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Showing posts from 2016

Party fever

‘Tis the season… when once a year drinkers get jolly. And then get smashed on vodka-spiked punch at the office do. And then fall over on my train home. When respectable professionals pee on the tube and puke on the platform. Not that I’m entirely innocent in this regard. I may not be a once a year drinker, but I do remember an unfortunate incident on the train after a launch party the week before one Christmas. Posh do at the RSA’s swish gaff just off The Strand. I thought the RSA was the financial company that sponsored the gruelling 3 mile novice chase at the Festival. Who knew there was another RSA? One of the pre-eminent drivers of creative enrichment in the country, apparently. (That’s Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, since you ask.) After too much complimentary bubbly and not enough fiddly canap├ęs, I felt a little queasy on the train home. The champers was clearly to blame. It’s not my regular tipple. I calmly picked up my rucksack,

Tingle Revised

I was going to write a new blog about our annual expedition to the Tingle Creek meeting. Then I found that with a little bit of handy, writers-block relieving track-change manipulation, most of  l ast year's effort  will suffice.  This is the first time I’ve plagiarised my own stuff (as oppose to anyone/everyone else’s) and I’m quite pleased with the initiative. (b lack  – last year’s words; struck through  – last year’s deleted ramblings; red , this year’s amendments) This meeting has become a fixture in our punting calendar. For years we came on the Friday; a lower-profile card which still has a couple of decent races. Sneaking a day off work was part of the attraction. One time when the fixture was frosted-off we instead went 10-pin bowling at the Trocadero and drank all day. Since switching to the main event, attendance amongst our unruly gang has grown. Fourteen Sixteen thirsty souls answered Bryn’s group booking invitation this year: thirteen sixteen lads and

Saturday formula

There is a certain formula that guarantees a successful winter Saturday’s racing. The perfect day has to start with a bit of a lie in. Nothing ostentatious. I’ll stagger downstairs, rubbing gummy eyes in time to pay only partial attention to The Morning Line. An ailing, safe preview vehicle these days, I’ll mostly be distracted by making some fantasy football transfers (like dropping Leroy Fer today just before he bags a brace against Palace) or following an England sub-continental collapse, ball-by-ball, on Cricinfo (having finally ditched the Sky Sports package on the basis of outrageous price hikes). I’ll walk the dog - unless it’s raining - because I know there’s little chance of me doing so in daylight hours once the racing has started. On return, I’ll feel like I’ve earned a toasted bagel with marmite, or maybe an English muffin topped with runny fried eggs.   Dammit. Maybe both. By the time the second coffee is washing down the late breakfast, I’ll be deep into

Home Front

Mrs A has been away visiting her sister in Tenerife again. It’s an oft repeated and enthusiastically enjoyed trip. She came back refreshed, relaxed and retanned having enjoyed some quality time with Auntie Sue and plenty of pleasant 28-degree November sunshine. Each time she goes I write a post on here explaining that Mrs A calls the break a long weekend and I describe it as a short week. This time, even my barber agrees with me. “Thursday morning to Tuesday night? That’s a week, mate. A week.”   We have some great chats, me and Bardo. None of that bravura birds-and-football chat that Trump would call Locker Room Banter. Not at all. Bardo was soon showing me pictures on his phone of his a rabbit hutch that he had crafted with his own hands. Less of a hutch, more of a villa: three sheltered storeys and a large, enclosed run. Bardo is quite a flashy name for a barber. He’s from Italian stock. His brother owns and also works in the shop. He’s called John, which is much mo

The gift that keeps on giving

The last time I took a circuit around the increasingly well-furnished Green Park, I was clutching the remnants of a large doner, the after-party following a few beers in the Barley Mow, and weaving towards the tube station. The kebab was purchased from Flames Grill next to Victoria Coach station. Sadly, it is now merely rubble holding together the foundations of yet another corporate office makeover in the ever-redeveloping Victoria Street glasshouse canyon. Still, the tree behind which I relieved myself was still there in the park. I was happy to point it out to Mrs A as we ambled towards a very different culinary experience. A table was awaiting us at Michelin-starred Galvin At The Athenaeum . This was a birthday treat from Mrs A. And some. Fine dining harvesting the best of British ingredients and served with classic style and a smidge of swagger. Was that starch-aproned waiter flirting with my wife? Caramelised apple tart sticking to the inside of ones ribs slows the progr

She's leaving home

Our collection of cavernous IKEA bags, long-time unregarded occupants of the shoe cupboard, finally came into their own last week. Temporarily packed with bewildering items from Daughter No 1’s old and new existence, they played a key role in the home-uni transit arrangements. We relayed the bags and holdhalls to the car, crow-barring them into the boot and seat wells. Jackie over the road said that they had to deploy their trailer, more often used for scout camps, when they took their daughter and kit to uni.  Last to arrive down from the bedroom was a family-size rucksack last used on her Reading Festival adventure. “That one is mostly shoes”, remarked the Imelda Markos clone, with a casual wave of the hand, ignoring her newly made crater in the dining room floor. I left for college with nothing but a toothbrush and a packet of condoms. I never used either! (Boom Boom!) Ok not true, but I certainly didn't have a clothes airer wedged over the back seat head-rests. “Ca