Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thai red pork curry with pickled garlic

MY friend's spouse Sian has just won the Rippers Wife of the Year award for her outstanding devotion to duty. I know I am taking my life in my hands here, and inviting a fatwah from women's lib organisations throughout the UK, but I feel it would be remiss of me not to recount her astonishing feat of self-sacrifice in order to keep her hubby happy.
On the gilt-edged scroll she will now receive from yours truly, I will emboss the message I received on e-mail from my old school pal Haydn this morning.

The commendation reads:
"I have a wonderful wife, she left the house at 7.00 this morning to queue for Rovers tickets for the West Brom game, and we’ve managed to get two for you. It looks like we probably got some of the last tickets available, Sian thinks there will be hundreds of very disappointed people."

Outstanding - and rest assured Wren has been fully kept in the loop about this selfless devotion to duty. In fact, the truth is Sian won't be going to the game herself. In a further e-mail she informed me that her son Liam would rather have his dad to himself at these big games, so she will be forced to stay at home (well, that's her excuse and she is sticking to it).

Meanwhile, I omitted to mention a little tale of the true nature of my profession and how we have to suffer for the cause and take our life in our hands to bring our loyal readers the service they expect.
Last week The Voice of God was dispatched to Milford Haven in search of a story. The person he was trying to track down was linked to a notorious murderer featured in every national newspaper.
After spending some time in deepest West Wales in search of his prey, he finally tracked his target down. Knocking on the door he was greeted by a rather large gentleman who, after The Voice had introduced himself, looked over his shoulder into the road.
"Is that your car, mate?" asked this gargantuan bloke.
"Yeh, that's right," replied The Voice.
"Then get back in it and f*** off," he was told, menacingly.
No doubt The Voice will have his revenge in the not-too-distant future. Expect a story in the papers of a plague of locusts descending on this west Wales outpost very soon.

Last night, after a few beers with the Prince of Darkness, I ventured home to cook a thai curry. I had bought one of those big rolls of cooked belly pork that you get in supermarkets and decided to adapt a recipe from my new stir fry book - the one Wren generously bought me for my birthday.
The recipe itself suggests you use uncooked meat, but my version speeds up the time immensely and is very tasty, too.
1 tablespoon of groundnut or peanut oil
Strips of cooked pork
a clove of garlic, crushed
a tablespoon of crushed ginger
two tablespoons of coconut cream (or the cream off the top of a tin of coconut milk)
two tablespoons of thai red curry paste
bok choi
a tsp of sugar
a tsp of turmeric
a splash or two of vegetable stock
some pickled garlic from one of those lazy garlic jars
half a lemon

Heat the oil in a wok
Add the crushed garlic and stirred, without burning
Then add the coconut cream and the thai red curry paste and continued to stir.
Add the strips of pork and mix into the sauce til covered
Add the ginger, turmeric, sugar and stock
simmer for a while, then add the bok choi, separated into separate storks
Continue cooking
Add a large squeeze of lemon and some shredded flat leaf parsley
Serve with boiled rice

I ate this watching one of the most boring FA Cup ties of the Year: Middlesbrough v Sheffield United. The BBC are making a habit of selecting the most soul-destroying cup ties - Even Gary Lineker suggesting as much afterwards. Hope the Gas are on Sky.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Garlic Bread?

MY girlfriend Wren decided she was really going to test our relationship at the weekend. Feeling she needed a "change of scene" she went to look at a new flat, then asked for my advice. On Tuesday we went along: And I was shocked to find out that it was a sparrow's fart's distance from Ashton Gate, home of the sporting team of my nightmares - Bristol City.
Well, I can tell you, it took me a whole five minutes to rant about my disapproval and come up with a miriad of reasons why it was not wise to move to Bedminster, the most appalling one being that she might find I no longer came over to visit! Even as I said it I was cursing myself for resorting to such underhand tactics.
Still, I suffered my punishment. We then set off for Bath, took a wrong turning and ended up in Stockwood on the outskirts of Brizl.

