View through my window

December 31, 2005

People shopping

A quick dash to the sales. Needed a few things - table mats and crockery for New Year and stuff like that. (God, how middle-aged is that? 5 months and 3 days and counting).

So we went to Merry Hill (Merry Hell, the LOML's dad calls it), which for the uninitiated is a big mall. In Dudley (in Doooodliiiy). I got an ace Animal top and an Oakley tee - who's middle-aged now? - on the way to Debenhams for the mats. Like you do. While the LOML was ferreting through Monsoon I stood outside and had a chav count. Scarily, by my maths-in-my-head calculations, 61% chav. And that's being generous - not everyone in sports gear is a chav, for instance. I decided you need additional razor lines in hair or eyebrow (male) or a Croydon facelift (female), or Argos gold jewellery (either), or a padded denim jacket (either). Who thinks that a denim jacket over a shell-suit is a good look? Ffs.

Got some tees from Gap for 99p. Fab. Will wear them under my new snug-fitting v-necks in a slightly David Baddiel on What Not To Wear stylee. One of my v-necks is lilac: draw your own conclusions if you must.

Finally into Debenhams for mats. I like the etched glass ones, which are also the most reduced, or acrylic ones with a sort of watermarky pattern in terracotta colour. These match the dining room. She says that these might match the dining area now, but we're not going to keep the dining area that colour for ever. So now we're trying to match tablemats to some as-yet undecided colour we may have at an undetermined time in the future. She shushes me and says people are laughing at me. I point out they're probably blokes laughing with me and at her.

Then, THEN, in some bizarre ritual of female solidarity, some middle-aged woman (by definition, therefore, older than me) comes over and starts explaining that it's a girl thing and men can't be expected to understand. She points at the pinkish cloth mats that the LOML is currently holding would work much less well with neutrals than the greeny-bluey-greyey ones she's holding. Who the fuck to you think you're talking to, you patronising bitch? I'm a professional designer, I know about colour; I've forgotten more about colour than you've ever been able to comprehend with your limited intellectual capacity. Why do you assume that everyone lives like you in a Barratt rabbit hutch decorated in neutrals - assuming that you think all-over magnolia is 'neutral' rather than just a stupid cliche - some of us have taste and know how to use colour properly and boldly and why the fuck do you think we are interested in your fucking undereducated opinion anyway? Fucktard.

Is what I should have said.

Of course, in reality, I just smiled and nodded and did that resigned 'I'm a bloke in a shop and I don't understand' look. The LOML pretended to look interested in her opinion, and gave her a considered look like 'I'm taking your opinion seriously, and thank you for sharing it with me', and in due course Mrs fucktard came to the end of her dribbly spiel and went off. I could just tell she was thinking in her own little world that she had been kind, and authoritative, and in several different ways superior. I refrained from eating my own forearm in frustration. The LOML muttered 'fuck off, who asked you anyway?', which both amused and vindicated me.

We had the pinkish cloth ones in the end. They came with free matching napkins, after all.

December 30, 2005

New Year

"Don't go going to the pub at lunchtime; we've too much to do."

"What? What's to do?"

"Housework. This place is a shit hole, and we've people coming."

"Yeah, but not until tomorrow night ..."

"You know Aly and Nige are coming now, too?"

"Aaaaargh! You just named Mrs Mumbling Nige in the blog! You can't do that! You've got to refer to her as Mrs Mumbling Nige at all times! It's traditional."

"But ... but ..."


The LOML, as penance, goes and uses her new deep fat fryer to make me chips for lunch.

December 29, 2005


[delete as appropriate]

LOML: at work since before anyone else was awake / spending her money she's made at sales / sloping off to church to have a good singalong
Child One: shouting his head off at playstation because the games aren't fair / zombie like state in front violent kids' tv programme / dead to world reading Christmas present novel
Child Two: talking to herself and Barbie or My Little Pony, or both / coming to interrupt me by asking for sweets / zombie like state in front of cute kids' tv programme
Me: hiding in the office blogging while looking after kids / cooking or housework while looking after kids / internet poker while looking after kids

The week between Christmas and New Year, at home with crisiswhatcrisis.

