Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


It is not quite going to plan.

I have been building this wardrobe for 1 whole day and two whole evenings and unbelieveably, it is not yet a wardrobe.
Imp smiles, knowingly.

I just can't understand it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I am going to build a wardrobe!

It will be very easy because I have an alcove, a basement full of salvaged wood and two rescued drawers. Also, I am also a trained expert in Space Lego and I never, ever bodge.

I expect I can get it done in less than a day...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

30 bikes

“And anyway, I drove up to Ludlow to buy a aluminium 5-bear split-shift fork”.

We are trapped in a pub with an Anorak!

“You can't get them anymore because they stopped making them in 1946, but I know a bloke, you see”, the Anorak confides.

Hamish, Sioned and I have just climbed the Sugarloaf mountain and are in desperate need of refreshment.

We settle in a convenient pub and sigh lovingly at our pints. The Wales-Ireland match is playing in the background and this is indeed, heaven. Pub. Pint. Rugby.

We have stomped our way uphill through snow and this was the carrot. I smile inside and reach for my pint.

At that moment, I notice the bloke at the next table is watching us. He is listening to our conversation.
I quickly look away. Sioned keeps talking. She mentions her mountain bike.

Too late! He moves in for the kill.

“Are you cyclists?” He asks.

Hamish makes polite noises of agreement. I nod.

"I'm a professional cyclist", he tells us. He is fat and pushing 70.

Sioned blinks at this. She quickly points out that although we all own push-bikes, none of us are professionals. I detect a hint of sarcasm.

This, however, is of no consequence to the Anorak. He has performed the classic textbook Anorak's Entrapment Technique, as set out in chapter 4 of 'The Official Guide to being a Boring Bastard (edition 2), 1939'......... and we have fallen for it!

We glance at each other, nervously.

  • First rule of avoiding anoraks: Never EVER, under any circumstance, make eye-contact.
  • Second rule of avoiding anoraks: Never EVER, respond to anything an anorak says.
  • Third rule of avoiding anoraks: Move house if possible, or if trapped behind a pub table, hack off any limbs that are preventing you from getting out and crawl, bleeding and twitching towards the door.

“Yes, I own 30 bikes”, he says, not listening to anything we say.

Sioned stares into her pint. “That's nice”.

“I've probably spent £50,000 on them, over the years”, he adds, warming up. “I keep them all in my loft”.

“Aye, that's great”, observes Hamish, with spectacular fake enthusiasm.

"I don't believe in carbon-fibre, that's for nancies", he says. "I bought a frame last week that is weighed down with 12 tons of lead and a sherman tank, for stability. Bargain, only two grand. I'll add a four-berth 8-jointed bungalow with a 6-iron and I'll probably use it to go to the supermarket a couple of times, before I stick it in the loft with all the others", he informs us.

I try using emergency telepathy but both Sioned and Hamish have lost the will to live. They are clearly contemplating Rule 3.

“I cycled from Galway to Dublin, a couple of years back”, I offer.

The Anorak isn't interested.

“I used to cycle 12 times around the Isle of Man, and then cycle across the sea and cycle up every mountain IN THE WORLD, before breakfast”, he informs us.

“That's nice”, says Sioned.

“And I once cycled to the MOON, without an oxygen tank, on a bike without any gears”.

We are defeated. Life is no longer worth living.

“And that's when I had to buy a hand-made load-bearing 3lb cotter pin from ebay, and I had to cycle to Saudi Arabia to get it because I didn't want to pay the postage”. The Anorak is in full flow.

"Back then, I only had one leg, but I sprayed the stump with WD40 and it grew back within a week".

Agreeing heartily, we down our beers and, tall stories flying dangerously past our heads, we make a break for the door.

Friday, March 02, 2007


It is our last night in Dublin and, have moved to a hotel near to the airport.

Luckily, it is the swankiest hotel in the world and we only paid a couple of monopoly notes for it because we cleverly booked it on the internet. (This is because only about a hundred people in the aforementioned world know about the internet, so we got a bargain)

Weirdly, there is a door through to the adjoining hotel room, but, I'm sure it must be thoroughly locked and bolted.

I play with the telly and inspect the broadband facility while Imp wraps herself in a giant fluffy hotel robe, rifles through the complimentary smellies and shoves them into her washbag.

This must be what it would be like to be a footballers wife!


We climb into the biggest bed in the world, switch the light off and snuggle up.


It is only two minutes since I switched the light off. There is some talking.

Is that next door?” I whisper.

No, it must be the corridor”. Imp murmurs.


It is two minutes and 30 seconds since the light went out.

No, you're right, it is next door!” Imp is horrified.

We hold our breath and listen.


Through the joining door we can hear Mr and Mrs Irish and Baby Irish! But the thing is, we can hear everything!

There may as well be no door!

Will I go and wash my hands?” says Mrs Irish*.

Aye, and be sure to splash around while you're there, to be sure”, says Mr Irish, irishly**.

Aaaaaaaaaah iggg ig aaah”, gurgles the baby*.

Shit!” gasps Imp.

We lie still, too terrified to move, in case Mr and Mrs Irish and Baby Irish hear us and realise that we are here.

Mrs Irish splashes, during which time I remember, appalled, all the things I have said to Imp in the last half an hour. Some of them were referring to her bottom! I gulp. (quietly)

A mobile rings.

Will that be the phone?” says Mrs Irish*.

Aye, so it is, to be sure”, says Mr Irish**.

Ahh ahh ahh!” says Baby Irish*.

Will I answer it?”*

Aye, to be sure, so it is”**

We listen, fascinated.

They have got it on speaker phone! It is Mrs Irish's mother!

Did you have a good journey, to be sure?” enquires Mrs Irish's Mum. “Is the baby well, to be sure?”*

I turn to Imp, quietly, careful not to rustle the duvet. “We'll have to move rooms!”

She looks at me, solemnly. “Ring the desk and ask them”.

I stare at the phone.

I can't! They'll hear me!”

I climb out of bed and silently (so as not to disturb the neighbours) get dressed.
Hair awry and a pillow mark on my face, I creep out the room, down the corridor and into the lift, while Mr Irish tells his mother-in-law about the traffic.

* Insert Irish accent liberally

** Insert Irish accent, plus random 'fecks'