Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fits and starts...

...This blog has been running for a little over a year but this is, rather pathetically, only my thirty sixth post. I do post elsewhere and this is really meant as a quick blog for me to write with whatever is on my mind more personally or which won't fit onto the usual writing platforms I use. I may one day cross pollinate so people can see my complete works, something google author is now making much easier.

In the mean time I think it is fair to say that I have been contributing on here only in fits and starts so rather than make a commitment that I previously made to use this all the time I think I will keep this as my occasional blog and more as a way to write a little about my life and frustrations and keep other platforms for writing about deeper subjects.

Hopefully I'll see you there.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Welcome to the World Mia

Just a quick post to say welcome to the world Amelia Rose (Mia), who joined us one week ago today weighing in at 8lb 9oz.

I will be back to discuss the issues of old man fatherhood at a later date but we still have night feeds at the moment so I am too tired to write much.

Enjoy all.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

My shortest poem ever...

After the release of the second shortest poem I have ever written- The Future- I was literally inundated with demands for the shortest poem I have ever written.

Okay, for inundated with demands read several casual enquiries. But they were from people who were either genuinely interested or who could act interested better than anybody else I know. So with that in mind I will be publishing the poem in its epic entirety at the end of this post.
Before I commit the work to the tinterweb I want to give it a two-pronged introduction. I wrote the poem back in the days when I was a young pretentious teenager but I have revisited the poem as part of a much more mature, yet equally pretentious,  body of work. So I will explain a little about the poem in both contexts.

When I wrote the poem it was an introductory poem for another, longer poem, and it was something I, at sixteen, thought was an amusing way of telling people that I was a totally normal teenager (I think at the time I thought I was being original- the older me can only laugh in embarrassment on behalf of younger me).

As an older man- as readers of the blog may know I recently celebrated my twenty first birthday for the fifteenth time and I have been toying with the idea of turning twenty-two- I have been  working on a compendium of poems exploring inequality based on three separate issues- geographical location, age and economic background. The reasons I have focused on these will become clear when (if?) the completed works are ever published. Given how the project has grown it may now be two published works. One exploring the themes and one which is almost a discussion between protagonists.

I have recalled the original poem because I think it will help to highlight the differences between some of the characters. I won't go into that anymore here.

Without further ado may I present to you the shortest poem I have ever written:

My Bed.

My Bed. I love it.

Not my bed, but I think it creates the desired impression of what the mature me is thinking of.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Coventry Cobblers

Tomorrow (Friday 3rd August) is yet another D-day for the wonderful football team that are Coventry City.

Our previous landlords ACL have made an offer to keep us at the Ricoh- a much better deal that the one that has forced us into administration and which has played a huge part in our finances pushing us down to League One from the heady heights of the Championship, yet still one which essentially prevents the club from building for the future. No option to buy the ground, no access to match day revenues- two things which the club needs to complete on an even keel with the clubs around us.

If the club agree to the deal they stay in Coventry at least for the next ten years (assuming they survive that long) and they avoid a fifteen point deduction at the start of the new season. Even better, our transfer embargo will end in twenty eight days meaning that we will be able to start signing players again on the last day of this month, giving us three days to do the transfer dealings that all of our rivals have had the entire summer to complete.

If we don't agree we are likely to end in liquidation, we will certainly be condemned to play our home games in Northampton for the next three years while the club (which is at least £65 million in debt already) look to build a new stadium in the Coventry area. We will get almost no revenue during that time but if we survive then we will have a slight chance of building a club with long term prospects. Of course we may not even be in the football league by then but at least we will have our own ground and revenues so we can start again.

There are no other alternatives on the table at the moment and neither of the above scenarios is appealing to the fans who are running a number of separate (and poorly organised) campaigns against the owners. Some of the wiser fans are also aware that ACL and the local council have each allowed avarice to play a part in the down fall of Coventry City FC.

I really don't want the club to move to Northampton but I totally understand why the new owners (who happen to be the same as the old owners, but that is a totally different thread) will refuse to sign the deal that ACL are putting on the table because without ownership of the ground they are just delaying the inevitable.

So come this time tomorrow I fully expect to be calling my beloved Sky Blues the Coventry Cobblers.
Play Up Sky Blues

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Thank the laws of certainty that I cancelled my Sky Sports subscription and so didn't have to watch the cricket yesterday.

