Sunday 27 October 2019

Free Talk

Today is a good day to talk about Rugby Union and England’s amazing semi-final victory in the World Cup having beaten New Zealand (the current world champions) yesterday and Australia last week.

South Africa stand in our way on Saturday next week.

I will shut up until we win (because I don’t want to boast prematurely). Instead I shall answer a few questions from Sunday Stealing.

1. If you were offered a job in another part of the country, would you take it?

It depends on which part of the country the offer was. If it were Liverpool then the answer would be yes because I love the city, having spent three years of my life at university there, and it is only about 35 miles away from home and is therefore quite easy to get to. Anywhere else would be a struggle.

I would however consider a job abroad. I have worked for several weeks at a time (on business trips)  in various countries including a three month stint in Hong Kong and I loved it all. I could still do that if required.

2. If you were in a bank and someone started to hold it up, what would you do?

I would marvel at the strength of that person. A building is very heavy, after all.

Seriously, though, it depends how they were armed. If they had a gun I would comply with everything they wanted me to do (within reason), But it depends how many people were in the bank and how many were prepared to try to overpower him.

If there were several armed robbers then I would be on the floor until it was all over.

3. If you found a suitcase filled with $1,000,000 what would you do

I would probably take it to the nearest police station. Nobody would carry that much money around legally so my guess is that it would be stolen, therefore there might be a reward associated with it.

4. If you had a 25 hour day what would you do with your extra hour?

I certainly wouldn’t work my day job. I would probably do something enjoyable and constructive, like write something.

5. If you had the opportunity to be different, what would you change?

I would change my life expectancy to add another fifty years of healthy life with a youthful appearance.

6. If you received a lottery ticket as a gift and won a lot of money, would you share with the person who gave you the ticket?

I think I would be insulted if somebody were to give me a lottery ticket as a gift if I am allowed to be brutally honest. If by a miracle I won millions from the ticket, I might give them a small amount as a reward.

However, if that person were Dr Who or some other time traveller who could guarantee that my numbers would come up, I would of course share the prize with them.

7. If you spoke two languages and your spouse spoke only one, would you raise your children as bilingual?

Absolutely. I would love to be bilingual.

8. If you were candy, which candy would you be?

I would be a Smartie because I am quite smart.

9. If you were a toy, which toy would you be?

Probably a Playstation 4 or some other games console. I do dabble with a PS4 occasionally, even at the age of 57.

10. If you were abducted by aliens, would you tell anyone?

Yes – but I would do so in the form of a book. I think people would consider me to be a nutter if I tried to convince them that I had been prodded and probed by aliens. But in a book it would at least be enjoyed by those who love fictional accounts (even though it may be true).

11. If you could go to the moon, would you?

Not a chance. It is cold, dark, dangerous and it has no atmosphere. I love a place with a good atmosphere.

12. If you had a time machine, where would you go and why?

I would go to the future. I would visit the next 500 years a decade at a time to see how technology evolved and how the environment is coping with the human race trying to turn the planet into a toilet.

I might even pop to next Saturday to find out the numbers of next week’s winning lottery ticket. But I wouldn’t give the ticket away; I would keep it for myself.

13. If you saw a robbery, would you report it?

Definitely. We all carry smartphones these days too so I would try to take photographs to make sure the criminals were brought to justice.

14. If you were to speak to a graduating class, what would you say?

I would tell them that it is alright to change your mind about your chosen career path if you wish to. I would also wish them good luck.

15. If given the choice between being given great wisdom or great wealth, which would you choose?

I would choose great wisdom in the art of finances and business so that I would inevitably and eventually acquire great wealth that way. You can have your cake AND eat it, you know.

Sunday 20 October 2019


After another weekend away, I can return to Sunday Stealing.

I was in Barcelona for a university reunion. We’ve gone international now. So what do we have this week? Firsts?

Let’s dive right in.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

The first thing I thought was “What an ugly old bastard!” This was closely followed by “How can my hair get itself in such an unholy mess?” Finally, “I really need to put on my glasses before I look in the mirror!”

