90 days ago
A couple of weeks ago we had that rare occurrence, the Mrs. joining me at the school gates to pick up Joshua and Jaya. Honestly, there are folks in this village who must think I am a single mum so rarely does the Mrs take part in the school run. But on this day, Joshua was clutching a red dragon and also had a Welsh flag badge pinned to his chest next to the School Council badge and an owl badge which is, I think, a club for clever cloggses. Joahua and his pal R are clever cloggses now doing reading lessons with kids 2 years older than they are.
793 days ago
A reader asks what sits on top of the Christmas tree here in Wales? It is the same as it is every year, as you can see below.
957 days ago
You may remember that, aged three, Olaf gained admission to a wonderful school in North London after a rigorous interview by headmistress Mrs P. The first question was to me “how is your father?” for Mrs P was the ex of my father’s oldest friend, “vicious”, who was also my godfather. I sense that Mrs P would detect Olaf’s innate brilliance and she would gain a place despite an appalling comment from Big Nose on the virtues of the National Curriculum. That was a schoolgirl error for Mrs P is delightfully old fashioned. Mrs P is a relatively new reader of this website, approving of my views on a range of subjects, and has asked for a few photos of the Greek Hovel to which she knows she has an open invitation. Here goes.
1010 days ago
Well not really and it was a long time ago. But it comes up when I discuss NightCap (NGHT) and why the numbers are all bonkers and it will end in tears. Then I look at Mirriad (MIRI) and ADVFN (AFN) parallels. Finally Amigo (AMGO) where the directors make threats that would be ruinous for them personally if they implement them. As ever, if you are bored, why not donate to a wonderful cause HERE.
1076 days ago
If you have not tried to get your kid into one of those horribly competitive North London prep schools where everyone wants their brats to be educated, you have no idea just how competitive and nerve-wracking it all is. I am reminded of this as Olaf’s old HM from The Village School, an occasional reader of this website, ticks me off for my poor grammar.
1159 days ago
I start with Joshua’s Advent calendar, where window 20 leads neatly to Lyin’ Matt Hancock and the illegal escape of daughter Olaf and her mother Big Nose to stay with Olaf’s grandmother in West Wales. Then I discuss the difference between contrarian investing and bad investing with reference to Peter Brailey’s article today on oil stocks. Finally I flag up what to expect from 23rd December on this website. Get your camera ready!
1163 days ago
She is due for a visit after Christmas and seems to have become ever thirstier since her arrival at Oxford four terms ago. No doubt she will also lead her stepmother astray.
1179 days ago
I have noted before that the former babysitter to ex-wife Big Nose, that is to say Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, is insane. He has now announced new measures here in Wales to destroy what is left of our hospitality sector and I urge the men in white coats to drag this wretched man away before he cancels Christmas. You may remember that we suffered a “firebreak” lockdown here in Wales between 23 October and 9 November to stop the spread of the virus…
1276 days ago
Big Nose and our daughter Olaf are on the train to her mother in West Wales and I am on the phone to the latter. She has a medical exemption and is a proud non-mask wearer. We agree that it is rubbish. Her mother shouts over that she is also a rebel. This top City lawyer goes round M&S not only not wearing a mask but also heading the wrong way on the social distance arrows trail.
2127 days ago
I could not sleep this morning as I pondered me and drink. My prompt was the ramblings of a pal who was, I fear, drunk in charge of a keyboard. In days gone by I too was a heavy drinker.
2189 days ago
My father has been watching the rugby like a hawk. Here in Greece I have been unable to watch but have kept in touch via the internet and calling my father after each game. Now this may not go down well with England supporters but in an Irish supporting family it was a perfect team as both our favourite teams won.
2357 days ago
I see that my Oxford Contemporary Jacob Rees Mogg is under intense fire from the liberal left, notably for his views on homosexuality, abortion and because he has never changed a nappie. A woman who once campaigned to lower the age of consent to 14, that is to say the niece of Lord Longford, woman of the people Harriet Harman reckons the nappie offence makes Jacob a deadbeat dad.
2429 days ago
16 years ago it was a terrible day. A 26 week pregnant wife - Big Nose, a rushed Ceasarian, a tiny little creature weighing 1 lb 4 oz emerging and being stuck in a fish tank in intensive care at UCH at once. She stayed there for three months. Who would have thought she'd be sixteen today, eating cake in bed and opening presents and phoning her old dad afterwards?
