Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shaken not stirred

OUR roving sports reporter Wathanovski has been dropping some Seismic stories of late - in fact, there is a good chance that the next time he is scheduled for a trip abroad, the country he is heading for will be evacuated.
Just over a month ago Wathanovski travelled to Iceland with the Wales football squad for a friendly international. After landing on terra ferma he suddenly found the terra was not so ferma after all. In fact, the island recorded an earthquake at 6.5 on the Richter Scale - not small by any means. Just like any good reporter he was straight on the phone to give us the news and it appeared as the lead story on the next day's Snail.
Move forward to last week and this time Wathanovski was saying Ola to Spain, joining Swansea City on their pre-season trip to Barcelona. Ordering a drink from the bar he shot out onto the terrace to soak up a bit of costa Sun. Sipping away, he suddenly noticed the rest of his entourage were standing up, casting their eyes around in confusion.
Staring up to the balcony, the Swansea City players had also emerged to scour the horizon.
"Did you feel that?" said one of Wathanovski's cohorts.
Staring deeply into his San Miguel he wondered whether their drinks had been spiked.
"No, what's up?"
"Well, it felt pretty much to me like an earthquake," said his fellow hack.
And he was right. This one wasn't so strong, probably about 3.5, in a volcanic area of Spain.
One wonders if the earth moves for the teacher when Wathanovski is at home, too.

Meantime, the wonderful Withers has asked me to clarify one of my more recent blog entries. I am happy to do so. Apparently it wasn't his head from which I shot the balloon apple at my engagement party, but that of Gareth the Builder. I'm happy to correct the mistake which was, I confess, the result of me remembering very little about the whole affair. I can now say, though, that I have the pictures to prove he was right.
However, I am informed from more than one source that the Wonderful One was in true teeth-breaking form on Saturday night at Gavin "the beard" Allen's birthday party on Saturday night. On the same day the Prince of Darkness was greeted by two young ladies who claimed he was the spitting image of Hugh Grant, the British actor with a hankering for American down-at-heel prostitutes.
Turning on all his bashful charm the Prince was ready to lap this up as a compliment. The girls, however, made their excuses and left. Perhaps they noticed the vodka-tainted saliva dripping from his fangs.

The clean desk policy at the new Thomson Towers begins tonight. Apparently if you leave ANYTHING on your desk it will be cleared away, according to AP Fazza. Already people are talking about bringing in their old lawnmowers, TV sets and green bin bags for immediate disposal.
For myself, I have been informed I have a whole cupboard in which to store things. I am thinking of putting Withers in there.

On Tuesday I took a well-earned day off to spend with Wren. We decided to go and see the new Batman film The Dark Knight. Well worth watching.

On Saturday night, feeling rather peckish after a longer than usual WoS shift, I raided my cookbooks and came up with a recipe for Tomato noodles with Fried Egg.
Two servings of dried egg noodles
Vegetable Oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 chopped shallots
1/2 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
A diced carrot
4 ozs button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup peas (frozen, but thawed)
1 tsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp tomato puree
salt and black pepper
butter, for frying
2 eggs

What I did:
Cook the noodles in salted water, then after four minutes rinse with cold water and leave to stand.
Heat oil in wok then add garlic, shallots, chilli powder and paprika.
Stir fry for a minute, then add carrots, mushrooms and peas.
Continue to stir fry until veg is cooked. Stir in the ketchup and puree.
Add the noodles and cook, stirring over medium heat until the dish is heated through.
Meanwhile, fry the eggs in the melted butter in a frying pan.
Season the noodles, divide onto plates and top with an egg each or, in my case, put the whole lot on one plate and scoff away merrily.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Breakfast surprise

