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Did you know you are 200 times more likely to win the National Lottery than get a tube of all-black fruit pastels? Just thought I'd mention it.

My current favourite post is this:



Yay for Bagpuss!

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I'll work on some more!

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» I'm glad nobody saw me

Running late...
.. I was heading for the cinema one winter's night such as this. And I was late. I was meeting a group of friends which included the proto Mrs Ugi and I was keen not to miss it so I was running. I claim no greatness in running but it wasn't far and I was putting in some effort so I was moving pretty fast as I crossed through the alley at the side of the multiplex.

Pan out for a moment as my mercifully imaginary witness and you will see in the neck of this unlit, late-evening alleyway a concrete bollard. Not one in fact but a matching pair with, suspended therebetween, a robust metal chain - all but invisible to our young hero with his eyes on the lights ahead and his mind on the pleasant evening in prospect, with who-knows what to follow. You can guess what followed.

Envisage then, as thankfully nobody did, the sprinting young man coming to an inexplicable, instantaneous halt. As the chain snapped taught across my upper-thighs I somehow balanced for a moment, perceptible only perhaps in the sudden rush of adrenaline, before crashing over the top into a whimpering heap of pain on the other side.

For the first five-minute hour that I lay there I was certain that I must have snapped both legs like twigs and would be forced to drag myself by my fingernails into the light to have any hope of rescue. Gradually it dawned on me, however, that there were in fact no jagged splinters of femur thrust through my jeans and, agonising though it was, I had apparently done myself no substantial injury.

I hobbled into the film having taken nearly a half-hour to cover the last 200 yards of distance. My excuse was told and duly dismissed as nonsense or at best as gross exaggeration, even by the prospective Mrs Ugi. However, a day or so later a witness did come forward. My ever-blackening thighs. You could see every link in that chain, strangely white against the blue and purple background of my miraculously intact legs.

So I give you my legs - sole and silent witness to their own mistreatment.
(Tue 1st Feb 2011, 17:43, More)

» Ginger

Ginger beards....
... not too many laughs here, I'm afraid, but all true... ginger jokes can be a good thing.

I have brown hair but a ginger beard. It's not all ginger but enough so that my one and only attempt to grow it was met with sufficient ridicule that I never tried again. Turns out this runs in the family:

About 3 years ago now, my brother was dying. He'd had a dodgy mole taken off his back a few years before which turned out to be a melanoma and it had come back somewhere unexpected. Shit! So after a rapid decline we reach what is unquestionably the worst day of my life - I have to watch my little brother die at the age of 31.

Now we had known things were not going well for a few weeks but it had all escalated quite suddenly and one of his friends had travelled over to visit that day not expecting that it would be his last. By the time they arrived he was completely under and fading fast so they saw him but didn't get to speak to him.

A few hours later the world has ended and we're back at my, by then, late-brother's house, with his wife, trying to work out why the gravity is still working and the sky hasn't fallen in yet. His mate then turns to me and says "the bugger only went and died before we could rip the piss out of that ginger beard". Of course he'd never grown a beard before, but when you know all the lights will be going out soon, shaving is not too high on your priorities.

Now I don't advocate cruelty to gingers in the normal scheme of things, but if you can raise a smile on the very worst of days, then it can't be all bad. And my brother would only have been sorry that he missed the chance to rip back.
(Fri 26th Feb 2010, 18:46, More)

» Homemade Booze

Warm the damn jar!
I did a bit of brewing as a grad' student and generally it went well. After a while, we decided to branch out from beer to some more ambitious concoctions including a rather tasty spiced mead.

The recipe we had involved boiling the honey to sterilise it, then topping up the jar with boiling water. However, being a complete idiot, I didn't think of warming the jar before pouring in the boilig honey.

Four pounds of boiling, spice-infused honey has an interesting effect on a glass demijohn - it cracks the whole of the base off into a beautiful glass frisbee and, of course, spills vast quantities of sticky spicy goodness all over the kitchen floor! I don't know whether you have ever tried to mop up several pounds of hot honey but it's not an easy task. The kitchen smelled lovely for weeks, but you felt that if you ever stopped moving you might find yourself permanently bonded to the floor.
(Tue 16th Dec 2014, 16:50, More)

» Impulse buys

Impulse Bargain
I don't buy too much on impulse, save a few small things on e-bay, but back about 10 years, before such methods of money-squandering were open to me, one impulse buy was perhaps my best bargain ever.

Mrs Ugi & I had just bought our first house, which was in quite a state. We needed no end of stuff and didn't have too much cash or much idea of where to get it all, so we ended up at Homebase on about their first ever 10%-off-everything night. Budget was spent and then some, but in wondering round we spotted a power-shower in it's box.

Now this house we had not yet moved into had a half-renovated bathroom with a bath but no shower, and with both of us working a decent shower would be time saved in the mornings. Better still, this 250 shower was end-of-line (I guess - don't think showers have use-by dates) and carried a little orange sticker reading "199". OK, says we. It's not what we came for, but we'll need a decent shower and 50 off is handy, plus we get this extra 20 off tonight only. Sold.

When we came to pay, the bill was rather less than I had expected, but was a number of hundreds so I didn't think too much of it. In fact, I guess they don't get too many showers marked down because the 199 ticket had been rung through as 1.99 (or rather 1.97 allowing for 10% off), giving a discount of 99.2%. The shower was great and running fine 6 years later when we moved out. At perhaps a twentieth of a penny per shower that must be my best bargain yet.
(Thu 21st May 2009, 13:56, More)

» Driven to Madness

The Return of the Los Palmas 7
It was a Grey Day in NW5 and I had just waved My Girl off on the Night Boat to Cairo. She was The Sweetest Girl and frankly I was so Lovestruck it was an Embarrassment. One Better Day, I hoped she would make me The Prince to her princess but for today, I was one of Yesterday's Men.

It was early and going back was like riding The Ghost Train so for some company I gave my mate Jon a call. I thought he might understand how she was The Sun and the Rain to me because, that summer, the vicar had just got to the "I Pronounce You" when Jon's wife-to-be, Frederica, had a sudden Cardiac Arrest. "Shut up!" he said in his voice like Michael Cain "You won't be Forever Young and you won't get carried to happiness on the Wings of a Dove. What you need is a nice easy Girl. Why Don't You meet me in an hour."

"The House of Fun" proclaimed the sign, with the somewhat unsubtle strapline "The bigger they are The Harder they Come". "Sounds like my kind of Sugar and Spice" chimed up Jon (well, they didn't call him "Johnny the Horse" for nothing). Personally, I could hardly take One Step Beyond the boundary. I thought of the Shame & Scandal, but then I thought of Drip Fed Fred and what Jon was doing to her. "Tomorrow's Just Another Day, as my Uncle Sam used to say" piped up Jon. I stood there for a moment. Jon was obviously ready for action (hint: don't wear Baggy Trousers to a place like that) but I was frozen. I watched a little Dust Devil skitter past the peeling door, mesmerised. Then I ran. "Sorry!" was all I could say to Jon in that moment.

As I was Driving in My Car back to Our House, I thought to myself: "It's Madness. But It Must be Love".


I'm very very sorry.
(Mon 8th Oct 2012, 15:53, More)
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