Wednesday, 14 April 2010


There was a letter from Lancashire Constabulary on my doormat this evening when I returned from work. My heart started racing trying to recall any misdemeanours that may have caught up with me. Like driving through Morecambe dressed as the Village People with fake gay biker moustaches and asking stopping to ask an older gentleman for directions... or filling my bag with shampoo and shower gel from the Chester Grosvenor Hotel... 

Unfortunately, the letter stated there had been a burglary at my neighbour's house yesterday morning and went on to detail the modus operandi used. It then occurred to me that there was a suspicious car parked across my drive yesterday morning so I did the good citizen part and rang the police. I wished I hadn't... 

The police lady said that the details I had provided were likely to be the car used in the robbery. I was asked about registration numbers (erm.. sorry) and whether my house has cctv (erm...sorry). She went on to disclose that the burglary took place on a house occupied by a single lady and that the lady in question was in the house when it  happened. My legs turned to jelly at this point. Once I was thanked for my citizen of the year actions (it probably crossed her mind that I was a curtain twitcher bloody nosy parker which incidentally, I'm not), I then went into Hurricane FishFingerButty mode ie. battening down the hatches, securing everything with a window lock, padlock or electric fence. By midnight, I should have completed phase one of the FishFingerButty Towers moat. My ears (well, one good ear) are on heightened alert listening for burglar noises around my property. In fact, they are twitching like an antelope at a waterhole.  I'm cursing selling my baseball bat at last year's car boot fiasco and instead I arm myself with a bread knife and a hairdryer with the word 'TASER' tippexed down the side. Mind you, one look at my pyjamas and bed hair would probably frighten off any burglar from entering the inner sanctum. My house from the outside resembles something from the middle ages alerting townsfolk of the black plague contained within. Blinds are shut and voile curtains are closed. There's a X painted on my front door. I keep stubbing my toes because I can't see a bloody thing in my darkened lounge and it's only 6.30pm. 

This has happened in a 'good area'. Call it luck or good fortune, but I've heard of no problems in the 10 years of living here.  The ironic thing is that the stolen goods will no doubt be on ebay tonight or on next weekend's car boot sale. For the poor lady whose house has been burgled, it's now weeks and months of fear it will happen again and no doubt, many sleepless nights. For everyone else, it's a case of switching on the burglar alarms, never leaving downstairs windows open and constantly checking doors are locked. A lovely cul-de-sac where people say hello and kids play has now been sullied. 

Damn these lazy people. Go and get a job and work for a living. Work hard for the nice things in life. Be part of society and participate and contribute to it.  Make your parents and your children be proud of you and for your achievements. 

Or then again, break into someone's home and steal their cherished property before selling it for next to nothing in order to clothe your back with 'designer' labels or feed your habits. Easy money.....  

Sunday, 11 April 2010


Sunday Supplement is a aired on (funnily enough) Sunday mornings on the Sky Sports 1 channel. It features a group of sports journalists who sit round a table quaffing croissants and fresh orange juice discussing all things football. I sadly watch it whilst quaffing my own Sunday breakfast and reading the Sunday newspapers. It's not for the faint hearted and you tend to have to be a big fan of football to get through it. 

Firstly, sports journalists are a pretty dour bunch. When you watch Sunday Supplement you realise that they are also very hairy, and not blessed with matinee idol looks nor do they offer much in the charisma department. They do however, provide a good insight into the footballing stories, rumours and dealings in the the transfer market. Whilst watching Sunday Supplement, I can't help but notice the amount of orange makeup they wear. Blimey, they must turn up at the studios looking a ghastly shade of raw pastry to warrant THAT amount of stage makeup. To complete the image, there's a bit of bling on show with bracelets, a bush of chest hair visible at the top of their shirts, and all finished off nicely with really white hands.  

I personally enjoy watching a couple of the guest journalists who have an excellent knowledge of the game and are reasonably eloquent in getting their point across. Henry Winter from the Daily Telegraph and Patrick Barclay from the Times both offer an educated and factual slant on football. I used to like Oliver Holt (who incidentally is the son of Corrie actress Eileen Derbyshire who plays Emily Bishop). Nowadays, I find him just this side of tad annoying with his forthrightness and often controversial opinions on football. I didn't agree with his praise of John Terry and his reasoning on why Terry shouldn't lose the England captaincy following his long list of indiscretions. 

