Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Nice Cheese Sandwich


Now that I’ve frightened everyone away with the previous post, there’s only one thing to do: decommission my errant soul by encasing all manifestations of its reckless mortal romp inside a selection of robustly secured underground cryogenic bunkers.


Sounds too complicated.

A cheese sandwich, then — but not anything with cranberries in it.

[At this point, there is an interlude of some minutes. For you, too, there could be an interlude before you read on, if you choose. That way we’d be interlude buddies — albeit asynchronously. So, yes, while I’m away preparing my sandwich, why not take a moment or two to snack on a chocolate bar, make yourself a cup of tea, or fill in a couple of crossword clues? Anything, anything will do. You have my permission. Go crazy]

Back now, avec sarn.

Mmmmmm. Very nice.

Nice cheese.

Soft — but not so soft you wonder if you’re eating soup, some kind of weird sandwich-form soup, complete with croutons.

It’s very tasty bread too, with nuts and seeds and none of the slivers of millers’ fingernails you normally find in a wholemeal bouldeure rustique.

And the second mouthful is as wholesome and yummy as the first!

I’d recommend this to anyone in NATO employed as a potential meeter and greeter of alien hordes from beyond. One look at this baby, and all manner of intergalactic conflicts could be nipped in the bud. Plus, it would make great business for the thousands of cheese blokes worldwide* — and safeguard the future of cattle as a species too. The way things are going, by 2050 all the poor mookes will have been slaughtered to cut down on methane emissions, but if we can hook up with a bunch of aliens, their milk can be farmed off-world with no harm done to the polar bears. They could even power the furnaces of entire galaxies where methane is in short supply — assuming, of course, that the whole alien/off-world Stilton thing comes about before equality-enhancing brain implants for cattle, and therefore, the bovine equivalent of suffragettes. The last thing we want is a pressure group consisting of synaptically superior cattle whose democratic rights fuel an unstoppable bum gas apocalypse. So we’ve got to get the timing of all this exactly right. And of course, those aliens have got to invade when we’re ready for them. Anyhow, nice cheese...

I’m on to the second sandwich now (by which I mean the second triangle of a straight two slice composition, and not anything fancy like you see at dinner parties, typically with eggs or pureed rhino heart) — and this is going down like a synchronised high diving squad bombing into a pool of virgin olive oil. While I was adjusting my stance for the slice de resistance during the making of this sarn, it occurred to me that I might have made a mistake by omitting pickle, but something of the warm glow of Complete Sandwich Competence now ripples from my flesh, igniting sticky notes and exposed body hairs with equal gusto. It doesn't need it.

Very, very nice.

This is the sort of cheese sandwich that could win medals.

Several medals.

If I wasn’t chomping the last mouthful right now, I’d enter it in one of those high falutin’ sandwich contests. Correction: if I hadn’t eaten any of it, that’s what I’d have done. No-one ever won a high falutin’ sandwich contest with something chomped down to the last bite. It’s the cheese, see? Making me go silly.

And do you know what? I’d wear them. The medals, I mean. To the shops, to work, to everywhere — dangled from my lapel with hand-embroidered braids, and possibly photos of the sandwich itself.

All done now.

Goodness, that was a treat.

I could’ve gone with the nachos, or a classic Whirl Rice Krispies straight from the Packet, but I made the right decision — about the absence of pickle, the method of slicing, everything.

I feel a sated man.

And yes, I put that in for innuendo value, folks. Plus, people rarely consider the sated men of the world when making plans for the future. That’s why there’s no Sated Men Lane on the motorway. So hurry up with this one, all you politicians, it’s a powder keg out there.

Mmmmmm. Very nice.

And such a decorative napkin.


Just right.

* or whatever the technical term is for the people who grow all the cheese

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Thanks to the delightful Fairy the Wonderhog, I am reminded that today is Down The Rabbit Hole Day — traditionally the day in the year when every married man is booted out of the doghouse and forced to dig his own grave by an unrepentant missus.

Sadly, lack of time precludes me from posting something in a style alien to this blog, so as a copout, here's something I dug out from one of those wacky Tubey whatsit sites...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Me On Up/Down, Baby

To satisfy their whimsiest of whims, some people cultivate buboes, others grow strange beards that prompt small children to hurl stones and abuse — but I (my friends) am having a Guest Blogger, yes I am.

And YOU (my friends) could be it.

So, the curtains are open, the sash window drawn back, the door held ajar, the trapdoor released, the pit of snakes disabled, and the kung fu gimp-cum-janitor primed with popcorn and dispatched to the nearest cinema on a mule.

