Monday, November 22, 2004

This, that, and surprisingly, the other

What ho, chums. We meet again, what? Doubtless you have counted the hours until this august journal was updated, cast adrift in a world gone mad without the Colonel pearls of wisdom to make sense of the craziness. Something like that, anyway.

Fear not my pretties, the Colonel's back and everything's all right. You are probably wondering what the dickens I've been attending to that was so important I couldn't share with my public. Well, to be frank, nothing much really. The occasional concert performance, the odd three-day bender, an unwelcome telephone fault that resulted in no internet access for a while, that type of thing. Oh, and a spot of bedroom gymnastics. You won't be interested in that though, will you?

I'm not one to vapour on about my exploits, such as they are, you know that and you would expect nothing less than my customary gentlemanly discretion. So I will draw a veil over the gory details. I will say nothing of the no holes-barred bump and grind boot-knocking goodness that I was hitting my fine lady with. The lord of love, the high priest of how's-your-father, the grand vizier of gettin' it on tells no tales out of school. A nod's as good as a wink to a blind man seems to cover it.

A couple of points though.

When entertaining a lady friend, the little things matter. The soft lighting, the chilled wine, the right music, all of these details can be crucial. As a considerate host, I try to keep up with informed opinion as to what is the done thing in these matters. A recent copy of some woman's magazine or other I glanced through had a feature on what music is best fitted to the making of the two-backed beast. I was somewhat surprised to note that Noddy Holder's seventies glam stompers Slade were just the ticket for the sophisticated modern woman. Fortunately, I possess a copy of their greatest hits and was able to set the stereo away just as we were getting down to the business at hand.

It's quite a rummy thing, attempting to give of your romantic best while Noddy and co are belting out "Skweeze me Pleeze me", "Gudbuy t'Jane" and "Merry Christmas Everyone".

Eventually, my paramour asked me if I wouldn't mind "turning that shite off". Fortunately, James Brown constituted a perfectly acceptable alternative. All was well, the festivities re-commenced and a splendid time was had by all.

A second reading of the magazine article in question at a later date showed that the ladies tend to respond best to the music of Sade, not Slade. I am a fool.

Of course, some time has passed since this encounter and it would seem that normal service has been resumed vis a vis the ladies. On saturday I shared my bed with a coronation chicken sandwich purchased from the long-suffering chap at the twenty-four hour garage.

At least the sandwich didn't bitch about me playing my Rubettes CD.

My friends, I bid you adieu.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Road to Domestos

Over the past week or so it had gradually dawned on me that the old place was getting slightly grubby.

Now I am not the most fussy chap; so long as rats don't pop out of my larder and the television isn't obscured by mounds of detritus then I tend to think that things are fine as they are. However, it became increasingly apparent that a clean up was on the cards. Walking on the carpets was similar to strolling barefoot on a shale beach. Piles of clothing littered the floor. The air hung heavy like a village wino.

As for the bathroom, suffice to say that when a gentleman who lives alone notices that all isn't as it should be in there, then the local authority sanitation department are within a hair's breadth of getting involved.

Stand down the Channel Four sponge-wielding harridans, the situation has been normalized.I returned home after a shopping expedition armed with all manner of sponges, surface cleaners and bleaching agents. Preparation is half the battle in any campaign. Imagine my surprise when, on venturing into the cupboard below the sink, I found an abundant supply of exactly the products I had just bought. My mood and demeanour exactly matched that of the late Oliver Hardy when he would turn to face the camera after Stanley's latest comic pratfall had resulted in him being clobbered with a piece of crockery or sprayed with soda water by an irate scotsman.

Undaunted, I continued with my mission. First of all, I cleared the bathroom of all perishable items such as shampoo, soap, toilet rolls.

I was a man alone among my surfaces.

Deciding that the problem was best broken down into manageable chunks, I sprayed everything with bathroom cleaner, emptied half a bottle of bleach down the pan and retired to the lounge with a bottle of claret and an improving book. The next day I returned, clad only in sports briefs and flip-flops, and armed with a sponge and a bowl of hot water. The grime didn't stand a chance. I will draw a discreet veil over the horrors of toilet cleansing, there is enough sadness in the world without burdening you with all of that. It is a good job it's only once a year one has to tackle such a perilous task.

