Saturday, December 30, 2006


I can't sleep. So I've started walking around the village in the dark, which is a bit tricky when you are up and down stiles and the like. I nearly ended up in a pond last night. That's where my head torch comes in.

Anyway, I went to give blood with Nanna Backroads this evening at the Methodist Hall. They kicked me out on account of me having been to India recently and Nanna B could only manage a quick spurt. The whole thing was like an episode of Jam and Jerusalem thoughout. Open hostility and infighting amongst the nurses. One of them refused to work in a draft, another wouldn't stand next to the heater, one wouldn't do tea and biscuits and one had been taking the piss out of donors all day instead. As for the brain donors themselves, there were loads. One woman got a certificate for 25 pints you know.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006


We'd planned to celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland as it should be done. After all, Mrs B's Uncle Danny has a semi in Keith. Anyway, it seems Keith's furious, so we're not going now. He'll have to broil his own Clootie Dumplings this year.

Here's another thing to look forward to in '07.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I suppose that I've been in quite a bad temper for a while now. Is it a number of weeks? It might be a number of months actually? It could be most of 2006. Must try harder? Perhaps. It could be the trying harder that's putting me in such a foul mood.

That said, it's been a pretty eventful year and here, in review, are some of the highlights:

Two visits to India.

They don't even have to bother coming over here to take our jobs any more.

41 locks in a single day.

I'm sure people have done many more, but to canalling newbies like us, it seemed something of an achievement. In 2007 we will endeavour to take on the Four Counties Ringpiece. Maybe we'll see Harrison Ford with that skinny bird.

Numerous visits to A&E.

Haverfordwest saw Boo's mystery injury which pushed her back to crawling for three weeks. Something to do with a helter skelter in Fishguard. Nearer home, Snicket had his finger broken by his friend. Horseplay. Grandpa Backroads broke a toe after Snicket's birthday party stacking the chairs "the right way" for the Village Hall Committee.

A brief sojourn to Amsterdam. Nice town. The airport's a right Schiphol mind.

Three booze cruises.

We have a little routine. Grandpa Backroads, Alley and I take all the seats out of Mrs B's bus. We get up at some ungodly hour and hurtle towards Dover. We always book on the 11 o'clock ferry but invariably catch the 9.30. We load up on our pre-ordered drinkies, have an omelette and frites at a town centre bar and then head for the fleshpots of the square. In summer it holds a fair, in the winter an ice rink. We swerve around the world's scum so they can't grab a hold of the underneath of the car in a desparate bid to stowaway to Britain to plot it's downfall at our expense and then we head for the Battle of Britain Memorial dreaming of those heady days of airborne carnage. Then its the M25 and home.

A new house.

Well a temporary house really. It's a Schiphol really. Whilst Backroads Manor has a new wing built and gives the neighbours something worthwhile to moan about, we are lodging in a rental up the road. It's warm but damp. Everything in it is of the poorest quality imaginable. It's small. In short we can't wait to go home.

What awaits us in 2007?

A thumb up the bum.

I am now 40 which means this treat awaits me at my annual medical. No extra charge either. It's in May. I need to lose some weight before then.

A trip to the Maldives.

Me and Mrs B are off to sunnier climes for some sand, some snorkelling and some, well Mrs B will be scuba diving, but I won't on account of my ears.

Back to the Old House.

God I can't wait. Should be home for Easter.

A dog.

We are thinking of getting a lhasa apso when we get home. Apparently they need 0-20 minutes exercise a day. Grandpa Backroads says we can do a dog share with him if we like... as long as we keep the ends that shits.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Of all the nights to go Christmas shopping at the Trafford Centre I pick tonight when Salford United are playing Benfica. Anyhow, after fighting my way through the traffic I set off round the shops armed with my list and did surpisingly well. Had it all done in an hour.

I am Ubershopper. Favourite purchase - DSLite for Snicket. I'm getting him used to mantax early.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


There's something incredibly life affirming about being asked for your ticket on a train and handing over a valid token for travel. The guard smiles and nods and thanks you. Your fellow passengers feel happy in the knowledge that they are amongst like minded contributors to a fair and equitable society. You sit cocooned in your snug, slightly too warm, slightly too crowded carriage and almost everything is right with the world.

In other news, I have just ironed my Dad's blue shirt. He left it here at the weekend by mistake. There's something quite sad about ironing your Dad's shirt.

Monday, December 04, 2006


My car is bust so I was on the train today, which worked out pretty well actually because it was time for me to take the team out for a nice Christmas lunch and I got to imbibe a little too much whilst most of them were driving.

Trouble is I then get a little antsy on my way home and start sending rambling illegible emails to fellow bloggers from my phone, whilst listening to Death Cab for Cutie dead loud on my noise cancelling headphones. I got a tap on the shoulder from a bloke telling me that I might want to consider taking them back because as far as he was concerned they were still making a right racket. I thanked him for his considered input with an encouraging "thanks for coming, our kid, now get back to your Manchester Evening News 'easy' Sudoku challenge" before shuffling to the ear-splitting thud-core of Iron and Wine's version of Love Vigilantes. I am so rock. I am. Oh yes.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


It went quite well really. My gadget didn't arrive so I busked it with my iPod and my guitar amp. Nobody noticed. We ate cake. We did an air guitar competition. Grandpa broke his toe putting one of the tables away.

I have had quite a lot to drink today. Mind you I've just had a game of Monopoly Junior with Snicket and it is SO much better than proper Monopoly. It's actually bearable!

Le Cool.