NOW when your nickname is the Prince of Darkness you wouldn't expect anything to spook you too much. But that wasn't the case with our own Dark Lord on Sunday morning.
Stirring in his crypt, the night creature suddenly became aware of noises going on outside. At first he thought they were coming from the flat downstairs, but on venturing into the living room he got the shock of his life.
"Waaah!" he screamed, leaping into action like a vampire launching himself onto an unsuspecting victim.
"Waaaah!" shouted Withers, equally traumatised at the early morning greeting, having emerged from a booze-filled kip on the Prince's sofa.
Somehow the Prince had completely forgotten that after rounding off last Saturday night's party with a curry and a few more drinks he had kindly consented to let the Wonderful One bed down for the night at his gaffe.
It reminds me of the time, having been out until the early hours at a party in Newcastle, I returned to the house where I was supposed to be staying, only to find that my host had gone to bed hours earlier and was sleeping the sleep of the damned.
Having thrown numerous bricks of varying sizes at her window it dawned on me that I was destined to spend a bitterly cold night on the streets of this northerly outpost.
Thankfully, I managed to flag down a taxi to take me to a local hotel where I was able to check-in at a little after 3.30am in the morning.
The next day, however, I woke with alarm to hear someone moving about the room. I opened my eyes to see a figure in white, bathed in a celestial glow.
"Waaaah!" I shouted, and for the briefest of moments thought I had passed into the afterlife.
"Sorry, duck," said the cleaner, "Didn't realise the room was occupied."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hangover cure

I have just added another string to my bow. Not satisfied with being world-renowned letters editor on the South Wales Egg Cup, Meeja Wales exec ed and the only bloke who can operate the computer on the hub, I have now become a champion balloon archer.
You may well ask. And I will try to remember as much about it as I can.

It all began on Friday night when the Wonderful One and I were downing more than a few hard earned beers. At some point in the evening, as I chugged down The Yard's pitifully flat Carling Lager, I came up with a brainwave - in my case, more like a brainstorm.
"What if we held a surprise engagement party for Wren?" I suggested to my erstwhile sidekick and future best man (oh Lordy, whatever possessed me!)
"Good idea," he volunteered on the basis that if there was a party he would at least have something to do rather than sit in alone mumbling miserably to himself on a Saturday night.
All agreed, I went through my entire mobile 'friends' list hoping that I would at least get some takers - it all sounded promising, now all I had to do was keep my gob shut and not blurt out my secret in the traditional drunken call to the fiancee on Friday night.

Hmm, seemed to get away with it anyway. Saturday morning I stayed in watching England getting savaged by the South Africans at cricket, and waited for Wren to finish her Saturday stint on the Bristol Evening Post. She duly turned up at 4 and I suggested we nip around to the Tut that evening for a quiet drink.
We had a tasty tea of spag bol (of which I am sure I have printed my recipe on this blog at some stage) then got dressed up for the evening. At 7.30 we entered the pub, bought a beer and a glass of wine, then sat down.
The first clue Wren had was when the Fugitive stared in through the window, but I don't think she knew exactly what was going on, putting it down as a pure coincidence, even though he lives about three miles from our chosen venue.
Then I had a bit of a shock. The Internet jukebox started banging out the opening bars of XTC's Senses Working Overtime and I wondered if The Wonderful Withers had already arrived.
Going outside I bumped into Scooby, the Fugitive and former flatmate Gareth puffing away on ciggies. It was time to unveil the surprise.
I must admit Wren was pretty shocked and, I think, delighted. The guests kept coming: Smashy, Paps, Prince of Darkness, Wathanovski, Paddy the Clown...
Now you may notice a startling co-incidence here. All those turning up were male (apart from the teacher, who accompanied Wathanovski). "Why are there no women," I whispered to the Wonderful One.
"Because we don't know any, or they don't like us," he replied.
Well, not sure if that's really the case. Truth is that if you arrange a "surprise" party you must schedule it 10 weeks in advance to get women to attend. They are either doing their hair, or must have time to buy a new dress or have already made a really important appointment with the manicurist. Spontaneous? Of course, but give me six months notice, for God's sake.
Guess I'm being a bit unfair, and at least Wren could discuss everything with the Wedding Planner. That's the barmaid at the Tut who I haven't forgiven since she introduced Wren to the Wedding channel on Sky. Now every time I go back into the front room to catch up on the cricket I find the channel has been mysteriously changed and the TV dibber is nowhere to be seen.
Anyway the night wore on. Paps had not brought his camera, shock of shocks! Apparently he had tried about eight batteries in the house and they were all spent. Can't imagine what he does with them all.
Everyone enjoyed the juke box, though, singing along to XTC's Sergeant Rock. It was then the turn of the Prince to turn wowy wowy as Sonic Youth blasted out through the speakers.
Finally, Paddy the Clown introduced balloons to the proceedings. The man has certainly perfected his technique and made Wren a bowl of tulips, and a crown that looked like some bizarre boxing aid, a mini punchbag drooping down in front of your eyes when you were wearing said device.
Eventually he ordered the Wonderful One to sit down, blew up a green balloon and placed it on his head.
Then, by clever trickery, he made me a bow and a sausage shaped arrow and allowed me to become William Tell for the night. Fine, though a proper bow and arrow would have been more amusing.
My first two attempts were pathetic, embarrassing really seeing that the whole of the pub now seemed interested in the impromptu sporting event. But with a bit of gentle coxing from Paddy I pulled back and let fly... sending the balloon-arrow sailing across the pub to knock the balloon-apple from the Wonderful One's head. Magnificent performance, if I say so myself, accompanied by a round of applause.
After that there were a few more drinks before Wren and I tottered off home, weighed down by balloons, while the others disappeared into the night.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seagull supper

