Posted by: iamwillwhite | November 27, 2018

A Good Day to Live Hard…

Wow… just found this unpublished blog from March 7th… 2013!!! So screw it, going to publish it now anyway.

Epic… That’s how I would describe Friday!

It started like any other day, a disagreement about parenting, enhanced by the fact that the wife had woken up next to ‘the other guy’ – Avengers Assemble fans will get this…

The day then changed, normally one would don suitable attire and ride on his noble stead to work but plans were afoot so a lift was provided. (that’s right, I used to own a 125cc motorbike).

Work was initially as work is… Work! A meeting was attended and an uncertain future was still unclear. (I’m trying to work out exactly which job I was doing then… Harmoni forHealth maybe?)

Throughout the day I attempted to contact ‘the Seller’ (of a VW Polo) but attempts did fail. Eventually at 1610 a link was established and all systems were go.

My companion (let’s call him JC) was due at 1700 but at 1630, with no word from him, panic and doubt were in full throttle. Subsequent tries to correspond were unsuccessful. Fortunately they he arrived and the journey to Lymington had begun.

Our ETA was 1730 but we limped in at 1750. This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if we didn’t have somewhere else to be at 1900.

Inspection proved satisfactory and purchase of a vehicle was made. A beautiful black VW Polo, I wasn’t to know at the time it was the noisiest car I’ve ever owned. Now I needed to insure it.

Insurance attempt one… Fail
Insurance attempt two… Fail
Day insurance attempt by JC… Eventually succeeded.

Unfortunately, I’m sure there was a third party involved in lifts, but I can’t think who. Maybe it was the wife, who then drove home. It’s very confusing trying to think 5 years ago.

Anyway… JC drove my Polo faster than I ever drove it, but those who know that I drive like I’m driving Miss Daisy know that I don’t speed, except that one time. The reason JC was driving like a man possessed was that we had free tickets to the premier of Die Hard 4. Despite the madness we arrived during the introduction with free popcorn and drinks. Sadly, it was JC’s first Die Hard film. Sad for many reasons. 1. It isn’t the best Die Hard film. 2. It made me sad to remember how young he was.

Long blog short, well, not quite although still under 500 words. JC and I thoroughly enjoyed Die Hard and 3 days later, my son was born. So all in all, a pretty fantastic weekend.

Thanks again to the wife (who won us the free tickets and let me go while she was 9 months pregnant) and JC (who helped me buy a piece of shit car that died a slow death but I really enjoyed the built-in DVD player when I could hear the movie over the sound of the engine…).

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Posted by: iamwillwhite | September 9, 2013

“You know it’s fake don’t you?”

Picto002We are, of course, talking about wrestling or, for the sake of separating ‘real’ wrestling from ‘fake’ wrestling, we are talking about WWE (formerly WWF) and TNA Wrestling.

My response, to the question in the aforementioned title, varies but typically I acknowledge that I know that the ‘wrestling’ is choreographed and storylines are scripted.

It doesn’t end there though, there is usually a follow up question, “Why do you watch it then?” The answer is simple, it entertains me. The same way that people are entertained by other ‘fake’ television programming, Eastenders certainly isn’t real, and I’m pretty sure it is scripted… The Walking Dead isn’t factually based as far as I am aware and don’t get me started on CSI (not that I dislike it but even the ‘real forensic facts’ appear somewhat covered in bullshit).

So why does it entertain me? Why do I enjoy watching buff sweaty men in tight pants beating on each other?

I enjoy the athleticism… seriously, YouTube Rey Mysterio or Justin Gabrielle and you’ll see some amazing feats.

I enjoy the strength and seeing the hard hits… being hit by a chair, ladder or Big Show’s WMD is still going to hurt, no matter who you are or how ‘fake’ it is.

I enjoy the familiarity, the one that comes with watching anything for a long time I guess. I was a closet fan in my childhood, only ‘coming out’ when I met someone who I respected who was openly into men wrestling in tight pants (although please remember there are women in similar outfits too). I then met likeminded fans at University and, so long as Wrestle Talk and TNA play on Challenge TV and WWE on Sky One, then I’m there every Sunday, catching up on the storylines, fights and tightness.

