Thursday, 23 July 2015

I've No Oojah to Put Me Doings In

Her Indoors went to the dentist this morning. She doesn’t mind that. It’s the one place where’s she’s told to open her mouth. Anyway, she asked me to see to the weekly shop at the supermarket.
They say there’s no such thing as a victimless crime, and they’re right. Any shop claiming that twelve sausages are ‘great value’ at £2.00 is guilty of misrepresentation and daylight robbery and should rightly be prosecuted.
In an effort to keep an eye on the bill, I’ve taken to shop and scan. It’s dead easy. You pick up your little ray gun and wander round the shop scanning the barcodes, and it adds up your bill. That way you can weep as you go round rather than bursting into tears at the checkout.
Naturally, you have to be careful where you aim it. I have a bad enough reputation as it is without taking home a slinky nighty which would never have suited my hairy chest.
The scanner doings is quite bulky, but with malice aforethought, making certain you don’t get out of it that easily, the shop has designed some of its trolleys, with a little oojah on the handle where you can put your doings.

Trouble is, my brain was coasting when I got to the shop, and I chose one of the other trolleys. I didn’t notice until I was half way round the shop, but I had no oojah to put me doings in.

I ended up carrying it in my pocket and like a fool, I never checked the bill, only the final amount. Judging from that, I think I must have accidentally scanned the serial numbers on a couple of tenners.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Smartphone Dumb Phone

Careful readers will note that I picked up one of these smartphones a couple weeks back. Why do they call them smart? It’s not smart at all. It’s totally dumb.

I send a lot of text messages. It’s cheaper than phoning and the deal gives me 5,000 text per month, free. My favourite word. But this thing is fitted with the predictive text oojah, and it keeps getting things wrong. When I want to tell someone to piss off, I mean piss off, not puss off. It’s not like we even own a cat, and if the phone is so smart it should know that. There are no pictures of cats in my albums.
My mate, Jim, was really puzzled when I replied to one of his texts and I said, “You are a daft bustard.”
But it got much worse. I overheard this bloke in a pub saying as how he fancied “shagging Jim’s wife.” For readers not familiar with British vernacular, “shag” is a euphemism for fornication.
I thought I’d better let my best mate know about this, so I sent him a text telling him what I’d heard.
Imagine my surprise when I got a text back saying, “It’s all right, Flatcap, everyone does it.”
What was he saying? Half the world is having his wife while he’s working? It’s not like she’s an oil painting, either. She wouldn’t be too bad if she kept her wig on and both her eyes looked in the same direction. But, hey, I ‘m not exactly the thinking woman’s hunk, so who am I to criticise? And according to Jim, she makes a belting Yorkshire pudding.
Still puzzled by Jim’s reply, I checked my original, and instead of reading, “He fancies shagging your missus,” it read, “He fancies slagging your missus,” and again for the benefit of overseas readers, “slagging someone off” means you’re, er, well slagging them off, I suppose. Calling them names, running them down.
At this point, Jim’s text made more sense, so I sent him another message replacing “shagging” with “fucking”… or “ducking” as the phone thought, and he replied, “I wish someone would duck her. Preferably under five cubic yard of concrete.”
I gave up.

Obviously, I’m persevering with the phone but it may be a week or two before I have it properly trained… or property drained as the phone would have it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Fallen Man

So there I was pottering on the computer, scribbling away, when I had an urgent need of the lavatory and hurried up the stairs. I was almost at the top when I fell.

Wearing only a pair of shorts, I rattled and grazed my shin. For a moment I thought I’d broken my foreleg, the pain was so bad, and I was screaming in agony. As luck would have it, it’s a language I speak fluently.
Naturally, at that time of day, Her Indoors was still in bed. I’m laid there, at death’s door and she’s snoring her head off. At length the bedroom door opened and she stepped onto the landing. She was wearing little but a knee-length nightie, which gave me a grand view of those areas usually reserved for nightmares. Trust me, when your leg is hanging off, it’s not a sight to inspire.
“Did you fall?” she asked.
“No. I’m auditioning for a part in the next production of Hamlet and I wanna get the death scene right.” I glared up, then averted my eyes again. “Of course I fell.”
“Unusual for you,” she said. “You generally fall down the stairs.”
“Only when I’m full of ale.”
She nipped back in the bedroom to check the clock. “It’s early enough,” she said when she came back.
By this time I had managed to drag myself upright, and was hobbling towards the bathroom where, after dealing with the matter which sent me scurrying there in the first place, I inspected the damage. Not too bad. Some bruising, skin stripped back, specks of blood, but nothing life-threatening, even if the pain told me otherwise.
“Get me the first aid gear, will you, and while you’re down there, bring me up one of those elastic support bandages. It’ll help keep the dressing in place.”
She went downstairs and returned a few minutes later with the box we keep all such gubbins in. I rooted through it, and could not find any lint pads.
“We’ve run out,” she said when I asked. “The dog’s eye was sore, so I used them to bathe it.”
At that point I lost it altogether. “Here I am with a busted leg, in need of treatment, and you’ve used everything on the frigging dog?” I gestured at my gammy leg. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Well,” she said, “There’s some Bob Martin’s in the cupboard.”
“What am I supposed to do with that? Crush it, soak it in water and rub it on the wound.”
“You could do. You might end up with a glossy coat and cold nose, which would make a change from a scruffy ragged jacket and a runny nose.”