REMEMBER the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds? Well, it appears one particular feathered menace has got it in for my poor old white Corsa, Basil. The other day this vicious fiend went out and stuffed himself with every purple and red berry he could get his beak around and then decided to relieve himself all over Bas' back window.
Even a super-duper grade 5 car wash, costing an extortionate amount of money, couldn't clear up all the mess.
Now this morning I come out to find that this soaring swine has been at the blackcurrants, and once again Basil is the target of his bullying. Well, I've had enough of it, I can tell you.
The seagulls around Cardiff are becoming a real pain in the backside, or should I say their backsides are becoming a real pain. But more than that, these city dwelling tyrants are getting fatter and fatter and cheekier and cheekier every day.
Put your bin bags out late on Monday night, by Tuesday morning the whole street looks like war-torn Baghdad on a bad day. Not to mention the extreme care you have to take walking to work.
I lived in London for five years and I must admit it was a much cleaner place than Cardiff. The streets of the town are filthy, and the gulls must take some responsibility, the swines.
Last night, sitting outside The Yard with Shutts, Wathanovski, Withers, the Fugitive and Nickers, making a surprise appearance, there was suddenly a loud crash behind us. I assumed a waiter at the nearby Nando's had dropped his tray and turned around to see what had happened.
There were two gulls, lets call them Snappy and Crappy, who were taking turns to divebomb from the top of the Pancake stall onto the outside tables at Nandos and "clearing" the dirty plates left by some customers who had attended earlier in the evening. I blame the restaurant in some ways, for not clearing the tables sooner, but I think I could see one of the waiters cowering inside from these giant flying menaces. Later one of the gulls, I think it was Snappy, strutted past just inches from our table like he owned the entire brewery quarter.
It has also come to my attention that the Style Nazi had to chase off a sadistic gull from outside the new building. It had swooped down and grabbed a pigeon by the neck, and was trying to fly off with its haul. Outrageous.