2. Where did you go on the very first vacation of your life?

The first one I recall was a two week holiday to the south coast of England, to a resort called Brighton. If you are British you will know all about the place. If not, then it is a pleasant seaside town that has changed over the years. I haven’t been since I was a child but I would love to pop back sometime.

3. Open the door of your refrigerator. What is the first thing you see?

A pint of skimmed milk.

4. Tell us about your first kiss OR your last first date.

I will tell you about my first kiss. I was about 7 years old and at school. It was raining outside during a break so we all had to stay indoors rather than running around like lunatics outside.  I was sitting at my desk next to an Irish girl of the same age. We were very good friends and were reading books together. We stacked them up so that nobody could see us. I don’t really know who instigated it but we just found ourselves in a tiny embrace. I still remember it well – I’m sure she does too.

5. If you had wings to fly about the universe, where is the first place you’d land?

I would stay on planet earth because there is no air in space. I’m scared of heights so I wouldn’t fly too high. I would probably go somewhere with an amazing view armed with my camera and take thousands of photographs.

6. What is the first thing you do when you get in your car?

Close the door.

7. What is the first thing you ever said to your firstborn?

I remember it well. I said “Hello!”.

8. What is the last thing you heard about your first love?

I can’t remember who my first love was so I will revisit the Irish girl from question 4. I went to a wedding in the 1980s in Knutsford and met a guy from my home town of Walsall. It turned out that he knew her brother and a little later he mentioned my name to him. Her brother then asked the first kiss whether she remembered me. And she did! Not only that, she asked about me I heard that she was a nurse in the south of England somewhere.

9. If you had created the world in seven days yourself, what would you have created on the First Day?

I think I’ve answered this before. I would create rock music so that I had some entertainment while I created the rest of the world.

10. What is the first song in your IPOD or song list?

Hang on – I shall switch it on and hit play on shuffle.

Here it is.

Disappointed by Nine Inch Nails:

11. What is the first tangible thing you lost that you could never find again?

I rarely lose things. The one thing I remember is a set of keys way back in the 1980’s and I only remember that because I was absolutely furious with myself (as I always am when I lose something).

12. Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

I do not have a favourite First Lady.

13. Post a link to your first blog post.

Here it is.

14. When was the last time you needed First Aid?

On Friday I went for my usual lunchtime walk and when I got back to the office, I discovered that one of my fingers was covered in blood. I had somehow managed to acquire a tiny cut. A plaster soon sorted it out.

15. Can you explain what a first down is in football?

No because it is clearly American football you are talking about (or as I like to call it Rugby for wimps). 

Sunday 6 October 2019


It’s Sunday and time for another set of Sunday Stealing questions.

Looking at today’s questions, I feel that I may have to rein myself in as I do tend to give long answers. Let’s see shall we?

[ 15 things that make you smile ]

Many things make me smile – I am a happy person on the whole. Here is a selection…

(1) A happy Mrs PM is a happy PM.
(2) Kittens at play.
(3) The first pint of ale after a long and tedious week at work.
(4) A decent comedy show.
(5) A win for my favourite football team, Walsall FC (a rare event this season).
(6) The sun setting or rising above a calm ocean in southern Europe
(7) Seeing one of my favourite rock bands live.
(8) A relaxing holiday walk.
(9) Leaving work on a Friday afternoon.
(10) A sunny day.
(11) A great science fiction novel.
(12) A brilliant movie.
(13) Progressive rock music.
(14) Writing down my thoughts.
(15) An evening out with friends.

[ 14 things that make you frown ]

This list is almost endless but I will try to be short …

(1) Brexit.
(2) Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party.
(3) Nigel Farage.
(4) Piers Morgan.
(5) Nasty people generally, particularly malignant narcissists.
(6) Bigotry of any kind.
(7) Donald Trump.
(8) Being ill.
(9) Reality TV.
(10) January and February.
(11) Rap “music”.
(12) Tabloid newspapers.
(13) Wasps.
(14) Rhubarb.

