Saturday 27 May 2023

Even More Miscellaneous Questions

Welcome to a beautiful sunny day in South Manchester. The forecast for the next week is brilliant – sunshine and cloudless skies. 

I enjoyed a reunion with three of my best friends from university last weekend in Amsterdam and it was amazing to catch up with them. We had a lot of fun and it was like being transported back forty or so years. 

It’s been a good week; yesterday I went to horse racing at Haydock Park and actually made a profit instead of a loss. I’m not really a gambler but betting is fun if you realise that you are more likely to lose than win and if you are careful and stick to the same size bet for each race even if you win. 

Shall we answer some more silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive through?

I rarely go to fast food places. The one I am most likely to go to is the local fish and chip shop and, because of the pandemic, I am most likely to just order the food online and get it delivered. We have drive throughs in the UK but not that many. The only ones near to where I live are both McDonalds and I haven’t been there for years. I guess the answer to this question, even though it wasn’t an option, is that I am most likely to just order online.

2. Have you ever lost anything down a toilet? 

No, but I know of people who have dropped their phones down the toilet and effectively rendered them useless as a result (which counts as a loss I guess). Most new phones are waterproof so I think now your phone would recover if you were clumsy enough to drop it into the pan.

3. Do you have a dog?

No I don’t; I have two cats. As a child I had three dogs, one of which lived until the ripe old age of 21. He was a lovely friendly little mongrel who was called Paddy. The poor thing went blind and died long after I had left home to move to Manchester. I think it’s unlikely now that I will ever get a dog. I do love them though and I know that generally dogs tend to like me too. 

4.  Ever go camping? 

I’ve only camped once and that was in a friend’s back garden as a child. It was a novel experience but I was quite cold during the night even though it was in the middle of summer. Mrs PM hates camping so again it is highly unlikely that I will ever do it again.

5. Have you met anyone famous? 

I have spoken to a couple of band members of rock bands, most notably the guys from Thunder, a good old British rock band. I have certainly seen a lot of famous people. Of course when you go to a gig you are there to see them in the flesh. Outside of gigs though, I have bumped into a few famous people in Manchester in various places, at airports, in the street etc. 

I would only speak to them if they invited me too, that is if they were specifically there to sign an autograph or something like that. I once found myself on a flight with a breakfast TV presenter sitting next to me but I appreciated that he wanted to fly home in peace and not have a pillock like me pestering him while the plane flew home. 

Besides, I am guilty of being starstruck sometimes and I think if I met a famous actor I would probably be too scared to say anything to them.

6. Any plans today?

I’ve been catching up on household chores and also spent a couple of hours in the garden enjoying the weather. I have a couple more things to do, and then Mrs PM and I will probably return to the garden later this afternoon and have a beer or two while enjoying the last of the weather. I love this time of year because it doesn’t get dark until after 9pm. 

7. Are you happy? 

I am delighted. The only thing that ruins my days is work and now that only happens four times a week. Also, the next four months are my favourite of the year and I am looking forward to having fun, travelling and just being a happy chap. Life is good at the moment.

8. Where are you right now? 

I am sitting in my back room at my desk, typing this blog post.

9. Biggest annoyance in your life right now? 

Work. I am still debating what to do about retirement, whether to stick to my plan or just bring it forward. The next couple of months will be crucial to help me make a choice. 

10. Last song listened to? 


11. Last movie you saw? 

I think it was John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum. 

It’s very violent and also you have to switch off your brain while watching it. But it is tremendous fun and I am looking forward to seeing Chapter 4.

12. Are you allergic to anything? 

Yes – whatever pollen is around in June. I have suffered from hay fever all my life but my resistance has built up over the years so that I don’t have to take any medication for it any more. Unfortunately, sometimes, I still end up with itchy eyes and sneeze a bit during the month of June. I love summer but June can be annoying sometimes because of my allergic reaction. 

13. Favourite pair of shoes you wear all the time?

I have a pair of trainers that I usually wear when out and about (that’s sneakers to my American friends). They are comfortable when pottering around. However, if I go for a longer walk (say my daily four mile walk) I wear a stronger and more resilient pair of walking boots that are also very comfortable.

14. What do you think of when you think of Australia?

I love Australia and Australians in general. 

My immediate thought is that I am looking forward to spending a day at Old Trafford in Manchester later this year watching England, hopefully, beat Australia at cricket. 

