Wednesday, 30 November 2011


"I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations"
Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

OMG – I don’t do txt-speak!

SMS language or textese is damaging the written form of our cherished language believe you and me. It’s irritating beyond measure and encourages a sloppy written English form that is devoid of or at least lacking correct grammar and punctuation.

Its creepage is not confined to text messaging either. Children are adopting textease in their written work at school. I came across a request from someone (a very senior someone), who should know better, that had written – “Let me see the results B4 you send them to...” on a personal file. Beggar’s belief!


Golden Lion
6 West End
North Yorkshire
Tel: 01609 883526

Saturday, 19 November 2011


A beer in the very late evening... this one.

SCD 2011. I must be honest after Nancy D’Illusional left Strictly, I was a little disheartened. You remember her? She describes herself as Italy's second most famous woman after Sophia Loren (who’s she kidding?) and is either in her late forties, early fifties or 37 - she can't make up her mind on that one!
Well I wouldn’t mind showing her my enchufla I can tell you!  
But she departed and so my interest later turned to Russell Grant. Now how he didn’t know he was going to be eliminated last Saturday is a little difficult to comprehend since he is an astrologer, isn't he? Clearly his departure wasn’t in the stars or maybe it’s just that his psychic powers have been waning recently?
Strictly Come Dancing? - get back on that pitch!

In any event he’s also gone now – so my support and backing goes to the man that looks like Tarzan but talks like Jane – Robbie “Lily” Savage, no less.
He describes himself as “the most hated man in British football”. Few would argue! 537 league games, 39 international caps, 89 yellow cards (then a record) and 8 appearances on SCD – impressive stuff! He was famously fined £10,000 for taking a dump in the referee’s ablution facility before a game whilst at Leicester City. 
Interesting fact - An Adamite is someone who, for religious reasons, goes around in public with no clothes on.

Sequins! Fake tan! Aarrrrrgh!
2 Mechanic's Yard (off High Row)
Tel: (01325) 468324

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin...

Once upon a time – many years ago – there was a boat. A steamboat called the S/S Enterprise. The Enterprise was proudly skippered by Capt James T Buerk – who was a kindly, avuncular man who had sailed and steamboated the seven seas for most of his life. His main duty on the steamboat was to oversee delivery of very important goods and chattels to the far-away island of Presbyacusia. Now this island had a great many elderly people and they relied on the good Capt’s boat so that they could grow special seeds that in turn provided magic powers that enabled the old folk to hear their offspring and friends without the need to be shouted at...

Now Capt. Buerk was a very important man – and he had earned la médaille des Conneries du Chien for his many years of devoted service in all things seafaring. But lately he was rarely to be seen on deck at the helm and in truth the S/S Enterprise would often list badly and lurch in a very unseaworthy manner. The ratings were overworked, undervalued and underpaid and they had recently had their pay and rations frozen for two years which did nothing to improve their mood – I can tell you...

Capt. Buerk did not keep a Captain’s log – like most Captains – oh no - instead he kept a Back log. This was a list of the number of times the ship travelled from the main island to Presbycusia to deliver its load – including the magic seeds for the old folk. Lately the deliveries were taking longer and longer – some of the crew had jumped ship whilst others preferred to stay in their hammocks during the day. This meant that the ratings had to work harder than ever to deliver the seeds within the deadline. The Steamboat Authority had stipulated that the number of journeys to be made before an old person received their seeds should be no more than 18 journeys – and sometimes it was the case that the seeds were delivered after this time. The islanders were very unhappy about this and used the island’s semaphore station to send messages to the S/S Enterprise to ask when they may receive their seeds! This caused a lot of upset and extra work for the semaphore operative on the S/S Enterprise who was a comely, flame-haired woman of ample proportions and maturity called Juanita. Juanita did her best to deal with the very many semaphore requests from the islanders – and there were times where she spent so much time at the boat’s semaphore office that at the end of the day she was very tired and used to flag quite badly.

This went on for many months. Extra coal was ordered to make things go faster – but it was very poor quality and used to fall out of the ship’s boilers. And still the Back log showed no signs of improvement. Oh dear!