Now, I haven't had many good experiences in Stockwood. In fact, I have only been there twice in my life. The first time was a good 27 years ago in the company of my sadly departed friend Dexter.
A mate of his was having a party there so we rounded up a crew and travelled across Bristol to this forbidding outpost, an estate in the middle of nowhere, on the understanding that we would be able to bunk down there for the night. Wrong!
At about 2am in the morning the hostess decided there wasn't room for the likes of us village folk and we had to leave. By then, unfortunately, we had spent all our money on beer and had nothing left for a taxi. So began the 12-14 mile trek back "home" to Winterbourne.
The start of the journey, even though it was fairly cold, was a bit of a laugh as we were still feeling the warming effects of the alcohol we had consumed. But after about a mile and a half it became a bit tedious.
By the time we reached Bristol Temple Meads Station we were freezing, dehydrated, bored and tired. For a time we ended up hunkering down in phone boxes at the station, trying to regain our strength for the final nine-mile haul. One of our team - I seem to recall it was a lad called Doug Poole, who famously always tucked his shirts into his underpants to prevent them from creasing - walked into the offices of the British Transport Police to demand we be given a cell for the night. For once in my life I failed desperately to get banged up. The walk continued.
Finally, by about 8am the following morning, we made it back to base camp, tired and emotional, falling into bed as soon as we got through the door. An adventure never to be forgotten.

As soon as I saw the sign for Stockwood I began to quiver but assured Wren: "Don't worry, if we keep driving we'll be out of here in no time."
Wrong again.
Stockwood appears to be just one huge estate and just as you think you are getting out of it, you turn a corner and find you're back at square one. It's a bit like the Truman Show, the Prisoner and the Blair Witch Project all rolled into one.
Wren, ignoring my pleas to keep driving (it is a rule of mine that you never admit you're wrong and turn back or, for that matter, check a map) stopped the car in the middle of said estate and dug out the A-Z. After what seemed an age we eventually came across what we were looking for - a route out of the maze - and continued on our journey to Bath.

THE weather was beautiful but cold, and it had been a long time since I'd been to this picturesque Spa town, but it was well worth the trip. We visited the Saracens Head for lunch, an enjoyable steak and chips with garlic bread and garlic mushrooms to share (and avoided breathing on anyone afterwards). We then went in search of the Hilton Hotel where Wren used to work as a chambermaid, and followed that with a nostalgic trip to the Island Club or, as it was affectionately called, Bog Island.
Now closed, this was a public toilet in the middle of a traffic island which had been converted into a nightclub. Once again the memories came flooding back, this time of Dexter's stag night and the episode in which 20 of us on this occasion had no trouble in getting banged up. We spent about five hours in a cell after the evening's celebrations after Dex's future best man smashed the window of a supermarket.
After that the sun went down and we headed back to Bristol, having enjoyed a brief shopping spree and cashed in on a few CD bargains at HMV. Wren also managed to buy me a belated birthday present from a quirky little shop called Plain Lazy which sells T shirts and hoodies bearing humorous slogans like "Reduce your carbon footprint... stay in bed". Well, it was amusing at the time.
Followed that with a visit to the parents, an enjoyable chinese and a trip home across the bridge. A lovely day, and by then Wren had decided that living in the middle of Bristol City territory was probably not the best thing for her love life. Sorry, babe!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Best-ever pork scratchings

I have no qualms in "outing" the Prince of Darkness to his fellow bloodsucking creatures of the night. With a moniker like that you would expect the nocturnal one to rise from his coffin of a morning, suck on the newly-opened arteries of a young virgin (or Yard Bird, whatever comes first to hand), run his skeletal claws through his long flowing locks, throw on a cape and leave the house.
Rang him this morning to wish him good luck on a certain venture he was obliged to take part in. "Hang on a minute," he protested. "I'm in the middle of blow-drying my hair." Lummy days, that's another myth shattered.
Last night was a classic Thirsty Thursday meeting. These things seem to have taken over from Wednesday club, mainly because my fellow hacks are all now getting on in years and need more than a day to recover from Boozeday Tuesday. It turned into a good old rant fest, I seem to recall, with the odd moan from the wonderful Withers and a great deal of swearing from me brought on, in the main part, by a swiftly digested four pints of Carling.
As usual work was the main topic, at least til the chips turned up with a vast array of sauces, which immediately sent Smashy into an abrupt silence. Very nice they were too.
The Fugitive, meanwhile, continues to grow his beard with gay abandon. It was suggested we all had a beard growing competition but with him now doing a passable impression of George Michael we would be playing some futile game of catch-up.
Bad Manners, while not part of our drinking cartel last night, got herself into a fine old mess this morning. Turning up breathless, she announced: "Sorry I'm late... locked myself out of the house."
That sounds bad enough in itself, but then the truth came out. Not only was she stranded outside her house with no keys, but she was in her nightie, with no slippers, and no chance of getting back inside until a helpful neighbour came to her aid.
And why was she outside? "I went to collect the milk and the door slammed shut behind me." A likely excuse.
Last night I was in no fit state to cook so instead opted for half a packet of pork scratchings which, in my opinion, are the best on the planet. I have found them on sale in my local corner shop and I must say I am absolutely addicted to them. Don't think they are that good for me mind but, hey, you only live once.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

