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.


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


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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

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



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you know and like the smell of your own home.


Ever notice how other families' homes smell different?

Dog kennels and Elephant houses all smell like each other.
We're the same kind of animals. Why do all our homes smell so different?

Is it a genetic, biological thing - a way of knowing that you're back at home?

Or is it meant to be a big turn-off?

Your home smells bad to me to drive off anyone that's not close family, who will waste your precious resources.

Your resources stink to me. So I will not stay here so long to use them.

You always notice it the most getting home from the car boot sale.

This is why we've got to go to a field to sell off our stuff.
Fresh air.
Nice neutral smell for the things.

And then you get the stuff you've bought home and "phwooar!"
It stinks!

And you're there, cleaning all the dust out fo the crevices.
Trying to get rid of that smell.
That smell that was there to keep you away from the stuff in the first place.


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Hello, how are you? How to get the best from the worst phonecall, or anyone #BritishDadStuff


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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Hello, how are you? How to get the best from the worst phonecall, or anyone #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you've got to book an appointment with someone who sounds like they hate you and every other caller.


I had to book a completely routine appointment.

I called the number at a major Big City hospital far away - even though it's for an appointment in my town.

I book it and I've not done this before, so I ask where was it.

CALL LADY:
"Well I don't know, do I. I'm based at the Big City Hospital."

ME:
"Okay"

(TRY AND KEEP IT BRIGHT)

ME:
"Um, sorry, but do you know where it is or where I'm supposed to go?"

CALL LADY:
"No, I just told you. I'm not in your town. I'm in the Big City Hospital, in the Big City."

(MY VOICE NOW STRAINING WITH SPRINGINESS).

ME:
"Okay, well... this has been great!"

And I hang up.

You know when a chat ends, and it was not good for either of you?

It was one of those.

Believe it or not, I don't go into the world to spread misery.

And now I'm paranoid.

Shouldn't she have checked my contact details?
Ask me my date of birth?
Did that appointment even just get booked?

And it gets worse.
I told my LSW (Long-Suffering Wife) about it and she said we wouldn't be back in our town that early and yes I would have to call back the Big City Hospital to change it to a different time.

ME:
"But I'm scared.
She might snap at me again.
Maybe the X-rays zapped her too much."

LSW:
"Sorry, you've just got to do it. "

And I'm on hold, daydreaming Danny Boyle's Olympics Ceremony Tribute to the NHS having dithery know-nothings being told off by entitled jobsworths for not knowing their system.

We didn't see them because we didn't know where to find them and missed the appointment.

And then it hit me: I need to go completely crazy happy on this call.

"Hello!"
I singsonged.

"How are you?"
said like we'd been sleeping together for the month.

"I'm good thanks!"
The sheer force of energy I think I heard is making her smile.

"I need to check an appointment please!"
I said like a six year-old doing role play in the Home Corner.

"What's the name?"
she chirruped.

I've got to front this out. She'll know it's me.
So I spelt it out, making the phonetics as saucy as possible.

"M for Mother, O for OMG! S for sex-ahy, another S for some more sex-ahy, E for... Elephant Man, Y for... Yes."

(I ran out by the end).

Got the appointment moved - over to the Big City Hospital.

I went too far.


So now I'm one month into my experiment:
Every single time I talk to someone in person or on phone, I always try
"Hello, how are you?"

(I only forgot to do it once, and that thing happened in the supermarket).

It's still working.
Today I got a free coffee.


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Tell me why... I don't like Cyber Mondays #BritishDadStuff


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Monday, 28 November 2016

Tell me why... I don't like Cyber Mondays #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you want to make up some made-up holidays of your own.


There's pressure to spend when there's already pressure to spend, in the run-up to Christmas.

Like the birth of a Messiah isn't enough of a deadline, marketing and brands try ratcheting up the urgency with the made-up days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday that we all moan about, but we want to have The Stuff.

This year Cyber Monday falls between Working For The Man Sunday, and Credit Card Interest Rate Tuesday.

Can't help thinking I missed some out here.

What would you add to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?


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How we use 1137 litres of water a day. According to the water company PLC #BritishDadStuff


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Sunday, 27 November 2016

How we use 1137 litres of water a day. According to the water company PLC #BritishDadStuff



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you give up trying to save money and just splash out.


Our water company tells us we’re using 1137 litres of water per day.

