The lengths we go for love..lust…luurve?

aircadetsSo, back in the day as a younger, more simple soul…I would fall in love with monotonous regularity.  I am pretty sure that teenagers the world over suffer from this.  Especially hormone riddled males of the species.

When you became besotted with a particular person, you would go pretty far in your own little pursuit of happiness.  With that in mind, and trying to forget the fact that I seem to have regressed to this exact stage recently, I bring you a tale of 15 year old Dave, overcome with desire for a particular 16 year old lady.

The first thing you should know about me, I never really had any desire to join the Armed Forces.  I lived the life, enjoyed the perks and ignored the dangers, but it was never really in my foreseeable future to join up.  I had plans, such grand plans and the Armed Forces were never going to do it for me.

So you can imagine the surprise expressed by my parents, when I came home one day and let them know that I was joining the A.T.C. (Air Training Corps).  The A.T.C is essentially the Junior Air Force without all that pesky war zone stuff.  You would do drills, learn marksmanship, team activities and a whole host of other stuff.  You also wore, what was essentially, the RAF Uniform.

I think they assumed it would be good for me and would help me become a better person or something.  Which meant that they didn’t really question me.  This was good, as I hadn’t really been able to formulate an excuse for wanting to join up.  Don’t get me wrong, it had some nice side benefits.  My Dad showing me how to polish your boots properly and press your uniform in that “Just Right” fashion that is expected of those wearing it, was great.  Quality time with Dad, check.  Becoming a Marksman with a variety of weapons was also fun.  I did actually have a good time when I got there…but my reasoning may have raised an eyebrow or two in my general direction.  I’ll take you back a few weeks before I walk through the door and announce my intentions to join up.

It is a few weeks earlier and I am at school with mates…

Friend 1: “You doing anything this half-term then?”
Me: “Don’t think so, Dad has to work, so we are deffo staying here”
Friend 2:  “Same here, anything going on?”
Friend 1:  “ATC have their weekend BBQ and Party.  Doesn’t help you two though”
Me / Friend 2:  “Party?? What Party??”
Friend 1:  “They do it every year.  Camp out for 3 days and do a massive BBQ Party.  Music and the whole thing.  You can take your own tent or share one of the massive ones”
Me:  “Amanda (Can’t remember her actual name…sorry) is in the ATC right?”
Friend 1:  “Oh dear…yes, yes she is”
Friend 2:  “Dave, where are you going?”
Me:  “Joining up, you coming?”

You needed to be a member for a while before they would allow you to the party.  They didn’t want people just joining up for the BBQ weekend and then leaving you see.  So the timing of the conversation was good as it meant I joined up just before the cut off time.  What it meant, however, was that I had a few months of ATC’ing to do before the party.  As I already said, it definitely had its benefits, and I did actually enjoy it…but I always knew I was only going to be there until after the party.

So, did it work?  Well, yes and no.  We got together on the weekend of the party and then had a blissful month together before we both “fell in love” again and went our separate ways.

I do know that I took my own tent, I also know that we had a moment of terror when they came around shining torches on the walls of the tents to make sure that the hormonal teenagers were actually asleep and, more importantly, alone.

I also know that I left the A.T.C about a week after Amanda and I broke up.

Totally worth it though.


Love is…

…a many splendored thing apparently.

That said, and cheesy songs notwithstanding, times they have a’changed.

I have been saying this for a long time now, and I hope I don’t get any hate for it…but Men (boys, guys, geezers etc) are the new Women (girls, gals…you get the point).

“But what do you mean by that?”

Let me first add this disclaimer, I don’t see it as a negative thing in any way shape or form…really.  No really.  Also, there will be a modicum of generalisation…but it is simply my experience and observation.

When I were a lad….yes TV was in colour and you have to read that in a Northern English accent…When I were a lad, the female of the species were not quite so forthright as they are now.  I am sure they were just as strong and knew what they wanted, they just didn’t show it as often.  Jeebus I sound on regardless Dave, press on…

There were certain expectations of guys to “take the lead” in a lot of areas of life.  Being the provider is the obvious one, being able to have a serious career and from the perspective of single Dave….Making a move of the romantic persuasion.

So why are Men the new Women?  Well, think about it.  Look around.  It is now a genuine, and fucking awesome btw, option for the guy to be a stay at home Dad while Mum brings home the bacon.  It is normal for women to pursue, and be successful at, previously male dominated roles…the reverse is also true.