Spurred on by this triumph, the hoovering, tidying up and dishwashing were mere bagatelles to me. I was a domestic god. I looked around my kingdom and saw that it was Good.

And pine fresh, too.

Friday, September 10, 2004

My new love(s)

I have found a purpose in life.

I will meet and fall in love with the clipboard girls off of Price-Drop TV.

You do know Price-Drop TV, don’t you? It’s on Channel 24 on Freeview. I don’t know if it’s on Sky. I am a simple man of simple tastes, not Peter Stringfellows after all.

Anyway, on PDTV as I will refer to it, they sell off various household items to the unemployed, mentally enfeebled and old people who make up the audience of shopping channels. To this end they have presenters who are required to cajole an undeserving public into buying whatever trinkets the station is currently pushing. It may be a breadmaker, it may be a rug, these heroes of television have to punt it out to a nation of mongs. There are two species of presenters; the first are male, wear cheap suits and are either camp and chirpy or geezerish and chirpy. They need concern us no more.

The lady presenters. Ah, the lady presenters. Dressed immaculately in their trouser suits, their ample bosoms struggling against the double-breasted serge. These are the finest specimens of womanhood this country has to offer and I do not flatter myself that I could ever win the hand of such a proud beauty. This is the province of the Coca-Cola Championship soccer star or the Holby City minor role actor. No, I know my place.

Instead we turn our attention to their comrades at the tat front, the clipboard girls. Although these girls are magnificent in their own way, they undoubtedly occupy a lower rung in the showbusiness ladder. While the grey-suited presenter is tilting her head Posh Spice style and enthusing about diamante bracelets in winning style, our heroine comes on clad in a plunging vest top with a PDTV logo on it. The clipboard girls are as busty as the presenters, yet seem to have slightly chunkier faces and clearly lack the gift of the gab that one must possess to prattle gaily about a set of matching luggage for fifteen minutes.

They don’t always have the clipboard, which has details of forthcoming special offers or feedback from the deluded simpletons in the audience. Our girl gamely passes on the information that Brian in Hemel Hempstead reckons he saved over three thousand pound by shopping with PDTV. She says this without piercing Brian’s bubble of insanity and the presenter goes along with the fiction.

I love the clipboard girls and I want to live with them.

I imagine they live near to the studios of PDTV. The evil proprietor Tony Price-Drop, a cockney market trader made good, wants his girls close at hand. He runs a tight ship does Tony and he keeps the female presenters in check. In the local pub at night he often bellows across the crowded saloon bar “Oi, Mandy! Easy on the malibu and pineapples. You’re up at seven with an hundred and forty-five Star Trek DVD box sets to knock aht. Be’ave yourself, you saucy mare!”

The clipboard girls get a little more leeway. Tony regards them as little more than “a pair of knockers and a chunky, pretty face.” They knock back the booze till the small hours, giggling at the camp presenters’ impersonations of Tony behind his back. “Get your fat little tits into that vest top and get on screen, you caaah!” they squeal. It’s common knowledge that Big Tony is a homosexual but he never plays around with any of his male presenters. “Business and cock, you got to keep ‘em separate” he confides to close friends.

One day I will live with the clipboard girls in a nice little gaff, this I swear to you all now.

PS I would never have any truck with the women off of Bid-Up TV and neither should you. They are all filthy whores.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder

It appears I have been guilty of talking absolute cock.

No, no, don't try to deny it, it's true. In the previous instalment of this august journal I may have given the impression that it was my intention to seek out every opportunity to suck up booze like there was no tomorrow.

Not true.

Since my brush with divine bartendering in the form of miracle beer, I have emerged a deeper, finer Colonel. Armed with a stiffened resolve and a will of steel, I have nobly forsworn all alcohol since then. The effect caused has been little short of sensational. Fellow drinkers, with whom I have spent many a golden hour throwing the stuff back, have expressed concern, scorn, derision and incomprehension in equal measures. The rumours abound in the local drinking dens and plague spots.

