Sunday, March 30, 2008

Your wife will put you in the corner

Welcome to the new look Roost. Granted, not as new-look as the new look Sara Sizzle, which really does look new. I've just stuck a picture at the top of the page which almost exactly represents my life. Except for the absence of a pint-sized tyrant called Poppy, who was just a twinkle in my winkle when this pic was taken.

The best piece of advice I received this week was from a Samuel L Jackson lookalike (if Samuel L lived on a pension in West Norwood) in the doctors' waiting room.

"Let me give you some advice, son," he said, shaking his head ruefully. "Never get old. When you get old your wife just puts you in the corner and..." He waved his hand in an impersonation of a woman gesturing dismissively at her once-proud husband, who now spends his days on the sofa moaning about his bad knee and his cataracts. Or sitting in the doctors' waiting room moaning about his bad knee and his cataracts to strangers.

I don't want to get old. As I've mentioned before, having a younger girlfriend helps, but then someone kindly left a comment telling me that Sara will probably run off with a younger man in ten years, as "there are many interesting young men in their 20s who like older women", thus leaving me alone with my male pattern baldness and my bad knee, wishing I had a wife to put me in the corner and wave dismissively at me.

I wouldn't be feeling so bad if the clocks hadn't gone forward last night, thus robbing me of an hour of my life. "You'll get it back in six months," I hear you cry. But what if I die in the next six months? That's an hour I could have spent doing something important like, er, playing Super Mario Galaxy or buying towels in the Croydon branch of Primark.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Funday

Happy Easter, dear readers. There's a snow blizzard outside, Buffy is making fake bacon sarnies and Poppy is playing with a Kinder egg and a box of Ferrero Rocher ('With this gift, I am spoiling Sara.')

Buffy bought me a Dr Who egg and, excitingly, a David Tennant/Doctor Who figure. Very macho. He even has his own handbag. Now I need to get a Billie Piper/Rose so they I can make them kiss and stuff.

We visited Croydon yesterday. I know, I know, life doesn't get any more exciting. Actually, it does: we went to Primark and bought some towels. This was because I put our white towels in a black wash and you can guess what colour they came out.

I spend a large part of my waking hours at the moment fighting two consumer desires. One is for Guitar Hero III on the Wii. The other is for an iPhone. My Orange contract expires next week so now would be the perfect time to switch. But...but... It's so expensive. And I'm so skint. And if I got one, Sara would steal it and use it to take endless photos with as well as checking out her millions of friends on Facebook. So I'm going to resist. Resist, resist... Must.... resist...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

5 Days With Poppy

Poppy, at not quite 10 months, has a more fully-developed personality than most adults I meet. Here are some things I've learned so far over this Easter Weekend.

1. Poppy doesn't like men who wear glasses

All was well, though Poppy appeared a little consternated.

Daddy, there's something on your face.


Don't fight me, Daddy - I always win

Mwahahaha - that's better!

2. Crisps are a source of great joy and despair

Baby-rearing rule No 324: Don't eat crisps in the same room as your baby. One whiff of a crisp and Poppy turns into a potato-snack-scoffing monster, who will scream and scream until she has a soggy bit of crisp in one corner of her mouth, a glass-sharp shard jabbing her throat and choking her, causing a cycle of laughing and crying that Gary Lineker never warned us about. I have this terrifying image of Poppy turning into one of those children you see on the bus, podgy orange-tinged fingers stuffed into a bag of Wotsits, E-numbered up to their eyeballs. We won't allow this, of course. Poppy will be a fan of organic fruit snacks if it kills us.

3. Chocolate is even nicer than crisps

4. 'Can't Speak French' by Girls Aloud is the best video in the world, ever

There's something about the sight of Britain's second most popular girl band prancing saucily in full Regency get-up, coupled with the jaunty nursery rhyme tune, that sends Pops into paroxysms of delight. Me too. Except for the fact that Nicola, normally my favourite girl aloud, looks pretty awful in this vid.