Got in last night and, thanks to Wren's promptings, enjoyed a very nice King Prawn Balti ready meal, and cooked rice to accompany it. I wouldn't normally entertain such things, it feels like cheating, but Wren thought that in these busy times it might make life easier. Spot on, babe.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Country Pork with Parsley Cobbler

WELL here I am on the new shiny hub in the new building, imaginatively called 6, Park Street, after a poll of employees obviously climbed over themselves to come up with a name for the Meeja Wales HQ.
First impressions are great, with the air conditioning a major bonus after the sweatshop next door at Thompson Towers. Not sure about the new phone system, though. Have already lost 10 "customers" trying to transfer them to different departments. The sounds eminating from my desk have been something like this:
"Hello, Meeja Wales. Echo Newsdesk? I'll try to put you through," followed by, "bugger, what does that light mean?" followed by "bugger, lost them." I imagine our loyal readers must be getting pretty p***ed off, let alone the PR girls called Jemima and Jezebella who make up 90 per cent of the calls, inquiring whether you have received a press release that hasn't a hope in hell of going into the paper and has already been sent to every other department in the building.
Still, I am sure we will master it.
And the new swipe card to get through the football-style turnstyle is fantastic. You just leave it in your wallet, then waive said wallet in the approximate vicinity of the little grey thingy on the side and... hey presto, the light turns green and you are granted admission. Wooh, little things please little minds, I know.
It's going to be a largely paperless office apparently, though I managed to sneak two metal trays containing half a rain forest past the anal police (well, Fazza anyway).
AP Fazza is looking pretty pleased with himself, as well he should. I haven't the heart to tell him that the giant screen everyone was raving about is miles away from the hub and you need one of those gimmicky plastic things containing mirrors to see it from where I sit. I used to have one when my dad took me on the football terraces as a wee six year old so that I could see over the crowds.
At least I can look straight at the big spelling mistake on the glass wall opposite me, designed to "inspire" us in our work. Someone even had the guts to tell AP Fazza that the quote from Gandhi was fine, it was just the fact that Gandhi was spelt wrong!
Anyway it has all been such a shock to the system I feel a resurrection of Boozeday Tuesday coming on.

I was bringing out WoS in the absence of the editor this weekend, so I decided to have an early night on Friday - and failed miserably. We ended up in the City Arms, all the usual suspects - Smashy, Withers, the Prince and yours truly.
And there was a magnificent surprise in store... my personal DJ Jase has managed to finally get hold of more than the two tracks by XTC that he previously owned. I was so excited when I heard the first bars of Sergeant Rock that I wrapped my tie around my head, forgetting completely that I was still wearing my baseball cap.

Next day, and I had a pretty bad hangover. But once I was in work, and fortified by a lunchtime trip to the House of Lard for Chicken Curry arf and arf, it all passed off ok (well, apart from the fact that the press knew nothing about the eight-page Jehovahs Witnesses supplement we were supposed to be doing, so we had to rip up half the paper and start again!)
After that it was essential to have a drink so I rang Wren at the flat and she kindly agreed to accompany me to the City Arms where we were meeting the Prince and Withers, who had been out and about since 3pm, together with Paps, who had been news editing the WoS and desperately needed a drink.
It has to be said the Wonderful One was not in good shape (in fact, you could say he looked in exactly the same shape he was when he lost his front teeth). Taking on the appearance of a Zombie, he staggered off down the road in the direction of home.
Not so, the Prince. After making some clandestine phone calls to his hareem he continued until well into the night... as the Prince is want to do, living up to his nickname in true style.

Next morning and I was once again feeling a bit ropey, but I could tell Wren was itching to go out for some fresh air. I walked to the paper shop and on the way back my heart skipped a beat. Where was the car? Had some local ragamuffin half-inched it again?
It took me about a minute to register the fact in my fuzzy brain that I had actually left the car at the office in order to go out on the pop.
So Wren and I walked into town to collect it. I decreed that on no account were we to go shopping with pay day still two days away. But I was obviously speaking Swahili because 10 minutes later she was trying on shoes in the sale at Clarks, emerging with two "bargains".
Once we collected the car it was off to Penarth to enjoy the sunshine, though my heart was still at Lord's and England's attempt to beat the South Africans in the first Test. I put on a brave face, though, and when we couldn't get a parking spot on Penarth sea front we ended up going to Barry Island.
Now the Island gets a bad press - though far better now Gavin and Stacey have hit the screens - yet I must say the beach was lovely, the ice cream splendid and the views enjoyable. Even the sounds of the toons emerging from the amusement arcades were oldie worldy sea-front fun.
We spent an hour there before popping home for tea. An enjoyable day.