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Normal Service Has Been Improved

It’s over a week since The Empress came back from her niece's hen weekend in Benidorm, and broadly speaking, things are back to normal.

She’s not talking to me and I’m annoyed as hell. Mainly because we’re going to Benidorm in September, and she’s lost interest because she’s already been. On top of which there was that picture of her snuggling up to some young stud.
“What are you gonna do when we’re in Benidorm and you find some young dolly feeling my crown jewels?” I demanded
“Send her to Specsavers,” was the tart reply.
There was also a hint that the theoretical dolly would need small hands.
I couldn’t argue about the photos of her with the bar’s resident tramp. According to her, she can be seen with a tramp seven days a week... me.
Communication was difficult while she was away. At the prices some of these mobile providers charge, I wouldn’t phone her. I could get a flight cheaper. So we had to rely on texts. We both had those old muppet phones where you press a key several times to get a specific letter. I could cope, but Her Indoors is to technology as Pol Pot was to human rights. I could go twenty-four hours waiting for a reply, and when it came it often read, “PGPP MDD.”
It took me a while and a close study of the phone’s keypad to work out she was trying to say, “Piss off.”
So while she was away I scotched my contract, and decided not to put anymore credit on her PAYG and signed a double contract with smartphones.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, that’s it. Flatcap has fallen for the big sell; the must-have toy; the thing man must not be without.
Wrong. The deal saved me near on a tenner a month on what I’ve been paying.
Composing and sending texts is a lot easier with the onscreen, QWERTY keyboard, so the next time she’s away when I text her to ask what’s good for cleaning scorched wallpaper and wall tiles in the kitchen, I should get an answer.
And it should be a lot less threatening than, “Blood. Yours.”

Thursday, 9 July 2015


There is a scurrilous rumour that Flatcap cannot look after himself. Well, with Her Indoors in Benidorm last weekend, the time came for me to shoot those naysayers down. I can take care of myself, and I was out to prove it.
I saw her off in the middle of the night, came home and went back to bed. Getting up a few hours later, I felt a bit peckish. At this point, I could have nipped down to Tesco and bought breakfast, but I thought, no. I’ll do it myself, and I opted for beans on toast.

The first problem I came across was how to stop the beans sliding off the bread in the toaster. Toasters tend to operate vertically, and no matter how hard I tried, the beans slid down and sank to the bottom.
Being of a mechanical bent, problem-solving comes quite naturally to me. Over a cup of tea I tossed the matter around my head, and came to the conclusion that I should lay the toaster on its side.
Not a good idea. The side get too hot for the MDF of the worktop. It’s a wonder the kitchen didn’t catch fire before I went back to the drawing board.
Then I realised that I didn’t have to use the toaster. We have a perfectly good stove with a grill and while it’s not quite as efficient as a toaster, it could certainly do the job.
This time I did get flames, and the one solid conclusion I reached was that while fire-extinguisher foam may look like clotted cream, and set like a tasty meringue, it lacks somewhat in the taste department.
Chucking the beans on toast in the bin, after breakfast in Tesco, I came home with the minimum groceries I would need for four days alone. This included a tin of spam, a wedge of Double Gloucester and several packs of McCain microchips. They taste like shit but you can hardly go wrong warming them up in microwave, can you?
Well, you can if you press the wrong switch on the wall and put the washing machine on instead. I only learned this after digging out the tool box and taking the wall plug to pieces, by which time my three-minute microchips had defrosted without any assistance because they’d been out of the freezer so long. The upside, if you can call it such, was that next week’s underwear had been thoroughly washed and Her Indoors only needed to iron it all when she got home.
By Saturday, suffering from near malnutrition, I decided it was time to open the Double Gloucester and put together a cheese and tomato sandwich. Even I couldn’t get that wrong.
The bread was fresh, the cheese was superb, as I anticipated, but the tomatoes… they were garbage. They were just like a red pulp.

Now, I know what you’re gonna say. It was me again, but you’re wrong. They were like that when I emptied them out of the tin.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Benidorm Belle

Her Indoors cleared off to Benidorm last weekend for a few days. Hen party.
How I coped on my own will keep for another day. Since she got back on Sunday night, I’ve had all the gory details, and safe to say I’m certain they’ll come in useful the next time I’m in the doghouse.

Cosying up to a tramp is only the beginning, but it’s bloody annoying. When I go out dressed like a scruff, she tries her damnedest to dissociate herself from me. The pub comedian pulls the same stunt in Benidorm, and he gets a round of applause from her. She even put on his bonnet and bins.

Apparently they all went to see Sticky Vicky and they were not impressed. But it didn’t stop her cuddling some young buck in another bar.

Note: on orders from Her Indoors, this photo has been cropped but it doesn't take a genius to work out was going on. 

I said to her, “You never hold me like that.”
And she replied, “The one time I did, I couldn't get my arm round you.”
Nice to have a supportive wife, isn’t it?
So finally, she’s telling me about this middle aged bloke who approached her in a busy bar and suggested, “How about a fuck for a fiver?”
Naturally, she declined.
“Quite right,” I agreed. “Stick out for a tenner at least.”

