Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Tottenham Hotspur PR

I just recieved this email from a Totenham Hotspur PR

Tottenham Hotspur cordially invites you to the unveiling of the world’s first fully-interactive digital experience for children to be created and developed by a football club. 
Please register your interest in interview time with Club Ambassador Ledley King when replying.
Date: Wednesday xth August
Time: 9am – 10.30am
Location: Hangar Seven, 230 City road, EC1V 2QY (Old Street overground and tube)
I hope you can join us for this event Jason.
Best wishes,

This is my response 

Dear Tottenham Hotspur PR bod,

I thank you for your email inviting me to the unveiling of your digital experience for children.  Unfortunately I feel that I am not a member of your target audience, me being an Arsenal fan and all.  There was a hint of my allegiance to Arsenal in the email address you sent your kind invitation to –  I could understand your mistake if my email was, or, or even, but I am indeed a Gooner and one called Jamie (not Jason).

With regard to the actual content of your email, asking my child to participate in ‘Tottenham’s fully-interactive digital experience’ would be akin to asking her to eat a piece of dog poop that has been laying in the sun in the gutter for so long it’s turned white – you don’t want my child to eat poop do you? 

Why on earth would I encourage a child to interact with a team that last won the top flight league before the rocket that took Neil Armstrong to the moon had even made it off the drawing board?  In fact I know more people that believe in the moon landing than the conspiracy theory that is a winning Tottenham team.  Of course I’ve seen the pictures of Danny Blanchflower holding the trophy and yes, I presume they weren’t photoshopped as that’s almost impossible to do in sepia tone.

As to meeting Ledley King, I do worry that he would drop my child, unused as he is to picking something up.  I also worry he may injure himself in the process and therefore be forced to sit with Darren Anderton for all eternity.

So to surmise, Thank you for your kind but misguided offer, if I am ever feeling suicidal and worthless I shall pop by and visit (much akin to visiting Asda when I’m feeling ugly).

Happy St Totteringham’s Day


Sunday, June 16, 2013

I remember

Riding home from school on your crossbars

You teaching me to ride the bike you made for me

Sacks of ice cream stolen by your best mate

How your moustache tickled

How you looked without that moustache for just one month of my entire life

Your stories, my god, so many funny stories

Feeling small when I looked up and feeling tall when you looked proud

Introducing you to your 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th grandchild

Being able to tell you anything (well, except for that one thing, that one time, in band camp)

You letting me make my mistakes and boy, there were a lot of them

(Although I wish you had stopped me from making a couple of the worse ones)

The smell of your cigars (until I guilt tripped you into giving up)

Tea and biscuits every morning in your bed, all five of us

Hunting for horseradish over Matchstick Island and you cutting your foot

Singing ‘Let’s do it tonight because the moon is smiling bright’ after a drunken meal in Barking

On more than one occasion

My driving scaring the bejesus out of you and me liking that fact

Lemonade and a pack of crisps in the Captain Cook

Or the Barge Aground

You letting me win, making me lose and settling for a draw

Introducing you to Jack and Coke and then necking the whole bottle

Hiding in your shed and watching the thunderstorms

Your hideous green garden jumper

Your somewhat eclectic taste in music and hoping I’ve stolen the best and left the worst behind

All those long walks along longer beaches and tall cliff tops

Having to be quiet all morning when you were on nights until finally, at 11am, being able to go wake you up

Watching you finally learn to drive and then unveiling that first car, a yellow Ford Cortina

Long trips down to Devon and sensing your delight driving down those sweeping hills

(Something I’ve inherited, although I may go a bit faster)

A Cadburys flake every Friday night

Swimming in Belhus Park pool every Saturday and making you throw us as high as you could over and over

Saturday night being yours and Mums night, even if you did only have a bottle of R Whites and a packet of peanuts

And boy did we hear that line ad infinitum

Teaching me the Dutch Oven trick, brought tears to my eyes in more ways than one

Sitting in the corner of the Tiger waiting for you to finish work, whilst the regulars made a fuss of me

Watching you work at your bench in the loft, that place had everything a young boy ever needed to get in trouble

Just watching you anything to be honest - paint, saw, wallpaper and collecting tips along the way

Mum being ill and you attempting to boil an egg, Gordon Ramsey you ain’t

Well maybe the swearing part

You teaching us about scrumping and then vaguely getting the hump when we stole the neighbours cherries

 Finally getting to work with you proper when we had the pub, some of my best working mornings ever

Love, family and feeling safe

Happy Fathers Day Pops

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A real bowel movement

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Beating Bowel Cancer are asking us all to get involved in a bowel movement.  I know what you’re thinking, easy right, I mean jeez, I can even fake a bowel movement when the kids are bugging me enough and I want to hide from them for a while.  Unfortunately that’s not the kind of movement they’re talking about, they want us to get involved in the fight to beat Bowel Cancer.  One in four lives are touched by bowel cancer somehow and unfortunately my family’s lives have been hit more than that. 