I enjoy the mindlessness. Life is busy and while watching the high fliers and the heavyweights my brain is disengaged, what a lovely feeling indeed. The only active thought that might replay is… I should do that… I’ll start getting buff tomorrow. Of course, tomorrow never comes.

I invite you naysayers to tune in, turn off and enjoy the carnivalesque at its best.

Posted by: iamwillwhite | September 1, 2013

Pooh @ Mottisfont

P1060810

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wonderful thing about Mottisfont, is Mottisfont’s a wonderful thing…

Watch your step. Pooh is everywhere at Mottisfont. Fortunately, for a suggested donation of £1, you can find out where the Pooh is and avoid it (if so inclined).

P1060802

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willow is a fan of Pooh (who isn’t?) so we opted for the trail map and set on our way around the gardens (and house… eventually).

The gardens were beautiful and our stroll by the river, speckled with Pooh activities, was full of simple pleasures. Ducks, swans and (not so baby) cygnets fought against the strong tide in the hope they would be fed but alas we had no bread. Many a butterfly fluttered by and some dragonflies flew too. The gentle breeze kept us cool and the Tea Room kept us warm, a delightful combination.

We shall return, without the children I’m sure, as it took us nearly five hours to explore the surrounds (with a pit
stop or two) and I have no doubt the house had a lot more to offer than ‘making a flower’ although, for Willow, this was one of the best bits.P1060917

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder where will our annual National Trust memberships take us next?

Posted by: iamwillwhite | July 14, 2013

147 days later…

WP_001570in 3 days it’ll be 5 months since Logan was born. “Wow”, people will say, it seems like only yesterday he was born, “hasn’t that gone fast?”.

My honest answer is, “No! I’ve felt every fucking minute.” Perhaps that’ll come across a little strong but it is true, in a sense. Some things go quickly, but, for me, parenthood goes really, really slowly. I remember every conscious minute and every painstaking hour.

I make it sound like a chore, but I don’t mean it to. In fact, Logan is definitely my favourite child right now… HE JUST SAID WHAT!!! That’s right, I have that which I shouldn’t, a favourite. I love Willow. She is amazing, truly bright and gifted with talents well ahead of where she should be (we’ve been told, and seen). That being true, she is currently an absolute monster, the child that they mean when they talk about the terrible twos.

????????????????Willow knows how to behave, she knows what is naughty, she knows what is rude and she loves to push our buttons! One minute you want to Homer-style clasps your hands around her neck and shake her until she complies with instruction and the next minute you want to hug her and never let go.

Logan knows nothing. His innocence is his gift. If he is hungry, he cries. If he is tired, he cries. If he is bored.. you get where I’m going with this. And although his banshee-spec wailing can make my entire body tense, I know he doesn’t know any better way of communicating, and that is why he is number one child, he doesn’t know any better!

WP_001574It’s funny isn’t it? Right now I want to go upstairs and wake them up for a cuddle, but in 4 hours, when they are shouting out because they need a wee or screaming because they need feeding I’ll forget how much I love them…

Posted by: iamwillwhite | June 1, 2013

Don’t ruin it for me!!!

976143_466179563475578_1415948749_oThe Mall, Reading is set in a Mall… in Reading… obvious enough. It is a disused shopping centre close to Reading Train Station. On arrival a Security Guard checks you in and when the time is right, he briefs you before you go in. He gives you some general rules for the day but once through the doors, the experience begins.

Once inside you meet a variety of characters, namely policemen (and women) and the undead. All fully in character and at no stage did they falter, especially the mindless zombies.

You are thrown into the ‘story’, provided with survival gear, weapons training and given opportunities to use your newly found skills and growing thirst… for undead slaying.

Despite knowing the situation I was in wasn’t real, I still found myself very much alone in one of the scenarios, wandering through the dimly lit basement, frantically checking every corner, silently creeping down the corridors and, ultimately, desperately lost with that wonderful mixture of nervousness, anticipation and adrenalin coursing through my body.

