So very tired…

If I seem a little short today, it’s because i’m standing in a ditch.
Sorry, so sorry.
I would never normally make such a terrible joke but the sleep deprivation has quite addled me.

Why so tired, I hear you ask?
I will tell you…

At around 12:30am, I shuffled off to bed.
After carefully rolling Marital Unit to one side, I slipped under the duvet, plumped the pillows and lay down to await the sweet embrace of sleep.

Clearly, sleep had a headache last night and was no in mood for embrace, sweet or otherwise.

As the time neared 1:30am, I heard a whimper from the children’s room.
Just dreaming? I could only hope, perhaps they would…NO!
Child Unit 1 awoke and staggered into my bedroom, disheveled and bearing an aroma generally associated with the chap who drinks wine outside the local Londis all day.
The poor child had clearly had “an accident”, so I scrubbed her up, popped her into some clean pyjamas and tucked her in between Marital Unit and myself.
Through all of this, Marital Unit continued to snore, a sound akin to a breeze block going through a meat grinder.

Having checked that Child Unit 2 was still sleeping soundly, I returned to my bed.
Rather, I attempted to return to my bed and discovered something quite remarkable.
A small child is fully capable of filling one half of a double bed.
I shimmied her into the middle and made an attempt to get comfortable.
I was punched, prodded, poked, pummeled and at one point kicked in a most tender area.
I rolled from the bed to the floor, clutching my devastated testicles.
With Child Unit 1 now soundly asleep and Marital Unit doing her best strangled walrus impression, I pulled a small blanket over myself and attempted sleep once again.

I soon realised that the blanket was in fact a throw which we had decided against using on the sofa.
This throw, designed to cover a three seater sofa, was incredibly small.
I could keep my upper half warm at the cost of my feet, or have toasty toes but only if I allowed my nipples to freeze.

A stream of quiet expletives spewed from my lips as I writhed and wriggled, desperately trying to find a position in which all of me could escape the cold.
Such were my struggles, that the blanket was tossed to and fro and soon unfolded, revealing it’s actual size.
It had been folded in four the whole time!

After driving my forehead through the bedside cabinet in frustration, I managed to find something resembling comfort and tried, once more, for sleep.

At this point, somewhere in the dark hours around 4am, Child Unit 2 awoke.

He ran, shreaking, into my room, failed to see me on the floor, tripped over my legs and landed knee first on my already delicate nadgers.

Crying with pain, I pleaded with him to return to his room but it was not to be.

Marital Unit’s nighttime symphony continued with gusto, but Child Unit 1 showed signs of waking and to avoid all out armageddon I quickly tucked Child Unit 2 in next to me on my makeshift floor bed and hoped for the best.

Now, Child Unit 2 squirms about more than a jumping bean strapped to the electric chair…
In his quest for comfort, he slowly but surely pushed me under the bed.
Protesting at the amount of pillow space he had been allocated, he soon swiped the pillow out from under me.
I lay, half under the bed, using the sharp edge of the splintered bedside cabinet as a pillow.

I was uncomfortable, I was cold, but I had settled my entire family off to sleep.

Child Unit 2 snuggled next to me, his elbow lovingly cracking two of my ribs.
Child Unit 1 sleeping softly, doubtless soaking my mattress with urine.
And of course, Marital Unit, sleeping the sleep of the just and making a noise which put me in mind of a yak being beaten to death with a trombone.

Slowly, my eyes closed.

And then the bastard alarm went off.


I Failed The British Citizenship Test

Do you have a spare five minutes?
I’ll take that “Not now” as a yes.

Go here (

How did you do?

I failed the test, scoring 13 out of 24.

I now have insufficient knowledge of my country of birth to remain and must be shipped immediately to deepest, darkest Peru, to shack up with Paddington’s aunt.

These questions are laughable, let’s take a look at some of my favourites:

Question 2 – How many parliamentary constituencies are there?