Now I am not saying it is perfect, I am not saying that there isn’t still a struggle for women to succeed, I am not suggesting that we have hit equal opportunity utopia…but it is definitely on it’s way in the right direction and I honestly believe that we will get there.  Should it be a struggle?  No of course not, but we come from where we do and where we are is a million times better than it used to be as recently* as when I was a kid.

Where I see the biggest change and, talking to my friends about it, other people the arena of luuurve.

No longer are women prepared to fake orgasms and tell you that you are the best lover in the history of lovers.  Nope, and this is the good part, they now help you and guide you into areas and positions that make it better for both of you.

Now, as a nice guy, this makes me very happy.  Let’s face it guys, we don’t really change.  If we get to have sex, we will orgasm and enjoy it.  This will happen just the same if it lasts 5 minutes or 5 hours.  We are a simple creature with simple needs.  We are definitely more aware of the needs of our partner…but at the end of the day, our needs are pretty cut and dry.  So guidance, for the nice guy, guarantees that both of you have fun.

So sex has changed, for the better, but to get to that stage there is the romancing phase.  This is where the biggest difference is and where I find myself floundering a bit.  Back in the day, you approached and were either accepted or rejected.  Simple.

Now….well….frankly I am still trying to figure it out.  Women seem to want a decisive guy.  Which to the logical mind of the bloke means the same thing as it used to.  However, when a guy does this he is creepy, aggressive or a “player”.  When he doesn’t do this he is weak.  They want a nice guy who they get to know, but when they get to know them they drop them in the friendzone (even when, by their own admission, they like the guy).  They want someone that is fun, but then they find they can’t take that person seriously…not fun enough and they are sullen.

I guess what I am trying to say is that women need to MAKE UP THEIR MINDS…. We men find ourselves in the unenviable position of where women were a long time ago, waiting for the girl to make a move or, at the very least, give us the clear sign that will allow us to “act like men” and make the move that they expect us(??) to make.  It reduces us to the behaviour of school children, tugging on pigtails and hoping for a reaction.  The role reversal transition is clearly not complete.  Were it complete, the woman would simply make the move (and it does happen, occasionally) and be done with it.  Unfortunately for us blokes, we seem to be in a middle ground of women having both sides of the role right now.  To be honest, I am impressed that anyone is getting any these days…

Ladies, my recommendation would be to carry your personal rules/wants/dos and don’ts in the form of, say, a flyer that can be handed out to every guy that comes within 3 feet of you.  This would save a lot of hassle. Especially if you make it a checklist and provide one of those little Ikea pencils.  As a bloke, I can then just run through the list ticking things off and provide the signed form back.  Possibly with the numbers of a few references so that you can verify that the information is correct.  All being well, we can get it on.

That would work, right?

* Fuck you – I know what you are thinking.


Here with the kids

Well, I have been in the UK a week with the boys now, and I am having a great time.   The amazing British weather has lived up to its world wide reputation and been absolute garbage one day and perfect the next…with a smattering of crap interspersed…you know…just to keep you on your toes.

I am driving the worlds smallest car that my brother was good enough to loan me and it has taken us to Swimming Lessons, Football matches and Sundown Adventure Land.   Sundown is a great place, a theme park for the under 10’s, which means you aren’t worrying about bigger kids upsetting or hurting your little ‘uns.   That said, I think it is some form of Chav Mecca…everywhere you turn, you are confronted with shellsuit wearing, 1 year old kid with earing having, obese parents that swear enough to offend a fleet of sailors (and trust me, I swear…a lot, so I know of what I speak).   All of them bowing down to the god of Burberry, ice cream and sweat.   It seriously makes me miss Frankfurt when I am surrounded by this.   Anyway, I wasn’t there to pray with the Chavs..I was there to have fun with my boys.

We took in attractions from Santas Sleigh Ride (in August….seriously) to The Robin Hood Ride and even ended up in Storybook village, where they have created little houses to represent some of the more popular kids bedtime stories…Jack and The Beanstalk was there, Goldilocks and the 3 bears and of course Rumpelstiltskin ( :-P CW)

The kids ate themselves silly with sweets, burgers, ice cream and drinks…made sure their Dad got soaked on the barrel ride and generally tore the place up.   They got to hug the Sundown Bears and went on everything that they wanted to…we even bought Grandad some clotted cream fudge…which was nice.   In an unusual manner, the weather held off until precisely the time that the boys were done and wanted to go home…meaning that we got absolutely drenched during the run to the car.