I couldn’t recommend this experience enough however I’ll pass on this advice for those brave enough to take on those who refuse to die…

  • Volunteer for everything and stick close to the ‘actors’
  • Spend some time exploring on your own, if you have the stones
  • Pay attention to the layout, it might stop you getting lost for about 15 minutes (although it could have been less, I had no concept of time… or direction)
  • Get into character, I opted for the ‘we’re all going to die’ pessimist
  • Wear something with a collar but be prepared to be hot and cold throughout, there is no heating in the building but you’ll soon warm up once your blood gets pumping
  • Do not have a large lunch and two pints of coke before going in, there are few comfort breaks and you’ll do a lot of running…

Do you want to know more? Be warned, I am revealing the experience in its entirety in the next post so if you were contemplating going, and don’t like spoilers, then don’t click on the link…

I want to know EVERYTHING, even the bit where you pissed your pants

Posted by: iamwillwhite | June 1, 2013

Death to the Undead

965663_10151495899487515_1637998060_oNight of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, House of the Dead, Resident Evil, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Braindead, Zombies vs Vampires, Land of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Dead Rising, The Zen of Zombie, Zombieland, The Walking Dead, Cowboys vs Zombies, AE Zombie Defender… And now ZED Events! My zombie education is complete. Should there ever be a Zompocalypse, I’m ready for it.

This blog splits into two parts now. The first link is for those who think they might want to follow in my bloody footsteps (thoroughly recommended) and take on the zombie hordes themselves, which will not reveal anything about the day. The second link is a very detailed narrative of my experience so will contain SPOILERS… You have been warned, choose wisely.

Don’t ruin it for me!!!

I want to know EVERYTHING, even the bit where you pissed your pants

Posted by: iamwillwhite | March 20, 2013

Why I won’t miss my motorbike…

 WP_001170  25th February 2013… that was the last day I rode my motorbike. I enjoyed it, but not enough to go back to two-wheeled travel, here are the main reasons why the four-wheeled variety now totally floats my boat:

  1. Warm… such a simple luxury. Despite my best efforts on the motorbike (multi layers and thermals in the main) I never managed actual warmth during the winter months. I survived two winters but it shouldn’t be about survival, it should be about enjoyment. Sure, the car isn’t room temperature instantly, but it doesn’t take long for it to warm up and even when cold, it is a hell of a lot warmer than when you have 30-60mph additional wind-chill coming at you!
  2. Dry… I do not miss turning up to work or returning home, sopping wet. My waterproof boots and waterproof oversuit were not 100% waterproof (despite what it says on the tin) during a good downpour. No matter the weather outside, I’m always dry inside my little Polo!
  3. 32144_10152588115590177_836115917_nTime… it used to take me at least 10 minutes to get myself ready for work. This would include, but would not be limited to, pulling protective trousers over my work trousers, slinging my protective jacket over (potentially) three layers, then stretching the waterproof(ish) oversuit over it all, topped off by slotting on my boots, donning a snood, taking off my spectacles, putting on my helmet, putting my spectacles back on, fighting with the garage to get the bike out, then putting on two pairs of gloves… then I’d leave. Just that could add 30 minutes to my daily commute.
  4. Time (2)… not only did it take ages to don/remove gear but I was limited to 60mph (I could sometimes reach 70, downhill, with the wind behind me) and A and B roads (due to my limited license) therefore I’d have to take the scenic route to work clocking up an extra 8 miles a day and at least an additional 15-20 minutes. I can be home from work in 20 minutes now – score!
  5. Appearance… ever tried wearing a suit underneath biking gear? It doesn’t always travel well and I’ll need to start wearing suits to work on a regular basis. Well, I don’t need to, but I like to.
  6. Carpool… I couldn’t have passengers on my bike. Perhaps that is a blessing, and I’m yet to give a lift to a colleague, but the option is most definitely there.
  7. WP_001171Face the music… I tried listening to music on my motorbike through headphones, needless to say it didn’t work very well. Now I have the option of radio, compact disc, USB devices (I’ve not tried this yet but I’m assuming I can hook my phone up to it) and, most recently discovered, digital versatile discs! Not that my clever stereo allows me to watch DVDs when the engine is on, but I can listen to the audio. While that may not appeal to all it does to me, so far I’ve treated myself to Transformers (the cartoon movie) and a Tim Minchin DVD. The luxuries!
  8. Back up!… Nothing to do with reversing I’m afraid, but more to do with the fact that now we have a back up family vehicle.
  9. Extra capacity… no longer am I limited to what I can and cannot take to and from work. I’ve room for my laptop, some folders, stock if I need it, hell, I’ve room for a hog roast if I want it.
  10. Safety… I was struggling to think of a tenth benefit whereas I know that those who care about me most (wife and mother in the main) would have listed this one first. I’m infinity safer in my Polo as opposed to on my 125cc motorbike. I never felt unsafe, but my protection was in the form of my reactions and some padding whereas now I have a cage and air bag. No longer will I be overtaken in a 30 zone doing 30 (okay, that isn’t a guarantee but it is less likely now) or have trucks scream past me at 70 on a dual carriageway while I’m struggling to get over 65.