chorizo with potatoes

IN the great spirit of togetherness, WoS has been borrowing reporters from our sister paper the Echo without shame over the last few weeks - mainly because our own staff have been dropping like flies.
Somehow Nathan managed to contract a nasty case of pneumonia and we are all wishing him well while secretly hoping he will be back at work soon (Withers, for one, is anxious he makes a swift recovery because apparently he lent Nathan his Seinfeld box set).
You may also wonder what has happened to Monsieur de Le Boussier. Well, the yacht-owning, posh-talking, perpetually suntanned young bon viveur is currently enjoying the joys of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, having landed one of the much sought-after MeejaWales training places. He assures me he is now up to 70 words-a-minute shorthand and loving every minute at his temporary home, though what the ladies of the Bigg Market make of the monocled mutineer with the posh, twit-of-the-year show accent I cannot guess. I imagine they will eat him for breakfast.
The Fab BB is now settling into his stride in the big smoke, having landed himself a glitzy pad in the re-born East End, well within the sound of Bow Bells. Next time I see him he will probably be speaking and dancing in the manner of 'Arry 'Awkins.
Mind you, it didn't all go to plan early on, I am told, particularly as he realised the boiler was situated next to his head in the airing cupboard of a bedroom that he is paying £700 a month to live in. Aah, London, how I miss it.
The first few weeks you couldn't get him off the phone. Methinks he was angling for a quick return to WoS but I am sure now the dust has settled he is enjoying himself a bit more. Last I heard from him he was at a Men Dressed As Ladies Night in Vauxhall. Didn't say whether he was in the front or the back.
So that is three members of staff out of the loop leaving Catherine Mary Evans, The Voice of God and the Wonderful Withers keeping the WoS flag flying. We are all working like dervishes, but thankfully in the new spirit of cooperation, Nicey has been extra nice and lent us some of his staff. First we had Gavin 'Des' O'Connor, then Katie "the body" Bodinger and this week it's Katie "stormin'" Norman. Hope they have enjoyed their spell on the newspaper equivalent of the Marie Celeste. We've enjoyed their company.

Last night I made my way straight home. Thankfully Wren's technical acumen has meant that I have a few new sounds on my portable music thingy (forgotten what you call them, was thinking it was an MVP player but then realised that suggested you walked around with an American Football Player hanging off your ears). Have added The Editors latest album (no not him! the band), plus the second album by the Kings of Leon and somewhere, I believe, I also have LCD Sound System, but I have yet to find the daft punks.

I got out the new Nigel Slater book that Wren bought me for my birthday and found a really good Nigella Lawson recipe inside for chorizo with potatoes. Just to make it a bit more substantial I added a tin of chick peas.
You need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped into small cubes
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
One large chorizo sausage, sliced
3/4 waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in half
Tin of chick peas
100 mms of dry sherry (but I used a good couple of sploshes of Madeira wine)
hot water to cover
salt and pepper
chopped coriander to garnish

Heat oven to 180 degrees.
Put ovenproof saucepan on hob, add oil and heat up.
Then add the onions, cook on medium to low heat to sweat for five minutes.
Add garlic and cook for further two minutes.
Add sliced chorizo and continue to cook and stir.
Pour in madeira or sherry and stir. At this point I sprinkled over a small amount of flour to thicken the sauce.
Add potatoes, then hot water to cover. Add chick peas.
Cook for five minutes, taste for seasoning and add if required.
Cook for further five minutes then transfer to the oven.
Cook for half an hour then serve and garnish with the coriander.
It makes a really nice, tasty winter snack which can be eaten with crusty bread, though I found it was enough on its own.

