THERE I was, quietly going about my work on Saturday afternoon and waiting for the footy results to come in, when Nickers said something that made me suck up tea through my nostrils, choke and splutter all over the desk.
Nickers is one of our casual sub editors, a bright girl who shows plenty of initiative, which made her outrageous comment even more surprising.
"I think I've found Rosey the ideal date," she said.
Now, I'm sorry, but did Casanova need a matchmaker? I doubt it.
"What are you laughing at," she protested. "He needs a nice girlfriend."
And obviously Rosey can't find one himself. This is Rosey, we are talking about, who has had about 50 first dates since I've known him (and that's only two years). Let's equate that to me. No girlfriend, four years. Hmm, Rosey obviously needs help.
In fact, Rosey is the lothario equivalent of the magician David Copperfield. We can be walking down the street minding our own business when a good looking member of the opposite sex passes and, voila, Rosey has her phone number. Pure genius.
Still, it's not always gone well for him and so I do feel a wee bit of sympathy. Not enough, you understand, to back this "Let's find Rosey the perfect girlfriend" campaign.
He throws his heart and soul into the dating game, bless him. Perhaps it's because he is just into his 30s and he seems to be invited to a wedding by one mate or another nearly every week. Doesn't want to turn into the male equivalent of an old maid (what would that be? A mouldy Butler?)
Some of those dates haven't gone too well and I think sometimes he tries to impress a tad too much. Over the last year he's learnt the 10 steps to divine happiness after picking up with a kung fu instructor, danced to German folk in lederhosen after meeting a young lady on a train ride from Hamburg to Munich and dived out of a plane without a parachute (of course, I've made all that up, but you get the picture). And with such a decent track record, Rosey has naturally come home sometimes to find his pet rabbit sleeping dangerously close to the cooker.
Of course, I know all about bunny boilers, which is why I've stayed away from the dating game so long. Or maybe it's just because my chances in love have receded in direct alignment with my hairline. My one real encounter with love was about 15 years ago. It was love at first sight, marriage in six months and utter despair in three years. Oh yeah, and we burnt a house down along the way. You could call it a flammable relationship.
Still, I'm ready to launch the "find Rippers the perfect girlfriend" campaign. All she will have to do is let me watch cricket for hours on end, spend two months at the Ashes in Australia, support the Gas and put up with my ranting when they lose, spend hours in the pub and not come near the kitchen while I'm cooking.
People tell me the right girl is out there somewhere and urge me to keep looking. But it's been four years. Why isn't she looking for me, lazy cow??
By the way, Saturday night was hot dogs. A three-minute job.
TALKING of old maids, that is what my great friend Janey always imagined she would end up being - the old maid with the cat. Well, I went to her second child Harry's christening on Sunday, so obviously her worst fears were completely unfounded. As I knew they would be.
She made one of those silly promises once. "If I reach 40 and I'm not married, I'll marry you." Drat! foiled again. Mind you, I have a sneaky suspicion she told my pal Gareth exactly the same thing.
I met Janey 15 years ago. Unsurprisingly it was a meeting which took place in the middle of an alcohol-induced haze. I was trying to get a taxi home after a night out and was first in line at the cab rank. When the woman behind the counter asked me where I wanted to go I said "Cathays". A voice piped up behind me. "That's where I'm going, too! We can share."
Now I wouldn't recommend this approach to single ladies out late at night, but we spent the entire journey home gasbagging, swapped numbers and met up for a drink a couple of weeks later. See Rosie, I can do it too!
It's been a friendship that has perservered through many sticky points throughout the years, and I was at her wedding to Rich two years ago.
Now they have two kids, a nice house and a garden perfect for wiling the afternoon away. It was great weather, too, although by the time I stumbled home at ten that night I was in no fit state to cook. Luckily I'd made a big fry up earlier in the day - bacon, egg (one of Simon's "good" eggs), black pudding, fresh fried tomatoes and mushrooms with two pieces of toast. Hit the spot lovely.
JUST over two months to go until my trip to Australia for the Ashes. It's costing me six grand. Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne for Xmas, Sydney for new year. Can't wait. I don't like cricket, I love it!
I'm putting everything in order before I go and also trying to get a bit fitter. Hence 40 lengths of the swimming pool this morning, followed by a trip to the dentist to make sure my teeth are tip top.
Today I met the new hygienist. Gorgeous. Trouble is you know that you will never get anywhere with someone who has peered deeply into your throat while removing bits of tartar and scum from between your teeth. They always tend to talk to you, too, while digging deep into the recesses of your month.
"Going anywhere nice on holiday?"
It's not the best way to make a first impression, is it?
That night its a recipe I just scribbled down from a TV programme featuring Madhur Jaffrey. It's for lamb curry.
Chunks of Lamb
3 diced vine tomatoes
Ginger and Garlic puree (I use the very lazy garlic from a jar)
Red chilli powder
Put oil in a wok or Karahi (Indian wok)
Fry the sliced onions for 3 or four minutes
Add chunks of lamb (I cut a lamb joint in half, then chopped into chunks)
cook up until lamb changes colour and goes brown
add some squeezes of puree, a good shake of garam masala and 2 tsp chilli powder.
Cook and mix up for a minute or two
Add tomatoes and a good pouring of natural low fat yoghurt.
Season with salt and black pepper
Cook for around 30 to 40 minutes, adding a splash of water to prevent sticking
Serve with plain rice
Becks is on trial this week. Not David Beckham going from Real Madrid to Chelsea or anything like that. In fact, our Becks has joined Celtic. Not Glasgow Celtic either. Celtic Newspapers. They are a group of very successful local papers run on a shoestring and produced thanks to the goodwill of some very hardworking staff. They produce things like the Merthyr Gazette, which everyone buys in Merthyr to see who is in court.
For Becks, it's a bit like being a journeyman with a Premiership team and transferring to Crewe Alexandra as player manager. Or Sheffield Wednesday, because that is the team Becks' supports. Don't know what "Posh" Lins makes of it, mind.
He came into the pub last night, looking a bit shell-shocked by it all. Must be all the bouncing babies, school photos etc that have got to him.
Obviously too many people are reading this blog, particularly those who receive drunken phone calls from me. No one answered last night. In fact, Kempy admitted: "I knew it was you and thought you would be drunk so ignored it. I was watching the football."
Fair play, Kempy.
Still found it possible to make drunken roast lamb with roast spuds, yorkshire pud and gravy. The lamb wasn't drunk, I was.
What you do:
Put on cooker on gas mark 3 to heat up.
Fall asleep for two hours.
Wake up and go to remove your dinner from oven.
Realise its still sitting on the side because you forgot to put it in the oven.
Put lamb in foil and peel and cut potatoes. Put into roasting pan and coat potatoes with some oil (not too much because lamb juices will run out).
Cook for 30/40 minutes.
Remove and put cooker up to gas mark 7 to cook mrs Beaton's frozen yorkshires for 20 mins.
Then put these back in with the lamb and potatoes and put the heat back down to 3. Add some slices of butternut squash (Cook for another 30 mins or until lamb done and potatoes brown.
For the veg:
Fry up some sliced garlic and salt in a pan. Add mange tout and spinach and stir fry until spinach wilts.
Add small amount of hot water from kettle. Cook for another 5 mins.
Meanwhile, make gravy by following instructions on Bisto box.
Serve up on a plate and eat at about midnight while watching the re-run of Lost on E4+1 (not ideal, but there you go).
Probably better to do this one while sober at Sunday lunchtime.