1. 464
2. 564
3. 646
4. 664

I hazarded a guess at 564.
The correct answer, as any school child could surely tell you, is 646.
I recently had to check which constituency I am in, why the bloody hell would I know the other 645?

Question 9 – The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is:

1. 13 million
2. 14 million
3. 15 million
4. 16 million

Right, hold on a tick.
1, 2, 3, 4…oh bugger I lost count when little Timmy moved.
1, 2, 3…stop squirming Jeremy! Damn it!
The correct answer was 15 million.
I guessed 14 million so I expect half a point for being close.

Question 23 – How might you stop young people playing tricks on you at Halloween?

1. Call the police
2. Give them some money
3. Give them sweets or chocolate
4. Hide from them

What in the name of Satan’s downy arse hair is this all about?!
Needless to say, I would have answered “5 – Shoot them where they stand” if given the option.
But as that was lacking, I managed to scrape a tick for this one with that sweets and chocolate nonsense.

This is the test we use to determine whether or not someone is allowed to remain in this country and obtain a British passport?

I’ve been given a sneak peek at (entirely invented) some questions which are being added to the test in the near future…

Question 1 : What was the number one single on July 19th, 1976?

Question 2 : Which of these WAS one of the seven dwarfs?

1) Stabby
2) Doc
3) Gropey
4) Leery

Question 3 : What colour underwear is the Queen wearing right now?

Question 4 : What is the speed of disappointment?

Question 5 : What?

Well, I can’t hang around here chatting to you folks.
I failed and must leave the country immediately.
Of course, I can’t book a flight because I don’t have a passport…


Read With Al – Rapunzel

Are you sitting comfortably? Yes?
I don’t care, get the hell out of my chair.
Now, I shall begin…

