April Fools

Well, another April 1st beckons. I have to stay sober tonight to be on top form tomorrow. I have the morning shift at work and they will try to get revenge for the rest of the year. Naturally, I will be totally serious and well behaved.

Totally serious as I explain to Cafe Girl my concern that the new uniform she is expected to wear is going to be far too revealing. I think the management decision to dress cafe staff as mediaeval buxom serving wenches is a terrible idea and she should register a protest at once.

Boss is on holiday so I won’t get told off until next week. She’ll have forgotten individual incidents by then. It’ll just be the general-purpose deep sigh and the ‘Behave’ talk. Even though it has no effect whatsoever. I am ‘behaving’. This is how I behave.

I’ll be well behaved as I stomp on the plague of tiny plastic spiders in the staffroom (Poundland bumper pack from last Halloween. I knew it would be useful one day). Then sweep them away before anyone realises they are plastic.

Almost heroic as I crouch down and poke around under the shelves where ‘I saw something move’. Then whack a balled up piece of brown paper so it shoots out and disappears under another shelf. Paper makes a lovely skittering sound on hard floors. Sounds a bit like a chittering rat.

Naturally this will end with ‘Oh, it’s okay, it was just a bit of paper’ before they get on the phone to Rentokil. I’m not daft enough to take it too far.

So I won’t be doing anything special for April Fool’s day. Just another normal day for the Local Shop janitor. I also have the evening shift tomorrow, assuming I survive the morning shift unscathed.

One big challenge will be finding the April Fool story in the news. They all look like April Fool stories now. It will be a talented journalist indeed who can come up with something more bizarre than the real news.

The story about replacing probation officers with machines that don’t work is no joke (tipped by SB via email). Criminals will scan their fingerprint on the machine. The machine asks a set of standard questions to which they give standard replies. Then they get a receipt. Yes, really. Just like in ‘Brazil’. Try topping that for an April Fool story.

Finding tomorrow’s joke story is the only real challenge left for April Fool’s Day.

It’ll probably be the only story that makes sense.

Teach your children well

A guest post by The Broken Girl. A little history…

I went to a kind of boarding school for a year. I had finished the mandatory years of schooling and I still hadn’t a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. Writer had followed me through school, but really I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I remember telling that to the guidance councillor and she held back a giggle and told me I’d never make it to high school with my grades. (I did and with good grades).

But back on track. I was shy and one of my teachers mentioned that maybe an extra year at a boarding school would just be the right thing to get me out of my shell and give me a year more to think of my future. My parents agreed and we picked a school. Nothing too Christian and nothing too sporty. After the summer I got dropped off at what should be the best year of my life.

After the first two months of being homesick, even though I went back every weekend, I settled in and started making friends and enjoyed my stay. But as many things with your childhood and youth, your grown up you is sometimes looking back thinking what the heck? This is one of those things.

My fist roommate was a sweet and shy girl. She was my first friend at the school. We made the Kitty Cat club. There was a list of rules too one of them being “always wear clean underwear in case of an accident”.

She was always up and dressed before I even woke up. I was never a morning person so I thought nothing of it until another girl told me that it was because of the cuts. My roommate was depressed and would cut into her arms. Looking back I sometimes wonder if the school was more a parking lot for damaged children than an actual school.

After the first school break around 10 kids got kicked out for drug use. At the end of the year 3 girls had tried to commit suicide. I remember sitting in a room with a flock of girls listening to music when a deeply shaken girl came in. She had just found her roommate in a bathroom splattered with blood. The girl made it through.

In many cases the teachers were just as wacky as the children. There was the headmaster who taught German and if you got him on a good sidetrack he would talk away the lesson. His sweet wife who taught a class on how to interpret your dreams. And finally the music teacher who had to stand in for the chemistry teacher when they were one teacher short halfway through the term.

Quoting my young self “he was an idiot!”. This came out in the lesson where he did an experiment with magnesium and sulfuric acid. He told us that according to the text book he needed a safety screen but he figured what the heck! He dropped in a good bit of magnesium and then some more just for effect.

Next thing we know the jar exploded. I was on the first row and my text book was covered in pieces of glass. We got the rest of the lesson off and for some reason he wasn’t asked back the year after.