If you knew how much our kids want to drink their glass of water or have a bath, you’d know that over 1000 litres of water per day might not be very true.

We did not know we were metered when we moved in, and the previous owner gave a really low reading.

She did us up like a kipper.

A kipper swimming around in an aquarium that's DEEP.

The reading they had was 345 units.

What units do they measure water in...

Is it Mega-mugs?

By the time I found out and evidence gathered a photo 3 weeks later, it was 400 units.

I have got more photos on my phone of meters, than kids.


But I have no way of proving we didn’t use those 55 units.
(Wells? Is that what the units are? Mega-kettles? Mega-bladders.
UK water company meters measure our water in units of mega-bladders.)

So now 2 water companies (the one who supplies it clean, and the other takes it away dirty) think that we use 1137 litres of water per day.

That’s really impressive.

We will go through life like someone who uses 1000 litres of water per day.

I feel like a Kardashian.
But my wife tells me I can’t have one.

Our reign (sorry, rain) of living like Timotei models washing our hair in waterfalls will end next quarter. With our stupid “waterwise” lifestyle.

What if we lied on our water meter bill?

Double the mega-bladder units that we report to the water company?

They whack up prices every year - above inflation.

It’d be like pre-buying the water now (and drinking and weeing it out) before it gets more expensive?

It’s a bright idea.

No, it’s a Brita idea.

I should probably put these ideas through the filter.


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Why are seams for my socks all on the inside? and 43-49 other Great British Dad Thoughts #BRITISHDADSTUFF


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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Why are seams for my socks all on the inside? and 43-49 other Great British Dad Thoughts #BRITISHDADSTUFF



My 5 year-old daughter is using these for reading practice: Great British Dad thoughts and ideas for this week.

Roll on, December.



Sunday 27th November
"Does he brush up, no he doesn't brush up... "
But I'll take a crazy unfair guess who set up your Wi-Fi.

Monday 28th November
The seams for my socks are all on the inside.
Wouldn't it be better wearing them inside out?

Tuesday 29th November
The stuff I write is "content". But I do it because I am not content.

Wednesday 30th November
Turns out my kink is watching the faces of gay men on exhibition displays looking at me in disgust while my children wreck the things on their stand.

Thursday 1st December
Why have tools in ugly boxes? They might get used more from something like a hamper.

Friday 2nd December
I join in with BBC Autumnwatch. My cameras are on the gas meter.

Saturday 3rd December
There are only three villains blocking my dream of creating a crimefighting family. Unfortunately they are my family.



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Mum's Deathiversary and how people in Camden Town bizarrely stood still in the street #BritishDadStuff


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Friday, 25 November 2016

Mum's Deathiversary and how people in Camden Town bizarrely stood still in the street #BritishDadStuff


"Awww Neil. Not that picture?" She'd say.

You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you realise what your parents did too.


It's Friday - the day I put out the "difficult post"

Funny that today is also the third anniversary of Mum dying (passing on feels like such a limp way of avoiding it).

And the only word I can find for it is her Deathiversary.

But there is a couple of really nice things that happened right after.

We had a "Celebrant" speak at her funeral - lovely guy called Andrew.

He kindly offered to write a eulogy about her life, but my sister wrote a brilliant one instead - put below as an awesome thumbnail for her to live online for as long as Google lasts.

We asked the Celebrant if he ever found it hard, saying someone else's words about someone else.
"Only once" he gleamed.

There was a family who weren't rough so much as outspoken. And he told us about the 20 minute sweary rant he delivered for them: calling out who had F &*%ed over who, and caused the deceased f- ing grief over the years.

The other thing that made us smile was on the route to the crematorium.

It took in pretty much every street Mum drove us around as kids: past Camden Park Stores for last minute gravy (now flats) round the Brecknock and our childhood alcoholic Dentists, towards our primary school and up Parliament Hill Fields where we'd play after.

A few minutes in though, I noticed a man who stood still, and bowed his head to us.

It was odd and extremely respectful.

And then someone else did the same.

Then more kept coming.

People stopping, on busy Central London streets, turning towards the hearse, lowering their heads and sometimes crossing themselves.

I thought it was old people.
But it wasn't.
Young men in scruffy clothes, stopped, bowed and crossed.

It was lovely.

And then I got it.

Maybe it's a club. One day they've been here, in the hearse too.

