Just Bloody Priceless….

September 28, 2009

A simply brilliant story (Daily Mail) that shows the United Kingdom and it’s Nanny State ways has finally tipped over into bonkers….

Mothers are banned from looking after each other’s children

By Sarah Harris
Last updated at 3:28 PM on 26th September 2009

Two working mothers have been banned from looking after each other’s toddlers because they are not registered childminders.

The close friends’ private arrangement had let them both return to part-time jobs at the same company.

However, a whistleblower reported them to the education watchdog Ofsted and it found their informal deal broke the law.

Two young mothers enjoy a picnic with their children

This was because little-known rules say friends cannot gain a ‘reward’ by looking after a child for more than two hours outside the child’s home without agreeing to a number of checks including one from the Criminal Records Bureau.

Although the mothers never paid each other, their job-sharing deal was judged to be a ‘reward’. Campaigners fear thousands of working families could be innocently breaking the rules by relying on close friends for informal childcare.

A Downing Street petition in protest at the treatment of the two mothers has already received 1,600 signatures.

Educational campaigner Dr Richard House labelled the case as ‘absolutely scandalous’.


The End of Days….

September 28, 2009

And when I could take it no longer and had endured more hell than any stay at home Dad could ever be expected to suffer and when the pain had become unbearable and I knew in my heart that I had done as much as I could, that I had reached the end of my tether and that I had no more to give I called Becky.

“We have to go back to the way it was!” I pleaded. “This is not for me. I am not cut out for this. God knows I’ve tried and I’ve given it my best shot but I am not meant for this role. I am a hunter gatherer. I am a provider. I need to be out being a captain of industry, leading the brand, changing the industrial landscape. I am like Sherman McCoy in Bonfire of the Vanities. I just don’t think I can do this stay at home Dad any longer! Any longer I tell you!”

“Okay,” said Becky in long drawn out way. “I can kind of see your point…. but it’s not even half past ten in the morning…. of your first day looking after the boy. And wasn’t Sherman McCoy having an affair… and generally a bit of an idiot”

“That’s not really the point.” I interject, hoping that if I say it forcefully enough Becky may get distracted. “I was just trying to illustrate that you are a wonderful, natural mother… and I want you to be with your son. Anyway, he sicked up on the TV remote control and now all I can get is the God Channel and it’s doing my head in!”

“Why did he have the remote control in the first place,” asked Becky in that very controlled way she does when I know I may shortly have to side step a hurricane.” I thought we agreed no TV?”

“Ah, yes, well… so you did.. but,but,but,but,but,” I stammer sounding like an old moped trying to start on a frosty morning. “This was not ‘normal’ TV, this was educational TV… we were watching a historical drama.” I say feeling justified.

“Really? What was it,” she asks with little emotion.

“Er, it was 300, the Gerard Butler film. The whole Spartan thing is a massively important time in history you know!” I say knowing that I may as well get my coat now.

“Whaaaaaaatttt!?” roared my lovely partner, and I am pretty sure she muttered something about being right home before the phone crashed down about my ears.

Tonight we dine in hell... and then sleep on the couch.

Tonight we dine in hell... and then sleep on the couch.

This morning was a momentous time in our house. After long debate my partner Becky and I decided that for part of the week I would go out to work and she would stay at home and look after the boy and then for the rest of the week – and this is where you race to your phone to call social services – I would stay at home and look after the boy while she went to work.

“Whaaaatttt!” I hear you cry. “It can’t be… you are a Terrified Dad! You are a bloody imbecile who should not be left in charge of hamsters let alone a real live child! There will be bedlam! Before you can say ‘involved in satanic rituals’ the child will be dressed like a gypsy and probably have his nose pierced. This cannot be allowed!!!”

Alright, alright… let’s not lose the head. Sure, I may not be as good a hands on parent as Becky is now, but that’s what this time is all about – learning. It may be a steep learning curve for me but I have also been given a list by my long suffering partner to help me through the day:

  • Do not take the boy to the pub
  • Do not watch sport all day.
  • You and the boy must both be dressed before noon.
  • Do not improvise with the baby food – children do not eat beef jerky.
  • Do not use the boy to flirt with mothers in the local coffee houses.

With this kind of guidance what could possibly go wrong?

Well Hello Dollface.... Where have you been all my life?

Well Hello Dollface.... Where have you been all my life?