I’m sure there are more benefits, although I can’t think of them right now, but that is enough. People have asked me why I don’t keep it and there are two main reasons, one – I shouldn’t afford to insure, tax and MOT three vehicles, and, two – seldom did I take the bike out for pleasure due to a hectic lifestyle and a preference to spend time with my family rather than out and about on my hog…

I’ll miss my ride when I see bikers filtering through traffic or sat in a pub garden on a hot summer’s day and I’ll certainly miss it when I scrutinise my fuel bill each month or come to renew my road tax and who knows, in a decade or so, when the mid-life crisis is approaching (or in full swing) I may just find myself back in Bikerville!WP_001168

Posted by: iamwillwhite | March 14, 2013

Logan’s Runs

WP_001095That’s right folks, this is a blog all about baby faecal matter. I guess I should clarify that he doesn’t actually have the runs, he has healthy constipation. I say this because it is not unknown for babies to go a few days without filling their nappy. Unfortunately this backlog means one thing… when he does go he doesn’t just fill his nappy, he fills his entire outfit.

 

Until a few days ago I was fortunate enough not to be subjected to the voiding of very full baby bowels, needless to say, I am less fortunate now… Charlotte had told me of her recent encounter, which involved more faecal matter than she could describe. It had managed to spill out of his nappy and down BOTH his legs, so much so that he had it in between his toes too! Foolishly I laughed when she told me, it sounded funny, I now see the unfunny side.

 

So there I was, minding my own business holding my son, when there was a ‘rumble from below’. It is not unknown for false alarms ie poo-less farts but this time felt different, literally, my hand beneath his bottom was warming. Calmly I proceeded to the changing arena. Once laid on his back, Logan struggled and strained and continued to fill his nappy. Unfortunately for me, his nappy was already full. Once mentally prepared I revealed the devastation and I didn’t know where to start. It was everywhere… up his back, down his left leg, on his vest and sleepsuit… I made a couple of attempts but despite a few good ‘moppings’ I didn’t appear to be making progress.

 

Luckily Charlotte was on hand and suggested washing him in the sink, genius. Unlike his sister, Logan appears to like baths (even sink-baths), so, once naked, it was pretty easy. He was cleaned up and changed pretty swiftly after that but in just a few days time, I was about to experience the biggest ‘live’ poo of my life…

 

The ‘Live’ Poo
There is nothing clever about the term ‘Live’ Poo… it’s literally when one witnesses their little one pooing with nothing in the way to block the horror. For those who haven’t experienced one, it looks no different to toothpaste coming out of the tube – except of course it is never minty fresh.

 

So, only this morning I was treated to my first Logan live poo. As I said above, he is currently on a 3-4 day cycle. I found myself talking to Logan at 06:30 this morning after it was clear he was all slept out, he was engaging for the most part and then suddenly he seemed vacant. He farted, it sounded wet, I knew I had to act fast…

 

I moved swiftly, but without panic, to the nappy changing area where I removed the nappy to reveal only a smidge of poo. Ha, I thought, that was sma… I didn’t have time to finish the thought as he grunted and then squeezed out some orange poo paste. Again, it wasn’t much, I thought I had a handle on it… I didn’t. Logan took me by surprise over the next 10 minutes by intermittently shitting. Sometimes a small manageable amount, other times it was so much that the baby wipes and cotton wool balls could not handle it. At the end of it all I found myself surrounded by a nappy full of crap-covered wipes and balls (in both senses) and I had managed to get shit on the towel he was sitting on and the knuckles on my right hand were now topped with faeces too.