They didn't know it, but this is who it was for:

"Vera was born in London in 1943. The youngest of five siblings, she was a bit of a miracle child, because her mum Alice had thought for years that she couldn't have any more children - a doctor had to explain to her that she hadn't gone through 'the change', as she had thought - she just had malnutrition because she was feeding all her children and not herself during the war.

And while the initial shock was terrifying to her because she was completely blind, Vera was loved from the moment she was born, and she grew up being her mum's eyes into the world.

Her dad George, who was an ambulance driver and paramedic in wartime London, ran the local St John's Ambulance group for decades, and Vera would go with him all throughout her childhood and teens.

One of her earliest memories was of going to an event with her dad when they witnessed a bus run over a boy, and her dad used all the bandages intended to last the entire event on this one boy and saved his life. She was so proud to be his daughter every day, but especially that day. He had taught her skills for life, and her knowledge of medical facts never left her and she would regularly surprise doctors with how much she knew.

It was in the early 60s when Ian, her husband to be, would be by his delivery van every day at the same time she would walk past him on her way to work every morning and that's how they met. It was a relationship and marriage that would span 45 years and they both commented frequently that neither of them had ever wanted to be with anyone else.

One thing everyone will always remember about Vera is how incredibly well turned out she always was: in the teeniest clothes, the flirtiest pencil skirts and her black stiletto heels. In the 60s, she made all her own clothes, and it's impossible to find a photo of her where you can't see her underwear, her hemlines were always so short.

She would have great fun dancing at The Lyceum on Friday nights then, when she met Ian, enjoyed many dates at concerts, the theatre, and all the best new restaurants in London. They even saw The Beatles on one of their dates… but both remember it with disappointment, as all they could hear was girls screaming for the entire concert.

When Neil came along, then Carolyn, Vera absolutely loved being a mum and dedicating herself to the happiness of her family. She had many secretarial jobs over the years to make ends meet and pay for the family holiday once a year.

She was justly proud of her high WPM, her ability to do shorthand when many struggled to learn it, and the fact that she had so many jobs and got every one that she ever went for. Among them, she enjoyed her friendships at the N.N.E.B - especially the day her and the rest of the secretaries beat all the chief executives at a game of Trivial Pursuit(!), her time as secretary of a school for mentally and physically disabled children, and mostly enjoyed her last job working for the world-class neurologists who diagnosed and helped children with rare neurological problems.

She would often say how painfully shy she was as a child and young adult, but to anyone who knew her after that time would find that hard to imagine. She was outstanding at sticking up for herself, and her family, and had an often outrageous sense of humour, which was endearing to everyone who ever met and knew her.

She also had a fierce sense of independence and inner strength that saw her through her illness right to the end. When the doctors said she would never walk up stairs again, she went home and walked up and down the stairs - 5 times, just to be sure she could say, and these are her words here, "Sod you!" to them.

In fact, there were frequent outbursts of "Oh sod!" and, her favourite expletive, "Oh balls!" when she struggled to do something or keep hold of something. But she never let her multiple sclerosis get the better of her or stop her from doing what she wanted to do.

There were symptoms she never wanted to get, and maybe it was her determined will that made sure she didn't. And she wanted to make it back to her own home, which she did: she was not known as the Comeback Kid for nothing.

And when all else failed, her favourite medicine was a little puff of cannabis whenever she could. She was horrified when her children first suggested it to her, having read many times how helpful it could be to manage her MS symptoms, and once they had convinced her that no, she wouldn't soon become a crack addict if she tried it, she had a go and found it really helpful.

And when Ian and Vera were briefly broken into a few years ago, she took great joy in the fact that she had reported her cannabis stolen to the police and they then told her they might have to caution her for that... although they never did.

As mentioned before, she would often make those around her laugh.

If it wasn't her habit of accidentally always revealing the ending of a book or TV show or movie right at the start (because she had seen and read and knew it all!), it was her ability to crack a joke whenever she could. One evening round at her daughter's flat when she was talking her through their wedding plans, Carolyn said "oh look, it's only 8 O'Clock and Andy's fallen asleep". And Vera said deadpan to her, "Well, it's all that talk of weddings and stuff, isn't it?!"

And when she saw her grandchildren two weeks ago, who were always fascinated by her wheelchair and ceiling hoists, she encouraged them to wave to her when she was being hoisted into the next room by telling them, "Look! Nanny's flying!"