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Waste Not Want Not

Waste Not Want Not
Her Indoors is off to Benidorm in a coupla weeks. Hen party. The poor buggers in Benidorm won’t know what’s hit ’em.
Be that as it may, she’s travelling with cabin baggage only. Yes, the ironing board, small wardrobe and tumble dryer will have to stay at home with me.
However, she still needs to carry several hundredweight of toiletries with her, so we’ve been busy buying the 100ml bottles she needs to decant sun lotion, face cream and the like, to get through security at the airport.
Then I realised she needed a re-sealable plastic bag to put it all in, and the size is now restricted to 200mm x 200mm or thereabouts. Not to worry. She would buy one at the airport.
Have you seen how much they charge for them? Not bloody likely. So I bought a box of 200 re-sealable snack bags this morning, 200 x 185 mm. We travel quite a lot, so they would come in handy every time we go away.
When I got them home, however, I learned they’re not 200 x 185. They’re 200 x 85. Oops.

As you can see from the photograph they’re just about the right size to fit a Mars Bar. When it comes to getting through airport security with bottles, makeup, toothpaste and so on, they’re bloody useless.
“That was a waste of two pounds,” Her Indoors screamed, “and you’re always onto me about throwing money away on inessentials.”
I gave the matter some thought and then realised they were not entirely a waste. I have to go for a diabetic check (again) in two weeks, and nursie will require the usual sample. I can fit the bottle into one of these bags, seal it up and prevent any nasty spillage into my pocket.
Her Indoors was not convinced.
“All you have to do is piss in another 199 bottles and we’ve had a result.”
There’s no pleasing some people.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Adventure of the New Boiler

It’s common knowledge that we’ve been having problems with our heating boiler. If you didn’t know, it’s because you haven’t been paying attention.
The boiler began rumbling back in April. At the last count, a dozen engineers had been to it and each had a different solution. It’s the burner, it’s flue, it’s the condensation pipe. One even suggested it wasn’t the boiler, but the wall on which it was hung, and he sent a builder along to shore up the wall. It didn’t make a ha’porth of difference. The boiler carried on rumbling and grumbling. Her Indoors said it reminded her of me.
Then last week it kept knocking itself off. It wouldn’t work for longer than fifteen minutes without packing in. Her Indoors said it still reminded her of me.
So the local authority, who own both the house and the boiler, sent their chief bod out, and he declared it an official no-go area. “We’ll put a new boiler in,” he told me.
“Suit yourself,” I replied. “It’s your boiler, and I’ll just keep moaning at you.”
“Yes,” he said, “We’ve noticed you’re quite skilled at moaning.”
“You try waking up to no heating and no hot water,” I suggested. “I meanersay, its only June. You can’t expect hot weather, can you?”
Anyway, the engineer arrived yesterday complete with boiler and bits, most of which he left cluttering up the front yard while he proceeded to install it.

The poor sod was working on his own, too. I watched him struggle down the stairs with the old boiler and Her Indoors said, “Why don’t you help him?”
So I did. I held the door open while he carried it out to his van. I also made him endless cups of tea during the day.
Scaffolders arrived at lunchtime so he could get on the roof for the new flue, and I made them cups of tea, too. An electrician turned up about two o’clock, but he didn’t want a cup of tea. He just wanted to install the new thermostat and timer controls, and be on his way.
One of the major problems with the job was the lavatory. Not that he was working there, but it was right next to where he was working on the landing, and there was no running water. Hence, when Her Indoors needed to go to the smallest room, life got a bit awkward. He turned the water back on shortly after that. He also turned on the bathroom extractor fan. It’s something I do regularly when I have to follow her into the bathroom. I’m surprised the poor bugger didn’t walk out on strike.
Sat at the rear of the room about three o’clock in the afternoon, wrapped up in a cardigan and coat, I noticed something odd. Heat coming from the radiators. Yes. We had central heating. It didn’t last long. He was only testing it.
Twenty minutes later, however, we were up and running, and after showing me how to use the boiler, he left. Sadly, I didn’t have my hearing aids in, and I only caught one word in fifty. I did, however, hear him say, “Whatever you do, don’t…” but I didn’t learn what it was I’m not supposed to do.
Luckily he left us a full instruction manual. I say manual, it reminds me more of Encyclopaedia Britannica.
But at least I have some reading matter which I can enjoy in the comfort and warmth of active central heating.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

More Spam Fritters

Apparently I need more authoritative backlinks to rank. At least that’s what this idiot said in the following spam comment.
Hi, I really like your website and I have just analysed your backlinks. You need more authority links in order to rank.
Best backlinking strategies in 2015 are backlinks pyramids and private blog networks. You can hit Google’s top 10 easily. If you are not SEO pro you can outsource this task, just search in Google.
This was attached to a post on how to write humour, on which grounds you may think it’s irrelevant. But you’d be wrong…. Just like the dildo who posted it.
In truth, there is nothing wrong with my backlinking strategy. According to Her Indoors, my back is linked too strongly to the bed and the armchair, especially when she needs me to whip round to the shop for half a dozen eggs and can of hairspray. The urgent need for half a dozen eggs and a can of hairspray may go some way to explaining why I have so many stomach problems, but it doesn’t detract from my backlinking strategy.
In fact, as the following image will demonstrate, there’s nothing wrong with Her Indoors’ backlinking, or Joe’s. Both are capable of gluing their backs to the settee when there’s nowt on telly.