2535 days ago
I like to boast that I spend fewer than five day a year in London so much do I loathe the place. But as, bad, luck would have it I am drawn to the capital today on personal business. And thus when my soon to be 16 year old daughter, known as Olaf, called to ask if I was free to attend her parents evening - which happens to be tonight - I was able to say yes.
2639 days ago
Those who have been reading my scribblings for long enough will remember that my daughter was born weighing just 1lb 4oz at 26 weeks. that was almost sixteen years ago. It was three months before UCH said that it was "when" she came home not "if" and even then we were warned there could be all sorts of problems.
2800 days ago
Some of my wife's pals are such patronising bastards. They work in the public sector, read the fecking Guardian and are so fucking self righteous they can drive me up the wall as they let it be known that they just know what is good for the rest of us, we ignorant oiks. Today they sent my blood pressure soaring as I explain HERE. Then it is onto Glenwick (GWIK) and why the poltroons can't get their maths right and African Potash (AFPO) which is worth 0p. Finally a division with my daughter & her mother, Big Nose, looms, it is Wales vs Northern Ireland.
3267 days ago
The great day of reckoning arrives and as I wander along the road towards the Pearly Gates I catch up with my father who with his stick and poorly knee has been making slow progress. We chat and before long we meet up with St Peter.
Inside heaven we can see that it is just like Donegal in the summer. Green, wild but stunning. There is Brian O’Driscoll chatting away amiably with Darina Allen who is cooking up an amazing supper for all. Seamus Heaney is reading poems to Michael Collins. It is a free land. But St Peter shakes his finger and says that my father and I have been found wanting. I think that it is a bit harsh on the Old Man but accept that I have sinned and St Peter ushers us down a little path with a sign marked Purgatory.
As we prepare to enter Purgatory we can hear from inside drunken fools baying about Chariots while other imbeciles belt out the greatest hits of Max Boyce. I feel a tap on the shoulder and it is St Peter. Fear not he says, suffering the unbearable crowing of both English and Welsh rugby supporters on the same day will not last long. You are only in purgatory for a short while. I smile. But then St Peter adds, it will just feel like eternity.
In the days of my youth
3638 days ago
My new Welsh friend Paul emails me before the Ireland match to say that he is rooting for Italy as part of some diabolical calculation allowing his beloved sheep-shaggers to win the Six nations Championship. Hmmmmm.
Despite a catalogue of errors Ireland utterly routed Italy yesterday. It was an emotional Dublin send off for Brian O’Driscoll, the greatest ever Ireland player. My father and I watched and as BOD was interviewed post match, the emotion poured over in Shipston-on-Stour as I am sure it did in every outpost of the diaspora. The way the points stack up, barring some utter freak, if Ireland can manage to defeat the hit or miss Froggies in Paris, the Championship is ours. Surely God wishes to reward his loyal servant BOD thus?
And now to Wales vs. England. For me there are no diabolical calculations. Indeed shame on you Paul for thinking that way. Paul says that he is so excited about today’s game that he cannot sleep. I would suggest that he tries counting sheep. But I guess that might make him even more excited. I digress.
I can put aside the fact that the mother of my daughter (Big Nose) will be sitting at home munching nuts nervously as she roots for Wales. I am beyond that for I also know that my daughter will be dressed in a Welsh jersey or National dress, belting out the National Anthem, passionately roaring on the men in red.
This is a simple matter. The Old Enemy are playing. Thus naturally my mind is wired to support the other side. I do not feel this way about soccer – in Ireland’s absence I will cheer for England in the World Cup for as long as its campaign lasts which will not be very long. I gather that England are 33-1 to win the World Cup. For those who do not understand betting that means that if you wager £10 on England you will lose £10.
No, this is just a rugby thing. I think of the swagger
3654 days ago
Naturally my sporting thoughts this weekend will be in London. Can West Ham, in our last game before the return of Horseface, defeat Southampton at Upton Park to go into the top half of the table? More importantly can Ireland defeat the Old Enemy at Twickenham to lift the Triple Crown. Oh Lord, as I prepare for sleep tinight I pray of you that you may give your faithful servant BOD this one last triumph. As a merciful, fair and kind Lord I know that you cannot be an England supporter, so how about it?
But a nice man from North Wales has just offered me a ticket to see the Sheep Shaggers take on the Froggies in Cardiff on Friday night. It is but a short trip over from Bristol and so I have accepted. But who to support?