There was a birthday party for my nephew Josh the other day and, in true LaughingWolf Family tradition, we had a rain soaked barbecue…it was superb…all of the family were there and it was a great night to reconnect with my brothers and chat to everyone.   I don’t really do enough of that, so I should really make more of an effort in this department.

I took Zak to his swimming lesson and was incredibly proud of the boy-fish that was before me…he is even able to do the correct breathing methods and everything…if I am ever in need of a brick to be saved, from the bottom of the pool…I will definitely be asking Zak to stick his PJs on t0 go and fetch it.   On top of that, on Thursday I had the pleasure of watching Zak play football in his team for the first time.   He was fantastic, his team won 5-1 and he scored.   He also survived a tackle that would have gotten most professional footballers red-carded and probably banned.   I was cheering him on like a good ‘un and filming him of course.   I can’t wait to take him next week before I head back to Frankfurt.

Brandon was joining in with a training session for his age group too and he looks to be a proper, tough tackling midfielder in the making…I am really looking forward to seeing his first game in the future too.

Today the weather was, somewhat unsurprisingly, shite…so we decided to bankrupt me further at an indoor play area.   At least I was able to have a sit down and a coffee while the kids knackered themselves out. Saying that, it took me 2 hours to get 17 miles….17 MILES!!   You would think that a large indoor kids play area would be signposted right?   I mean, especially one that is hidden away in the back streets of Lincoln.   Nope, not a sign in sight.   To make matters worse, the road that the directions insisted I followed….no road sign that I could see.   I went past it and instantly realised that it would be the road I needed…especially as I then had to drive around 2 miles at 5 miles an hour just to be able to turn around…and then back (past the road I needed…roadworks you see) 3 miles at 5 miles an hour, just to turn around again and have another go.   Still, the kids loved it and spent most of their time on what can only be described as a vertical drop slide.

So now I am turning into the rain gambler, trying to duck and dive to avoid those pesky droplets of impending bankruptcy and find things that we can do that won’t require me to actually sell one of the kids.

Anyone going to Stansted next week?   Giz a lift!   I’ll be the broken man with a small carry on suitcase, a thumb out and a head full of hopes.   Don’t ask me for fuel money though, Play Zone will have taken the last of mine for a sachet of tomato sauce…bastards.

Sentimental…who me?

TattooSo my new tattoo is finished and I am more than pleased with it.   TD did the work and it is absolutely superb, message me if you are in Frankfurt and want a tattoo..I will give you TDs details, you can’t go wrong.

The thing about tattoos, at least for me, is that they need to mean something.   You have to be prepared to wear whatever design you choose…well…for the rest of your life (laser removal not withstanding).

I must confess that my first tattoo wasn’t particularly sentimental, but was something I was willing to wear for the rest of my days as it encompasses two things that are fairly synonymous with me these days, Liverpool Football Club and a wolf.   My new tattoo, however, is full of sentiment (and wolves)

The Wolf thing has really geeky overtones, I wasn’t raised by wolves…nor do I consider myself to be a re-incarnated wolf or try to live like one etc…none of that.   Many years ago, I was a more traditional geek…involved in online chatrooms and communities, gaming as much as dial-up would allow.   Even back then, it was almost impossible to conjur up a unique and recognisable I came up with PureStress.   I wasn’t particularly stressed at the time, but it worked for me.   The only problem it had was that I would constantly get messaged to ask why I was stressed out.

People didn’t appreciate the paradox when I blamed being constantly asked what my name means, which left me with one option.   A public renaming.   I dropped into my fave chatroom of the time and announced my decision.   Once all the abusive ones were filtered out, there were some good ones.   I liked LoneWolf for an equally geeky reason (Those “Do you want to run? (turn to page 11) or fight? (turn to page 55) or look up her skirt? (put the book down you perv!)” books), so I went with it.   Then I discovered that I would be LoneWolf8856834 on everything I signed up to and glued Pure to the front of it.

PureLoneWolf was born…and lo, I was the only one around.   I renamed my old jokes site to the LaughingWolf, created WolfLAN LAN Parties and everything else online relating to me became wolf’esque.   It sort of clicked with me in a number of ways…I am incredibly protective of my family and friends, but can go it alone for long periods (and occasionally prefer that).   Fast forward to my first tattoo and, having been referred to as a wolf for so long, it seemed only right to get a wolf stuck to my arm.   Over the years the wolf thing has become more and more significant and recognisable to those around me, gifts would be wolf related (Native American dreamcatchers, fleece blankets etc).