 

It may sound awful, but if I’m honest, it was rather amusing, especially for Charlotte who had my audio commentary throughout… not long after, Logan fell asleep in my arms. I wasn’t surprised, I always sleep better after I crap out my insides too.

 

Posted by: iamwillwhite | March 12, 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

WP_000964The Good
There is truly nothing better than holding your son or daughter in your arms while they sleep.

The Bad
Of course, that is until you feel your spine bending out of shape and you realise that you need to change your posture before it snaps.

The Ugly
To get them to sleep in your arms you might have to rock them, pat their back, swing them in your arms, sing to them, talk to them, ignore them, do lunges, pretend they are a dumbbell, walk around in circles, jump up and down, ignore them, turn them upside down, place them over your shoulder, place them over your other shoulder, curse out loud (in moderation), put them back in their Moses Basket until they scream so much that when you pick them up again they sob, and whimper, and wheeze and make you feel like you are possibly the worst father in the world, then finally, finally they might stop screaming if you hold them close to your chest and make loud humming noises.

And here we are, two hours on from when Logan finally fell asleep on my chest after over an hour of differing combinations. It started as soon as I got home from work (and for Charlotte it was an all day battle) as I walked in to find Charlotte rocking him back and forth and up and down in an attempt to settle him.

I was tagged in and I quickly sent Charlotte upstairs to have a shower and have some scream-free time, don’t mistake this as me being the hero – I’m fully aware that I have the easy job, going to work. I said the very same thing to a couple of mums at a playgroup not so long ago – they asked if they could record me saying it. I love my children dearly but having a 9 hour break from them is good for our relationship!

With Charlotte de-stressing I then set about making Willow her dinner and trying my best to entertain her – all one handed of course. Logan goes through the motions, screaming, whimpering, deathly silent and staring all around, slightly dozy and then… yes… you guessed it… screaming like a banshee.

No combination seems to work every time. Sometimes he will settle with a feed, others a cuddle, occasionally on his own but more often than not, with his ‘holder’ performing an unorthodox jig.

I hope it sounds tiring, because it is. And the problem is, there is very little break (especially for my glutton-for-punishment wife) from this. Take yesterday for example…

I came home from work, started cooking dinner for us all, then Charlotte took over and I tried to settle Logan. Charlotte, Willow and Big E (who had been busy entertaining Willow) ate their dinner then Charlotte and I swapped and I ate my dinner then put Willow to bed. Once back downstairs I was tagged back in again (throughout this time Logan would fall asleep but for no longer than 10 minutes) and managed to get Logan settled and in his Moses Basket so Big E and I could go and play 5-a-side football.

After being out only 5 minutes Logan woke and Charlotte spent all her time trying to calm him and get him back to sleep. Once home, I tagged in once more and settled him once more only to put him in his Moses Basket and then start proofreading for Charlotte – it would seem prudent to mention that during Charlotte’s ‘downtime’ she was actually busy working on her regular commission.

This game continued until just after midnight – Charlotte retired to bed and I crashed out on the sofa with Logan nearby in his Moses Basket but only for two hours.

Logan would wake crying, to which my response was to take him up to his mother for a feed, while I got his hot water bottle ready, Willow’s morning milk ready and myself ready for bed…

He’d wake a couple of times during the night, and the only soother would be his mother’s embrace (and natural milk). I’d be grumpy, and non-responsive, and then later apologise to Charlotte.

Willow would soon wake, and want our attention, when all we would want to do is sleep… in an hour I’d be able to escape to work and leave Charlotte to it and then have it all start again when I get home.