"He's got the clap."
"Nah, he's turned into a queer"
"I reckon he's found God"
"He's an arse anyway"
"Yes"
"Can we talk about football again? Good."

And so it goes.

There is a considerable upside to a period of abstention. One's pocketbook enjoys a respite due to the lower price of soft drinks, always a consideration in these straitened times. There is also something comforting about waking up in one's bed at the weekend and being in full possession of the facts as to how you got there. The absence of a thumping headache and the slow onset of shame as you gradually recall some of the less dignified antics and lo-jinks you indulged in while in your cups is a positive boon also.

There are also some new-age quacks who claim there are health benefits associated with laying off the good stuff, but like all right-minded folk I tend to steer clear of that type of wacked-out, left-field, weirdy beardy, looney bin theory. Their reasoning is clearly specious, one instinctively feels.

However, I am not a fundamentalist muslim and anyone who says I am is a damned lying hound. All good things must come to an end. On friday this coming week I will rejoin the land of the topers to join my fellow revellers at a stag weekend. The groom-to-be appears to regard Whitby as a fitting location to see out his last hurrah as a footloose man about town. Whatever the merits of Whitby as a destination, I am sure of one thing; they sell beer there. And I will be sloshing it back until it bubbles out of my eyes.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it says "Drink beer".

And in slightly smaller letters "But don't go daft, eh?"

Monday, August 16, 2004

The new "going out"?

Owing to a slight infection of the breathing pipes and a regrettable "banana republic" attitude to personal finances, I have spent the whole of this weekend at home.

Although I am a man of simple tastes, I do rather enjoy getting out and about come the weekend. Nothing outlandish, mind you. A few quiet drinks of a thursday evening, throw them back until one on friday and saturday and an all-day session on a sunday. Nothing that the most abstemious schoolmarm type would raise their eyebrows at, a paragon of moderation you might say.

However, there would be no excursions this weekend. Also there was no beer, not a drop of wine and nary a whiff of spirits in the old homestead. Truly these are the times that try a man's soul. As I rattled around the house, a sort of internal dialogue was playing in the old noggin, much like the angel and devil you would see on Tom the Cat's shoulders in the old cartoons.

Devil: Well this is a load of old cobblers
Angel: Think of the good it's doing you, though
D: Not as much good as a pint of Guinness. I'm bored.
A: Nonsense, there are tons of things to entertain. The olympics is on, there is a thrilling test match in progress and the premier league football begins today.
D: All of which are best enjoyed in a crowded, smoky pub, surrounded by shouting, foul-mouthed beer users while swilling countless pints of ice-cold ale.
A: At least you won't go making a slavering, gibbering great arse of yourself this week.
D: You know as well as I do that I always comport myself like a proper gentleman. With one or two exceptions, where I'm sure my drink was tampered with or something. A bad pint, perhaps.
A: Hmm.
D: Anyway, I won't meet any ladies in here, will I?
A: So what, you never get anywhere with them anyway. If you're that bothered, you have an internet connection, look at naked ladies and sort yourself out that way.
D: NO, I DON'T DO THAT. AND NEITHER SHOULD ANYBODY READING THIS EITHER.
A: I AGREE. MY EARLIER SUGGESTION WAS MISGUIDED.
D: What am I going to do all weekend then?A: Read an improving book, write some poetry, sketch a still life drawing, maybe do some housework. The choices are endless.
D: Hmm...

...

D: A wank it is then?
A: Oh yess.

Of course I exaggerate for comic effect. I wouldn't do that sort of thing, it's bad for you. Anyway, the long weary weekend wore on. Cricketers batted their ball around, footballers huffed and puffed, Sychronised swimmers pranced and splashed around. Fast forward to Sunday evening. I was preparing a simple repast of chinese style chicken, mushrooms and noodles. I went into the bottom compartment of the frigidaire in search of oyster sauce. Instead I pulled out a dusty, brown bottle that made my old heart sing. In a stylish blue label, it was a bottle of Ampuri Indian lager.

My very own miracle beer.

I may have tasted a more beautiful or tasty brew in my time, but I really don't remember when. It was like a little piece of heaven in a bottle. For several moments I was truly at one with the universe. It was good.