The other night Wren and I enjoyed a meal from her No Fat Cookbook: Country Pork with Parsley cobbler. Couldn't be bothered to make the pastry, though, so picked up some ready made from Morrisons.
1lb boneless pork shoulder, diced.
Diced butternut squash (the recipe called for a small swede but I didn't have one)
2 sliced carrots
2 sliced leeks
2 sliced celery sticks
1 1/2 pints of beef stock
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and black pepper
Topping: Rolled out ready-made pastry

Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4
Fry pork in a little butter in non-stick pan until lightly browned
Add veggies to pan, stir over medium heat until veg starts to soften
Stir in stock, tomato puree, parsley and pearl barley.
Transfer to large casserole dish and place in oven for an hour to an hour and a half
Then remove and put up temperature to 220C/gas mark 7.
Cut pastry into triangles and place over the top of the pork and veg mixture.
Return to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve. A bit of Dijon mustard is nice with this.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pie in the Sky

IN the middle of his sixth pint of SA bitter the Wonderful One had a great idea for a wedding gift that he could bestow on myself and Wren. There we were, outside the Yard, bantering about this and that when the subject somehow came around to the legendary Blues player Buddy Guy.
For your information, during a trip to Chicago a few years back I infamously bumped into the Windy City's own Minister for Blues, who took us along to a nightclub called Legends. He gave out free t-shirts and on the back of mine was a picture of a Hendrix lookalike playing licks on the guitar.
His name, I was informed by said Minister for Blues, was Buddy Guy.
Well, two weeks ago I saw Buddy playing a fantastic set at Glastonbury and I have been waxing lyrical about the great man ever since.
Anyway, back to the present day and the Wonderful One announced: "I know. As a present I will get Buddy Guy to play a set at your wedding."
At this, Danny Boy (the Poipes, the Poipes), Roly Rowland and Myself spat out our booze in unison. "How the hell are you going to do that," we chorused.
"Oh, it shouldn't be that difficult. I'll just ring up his people and get him along."
Yeh, right, Withers.
I can just picture the scene. "Right, Buddy," his agent announces. "We have the itinerary for your next few gigs. You are playing Madison Square Gardens, followed by Carnegie Hall, then over to Britain for V2009 and then on to Bristol for Rippers wedding. Ok with that?"
Still, I decided it was an opportunity not to be missed - him being well on the way to inebriation.
"I bet you £50 you won't be able to get him."
At this, Withers railed. "Course I will, I will make it my prime task. In fact, I could write a book about my progress, a bit like that bloke who wrote 'Around Ireland with a fridge'."
Can't quite see the similarities, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? Having made sure the witnesses were watching, we shook hands on the deal.
A day on and Withers looked up from his googling activities. "The good news," he announced, "is that Buddy Guy does do private functions."
And the bad news?
"To book him for your do you have to pay $50,000."
Well, there goes that little plan then. Grease my hands with silver, young man.
"Oh, I'm not defeated yet," announced Withers, a bit like that bloke in Monty Python's Holy Grail who has just had his arms and legs cut off. "If you pretended you had some terminal disease..."
Now, I'm sorry, but I would rather forego the Buddy Guy experience than spend the whole of my wedding day wandering around with a jaundiced look on my face, like the youngster in Shameless who had to pretend he had cancer so that they could have a fundraiser.

Talking of jaundiced expressions, the Prince of Darkness looked like he had seen a ghost when I entered the office this morning. Not so the people around him. They were rolling around on the floor having a good laugh at his expense.
I had to find out what had happened from the Horse's Mouth. "I just had a call from Louis Walsh," he said. That's Louis Walsh, X-Factor judge and manager of that wimpish Oirish boy band Westloif.
"Oh yeah?"
"He had me on the phone for 20 minutes ranting on about a story that Monsieur Le Debussier did for us at the weekend."
"He was having a right rant, then he mentioned Shirley Bassey and started singing. I thought: What a nutter! I tried to calm him down and then he said, 'Wayne, why don't you sing me a song'?"
At this the Prince objected vehemently. "I'm not singing a song for you, Louis. No way."
Then came the punchline. The Louis Walsh character was actually some DJ from Radio Glasgow who had seen our X factor story on the web. The nerve!
Still, I think the Prince now fancies himself as an X factor judge. Think of all the new blood he could tap into...