Seven years ago, after a long and courageous fight, my brother in law Stephen died from Bowel Cancer.  He was 46 at the time of his death and left behind a Wife and three young children.  Not satisfied with that, it then decided to have a pop at my other Brother in law, John.  Luckily cancer lost that battle, in no short measure to the Doctors and the endless Tottenham songs that John insists on singing at the drop of the hat (even cancer can only put up with so much drivel about ‘If you know your history’).

So with all that in mind the Mrs has decided to run the Marathon again in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer.  A tough task you may think, after all it’s been 10 years since she run her last marathon, she’d had two kids and an uncountable amount of vino since then, but do you know what’s tougher?

Being married to a marathon runner.


I don’t know how Paula Radcliffe’s old man puts up with it to be honest, I have to suffer it every decade and that’s bad enough, but every year?  Sod that for a game of soldiers.  Don’t understand, well let me explain.  The Marathon will take over their life and when something takes over their life, it takes over yours, make no mistake about that.  

First of all it’s the applying for the ballot to get into the marathon in the first place, the constant ‘Has the post arrived yet?’ phone calls whilst she awaits the verdict of the long-legged lottery.  And then the day when the big package arrives, the big package that means a consolation prize of a Virgin running top and a letter saying you haven’t got in and you knowing you then have to break that news to her whilst she’s at work.  Then the postman wait again, hoping that Beating Bowel Cancer are going to give you one of their ‘Golden Tickets’ so you can run for them.  Then a brief burst of happiness when they say yes, that’s it, they’re in.  Then it starts…the training.

Oh, did I miss a step?  Of course, that’s right, I forgot the buying of the equipment and by equipment I mean the running shoes and not just any running shoes, these have to be the Marks and Spencers of running shoes (just not bought at M&S because that would be just plain silly).  But apparently buying running shoes isn’t as simple as one would think.  We bought a brand new car in January and when you throw in all the options, the finance, the extras, the incompetent staff, the colour choices and all the razzmatazz that goes into buying a new school-run machine, we were still in the showroom less time than we were in the running shoe shop.  I kid you not.

Then there’s the training, the pre-training, the stretching, the after-stretching, the pre-food, the after-food, the meal planner, the new meal planner, the this is the final meal planner, the oh no it wasn’t meal planner, the corn-flakes at the right time, the injuries at the wrong time.

Oh my god the injuries.

Anyone that knows Trish will acknowledge that the things we fondly call ‘Trissues’ seem to happen to her a lot.  Who do you know that gets cramp in the jaw with every other yawn?  Who moisturises before they put their contact lenses in, then spends the rest of the day half blind?  Who walks into a closed door after triumphantly throwing a drunk out of the pub?  Who else could rip off a toenail bending over to pick up some rubbish (I know, I was shocked by that one as well, she never picks up rubbish)?

Well the training for this marathon has constantly topped that lot.  It breaks my heart but it’s been one inauspicious injury after another throughout this whole regime (I call it a regime as ‘Training Trish’ reminds me a bit of Idi Amin).  Her ankle has gone, her knee, her ankle again, flu, knee again, stomach bug and finally the old favourite…the ankle.

And as painful it’s been for her, it’s even more painful to listen to.  Trish will be the first to admit that she’s not the best patient and I’d also admit that I’m not the best nurse.  I genuinely would take her pain away if I could, not out of any sense of chivalry you understand, it’s just easier that way as Trish is an excellent nurse and I’m a fairly good patient.  Just give me the remote, leave me alone and you won’t hear a moan out of me.  Trish, however, can talk about an injury until her mouth heals over.

And then there’s the constant marathon talk, the tides going in and out are inconsistent in comparison with the talk that is all things marathon.  Seriously, give me a snickers every now and again as there is not a subject she cannot turn into a marathon.  A train ride gets her nervous because as she points out (every time), she can see Tower Hill on the map and she’ll be running past it on marathon day.  At the weekend we were strolling through Kew Gardens admiring the world’s tallest glasshouse plane, a Chilean wine palm, when out of the blue she announced that if this was marathon day she would still be running.  If we see a runner then she says it should be her, if she’s just been running and we then see a runner then it should be her tomorrow.  The marathon is never far away and it’s getting closer.

It’s less than three weeks away now, the training is tapering off and I’m trying to keep her away from anything that may injure her - like rubbish, or cobwebs, or a discarded tea-towel, or who knows what?  Our house is a veritable minefield of potential Trissues.

All kidding aside, it is close now and I’m getting nervous for her.  She has put so much pressure on her shoulders (and calves) just so she can say to Cancer ‘Fuck you.  You took my brother, tried to take another one and I’m not standing for it’.  You will not believe how tough it is to juggle training, injuries, a job, two young kids who guilt trip her every time she has to go training instead of reading a bedtime story and a wise-arse Husband that takes pictures of you when you’re stuck in an ice cold bath.

