The Dad Diaries Chapter 5: In which a bowl is broken and bonding is too expensive

Wednesday, 9th February, 2005

The Bill Bailey DVD we ordered arrived, and I had to agree with Jack’s assessment that it’s “well funny”. I feel an affinity with Bill, since we’re both humourists. The only difference between us is that he’s extremely successful, has great stage presence and happens to be a talented musician to boot. There, I must admit, he’s got the advantage over me, since there’s probably not a huge amount of comedic value in a bloke staring at his guitar trying to remember the chords for Home on the Range.

Friday, 11th February, 2005

A man’s work is never done. In anticipation of guests landing on us (not literally) tomorrow, I took the afternoon off to get the house ship-shape (or, more realistically, house-shape). With F. being out and Sarah not being well, poor old Jack was press-ganged into “volunteering” to help. So, while I spent about 5 hours cleaning two bathrooms, the hall, landing and stairs, our bedroom, the lounge, the dining room and the study, Jack bravely changed his bed and hoovered his bedroom.

Jack asked if he’d be getting extra pocket money for all his efforts. I launched into an uplifting speech about fulfilling our responsibilities, all pulling together, the reward of a job well done and the like. It took me a good three minutes to notice he was no longer there.

Saturday, 12th February, 2005

A most pleasant day with our visitors. We watched rugby, went to town, got soaked walking back from town, then dried off while watching a Tom Hanks film, The Terminal. It’s a peculiar yet heartwarming tale (not unlike these diaries, really) marred only by the fact that in my hurry to restock the popcorn I broke one of our treasured blue Pyrex bowls.

Photo-20180217213003419.jpg
Before the devastation

Much like a hamster, said bowl wasn’t exactly irreplaceable but had nonetheless been in the family for some time and will be missed.

Monday, 14th February, 2005

This being Valentine’s Day I have of course carried out various essential domestic chores, to whit: New battery in dining room alarm sensor (previous one having lasted a paltry six weeks); New fluorescent tube in kitchen worktop light fitting (a snip at £6.50); New 10 Watt halogen bulb in bathroom downlighter (again). My sense of achievement knew no bounds.

Thought I’d better tackle the assignment from last week’s session of the Finding Your Place in the Kingdom of Our Righteous God and Playing Your Part in the Spreading of His Glorious Gospel course. My thoughtful and decisive answers apparently indicated that I was mildly interested in eight different areas of ministry and may possibly have one or more of at least eleven different spiritual gifts. So that’s much clearer then.

This being Valentine’s Day, F., Jack and Sarah watched Forrest Gump.

Tuesday, 15th February, 2005

The extractor fan in the downstairs loo ceiling has been screaming like a strangled banshee for a while. Being on a DIY roll (see yesterday’s entry), I whipped it out and sprayed WD40 into every available orifice. A quick check of the instructions (carefully filed, naturally, along with leaflets for a fridge-freezer, a kettle we threw away in 1998 and 37 other miscellaneous household appliances) revealed a fairly short section on maintenance, consisting mainly of the phrase Do not lubricate under any circumstances.

While washing my hands after this highly successful task, I also had to rinse several drops of WD40 out of my left ear.

Wednesday 16th February, 2005

F. was not pleased by the small, oily pool on the floor in the downstairs loo. I said I’d have a word with the kids as it was probably some weird hair product.

Thursday, 17th February, 2005

I explained to Sarah and Jack that since our tickets for Les Miserables were pretty pricey, there’d be no father-child bonding trip this year. They put on a good show of concealing their disappointment.

Cycled to B & Q to look for a new extractor fan.

 

The Dad Diaries are fictional. Probably.

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The Dad Diaries Chapter 4: In which shirts are ironed but neither passion nor purpose are discovered

Thursday, 27th January, 2005

The news said it’s 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. One of those sobering “Lest we forget” moments.

It would seem disrespectful to write anything else today.