As for hitting Google’s top 10, well, I didn’t know they even had a chart. Who’s on it? Billy Fury? Connie Francis?
Another dipstick suggested that “only a few can carry out the strongest and most reliable aluminium welding”. Welding aluminium is fairly skilled work, but since this comment was passed on a post concerning an accidental meeting with my ex-wife and her husband, I wonder what this moron is trying to say. I should get her husband to sort out the car?

But he’s a painter and decorator.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Saturday Silliness and Sickness

So I spent another Friday night, Saturday morning at the hospital, but this time it wasn’t my fault. In fact, I know exactly where the blame lies: Cleethorpes.
Unkind souls, particularly my good friend Paul Bell, Will say that’s not fair. They will insist that I have a downer on Cleethorpes because I’ve never seen the tide come in. This is true. Indeed, it was probably waiting so long in the cold in the hope that I might see the tide come in that gave me the chill, which allowed another chest infection to get hold of me.
So I was at the doc’s a couple of days ago where we went through the usual routine of listening to my crackly bellows and asking the usual questions.
“Smoking or non-smoking?” he asked
“I didn’t realise I had a choice.”
With a shake of the head, he went on, “Not been up to naughties on the beach, have you Flatcap?”
“Not in Cleethorpes, Doc. I was worried the tide might come in.”
Eventually, he prescribed the bog-standard antibiotics and while busy printing out the prescription he took a look at my other meds. This reads like a pharmaceutical encyclopaedia. If I came off all these pills, the company who makes them would have to lay off most of its workforce, and their share price would crash.

“You’ve been on these blood pressure pills for a long time,” the doc commented.
“Yes, and when Her Indoors winds me up, they’re not a bit of use. And if she winds me up on the day the credit card bill arrives, my blood pressure goes up so high it could light Blackpool Tower.”
“We’ll change the pills,” he said, ignoring my marital whinging.
So he did. He took me off Ramipril and gave me Losartan.
As always I read the patient leaflet. I’m not kidding, I’ve written shorter novels, and the side-effects read like an episode of Casualty.
Notwithstanding all that, I started on the pills and yesterday I felt dizzy and unsteady on my feet. Her Indoors never noticed. She reckons I’m like that all the time. But she did check on how many bottles of Old Fart Nut Brown Ale we had left in the cupboard.
The situation got worse as the day wore on, and I put it down to the FIFA presidency election. That system is so anachronistic I’m surprised they didn’t use leather footballs during the pre-debate kickabout.
Eventually, we had no choice but to whizz off to the hospital where the doctor, a pleasant, Asian lady, declared that it was the Losartan causing the trouble. It’s known for causing dizziness/light-headedness, especially when you first begin to take them.
“I never noticed that in the side-effects,” I protested to Her Indoors as we rode home.
When we got back, she picked up the leaflet and pointed to the very first line of the side effects.
“May cause dizziness/light-headedness.”
“Ah, well,” I said, “I didn’t see it because the pills were making me dizzy.”

Friday, 22 May 2015

We Are Home

Well, we’re back and I can’t say it’s too soon.
Cleethorpes is slightly over 100 miles from where we live. About two hours driving time. We left at a quarter to ten on Monday morning and got there at three. It took us over two hours to get the first thirty miles from home to Leeds.
The place was bog-standard holiday camp, and if you’ve read Flatcap’s Guide to UKHolidays, you’ll know how much I love holiday camps. They’re on a par with pulling your own teeth, sans anaesthetic. But it was cheap, and just like our new government, I know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Someone must have told them we were coming. They put us in one of the vans as far from the entertainment (I use the word in its loosest possible sense) complex as possible. I swear we were almost in Hull. They moved us when I asked. They even gave us a better caravan. Whereupon, I promptly complained that the batteries in the TV remote were held there by a strip of Velcro, the radiator in the hall leaked and the gas bottle ran out while I was outside having a smoke. It’s a good job I put the cigarette out before I came back in, or I’d blown the lot of us to glory.
The entertainment was designed for people no older than 30. All the singer did was scream into the microphone to the sound of a heavy backbeat. “Take your hearing aids out if it’s too noisy,” the missus suggested.
I didn’t have them in.
One girl who couldn’t sing if her life depended on it, had a cracking figure, but they put the acts out on widescreen TVs dotted around the place. Trouble was the camera was set at 4:3, so when you looked at her on the screens, she looked like the Venus of Willendorf: short and fat with stumpy legs and big jugs.
She sang, “I will Survive”. If she could have heard the invective over the noise she was making, she would never have survived.
Highlight of the week was a look in an Estate Agent’s window where I saw a flat for sale in Mablethorpe. £415,000. I think it must have been a misprint. £415 is as much as I’d be prepared to pay for a flat in Mablethorpe.

More will follow, when I’m over the shock.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Have You Voted?