By the way, her second favourite video is Nickelback's 'Rock Star', although the look in her eye as she stares at the endless parade of stars, playboy bunnies and Nickelback fans is one of transfixed fear rather than pleasure. Especially when she spies the massively fat girl in the front row of the concert at the end.

5. The less permitted Poppy is to play with something, the more she wants it

This morning I came into the room to find Poppy sitting on her mat. With the Playstation. Somehow she had wrestled it from the shelf and had it on her lap, with the controller in her hand. She hadn't quite worked out how to switch the TV channel and start playing a game. I give her two weeks.

Right now, she is pulling nappy sacks out of their packet and scattering them across the floor; also playing with a (closed) tub of Sudocrem, and eyeing up a set of knives, a box of matches and a chainsaw. Ooh, that little scamp.

6. Mummy is the best person in the world

When Sara walks into the room, Poppy smiles so wide that I fear her face will split. She pants with excitement. She just loves loves loves her mummy.

That makes two of us.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Marky had a little breakdown

I often have revelations on the journey from Wolverhampton, on the occasions when we go up to visit Buffy's family, to our flat in south-east London. The train part is usually okay. (Although today we got delayed because someone selfishly had a seizure and had to be carted off at Coventry. Tut.) Last time, while on the bus, fighting the voices in my head that go 'Kill kill', I realised that I don't want to live in London much longer. Today's journey made me think I don't want to live much longer.

Either that or I need to learn to drive.

Buffy and I had Poppy in her buggy and more baggage than the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem, most of which I was carrying. In one of the bags was Poppy's latest toy, a lamb puppet which sings 'Mary had a little lamb' in the most irritating squeaky American accent I've ever heard, the kind of voice that bores into you like a dentist's drill into an unanaesthetised nerve. Every other step, the bounce of the bag against my leg set the lamb off.

"Mary had a little lamb."


"Little lamb."


"Little lamb"

We carried Poppy's buggy down the escalators and queued up to buy our tickets.

"Mary had a little lamb."

I should point out that I am quitting smoking and hadn't had any soothing, lovely nicotine all day. I ground my teeth. Sara exclaimed that she would be very happy if I was able to remain calm (unlike her) in these situation. The vein in my temple throbbed. The lamb bleated its satanic bleat.

"It's fleece was white as snoooooow."

By the time we got to Brixton and staggered out into the rain and headed off towards the bus stop, having gone up and down about a thousand escalators - I'm not even going to mention the point where I stepped onto the escalator at the exact point Buffy decided it was too scary on the escalator, so I then had to walk up 100 steps to help her carry the buggy down the same 100 steps, the lamb shrieking about how following Mary to school is against the rules; oops I already have - we were both fantasising about how easy life would be if we could drive.

So why don't we drive? The simple answer is that we can't afford it. Despite having pretty good jobs, we are as poor as church mice. This is all Poppy's fault. Or rather, our lax approach to contraception's fault. The joy Poppy brings us is worth millions a month, but unfortunately we can't spend joy on driving lessons and car tax, or on clearing our overdrafts.

The more complex answer about driving is that neither of really want to drive. I had driving lessons a couple of years ago. Apparently I had good clutch control but poor steering. The idea of actually being in control of a powerful killing machine makes me tremble. I can barely walk from the living room to the kitchen without knocking something over.

And I fear that putting Buffy in charge of a car would be even more dangerous. An example: whenever we are walking along the road and she sees a pigeon anywhere near the road, she curls up into a foetal ball and hides in a doorway until she knows the pigeon is safe and hasn't been squashed. You should see what she does when there's a cat near the road. I can just imagine her driving along, one eye on the road, the other fixed on the pigeons perched on nearby rooftops, gripped with terror in case one swoops into the road.

So I think we have two options: put ourselves through the public transport hell periodically. Or never ever leave the flat.

When we got home, I put my vegetarian principles aside for a moment.