Friday, 28th January, 2005

I did the ironing. Not quite as momentous as yesterday’s anniversary, I grant you, but still, in its own way, remarkable. Why? Because it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not only Wise Middle-Aged Man but also distinctly New Man. He loves his kids (and frequently tells them so, especially in public – which they particularly appreciate although claiming to find it “embarrassing”); he’s as ready to push the vacuum cleaner as the lawnmower; and now, he can de-crease even “proper” shirts with a vengeance.

 

Monday, 31st January, 2005

Joe came round to give Sarah more maths tutoring. Allegedly. Spent 34 minutes figuring out how to casually walk through the dining room giving Joe a hard stare without Sarah spotting it.

Jack, on the other hand, asked me what I thought the purpose of life was and what the church was for. Such a joy to be able to teach one’s child the ways of the Lord. Or, at least, it would have been if I’d said anything that made the slightest bit of sense. After a couple of minutes Jack remembered he had to load some music onto his newly-arrived MP3 player.

Wednesday, 2nd February, 2005

New month! New ideas! Time to leave the January Blues behind! Rejoice! Enjoy life!

We’re thinking about going to see Les Miserables.

Friday, 4th February, 2005

It was the first session of the Finding Your Place in the Kingdom of Our Righteous God and Playing Your Part in the Spreading of His Glorious Gospel course at church. The topic was discovering your passion. Didn’t discover my passion, although the Garibaldi biscuits were a pleasant surprise.

What am I passionate about? What drives me? What gets me out of bed in the morning? Not sure that being quite keen on holidays in Cornwall is what they’re getting at.

Tuesday, 8th February, 2005

Sarah took part in Police cadet training in a local shopping centre, acting the part of a disrespectful rowdy youth. I know she’s keen on drama but she seemed to enjoy the chance to steal a police officer’s helmet whilst swearing just a little bit too much. I’ve just paid her bail. (Note to diary: that was a joke.)

Shrove Tuesday. Naturally we all had shroves. (Note to diary: another joke. I should do this for a living.)

 

The Dad Diaries are fictional. Probably.

 

 

 

 

The Dad Diaries Chapter 3: In which an MP3 player fails to arrive and the gospel is preached

Monday, 17th January, 2005

Jack said he had a boring day at school. I said I’d had a boring day at work. Other family members didn’t comment on how boring (or otherwise) their day had been.

On the other hand, F. did report that a colleague at work had had their house vandalised. We were suitably appalled and prayed for fire to rain down from heaven and consume the culprits. (Although we also requested that the fire would be at a safe distance from the house, in order to prevent further damage.)

Tuesday, 18th January, 2005

Jack was crestfallen when the postman again failed to deliver his eagerly-awaited MP3 player from eBay. F. is also waiting for an MP3 player from eBay, but being an adult her degree of crestfallen-ness was naturally much lower.

We attended a church house group where the “ice-breaker” consisted of sharing your opinions of President George W. Bush. The main opinion we came away with was that as an exercise in sharing something about yourself and learning something about others it was an unmitigated failure.

Wednesday, 19th January, 2005

I announced to the family that since it’s now post-Christmas we are officially allowed to discuss where we want to go on holiday this year. We need to get our skates on, given that we only have 7 months to decide.

Saturday, 22nd January, 2005

It’s cold. I have a headache. And I worked until lunchtime. On. A. Saturday.

On the other hand, we had F.’s parents round for chippy takeaway and games of Uno and Pass The Pigs. Both exceedingly fine games of skill, judgement and strategy. (When I win. If I lose, it’s just down to luck.)

opplanet-encross-wave-x-wv-430c-512mb-digital-audio-mp3-player-wv430cF.’s MP3 player arrived, much to the dismay of a by now extra-crestfallen Jack, who remains MP3 player-less and must console himself with old-fashioned CDs or humming to himself.

Monday, 24th January, 2005

Sarah had her TB jab. It hurt. She was consoled by our visit to the Town Hall to see Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring, it seems, one of her teachers.