There is a point in new parenthood when everything becomes exceedingly interesting and incredibly boring all at the same time.

My son is now six months old, eating solids (pooing solids), drinking from a cup – albeit extremely messily and making a noise that sometimes even sounds vaguely like Daddy. To my partner Becky and I these advents herald a great deal of excitement in our house.

“He just said Daddy!”I will declare with chest thumping pride.

“Hmmm… perhaps,” Becky will counter. “But to be honest it sounded more like Andy!”

“Andy? Why the hell would he say Andy? Who the hell is Andy?” And I eye Becky with suspicion and try to remember the name of our milk man.

However, parenthood is always a double edged sword and amidst all this excitement I have to admit it really has taken a turn for the boring. I am bored sterilising bottles. I am bored preparing formula milk. I am bored collapsing the pram and assembling the pram and still not really knowing how to do it properly after six months. I am bored doing 63 clothes washes a week. I am bored being generally covered in drool.

Now, this could sound as if I am being slightly churlish. All these jobs go hand in hand with having a baby and I realise that, but even the most heaven sent earth mother would have to admit that after six months it-all-gets-a-little-fucking-tedious!

This does not mean that I find my son tedious. Far from it. It just seems that as he gets more interesting all the little things that surround him become skull splittingly boring. And this is what I was thinking as I lay, once again, awake at 4am listening to my son call for me from across the hallway. “Andy! Andy!” He called.

“Coming son,” I replied wearily and climbed from my bed.


Inside Rippemoff and Grabbim the children’s toy makers: “So, Mr Rippemoff we have a new toy for the kiddies. It’s completely made of plastic, they will get bored of it in under three weeks and it cost 12 pence to make. What do you think we should charge gullible parents out there?”

“Well Mr Grabbim, retail’s general operating profit is usually around 20% but let’s take a leaf out of The Big book of Lehman Brothers Banking and mark this bad boy up by at least 300%. Remember, it’s parents we are selling to! Those idiots will buy anything!”

And so last week my partner Becky and I find ourselves handing over ‘oh my good god’ pounds to a spotty, moronic store assistant in Mothercare for the latest Fisher Price ‘Jumperoo’. This contraption looks like a cross between something from the original Invisible Man series starring David McCallum and the time machine in StarGate Atlantis.

“I am not putting my son in that thing!” I said at first. “I saw what happened to Jeff Goldblum in The Fly!”

“That’s relatively unlikely to happen to our boy,” replied Becky. “And anyway, Jo has one and she says that Ben will keep himself occupied for up to an hour.”

“We’ll take it!” I snapped, proving that an hours peace and my own sanity can be bought by some high tensile plastic and a dangling parrot.

$1 dollar! No, this is to keep my child quiet, you must charge me much much more!

$1 dollar! No, this is to keep my child quiet, you must charge me much much more!

I used to pride myself on being a ‘completer finisher.’ I was a completer finisher even to my own detriment. I would be so obsessed with actually having the job done, completed and over with that I would not actually enjoy the doing of the job.

Now, while taking the bins out may be one of those jobs you just want over with life is also filled with little jobs that are both infinitely rewarding and massively enjoyable. Pottering in the garden, doing odd jobs around the house, tinkering with the car and generally putting things in order. These kinds of activities were once a perfect weekend for me, made me feel at ease with my soul and by Sunday evening I was relaxed and ready to go back to work.

However, when you have a child things change. Time speeds up, weekends disappear and the needs of your offspring come way before spending two hours under the hood of your 1979 MG. Now my back fence is fixed at one side and shored up by a plank of wood at the other. The creaky floor board at the top of the stairs that I swear I will fix each time I stand on it and wake my son up continues to creak and wake my son up. The floor in our bedroom still need to be painted and I still promise Becky every weekend that I will get round to it. I would be being far more honest if I just said, ‘look, in my heart I do want to do all these jobs but we really should just get a man in ‘cos let’s be realistic, it’s never going to happen!’


The best lie I have heard a parent tell their child was this afternoon in a children’s shoe shop. A perplexed child was standing next to the machine that measures children’s feet.

“What does this do Daddy?” The child asked curiously.

Without missing a beat the grumpy father looked at his son and said, “it’s a giant microwave that burns the feet off naughty children so that their parents don’t have to buy them any more shoes.”


Bring me Sunshine!