It was an adventurous year. I made some great friends, came home with some awesome stories but sometimes I wonder how we managed to make it through in one piece.

The Broken Girl

Time for a quickie

Get your minds out of the gutter right now. A quick post because I have to be up early tomorrow. Boss phoned as I was ready to leave tonight and let me have today off as long as I cover the morning shifts this week.

I said ‘I’m easy’.

I didn’t like the tone when she replied ‘So I hear’… but I’m not so easy now ;)

This year I’ll have to leave that job. Resign properly this time. Probably be leaving the country. The blog will continue, just from somewhere else. With, perhaps, another equally wild blogger to keep things moving. Life can get pretty strange, but I like it that way. Ordinary is really quite dull. Not that I have much experience of ordinary.

I like the job. It’s an easy job and I get to wind up some spectacularly gullible people. Not Target though. He’s too smart to fall for my stories although he did react with shock when I split the apple. All scientists can do that, I’m sure. Just needs strong and agile fingers to split an apple into two neat halves. It doesn’t shock Boss any more. She just closes her eyes and shakes her head. She must like doing that because she does it often.

Target was smart enough to not mention Poppy when I left Boss a note last week. I was honestly expecting a text saying ‘You are not to run off to another country!’ but it didn’t happen. Good old Target. He’s almost up to my standards already. Just needs to learn a few things – such as how to get Cafe Girl to shout and how to get Gullible Girl to say his name through clenched teeth. Also, how to make Boss end every conversation with ‘For fuck’s sake’. Or her best one – ‘Wait. What am I hearing?’ It was when I told her about little chairs foir knitted rats¬† from Thailand. Nothing unusual, really.

Target will be a good replacement. His involvement with Cafe Girl means he’s not likely to leave any time soon. I won’t be leaving Boss with a duff crew. I owe her that much at least.

I have to earn more than this job pays now. It covered the bills and had enough left over for enough whisky to keep the ghosts out but times have changed. One day I’ll make enough from writing but that’s too uncertain a future. Maybe I should get back to pig research, in a land where bacon is a big thing. Maybe I’ll get free bacon as a perk. Oh, I could go for that!

So anyway, I had a look at the Daily Scare where every story beats my maddest imaginings. In there was a Labour waster called Tristram the total and utter Hunt. A working class name? Hardly. The photo suggests he is a man who should learn to use a damn comb. I’m just a janitor now but I would never turn up for work looking like Worzel Gummidge. What a scruffbag. You lot really voted for this shabby little weasel? Really?

His idea is that the Leftie idiots in charge of ‘education, indoctrination’ should be allowed to check up on themselves. So your children will be utterly protected fom the ravages of intelligence for all time. Nobody will be looking at what they learn. Isn’t that good?

Doesn’t bother me. I have limited time left even though it’s less limited now.

But if you have children at school and you want them to grow up in a better world, don’t vote Labour.

Unless, of course, you really hate your children.

A political fantasy.

The news is full of the impending SNP takeover of Wastemonster as if it will actually make any difference at all. They’re just as deranged as the main three, just as nannying and just as wasteful.

Caviar Woman and Oily Al are crowing about how their Spiteful Nannying Party will prop up a Labour government and pull all the strings in the background. Yet most of the seats they are likely to win, they will take from Labour.

Far from being a Labour majority with SNP support, the best that they can expect is to replace a Labour set of MPs with a Labour + SNP set. The total number won’t actually change very much.

SNP supporters don’t want a coalition with Labour. This should be obvious even to a politician, since the SNP supporters plan to oust Labour and replace them with SNP. They don’t want to then end up with a Labour government! They might as well go back to voting Labour in the first place. When they realise this, they might just do that.

A Labour/SNP coagulation would be even more tense than the current Tory/Lib Dem one. The infighting would be worth buying ringside tickets to see. They will both want to waste money but they will want to waste it in different ways. It would be… interesting.

The next election is going to be interesting too. The SNP will split Labour and UKIP will split them all. Could be pretty much the end of the Lib Dems. The Greens seem to think they will have a sniff at power – but I doubt it. They are too crazy even for Labour to work with.