For the first time since records began and probably much longer England have started a test series against Australia as favourites to win.  A look through the teams tells you why with the English team made up from players who are recognised around the globe for their cricketing prowess and a couple of players tipped to be the stars of tomorrow. The Aussies have Micheal Clarke, an ageing Peter Siddle and loads of guys that nobody has heard of (other than Phil Hughes who had a cracking spell with Worcester but who has been found wanting at international level).

The Australians have even been forced to call up a 35 year old with one previous cap to his name. That is akin to the English football team calling up a 33 year old Kevin Davies (I know we did, don't ask me why).

So when I checked the scores yesterday and saw England were running at 75-2 I wasn't unduly concerned. We bat deep. Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bairstow, Bell, Prior, Broad and Swann are all capable of putting runs on the board. There are not many teams in the world that bat so deep.

I then went on a little journey down to somerset and didn't get back to see the scores until late yesterday evening.

I was more than a little surprised to see that Australia were batting and were at 75-4. England had not suffered one of our spectacular collapses, rather we had whimpered along through out the innings giving wickets away whenever it looked like we might take control.

Luckily we also have the second best bowling unit in the world and even with Stuart Broad unable to bowl we had Anderson and Finn bowling a great spell each to remove four Aussie wickets, including Micheal Clarke- a man I rate as the best batsmen in the world over the last two years (just ahead of our own Ali Cook).

The series still has a long way to go but all in all it just goes to show that the English never do anything the easy way.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A nice little distraction...

I have sat here for the best part of an hour today determined to write something for this blog but with lacking inspiration.

As I sat here with open computer and twiddling thumbs (which, by the way, really hurts) I had the telly box on. The wee bairn was upstairs with mother bairn so I had full remote rights and wanting something that wouldn't distract me from my procrastinating I turned on the tennis.

As those of you in the know may be aware there is currently a little known tennis championship called Wimbledon being staged in our very own London. The British, as I am sure you are aware, are well known champions of tennis boasting both the current Olympic champion, two Olympic silver medallists, the US Open champion, a reigning Wimbledon doubles champion and the reigning junior French and US Open champions.

With this deep sporting pedigree in tennis it will be something of a surprise to find that only one British player has reached the third round of the singles competition in either the men's or the women's draw. Andy Murray- who has seen his route to the final made easier by shock defeats to Roger Federer (17 Grand Slams), Rafa Nadal (11 Grand Slams) and the injuries to Cilic, Tsonga and others. Four days ago he had a daunting, almost impossible run to the final.  At the time of writing this is reflected by Murray now being 1/4 on to reach the final and 6/4 to win Wimbledon outright when there are still 32 players in the tournament.

The spate of injuries has been a great concern to many, with the arm injuries suffered by Darcis and Llodra being blamed on the grass and the wide array of other injuries being blamed on the high workload of players these days.

With that being the case I find it a little strange that the players who have played the most matches this year have all escaped uninjured on the grass. And I remember grass from my childhood and I am pretty sure I would rather play sport on grass than on clay or on the other option- the Hardcourt (the clue as to why is in the title).

Which lead me to believe that a lot of players were happy with the £30+ they get as second round losers and decided to have the rest of the fortnight off.

At this point it occurred to me that the tennis had managed to get through my steely barriers and what was meant to be a long period of procrastination turned instead to a second rate blog. Damn you telly box, damn you sporting world and damn you generally!!!!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Second shortest poem I ever wrote....

I have decided to start posting a few of the poems and the short stories I have wrote over the years which I either aren't entirely happy with (and therefore haven't deemed fit for human consumption) or which I have just forgotten about.

I have decided to start with the second shortest poem I wrote back in my very productive poetry period (productive meaning quantity...the quality is debatable). This is actually a poem I am reasonably happy with even if I didn't exactly achieve the aim I started with which was to write a Haiku about environmentalism. Nevertheless, within the constraints of the form that I gave myself (and where I somewhat missed the point...I enjoyed the rather common misconception that Haiku's took the form of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables).

I hope you enjoy this, it may prepare you for some of the more clumsy attempts which are to follow.

It is rather pretentiously entitled either The Future? or The Future is Now.

The Future? (or The Future is Now)

Look at the sky die,
Listen to the birds cry, cry,
Smell the flowers sigh.
A rather lovely picture from

Monday, 24 June 2013

Note to self: Sometimes you can be productive without realising it

I promised myself that I would start writing a little something, no matter how short, every day with the intention of getting the old writing muscles exercised ready for a period of intense writing over the summer (whenever that starts).