As a hunter-killer man, I was up early doors this morning, and out there tracking the prey. We needed bread and a packet of sausages. And of course, while we were out, I called in at the polling station to cast my vote.
They say this is one of the closest elections ever. I’m not surprised. I had a hell of a job deciding who to vote for.
I automatically ignored the RAISE TAXES TO 101% AND SPEND IT ALL ON NAPPIES SO WE CAN TAKE CARE OF EVERYONE party. Every time I do my taxes, I get the impression my money is being used to clear off the national debt.
The same can be said for the STOP THE DOLE AND HANG THEM INSTEAD mob. I’ve no time such narrow-minded dipsticks, and anyway I remember the stink he kicked up when the Job Centre stopped his benefit and made him get a job.
I took one look at the flyer for the COMPULSORY TUITION IN THE CORRECT USE OF APOSTROPHE’S gang and forgot about them until they learn how to use apostrophes.
My voting intentions have changed over the years. As a mere stripling, I’d vote for those parties offering free ciggies and 24-hour drinking on the exchequer. Nowadays I look to those wannabes who are in favour of the middle-aged and the elderly.
The WE’VE GOT OUR BUS PASSES, NOW GIVE US SOME BUSES party could have appealed, but I didn’t like the colour of her knickers. I also didn’t like the way she wore them on her head.
So it’s not surprising that it came down to a choice between the FREE BENIDORM WEEKENDS FOR THE OVER-60S party, and the VIAGRA-BURGERS ON THE NHS mob.
In the end, I decided to vote for IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO GETS IN, YOU’RE GONNA GET SHAFTED SO IT MIGHT AS WELL BE US. It’s not that I liked the bloke. I’m not keen on anyone I see picking his fingernails with a flick knife, and he should have put clean overalls on.

But I had to admire his honesty.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

World Naked Writing Day

Today is World Naked Gardening Day. I’ll bet you didn’t know that, did you?
Now, I like a bit of fun, but I have a few observations to make.
First, the temperature outside is lower than a snake’s doings, and it’s threatening rain. Mother always told me never to go out without my vest on, and I have enough problems with bronchitis, etc. as it is. I don’t fancy spending the rest of the summer with my chest wrapped up in brown paper and Vick.
Second, have you seen my garden? It needs a demolition gang to get it up to bombsite standard.
Third, Joe is not allowed to shit in the street, so he does it in the garden and I wouldn’t want to walk through that in my bare feet.
Fourth, the neighbours complain when I go out without a shirt. Apparently all that ageing meat puts them off their dinner.

Finally, as a man, I don’t think I would dare get close to the rose bushes. Those thorns are bad enough to get out of your fingers.
Still, in keeping with the general principles, and because I’m a sociable guy, I will join in with the inaugural World Naked Writing Day.
I am going to sit here all day wearing nothing but a smile while I type out this drivel.
Things could get a bit awkward when Joe needs to go walkies, though.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Spot The difference

Take a look at the three pictures below and see if you can spot the difference.

That’s right. I’m smiling properly in picture 1. As the other two were taken, the missus was telling me about the latest gas bill.

I’m also wearing new glasses in the latter two: the everyday glasses in picture 2 and prescription sunglasses in the picture 3.

These are varifocals, and as yu can aee, thet hwlp imptove ny ketboard avvuracy.

I picked them up yesterday and at the same time the optician said she needed to do a field vision test, which she hadn’t done on the original eye test on account of it being her tea break. I told her it was no problem. I’ve driven past any number of fields in my time, and I could see them all.

As it happens I’d forgotten my reading glasses, and she couldn’t do the test with the new bins, so I have to go back this Friday.

The varifocals are taking some getting used to. Every time I move my eyes, the entire world spins. Not that I’m not used to the world spinning, it’s just that normally the cause is a combination of Granny Whizz’s Nut Brown Ale and Old Sporran whisky chasers.

Our dog, Joe is a little confused. He’s crafty bugger is Joe. You think he’s asleep, but in fact he’s earwigging all the time, and he listens for certain keywords like “I’ll change my glasses.” When he hears that, he knows I’m dumping my readers for my distance specs, in order to take him walkies. With the new glasses, I don’t need to change them.

Looks like he’ll have to listen for different keywords.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Missing Filling and a Lighter Wallet

Flatcap has been to the dentist.. and don’t we know about it?

I noticed a few weeks ago that one of the few teeth I have left was a bit sharp. It felt like the enamel had chipped off. I was at the dentist this morning so he gave it a coat of looking at and said, “You’ve lost a filling.”
According to Her Indoors this is entirely typical. I’m always losing things: glasses, mobile phone, door and car keys.
The difference is they usually turn up. The filling hasn’t. I said to the missus, I said, “I don’t think I’ve lost it. I think someone nicked it while I wasn’t looking.”
She also insisted that if I used my part denture for the purpose for which it was designed instead of a doorstop/ashtray/novelty penholder, my real teeth might survive a little longer. Oh yes? I didn’t notice her complaining when I crimped the edge of that apple pie she baked last summer.
Still the dentist applied a new filling and told me to eat with the other side of my mouth. Trouble is, my pies usually demand a whole mouth, not just half of it.
Because I’m on the NHS, I don’t pay full price, but this appointment still cost me fifty dabs. FIFTY POUNDS!!!! FOR TEN MINUTES’ WORK!!!! He’s on a better rate of pay than my solicitor.
It almost tempted me to have a go myself. My nephew did a few years back. He bought and mixed the amalgam, applied it to his tooth and according to his dentist, he did a pretty good job of it… except that he filled the wrong tooth and he still got stuffed for having the correct one done professionally.
The prices are steep and I’m aware that the dentist has overheads, but using tile grout as a colorant?
Cleaning and scaling? Sure he needs tools for it, and that rough file can’t have come cheap, but I know where I can get the same kind of blowlamp he uses for less than a tenner.
And fillings? I can get a plasterer’s trowel for about five quid from B+Q and Marley Mix is rock bottom cheap. It’s the Bosch hammer drill that cost him. Why can’t he use Black and Decker?