December 24, 2005

Unconnected ..... um..... things

Random thoughts that didn't get included in any other blog so far.

1. I played online poker against someone whose screen-name was 'Prediter'. He was rubbish. I find this funny on several different levels.

2. Random thoughts on England fans' songs for next year's World Cup. If we meet Iran in the final stages, what price "You're Shi'ite and you know you are" or "Get your face out for the lads"?

3. I have an irrational irritation regarding Phil Mickelson (the golfer). I can find no reason at all for this, I just can't stand anything about him. I hate the fact he's left-handed (it just looks wrong), I hate his loping walk, I hate the way he leaves his mouth open, I hate his man-boobs and his haircut, I hate his accent. I even irrationally hate people who remind me of him, including the Irish rugby player Ronan O'Gara. Irrational. I feel better for getting it off my chest, though.

4. Things that I like today, in contrast: Lloyd Cole, lighting the log fire, coffee and the newspaper, 6Music, venison casserole that I made (how posh am I?), lying in reading a novel, Scrabble.

5. Things that I don't like today: constant tidying up after Child Two, housework, bloated stomach, having to go to church.

Ah well. Merry Christmas, if you must.

December 21, 2005

Kill or cure?

The doctor says I need to get out more. This is his wisdom on how to prevent feeling sad again. Thanks for that.

Actually, actually, he may have a Point. He says that chemical imbalances in the brain can be sorted by exercise and routine; preferably both, at once. So, I now have an Exercise Routine: every day I go for a run before lunch. It's a Routine consisting of one day so far, but you've got to start somewhere.

So, I go for a run. I have a stern word with myself about the purpose of the run, first. This run is not: to get fitter; to lose weight; to beat my previous time. This run is: to make myself feel happier. Only that. Therefore: I do not need to run fast. I do not need to remember a whole series of best-time-at-the-second-stile-by-the-brook times (I honestly do this). Especially not try to beat them (I am so competitive sometimes. I can happily compete with myself if there's no-one else available).

And d'you know what? It was ace. I feel I've had a bit of an Epiphany, running-wise. I didn't get all out of breath and in pain like normal. No rasping lungfulls of air and viscous saliva flopping around on my face, like normal. Whenever I started panting too much I just slowed down a bit. I got a bit of a sweat on after a while, but not uncomfortably so. I didn't even look at my watch when I started, so all I know is that it took about three-quarters of an hour, give or take. And because it was fun and not a pain-filled chore, I shall do it again tomorrow. It's a Routine, you see.

The LOML has bought a juicer (from QVC, natch). It's arrival at the start of my Exercise Routine is surely not a coincedence, karmic-wise. You can stuff all sorts of vegetables and fruit into it together and make, uh, juice. I was a bit sceptical but actually it's ace. (That's the second thing I've described as ace today. I'm having a sort of one man linguistic Grange Hill retrospective, apparently. Oh, except that I've said fuck a few times today, and they never said that).

Who would have thought that broccoli, lime and apple juice could be so good?

I shall research the best recipes and share them with you when the mood takes me, so that you can marvel at how creative and healthy I am becoming. Perhaps.

December 20, 2005

The LOML read the blog ...

"I don't like it."

"Huh? What's not to like?"

"People might find out who you are. You've got to be careful."

"Why have I? And who people?"

"Nige. You can't say that about him."

"What, that he mumbles in Northern a bit and he did a dodgy karaoke? He can't deny it; it's true. I don't think that's grounds to fall out with him, he's got a much better sense of humour than that."

"But you've said about your deaf ear now, and the rugby club, and that deaf twat game you hate. People will find out it's you."

"They won't. Doesn't matter, I'm tempted to tell them it's me anyway."