Perhaps I'll just switch over to the Coronation Street omnibus. At least I'm comfortable with the orange faces on display there (and I'm pointing out Rita Sullivan as the main culprit here)... 


Saturday, 10 April 2010


It's unusual territory this evening as it's Saturday night and I'm staying in. Not a big fan of staying in on Saturday night, but a relaxing night beckoned after another busy week at work. 

The evening started well with a home cooked fish pie. This morning saw me queuing in the local fish shop by Fleetwood docks. It's a little hardcore inside with lobster and crabs in tanks looking a bit sheepish and pointing their pincers at the runt of the litter whilst mouthing 'pick him, not me'. The fishladies working behind the counter are a little scary too.. White wellies, fish gut aprons, tattoos and I observed they were a touch handy with very sharp knives. You wouldn't cross them unless you had a death wish. 
Then I went to my local farmshop for my weekly organic veg. Costs a bit but blimey it tastes great.  I got my usual hen-poo encrusted with feathers, free range eggs from there as well. Laid this morning apparently. Living where I do is perfectly placed for fresh fish off the docks and inland there an abundance of farmland which happily provides a million farmshops and roadside sellers of organic produce. For local produce including the best meat ever, Honeywells at Woodplumpton only sells meat reared within 10 miles of its shop. Got home and cooked a fish pie and it was rather magnificent even if I say so myself. 
So with a full belly and feeling happy with the world, I settle down to watch tv and my perfect evening is thwarted by Harry Friggin Potter being on AGAIN. Just for the record I HATE HARRY POTTER. Loathe with a passion. Really dislike.

And just for the record, I'm also pig-sick of:-

1. Cooking programmes where cooking a courgette is taken SOOOO seriously
2. Embarrassing bodies programmes. Smegma in foreskin is not my idea of fun
3. Childrens Hospital Programmes. Yuk and no thanks 
4. Giving birth programmes. Women's sphincters stretching to breaking point whilst giving birth to a slimy bloodied yowling baby whilst making the most hideous groaning and screeching noises is NOT my idea of entertainment. 
5. The relentless political general election debate programmes. 
6. Midsommer Murders / Frost.  Don't policemen retire at 50? 

If this is Saturday night tv viewing, I'll be out next week. I can't stand another night of Casualty. Thank goodness for Barca v Real Madrid on Sky....

Friday, 9 April 2010


There's sad news this week with the passing of three renowned Englishmen. Actors Corin Redgrave and Christopher Casenove passed away this week, followed by the sad news of Malcolm McLaren's death yesterday aged 64. 

Malcolm McLaren was a formidable character who revolutionised pop culture,  brought anarchy to the UK and in the 70's brought about the punk phenomenon. It started with Malcolm McLaren opening a clothes shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea in partnership with an up and coming designer called Vivienne Westwood. They renamed the shop 'Sex' and started a following of mainly fetish-inspired clothes. Around this time, Malcolm started managing the New York Dolls band and saw the possibility of starting a UK band in the same genre. The Sex Pistols were born and Britain's music scene and youth were never the same again. 

It was loud, vulgar, anti-establishment, anti-this and anti-that. It was rebellious and revolutionary music and was the new rock n'roll. It was a great time to be young and to hear such original music which your parents hated.  Some of it was crap, most of it was great. I still have many vinyl albums from that time and count the Sex Pistols 'Never Mind the Bollocks..' and 'London Calling' by the Clash as two of my favourite albums of all time. I was indeed very lucky to see Joe Strummer and the Clash as a young kid being taken along by my cousin. The energy from the pogo-ing and the sweat and heat in the auditorium was palpable and immensely exciting. 

I doubt we will ever see the like of Malcolm McLaren again where one person orchestrates such a phenomenal change in popular culture, fashion and music. Today's music is schmaltzy, over-produced, lip syncing, Simon Cowell-inspired drivel. Occasionally we get brilliance. More often we get mediocracy. I somehow doubt that in 30 years time, people will still be wearing Cheryl Cole cut away trousers, or JLS matching jeans and hoodies. It is a great testament to Malcolm McLaren that punks are still very much around with their particular brand of clothing, mohican hairdos  and multi piercings. I still love the fact that Blackpool holds a Punk Convention Week where the town reverts to the 70's and is inundated with Sid Snotts, Nancy Spungens and Sid Vicious lookalikees. 