September 10, 2009

Perhaps it’s because we hardly ever go out anymore. Or maybe it’s to do with the fumes from the amount of baby poo we have to deal with. Or it could just be down to pure exhaustion through lack of sleep, but our conversation has turned from the banal to the surreal over the last week or so.

Having sat through the blockbusting pile of dirge that is the film ‘Knowing’, starring Nicholas Cage my partner Becky and I ended up having a rather heated argument about alien abduction.

In all fairness the argument was probably brought on by A: All the reasons I have already listed and B: Being new parents, when you actually do get two whole hours to yourself the last thing you want to do is waste it watching a pile of crap – Whoops! There goes two hours of my life I’m never getting back!

Anyhoo, you are probably thinking that the argument centred around whether alien abduction does or does not exist or if people who say they have been abducted by aliens are simply all crack pots. Oh no, that would be far too sensible. Our argument was about if we knew the world was inevitably going to be burned to a crisp by rogue solar flares and aliens happened to pop along and chose our son Noah to be abducted so that the human race could continue on another planet in a different galaxy would I let him go?

I should have realised that this was a clever ploy by Becky to lure me into a lose, lose situation – such a female way of arguing. When I ventured that I would send our own little Noah off in a new age alien ark to start over Becky was aghast that I could let our only child go so easily. When I hastily recanted this argument and said I would want him to stay on the doomed planet earth with us she was horrified that I would not want my son to live through the impending destruction of our fair, green planet.

Being a parent is a wonderful journey. When else would you end up sleeping on a sofa having fallen out over differing points of view on a solar induced armageddon?


I grew up watching some great TV series and some even better movies. My friends and I would act out scenes from Starsky and Hutch and Magnum as we played in the back garden of my parent’s house and for a long time I actually wanted to be Tom Selleck… I even liked his moustache!

TV in my era was great. It was gritty and brown. It was flared and drove classic American muscle cars and did not stand for any nonsense. Most importantly it had not yet become a sad, piss taking pastiche of how good it used to be – and for the sake of my son’s televisual enjoyment this now terrifies me.

My son may grow up thinking that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are Starsky and Hutch, that Johnny Depp is Willy Wonka, that Mark Whalberg played the lead in The Italian Job or that Rollerball is a terrible film starringĀ  that bloke from American Pie! This is just not on!

Modern day Hollywood is destroying our classic TV shows and ruining films that no one should mess with and our children are not going to realise the truth.

‘Yeah’, I hear you say. ‘Are our kids really any worse off just because Nicole Kidman has made an arse of Bewitched?’ Perhaps not I would reluctantly agree, but have you looked at what has been slated for release in 2010? A remake of Magnum that Tom and his moustache will go nowhere near, a new version of Silence of the Lambs and a remake of The Shining!

Where will it end, Star Wars with Zac Efron as Luke and Lindsey Lohan Princess Leia? Kill me now!


There was a time when I loathed out of town retail parks. I hated them with every part of my body. All those shops lined up next to each other, built with the same bland breeze block and only their garish mast head signs differentiating one from the other.

These malls were the choice of the brain dead, those with no imagination. Sloth like people who probably had Domino’s Pizza on their speed dial and worried about getting their car parked right-outside-their-house!

I was not one one of those people. I was windswept and interesting, bohemian and well travelled, a shopping nomad who liked to search out nik naks and treasures from tiny shops in obscure lanes in even more obscure towns and villages – and then my partner and I had a baby.

Suddenly these shopping oasis’ (oasis’s? Oasii?) changed from being the spawn of beelzebub’s gusset to three hours of wonderful entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. Not only were these trips useful but I actually found myself looking forward to them. They were fast becoming the highlight of my sad sack social life.

  • I could shop in over thirty different retail outlets but still park my car really nearby!
  • Not only could I shop, but when I grew tired there was a food court where I could rest my weary legs, have a bite to eat, feed my son and even chat to fellow sad sack new parents!
  • Every single shop – and the pavements that link these wonderous boutiques – is paved with lovely smooth, shiny floors that the pram glides effortlessly over and there is no danger of me hitting a kerb and catapulting my son head first out of his buggy – again.

And so I ask you to give them a chance. Join my collective (it’s not a cult!) of new parents by saying no to individuality. Get in your car, Get on the ring road and follow the signs to the Retail Park. You never know, you may just like it.

Ther wide open concrete spaces of Retail Land are calling you!

Ther wide open concrete spaces of Retail Land are calling you!