"You can't."

"I can. I'm quite proud of it; it might make them laugh. At least I might get some shagging comments if I did."

"But ... but ... I'm just called the LOML in it. I do have a name you know."

"Ahh! As I suspected: now we get to the crux of it. Sorry, tradition dictates that the blogger's wife is known as an acronym. And his mates' wives are known as Mrs Mate. It's traditional."

"But I don't want to be just the LOML."

"You know what the solution is? Get your own blog. Then you get to call me an acronym all you like."

"You know what? I'd call you the DT."

It took me a few seconds to work out what this stood for. How hurtful.

December 19, 2005

Normal service is resumed

Symptom: Hi-fi knackered (CD multi-changey thingey apparently unmendable).
Treatment: get a new hi-fi.
Prescription: Surprisingly, Tesco's. Cheap, good name, What Hi Fi 4 stars. Stick it in the trolley with the Coco Pops. Gotta love the consumption-obsessed society where you can get hi-fis (hi-fies? Don't suggest hi-fi's if you want to remain in my good books) in a supermarket.
Side Effect: can have the old hi-fi in the kitchen (radio only, natch) to listen to 5Live in the mornings with EQ bass boost. Which is much betterer, obviously.
Prognosis: Excellent. Better than before in fact, because my radio is now digickal! (Excitement causes me to lapse into baby talk).

Digickal radio is fab. I press a little button on the remote and all these perfect uncrackly stations scroll through. WTF is Saga radio? Don't know, don't intend to find out. Worried it's about crumblies. When I was at school we did one of those careers questionaires. In answer to the question 'Name any career you would not consider under any circumstances' I put 'Anything involving geriatrics'. I got a bollocking for it as well, which I thought (and still think, in fact) was mightily unfair. And this was before political correctness had been invented. Bastard of a repressed-homosexual teacher. Whom (grammar) I won't name for reasons to do with Libel Law. I blame my parents for sending me to a single sex school.

I've lost my thread. And ...[breathe] ... oh yes. Digickal technology. Have had Sky for a couple of years and wouldn't be without it; the LOML thinks differently: she only watches QVC anyway, and you can get that on the freeview in the bedroom. I patiently explain that the movies (films! reminder to self: Am Not American. And program has a 'me' on the end, and Disk is still spelt Disc, even if it has a floppy [archaic] or a C or a DV before it) that keep the kids quiet for a couple of hours on a Sunday evening are worth the money by themselves. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban again last night. And yes, I did watch it with them. Again.

The only trouble with Sky is that at any time of day or night there is something which is interesting enough to watch, especially for a sports fan like me. Love the skiing and stuff on Eurosport - gone are the days of waiting for Sunday evening to watch David Vine with my toasted teacakes (I heard a rumour that DV did Ski Sunday for all those years and never learned to ski. How profoundly sad - tell me this isn't true). I have become unhealthily interested in biathlon. And skeleton. And Sky Sports shows the Heineken Cup rugby live. You only get a snippet several days later on the Beeb. I love it. AND there are two dedicated poker channels! Though to be honest you get better coverage on Challenge. (Note to self 2: promised not to talk much about poker, there are too many poker blogs on the net already: here, for instance, or here. Or here, even. Here, too. I could go on. Oh all right, I will, here's another, and yet another. This one's funniest but doesn't post often enough. Enough. Enough! Stop now, just stop).

*Drags self back from precipice of chasm of poker-links fucktardery*




The only fear I have of all this digickality is being left behind. Problem with the wetware, so to speak. PICNIC (Problem In Chair Not In Computer) is a real possibility; not understanding what something digickal is for let alone how it works. But that's ok. I'm not worried.

I have a nine year old son for that.

December 16, 2005

Better today!

So much better, in fact, that I've mopped the kitchen floor. Trust me on this, that really is better.

I'm so much better that I was even polite to the young lady who kindly telephoned to offer my business an enhanced listing in her internet directory.