Malcolm McLaren gave us God Save The Queen, Anarchy in the UK and Friggin in the Riggin and for that, most people of my generation shall be eternally grateful...


Tomorrow sees the usual betting frenzy and general excitement in horse racing circles that is... the Grand National. Millions of housewives and office sweepstakes place bets on a horses based generally on names, jockey colours and very rarely...form.

My office sweepstake this year is on State of Play who came fourth last year. However my own bet is on Backstage to win with an each way bet on Beat The Boys. I've just spotted good odds so will try my luck. 

I'm not a great gambler on the horses. I won quite a substantial amount on an accumulator on the Cheltenham Gold Cup a few years back although it was during the days of large salaries and mad bets with work colleagues. Our day trips out consisted of hiring a bus, getting a box at Haydock races and getting as drunk as lords whilst betting like millionaires on each race. Great days, but you could see your colleagues liking the gambling a little more than perhaps appropriate. 

My love of the races started many years ago when I stayed with some friends down in Suffolk and we went to Newmarket for a race day. I loved everything about it. The paddock, the tic tac betting stands, the posh race goers and the random picking of horses purely by watching them in paddock. My gambling strategy started with watching intently to see whether a horse eliminated a huge amount of dung from its backside. If it did, a bet was placed on the reckoning the horse was a few pounds lighter and probably had a bit of a spring in its step having been relieved of all that hay. Quite extraordinarily, that premise saw startling results in my winning of bets albeit they were usually £3 to win or £2 each way.  

Last summer we went to Cartmel races which must be one the smallest and cutest racetracks in the country. It was a rotten raining August bank holiday and we got covered in mud, but the racing was great and I won a couple of races. This summer sees a trip to Carlisle races where Jools Holland and Alison Moyet are providing a bit of musical entertainment after the races. 

I can't wait... 

Thursday, 8 April 2010


I've just completed my first couple of months as a qualified psychiatric nurse in full time community work. It's been hard work, challenging, eye-opening and tiring beyond belief. Every day is different, each visit opens a multitude of problems and then there's the never ending paperwork. At times it's frustrating and at times when you reflect on the burden of responsibility heaped on your shoulders, it becomes a little scary.  

However, the good times when they happen are so rewarding and so heart-lifting, you thank your lucky stars you signed up to planet NHS. A client's hug, someone holds your hand and through tears says thank you or helping someone make a small change for the better in their life whilst rare, is nonetheless the ultimate humbling job satisfaction. The subject matter within mental health is sometimes surprising, sometimes shocking and very often exposes the frailties and sadness of the people within your care. The people we see have sometimes led extraordinary lives and are touched by all sorts of good and bad. 

The other thing that gets you through is to maintain a sense of humour. It's the general rule of thumb that within the mental health arena, it soon develops into a very dark sense of humour. I've already made really good friends from fellow colleagues, no doubt due in part to some sort of shared  sorority / fraternity with your fellow health professionals. There's a sense of  mutual support and you know how to laugh at the absurdity of the situations you all face. Ultimately, you're in it together for the wellbeing of your clients. Of course there are times when clients tell you (unintentionally) things that are VERY funny. Despite much stifling, your face never cracks and you learn very quickly the ability to keep your face straight. Driving off and about a mile from the clients home, you then let rip with laughter and it happens a lot. I call it a safety valve. 

When you get back to the office and back into the bosom of your colleagues, you soon observe how others cope with their work stresses. In our office, we have those who use their iPods to chill out, others disco dance for a few minutes, one girl whistles and sings and my favourite stress-head incident happened this week. One of my colleagues is small, sweet, popular and always cheerful. She walks in that girlie way where her hair swings from side to side. And then she gets loads of referrals just before 5pm. She suddenly turns from Mother Theresa into Chubby Brown. I have NEVER heard such an extensive amount of expletives used in every second word from the mouth of a young lady. Things were thrown, chairs and waste paper bins kicked, and after 138 F words, she sat down and we laughed a lot at such a ridiculous scenario.  