And she was thrilled to see both her children marry the love of their lives in the last 15 months and she was so proud of the choices they both made.
[EDIT FOR INTERNET PRIVACY]
Although it was a mission, she made it to Neil and Becky's wedding, looking as glamorous as ever.

She always loved a party and this time was no different: starting the night before with a joint in [EDIT] on the way down, giggling and cracking jokes all the way, she was also the first guest to enjoy a couple of drinks and get tipsy for the first time in years.

Then when Carolyn and Andy decided to get married on holiday earlier this year and not tell anyone else till they returned, Vera was incredibly supportive to both of them and loved the fact that she knew their secret and promised faithfully to keep it. And she did - only revealing it to every carer, nurse, doctor, and… well, told the secret to absolutely everyone she spoke to!

Vera was warm, loyal, funny, caring, super-kind and forever generous to everyone around her. And she truly touched the hearts of everyone she met."

Vera Mossey, 1943-2013


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Save Our NHS Nurses car parking spaces, we can make money from this too #BRITISHDADSTUFF


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Monday, 21 November 2016

Save Our NHS Nurses car parking spaces, we can make money from this too #BRITISHDADSTUFF



You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...like companies in this country, you too can see a money-making opportunity to rinse the NHS.


I got financially frustrated on someone else's behalf today (see also... every post I ever write), when I found out that Nurses at our local hospital have to pay for car parking tickets out of their own pockets, to a Car Park Company, run for profit.

They are reimbursed from money from our healthcare trust.
(instead of doing nursing).

And the money doesn't get back to them quickly after they've done the paperwork (instead of doing nursing).

And if the parking machine is broken (which apparently is often), they then have to call to pay for parking over the Hospital Trust phone.
(instead of doing nursing)
Which sometimes takes 20 minutes on hold
(instead of doing nursing).

And if they fail to do this (like last week) they get a parking fine of £90, which of course they have to pay themselves
(instead of doing nursing).

Here's the thing.

I wish I were as professional as those Nurses, but I cannot find a way to make this funny.

There must be jokes in here somewhere.

This system: there has to be some fun to be had with the tension here.

The nurses are taking blood, while the Car Park Company is taking the pi$$?

It's got to be bigger than that though.

What if the Nurses were to do their work more quickly, to avoid the car park charges?

What if they did their work IN the car park, so they can move on (fine free) when the Car Park Company warden comes along?

What if they gave some extra free nursing to the Car Park Company warden in return for their parking space?

What if the Hospital Trust sues the Car Park Company for raising the blood pressures of every patient, visitor & staff - throwing their readings?

What if we left a sample on our windscreen, so the Nurses could check us like the Car Park Company does?

Unlike our Nurses, none of these get to the bottom of it.


Which is why we have offered our space in front of our house to Nurses at the hospital to park any time.

After a couple of months, we'll work out a ticketing system to rinse our Hospital Trust of cash better than the National Car Park Company.

We're gonna steal their customer base. And with only 2 spaces to maintain (3, because Nurses' cars tend not to be huge, for some reason) - we're gonna run it more profitably too.

The NHS is meant to be free at the point of delivery. We're going to make it free at the point of supply.

We'll probably make them a cup of tea while we're making them wait to pay though.
(Or try and get some more wonderful healthcare off them for free).


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A cook in the kitchen lover and a weathergirl in the garden and 36-42 other great #BRITISHDADSTUFF thoughts



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Saturday, 19 November 2016

A cook in the kitchen lover and a weathergirl in the garden and 36-42 other great #BRITISHDADSTUFF thoughts


I think too much. That's what my family tells me.
Oh wait, no, that's right, it's "you're completely thoughtless".
But that is not true.
Here are all the thoughts I will be having for the coming week.


Sunday 20 November
Men want a cook in the kitchen, a lover in the bedroom, and a weathergirl in the garden.

Monday 21 November
There is no swearword harsh enough in any man's new home for the previous man's D.I.Y.

Tuesday 22 November
All rows with men rely on a triangle of heat, fuel, and oxygen.

Wednesday 23 November
We all hate the cashiers who can't take extra change after they've rung it up on the till.

Thursday 24 November
Sports days and school plays are shot in portrait mode to annoy Dads for not being there.

Friday 25 November
I've invented TEDtalk dinners. They're like TV dinners, but they last exactly ten minutes.

Saturday 26 November
When will we cross the road on the green woman?



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

Previous post...
His name is X**. Not X*****. Going long on your Birth Certificate? #BritishDadStuff


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