After that watched Manchester United grab a late, late draw in Lyon in the Champions League. On the other side, Celtic put up a brave fight (so I'm told) before going down 3-2 to Barcelona at home. They won't be relishing the second leg because, according to most unbiased critics, it was a football masterclass.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

smelly cheese

I TOOK a step back in time on Sunday when Wren and I drove up to Swansea in the glorious February sunshine - good old global warming, eh? Arriving at the Marina I was disappointed to find that a lot of the bars along the waterfront, like the Ribcage, were now closed down. Still, it was nice to sit outside the Tug and Turbot and enjoy a coke while listening to the boats rocking gently in the harbour.
For lunch we decided to take a stroll up Wind Street and, I'm glad to say, there was still one blast from the past which has survived the invasion of chain restaurants and bars. The No Sign wine bar was exactly where it used to be when I was a sports writer on the South Wales Evening Post. It still has its unique, down-at-heel ambience although how long it will survive will depend on attracting customers through the door.
This place used to be heaving when we made it a regular haunt back in the late 80s, advertising champagne breakfast with a particular Welsh touch, lavabread, cockles and bacon being served on the morning of big rugby internationals. I particularly remember it being busy during the first rugby World Cup way back in 1987.
In those days it was part-run by the former Wales international, the now departed Clem Thomas, who used to hold court in the restaurant area while tucking into his lunch.
One day in particular springs to mind. I had an interview with Wales on Sunday a few days before Christmas and was keen to head back west because of the Evening Post Christmas party. After playing catch-up with the other hard-boozing hacks, midway through the afternoon I remembered having to call the WoS sports editor Chris Baldock to establish whether I had got the job. He told me I had and gave me a start date.
Next morning, nursing the hangover from hell, I could barely recall the conversation. I knew I had the job but had no idea when I was to start. To discover the date I had to employ all my cunning. I knew that a fellow sports hack in Swansea, Gareth Roberts, had already got a job there so I persuaded him to ring the new boss and just ask during the conversation when I might be starting. After a great deal of groaning he came up trumps: January 24, 1989, the day after my birthday. Phew! And so started a long association with Wales on Sunday which, next year, will have spanned 20 years. I hope the old paper is still going then, taking into account all the changes going on within Meeja Wales. There must be an anniversary party sometime.
Back to Sunday and after a very enjoyable carvery we took a trip back past the new Liberty Stadium, an impressive building which now houses both Swansea City and the Ospreys. It makes the old St Helen's ground and weed-strewn Vetch look like carbuncles from a bygone era. After that we took the general direction of my old house in Morriston, the one that caused me so many problems because of a mortgage shortfall after the lodger somehow managed to burn it down. It has now been replaced by a dual carriageway.
Heading for home we took a pleasant trip down the Heads of the Valleys road, cutting back through Aberdare and Pontypridd to Cardiff. An enjoyable trip down memory lane.

I'm not known to lose my temper over much. Well, ok, I lose it at the drop of a hat. And it happened on Monday morning. Having rung up Maindy Swimming Pool to inquire about the schools rota I was told none would be in until 11. Wren and I hotfooted it down there ASAP (well, we took Basil actually, but that doesn't sound so dramatic) only to find that one lane was closed off for kids and grannies and that two other youngsters were being coached in another. One lane was left, therefore, for the general paying public. Ooh, I wasn't a happy bunny.
After subjecting Wren to a tirade, even though none of this was her fault, it suddenly struck me that the new international pool had just opened in Cardiff Bay, so we set off to have a look.
What a fantastic complex! There are around 12 lanes for serious swimmers, a huge fun pool for kids with water slides, tubes and fountains all over the place, and with it being completely housed in glass you can swim along while enjoying the sun streaking through the window (mind you, it might not be such a welcoming sight on a cold, wet Wales day).
It being a 50 metre pool it actually takes some effort to swim a few lengths. I kept having to convert them into old money (ie the distance I would have swum if I'd been in Maindy) and managed 26 in all. Good effort.
In the afternoon we went to see No Country For Old Men, the new Coen Brothers film with Tommy Lee Jones, which was pretty violent, thought provoking and enjoyable, though the ending left me a bit flummoxed. Home then via the Tut for a couple of drinks and then a lazy night in front of the TV.