As all of my children live in the UK and I am here in Frankfurt, I wanted to get something done that would be representative of the kids and would let them know that I am always thinking of them.   I had been talking to TD for almost a year about the idea, and I finally got off my arse a month or so ago and went to see him.   The following day he started it.

Oh..I must tell you…when I was in for the first session a couple of giggly ladies walked in to the piercing section of the tattoo parlour.   They were confident and excited and were speaking in quite animated tones to the piercing guy.   I was lying on my stomach at this point and trying to ignore the discomfort happening to my back, so I didn’t really get what they were talking about.   A few seconds later, I notice that the screen has been pulled around the piercing station…”Aye aye”, thinks I..breasts or clit.   2 minutes later there is what can only be described as a yelp from behind the screen and the laughs fade.   Unfortunately I didn’t see them walk away, but CW assures me that one of the two ladies was walking rather gingerly away…. I hope it was worth it love, I really do.

Anyway, the tattoo is basically a male wolf surrounded by his four cubs.   They are sat in front of a tree (not representative of anyone) and the tree goes over my shoulder where the branches lead into a tribal wolf on my left arm.

Yes the tree looks sore in this picture…it had been finished about 10 minutes prior to the picture being taken.   It will fade slightly over the next week or so and look more natural with the wolves.   Also, no, despite the freckles on my back..I am not a ginger.   Oh, and the browny/red on the wolves is supposed to be there…like the eyes, I think it makes the tattoo stand out.   TD really does do amazing work.

Tattoo for the kids

From top left:   Me, Brandon-Lee and Zak
From bottom left:   Ellen, Ethan
Top:   A tree

I love it.   CW loves it and I know the kids will too – That’s all that counts

Valentines Day

Saint ValentineSo this Saturday is the official made up day of lurve.   I say made up as it does seem to be a little too commercialised..looking into the whole “St Valentine” thing just results in admittance that there was nothing romantic in it at all.

As Barry White once said “I’m gonna love you, love you; Love you just a little bit more baby”

Obviously Barry can’t have been married, otherwise his lyrics would have referred to his “Non-Birthday blowjob, providing you don’t have a headache…baby” or something.

Over here in Germany, it is nowhere near as big as the UK…but, as with Halloween, they are catching up…fast.   Expectations will soon be raised and guys all over the country will be waking up on that fateful 14th February and heading down to the nearest petrol station to pick up a bunch of wilted flowers and a box of Ferrero Rocher, or be faced with the wrath of their nearest and dearest.   Restaurants will be double booked and charging double the price.   At least here they don’t appear to have reached the level of the UK, which translates into parents sending their kids Valentines cards, just in case.   I know that Mums and Nans are just trying to help and ensure that their special little boy/girl isn’t left cardless and leperlike at school…but when you get older, and start to recognise the writing…the only card you will need then is the card for the therapist appointment hotline.   Tantamount to child abuse that is…in the long term obviously.

I think Jimmy Carr said it best:

“Valentines day is the only day of the year where you can recieve an unsigned card from a complete stranger saying they want to fuck you, and you go…Aaawww”

Why do valentines cards have to be unsigned?   Surely that defeats the purpose of expressing your underlying stalker nature love to someone.   The idea of spending money (in a recession no less) on a card, possibly flowers and maybe chocolates..then sending them to someone signed “your secret admirer”, seems more than a little dim to me.

Also, if the person happens to be with someone (which is the only logical reason to not announce yourself), and you believe this person isn’t worthy of their love, because they are an arsehole or something….the chances are that they have forgotten to send anything…and you sending an unsigned gift allows them to instantly get credit (and the blowjob) for your purchase.

Far from show this person what life could be like without this arsehole, you just made him look good… Not the brightest idea you could ever have.   Sure, signing your name on a card/flowers/chocolate combo to Sue in accounting, knowing that she is seeing Psycho the Bouncer (and former kick boxing champion)..who happens to know exactly where you live…might be a little scary.   I understand that but, think of the adrenalin rush…and the possible interesting sexy times that might ensue after you get out of hospital and physio..