Is there a moral to be drawn from this story? Perhaps it is that you only truly appreciate something when you have to go without for some time. Or maybe that abstinence is good for you and that alcohol is best when taken in moderation.

Of course not. To quote Ice T "shit ain't like that". What this tells us is that beer, sweet, beautiful beer is the greatest thing on earth. The only thing that matters is getting at that drop. Whatever it takes, you gots to get that good stuff. And God help you if you get between me and my pint.

Thank you and goodnight.

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Bay of Pigs

What ho! Just checking that this patch of internet is still here and hasn't been bulldozed to make way for pictures of "horny MILFs in your area" or photos of kittens looking mischievous. Thankfully, all is shipshape and bristol fashion and the normal business of waffling and spouting off can resume apace.

On Saturday I visited the lively coastal resort of Whitley Bay. One of the chaps in the local pub has been fool enough to get bullied into getting married and tonight was to be the closing chapter of his bachelor days.

We gathered in the local between seven and eight o'clock. There were about twenty-five to thirty of us, some particularly rum specimens there were too. However, despite the presence of some fairly tough cookies among the group there was some trepidation in the air. Glasgow Rangers football club had been playing in a tournament in nearby Newcastle and had brought a large following with them. There were vague mutterings regarding being "stabbed up by radgie sweaties" and even cowardly talk of relocating the binge to Morpeth.

Such unworthy thoughts were pushed aside by the necessity of arranging transport. The stag and a few companions would be travelling in a limousine booked for the occasion. Myself and my compadre Ginger had a taxi cab booked. Nobody else had made any provision for transportation. Clearly we were in the company of chaps who are all well and good in their normal working roles of hitting things with hammers, whistling through their teeth and informing customers that it will cost them, but fall somewhat short in the planning and organisational stakes. Our cab arrived and self and the ginger one made off for Whitley half-expecting to be the only ones to make it to the other side.

Arriving at a prime town centre location it was clear there was something special in the air. The town is something of a magnet for stag and hen evenings and tonight was no exception. A tribe of Native Americans plunged into The Hairy Lemon, a bevy of improbably-dressed female police officers emerged blinking from Pier 39, a posse of aled-up cowgirls stumbled into Rio's. In short, the place was, to use one chap's colourful phrase, "crawling with blart".

We begun in the refined, sophisticated atmosphere of Banana Jo's. Motown hits rang out, inane patter was peddled by a disc jockey and scantily-clad dancers strutted their stuff on the stage. The punters went on happily with their business of getting noisily sloshed in as short a time as possible.

We met up with the rest of the party who had miraculously got their arses into gear and arrived in town. Also present in the town was a massive Caledonian presence. One chap, who had clearly supped not wisely but too well, was sleeping it off while slumped against the wall of the pub. On tiptoes, we edged past him and through into the bar.

It's a strange thing, but when you have a few ales the night tends to become rather episodic. You remember parts of it but not the intervening events that lead up to them. Possibly snorting poppers does not help much. Therefore, the build up to the rusty-headed one and I getting a charming girl from North Shields to share her lipgloss on us is gone. A shame, although I do recall feeling noticeably more sassy and chic as a result. Truly, I must be "worth it". Likewise, I am unable to recall the exact sequence of event that led up to one of the group informing a female of slight acquaintance that she should "respect the cock". Possibly a discussion on poultry keeping, it may be better that we never know.

At eleven o'clock, buoyed by the fine products of Messrs Stella and Budweiser, and looking ghetto fabulous due to the efforts of the good people at Maybelline, we were eager for more action. Nightclubbing seem to be the answer. Off we shambled to a fairly ramshackle place called "Blue". After parting with six of your english (or scottish) pounds we entered a joint that bore all the trademarks of an eighties meat market lager palace, as featured on "The Hitman and Her". Frankly, this was all to the good. Meat markets are fine and dandy when you're in the market for meat.