On Sunday night I decided to open some new cheese I had bought called Port Salut. It was very smelly, a bit like old feet, but tastes fanstastic when it is mixed into a dish like the pasta one I cooked.
First I roasted vegetables in olive oil - red onion cut into wedges, half an aubergine diced, some big red pepper chunks, four peeled cloves of garlic, four rosemary sprigs and a sliced courgette.
Meanwhile I cooked Penne pasta according to the instructions. When done I rinsed it and returned it to the saucepan, added more olive oil and then the port salut chunks. Mixed that together with some salt and pepper, then added the roasted vegetables, tossed together and served up with some halves of on-the-vine cherry tomatoes and some chopped flat leaf parsley as garnish. It was a good discovery and I'll be eating it again.
Meanwhile congrats to Scooby, who has just past the big 5-0. He went out at the weekend with some mates and it sounds like a good night was had by all.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Meteor pizza (mmmm...) and Gas Mark 6

WOW, I've got a nose bleed. The Gas, my team, my glorious football team, have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 50 years. Amazing! Sadly I couldn't be there to see our momentous 1-0 victory over Southampton due to Ricky Lambert's deflected goal, but I was with the 12,000 crowd in spirit.
In reality, I was news editing on a busy Wales on Sunday press day, but managed to get enough glimpses at the TV to enjoy the success. And I had plenty of phone calls and texts to make me feel part of the occasion.
Now it's onwards and upwards for the glorious boys in Blue. Bring it on!

Had a quiet night with Wren at home on Friday, enjoying my new-look flat complete with a new front room and bean bags. It makes a hell of a difference after being confined to one room and a kitchen for the last five years. We celebrated with a pizza from Dominos, the magnificent meteor, plus garlic mushrooms and potato wedges.
Meanwhile, the Fat Kid's social life seems to have hit a wall. She texted me tonight. "What are you doing?"
"Working, what about you?"
"Oh, I'm at home with the kids. Sorry, I thought it was Sunday."
Does the partying never stop?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Day chocs

Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) is an old romantic. The night before Valentine's Day he was seen sneaking off home with arms piled high with flowers, presents and all manner of goodies for the Solicitor. It warms the cockles of the heart.
Then we discovered the reason. Apparently Danny Boy went missing on Sunday in a tour of Cardiff hostelries that began at around lunchtime and finished in the early hours of Monday morning. At one stage the love of his life sent him a text message: "You're in the spare room tonight."
No wonder the Poipes feels he has a bit of making up to do in the love stakes.

Meanwhile, it's been a pretty quiet week. Fortunately Thirsty Thursday attracted a quorom of members with Smashy, the Prince of Darkness, the Fugitive, the Wonderful One, The Poipes and yours truly enjoying a good night in the Yard. The evenings festivities went on long after I was tucked up in bed. Sadly, I can recall very little to report from these events apart from the fact that Withers has a new set of teeth that fit much better, I am pleased to say.

The Voice of God has, apparently, been having nightmares. He woke in a cold sweat the other morning, dreaming that he had mistreated his pet snake. Terrible thing.

Friday, February 08, 2008

stag roasting

WATHANOVSKI is a victim of crime. He has had his mobile phone stolen. My heart bleeds.
Or rather, it would bleed if I didn't know the circumstances to this unfortunate incident.
Point One - Wathanovski was in Benidorm on his stag night.
Point Two - He had inevitably drank quite a few cold San Miguels.
Point Three - At the time he was dressed in a fancy dress costume which uncannily resembled that one-piece swimsuit worn by Sacha Baron Cohen in his ludicrous comedy film Borat.
Do you know the one I mean? It is an all-in-one lime green contraception which looks like a thong attached to a vest. Imagining what Wathanovski might look like in such gear is the stuff of nightmares.
He sent Smashy a text on Thursday night when we were having a quick beer after work. "Stag going fine, we are now all in our wrestling gear", he informed us.
Now, Smashy must have some kind of clairvoyant powers because he replied: "Where the hell do you keep your phone in that suit?"
Today we appear to have found the answer: You don't.
I'm sure the Spanish police had every sympathy for our soccer writer when he strolled up to the counter in his outlandish costume.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Italian sausages with roasted vegetables

IT'S called "Doing A Withers" and it seems to have become the latest craze. All you have to do is embarrassingly slip over after a few drinks, bang your head and knock yourself out. And to do it properly you must, of course, lose a few teeth for the cause. Whatever, it seems to be more popular these days than that old dance craze The Bump... or even the Wonderful One's own favourite Agadoo (him being a former drummer with Black Lace).
This week we were supposed to be getting reinforcements from our sister paper the Sarf Wales Eggo, but on Tuesday the message came through: "You were going to get Laura Wright, but she fell over and concussed herself on Saturday night."
Further investigation revealed that the young hackette managed to "trip over a laptop" after a rather enthusiastic night celebrating a colleague's birthday - it just happening to co-incide with the day Wales proved themselves the greatest rugby nation on the planet (or so you would think: actually, they only beat England again, but let's not spoil the party for the poor dabs).