My secondary though is casting my mind back to 2005 when I visited that amazing country. We had a great time and for those that have never been, you would enjoy it immensely. The people are like British people with perhaps a less reserved outlook on life. I was in Hong Kong once when England had won the Ashes and found myself in a lift full of Aussies. 

“Good result in the cricket, eh?” I said (I couldn’t help myself). 

“Oh no! said one woman. "Just what we need – a BLODDY POM!”

It was all good fun and we were chatting happily until we reached our destinations. I would love to go back there – and it may well happen in future (though I can’t promise). I was a bit concerned when I visited the country because they have the most venomous spiders and snakes down there as well as crocodiles. But the people are brilliant and the friendly rivalry between our nations is amazing.

I won’t forget the guide who took me up the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was a scary experience for me but he was a funny guy. In our group there was Mrs PM and myself (two Brits – or “Poms” as they call us), a Japanese couple, about four Aussies and two Americans. After he had asked us where we came from (and called Mrs PM and I “Poms” – which puzzled the Americans), he said:

“So we have two Poms, four Aussies, two people from Japan and two Americans” and then he said to everyone but the two Americans:

“Sorry about the Americans, guys!”

We all laughed, including the Americans – and then one said to the other – “Did he just insult us?” which made us all laugh even more. 

We share that same sense of humour – and I don’t mind being called a “Pom” or being the butt of an Aussie joke – after all, we give as good as we get.

One day I will find out what Pom really means. There’s a lot of speculation and some are more believable than others.

15. Do you use smiley faces on the computer a lot?

I use a smiley face in a lot of my emails to send across my best wishes to whoever the recipient is, be it a colleague or a manager. I think they help to reinforce a friendly tone to an email and I would encourage people to do it. Sometimes people can get the wrong “vibe” and a smiley or a winking emoticon can help to lighten the mood for even serious mails.

Friday 19 May 2023

Book of Questions

Welcome to a rainy South Manchester on a Friday, the day I don’t work now that I am part time. I’m posting this early because tomorrow I am off to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for a university reunion with a couple of guys I have known for almost 40 years. I love Amsterdam and have been there countless times, mostly working but also for a city break. In fact, Amsterdam was the very first city I visited abroad, back at the tender age of 19. 

Shall we answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate?

I sometimes exaggerate – mainly for comedic effect, to make the story more interesting than it actually was. I rarely do that on this blog though. The stories I have told in the past actually did happen – well I might have exaggerating a teeny little bit.

2. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?

I usually allow for it. Mrs PM is not the most punctual person on the planet so I have adjusted for that. 

3. Can you be counted on to be on time?

Absolutely. If anything I prefer to be early.

4. When did you last yell at someone?  Why?

I don’t yell at people very often – I’m not that kind of person; I’m more laid back about things. I usually moan rather than yell at people. I can’t recall when I last yelled if I’m honest. I have a feeling it might have been Ziggy for being too aggressive with Star when they were “play” fighting. He is a much bigger cat than she is and he doesn’t know his own strength. She sometimes gives as good as she gets though.

5. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?

I would choose a cook and a chauffeur. I hate cooking and driving. 

6. Would you be willing to go to a slaughterhouse and kill a cow?  Do you eat meat?

I do eat meat but I am not prepared to kill any animal myself. I can understand why some people are vegetarians but I love meat too much. The thought of actually killing a creature turns my stomach. 

7. Do you feel ill at ease going alone to either dinner or a movie?  What about going on a vacation by yourself?

I prefer being with people but I have no problem going to places alone. Sometimes, when I have been asked to go abroad with work, I have been on my own and therefore had to entertain myself. I have eaten alone in restaurants in a lot of foreign places, including Hong Kong, Moscow and Beijing. I have been to the movies on my own countless times and even been to a couple of gigs on my own too. Most recently I went to see my current favourite band, Riverside, on my own because the guys I usually go to gigs with don’t really like them. In fact I am also going on my own to see Porcupine Tree in June. 

Talking of the Riverside gig, I found a video on YouTube that somebody had posted from the gig I was at when they played a song called “Friend or Foe?”. If you watch the video between 57 seconds and 1 minute 2 seconds, you can see the Plastic Mancunian nodding his head in time to the music. 

8. Would you like to be famous?  In what way?

I wouldn’t really like to be famous if I’m honest. I value my privacy too much. That said, I wouldn’t mind being a famous author, writing under a pseudonym. I would probably call myself something silly like Ned Bogus or Dirk Prawn.  

