Now fully aware I'm competing for her attention against the powerfully-built man from 35 years ago.

Also, Leroy is a really great name to shout at Leroy when you're annoyed at Leroy.
LEROY!
You can yell both his names.
LEROY JOHNSON!
As in, I HATE YOU LEROY JOHNSON!
Even his surname is a word for manhood.
I wish I'd named my son Leroy now.
But there is only one Leroy.

Previous post...
What's on your stairs, right now? It is a window into your soul. #DadDirt #WhatsOnYourStairs


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Monday, 3 April 2017

What's on your stairs, right now? It is a window into your soul. #DadDirt #WhatsOnYourStairs



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...every time you walk past the stuff that's always got to be moved to somewhere else.

What's on your stairs? Right now?

For us it's £1.75 in silvers, Scotch satin finish giftwrap tape, jogging pants, and a table tennis bat.

Everyone has stuff on their stairs - to go upstairs.
Even if they do not have actual stairs.
(Every time I run this on Twitter, I get moans from single-level dwellers telling me how lucky I am to have stairs, but "What's in your hallway" is the Para-WhatsOnYourStairs... everyone can still play along. Except the homeless. But maybe they've got more pressing things to take pictures of.)

Deep down, we all have stuff on our stairs.
And we even walk past it - knowing that there will always be a better time to take the stuff up.

It is a job that will never be done.

So I ask you, in all seriousness. What's on your stairs.
May we see a photo please?

It's a snapshot of your upward flow of life.


Previous post...
My daughter called Mummy a Bum Monkey. Legally we can now use this and 127-133 other Dad Dirt


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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My daughter called Mummy a Bum Monkey. Legally we can now use this and 127-133 other Dad Dirt



Here are my thoughts, ideas, and Dad Dirt for this week.

Monday 27th March
My daughter called Mummy a Bum Monkey.
Legally, this can now go down on every form as “Occupation”.

Tuesday 28th March
Words that only politicians use: cowed.
They seem pretty obsessed by it.
So much, that it makes me feel kind of cowed.

Wednesday 29th March
Idea: Making myself sound more grand to call centres by adding the word “Mister” before my name.

Thursday 30th March
I bought a book in a shop like I am online.
I made the staff fetch it to me on zero hours contract and didn't let them go to the toilet.

Friday 31st March
I once had to break up with someone, Neil, because they kept saying my name every 8 words. Neil, it was like a verbal chokechain.

Saturday 1st April
People say they’ve been badly stung, when the wasp actually did it quite well.

Sunday 2nd April
Here's how to forget these words.
“Don’t let me forget. I’ve put the beers in the freezer.”


Previous post...
Stealing just one more princess story from my daughter. In case it makes money. #DadDirt


I keep 365 Days (a whole year's worth) of Dad Dirt right here.

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Stealing just one more princess story from my daughter. In case it makes money. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you steal princess stories from your daughter. In case this is the big one.


Onec upon a time there was a little girl coled isebella. She was five years old. She had a mother and further. She was playing in the Garden. She feeds birds and uthore animols to feed.

She had a Pond in the Garden. there was a speshoulle Frog in the Pond. She was playing with her ball.

the ball went in the pond the Frog was getting the Ball for her.

he did a plan to Be best friends forevery but the princess kepped her promise every day.

so they did Be best Friends forevery. the next Morning isbella Went out in the Garden.

She sore the Frog that was her best friend.

the Frog had Arothery plan. it was promise to kiss the frog but the princess did it instead and then the Frog changed to a prince then the prince fell in Love with the girl. and the princess fell in Love with the man.
and they all lived Happilly Every aFter.

The End

© Great Story Team Ltd. 2017

Previous post...
A bird vandalising a car in London. But its not enough to get me on You've Been Framed. #BritishDadStuff


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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A bird vandalising a car in London. But its not enough to get me on You've Been Framed #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when your family budget relies on you getting a clip onto You've Been Framed.


This is my second attempt to get a clip onto You've Been Framed.

A nature film, shot in London last year (ironically, right round the corner from the ITV studios... hope that doesn't get it rejected).

A crow vandalising a car in Southwark



Spoiler alert: The crow is vandalising the car.

It did not care about me getting close with my neon pink mobile to shoot its behaviour, but it got a bit nervous when a Japanese couple saw what I was doing and huddled in closer to shoot their own video (which is probably playing right now on NHK's Japan's Funniest Videos for 5000 Yen).

So the bird hops onto the roof, and shows it's nerves before flapping off.

This has gotta get me a shot at the 250 quid, no?








Previous post...
My DIY will kill my kids. But maybe its not so bad. #DadDirt


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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My DIY will kill my kids. But maybe its not so bad. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you wonder if your DIY will kill your entire family.


I finally put up the big mirror in the living room.

Every time I do something like this, I worry.

“Will it fall off the wall and kill the kids?”

Happily, they are older now, so it will probably only maim them.

And I've got a 50/50 chance it will injure either or both.