If I think of Big Nose, the Welsh speaking mother of my daughter Olivia and how insufferable she and her countrymen are when Wales win I am naturally inclined to support the Froggies. But then I chatted to Olivia tonight. For some reason she was not keen to discuss the Ireland game ( I cannot think why) but she says that she hopes Wales defeat the French and …it gets better…that what really matters is that Wales go on to beat England. That’s my girl!
And so for Olivia’s sake I am decided. I shall show solidarity with our Celtic Cousins. C’mon the sheep shaggers.
3796 days ago
Those who have been following me long enough know that my daughter Olivia was born at 1lb 4 oz just over twelve years ago. As such she has always been a bit of a miracle baby. But her triumphs continue to rack up. Her essay on the evils of the Euro got top marks and yesterday she learned that she had been picked for the U14 B side at her hockey club. So what you say?
Well A) we were warned that Olivia would always be small and may have breathing issues so any sporting triumph is a bonus. B) Her hockey club is I gather, a rather top club. C) that is the U14sB. Olivia turned 12 just three months ago.
Olaf’s mum (Big Nose) was a county hockey player so I guess that is where she gets it from and I sense that Big Nose has pushed our daughter quite hard in this area. But the credit is all Olivia’s and yet again she makes me terribly proud.
3849 days ago
A difficult moment arose today as I returned my daughter Olivia to her mother Big Nose after a week in Kent. For some reason Big Nose was worried that I might humiliate her by wandering into her offices at Pinsent Masons wearing an inappropriate T-shirt, holding the hand of Dan Levi or just being a general embarrassment. For Big Nose is a partner at Pinsents, lawyers to the scumbags at Sefton who are accusing me of libel.
And so I arranged to meet her at Liverpool Street Station for the handover. Olivia and I arrived on time and called in but Big Nose was in a meeting. Then she had an urgent call and so I was instructed by her secretary to take Olivia over to the lion’s den, the global HQ of Pinsent Masons. Ooooo er. I could hardly contain my excitement.
3903 days ago
An early father's day treat saw me take my delightful daughter Olivia out for breakfast in Islington. Olivia's mother (Big Nose) is a Welsh speaker and Olivia seems to be growing up as a die-hard cottage burner - she is now taking Welsh lessons herself. It will come in handly when she visits the family of Big Nose in West Wales.
And so we wander into this restaurant and Olivia sits down with her back against the wall. I sit opposite and we prepare to discuss how her recent exams went, her plans for her 12th birthday, etc, etc.
But I could not help look at the wall behind where Olivia chose to sit. For one it was the image below. I made some comment about the girlfriends of Big Nose's little brother Andrew and got a dirty look.
3964 days ago
There are worse things that a nearly 12 year old daughter could tell her Dad. Olivia has already had to broach the news to me that she supports Wales (like her mother, big nose) not Ireland. Being told that she was supporting Manchester United like her mother’s young man rather than West Ham would be a real blow. And so today comes the news that she has now been given an audio tape and will soon have a private teacher to learn Welsh.
I put it to Islington resident Olivia that this would be a very useful language to acquire for later life. To her credit, she giggled. Why she cannot stick with another really useful language she is learning which I can speak (a bit) I do not know. What is wrong with Latin?
3995 days ago
My formative rugby years were in the 1970s watching on a black and white TV screen with my Dad. Why do we support the Men in Green is asked my Dad: they always lose? Well my father and I still support the men in green. He taught me to do so as his mother had taught him and we have had a great couple of decades. But it is over. The good times have officially ended and we return to what I consider normality. That is to say a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
This season has been terrible. For the first 45 minutes against Wales we looked like world beaters. Since then it has been just dreadful. Frankly the Irish ladies team (who, I think, won their grand slam) have played with more passion and discipline and – at times – skill.
It is the end of an era. Not once have I had a chance to call Aunt Valerie (an Ulster woman) to share joy in a way that she cannot with her husband Uncle Chris, as Ireland have triumphed. Calls to my father have been sad as we wonder if those glory years – a twenty year period when Ireland were not good but great as opposed to the normal fare of brave also rans – are just over.
I am not even sure that I would describe Ireland as brave these days. Back in the 70s we would pray for the rain to poor down on Landsdowne Road. Keep it tight in the forwards and fight with passion, pray and hope. The late Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery, those were the days. In defeat those Ireland teams were brave.