I'm so much better that I said "Okay, never mind. I'll come and pick it up whenever" to the bloke who's fixing my studio hifi when he rang up to say it's bollocksed and not worth repairing.

I'm so much better that I refuse to let the occasional stab of a new pain from a molar worry me. It's this one, look, on the bottom right, at the back. It will get better, though, not worse.

I'm so much better that I didn't swear at all when the LOML said she was going to have to work all weekend, such is the size of her order book. Leaving me with the kids to entertain.

I'm so much better that I even fixed the cupboard door which has been hanging off its hinges. I put a pencil behind my ear and I used the drill and everything, just like a proper DIY-er.

Do you know what, I've just made a decision. I'm so much better that I'm going have a work Christmas do. I've been cruising through Blogland and everyone else is having one, so I shall take the entire workforce to the posh pub one lunchtime next week. I am so excited with this idea that, bugger it, I will suggest to the LOML that we make it a joint effort: her company, and my company, all together for one big Christmas party.

Or, I could just go to the pub for a pie and a pint with the missus.

December 15, 2005

School carol service

"Ohhhh, lickle town of Beff-lee-ee-hem,
How still we-ee see thee liiiiie"

Child Two has to do it again tonight. They do it twice for some reason. The LOML is taking Child One to his carol service, so I have to take her again.

The posh pub is situated conveniently right opposite the Church, so I can see out of the window when they finish and run across. Thank God for that.

December 14, 2005

Sad and poorly

"Go for a run or something."

"I don't want to go for a run."

"But it'll make you feel better."

"It won't. And I've already had a shower today."

"What difference does that make?"

"I can't be bothered to have another. And if I go for a run I'll need another."

"Go for a walk, then."

"I'm not feeling well. I don't want to go for a walk."

"You have to get on and do something."

"I do try. I really do."

Exasperated, the LOML leaves for work. I discover a note on the side in the kitchen after she has left listing half a day's worth of jobs that need going out and doing. Today.

The LOML doesn't do husbands feeling sad and poorly.

December 13, 2005


Mark is feeling poorly today. Snifflsh and sneezesh. And, I am sure you will want to share, a touch of the shits. I have (self-diagnosed, but nonetheless) SAD.

Until last year, I had pneumonia for four years running every winter. Horrendous. That is a SAD symptom. Now I have a jab and at least I don't get that any more.

Every November it creeps up on me: I just want to stay in bed. In summer, I look forward to Mondays ("Great! What work can I get done this week?"). But not in winter. In winter I struggle through the week and lift my gloom with alcohol at weekends.

Mark, unfortunately, is also busy today - no immediate deadlines or client visits or anything, but loads to do. Number one: tidy studio. Or office. (Office/studio? Studioffice? Whatever. It's got a desk with PC, a planchest and a fuckoff great big drawing board in it. That makes it a studio, surely. Plus shelves, filter coffee machine (my fave gadget), hifi (being mended so have borrowed Child One's portable), various anglepoise lamps, a couple of chairs, IT peripherals, filing and whathaveyou. Oh, and a window through which I have a View - but you knew that already). It used to be the dining room, back when I was a government slave. It's a lot better used as a studio. It's my sanctuary.

Number Two: sort out latest problem from Difficult Client, asap. I honestly don't know how he lives with himself, the awkward grumpy old sod. Still, he pays in advance. I have Lovely Clients who are wonderful to be with but always pay six weeks late. Don't know which is worse.

Number Three: go out and deliver Christmas cards. This is the hardest of the lot because I really don't want to talk to people. The LOML will shout at me if I don't, though.

Bollocks. Just want to stay in my comfy office chair and surf blogland, but I can't. *Sigh*.

Move along.

December 12, 2005

Weekend, it's the weekend

Much to tell from weekend. Will try to be brief, or will end up writing thesis. (Although, having examined the opening two sentences - and I use the word sentence with care, as I suspect they aren't - doing without assorted pronouns, articles and verbs may not be the best way to shorten the post).