Exhausting doesn’t quite cut it… and yet here I am, 23:26 and I should be fast asleep but my brain is on fire. It’s full of thoughts, not just of the days gone by, but the future. Not just about my current employment uncertainty but also about my potential career as an author… Not just about my plight but about my wife’s determination and struggles…

Thank you to those that are reading this right now, I hope you’ve taken something from this because this is certainly good therapy for me!

As Fox Mulder once said, “We are not alone!”

Posted by: iamwillwhite | March 10, 2013

Conversations with my two year old (part 1)

WP_000876I have a terrible memory… at home. At work my memory is pretty top notch, I can remember a vast array of things including various conversations, certain statistics and in the saddest of examples I can remember sentences within British Standards and Health and Safety law… But at home, my memory is basically mush.

I can forget entire conversations with my wife, including important things like appointments and weekend plans, and I barely retain anything that Willow says to me and sometimes those things are so hilarious that I think ‘I’ll never forget that’ and in the blink of an ear, it’s gone!

So, I decided that I should record a conversation with her. She is extremely vocal and her diction and vocabulary are extremely good for her age. I may well add audio clips to this at some stage but until then I want you to hear me as Louis Theroux, asking her questions with inquisitive naivety and her as a squeaky two year old who raises the pitch of her voice at the end of her sentences… Willow was kind enough to let me record our conversation while playing with her ponies and fairytale castle.

She started the conversation…

Willow: In the window!
Me: What’s in the window?
Willow: There’s crocodiles
Me: What are they doing?
Willow: Scaring the bunnies
Me: Why are they scaring the bunnies?
Willow: Coz they are saying hello to Willow. Coz Willow is going to open the window for them and they are going to have biscuits.
Me: Oh that sounds lovely. What else are they having?
Willow: They are going to have pasta!
Me: Anything else?
Willow: Rice with it. Rice with pickle and fruit. And they have ice cream. They won’t share the ponies. Coz they are going to say hello to Willow. Willow is going to open some biscuits.

*Willow finally pauses, I’m not sure if she has finished but I’m keen to move the conversation forward*

Me: What happens next?
Willow: They are going to scare the ponies
Me: Why? Are they not friends?
Willow: Coz they are saying hello to Willow. They not scare Willow. Because they’re saying hello to Willow. They are going to have biscuits.

*I notice there is a theme of food that we keep coming back to, I wonder whether or not I should offer her biscuits… but instead I suddenly wonder just how many invisible crocodiles there are*

Me: How many are there?
Willow: One, two.  Little one, big one and a little one. They are not scared enough. Not going to scare the bunny.
Me: Do they like it with the lights on? *I ask, trying to mix it up. She answers and it makes me wonder if what I thought I asked was different to what I actually asked*
Willow: Ding the bell onto them and they have a clock that wakes them up. Willow ding the bell.
Me: Will they then have breakfast once the clock wakes them up? *curses, I brought it back to food*
Willow: Yes
Me: What will they have for breakfast?
Willow: Pasta
Me: Really…
Willow: Strawberry and pear. And they are going to have milk, and they are not going to scare the bunny. They’re not going to scare the ponies. Coz they not going to bang the ponies.
Me: Pardon?
Willow: They’re not going to bite the ponies. *that makes more sense*. Willow going to clear them up. Crocodiles going to clear them up. The crocodile sneezed on him and he said achoo.
Me: Did you say bless you?
Willow: Yes. Crocodile going to clear his snot up, and going to get a baby wipe.
Me: Why a baby wipe?
Willow: Because he is scared of the pony and goes indoors and he comes back soon. He is going to scratch the carpet. Coz Willow smack him off.
Me: Naughty crocodile!
Willow: Naughty crocodile. He scratches it with his claws. He goes scratch scratch. He goes scratch scratch. The little one.
Me: What is his name?
Willow *without hesitation*: Ruby
Me: And the big one?
Willow: Ruby. It is called mummy cow. It is called daddy cow. He is daddy crocodile. He is going to cuddle them. They are not going to scare the little big one…

Willow stopped talking and threw a puzzled face at me. She stared at my forehead, I instantly knew why. I was wearing her hairclip (another story) and clearly she was as confused by this as I was by her rambling… it was at this point I terminated the interview…WP_000884

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