This week has been pie week. Having fallen for the bargain offer of four steak and kidney pies in Morrison's on Saturday, I am now trying desperately to get through them all. Hard work, but someone has got to do it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The perfect dunking biscuit

I MUST admit I felt a bit out of my depth on Friday night, surrounded as I was by the great political minds of Meeja Wales. The self-proclaimed writer and broadcaster Withers was there, and we were joined by Dave "the suit" and "Marvellous" David. In fact, Smashy and I felt a bit out of place as the big discussion of our time began.
Here is an example of the kind of deep political insight we were forced to try to get our heads around - just in case we showed up our ignorance on all things Assembly and Parliamentary.
Withers began the big debate which, I must admit, wouldn't have looked out of place in the House of Commons, perhaps at PM's question time.
"Why on earth do people dunk biscuits in their tea?" he demanded of the honourable crew gathered around him.
"Because it tastes really good," intoned The Suit dismissively.
"I should say. Maaaaaarvellllous!" chimed in Marvellous David.
"But why would you put a biscuit, which is food, in your tea, which is drink?" said an uncomprehending Withers. "You don't mix food and drink like that. The biscuit will just fall apart!"
"Not if you use the right ones. Those digestives, they're maaaaarveelllous!" argued Marvellous David.
"I agree," said The Suit, carrying the air of a young Lloyd George as he looked at Withers as if there was a nasty whiff, probably of the wonderful one's sweaty armpits, under his nostrils. "You put sauce on your chips, don't you?"
"Well, yes, but that's different!" moaned Withers.
"How is it different?"
"Because it is. You wouldn't dream of drinking a bottle of sauce, would you?"
Now here was my chance to get involved in an intriguing discussion with men who, just by the power of thought, can bring countries to their knees, wars to an end and vanquish the threat of global warming.
"I once ate a whole spoonful of lime pickle," I revealed.
I decided it was time to leave them to it.

At the weekend Wren visited and we went to see Wanted, the new film with James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. I can't get used to these Saturdays off. You have to mix with that horrible breathing mass of slime known as the General Public.
The car park at the Red Dragon Centre down the Bay was packed. In the rain we had to leave Basil literally hundreds of yards away from the entrance then make a run for it. After that we had to queue at least 10 minutes to hand over 14 QUID! for two cinema tickets.
The film was ok if you like lots of blood and seeing in graphic detail a bullet pop out of a man's forehead in slow motion. Yuk! Plot was far fatched but I guess it was better than sitting in watching the rain come down. Mind you, for the sake of 14 quid...

On Sunday Wren had to work and I settled down for an afternoon of sport. First there was Lewis Hamilton's tremendous British Grand Prix victory in the rain at Silverstone, then the Wimbledon men's final that lasted six and a half hours off and on because of showers. Great match though as Rafael Nadal ended Roger Federer's run of five consecutive Wimbledon victories.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dodgy olives and Viva Espana