In this respect, results were not long in arriving. Myself and one of the younger members of the group got talking to a couple of young ladies, who I will refer to as "Kerry" and "Her Mate". After some brief chit-chat there followed a prolonged bout of what the swimming-pool moral guardians describe as "petting". Most invigorating it was too. The evening grew increasingly episodic as it wore on. The girls disappeared. I found myself in a far-flung corner of the club. A strange female with very large chests but relatively few teeth told me her dad played pool in my local pub. She said it as proudly as I imagine Senator John Kerry's children talk of his exploits in Vietnam. She followed up this charming anecdote by pulling down the trousers and drawers of one of her companions, a mature type who will be lucky to see 55 again. While this made for quite an entertaining spectacle, by the third or fourth time she did it I thought her behaviour rather odd. As I edged away I caught the eye of the third member of this unusual company. A small, fat beady-eyed bespectacled beast of a woman, the sensible course of action would be to ankle off to the bar without a backward glance.

Instead, I started to "pet" with her.

We found a table and more petting followed. This was a strange turn of events. More pettage ensued, although there were raised eyebrows when she notice my hand had innocently strayed up the thighs of her senior citizen flasher friend, who had joined us at the table. Harsh words were spoken and the bespectacled lady suggested that perhaps it would be best if I did not have my hand on her friend's undergarments. I made my excuses and left.

Somewhat befuddled by now I sought solace in a pint glass. Most of the gang had headed for home by now and I felt my place was with them. Then I bumped into Kerry and Her Mate from earlier in the evening. For the sake of completeness I indulged in a third bout of petting with Her Mate, having been bestowing my affections on Kerry when we had previously met. This was met with good grace by all parties and a pleasant time was had by all. However, all good things must come to an end and it was time for home. By fortuitous coincidence, I found the taxi queue which had reached Cecil B De Mille proportions. Right at the front of it were three of my companions from the stag night. Gratefully, I flopped into the back seat of the eventual taxi and we wended our merry way home.

Damn, I should have asked Kerry and Her Mate about the fuck buddy thing. That sounds up their street. Still, you can't think of everything, can you?

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Colonel on the Continent

Just back from a week overseas. I put in a week with the folks in the sleepy Spanish resort of Torremolinos.

If you don't know my folks, pops is a frightfully brainy chap, also a military man, General Knowledge. The mater was in the Intelligence services, Hidden Knowledge. Then there is my younger brother, a bit of a layabout and a waster to be honest, Common Knowledge.

Anyhow, we small happy band were cooped up in apartments in a fairly large hotel near the beach. Possibly the designer of this place was under severe mental stress at the time, but the place had a Flintstones theme running throughout it, including a Bronto Burger bar selling fried snacks to the patrons. The patrons seemed to accept this philosophically enough, consisting mainly of loud types from Dublin. It would seem that your Dubliner enjoys nothing better than sunbathing in the blazing midday heat while their unruly offspring runs amok by the pool, shouting and bawling like a snot-nosed banshee.

Clearly a new location for drink-based activities would have to be found.

This was not as easy as it sounds. Torremolinos is primarily visited by the Irish tourist and has targeted its nightlife with this in mind. Among the nitespots and hotspots in the vicinity were The Irish Affair, Shillelagh Bill's, Shenanigans, Molloys, Shamrocks, The Harp Bar, Top o' the Morning and Lisa's Licking Leprechaun Lesbian Lounge. I may have imagined that last one, the combination of sunshine and sangria is a powerful one.

The behaviour of the Irish drinker abroad is somewhat curious to behold. As we English well know, the correct form is to drink imported bottled beer heavily all day, insult the natives of the town and conclude the evening by either vomiting and urinating in the street while giving tongue regarding the excellence of one's sports team of choice or, if one is lucky, by giving a three minute rattling to a chunky girl from Stockport on the beach. The Irish prefer to drink in a civilized manner in the evenings, maintaining a respectful attitude to their courteous hosts and the night would end with nothing more raucous than a sing-song or some inebriated wedding-style dancing.

A strange bunch. No wonder they never had an empire.

Adios amigos.

(I am a real global citizen, yes?)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Out/About

The recent holiday weekend saw all manner of exciting activities.

Not really. However, I did attend a barbecue. Yes, look impressed, the Colonel is quite the socialite, what?