For some sound educational reason Jack has to find pictures of a rhino’s back on the Internet. He’s drawn a picture of a boy crying uncontrollably. I think it’s the MP3 player thing.

Tuesday, 25th January, 2005

Met Dave Morrison near Morrison’s (co-incidence or what?). He didn’t remember me so I had to remind him we met at the German evening class two years ago. He then told me about various health and financial troubles he had. Moved by the Spirit, I told him Jesus cared about all that stuff and wants him to get right with God. Dave said he really needed to pop in for some salt and a tin of peaches.

 

The Dad Diaries are fictional. Probably.

Exclusive: Traycer Band album artwork revealed

It's been more than two long years in the making, but The Traycer Band's album is finally due for release this autumn. Solomon himself told us of the recording plans in his last guest post. Now, in another MMW exclusive, we get to preview the cover artwork for the album.

And here it is:

As widely forecast, the album is named after the hugely popular track The Staircase, a song which, as Solomon described in his Postcard from Barcelona, is always a great crowd-pleaser.

As for the music, that's being kept tightly under wraps (other than the title track) by ROTA Records for now. Be assured that any sneak previews or other inside info will appear here first!

 

The Dad Diaries Chapter 2: In which a storm is weathered and pipe-smoking is rejected

Saturday, 8th January, 2005

Fierce winter storm last night. So bad I had to tie the barbecue cover back on.

Monday, 10th January, 2005

We now have three decorative stone heads in the back garden. Kind of Easter Island-ish but significantly smaller. Jack suggested they constitute pagan idols and will entice demons into the garden. I said I didn’t think Green Lane Garden Centre sold pagan idols.

Said an extra prayer for protection over the garden before going to bed.

Tuesday, 11th January, 2005

My American niece Anne-Louise is 21 today. I have an officially grown-up niece. This presumably makes me officially middle-aged and full of wisdom. Perhaps a pipe would underline my maturity and vast life experience. Not to smoke, naturally (I’m far too wise for that): just to suck on as I contemplate some conundrum troubling one of the young people.

Of course, had Anne-Louise been British she would have been officially grown-up three years ago and I would have been officially middle-aged in 2002.

Wednesday, 12th January, 2005

There was great excitement when I announced we were going to see Daniel Bedingfield in concert. I really am quite hip for a middle-aged bloke with pipe-sucking aspirations.

Thursday, 13th January, 2005

At Sarah’s parents’ evening we finally got some explanation of the convoluted grading system on her report. Something about a mark for the last test, a projected grade based on current performance, a second projected grade based on the student’s real potential if they just decided to work a bit, and a third projected grade based on a combination of local education authority demographic averages, last year’s median grade and what mood the teacher was in.

The net result was that while she’s a delightful person (gets it from her parents) and doing well in most subjects, she’s doing less delightfully in maths. Jack offered to help her out, being “well good” at maths despite being younger than Sarah. Sarah thanked him and I think suggested he go boil his head, but I couldn’t be sure.

Friday, 14th January, 2005

Sarah helped at the church’s Kidz Klub (that’s a deliberate, cool, mis-spelling, incidentally) and afterwards got some maths help from Joe, a university student who, she explained with a disdainful glance at her brother, “really knows what he’s talking about”.

If necessary I will notify Joe that I’ll be monitoring Sarah’s enthusiasm for maths.

Saturday, 15th January, 2005

Sarah did extra maths homework. Jack played on his PS2 and bought himself both a new ink pen and a new calculator battery. I cleaned our bedroom and both bathrooms. F. cooked us a Saturday tea worthy of Sunday lunch, followed by cookies & cream pie. After dinner we all laid on the dining room floor looking at the ceiling and just talking for three quarters of an hour.

Sometimes a family Saturday just goes well and leaves one deeply grateful.

Stubbed my toe at the bottom of the stairs on the way up to bed.

 

The Dad Diaries are fictional. Probably.