Saturday afternoon: played rugby. This is becoming a slightly tenuous activity, age wise. Though I am far from the oldest, sad to say. Anyway, rampaged around the village pitch for the second team, flattening fat blokes (and this is the prime reason for undertaking such an activity: it is such a good stress relief), and it's legal. We lost 38-0. Carry on.

Then retired to the bar, where the boys had another amusing round of 'deaf twat'. I should explain: I am deaf in my right ear, have been for seven or eight years. The rules are simple: the contestants stand to my right, unnoticed by me, and someone whispers 'deaf twat'. The next person has to say 'deaf twat' a bit louder, and so on. The loser, who is obliged to ceremoniously Get A Round In, is the person who (a) says 'deaf twat' more quietly than the person before; (b) is heard by me. This is Typical Rugby Humour. The usual response is for me to consider in an intellectual but critical manner the relative size of the loser's penis.

Home for a change of shirt, and to Flash Pete's with the LOML for a champagne blind tasting party. Lots of bottles of champagne and a few cheap cava, wrapped in kitchen foil to disguise their identity, for us to mark out of ten and make comments over, to be ridiculed later when it turns out you've given the Bolly one out of ten and said it smells like dogshit (you know who you are). Genial Gaz, a good mate visiting from the wilds of Gloucestershire, had made a mulled cider punch with added, ah, metaxa and armagnac to start the evening off; so what with the couple of pints I'd had at the club the comments became a bit blurry towards the tenth bottle. 'Starts off thin but gets better, like a recovering bulemic' made me giggle like a little girl for far longer than was justifiable. Nothing like a joke you've made yourself to make you laugh.

Highlight of the karaoke to follow was Mumbling Nige. He and I were about the only two present who haven't at some point been in a choir, so I think that 'Let It Be' was a brave choice. The high bit was a particular joy. I think I got away with 'House Of The Rising Sun', largely cos it's pretty much all nice low notes. The others were all good enough to do descants over each other, and not cock it up. The gits. The Barrister (so-called because he's, uh, a barrister) did The Banana Boat Song, which retrospectively was slightly surreal experience. He did it well though.

Sunday, and took my delicate head to see the latest Harry Potter at the cinema. Child One brought his new school friend, who was to say the least a bit of a chatterer; he seems pretty much incapable of not vocalising whatever wanders into his head at the time. He held a lengthy two-sided conversation with himself at one point, about which is the greater: 'unlimited', or 'infinity'. He even did different voices for each point of view. He seems to use his whole face to blink as well. Ho hum. Enjoyed the film though, despite Child Two crawling into my lap at all the scary bits (note to self: when it says 12A on the certificate, do not be surprised when seven year old finds it frightening). Great bit of escapism, love all the special effects and stuff. Just a big kid myself, really. Wish it was real, and I really could go to Hogwarts and fly on broomsticks and get up to all sorts of magical japes and wheezes.

[Insert poignant last sentence about unfulfilled life leading to Walter Mitty-esque fantasy here].

*Edit* Today is a good day! The regular Christmas present from Favourite Aunt has been delivered: case of wine and spirits from the Wine Society. Was starting to worry it wasn't coming and looking back through year to see if I'd offended her somehow. Bless her! And bless her again!

December 09, 2005

Dread and fear

[Note to self, ref yesterday's effort: lighten up. This is a Light Hearted Blog. Stop ranting. And Over Capitalising].

I have to take the children to the School Christmas Fair in a few minutes. I would rather have my eyelids removed and sit through a repeat of Jean Michel Jarre's millennium concert. No, I didn't go, but it was a close thing. I had to throw a tantrum, and in the end The LOML took her Mum and Dad instead, and they all professed to enjoy it. Good God. (The LOML swears she actually likes Jean Michel Jarre, thus confirming my opinion that she Has No Taste In Music).