All in all, eating a one-sided pie, I still feel like I’ve paid through the nose… or the molar if you prefer.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Audio and Text?

Well his site was rebuilt, up and running in a matter of days, just like he said it would be. So much for his “I’ll pay you a tenner a post for hosting them, Flatcap.” Not one single post. Talk about a con.
He did give me some advice, though.
“All those posts you’ve recorded, pal, should have the text with them.”
“Redundant,” I said. “What’s the point in putting up the text when people can save wear and tear on their eyes by listening?”
“And what about those who are as deaf as you?”
“They can put headphones on, I do.”
He pursed his lips in a gesture of concern and shook his head just like a mechanic getting ready to quote you for car repairs. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Her Indoors trip over your cans and rip them off your head.”
“There you are then. Trust me on this one, Flatcap. Put the text up as well as the audio option.”
Trust him? I wouldn’t trust him with the wife. Anyway, I gave it some thought and decided he was right, so I’ve put up the text, too… or I will have done before the day’s over.
Not on every post. There are some I can’t find. And you’ll happen find the text is slightly different to the audio. This is because apart from not being perfect, I’m also bloody awkward.

Friday, 10 April 2015

In Loco Wossname

Seems as how him, that Robinson fella, the one I’m supposed to know doesn’t exist, has decided it’s time to rebuild his website, so he’s knocked the old down.
He’s not bad on demolition. I remember him running up the arse of a Vauxhall Viva on the South Leeds Ring Road in 1975. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but he was driving a 32 ton truck at the time, and he turned his head to give a bus driver some verbal. When he looked back, the Viva had stopped and he slammed it right up the jacksey.
This time he’s asked me to host his posts while he gets on with it.
“It won’t take me long, Flatcap,” he said.
I’ve heard that one before.
If he’s good at knocking things down, he’s crap at putting them back together again. It took him half a day to wreck the bleeding bathroom and two and half weeks to retile and repaper it. I wouldn’t care, but it’s the smallest room in the house (it usually is) and I could have done it in two days. And you should see the balls he made of painting the front room ceiling a coupla years back. He reckoned it were the arthritis that stopped him bending his neck back. I think it was more a case of can’t-be-arsed-itis.
Still and all, his site has been torn down and you can track his occasional posts here, until he gets it running again.

But if you check with your bookie, you’ll probably get a good price on it being this side of Christmas.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hadrian’s Universe of Zog

Faced with the prospect of a boring Easter Monday, the lad turns his cynical eye on the world of high energy physics at the Large Hadron Collider… and as usual what he knows about it can be written on a postcard and still leave room for a full-length novel.

I’ve had a bit of trouble keeping up with the comings and goings at the Hadrian Cern’s large collider.
Apparently they were ready to reboot it last week, but summat went wrong.
And according to my reading, admittedly coloured by a couple of bottles of Granny Whizz’s Nut Brown Ale, Hadrian was going to create a new universe with it.
That doesn’t sound like a good idea. One of Hadrian’s ancestors built a wall from Newcastle to Carlisle, but it didn’t stop the Scots turning up in Blackpool every summer. Offa built a dyke from Chester to Chepstow, but it hasn’t stopped the English invading Wales and buying all the property as second homes. The government instituted stringent checks on outbound passengers at ports and airports, but most Brits still shoot off abroad for a couple of weeks a year.
And talking of abroad, god knows what the missus will make of this business with Hadrian. She has enough trouble deciding what to pack for Benidorm, never mind another universe.
Not that it stops her giving out advice.
“Make sure you pack your Preparation H, Flatcap. You know what the lavatories are like in strange hotels.”
Hadrian’s collider was supposed to start up last week, but they couldn’t because there was some kind of electrical problem.
Oh yes? I’ve heard that one before.
“It’s yer alternator, guv. Knackered. Gonna cost you a ton for a recon, and then there’s the fitting. Better plan on one and a half.”
It seems, however, I’m wrong. Hadrian’s collider really did have an electrical fault.
And it took a week and a bit to sort it out? They shoulda sent for my mate, Dave. We had a dead short on the hall light and he sorted it in less than two hours.
The boffin in charge of Hadrian reckons they’re now up to somewhere near full speed but the collisions won’t start for another month.
I’ve heard that one before, as well. Where I come from deliberately arranging collisions so you can claim on the insurance is called crash for cash.
It’ll be interesting to see how this new universe pans out.
You can bet that in a matter of weeks the budget airlines will be tripping over one another to offer flights to Zog for less than a hundred quid, all your big supermarkets will be seeking planning permission for an out of dimension shopping centre, and coming so close to a general election, what price the Tories will insist it’s another raring opportunity for foreign buyers to invest in this country, Labour will want to know how many Zoggian employees are on zero hours contracts, and UKIP will be complaining the place is full of illegal immigrants
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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Underpants and Illumination

No point listening here for April fool gags. This site is daft every day of the year. And just to prove it, here’s the lad rambling on about underpants and a torch.