Once upon a time, back when people were particularly stupid, there lived a young couple.
The woman (they never bothered to name her because she doesn’t feature in story for long) was pregnant.
The couple were ever so happy but there was one problem, Woman had sadly been completely overwraught by her hormones and, to coin a medical phrase, was bat-shit crazy.
Two problems, actually, the couple lived next door to a wicked enchantress.
They had tried to move, but all the abracadabra and waking up as frogs had driven property prices through the floor, so they were scuppered.
Where the hell was I? Oh, right, hormones.
Now as you may know, pregnant women often suffer terrible cravings and it just so happens that Woman was desperately craving Rapunzel.
Um…oh, sorry, i’ve messed that bit up.
She was craving rapunzel fruit, Rapunzel hasn’t been born at this point so it’s not the cannibalistic nightmare that I thought.
What the hell is a rapunzel fruit, anyway? Ah well, no matter.
The enchantress had some fine rapunzel fruit and so strong were her cravings, that the Husband Of Woman decided to sneak in to the enchantresses garden at night for the most dangerous scrumping trip of all time.
He escaped without having his face and backside magically switched and brought home the…oh, I see, it’s not a fruit at all it’s a plant.
Wow, they used to use it like spinach, that’s quite…hmm?
Sorry, I was Googling, back to the story.
So, Husband brought home the rapunzel plant and the cheeky bint that he’s married to gobbles the lot in one sitting and asks him to go back the next night.
Never mind the likelihood that the enchantress will turn him inside out if she catches him, wifey needs her leaves.
So, instead of divorcing the crazy bitch, he dutifully climbs back over the delightful picket fencing that seperates their garden from the Realm Of Dark Magicks and grabs another handful of the leaves.
Miraculously, he escapes once again and swears never to ret…oh, wait.
No, no the cow asks him to go back again the next night.
Jesus Christ man, grow a pair and say no!
He doesn’t, surely?
What? Oh sorry, reading ahead again.
Well I can only imagine this lady is a dynamo in the sack because Husband is willing to lay his life on the line to please her whims.
Off he trots and shock bloody horror, this time the enchantress catches him.
Now, she’s threatening to lay some serious magical ass-kickings on him and he’s whining like a little bitch and then, out of the blue, she demands his unborn child.
This is seriously messed up, she’s going to let him go but only if they hand over the sprog the minute his wife pops.
He says yes, just like that, “absolutely m’lady would you like me to kill and roast the child for you?”.
I’m guessing he then goes home, grabs his shotgun and…oh hell they actually do it.
The minute the nipper is born they pack her off to the enchantress and that’s all the dealings we have with that pair of muppets.
The young girl, whom the enchantress names Rapunzel to really rub salt into the wounds, grows up to be the most beautiful girl in the land.
This leads to a massive bitch fight between her and Snow White but that’s another story.
Anyway, there’s Rapunzel, gorgeous and hairy.
Well, not hairy like a Wookie, obviously, but she’s got ridiculously long blonde hair.
Now, the ench…look, i’m going to start calling her Jane, OK?
Now, Jane, for reasons I cannot begin to fathom, locks Rapunzel in a tall tower which has no stairs, no door and only one window.
I know, right? Seems like a massive pain in the arse to me.
Everytime Jane goes to visit Rapunzel, to bring food and gallons of shampoo, she calls up to the window…
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, that I may climb the golden stair”
Rapunzel then wraps her hair around a hook and lets her stupidly long locks tumble out of the window.
The hook is a good idea, huh?
I mean, if she didn’t do that, Jane would most likely just pull Rapunzel clean out of the window the moment she started climbing.
Anyway, Jane straps all the supplies to her back and drags herself up the side of the tower.
I’ve got to say, if I was a great and powerful enchantress I would most likely teleport into the tower, or fly, or zap up a freaking staircase, but ho hum.
Jane reaches the top, visits with Rapunzel for a while, ignores her feeble pleas for freedom and then clambers back down Rapunzels hair to the bottom of the tower.
This is ol’ Punzy’s life, miserable isn’t it?
So she does what any half crazed prisoner of a psychotic witch lady would do.
She sits by the window, brushing her hair and singing.
One day, a handsome prince wanders by and hears this beautiful voice
He rushes immediately to the source and there, at the top of this impossibly tall tower, his unfeasibly powerful eyes spy the beautiful Rapunzel.
He falls instantly in love with her and begins searching for the door to the tower.
Saddened and more than a little confused by the lack of a door, he settles back into the bushes in true stalker fashion and waits for the answer to present itself.
Look, i’m not saying he was definitely masturbating in the bushes but it seems like a logical conclusion and i’d really like to avoid reading any more of this drivel.
No? Fine, we’ll press on.
Eventually, Jane comes wandering through the woods with two large drums of conditioner and calls up to Rapunzel.
Recognising the stup…secret code phrase, Rapunzel wings her hair out of the window and waits for Jane to climb up before pulling it back in.
A thought occurs, wouldn’t you wait until Jane was halfway up and then cut your damn hair?
Send that bippity-boppity-bitch crashing down to the ground then get to work on knotting some bedsheets?
Good grief, Rapunzel was incredibly stupid.
Well, anyway, the prince now knows the secret phrase and the moment Jane leaves he pulls his trousers up and moves to the base of the tower.
He calls up “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, throw down a chair”
He stops “No, that wasn-THWACK”
Laid out under the weight of a heavy, wooden stool, he wakes up some time later with a sore head and a determined look.
Moments later, Rapunzels long golden locks spill from the towers single window and the prince begins his long climb.
He meets Rapunzel, they fall madly in love and live happily ever after.
Depending on which version of the story you’re reading.
In many versions, the one that i’ve read, Jane turns up, enraged by this princes impudence and flings him from the top of the tower.
He somehow survives the fall but the thorns, oh yeah there are thorns around the base, rip his eyes out.
His eyes. Torn out. By thorns.
Christ on a crutch, they expect us to read this stuff to kids?!
Anyway, he goes staggering blindly into the forest and Jane turns on Rapunzel.
She tears her hair clean off her head and sends baldilocks out into the cold night.
For whatever reason, Rapunzel doesn’t follow the prince who set off just moments ago, couldn’t give a crap about him bleeding to death from the ragged holes where his eyes once were.
No, she sods off into the woods, builds a cottage or something and ekes out a meagre existence, living off the land.
Evidently Jane was kind enough to allow her some TV time and she watched nothing but Bear Grylls repeats.
The prince, meanwhile, miraculously staves off serious infection or death by hemorrhage and wanders the forest for months living on what he hopes to christ are nuts and berries.
That’s one prince who ate a lot of rabbit dropping, that’s all i’m saying.
One day, he hears Rapunzel singing as she’s knocking up a windmill out of tree branches squirrel tendons and plunges headlong through the woods, towards the source of the sound.
Finally, he stumbles out into a clearing and sadly fails to be eaten by bears.
No, Rapunzel is there and this time they really do live happily ever after.
Seriously, really happily, her tears have actual magical powers and cure his blindness.
I suppose they probably go back to his kingdom or something after that, though to be fair Rapunzel has probably built a better palace out of bear hide and guano.
The End, thankfully.