9. Would you rather play a game with someone more or less talented than you?  

I would quite like to play with somebody slightly better than I am so that it was more of a challenge. 

10. Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time?  Why haven't you done it?

Oh yes. I have dreamed of being a writer (as I said above) and also a musician (not necessarily a famous one). Why haven’t I done it? Time, I guess. However I am learning to play the piano, one of the perks of being part time, and also I have started a novel. I doubt whether these things will reach their full potential but they are fun to try and I like to think of them both as ongoing projects. 

There are also a lot of countries I want to visit and the reason I haven’t been to them is time and money. But they are still on my list so I never say never.

11. If you were at a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner and found a dead cockroach in your salad, what would you do?

I would eat it.

Only kidding.

I doubt I will ever go to a Thanksgiving dinner because it is only celebrated in the United States. Again, I would never say never because you never know. If I found a dead cockroach in my salad I would probably take the host aside and point it out to them without alerting anyone else. 

12. Would you accept $10,000 to shave your head and continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?

Yes. I have a full head of hair and I have often thought about what I would look like as a bald man. For $10,000 I would definitely do it. My hair will grow back of course. Don’t tell Mrs PM though. 

13. If you were able to wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do so?  Whom would you pick?

I would only do it if it were temporary. I would probably pick a famous person just to see how the other lives for a day – preferably a rock singer who has a magnificent voice. 

14. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I come from a working class background and while my parents always looked after us well, it would have been nice to live in a bigger house with more available money. I would probably change it so that my parents were wealthier. 

15. What, if anything, is  too serious to be joked about?

There are too many things that I wouldn’t ever joke about for fear of upsetting or offending people. I can’t put my finger on just one.

Saturday 13 May 2023

More Miscellaneous Questions

Welcome to a warm and sunny South Manchester afternoon where the weather is very pleasant. I can feel summer approaching. 

Let’s dive straight in with some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now? 

There is nothing in the back seat of my car right now. 

2. When was the last time you threw up?

I can’t recall the last time I threw up. I had a bit of a tummy bug a couple of weeks ago that forced me to miss a concert and I felt a little nauseous for a day or so. I don’t know what caused it. I don’t think it was something I ate because Mrs PM was absolutely fine. I must have picked up something from work. 

3. What's your favourite word or phrase? 

I have lots of favourite words and phrases that have made me chuckle over the years. Ones that make me chuckle most are words that mean “drunk”. We have so many of them in the UK (as we are a nation of drinkers it has to be said). Here are a few of my favourites.

Kaylied, rat-arsed, shit-faced, hammered, smashed, plastered, wearing your beer-goggles, pissed, sloshed, squiffy, steaming, wrecked, blitzed, bladdered, pickled, paralytic, mullered, bevvied, pie-eyed.

Out of all of those I think my favourite has to be rat-arsed.

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today? 

Mrs PM always makes me smile. 

On my walk a little toddler ran into me and made me smile, as did her mother when she apologised to me. 

5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?

I was learning some Spanish while drinking a cup of tea in bed. 

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

I was making a cup of tea, ready to settle down and do some freewriting followed by this blog post.

7. What would constitute the perfect evening for you?

My perfect evening entails listening to some music while getting ready to go out, meeting some friends in a pub for a chat and a beer or two before heading off to a good restaurant with them for a lovely meal. Afterwards, return home and watch a little TV with a glass of water before retiring for the night. 

8. Have you ever been to a strip club? 

Yes I have. 

The only times have involved a “stag do”, or as Americans call them, Batchelor Parties. I always find them hilarious places and spend my time standing at the bar, talking to other guys who don’t really want to be there while at the same time avoiding the girls who want “a dance” and also laughing at the lads who are having “a dance”.

I was once told off by one of the girls who was “dancing” with a mate of mine on a “stag do”.

“Will you stop laughing? I’m trying to be sexy!”

That says it all. I haven’t been in one of those places for about 25 years.

9. What is the last thing you said aloud?

I actually said these words to Mrs PM:

“Is Star terrorising next door’s dog again?”

Star, the smaller and braver of my cats, loves winding up next door’s dog, a cute little cockapoo, by sitting on next door’s shed and staring at the dog just out of her reach. It’s funny to watch. 

10. What is the best ice cream flavour? 

I don’t eat much ice cream if I am honest but I do like Häagen-Dazs chocolate chip and cookie dough.