For my part I am doing the modern thing this year, I will be cooking for CW…we will probably settle in to watch a chick flick, drink wine and talk about our feelings..wait, hang on.   Let me try again… I will be cooking for CW..there may be a movie comedy to watch, some alcohol and who knows what else.   There will be a Do Not Disturb sign on my front door, and the paramedics just outside in case of gastronomical disaster.   I am nothing if not thoughtful.

Right, I am off down to the shops to stock up on Rennie, Gaviscon and Peptobismal.

Enjoy your very own night of luuuurve.

The First Kiss

LipsThe first kiss is quite important, we all know this.   It can determine if the chemistry is right, it can determine an element of compatibility of the physical kind.

If you are a hopeless romantic, you will want that first kiss to be memorable, and preferably perfect.   It may or may not involve fireworks (literal or imagined), flowers, a wonderful setting and a feeling that it is the right thing to do.

You will probably want it to begin softly, if the chemistry is right for both of you, your heart rates will increase…you may feel a little breathless and the passion and intensity may increase, leading to a stronger kiss.   Tongues will almost certainly be used, but they will be in the tender exploration of the other person and reactionary to each and every movement between you.   You will hold each other tighter and the shared body heat will move to another level.   Eventually, you will stop by returning to the gentle kiss, slower and slower until you break contact, at which point you will be looking directly at each other intensely.   Moments later, the world will begin to move again and you will become aware of sound, the sound of people passing you by and complaining about the world and wending their merry way through life.   In that moment, you will know…you will know that the cat food section of the local supermarket was not the wisest location choice :-P

You do not, however, try to eat the back of the other persons head through their mouth.   If you notice that this person has issues with their nasal cavity…trying to clear the blockage with your tongue is seldom considered sexy….and let’s face it, could lead to a discussion that nobody really wants to have.

See exhibit A:

Now, I have to concede that this is not their first kiss, although my understanding from MK and KH is that they had only known each other a few days according to the show.   Maybe this is enjoyable for the both of them, although it looks like she is under attack and just trying to survive.   Thinking about it, he is clearly forcing her to be compliant with some sort of Vulcan Nerve Grip thing on the back of her neck.   Alternatively, maybe what we can’t tell is that they are really underwater and lost their breathing apparatus…survival instincts kick in and that is the result.

All I know with any certainty, if someone ever films me kissing someone and it looks like that….kill me, you have my permission….you would be doing me (the victim woman) and quite possibly the world, a HUGE favour.   Noone needs to see that.

I am now going to arrange for a frontal lobotomy, to try and rid my mind of the video above.


The dating game…

DesireOk, so getting back in “the game” is a little more difficult than you realise.   Especially when you haven’t been in said game for quite some time and you are not quite the same person as you were when you were having moderate success.

So I have taken to trying to get inside the minds of women...not just inside them*.   How have I done this?   Easy, by making lots of female friends and quizzing them.   Also, by stealthily reading blogs..written by women who are in the dating scene.   Unfortunately, neither of them live anywhere near me, nor have they written expansively on why Uncle Fester is a much overlooked superstud…so I will continue to use their thoughts read with interest their take on the whole dating malarky….and learn some things along the way.

So far I have learned that Online dating seems to be considered as an ok option, providing you pay attention to some ground rules.   You have to make your first contact interesting, avoid using txt spk, don’t IM unless invited to, make your profile relatively interesting.   If given a phone number, call it…if they wanted to read something from you they would stick to IM or email.

See, us blokes can learn things occasionally.   Only occasionally mind…

The biggest lesson, that was delivered most recently, try and pay attention….especially if you have an unwavering desire to talk about your feelings incessantly, and the person you’re with does not.   Oh, and if ignored….TAKE THE HINT.   Do not, under any circumstances, write an email explaining how patient you were and try and lay the blame for you own failure to listen to them.

How am I doing so far?

I like it.   Admittedly, I can no longer count on stealth in my pursuit of knowledge regarding the female mind (damnable mind and it’s lack of blog imagination)…at least that part of the female mind that deals with dating.   It’s a start though right?   Plus, I get the feeling that they might find it akin to guys trying to read Vogue or Cosmo in the 80s ;-)

See though, here’s the thing.   I am perfectly comfortable talking to someone on IM.   I am even perfectly comfortable walking smack into the “Friend Zone”.   So I am waiting for the information to start flowing from these lovely ladies on the “signs”.   I am great at body language at work, in meetings and presentations etc.   I can tell you if a member of my team is paying attention to whatever I am saying.   I can even see if people need more comfort, agression, compassion…whatever.   However, put me next to women in a social situation and I see them as foreigners…making no movements I can understand…it’s a bit like being an English bloke living in, say, Germany…and not speaking the language.   You know that what they are “saying” means something, you just don’t know what that something is.

