Toys in the attic

In which I find a treasure trove of Lego and wooden trains.

The advantage of living in a house is that I now own an attic. I had to find out if I have a loft or an attic, apparently a loft is an open area, and an attic is enclosed and generally not inhabitable. As it requires the use of two lengths of ladder, squeezing through the hatch, and then dodging all the roof beams I am fairly sure we have an attic.

What is pretty clear are the uses most people have for this roof space. It becomes a general dumping ground for all the pieces of your life that you know you should through but don’t have the heart to get rid of. There may be a twelve key Casio keyboard with 12 beat settings but what if I need to play Ode to Joy to someone, and you never know when you’ll need an old (but broken) suitcase, and the Christmas decorations…foil shapes will come back into style.

Grandma G’s attic is like a mini-Toys ‘backwards R’ Us. Brown boxes filled with the toys me and my sisters used to play with waiting to be used by a new generation. There is a wooden train set made by my grandfather waiting to be rescued from beneath a Christmas tree (one of those fancy modern ones, I have the family heirloom tree up in my attic). We could bring down a box a year and still have enough to last us till they are teenagers.

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I’m a criminal

In which I am chased by an irate French policeman.

Despite my angelic looks I am really a bad boy…I’ve had my share of run ins with the law. I’m hardcore criminal scum. I’m bloody gangster mate. 2460hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh1.

Me as Jean Valjean

Like all members of the underworld fraternity I think I should share my stories of villainy. What you are about to read could shatter your faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.

Let’s go back to a quiet Sunday afternoon on the dangerous streets of inner Bedworth. A small amount of litter is blowing outside of Stubbs’ toy shop, highlighting the plight of a town centre that hasn’t been cleaned since Friday. Continue reading “I’m a criminal”

When I grow up

In which I dream of creating dinosaurs and winning The Ashes.

When I was little(r) I played the “when I grow up” game. I knew what I wanted to be, it was going to be fun and exciting and ever so adventurous. I would change the world! I did not sit and think “You know what, I want to be a data analyst”. It just happened that what I have is an aptitude for crunching numbers and making spreadsheets. I was never going to be a NBA basketballer so I choose the world of Excel and datasets.

I was going to be doing any number of different occupations, I had the whole world in front of me and nothing to stop me. So what happened? Continue reading “When I grow up”

Underage drinking

In which I am definitely over 18.

Bank Holiday Monday, today it was spent digging in the garden being a grown up getting and getting it ready for a lawn. As it type this I am struggling with the feel of the keyboard because the ends of my fingers are slightly numb from doing something harder than pushing a mouse around.

Garden with no grass

In the olden days I never had to worry about such things, especially when I was in my late teens. Instead of having responsibility for gardens or home improvements, plus none of the worry about work the next day, I was able to enjoy the Bank Holiday.

Most of my long weekends normally had a story that began, three people walk into a bar…

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Another perfect birthday

In which another birthday rolls around.

Time is a strange concept, hours linger while the day flies by. A month is over in a sneeze, but a year goes forward slowly but speeds up when looking back. A calendar seems to be subject to the chronological Doppler effect, with the high pitched whine of the past echoing into the distance.

So it comes to pass that I have another birthday, but birthdays seem different now. For a start I get a card from my offspring. Getting a card with “Daddy” on is a present in itself.

What makes this quite satisfying is that I found an old post from a couple of years ago that had the following:

So here’s to looking forward to a future birthday, to when I am 40, by which time I hope to be in a job I love, be married and have kids, in a nice house by the sea.

In the space of a few years my life has changed considerably, as it always has seemed to do.

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Epitomising good/bad teachers

In which I do my homework but cut class.

Student’s can be right pains in the proverbial, I was one of those awkward children that I’m sure teacher’s would get frustrated with. I could be very well behaved and eager to learn but then I was one of those mischievous souls that would get easily distracted. Something I am sure my managers at work would also probably agree with.

It wasn’t just my fault. As much as we complain that there are a minority of children that spoil it for the rest of the cohort there should also be the acknowledgement that, while the vast majority are excellent, there are also less than stellar educators in our midst. I had my fair share when I was at school but thankfully I also had some teachers who more than made up for it.

Scenes of my greatest crime, my GCSE Art grade

This is a post about them. It is my way of giving a belated thanks to all those who put up with me, and helped mould me into a useful member of society.
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Dad music

In which I am going to have CDs marketed to my children around father’s day.

I’m now of the age where I only know who is in the charts if I hear them on a TV ad.

Today was spent listening to ‘classic’ music from the 1990’s, I am a member of Generation X but we are being left behind in the alphabetisation of time. No more so than my taste in music which is certainly showing my age.

Here are a few of those albums that are stuck on my playlist to show I am too cool for those older, but to fusty for those below. This is obviously a reflection on my music taste and I therefore make no apologies for the quality.
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Choosing the name Matthew

In which I explain why I am truly a gift.

With the arrival of Dino #2 in less than two months, Me and Mrs G have had to start thinking about names for the little one. I say start in the sense that we have already decided but it provides a nice little segue into this post. I favour the more obscure, like Loki or Stegosaurus, but family pressure means we have to go pre-Victorian. The main reason for giving them a slightly unique name is to make sure that when their name is called out in school they know it’s them.

At one point I was in a class of seven Matthews (due to the fact that in 1980 this was the most popular boys name in the UK) and to distinguish among ourselves we had to revert to surnames like we were a pre-teen version of Reservoir Dogs. It wouldn’t have been such a problem had Papa-G got my name right in the first place.

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The sun shines from my bum

In which I let the light erupt from my rear.

I should sue my parent’s for lost earnings, I had a normal upbringing with no drama or familial strife. How was I to become a famous artist with no tragic backstory, how could I be a contestant on a TV pop series if I wasn’t able to ‘do it for me Nan who lost an arm in a combine harvester accident’?

So every Sunday dinner is eaten in a fairly serene manner, the only thing to be shocked about is my chair at the table.

My seat at my parent’s dinner table is different to everyone else’s. It has faded over time and the cushion looks like it has been bleached. There is also a small burn mark right in the it has been bleached. There is also a small burn mark right in the centre.

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Childhood : The ZX Spectrum

In which I remember the dulcet tones of screaming tapes.


While browsing around the internet I came across a replica of an old 1980’s computer that is now a bluetooth keyboard. I wasn’t really a console gamer in my youth and still prefer PC-based gaming today, and it reminded me about the first gaming machine I owned, a ZX Spectrum. A common complaint amongst some reviewers and gamers can often be loading times between different levels or locations, with anything over 15 seconds seeming like an eternity.

Obviously none of them were a Spectrum gamer, where five minutes or so of screeching from a tape deck was required before any game could begin. Unless of course there was a problem with the connections or the tape which would require you to start all over again. Continue reading “Childhood : The ZX Spectrum”