At the Christmas Fair I am going to have to squeeze into the overcrowded corridors between the classrooms, surrounded by screeching infants, trying to keep track of both of my own children and remember the names of their classmates' parents. I've found that most of their classmates' parents are called 'Allright?', and 'Mate', somewhat conveniently. Child One, who has now left the village school for the town school, will meet some of his ex-classmates and disappear, only reappearing for very brief moments and getting money out of me with the magic password "CanIhavetwoquidforsweetsthanksdadbye". There will be tears, fights and tantrums, and some of the kids will be upset as well (thankyouandgoodnight. I'm here all week). Hot dogs will be bought and half of Child Two's will be eaten by Dad or Child One, whoever is nearest. Or greediest. I know who my money's on. Santa will be queued up for - at least this year we won't get the comedy central event of Child Two (age maybe three) seeing Santa, pointing and saying "Hahahaha. It's Grandad, look". Repeatedly. And despite the fact that Santa had put on an amusing (and very un-Santa) falsetto voice to try and hide this very fact from her. Interesting that Child One, who is over two years older, had no such suspicion. We'll have to watch out for the little one. I feel like Mr Tweedy: "those chickens are organised".

Worst of all, the LOML will not be there to help, as she, incredibly, is running a stall selling her wares at the Christmas Fair of the prep school up the road, on the flimsy basis that she is making money for Christmas presents.

Sympathise with me. For those about to, and all that ...

December 08, 2005

Things that I like today

K T Tunstall
Dipping ginger nuts in coffee
It's not raining
surly gurl's blog Carry on.

Things that I don't like today

Marketing and advertising wankers who think I'm stupid
Viagra spam and loans junkmail every fucking day
The World Series of Poker has finished on the telly
I can't be bothered to go for a run despite the fact it's sunny
I haven't done enough work this morning

I was going to leave it at that (ref last point above), but I just can't. I was just sorting myself out with a point three above, and on the (fair trade, naturally) jar is written 'Twist off, push on lid. Seals in flavour.' Why do the people who put that on the jar think I'm a slavering cretin? There is a basic failure of logic here. Yes, we know that the lid probably seals in flavour in that the coffee granules probably don't do so well if not sealed up, a bit like biscuits. But *slaps forehead repeatedly* this is not because the lid twists off and pushes on. It's just not. The reason that the lid twists off and pushes on is because we are all too fucking lazy to spend two seconds twirling a normal lid off. I remember when we did used to do that, and it was fine until the bright light in the sky of twisting off and pushing on of lids was revealed to all. And after that, of course, nothing else was good enough. But the old lid kept the flavour in just as efficiently. So why not just say 'Twist off push on lid saves two seconds of your life?' WE ARE NOT STUPID. I don't know why we put up with this, I really don't. I am happy to buy fair trade coffee; I just wish I could afford organic all the time as well. I don't need this con artist sales pitch trying to trick a few more sales out of a harrassed and weary consumerhood.

I should stop there and do some work; I've got a client presentation tomorrow that I haven't written yet. But the same smarmy wanker that puts nonsensical messages on our coffee to try and con some more sales is also at work elsewhere: everywhere you look, in fact. Noticed how many different 'natural additives' are appearing in shampoo lately? And how much pseudoscience is used to justify it. 'Up to four times sleeker' they trumpet, knowing that you can't measure sleekness so they can claim whatever the fuck they want. Avocado micro oils. Funny how the extract is always from something wholesome and preferably edible, not couch grass or oak leaves. As if that matters to your fucking hair. WE ARE NOT STUPID.

Boswelox, anyone?

December 07, 2005

Why did we have them?

"I mean, really: why did we? We could go to the pub when we want, watch the news rather than Yu-Gi-Oh, not spend every evening taxiing from cubs to gymnastics to wherever, not worry about what's going to be in school reports ... I could go on."

"I thought you already were."

"Seriously. I wonder if it was all worth it sometimes, I really do."

