Friday 21 June 2024

Welcome Druids


Welcome to a sunny and warm South Manchester on the longest day of the year. The sun rose at 4:40 am this morning and will set at 21:41 this evening. Realistically it will won’t get dark until after 10pm tonight.

Maybe summer will finally be here now, given the that so far June has been a bit dodgy at best.

Last weekend I saw the Foo Fighters at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and there was a threat of rain all day. Thankfully, we avoided the rain, although it was pretty dull at times with thick grey cloud threatening to unleash it’s contents all over us.

In other news, I can confirm that I am finally going to retire this year. I handed my notice in back in April and will quit forever in the middle of September, marking exactly 40 years of working in IT (almost to the day). I can’t wait. I’ve had enough now and it is time to move on and start doing fun things.

It’s been a blast but enough is enough.

I will have more time to write gibberish on this blog so watch out for much more amateurish, inane drivel.

In the meantime, I will continue to answer silly questions from Sunday Stealing and here are today’s offerings.

1. Are you double jointed?

No thank goodness. I am squeamish about many things and double jointed people are one of those things. I hate it when double jointed people say, “Hey Dave – look what I can do!” before contorting their limbs into unfeasible shapes. The effect is always the same for me and is similar to drinking a pint of brine and then sticking my fingers down my throat.

If you are double jointed, please do me a favour. Demonstrate your amazing contortion skills to people who won’t be hit by a tsunami of nausea when you bend yourself out of shape.

Thank you.

2. Are you ticklish?

I am a little ticklish but I’m not going to tell you where (in case you feel the need to find out whether I am lying). Mrs PM on the other hand is ticklish absolutely everywhere and I sometimes delight into trying to find places where she isn’t ticklish. Sadly, I am usually rewarded with a thump somewhere (deservedly so) and I tend not to do it these days.

3. Cookies, cakes, or donuts?

I like all three but I don’t eat them that much.

In the UK, “cookies” are called biscuits and we have so many varieties around that it is difficult to select my favourites. One of the reasons we don’t buy them is because they wouldn’t last five minutes in our house. We do get them in the office occasionally and they don’t last long there either.

I like most cakes but my favourite is Black Forest Gateau. We had a huge one at Christmas maybe two or three years ago and the day after, I realised (with mock horror) that it had to be eaten in three days. Mrs PM couldn’t eat it because she has a bad reaction to some of the ingredients. I decided to be brave and rid our house of this thing before it expired. It was hard work and a dirty job – but someone had to do it.

Donuts are lovely too but I only eat them at work when somebody is kind enough to bring them in.

4. Did you go to prom?

We didn’t used to have proms in the UK but recently (within the last ten or so years)  these things have started happening here.

Why? I don’t know. It’s yet another element of American culture that we seem to be adopting – like Hallowe’en. It’s probably due to corporations trying to take our money by making us pay for stuff we don’t need.

We could do without it if you want my honest opinion.

Nevertheless, when I was at university we used to go to “balls” and big events involving meals, dancing and alcohol. I think I went to quite a few on occasion as a guest of a lady. They were fun.

5. Do you bite your nails?

No. Biting nails is one of the many things that make my teeth itch. Other things like scraping finger nails down a blackboard or intertwining two forks have the same effect.

6. Do you enjoy dancing?

I used to – and sometimes I still do if the opportunity arises. I’ve danced to all manner of songs in my time but probably the most embarrassing is this one.

I was at a wedding and Mrs PM was demanding that I dance with her. I stalled for a while but then reluctantly I said “I’ll dance to the next one!”

“You promise?” she said.


“Whatever it is?”


The end of the song was arriving and she grabbed my hand and hauled me up to the dance floor in preparation. This was the song.

All of the men, without exception, left the dance floor and I was left dancing to the song with about thirty women, all of them were singing the lyrics out loud, with some of them singing directly at me, including Mrs PM. When it was all over, I left the dance floor and a lot of people were sniggering, and, yes, one of those people was Mrs PM.

It was difficult to live it down.

7. Do you forgive easily?

I try not to bear grudges. I think it’s unhealthy and helps to nurture resentment. Life is too short for that and the older I get the easier it is.

8. Do you prefer to bathe or shower?

I much prefer a shower. It is quick and refreshing and is an essential contributor to my morning ritual. Also, when we are on holiday and walking in the heat, there is nothing better than returning back to the hotel and cooling off with a cold shower (not too cold but cold enough not to be painful).  

9. Does your name have any special meaning?

My name is Dave (or David if you prefer – I don’t but some Dave’s like it). It comes from Hebrew and means “beloved”. When I was at Catholic junior school we spent a lot of time studying the Bible and the story of David and Goliath was one of my favourites – mainly because he had my name.

10. Have you ever gone camping?

Not really. I camped in a friend’s back garden once, and I didn’t really enjoy it if I’m honest.

11. Have you ever won something?

Yes. I won a disco compilation album when I was 13. I have won a lot of raffles over the years too with prizes ranging from a cake to a fishing kit. I’ve also won a few prizes at school.

More recently, I have won one-off work awards for (apparently) “going above and beyond the call of duty”. I must admit that I don’t like such awards because I think they are unfair.

My biggest claim to fame was that I won the Football Pools and the National Lottery in the same week. The Football Pools involves predicting the scores of several football games and the prize can be in the millions of pounds. Similarly in the National Lottery you can win obscene amounts of cash.

My prizes?

£10 on the National Lottery and £15 on the Football Pools.

That’s all. Obviously I’m in Lady Luck’s little black book of naughty boys!

12. What did you last eat?

I had a chicken salad for lunch.

13. What's your longest relationship so far?

That would be with Mrs PM. We have been together now for almost 26 years. That’s a long time for a woman to put up with me.