I was a little surprised this morning when I woke up ready to get a lot done and noticed that I haven't produced a blog post, or a news post for another side project of mine (I will be linking it to this blog at some point, just getting it going) since last Tuesday.

My promise lasted all of two days.

But then I went through my digital history since last Tuesday and since then I have submitted five short articles which I expect to get paid actual money (a pittance, but a pittance is better than gratis).

I have also created two articles for associates of mine which have been published and worked on a short story and a poetry collection that I am hoping to have ready for publication before the end of this year. So all in all it is not a total loss.

I have to remember that not all writing will be on the forums I prefer, some will be drudgery for the pennies and some will be drudgery for potential future pennies. But all writing is experience at writing and is to be celebrated in the lifelong learning curve.

So in honour of that I intend to publish a short poem that I wrote onto this site later this evening. Keep your eyes open peeps.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Happy birthday to the eldest product of my loins

Say in the knowledge that she won't read this I wish to wish  my eldest daughter a very happy 14th birthday.

I know what you are thinking, how can a debonair 21 year old such as me have a 14 year old birthday. The answer is simple. I have been 21 for almost 15 years.

Worry not, I have no intention of giving up the secrets of the philosophers stone which I purloined from my good friend Nicolas Flamel shortly before he sadly passed away.

Happy birthday Niamh...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Every Day is Fathers Day (and it rocks).

So yesterday was fathers day, a day designed to make fathers feel slightly guilty about not being better dads.

I was afforded the luxury of getting up early with the wee bairn and doing my own breakfast and looking after him and his cousin while my partner went and spent the day out treating her father. Treats which included going out for breakfast with him at his expense and taking him to the cinemas to watch a film they both wanted to see at my expense.

I aren't complaining, my youngest wee bairn is only four years old and there is no way I can expect him to be looking after me. His cousin is the same age.  They spent six hours doing what four year olds do, that is to say playing loudly, arguing loudly, crying loudly and for the sake of variation making demands. Usually loudly. My day was spent facilitating and playing with a small element of feeding and consoling thrown in.

Then, in the early evening, my partner returned home so I took my youngest wee bairn over to see his siblings who live with the ex (his cousin had been picked up by my brother by now, she didn't just get ignored. least not very much).

They are a touch older, all being over ten years old. They had gotten me several gifts, which I found very touching. We spent some time playing, I helped my youngest daughter with her homework and then we watched an old episode of Doctor Who before I was sent home.

When I returned home I turned my mind to work and for a brief period my thoughts weren't on my children- but during my...ahem...research...I happened to go on a popular social media site and saw it was full of posts from fathers saying how great a day their children (or partners) had made for them, the special efforts that had been made to make this day extra special for the fathers.

The other stream was of people making acerbic comments about stay-away dads and former partners (and these I felt really sorry for, because they are entirely missing the joys of being a dad).

It got me thinking have I missed something? Should I have demanded royal treatment for the day? Should I feel aggrieved that nobody had bought me roast dinner in bed and tucked me in and told me a bedtime story?

And the answer is of course not. The joys of being a father isn't one day of being spoiled, it is the time every day that you are with your children being a parent. Playing with them, cuddling them when they fall over, helping them with their homework, these are the things that make being a father special.

For me every day is fathers day...and it rocks.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

History is a romance...

The other half is currently watching "The White Queen", based on the Phillipa Gregory novel of the same name.

I have not had the misfortune of reading the book and the fifty minutes or so of this I have been able to hear while working have convinced me to stay well clear of reading it in the future.

I can appreciate that narrative necessity allows for the embellishment to the known histories, yet the tensions that are created with her family are too trivial to hang a novel on and the character of Elizabeth Woodville, after a promising start of seeking out the new king to claim her rights, turns into a weak character who is dependant on the men around her and on her mother.

Of course, the novel may be better. Novels typically have more depth and subtlety than television adaptations. It could also be the case that the story is supposed to follow her growth into a woman of strength, a character worth watching and a variant of the classic quest. A journey of self discovery is a valid story but I don't feel that there is any self-discovery here.

It could be the case that the narrative is focused on how she overcomes the obstacles of the court in accepting her as the rightful queen, but that story in itself is far too shallow to make for interesting reading.

I am not having a dig at Phillipa Gregory, I have not read her stories but I know they are valued by many. But from this adaptation of her novel it certainly seems that "The White Queen" is only a shallow stream where it could have been a raging river of a story.