Danny Boy (The Poipes, The Poipes) has just returned from a stag night in Barcelona and was caught off guard on Tuesday. Having only landed a few hours earlier on the plane he wasn't quite tuned in when The Voice began droning on in his ultra-deep style, as he is wont to do on occasion. All Danny Boy managed to register was a reference to "the brothel story".
"How the hell do you know about that?" screamed the Poipes, realising too late that The Voice was not referring to his own stag night shenanigans but, rather, the story the deep-voiced one had done last week on some of Cardiff's ladies of the night.
Bet he wished he hadn't Poiped up now. Questions will be asked in the house - hope he's got a good lawyer.

Good old Shuttsy was back on the manor this week, holding court in The Yard about his fab new job on the Beeb. Not being the most technical of animals, however, methinks the giant one is finding some of the gadgetry a bit hard to master. I'm sure he will get to grips with it soon.

On Tuesday night, after a Boozeday Tuesday with Smashy - who was fresh back from a skiing freebie in Finland - The Prince and The Wonderful One, I opted for Italian sausages with roasted vegetables.
What I did was this:
Chopped up potato and celeriac into chunks, together with a red and green pepper, three green chillis, a sliced onion and chopped carrots and celery. I drizzled olive oil over this and put it into an oven already heated at 180 degrees.
After half an hour I added four Italian sausages (bought specially from Whalley's Deli) gave the dish a stir and added salt and some pepper. I cooked that for another 40 minutes then sliced Halloumi cheese over the top and roasted that for another 20 mins.
Then I served it all up in one glorious, roasted mess. Lucious.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A tasty broth(el)

NICEY joined us from the Echo this week, all in the new caring and sharing spirit of Meeja Wales. And one of his first jobs was to send the Voice of God into the midst of heathens.
More to the point he was asked to go and doorstep some rather dubious Massage establishments. I can just picture the scene...
The Voice rings the doorbell of this ne'er-do-well establishment and a lady of the night - clad only in her negligee - answers the door.
She takes one look at The Voice, then exclaims: "Oh my word, is that a snake in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?"
The Voice's response? "It's a corn snake. I call it Ursula Blake my f***ing snake".

That's the kind of quip that has been doing the rounds since The Voice returned, having been offered a threesome ("we're doing a special offer this week, dear, three-for-two" - it sounds like the vice equivalent of Tesco's) and a bargain deal on Oral. Imagine The Voice of God's deep baritone chuckle booming out before he responds: "I'm quite happy with my own voice, thank you very much."
Of course, the man of whom we speak more commonly goes by the name of Macca in the office, though it appears a new moniker might be catching on pretty quickly. His frequent trips to Vice dens over the past week have prompted a vowel change... Now he's called Mucca to his close friends.

Meanwhile, things just keep getting worse and worse in the gloomy world of the Wonderful Withers of WoS. He has now been four days without hot water, apparently, and is at a desperate stage.
While cold showers in the morning suit the image he has been honing of the most put-upon person on the planet, I think he might consider a more drastic form of action: like withholding his rent until the landlord gets off his arse and gets the boiler fixed.
Mind you, the wonderful one has found a temporary solution. Recently he has been seen sneaking upstairs to the MD's floor and making use of the deluxe showering facilities on offer there. "It's brilliant," he exclaimed earlier tonight. "Much better than my own shower."
Attaboy, Withers.

Had a few beers with Withers and Danny Boy (the poipes, the poipes) last night and the subject came around to relationships. The Poipes is smarting a bit on the basis that he has failed to assert himself properly when it comes to the TV gadget. "Every time I want to watch the football, she has to watch every blinking soap that's going."
So why, I suggested, doesn't he just get Sky multi-room and go to watch the footie in the bedroom.
"Oh, she won't have that - says we might as well not be together. She likes us snuggling up on the sofa while she watches all those bloody soaps."
Ah, right. Intrigued, I inquired further of the mechanics in this battle of the Sexes.
"I take it, then, that she watches the football with you when you finally get your hands on the TV remote control once a week," I suggest.
"Oh no, she buggers off upstairs and leaves me to it," he replied.
All's unfair in love and war, it seems.