Now the S/S Enterprise was not the only vessel that made the trip from the main island to Presbyacusia to deliver the magic seeds, By Timothy, no... There was a fleet of small steampackets – The Hellraisers – who could deliver the magic seeds in next to no time by comparison. Their crew wore smart uniforms, with shiny buttons and lanyards. They had been operating the route for a little while now without the need to keep a Back log. Food for thought, mulled Capt. Buerk.

One day the Capt. gathered the ratings together to read a notice posted outside the boat’s boiler room. The notice was headed TTL (Toe The Line) and it said that the tender to deliver the seeds was very much up for grabs – and that from next year those ships that could deliver the magic seeds quickly and without spillage would be looked on more favourably by the seed merchants on the main island.

What does this mean?” one of the old salts asked the Capt.

Good question!” he barked “I have been looking at the Hellraisers way of going about their business and I like the cut of their jib, frankly” he continued. “Look at their uniforms and smart lanyards, they really do look the part! Look at us by comparison, my hearties! Perhaps we need to improve our appearance and start to look the part also”

The ratings looked at each other somewhat confused.

Will we get extra coinage to pay for the uniforms?”

Oh no!” laughed the Capt. “there is no money for that!”

 “The lanyards will get in the way of our stoking, won’t they?” said another old salt.

I’ve thought of that” said the Capt. and he proudly inflated his chest and the ratings could see his bright new lanyard – tucked inside his vest.

Ooooooohh!” they gasped in wonderment.

Will the new uniforms reduce our back log? For in truth we are overworked, undervalued and underpaid” asked one of the ratings.

And skint!” said another who had already worked out that a considerable proportion of next month’s meagre pay would be spent on his new uniform.

 “What news of Midshipman Qeasy?” ventured another skint crew member.

He is on a very special mission in the Tahitian Seas” replied the Capt. somewhat uncomfortably, “looking at treatments for mal de mer, seasickness – that sort of thing”.

Will he bring news of our back log?” the skint crew member further asked.

 “Probably not” replied the good Capt. “That’s all for now” said the Capt. “all hands on deck!” (except those that were still in their hammocks).

The islanders continued to wait for their magic seeds from the S/S Enterprise – were they overly concerned whether their seeds were delivered by a smart uniform? - no-one in truth knew. “Should have gone to Hellraisers!” was fast becoming the mantra of the old folk on the island... [to be continued].

The 2nd Saltburn Beer Festival 
Saltburn Arts and Community Centre
Albion Terrace
North Yorkshire TS12 1JW
Tel: 01287 624997

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Does anyone else find these football club mascots annoying? Some of them look bloody frightening and have the most ridiculous names - Cyril the Swan (Swansea), Gunnersaurus Rex (Arsenal) and Sammy the Shrimp (Southend Utd).

They can traumatise a small unsuspecting child for life; the way they creep about and start waving their paws/fins/wings/tails etc. Like the child snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - they give me the creeps. Have people not heard of coulrophobia? Well there must be an equivalent with these often grotesque artefacts! And they think they’re so bloody cool and funny with their inane gestures and silly mannerisms. Well they’re not... Mr and Mrs Magpie at Meadow Lane? - you just want to shove the pair of them under a 'bus.

No-one is laughing...

Sammy the Shrimp
What happened to the old traditions? – Everton Toffee Mints  being thrown into the crowd before each game at Goodison Park? Do they still do that? Or the Beeston and District Pipe Band  playing at the City Ground?

Now let's consider Doncaster Rovers. Earlier this year Tracy Chandler, 40, was ‘devastated’ when she was sacked by email after posing next to her Donny Dog (Doncaster Rovers) costume in little more than her night attire. The self-employed hairdresser had been appearing as the mascot at the Keepmoat Stadium for three years - unpaid - prior to the incident.

Thankfully Doncaster Rovers chairman John Ryan had a rethink on the decision saying: ‘I think sacking was a bit over the top, Some people thought it was inappropriate, which it was, so we took a dim view of it'

Ms Chandler, who admitted that she didn't tell the club about the photo shoot, said she's just looking forward to getting back on the job this season.
Tracy Chandler, underwear,  mascot, sacked, Doncaster Rovers
'I've loved being Donny Dog and I'm delighted to get my job back' said Tracy.

Nice puppies Tracy, by the way!

Doncaster Rovers mascot Tracy Chandler has been given her job back as Donny the Dog
Billingham Catholic Club
37 Wolviston Road,
Cleveland TS23 2RU
Tel: 01642 551137