[ 13 things you see every day ]

Assuming I am not travelling somewhere …

(1) A laptop of some description, either my own at home or my work laptop.
(2) My toothbrush.
(3) My phone.
(4) My wallet.
(5) My car.
(6) A television of some kind.
(7) My glasses.
(8) A cup of tea.
(9) My bed.
(10) My watch.
(11) My IPod.
(12) My Kindle.
(13) My front door.

[ 12 things you have always wanted to try ]

(1) Learn to play a guitar.
(2) Speak at least one foreign language fluently.
(3) Write and publish a novel.
(4) Drive a super car around a very easy racetrack.
(5) Write a rock song.
(6) Go on a round the world trip.
(7) Brew my own beer or wine.
(8) Living abroad.
(9) Being an extra in a blockbuster movie.
(10) Spend a week in The Peninsular Hotel in Hong Kong.
(11) Research my family tree.
(12) Go on a complete tour with one of my favourite rock bands just joining in backstage.

[ 11 objects that mean a lot to you ]

(1) My CD collection.
(2) My house.
(3) My photo collection.
(4) My leather bound Bible inherited from my grandparents (they were religious and I am not but it is a beautiful book that reminds me of them).
(5) My football programme collection.
(6) The watch I was given for 25 years of service at work.
(7) My terracotta warrior (a prize won by my mother-in-law; she didn’t want it and offered it to us. I almost bit her hand off. I have kept it even though Mrs PM wants to get rid of it now – it reminds me of my trip to Xi’an to see the real thing).
(8) Various souvenirs I have picked up on my travels.
(9) My book collection (the reference books Mrs Pm cannot persuade me to get rid of).
(10) My phone – I would be lost without it.
(11) My glasses – I would be blind without them.

[ 10 places you have been ]

I have been to some very interesting places. I shall go for some of the countries…

(1) Russia.
(2) China.
(3) The United States of America.
(4) Australia.
(5) Brazil.
(6) Japan.
(7) South Africa.
(8) Vietnam.
(9) Thailand.
(10) Canada.

[ 9 of your favourite foods ]

Off the top of my head …

(1) Cheese.
(2) Steak.
(3) Pork.
(4) Bangers and mash.
(5) Roast chicken.
(6) Paella.
(7) Any Chinese stir fry.
(8) Most curries.
(9) Pasta.

[ 8 things you would rather be doing ]

(1) Travelling.
(2) Not working (i.e. having retired).
(3) Watching a football match.
(4) Watching a live rock band.
(5) Having a pint or two down the local pub.
(6) Lounging around on a beach with Mrs PM.
(7) Walking in the countryside.
(8) Spending quality time with family and friends.

[ 7 things you would take to a deserted island ]

(1) A decent infinite electricity supply so that I could use electrical equipment and charge all of my gizmos.
(2) A music player of some description with all of my CDs.
(3) A Kindle crammed full of books.
(4) A massive tent with a fridge.
(5) A very loyal pack of vicious dogs to protect me.
(6) A laptop with a backup drive and a connection to the internet.
(7) A vast collection of clothes.

[ 6 things you wish you never had to do ]

(1) Go to work.
(2) Iron.
(3) Cook.
(4) Clean.
(5) Rant at politicians.
(6) Gardening.

[ 5 people that mean the world to you ]

Mrs PM, my two sons and my two sisters.

[ 4 of your biggest fears ]

(1) Heights.
(2) Public speaking.
(3) Big spiders.
(4) Pain

[ 3 words to describe how you feel right now ]

Happy, hungry, thirsty.

[ 2 things you're excited for ]

Planning next years holidays and a university reunion in Barcelona next weekend.

[ 1 thing you want to say to someone ]

To Boris Johnson: Stop lying and resign now you scruffy, arrogant, bullshitting, embarrassing clown.