So that’s what she’s doing, all you have to do is sponsor her.  It doesn’t have to be much, everything helps but every pound note she gets will hopefully get us one step closer to maybe saving somebody you know.  Maybe they will pick up one of the 400,000 symptom awareness leaflets that Beating Bowel Cancer distributes.  Maybe they won’t become one of the 40,000 people that are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, I truly hope so.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An OXO Mothers Day

Recently those good people at OXO contacted me to ask if I wanted any help making Mothers Day a fun and special day by sending me one of their ‘Mother’s Day Magic’ Meal kits.  I was looking for a bit of inspiration anyway, the kids had been nagging me about wanting to cook a meal for her anyway, so I accepted.

Later that week the package turned up, games and stuff to keep the kids occupied, some memorabilia  to keep all my knick-knacks and recipes tidy, a food voucher, and more OXO cubes than you can poke a stirring spoon at.  Oh, and some scoring cards, apparently our cooking was to be judged, no pressure then.

So the day of Mothers Day Eve (as my lot refer to that Saturday) arrived and with a vague plan of action and a list of ingredients written on the back of takeaway menu, off we went to the shops.  Ingredients were chosen, flowers were picked and booze was stockpiled.  We were ready.

The morning came around, gifts were given, homemade cards were cooed and ahhed over and full English was cooked and consumed as I explained to the Mrs the plan of action.  After I had done my own dutiful son duties and after we had been to the restaurant for the already booked (although not by me to my shame) Mothers Day lunch, we would drop her to her own Mum so she could have a few drinks with her and we could make our meal par excellence.

For starters we had plumped for homemade tomato and basil soup which was always going to be a messy affair with a six and eight year old helping out.  Much to Kaedes disgust I wouldn’t let them do any of the chopping but I did make them chief throwers-in and stirrers.  After sautéing the onions, carrots, garlic and celery we added our toms, salt and pepper, basil, two of our OXO vegetable stock cubes and 1.5 litres of boiling water.  We then let that bubble away to be dealt with later on.

For the main course we were having venison in red wine pie with roast potatoes and tender stem broccoli.  A bit of a gamble on my part as I had no idea how the kids would react to eating Bambi, but fortune favours the brave and all that.  After chopping up all the ingredients, including two beef OXO cubes and the best part of a bottle of wine, the kids took it in turns to throw everything into the HomeCooker (thank you Jamie Oliver) and all seemed to be going swimmingly until disaster struck.

In her haste to put the carrots in before her brother, Kaede had knocked over a bottle of olive oil and before you know it we had our very own Deepwater Horizon situation.  Five tea-towels and a large glass of wine later and the oil spill had been dealt with.  Whilst the pie mixture was bubbling away the Mrs returned and luckily for us, was none the worse for wear.  I decided it was about time she spent some quality time with her offspring and gave them the finger puppets to make, leaving me in relative peace to sort out the rest of the dinner.

I part boiled the roast potatoes and before I put them in the roasting tin I gave them a liberal sprinkling of some crushed up chicken OXO cubes, just to give them an extra special tang.  I then blitzed the soup and much to the kids disappointment, I remembered to keep the lid on every time, they were hoping for a tomato volcano eruption.

The kids seated the guest of honour attended to her every needs (topped her glass up) and starters were served.  The soup was a hit and we were rewarded with a score of 9 but you’ll have to take my word for that as I was so busy rushing around I forgot to take any pics of our triumphant scores.

Next up was the mains and I started to do the pie, pots, veg juggle – all whilst slurping away at a moderately large glass of wine, multitasking at its best.  I personally thought the pie looked the business, initials added at behest of Nate, but the truth would be in the tasting.

Another huge success (even if I may say so myself), the kids devoured theirs like food was being outlawed tomorrow, but I fear that next time they watch Bambi they will be on the side of the hunter.  The potatoes were some of the best I had ever served and I will definitely be repeated the stock cube trick in the future.  We scored another 9, with an addendum that it would have been a 10 but there was no ‘0’ supplied with the scoring cards, ironically something I was grateful for when I first opened the pack.

Empty plates were returned to the kitchen and whilst the kids entertained Mum with some magic tricks, me and my trusty Gaggia started making dessert…home-made Minstrel ice cream.  Obviously I didn’t home make the Minstrels, I just battered the hell out of them and added them to the ice cream mid-way.  I was tempted to somehow add a stock cube but I feel it’s a cardinal sin to muck with ice cream too much - I love Heston but if he serves me up beef ice cream I’m not going to be happy.

Although it was never in doubt, I can report that the ice cream was a hit and received the more than obligatory score of 9. 

I decided to leave the clearing away and washing up for the next day as quite frankly, I was feeling so full and had put on so much weight during the day that my face had gone from looking sarcastic to jolly.  The triumphant chefs stood up and received a one woman round of applause and we finished the night off with a game of Frustration.

Many thanks to OXO for all the free goodies and Charlotte at Ketchum for putting it all together for me.