As you probably know, we shot off to the Canary Islands for a week a little while ago. Excellent break, just what we needed but, as usual, we forgot to take one or two items.
Last year, it was my underwear. I laid out my Y-fronts for packing and Her Indoors packed them… back in the bedroom drawer, leaving me in Playa del Ingles with only the pair I had on.
Two thousand miles from my shreddies, although I volunteered to stick with the same pair for the entire holiday, Her Indoors insisted I could not for fear that when we got home, they’d jump out of the case and walk into the washing machine of their own accord. She would need an environment suit before she would be prepared to handle them.
So I had to buy new, and of the half dozen pairs we bought only two fitted properly. I spent the whole week talking in a soprano voice, and when we got home I had a full set of brand new, multi-coloured, designer label dusters for the car.
This year, having checked and double checked that the required number of underpants were present and correct, we got to the Canary Islands only to learn that my walking stick was at home.
You’d think that it shouldn’t be a problem on holiday where all you really wanna do is lounge around the pool, laze on the beach or slump over the pub tables when you’ve had too many vodka shandies.  But Her Indoors is a professional shopper and she has this habit of walking me everywhere… twice.
So I bought a cheap, telescopic stick while I was in Puerto del Carmen. To my surprise, not only was this telescopic, and easily adjusted to suit any height, but it came fitted with a torch.
Remember, you heard it here first. My walking stick has an inbuilt flashlight.
We’ve been home almost a month, the stick has been in my possession for five weeks and I’m still trying to work out who would need a torch fitted to a walking stick. I mean, it’s not like we get fog so bad that you can’t see a hand in front of your face. And I don’t need it to let drivers know I’m walking along the road because I don’t walk along the road. I stick to the pavements.
Then I learned why it was fitted with a torch. It doesn’t work and you’re driven to distraction trying to make it work. In fact it distracts you so much that you don’t notice the little rubber shock absorber has fallen off somewhere between here and Puerto del Carmen, leaving you with a metal end that slides all over the bloody place on paved or tiled floors.
Note to self: in future, make sure you take your stick with you.
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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Clock Change and Crooked Cat's Congress

Here comes summer and Flatcap has his eyes on the annual get together of Crooked Cat’s authors.

We put the clocks on tomorrow. I’m gonna put mine on the sideboard. Well, I think it must get fed up of sitting on the DVD cabinet.
It’s the official start of British Summer Time. And I’m marking it in an extra special way this year. I’m off on a speed awareness course on Monday after I got nicked back in February.
There are other events in the offing during BST. For a start off, it’s Easter next weekend, and we have the choice of shooting over to Blackpool and freezing our tripes off on the prom, or taking a tram down to Manchester and freezing our tripes off in Piccadilly Gardens.
Then, in July, there’s the annual Crooked Cat get-together, held this year in York.
I didn’t bother last year or in 2013, for the simple reason that London and Edinburgh were a bit too far to travel, but York is only about 65 miles and Her Indoors has put her foot down. She’s told me to bugger off and get from under her feet for the day.
You might think this is fair enough. It’s symptomatic of a marriage which has lasted three times longer than Top Gear despite being less politically correct and more argumentative.
It’s not going to York that bothers me. It’s a fine place even if the price of a pint of mild and a scotch egg is outrageous.
It’s not teaming up with the other Crooked Cat authors that worries me. I know most of them from the internet, and I’m absolutely certain they are warm, welcoming and wonderful people.
It’s the thought that Her Indoors could inflict me on these people. And not just for a couple of hours, but a whole day.
For a start off, if anyone thinks I’ll be putting on a collar and tie, they can forget it. I’ve only one shirt and only one tie. They do me for weddings, funerals and speed cameras alike.
The deafness could be problematic. Sure I’ll put me hearing aids in, but that’s no guarantee that I’ll actually hear anything. And even if I do, it’s no guarantee that I’ll listen.
Finally, I have an awful habit of turning everything into a plot for another novel. How many of these poor sods will be bumped off in a future STAC Mystery?
Nope. I’m sorry, but ordering me off to York for the day is like telling Jeremy Clarkson that you forgot to pack the chip pan.

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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Eclipse? Yawn.

Eclipse? So What? Flatcap has seen too many of them to be over-impressed  

So we all had a good look at the eclipse the other day.
For me it’s about the tenth I’ve seen, and they’re all of a muchness. I saw my first eclipse in 1959. This was the same year that I became interested in astronomy. I said to my old dad, I said, “I think I’m short-sighted, dad.”
He pointed to sky. “Look up there,” he said, “and tell me what you can see.”
“The Moon,” I promptly replied.
“That’s a quarter of a million miles away. How far do you wanna see?”
Determined to get my point across, I boned up on the subject, and I learned that my old man was a liar. The Moon is not a quarter of a million miles away. It averages only .23 million miles. This taught me never to believe anything the old man told me. When, therefore, he later told me that the light from the sun takes eight minutes to get to us, I checked up and lo, he was telling another porkie. It takes an average of eight minutes and twenty seconds.
This lack of accuracy meant I had to question his conclusion when he showed me the partial eclipse of October 1959, and explained that it was Russian satellite trying to block our share of sunlight, I had to correct him.
“It’s The Moon,” I pointed out, “the Earth’s satellite.”
“Yeah, well, it’ll belong to the Russians in a few years unless we get a move on.”
Naturally, this was back in the days of the Cold War, and Sputnik one had just gone into orbit. The theory was that if the Russians controlled space, they would control the world. As we now know, this accolade belongs to satellite television.
Talking of eclipses, the big one, of course, was the total eclipse of 1999, but it was only visible in Cornwall. I’d been ready for it for forty years, so naturally me and Her Indoors hopped in the car and drove 400 miles to Penzance, didn’t we?
Did we hell as like. The rain was hammering down in Cornwall, and in anticipation of an invasion of astronomers, physicists, New Age berks and general geeks who just wanted to say, “I was there,” the price of your average caravan in that area quadrupled for the week of the eclipse.
Like anyone with any brains, we watched it on telly and I videotaped the partial eclipse from outside the brother-in-law’s caravan in Fleetwood.
And the same could be said about yesterday. I took a shed load of pictures from our back garden and got the best views from the BBC, courtesy, Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain.
Apparently, the next total eclipse visible from the UK will be in 2090, and again it’ll be in the Devon Cornwall area.
I don’t think I’ll be there for that one either.