The modern barbecue is a peculiar affair. A bunch of chaps gather around the flames, wantonly incinerating a fridge full of sausages, chops, chicken and steaks. The ladyfolk prepare dips and enormous trays of sliced carrots that unfailingly curl and wilt untouched, to be thrown out the next day.

The usual form is to fill the bathtub with cold water and float several hundred bottles and cans of multipack lager, which the men aggressively try to drink their way through. The ladies stick to sweet white or rose wine, consuming just enough to become tearful and accusatory by closing time. Coincidentally, it is about this time folk tend to wish they had gone to the pub rather than stood half-kippered in someone's back garden with a bunch of dullards discussing wood flooring or endowment policies.

By this time, seizing my opportunity, much like Field Marshal Rommel might have done, I had beaten a timely retreat to my local hostelry.

Sunday saw the rain and the sunshine taking turns to confound and delight the populace. An ideal day for an outdoor music festival, then.

There was a free festival taking place near the local river. Of course, being free, this meant that the acts were, shall we say, shite. A bald troubadour strumming an acoustic guitar here, a couple of hairy yokels murdering blues standards there, all the usual suspects were on show. When you added to this the prospect of drinking weak lager from a plastic glass, it was with a spring in my step that I concurred with my companions wishes to make our excuses and leave. Who knows what manner of impassioned female chanteuses and "hey-nonny" chanting folk types we may have had to endure. It almost made one long for the David Gray and Chili Peppers dirges the local oafs insist on selecting on the jukebox of the local tavern.

Almost.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Here comes the summer

Well, here we are again, what?

It appears that summer has begun, the sun is rarely out of the sky and the good people of these isles have reacted in typically bizarre fashion.Obese men parade around shirtless, sporting short trousers that bring to mind German sex tourists. Middle-aged women with badly-dyed hair don short vest tops that give an ungrateful public a view of their swollen gunts and tribal-tattooed lower backs. Who knew that the Celts were such dreadfully common people?

The old folk switch from wearing grey overcoats, cardigans and sweaters to beige overcoats, cardigans and sweaters. I have a theory that they store heat throughout the summer for use in winter, much like solar energy units.

Then there are the girls.

The modern female strives to expose more tanned flesh than the average catalogue lingerie model. Shorts are skirt, tops low-cut and cropped at the bottom. Bras push bosoms upwards and outwards for the delectation of all. It really is a treat. More on the youth of today later.

After a hard days toil, I ventured out the other evening with several of my local circle of deep thinkers. The local pub, the imaginatively-named Red Lion, has a special promotion on Tuesday nights. After paying a £2 entry fee, all drinks are £1. Being rightly suspicious of the quality of wine in such a low-rent place, I alternated between cold Guinness and bottled Corona throughout the night. The place was absolutely packed. Clearly the youth of Northumberland have a love of cheap drink that rivals the Scotsman's.

The music was largely what those in the know describe as R'n'B. However, this genre has clearly altered somewhat since the heyday of the Yardbirds and the MC5. One song, describing the attractions of a female the author was enamoured of, claimed "her ass is a spaceship I want to ride". Though nonplussed by this revelation, I was rather fond of the other tune where the chap bellows "Criss Cross!" at regular intervals. Banging shit, as I believe the "homies" say.

While enjoying the atmosphere and general bonhomie of the place I got chatting to a plump young lady who had clearly been drinking not wisely but too well. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, I enquired as to whether she was courting. She replied that she had no regular boyfriend but that she did have a few "fuck buddies". I'm afraid I may have shown my age at this point. Possibly I spluttered. Eyebrows may well have reached new heights. Fascinated, I asked how one goes about attaining "fuck buddy" status, as it seems an ideal arrangement for a chap. One simply receives a call, toddles along to the girl's "crib", fires a few shots into her and skedaddles home, weary but conscious of having done one's duty. This also obviates the obligation to listen to her tittle-tattle and yimmer-yammer, give reassurance as to the trimness and pertness of arse and breasts and generally put up with the more wearisome aspects of having a lady in one's life.

