Food (what a week)!

On Sunday (Mother’s Day over here) my wife and daughter1 had a Chinese takeaway, and not wanting anything off that menu daughter2 suggested we have a kebab from my favourite place (recent food hygiene rating 1/5, delivery time abysmal, great food though).

Donner, chicken, beef chunks, salad, sweet chilli sauce, wrapped in a naan bread. It was my first in a year (I’ve been good following a health scare). Awesome, absolutely perfect.

It was my mother’s in law’s birthday early this the week. We went out to a local chain restaurant and I had an 8oz steak (steak for the 5th time this decade), fries, not enough breadcrumbed spicy prawns but that’s not a biggie, and sweet potato fries on the side.

The steak was ok.

Dessert: oh yes. Apple pie and ice cream.

Yesterday the new technical author asked if anyone in the department wanted her to order breakfast on Fridays. “TAKE MY MONEY!!!”, I said.

So today, just after 10am, I had a spam and bacon (British back) on buttered toast. I’d forgotten to add ‘ketchup’ to the shared spreadsheet she set up but heck, it’ll wait until next week.

Last week my boss (I’ve known him for 30 years) asked if he could walk round to the ‘expensive’ cafe with me and sample one of the beef & bacon burgers (on a brioche bun with salad and ketchup) I’ve been buying myself.

He bought mine today. And it was very, very good.

A double cheeseburger similar to the single patty bacon burger mentioned. (Café’s photo).

And we had visitors at work today, so I got a chance at the leftover buffet. All I could manage was a few cucumber sticks. Crunchy.

It’s the little things in life, isn’t it.

(But I’m definitely not weighing myself for a little while).


Just over a year ago I ran a Minecraft server on a used Windows 8 tablet converted to Windows 10. It soon became apparent it wasn’t the best solution so I looked around and eventually figured out would give my daughters and me the best and cheapest performance.

We picked a world seed, fired it up and began to explore. My youngest daughter took to it like a, er… child does to new things, and explored the world, made and built things, exploited it as far as it could go, and then pretty much left for places she could more easily interact with her friends. No great loss there.

Before their boredom set in I built a scale model of our home and let the girls furnish it – and populate it with Mollie cat and Ruby dog.

But the very best thing I did was creat a perpetual morion machine using red stone and plungers. Here’s the YouTube video, screenshot not long before I closed the hosting account:


Incidentally, if I’d not closed the account and the details hadn’t been removed from the server, Mollie & Ruby would probably be a bit hungry by now, I can’t recall if we left the doors open when we left! (There were plenty of sheep and cows and chickens around, don’t worry)!


Last week daughter 1 had a sex education lesson, or at least one on the specifics of the human male reproductive system. No problem there. She mentioned the teacher had used a couple of words veering more towards the colloquial than the technical. I became intrigued, because yeah!

The first, describing the male organ, began with a ‘W’, she said. It was easy to simply say ‘willy’, though my wife and I know quite a few more.

The second word up proved to be somewhat problematic, at least to me. It begins with an ‘S’ and is something that emits from the above appendage.

So I did it, I went there, with “…is it a movement of rebellion which started in the late seventies, one characterised by people with spiky hairstyles and outlandish make-up who jumped up and down, spat at each other, and sang songs of disillusionment and hate of the establishment? Is it ‘punks’, rearranged?”


My wife jumped to the rescue way too late to stop my squirming. The speed of her response was surely intentional, throwing in the simple phrase “…is it men who go to sea?”

Yes, yes it was indeed that one.


For the last couple of weeks daughter 2 and I have been playing a game of chess every few days. She’s been learning at school and doesn’t need any tuition from me.

Now that sounds as though I know the game. Nope, I’m a novice. Almost. I’ve played occasional games against computers since the nineteen eighties but it never gained much traction with me; until recently I lost every game.

Since buying the chess set as part of a ‘Classic Games Compendium’ I’ve had to overcome an early dilemma: do I let my daughter win? That’s an easy one, no. We discussed it and I gave her my rationale: when she beats me the first time I’ll be, at that moment, the proudest daddy alive.

Oh, before I forget, a colleague has offered to play me. I’m not ready yet but, just in case, at lunchtimes I’ve been playing against the computer. Level 1. No wins yet but one stalemate 1/2 indicates what I’m going to call ‘improvement’.

For now though, being honest about this, I’m happy to have my ego massaged by beating my baby.

Parenting vs online

Daughter 1 was given a new iPhone 6S as an early birthday present and to reward better-than-expected performance at school. I spent time with her setting up an iCloud child account, then talking about, agreeing, and finally implementing an initial plan within the scope of restrictions available to parents who wish to insulate their wonderful offspring from harm online.

Yes of course it got me thinking about the pissbrains who don’t see the need for it and let their kids do whatever they like online in the pursuit of an easy parenting life.

The inevitable arms race the children are subjected to whilst keeping up with the apps and services their peers must use simply to exist in a modern social sphere is something I don’t want to consider. We’re in an age of devolved responsibility; when the harm’s done, the quite naturally angry parents fail to direct their ire towards the root cause, instead finally bleating that the networks aren’t doing enough to protect ‘children’.


The girls are really into Harry Potter right now, were really pleased to hear their school will reschedule World Book Day participation. That's entirely incidental to…

My shouted response to a clattering noise from the bathroom above my comfy chair just now, something probably never said before in any language:

"Take your wand out of the bathroom please!"

I haven't seen my wife laugh so much for an age now; maybe if I ask if she was imagining if we had boys?


I just heard Loki.

For the last few years his voice was the last I heard every night and the first every morning; nights it now seems missing me, mornings definitely wanting his breakfast.

06:45 today, as my wife got back in bed after a pee: it doesn't pain this 99.9% atheist much to admit I took it to mean he let me know he arrived in Heaven.


No attempt made to be articulate here, a followup to my last post.

I've known Loki cat (aka Loki Lou) for pretty-much 17 years; all his life bar the first few weeks of it. I was there after he had his bits done, saw the red crusty… I was there as he made his first attempts to climb stairs. I've had to rescue him from a couple of 'next-doors' as he decided returning back over the fence was too hard. I've fed him every day for the past, what, 13 years bar the cattery visits, picked up his poos and mopped his pees; and when we've needed to take him to the vets I've been there too, including that time I accidentally threw him down the stairs and sprained his leg. I stole his and his kitty family's chicken on Christmas Day 2004, he never forgave me; as it should be.

Speaking of the local cattery, taking him there before we went on holiday a few years ago in a cat box in a pram gained me a reputation I don't think I'll shake in a hurry. He doesn't like cars, see.

He's been an annoyance ever since he turned into an (agile) little old man and started humping soft toys, soft clothing, indeed anything, everything, soft. It's not so much the act itself but our night-time sleep disturbances from the noises he made…

I haven't a clue if all cats are as empathic, but he's just known when a cuddle will help, and he's helped. Lots. He's known when to stay out of the way too.

He's outlasted his (genetic) brother Marble, his sister Gizmo (always the proud princess), the lovely, lovely Mary, and the typically-scaredy-cat Nelson.

He's always been a handsome chap with, to my untrained eye, a look of the kitten about him. But, since Christmas, he's got old and infirm very quickly. Today he's hardly eaten a thing.

So it's time.


April the 1st, his birthday, will be…