Child Two marches into the room, presciently. She waited her moment and came in just in time to head off at the pass my evil plan to bury them both under the patio. She's cleverer than she should be for a seven year old.

"Daaaaaad, why did Paige/Megan/ Natasha/Talia get her gym badge five and I didn't when I'm a squillion times better than her?"

I divert this Typical Difficult Question in an experienced-parenty way by initiating a discussion about just how much a squillion is. We decide in the end it's more than a zillion but less than a gazillion. The LOML looks on admiringly. Well, I imagine that's what her expression indicates.

Child Two leaves and I go back to musing on something Mrs no-nickname-yet Ed said the other night, while drunk: what if the okey-cokey really is what it's all about?

December 06, 2005

"Stop having bonfires when we've got our washing out. Please."

"It's not a bonfire, it's an incinerator."

"Still gets ash all over my kecks."

Scene: the pool room of the Posh Pub, conversation between my mate no-nickname-yet Ed and Mrs Typecast Landlord. The Typecast Landlord, so-called because he always plays the same character in the am-dram, whatever the play, is always burning cardboard in his car park in the mornings. Ed lives over the back.

Only just started going back into the Posh Pub since they had a bit of a Falling Out with the school over blocking up the carpark at picking-up time. Storm in a teacup stuff, with the carpark shut at ten to three with a 'customers only' sign. Plenty of parking in the Pikey Pub and in the street, so no real worries. (Note to self: come up with a better name for the Pikey Pub). Except for one misguided soul, who takes it upon himself to toss a brick with a note saying 'no car park, no windows' through the window of the pub at two in the morning one day. Identity of tosser, of course, kept the village gossiping for days. Mr and Mrs TL vastly not amused about Serious Criminal Damage, police phoned, fingerprints taken. No tosser yet.

It turns out that neighbours of no-nickname-yet Ed have also complained about said ash.

Mrs Typecast Landlord, to Ed:"Your neighbours have been complaining since they moved in."

Me: "They'd even mentioned it to me. Don't say I told you for goodness' sake."

Mrs TL:"Did they? They ring us up nearly every time we light the bloody thing."

Ed:"Ring you up? Everyone knows that the best way to complain is to tie a note to a brick and chuck it through your window."

Lucky not to be barred for spraying mouthful of best bitter across floor.

Welcome, welcome

I've been thinking about this for a while. I even put finger to keyboard, abortively, a couple of times, but couldn't get past the fact that JonnyB's Private Secret Diary did it first. And better. But now I've had a Revelation. I'm approaching That Awkward Age, and having a bit of Mid Life Crisis. So I thought sod it, I'd do it anyway.

I'll be talking about the LOML a lot: The Love Of My Life (I did think of doing like this before I saw Jonny's blog. Honest. Mine isn't a Doctor of science, she's just a Bachelor, if that make sense, but a female one. Spinster: SSc (Hons). But she's married though. Duh. WSc (Hons). Or not, perhaps).

There are others - Flash Pete, so called because he's named Pete and believes that the one who dies with the most shiny toys wins. And Mumbling Nige, and Tony Bloke. And their respective spouses. And Child One and Child Two, which are mine and the LOML's.

Me. I'm 39 (doh). I live in a little village in the country near enough to Birmingham to go Christmas shopping but far enough away to prevent everyone in the village being a commuter, which has 3 pubs (hurrah) and an assortment of shops and stuff. And a first school at which the LOML is An Important Person and gets to decide who the headmaster is. She's generally one of the village important people. If there was ever a riot, and the police tried to calm the situation down by talking to community leaders, she'd be one. I often wondered who 'community leaders' were but now I know, it's people like the LOML. I don't really know what she's doing with me, bless her; I'm a community follower.

I spend a lot of time looking out of my window, hence the title. I have a nice view of my garden, some fields and woods and some nice electricity pylons. There's a footpath in the distance along which people walk occasionally. Usually with dogs.