From the laughter and noncommital response to my question, I suspect that my application for this role had not been successful, although possibly my details would be kept on file should circumstances change.

An older, wiser Colonel, I strolled home in the moonlight, the birdsong serenading me as I mused on the rumminess of the world in which we live. Fuck buddies, indeed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Rum Coves

There's no denying it, there are some rum old coves about.

Whether whiling away the day in the turf accountants, furtively smoking roll-ups and dreaming of illusory placepots, or standing outside electronics emporia, gazing vacantly as the plasma screens, or simply mumbling away to themselves on public transport, there always seems to be one of these peculiar chaps about.

The majority of them are, of course, dole-wallahs ekeing out a tenuous existence on meatballs, cider and the occasional social club pint of mild (plus all the black pudding they can cram into one fist) on a Sunday lunchtime.

Unbelievably though, some of them are in gainful employment. The modern, cutting edge commercial world, with its Human Resources department and its psychometric testing, still finds a place for these distressing examples of humanity.

They may be strangers to carbolic and hot baths, they may have irregular facial features of the kind beloved of Pablo Picasso, they may even attend Science Fiction conferences but we need them, by God.

For these are the men who put away our supermarket trolleys, supply us with change in seaside amusement arcades, sell us late night snacks when we have what the young folk refer to as "the munchies". Who guards our deserted industrial units from night-time marauders?

Who valets our Bentley when we embarass ourselves after too much champagne at regimental reunions? Who delivers takeaway food to our door in the middle of the night?

It is, of course, the strange chaps. This old soldier salutes you. Good work, odd fellers!

Monday, March 22, 2004

Scottish Football

Odd fellows, the Scots.

The other week, a few of the chaps and I boarded a charabanc and headed off to jolly old Glasgow to watch a couple of Caledonian also-rans contesting a cup final of some description. How they managed to get to a cup final is beyond me. Still the crowds of folk who had turned up seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The chaps in green, Hibernians, took up most of the stadium and a right rum lot they were too. It seems your Hibs fan doesn't consider a face to be complete without a whacking great scar on it. I admit not every chap had the matching Alex Ferguson boozehound red nose and the Rugby forward cauliflower lugs, but they all had a scar. Still, nice chaps.

The other lot, Livington, were away up in a corner. They seemed a bit bashful and didn't make a lot of noise. The two goals they scored at the start of the second half brought them out of their shells, though. They even started a bit of a sing-song. I suppose it kept their mind off the godawful football being played on the pitch.

The boys in green by this point were concentrating on mumbling discontented scotch curses to themselves, doubtless with half a mind on the forthcoming drinking binges and ensuing punch-ups they had planned for the evening.

As we departed for our waiting chariot, any thoughts of a refreshing tipple were dashed by the sight of the boys in blue, jealously guarding the entrance to the only nearby hostelry, which had a notice informing all and sundry that they would be restricting admittance to regular customers. Any visitors to their fair city were cordially invited to go boil their heads.

Impressed with this fine Glaswegian hospitality, we boarded the bus and headed for home, stopping only to partake in another fine Scots tradition, the enormous carry out from an off licence.

Predictably, in Glasgow they keep their retail liquor behind bulletproof glass.

Suitably awed at the scotsman's passion for strong drink, we made our weary way home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

What ho, everybody

Well, here we are, what? Still a bit foggy as to exactly what sort of thing you're meant to put on these interweb log thingies. Since I got laid up with a touch of gout I've been rattling around the place with nothing to do. The gardener's son, a bookish type with a club foot, always on about his 'net pals, LAN parties and whatnot, says to get a blog.

"What the shitting arse is a blog, you pencil-necked young weasel?" I enquired amiably of him.

Apparently if you don't like going out much and have no real friends, you get one of these internet thingies and vapour on about your ailments and what you've been up to, that sort of rot.

Well, I'll try anything once, except for incest and morris dancing, so here we all are, eh?I expect I'll have to get up to some sort of adventure to justify doing another entry in the old journal. And maybe that's the point. Eh? Eh?

Anyway, that claret has been breathing long enough I reckon, time for it to see the Colonel from the inside.

Pip pip for now.