And then there's my partner in crime who I get to spend most of the day with during home visits and hospital meetings. Professionally, we are the tops. However, when we're in the car or grabbing a quick lunch on the hoof, we revert to a couple of childish kids who talk incessantly and share a really daft approach to life. It makes all the difference to work with great people and I'm blessed..  

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I now officially support Accrington Stanley and I will never buy a German car again. Just for the record....

I hate my scouse mates who text me
I hate the Champions League
I hate Bayern Munich
I hate Rooney's ankle
I hate our back four
I hate Boris Becker 
I hate Manchester United. 


Virtuoso performance last night at the Nou Camp. Barcelona beat Arsenal 4-1 and it wasn't just a bad defeat, it was a different class. 

The difference between the sides was the little man himself... Lionel Messi. Rarely a player comes along who is so utterly brilliant and so utterly captivating to watch. Lionel Messi joins the list of great players like Maradona, Pele, Best, Cruyff in that he is simply awesome. To play so well and get all four goals at the highest level is no mean feat. He plays with a schoolboy enthusiasm, with skill and trickery and with sublime technique. 

Arsenal were roundly beaten last night by Barcelona and in particular Lionel Messi. Is he the best player in the world? It grieves me slightly, but yes, I think he probably is despite the fact Rooney heads the ball and Messi can't jump that high. 

Over to United tonight hosting Bayern Munich without Rooney and 2-1 down....

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Three things caught my eye on reading tonight's news. Firstly, the sad news that Dawn French and Lenny Henry have announced they are to separate after 25 years of marriage. I sometimes get a bit blase and think 'whatever!' over showbiz nuptials that end in a blaze of publicity. Dawn French and Lenny Henry are the exception in that they have never courted publicity over their private lives. I'm currently re-reading Dawn French's 'Dear Fatty' book and the way she describes her husband is both eloquent and deeply moving. It's sad news indeed..

The other news is that Gordon Brown has finally called the election date for May 6th. Frankly, I'm bored already. It'll be wall-to-wall political debate, political haranguing, who has the best haircut, who is the most sexy (?), and the thought that various pillocks will be calling round at my house with huge rosettes asking my voting strategy. I always vote, but could do without the media saturation day in day out on the lead up to the election.  

And thirdly, the bizarre story of Gitta Jarant trying to board her 91 year old husband Willi on to a plane at Liverpool John Lennon airport. The main problem to this little trip was that Willi was a little on the dead side. Sharp eyed checking staff who are usually more concerned with baggage excess weights and whether your tweezers are locked away in a suitcase in case you decide to break into the pilots cockpit, demand to be flown to Tripoli and shape his eyebrows whilst you're at it... saw that Willi was brown bread and not in fact going to see in his 92nd birthday.

Despite Gitta's attempts to conceal her Willi's corpse-like look by putting on some RayBan's and a hat, the airport staff noticed a touch of the rigor mortis and perhaps an unwillingness to answer 'Did you pack this case yourself sir?'. Gitta was taken into custody by the police and claimed he was alive when they entered the airport. The fact he was stone cold and they're going to have to bury Willi and his wheelchair in the seating position, didn't give the game away to Gitta. Perhaps it crossed Gitta's mind that to send Willi back to their native Germany in a coffin would cost an absolute packet, so bugger it, let's bypass the fact that Willi has been dead a few days, get him on to Easyjet, put some headphones on him, spray some air freshener around Willi and bob's your uncle.. sorted. She would have got away with it as well if it wasn't for those pesky check-in scousers and the sniffer dogs going a bit doolally around Willi's crutch area. 

After all, most people look like corpses on Easyjet. I think it's the orange uniform and the price of the Pringles... 

Sunday, 4 April 2010


I'm loving the latest Marks and Spencer Spring 2010 advert. It features Twiggy looking uber sexy and doing a great job for the over 50's woman. Joining Twiggy this time are Danni Minogue and Lisa Snowdon. Danni's not an obvious 'model' choice  in the world of advertising as she's a little titchy (just over 5 foot), pushing 40 and pregnant. Bravo Marks and Sparks for not conforming to the stick-thin washed out model but selecting a very beautiful young lady who looks happy, healthy and obviously blooming in her pregnancy. 
Lisa Snowdon joins the group and looks great too. I thought she did a great job on Strictly Come Dancing and it looked positive that she would get more work on the back of it. 