14. Have you ever been on a diet?

I’ve tried a couple of times to just remove a few excess pounds. I’m not fat at all but I am a little overweight. I don’t need to lose much to fit into the recommended BMI range. When I was younger I was a skinny little runt and although I did a lot of exercise, I was actually underweight. All that changed when I hit 45 and since then I have discovered that weight doesn’t drop off easily and you simply can’t eat as much food as you did when you were 18.

To be honest, for the past few years, I’ve been trying to eat sensibly and that seems to keep my weight under control. That’s why I tend not to eat cakes, biscuits, chocolate and other food that piles on the pounds. I sometimes fail though, especially on holiday and at Christmas.

15. Do you enjoy DIY or crafts?

Not at all. When it comes to crafts, I have zero creativity. I can barely tie my own shoelaces.

I have some DIY skills though. I can paint, build furniture (from places like IKEA), I can put up shelves and I dabble with electrical stuff like light fittings and things like that. Usually when it comes to DIY I look to see if I can do it and then if I can’t I get a man in. I would never touch things like plumbing or build anything out of brick for example.

I am not this guy.

Do I like DIY?

Absolutely not. I hate it.

Friday 7 June 2024


Welcome to a dull and cloudy South Manchester. It’s windy and the threat of rain hangs in the air. Has summer arrived yet?

The UK election trundles on with claims, counter claims and, in some cases, total lies. I am already sick of it and we have to wait another couple of weeks before it is all over. It’s going to be painful.

Here are some more silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1.  Are you afraid of the dark?

I have been in the past, but only when I’ve watched something scary on TV. When thoughts about the scary programme or film fade from my memory my fear of the dark fades with it. Some of the programmes that have triggered my scotophobia are:

Dracula – a British horror film made in 1958, starring Christopher Lee as the count.

The Exorcist – still to this date the scariest film I have ever seen.

Salem’s Lot – a made for TV miniseries based on the Stephen King book and starring David Soul.

Paranormal Activity – a found footage film about a supernatural entity in a young couple’s house.

Rec – a Spanish horror film about something horrible hiding in an apartment block.

These days I am totally fine in the dark – unless I hear a strange noise …

2.  Can you curl your tongue?

Yes I can. Is that a weird thing to do?

3.  Can you wiggle your ears?

No I can’t. Is that weird? 

4.  Did you ever participate in a talent show?

Absolutely not. I have no talent whatsoever. 

5.  Do you have any piercings or tattoos?

Not one. The thought of having a piercing or a tattoo makes me cringe. 

6.  Do you prefer Mac or PC?

I prefer a PC because I have been using them for work for over thirty years and I am very familiar with Windows and how it has evolved since its inception. I’ve hear good things about Macs but I tend not to buy Apple products as they are overpriced.

7.  Do you still have our wisdom teeth?

Yes – but the haven’t emerged yet. One of them is parallel to my jawbone and hasn’t moved at all. My dentist says that I will probably know when and if it decides to move but says there is no need to take any action at the moment. 

8.  Do you watch cartoons?

The only cartoon I watch these days is The Simpsons but I don’t watch it on a regular basis. 

9.  Have you ever been hospitalized?

No, thank goodness. I hate hospitals. 

10. Have you had braces?

I assume you mean for my teeth (as opposed to the things that are meant to keep trousers up). The answer is yes – I have had two. The first one was to straighten my back teeth and wasn’t actually visible. But it was painful and I hated it. The second one was to straighten my front teeth and that was clearly visible and very uncomfortable.

11. Were you ever a Girl or Boy Scout? (Or a brownie)

No. That was a privilege I never had. 

12. What is one food you refuse to eat?

Rhubarb. I hate the stuff. It makes me physically sick and I feel quite nauseous just thinking about it. How anybody can stomach rhubarb is beyond me. 

13. What's the most expensive item of clothing that you own?

That’s a good question. It is probably my black tie suit. Quite a few years ago now, I went to a black tie event and hired one but then a couple of more came up so I decided to splash out and buy one, to save money. I’ve had it a while now and, incredibly, it still fits me. 

14. What's your favourite foreign food?

The best food I have eaten on my travels is Chinese food in China itself. The Chinese eat a lot of bizarre food but as long as you know what you are eating it is incredible. I was working there and we were taken to lunch in what looked like a cheap restaurant and, as the guest, I was asked to select the food for everyone. The strange thing was that this wasn’t from the menu itself. I was taken into the kitchen and asked to select the food. I had no clue what I was doing and I turned to my host and said “I have no idea what to pick.” He asked me what I didn’t like and I told him that I didn’t want any insects (which they do eat) or any “delicacies”, i.e. anything strange. In the end, we selected traditional meats such as pork, chicken and beef with his choice of vegetables and rice etc. He walked over to two chefs who were slaving over a couple of huge woks and told them. 

When the food came I was a little worried but I needn’t have been. We had loads of delicious dishes that were simply amazing. And because the owner of the restaurant wasn’t used to Westerners, he came out and asked me directly if I had enjoyed the food (via my colleague as an interpreter). I had nothing but praise. 

And I can say with my hand on my heart, all the trips I have had to China (about seven in total) the food is the best bit. It is not like the Chinese food you get in the UK – it is so much better. 

15. Who's your favourite fictional character?

That’s a good question. I like Jason Bourne from the original Robert Ludlum books. I would recommend all three books, even if you have seen the movies, because they are different stories and so much better (even though I love the movies too). 

 I also like Harry Keough, the protagonist in Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series of books. Harry Keough can communicate with the dead and learns things from them, giving him ultimately, the ability to teleport. And he needs of these abilities because he ends up fighting the most horrific vampires ever created.