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Dyspeptic Dilemma

Tummy trouble in Spain gives rise to Flatcap’s speculation on why remedies are kept under the counter.

Dyspepsia? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink
During our recent stay in the Canary Islands, I noticed an anomaly. Not sure if it applies to the rest of Spain, but after a particularly heavy night in an Irish bar I needed Rennie. For those of you who don’t know, Rennie are the average drinker’s lifesaver. Bicarb in tablet form they settle yesterday’s beer and fried food and allow for a fresh intake today.
So off we toddled along Puerto del Carmen’s seafront looking for Rennie.
In amongst the usual stuff on general display I found false willies, false bottoms, false tits, and T-shirts with slogans that might just be open to censorship in our narrow-minded society, none of which was one slightest bit of use for my dyspeptic dilemma.
I even found one shop advertising genuine shag wear. Call me picky, but where I come from, you’re usually expected to divest your clobber for such purposes.
I asked at a supermarket and they said I could only get Rennie at a pharmacy, so off we went again, looking for such a shop and on the way we passed at least one subterranean club featuring exotic dancers. They made no bones about what you would get for your euros, but it ain’t Rennie.
When we got to the chemist, we searched high and low. I could find ointment for the treatment of haemorrhoids, and I’ve made a note of such for future visits. I could also find condoms guaranteeing the ultimate in hedonistic pleasure, and I thought they would go rather well with the shag wear. Nearby were female hygiene products of various kinds and purposes, plus creams, ointments and other bits and pieces to combat, er, shall we say, naughty little infections.
But I couldn’t find Rennie.
In the end, my gurgling gut demanded that I speak to the assistant.
She kept her voice low, and glanced furtively around the shop before unlocking a lower drawer and sneaking out the familiar red box.
“For you, senor, only six euros.”
Cheap at half the price when you’re tummy’s acting up. And half that price is what they are in our local supermarket.
The entire transaction reminded me of the old, under the counter, plain brown wrapper videotapes I used to borrow from our local shop. These were for research purposes of course.
The Rennie, however, were medicinally vital, so why keep them hidden in drawers? It seems obvious to me that that dyspepsia is an unmentionable in Spain. A bit like the shag wear in England.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

Of Shaving Foam & Methane

Flatcap is home from Lanzarote with a cautionary tale on confusing your cans, especially when you’re trying to freshen up the air in the bathroom.

Of Methane and Shaving Foam

Whenever we go away, we expect the odd cock-up, but Her Indoors excelled herself this time, and as usual, the chain of events leading up to it were anything but simple.
I’ve been unwell ever since the turn of the year. Rich food and gassy ale on the island of Lanzarote didn’t help matters, and I noticed that wherever we went, I was followed by a strong smell of methane.
I came to the conclusion that poor drainage and poor sewage treatment are symptomatic of a society which tries to sell you Sunday lunch on the strength of gravy made from Bisto.
It never once occurred to me that this appalling stench might be coming from me. It was the first thing that did occur to the missus. In fact she spent much of the week moaning about it, but my hearing aids were back in Manchester so I never heard one word of complaint.
And then she chanced to follow me into the bathroom where the smell was so bad that she needed breathing apparatus. She had no such gear, so she did the next best thing and picked up my can of deodorant to quell they smell.
Only she didn’t. She picked up my can of shaving foam instead. I don’t know how she did it. The two cans don’t even look the same. The shaving foam is blue, the deodorant black, and as if that weren’t enough, because we bought it in Lanzarote, the instructions on the deodorant were written in Spanish.
Regardless of that, in seconds she had splattered the beige floor and wall tiles with a layer of blue-green shaving gunge which was lethal underfoot but did nothing to alleviate the noxious odour. Worse still, we had to go in there and clean up the mess while the smell of shit clung to the air with all the determination of a Yorkshireman hanging onto a five pound note.
It was left to me to explain to the hotel how come their towels were soaked in shaving gel, and they took a dim view of my attempts to lighten the mood by telling them that at least the bathroom had a nil growth of beard. In future they will not accept bookings from Englishmen unless they can demonstrate they use an electric shaver.
As always I came off worst. Not only did I have to buy a fresh can of shaving foam, but I was also blamed for the entire fiasco.
“If you didn’t smell so bad, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Her Indoors.
It seems to me that that’s a bit like leaving a tap running and flooding your kitchen, then blaming the water company for the damage because they use wet water.

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