As with all the Marks and Spencer adverts, they've chosen a fantastic backing track. Cheryl Lynn's 'Got To Be Real' and brings back some memories of 80's funk (the BEST music from the 80's). I had this track on 12 inch and it's just soooo Man Friday's Blackpool. 

M&S adverts have all the magic ingredients to make them memorable... popular celebrities, very classy production in great locations and banging backing tracks. And then Britain's national treasure Twiggy....  

When you get sick of the never-ending DFS, CSL and GoCompare adverts, click on the link below for an example of a superb advert ...


Have you noticed that when a TV programme or film is successful, there becomes a frenzy to swamp the tv schedules with the much of the same? 
The latest vampire-inspired genre of tv programmes seems to be all over our screens at the moment. I sat through a DVD of Twilight over christmas and it was the longest two hours of my life. Stories of American teenage angst has never rocked my boat but Twilight was just too much to bear. You sit through watching a couple of pasty-faced, mumbling misfits who are thrown together as it becomes apparent that Mr Quiff misfit is actually a really old vampire stuck in a teenage body. He's not a Bela Lugosi type of vampire with slicked back greased back hair with a widows peak and a cape, but a Marlon Brando method type vampire who looks into the distance in deep thought while his Alannis Morrisette angst-ridden girlfriend looks into his 'soul' and tries to understand him. Eventually, the union is tied in her bedroom but I doubt he gave her a lovebite. Can't imagine Miss Unhappy Face rubbing in toothpaste and wearing polo-neck jumpers for week. Twilight is bilge of the highest order and much to the annoyance of my BF, I sat huffing, puffing and tutting with a little eye rolling thrown in for good measure. 

Twilight has inspired more vampire inspired programmes on the small screen with the ubiquitous mumbling and intense leading man. True Blood has the very lovely Stephen Moyer in the leading role who gets his canine teeth out on show every now and again to get all moody and scary.  Incidentally, have you noticed that intense, scary characters (especially in the vampire genre) are played by English actors? Robert Pattinson and Stephen Moyer are very nice English boys who go all James Dean when playing the Hollywood vampire. 

And then there's the Vampire Diaries on ITV2. Perhaps it's because the programme contains that simple ingredient... American teenagers that has me reaching for the remote control. I come over all twitchy and tourettes-like. It happens to me a lot when flicking through channels and inadvertently select Gossip Girl, Glee, High School Musical et al. 

I'm going back to my Easter egg as my blood pressure is rising when I think about Glee. I may have to go and have a lie down and try and get 'Don't Stop Believin' out of my mind....

Saturday, 3 April 2010


I love Easter. Not for any religious significance, it's just that I get a few days off work, the days are getting lighter and the best bit of all... the Easter eggs. 

Cadburys does it for me every time. Flake or Creme Egg. At a push, it would be Buttons or Green and Black's Organic Milk Chocolate. That's it. That's the exhaustive list of Easter Eggs tolerated at Fishfingerbutty Towers. 

The other great thing about Easter is the chance to get together with your family and to have some days out. My brother and sister-in-law are hosting a Sunday dinner tomorrow which will be fab as my sister-in-law is a great cook and they are both very funny and generous hosts. D is one of those people who cooks large meals for numerous people effortlessly. There's no screaming, shattering of plates or smoke -alarm stress-heads. Everything's calm, food is cooked to perfection and served not only beautifully but piping hot. I'm always amazed how she does it. I work in chaos and use 53 pans and every item of cutlery when I cook for two. 

As a family, we were brought up to eat together at the table and it's a big occasion for us all to sit down together. An ex of mine was invited to dinner at my parents years ago and couldn't come to terms with how everyone talked at the same time, laughed and joked incessantly yet had the ability to home in to everyone else's conversation. 

I'm off to Chester on Monday. There's a food festival on at Chester's racecourse or we may just have an amble around the shops and down to the river. Chester holds some great memories from the last time I went there on a spa weekend with my nursing buddies. Absolutely love the place and can't wait to go back. 

Anyway.... back to my Easter egg which is being very strictly eaten in stages. Half now, half later during Match of the Day... United did lose after all...