Submissions on any subject related to the content of this blog are welcome. Email me at by Wednesday 27th, 11.55pm GMT and I’ll pick out and post my favourite. Or my least favourite. Maybe even all of them — hey, it’s my blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tender Heart Screams From The Ventricles: Excerpts FromThe Colin Frape Poetry Omnibus

Hughes' "Crow" (A Tribute)

Pelican, strange pelican,
bite me not
with your beak
so sharp (above the flappy bit).
Pelican, strange pelican,
beat me not
with your array of collectible Victorian spatulas,
each rumoured to be worth between fifty and seventy pounds
according to the ebullient antiques twerp
from Cash In The Attic.
Pelican, strange pelican,
watch me not
as I undress my neighbour’s dog
to reveal some sort of tick
or fungal growth
lodged between armpit and embroidered house suit
whose vile discharge
any fabric (even tent canvas with a high PVC content) could stain,
Pelican, strange pelican,
to within an inch of my life, crush me not
with the bronze hippopotamus figurine
planned as a centrepiece work of art
for the new Wolverhampton shopping mall —
yet rejected at the very last minute
despite all four legs and the underside
having been beaten into shape
by the dedicated sculptor (who nearly died).
Pelican, strange pelican,
flap overhead not
as I smear Vaseline on the postman’s sore and ragged lips
to aid him in his Herculean sack-hauling task,
lest the vapours should rise and incapacitate thee in some way,
like you fly into a house or lose height wiping your eyes,
or land on a cow’s back,
the two of you momentarily befuddled
in a way that would make a great internet viral
if only someone had a camera handy:
a proper one, not a phone one.
Pelican, strange pelican!
o (o),
my muse!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Anonymous Receptive Audience

I’m suffering from Advice Overload.

There’s plenty of it out there in the Blogosphere, and much of it is way too good for a wretch like me.

So — adverbs, adjectives, participial phrases; the Top Ten Tips for better narrative; the Top Zillion Zillion Zillion. All subsumed, then regurgitated live down the fibre optic superhighway of my nervous system to the tip of my pen.

And the result of this glut of good advice?


So I’m indebted to Nicola Morgan over at Help I Need A Publisher for her post about walking like an editor.

To summarise, her point is that writers need to think like editors thinking like readers, which is almost zen-like in a Paper Scissors Stone sort of way. In the comment trail, I made some spurious remark about how John Simm’s Master (from Dr Who) is probably a writer bombarded by this sort of advice — and let me qualify now, Nicola’s is a great, great blog (hence the link).

“the my head...”

But I’m full to bursting at the moment, and this has to be my last intake for a while. I slop my eyeballs onto the monitor screen, I do, and try to suck it all up. And all those other blogs on my roll. It’s like blowing up balloons inside other balloons, only instead of balloons it’s the presences of unwanted phantoms haunting the phantoms I actually want to write about. As I said: paralysis.

So it’s back to the plan that always seems to work.

Back to writing for the Anonymous Receptive Audience, whoever they may be.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shoeing In A Bold New Era

My Docs have finally died.

It’s a testament to their quality that they’ve lasted as long as they have: I walk everywhere in them.


Excuse me for a moment while I compose myself...

digs out Mantovani and sobs in corner

Sad, I know — but endings, as they say, are merely new beginnings (though there is some dispute as to whether a vacuum resides at the cusp between the two, or whether this internexus contains multitudes, like Walt Whitman’s lunch box), and starting over is like falling in love. A note to qualify that last point for all you sciencey reference buffs: the people who dispute the nature of the cusp are not necessarily the same guys as the ones hailing the benefits of starting over, though there may be scope for a Venn diagram to illustrate any (frankly likely) crossover. What matters is that I don’t know any of these people personally.

Am I digressing? Nope — I’ve changed out of my pyjamas and that’s exactly the opposite, so I must be sticking to the point. Phew.

Anyhow — a shiny new pair of shoes arrived this morning and I’ve been skipping about the house in them with the unreserved glee of a 70s housewife meeting Rod Stewart backstage after a gig. This doesn’t mean, of course [WARNING: cat cruelty scenario metaphor approaching], that my old pair is to be junked, like that sad moment when a new kitten arrives in the family household and the pissy bag of bones formerly known as The Cuddliest Thing Ever is cast out into the freezing wasteland by the scruff of its neck and forced to live on other, scrawnier, cats. These shoes walked me through most of what has unfortunately come to be known as the Noughties, and they deserve pride of place on their own shelf in the study to serve as a reminder of all the times, good and bad, when they were strapped to my tootsies.

I recall the night I first wore them with much fondness. Being Docs, they chafed the backs of my heels like a trainee plastic surgeon testing out pages 43-69 of Transform Them, Even The Pig Ugly Ones: A Textbook of Assisted Beautification on a leg of ham with a cheesegrater. So I got halfway to the pub, turned round and came home. When I checked out my Whirly Diary of Alle Thinges to see when this happened, I was astounded to discover (ulp) it took place almost exactly a decade ago. My conclusion? Okay, I have several of these.

1) I have the lowest carbon footprint of anyone I know. Literally.
2) It doesn’t bother me at all that I look like a tramp from the ankles down. Tramp is a foot verb, after all.
3) There’s an article in this week’s Radio Times about how Gardeners’ World has gone downhill in the viewers’ estimation. In it, Gay Search comments favourably on the new presenters. As I sat reading, I remembered I used to have a secret crush on Gay Search. This has nothing to do with my Docs, of course — I’m just slipping this in for background biographical info. Under any other circumstance, I’d dig out a suitably informative link — but screenloads of shaved male buttocks and oiled willies aren't everyone’s cup of tea.