So I make a lot of friends…and the encounters I do get into are not the ones I want….either they have a weird stalker thing going on, or they are friendships that I don’t want to risk for the sake of being “in the moment”.

What is a character from an old black and white gothic TV show to do?   Other than electrocute myself for kicks or have a shower set to scalding.

Maybe this post will drag out some helpful hints in the comments….subtle eh?

So…are you fluent in body language?

EDIT:   Since posting this I have been thinking and let’s face it, it doesn’t happen often enough.   I am no longer a child… I should be mature enough to deal with things in such a way that I won’t allow a friendship to be ruined by an attempt to alter the relationship towards the romantic.   Short edit, but an important revelation nevertheless.

* Sorry…no, really

What a weekend :)

Me and the broodWell, I am back from blighty (Britain to you non-natives out there) and I had a wonderful time.   I still managed to put almost 1000 miles on the hire car…seems to be my lot in life I guess.   What I did have though was an amazing weekend with my 4 (count ’em) amazing kids.

Not a single harsh word was needed, they were all amazing well behaved and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.   All of the stresses of recent times just evaporated when I got to hold them and spend time with them.   The best of it though, was just spending quality time with all of them.   I had planned to go bowling, to parks, do this and that and the other….it was going to be a full and packed weekend.   When I saw them though, I realised that I didn’t need any of those distractions.

We were out and about, visiting my brothers and sister in law with my amazing nephew Josh.   I have since been told that he is like it with most blokes, but I made an instant connection to Josh and he would cry whenever I left.   Quite nice really as I am inherently bad with other peoples kids, if they are related to me or not, but Josh was different..such a placid and nicely mannered boy for his age.   I got to see him walk, which he has only just started doing…which was cool :-)

I resolutely refused to allow Ellen to be “Little Mum” like she always used to end up being whenever she has visited me in the past.   I looked after all of the kids, properly, and enjoyed every minute of it.   I think they enjoyed it too.   Don’t get me wrong, I know Ellen loves to mother people and be involved, but she is a kid too and deserves to be spoilt like the others.   I treated them all to some useful sports stuff for school/after school activities, rather than trinkets that they won’t use in a week.   We played, we laughed, we cuddled up and watched a movie, went to the park, went for a walk, played rugby in the garden.   We just generally had fun together and for my part I got to reconnect with my children and loved every moment.

It is a strange life as an estranged father, but I intend to make the most of it whenever I can.   I absolutely refused to fall into my past routine of spending time on the computer and leaving the kids to their own devices.   I think I was on Facebook for a total of about 20 minutes, and I checked my email about 3 times…and I didn’t get the shakes – go me :-) .   I made sure that we only visited my family a few minutes away from where we were, as I didn’t want to waste time travelling and then be distracted by spending time with friends and not the kids.   We were all up at the crack of sparrows and went to bed quite late each day (not too late though ;-) )

None of the kids wanted to go home, and I agreed as it was far too short of a visit…something I will rectify for next time definitely.   Obviously I have to work around their holidays now to make sure I can have a week or two with them next time, but do that I will.   Tears were shed by everyone, but I know with complete certainty that they all genuinely love me and miss me, and I hope they know that I miss them all so much it is heartbreaking for me.

I did have to put up with some shocking music in the car, some eurodancetrashpopdrumbasehouse nonsense that they seem to like.   However, they are my kids afterall….which meant by the end of the weekend, they were all asking for The Wombats, Maximo Park and Dragonforce to be played so that they could all air guitar and air drum their way to wherever we were going.   Hey!   Kids need decent music too you know….and at least mine have taste….even if it is ruined by technogarageshed garbage from time to time.

Normal posting will resume shortly, I just wanted to share the best weekend I have had in a bloody long time :-)

My family and other animals

Wolf PackBeing the eldest of three boys is not always fun….it can be, but not always.   Especially when your brothers get to the age where your Mum starts asking you to take them with you wherever you go.

I have to say that the age gap helped, so I wasn’t forced into that too often.   That said, I love my brothers…although back then it was mainly for their usefulness.