21st Century Dodo’s

Why do I smell chlorofo-*thud*

This is not Al Vimh. Sorry to disappoint. He’s allowed me to pop in today in a sordid attempt to persuade some of you to buy my new book, 21st Century Dodos. It is a collection of eulogies to extinct and endangered inanimate objects, and other stuff. It’s one of those toilet books, ideal for reading in the loo.

Here’s an extract that looks back on a more innocent time of children’s television. I hope you like it. If you do, then perhaps you’ll be persuaded to purchase a copy of the book. If you don’t, well, do keep quiet about it, won’t you.

Answers on a Postcard

No children’s show of the 70s, 80s, or even 90s, would have been complete without a competition to which the only way to enter would be to write an answer on a postcard and send it in to the studio.

Nowadays, of course, the BBC doesn’t run competitions anymore after a series of ‘scandals’ revealed that some of them were rigged, and commercial channels have expensive phone and text quiz questions that are so mind-numbingly easy that it is an insult to the intelligence to actually pick up a phone and answer them. Here is an actual question that I saw on a TV show recently:

What nationality is the actor Tom Hanks?

a)     Irish



d)     French

There then follow about five paragraphs of small print along the lines of:

Calls will cost £1.50 from a landline but calls from a mobile will cost so much more that you will have to go without Heat magazine and fake tan for a month when your bill comes through and you realise how much you have pissed away on a stupid quiz that you stand little to no chance of winning. Lines close at 3pm but we’ll still leave the lines open so we can fleece you for more money and, let’s face it, if you do call after then you deserve to be robbed. If anyone phones in and answers A, B or D then we will immediately send social services round to your house and remove your children. Judges’ decision is final. Now, quick, put the phone down and start watching again, we have an item about a girl who crocheted a life-size model of her father in the hope that it would bring her parents back together.

See? It’s all a bit shit really, isn’t it? 
I much preferred the transparent bin stuffed full of postcards from which Alvin Stardust or Zammo from Grange Hill would select the winner of a signed Five Star 12″ single. Simpler times, but not without their own controversy. Some people would send in ridiculous oversized postcards in the hope that they would stand out, others went for bright colours or other blatantly cheating tactics, but OfCom never called for an inquiry when one of these were pulled out, did they? Oh no.

And to think, that autographed Adam and the Ants drum skin could have been mine if it wasn’t for some bastard sending his answer in on card shaped like a giant ant.

GAH! Whassat? Hmm? Oh, that Scott bloke’s been in here again hasn’t he?

Well, despite the chloroform attack the book really is rather good.
You can buy an old fashioned, paper copy here or, if you’re a technical type, a new-fangled “eBook” here.

If you’d like to visit some other blogs that Scott Pack has inva…written guest posts for, head to Strictly Writing to check out yesterday’s post.Tomorrow, he’s heading to Kat In The Navy.

Oh, you can say hello to Scott on the Twitter (@meandmybigmouth)

Right, i’m away to sleep off this headache.