THE Prince of Darkness was laid up in his coffin on Monday, suffering from a bad case of stomach cramps and sickness.
It followed a rather hectic Sunday night in which we met up at the Irish bar Dempseys to watch Spain and Germany in the European Championship final.
Good Brits as we are, most of us were supporting Spain. Not the Wonderful Withers, though. He had on his Red, Yellow and Black wristband to show affinity to his Fuhrer, Michael Ballack.
Others making an appearance were the Prince, Paps and Smashy.
Well, Spain took the honours with the only goal of the game from Fernando Torres. It left everyone bar me biting their nails for the next 60 minutes, mainly because they feared losing the quid they had invested in the mini sweep. I'd managed to lose mine the moment Spain scored their goal, having taken the pessimistic option of backing the Krauts to win 1-0.
The Prince let out a howl moments after the only goal of the game - he had been outside puffing on a tab and missed it.
After the game we sauntered off to his favourite haunt for stalking young Virgins - 6ft Under - and he was greeted like a long-lost friend by the bouncers on the door, who hadn't seen him since, oh, Friday night?
At that stage the alcohol was having a warming, wowie wowie affect on the Dark Lord, a signal that it was immediately time for him to switch to vodka. Meanwhile, Paps decided it would be a good idea to invest £5 in two huge bowls of mixed olives, and we preceded to devour them while enjoying conversations about our favourite albums, songs, dance moves, drum solos, you name it... I think Withers was being a bit disingenuous when he said his favourite band were The Struts and his favourite song "Waiting in the Dole Queue", which he delivered with a typically bad impression of yours truly.
Later, while outside smoking a tab with the Prince, a group of celebrating Spanish supporters arrived, complete with shirts and capes. Fantastic. My memory of the Spanish at France 98 is still vivid, especially the time they took me out on the razz until five in the morning. I would not go as far as to say it was a heavenly night, but one of the guys was called Jesus.
Anyway, as these partying fans turned up to liven up the proceedings the fun was immediately killed stone dead. The bouncers refused to admit the Spanish on the basis that it was "company policy" not to allow anyone in wearing footie shirts.
What a crying shame! Surely these guys should have been allowed to celebrate in a city that claims to be the capital of Wales and on a par with London, but which spends more time than any other place I know acting like killjoys and failing to show any sort of sense or initiative. Apparently the party line is that people in football shirts are bound to cause trouble. Come off it! I've seen the best dressed people in town having a bundle at 2pm on a Saturday night. And this was a quiet Sunday in Cardiff in June, completely devoid of any rival gangs of football nutters.
The other thing that heartily annoys me, now I'm on a Rippers rant, is the fact that if this was at the height of the Six Nations Championship you can guarantee legless, rugby shirt wearing fans would be piling through the doors with the blessing of the management, who could see pound signs flashing before their eyes. The bouncer disputed this, claiming that rugby fans would be treated in exactly the same way. We'll see if they turn them away come next February.
Anyway, the only Spanish thing left to connect us with a party night were the olives, so we tucked in with gusto.
The Prince, obviously, paid the penalty. Should have stuck to blood.

I had a frightening dream the other night - one of those dreams that you panic when you wake up and come down slowly once the realisation that it is just a nightmare slowly dawns on you.
I can't recall all the dream, just the fact that I ended up sharing a flat with the Prince! Can you imagine? All those empty wine bottles lying around, it would be like living with Albert Steptoe (for those who remember him). Other things that happened in this rather scattered dream: I was lying in bed and opened a packet of crisps, only for loads of hundreds and thousands to pour out. Then there was a ring of the doorbell at 2 in the morning. A loved-up couple turned up saying they were mates of Glyn Gully (our circulation manager, how the hell he got involved in my dream I'll never know) and that the Prince had said it was ok for them to stay.
Yes, readers, in the words of Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange, it was "pure horrorshow".
If there are any dream interpreters who can explain it, please let me know.

Monday involved a bit of a hangover and a long walk. I had to go to Cardiff Registry Office to give Notice of Marriage. You get some oddballs in there I've got to tell you. And being kept waiting 20 minutes to see the head honcho wasn't much fun.
I was a bit nervous and did a lot of revising. "Shit, what's Wren's name? Can't call her just Wren. And what's her date of birth? My God, what do I know of this woman?"
I must have looked a bit shifty, squirming on my chair at the easiest of questions, getting worried I would be "caught out". What for?
Anyway it's done now. The notice is posted. Exciting!
Withers may still get banned from being best man, though, if he keeps threatening to deliver his speech in his "Rippers" voice which, as I have said many times before, is just a poor imitation of Zippy from Rainbow.