We were living in Leicester many moons ago – I will never forget it..the Eyres Monsell area of Saffron Lane.   It wasn’t that bad really, but the local borstal was just up the road…anyhoo I digress.

I learned real quick that my brother Kev was a tough nut, always throwing himself everywhere and just getting up and laughing when most kids would be crying…actually, now I come to think of it, Zak is just like that now.   I was babysitting once, and decided to play football in the house…of course the ball ended up bouncing up onto the wall unit and breaking something (I forget what – sorry Mum), but Kevs exploits meant that it was plausible.   I escaped with a telling off for not keeping an eye on him, instead of being grounded until…well…now I suppose.

He was pretty fearless though, but this got him into trouble from time to time.   My Mum had her friend over and they were chatting and drinking wine.   After a little while, they notice that the bottle of wine has gone from the kitchen…it was open but untouched.   Kev was found drunk and a panicked Mum had to figure out ways to sober up a small child…it was made slightly worse, if I recall, by the fact that he had used a straw…

Younger siblings always tend to copy their elder siblings though, and I caught him stealing a cigarette from me once, so I forced him to chain smoke until he was physically sick.   I am actually quite proud of that as (to my knowledge) he has never smoked since.

My brothers have both always had their heads screwed on though, certainly more so than me.   They both excelled at whatever sport they turned their hand to and Paul in particular puts us all to shame with his dedication to academia.     Through it all, they have managed to be leaders, not followers and noone ever has a bad word to say about them.

Kev is married now and my nephew is 1 and Paul is engaged and about to enter into that most heinous of crimes….living in sin.

It’s strange to say, but we are a very close family…we just don’t feel the need to be in constant contact that most people seem to think being close requires.

My Mum and Dad have always been very supportive of me and my foibles….I was the one that got into all the trouble…smoking, drinking, wreaking havoc with my friends.   My Mum is incredibly forthright and will let you know if she isn’t happy with something…my Dad is a little more subtle, and he has always been the calming influence on my life I suppose.   I definitely needed it from time to time.

I remember my Dad and I walking across the base, on the way to the bowling alley.   The base was an RAF Officer training camp, so there were a lot of young kids that had rank.   We were in street clothes (civvies) as Dad wasn’t at work, and we walked past this snot nosed Officer Cadet.   My Dad casually said hello to him as we walked past (you never salute unless you are wearing the uniform yourself).   The cadet stopped and started having a go at my Dad.. “You will salute an officer and show some respect”…or something similar.   My Dad, simply leaned in and then really quietly, but with no small amount of contempt said “When in uniform, I salute your uniform and respect it and the rank it gives you, I do not however, have to respect the fucking idiot wearing it”.   Then he turned, put his arm around me and we went bowling for the night….legend.

My Mum and Dad are also responsible for my knowledge of drinking games, my sense of fun, sense of humour and my morality.

Thanks Mum and Dad


A short while ago, I visited Zurich, and was very surprised to realise that (at the time of writing) the smoking ban hasn’t been adopted. Not only that, they positively embrace it.

See, smokers aren’t 2nd class citizens after all, just ask the people at Zurich Airport.smoking lounge

It’s quite rare that we are welcome anywhere really, but it’s true.   What’s better though is that the rooms are air conditioned, designer furniture strewn comfort zones.   The non-smokers are stuck on plastic school chairs in a corridor with no air-con.   This place is genius.

Smoking Lounge at the Zurich Airport

Sure, we have to ignore the same warnings that we get on all the packs…when the call came to board the flight, I was that comfortable, I didn’t want to leave.

I had strolled across the uncomfortably hot non-smoking area to purchase an ice cold beverage and a piece of literature to peruse.   Sauntered jauntily back to the comfort zone that is the smokers lounge to relax and await my boarding call.   Trouble was, I was that relaxed and comfortable, not only did I smoke half a pack in just over an hour…I almost missed my freakin’ flight.

Totally worth it though.

Then…a week or two back…the German government cave to pressure from small bar owners and go partway to revoking the smoking ban.   Basically, any bar that is less than 75 meters squared and doesn’t serve any food that doesn’t get served in a packet, can smoke again….which includes my living room!!

Thankyou German government, I can now calm myself properly during those stressful Liverpool matches and not have to walk out for a calming smoke..just as a goal is scored.

I love Germany…..and Zurich airport.