If the worst happens now I’ve written this, here, it will probably get dredged up by an Insurance Company or National Newspaper.

And next to me in the sidebar of shame will probably be pop-up ads for DIY superstore chains. So some good will come from the tragedy.

In fact, it will be selfish of me not to put things up on the walls.

All those jobs, industry and economic growth are now also hanging on those bolts.

Those bolts screwed in so tight, you’d have to knock down the house to get to them.

Maybe that’s the National Disaster that will happen. Some light aircraft hitting our family home, with a Black Box recorder showing very clearly... those bolts stayed true.

And why do we even need a mirror?
My very children being put in harm’s way, for what?
Vanity?

But judging by the state of my kids, and how they look right now...

They aren’t ever going to be hit by a falling mirror.


Previous post...
Nine reasons why I shouldn’t buy a Lacie. A POEM. #DadDirt


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Monday, 20 March 2017

Nine reasons why I shouldn’t buy a Lacie. A POEM. #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you over think every purchase but still end up in the same place.


Why I shouldn't by a Lacie.
A poem in 9 stanzas.

I do not have the money.
I like writing these lists.
I have three - three backup drives. And a keyring drive.
(but it’s pretty, and its the one I want to carry around with me everywhere, and it’s shock proof and water resistant. And the other ones can become backup to the backups).
This list isn’t going very well.
I really like writing them out.
It’s 120 pounds I can spend on something else.
It’s more "stuff".
I do not need more stuff.
I will go and get the Lacie.

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All Dads recreate that Athena poster, but cant hold the phone and the baby. Plus #DadDirt 120-136


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Sunday, 19 March 2017

All Dads recreate that Athena poster, but cant hold the phone and the baby. Plus #DadDirt 120-126



Every week I try and dig up some Dad Dirt.

Here's this week's thoughts, ideas and dreams.



Monday 20 March
All sleep-deprived 1990’s-man Dads think about recreating the Athena “Man Holding Baby” poster.
But can’t yet work out how to hold the phone and the baby.

Tuesday 21 March
Lang Lang's Dad vowed to make him the number 1 concert pianist in all of China.
I taught my boy how to sing the entire jingle package of Radio 2.

Wednesday 22 March
I admit it.
I order condoms online from the supermarket, just to see the delivery driver go through the substitutions.

Thursday 23 March
Modern superstition:
If you cut up your credit card, and slowly spread it around different bins, somehow you won't get robbed.

Friday 24 March
Idea: Trying to get people to say "Da Betties" as slang for Pounds (after our Queen).
It's harder than I thought.

Saturday 25 March
We’re not strapped for cash.
But our family budget now relies on me getting 12 clips onto You've Been Framed.

Sunday 26 March
My Wife likes either anticipating things or being surprised.
I always call it wrong.



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A letter with my daughter's broken shoe to the supermarket #DadDirt


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Saturday, 18 March 2017

A letter with my daughter's broken shoe to the supermarket #DadDirt



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you take the time to treat the companies you buy from like trusted colleagues of your own organisation.


I was wound up.
I was going to throw it in the bin.

No.
I am going to take the time to send it to the person who spends all day working on this.
From me.
The person who works all day to pay for this.


Dear Head of Children’s Clothing (shoes)

Hello. Please forgive us for sending you this shoe directly.

It is because you are a very valued supplier of clothing to us, but my Chief Financial Officer (my Wife) wants to rethink your place in our supply chain. After a tense Board Meeting this morning, I think this is a shame for your organisation and ours, because we love your other work for us.

Your school clothing is the best - it’s hard wearing and it doesn’t look cheap, despite the efforts of our workforce (our 8 and 6 year olds).

We really appreciate it, so much so, that you don’t even have a store in our town and yet we ship it from your branches that are 15 miles away.

So that’s why we’re sending you this.

In our heads, the shoes were bought in the Christmas hols, and they have barely lasted 8 weeks. Our daughter is energetic - a kind way of saying she is a complete handful. But we didn’t think her shoes would give up in under a term (and she didn’t even wear them during Half Term).

Maybe she is just too much for them.

Maybe more suitable workwear would be Army boots.

Either way, we wanted you to see what happens at the other end of your delivery chain: The velcro stopped sticking after about a month. Then the clasp broke off so the strap couldn’t be held at all, making them useless (the other shoe is just as clapped out - I’m being cheap trying to save postage).

Let’s face it. We feel cheap for buying our daughter’s shoes in a supermarket.

So the problem is with us.

(Ironically, at 7 weeks use even at the competitive price we invested, per day, my CFO estimates that these are the most expensive shoes she’s ever worn. (And destroyed.))

How can I argue with that logic? Moving forward, how can I persuade her that your company is still the best supplier for our clothing?

As we reflect on this, we hope this shoe helps your team to also make good choices in the future, and thanks again for the great clothing.

Yours
Neil Mossey
CEO, The Mossey Family

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How one of my Footy Pups episodes exactly followed Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth by accident


A complete guide to my Dad Dirt is coming together here

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