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?

The cup of tea I told you about earlier. 

12. What are you wearing right now?

I am wearing a pale blue polo shirt and jeans. Oh and underwear and socks of course. Oh, and my glasses.

13. What was the last thing you ate? 

I had a bacon and mushroom omelette and some toast for breakfast.

14. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? 

No I haven’t. But I do need to replenish my wardrobe for summer, so I shall probably buy some more polo shirts, shorts and possibly some chinos and jeans within the next few days. 

15. When was the last time you ran?

This morning. I ran to cross a main road while I was on my morning walk. 

Saturday 6 May 2023


Welcome to a cloudy South Manchester with a hint of sunshine and enough heat to require a summer coat to be worn. I am writing this on a day when once again the United Kingdom has gone mad. As I speak, a man in London is sitting in a church waiting for a vicar to place an expensive and very heavy hat on his head.

Yes – today is the coronation of King Charles III, a man who a lot of people in the country expect me to respect and bow my head to if I am ever “fortunate” enough to find myself in his presence. I can’t even call him “Charlie-boy” any more in their eyes (this is what I have called him since I first heard about him all those years ago). 

Apparently I am supposed to refer to him as “His Majesty”.

That will never happen. 

I am doing my best to avoid people who are wetting themselves over today’s pomp and ceremony but I will be travelling to Manchester city centre later and I will almost certainly encounter Royalists who expect me to gush over Charlie-boy. 

I will just smile and ignore them.

Anyway, enough moaning – shall we answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing and put this madness behind us? 

1. A song with a food name.

Back in 1981, Godley and Creme released an album called “Ismism” and on that album is a funny song about a man who is so fat that the he had to have his jaws wired together to avoid eating food, meaning that he can only eat soup through a straw. The poor man dreams about eating food.

The lyrics are quite amusing. Here is an excerpt:

Armies of food invade my sleep

Led by lasagnas ten inches deep

My head is pounding my heart is beating

Cows are mooing sheep are bleating

I'm being haunted by all the meat I've eaten

The song is called “Snack Attack”:

2  A song with an animal in it

Let’s stay in the 1980’s for this one. One of my favourite pop bands from that era – A-ha with “Cry Wolf”:

3  A song about a bird

Let’s move back a decade to the 1970’s for this one. This is one of my favourite songs by the Swedish megastars that are Abba. I don’t believe in the phrase “guilty pleasure” and as a lover of progressive rock and heavy metal people wouldn’t expect me to like them. They are not a “guilty pleasure” – I was genuinely a fan of the band in the 1970’s and I still am. 

Here is “Eagle”, one of my favourite songs by the band:

4  A song about a dog

Back to the 1980’s. Here is Adam and the Ants with “Dog Eat Dog”:

5  A song mentioning a cat

Staying with the 1980’s, another of my favourite artists, the legendary David Bowie with “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”:

6  A song listing a character from Wizard of Oz

Believe it or not, Aerosmith use excerpts from the Wizard of Oz right at the start of “The Farm” and also at the end. Listen carefully:

7  A late night driving song

This song is actually about driving through Japan at night (as the first line of the lyrics confirm). It is called “Night” and is by the legendary Devin Townsend:

8  A song from a movie

Rammstein featured in the movie “XXX” starring Vin Diesel, right at the start of the film.

It's called "Feuer Frei" and here it is:

9  A guilty pleasure song

As I said, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures”. I can imagine how somebody might think that this is a guilty pleasure – it’s not. I love it. 

This is Robyn and “With Every Heartbeat”:

10 A song about friends

A classic from 1979 by Gary Numan-  “Are Friends Electric?”:

11 A song that is about summertime

Joe Satriani – “Summer Song”. The name says it all:

12 A song that needs to be played more on the radio

I’m a huge fan of a band called Riverside from Poland and they deserve more time on the radio. Mind you, I don’t listen to the radio these days.

Here is “Friend or Foe?”:

13 A song about drugs or alcohol

This is Ginger Wildheart with “Drinking in the Daytime”.

14 A song you would sing at karaoke

I’ll do better than that. This is the ONLY song I have ever sung at karaoke and I will never ever sing a song at karaoke again. Deep Purple” – Smoke on the Water:

15 A song from year you were born in

A very silly song called “Right Said Fred” from comedy actor Bernard Cribbins. It’s very British and very very silly - a bit like the state the country is in today.