Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have been called quite a few things in my time, and have fallen victim of the HR police on a few occasions, too. I was once labelled a bully who "frightened" my staff with some of my more combustible moments on good old WoS.
But the odd bin kick and muttered swearing under my breath was kids stuff in comparison to the cold, hard world of national newspapers.
In fact, I've found myself to be the target of a few pretty inventive insults from my combustible boss Macca - most of them, thankfully, in jest. Perhaps my favourite came the other week when we were discussing Saturday Survivor, the little betting game we play.
It works like this: Everyone puts a tenner in the pot and picks a team of the week who must win for you to survive to fight again the following Saturday.
As the tension rose, and various teams fell by the wayside, Macca cast his eyes around from his jewel-encrusted throne in the sports newsroom to see who was still on course to win the big prize.
When he saw my selection he immediately wrote it off with the suggestion that my football knowledge couldn't be that good because I was a "web-toed inbreed".
This, I think, referred to my West Country upbringing.
But the one thing you have to say is that he doesn't discriminate. He has a prejudice against EVERYTHING. Fat people, thin people, tall people, short people (a group to which I have a lifetime membership), northern people, Irish people, Scottish people... you name it.
Quite often my mate Critch is asked where he has left his whippet as he is a "northern monkey".
This all coming from a cockney who wears his Pearly King blazer with pride and knows more rhyming slang than Chaz and Dave.
These days, whenever an insult flies in the direction of one of the troops, the cry goes up "HR!"
Hasn't made a blind bit of difference.
Better that, though, than being part of one of the ridiculous politically correct regimes that now exist in the once thick-skinned world of journalism.
It is all a joke, folks... toughen up!

In the words of Queen: "Can anybody find meee... some buggy to love!"
Mrs R is getting a bit obsessed with the need to purchase what used to be called a pram but now seems to be referred to as a baby "travel system".
My God, it's like buying some top-of-the-range sports car these days and no doubt there is huge competition to own the latest model.
On Wednesday night I was getting to the end of my tether. "Should I buy this one - there are only 10 left and it's a bargain?" she asked with a worried frown on her face. This, bearing in mind the new arrival is still 14 weeks away.
I cast my eye over this incredible contraption designed to carry a miniscule human being in the lap of complete luxury. These things even have indicators, electric windows and fuel injection.
Then I looked at the price - £299. That, though, was without the car seat which comes at an extra £110, and something called a car seat "base", to which you can add another £100.
£500 for a baby buggy? That's the price I paid for Basil, my dearly departed little Corsa!
There was nothing for it, I had to get straight on the phone to the fat kid. I needed reinforcements to divert my lovely wife away from the route to financial ruin.
Thankfully, with much good sense (rare for the fat kid, I have to admit, but she DOES know about children) they decided to wait and look at alternative options when she comes down after Easter. Phew!

On Sunday my lovely lady and I had a delightful trip to Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire. The last time I went to this quaint little village was when I was a child, and my abiding memory was the little model village (which we toured again) and my mum being attacked by a flock of errant geese!
It was full of tourists but a beautiful spot, and the highlight was sitting outside on a slightly chilly but lovely sunny day, eating fish and chips from the local purveyor of this singularly British delicacy.

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