So — it’s high noon now and I’m busily breaking in my new Docs under cover of my desk. A few heavy pliets should sort out the stiffness, and there’s a slice of bacon in the fridge to combat the annoying squeaks. So I’m sorted.

Just time for one last adventure for my darlings before I dig out the DIY manual and erect a shelf...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It Can't Be Brain Death, I Can Feel It Too Hard...

It’s as if a badger has sneaked its way between my skull and my brain (carefully, via an ear or nostril, and not by means of some cartoonesque sawing of a hinged bony flap in the loo seat style — for such would be too obvious and I’d have spotted it, the fiend) and slithered backwards with its bristly fur scrapy-scrapy-scrapy against the various tender membranes twixt cranium and occiput, searching, claws bared, for a light switch to help it identify the handfuls of razor sharp antique shuriken dangling from its studded utility belt.

That, and that alone, is what my head feels like today.

No reason — it just does. And I am loathe to yelp, “bummer!”

So I cheer myself with a cartoon.

Happy Tuesday, all.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Erectile Dysfunction

If there's an AFTER, I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The "With" Curse

Every year, prior to the arrival of Santa, I promise myself that I won’t splash out excessively on festive treats and nibbles, and every (New) year, I find myself burdened with a piles of uneaten Christmasy treats to be gorged before their Use By / De-fungoidgrowth By dates expire (typically with the aid of a funnel and a sink plunger).

I’ve cut down, honest I have. On all those fatty vol-au-venty pastry things, the overabundance of pretzels and the Yule logs. Yet still the fridge bulges with wodges of novelty cheese like Oprah at her most voluminous squeezed into one of Karen Carpenter’s old bikinis.

This morning, I had to take action.

Armed only with half a packet of Carr’s Water Biscuits and a tub of slightly salted Danish butter (two spatulas and a mixing bowl, the other half packet of biscuits — okayokay, and some chocolate), I negotiated the North face of the Wenselydale with Cranberries mountain.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Wenselydale with Cranberries — the sort of thing to which Henry VIII might have treated himself between games of Tudor hockey, or whatever it was kings did in those days.

“Verily, ‘tis the finest of cheeses, blest with hearty bite-sized chunks of the Lord’s sweetest fruit ‘sif twere thick set custard stainèd red with the blood of my manye departed brides...”

Better still — being a novelty festive cheese, said WwC was encased in thick red wax like an avant garde Egyptian mummy. Mmmmm. Luxury.

Problem was, millennia-old rotted pharaoh was exactly what it tasted like, and having never sampled WwC before, I have no idea whether it was off, or just immodestly weird. The cheese itself was OK, I think, but something peculiar had clearly happened to the cranberries between being plucked from their bushes by the man from M&S, and slithering, half chomped, into my gullet.

I’m a little nauseous now. But at least Wenselydale with Cranberries is off the list for next year.

And maybe, when I’m recovered, I’ll still have room for the roulade of Sage Derby with Pickled Komodo Dragon...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Impending De-avocadofication

Bathroom catalogues have begun to appear around the house.

Not openly, in the hands of an interested Girly of Whirly, note; but in a manner both covert and indicative of womanly scheming — like in my sock drawer, on top of my DVDs, and meshed page by page between the leaves of my personal diary.

Unsure of my fate, I consulted the Oracle — and after a few strained meaows of complaint to point out that she hadn’t been fed since she polished off her mini tin of luxury cat food on Christmas Day, Geoff mused, “why consult the Oracle when you can read the book? Think kitchen. 2005? Remember?”

So I’m happy to report that some time very soon I shall be the proud joint owner of a new bathroom suite. I don’t know how, when, what colour, what cost, what anything, which kind of makes me feel like an astronomer scanning the heavens for the next undiscovered planet in the galaxy. Only instead of an undiscovered planet, it’s going to be a matching shower and lavatory. And instead of being an astronomer, I’m a hapless conscript, subdued by the whims of a woman hellbent on spanking new grouting. And the telescope? Read rolling pin.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Just checking in to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and in doing so, wondering if this isn’t something of a ridiculous thing to say.

It’s not that I don’t support the sentiment (and to qualify, by “everyone”, I don’t actually mean everyone because that would be stupid, and demeaning to those of you who drop by regularly — those of you to whom everyone in this instance refers). I’m with the wishing of happy new years 100%, but it’s not the same as wishing someone a happy Christmas, is it? Because whenever you consider Christmas begins and ends (and I’m aware I’ve taken my decorations down before twelfth night — spank me), it remains Christmas for the duration of that arbitrary period, exactly as described. This happy new year, however — well, it may be new now, but by March or April, it will have started to fray a little around the edges, and come November, will no doubt be creaking audibly and oozing the sort of pus normally reserved for a boil on your backside after you’ve sat for too long on an uncomfortable leather bar stool.

So, sorry to be pedantic, but when I wish you all a happy new year, what I mean is right to the end and not just the first few weeks or months, even though, technically, it doesn't make any sense.

Phew. Now we can all get on...