I can’t see any way to predict the next election. I suspect it’s going to be a hell of a mess with no party having a clear majority. Either a rerun or a coagulation to follow, most likely.

UKIP and Tories won’t join up. The Tories have already said so. SNP and Labour might try but that’s just going to fall apart within a year. The SNP’s base support won’t like it and neither will Labour’s. Anti-Scottish feeling will escalate – people in England are already pissed off about having so many Scottish MPs. Imagine their reaction if an actual Scottish political party was to take control. An SNP/Labour coagulation will not get a friendly reception in England. It could do a lot of damage to Labour. I hope so.

The SNP plans for a takeover are based on fantasy. They will not team up with a strong Labour government because it’s the SNP themselves who are set to weaken Labour in Scotland. So they plan to wipe out Scottish Labour and then team up with what’s left? Not a good basis for a relationship, I’d say.

The next government could well be a collection of little bits of parties. All wanting to waste money in different ways. That is going to crash and burn in spectacular style.

It won’t be pretty but it could be fun to watch.


My father only hit me and my brother once. It was a big one. We were both bleeding as a reult of the fracas that resulted in a smack and if I’m honest, I was bleeding more than my younger brother. I still have the axe and I think he still has the mace we played with that day. He was pretty fast with it.

Our father worked the coal face at the mines. He never needed to hit us apart from that time.. He just had to look as though he might and we’d cave in at once. He’s still alive, smaller than either of us now but still deserving of our respect.

Mother hit us all the time but as she was (and still is) a small woman it never really hurt. We both grew up intact and one of us became a respectable member of society. I’m sure my brother is happy with that. Me? No chance. Ever.

Childhood whacks made no difference to either of our life choices. We deserved each and every one and got away with so much more than we were ever caught doing. Like most kids, we won overall.

Now it is so illegal to discipline your child that the State will steal them if you try. Your children are not yours now. Let them grow up feral or the State will do it for you.

Interesting that it’s Rotherham, isn’t it? The place that let Pakistani Muslims rape so many children without challenge now picks on someone trying to instil discipline in their children. Could it be that disciplined children might not be such easy prey?

Children push boundaries. Aways have and always will. That is a good thing but there have to be boundaries. There have to be walls they cannot move. Any movement and they push harder. Give them no limit and they will take no limit. There has to be a point where parents say ‘This far and no further’. Yes, the parents. It is the job of the parents, not the State, to bring up children.

If it takes a whack to establish those boundaries, then so be it. Like touching the pretty fire, they will learn not to do it again. The pain is transient but the memory is permanent.

So whack the little buggers, but only when they deserve it. You’e training them for real life.



As for me, there has been speculation that I might have become involved with a woman. I have. A very special woman. She will not make me soft, she is as mad as me. If anything, it’s going to get madder around here. She already broke into my Twitter account and probably will again in the future. That kind of thing, when she does it, just makes me smile.

So let’s have no more ‘she will make him gentle and kind and not so enraged’ stuff. She does, but only in private. And if you want to see rage, try separating us or hurting her. I’ll tear this planet into pieces that would embarrass a dust cloud. The rage is still here. Tempered perhaps, less self-directed and more focused than before but it’s best not to wake it now.

Yes there is less whisky these days. Yes there might be reduced smoking due to time constraints, especially when travelling. The crazy stories will continue as will the idiotic schemes. It’s just that now there’ll be someone to point and laugh and take photos and maybe pick me up afterwards. Maybe even apply an appropriate bandage, plaster or tourniquet or hold my hand when I get things stiched back together.

Perhaps even someone who’ll say ‘Don’t do that, you fucking idiot’ before it happens. Although I don’t think she will. I think she’ll just get a camera ready. She wasn’t there this week when I decided it might be a good idea to take a walk from the hotel to the airport. Three miles along a busy dual carriageway with no pavement. There was an easier way but hey, the easy way is never fun. I didn’t get killed (almost, here and there) but I think she’d have stopped me doing that. Or at least taken photos.

The underdog is leashed now, but tamed? Oh that will take a long time if it can even be done.

So who is it who leashed the underdog? She’ll tell you ;)

Probably when you first see the comment that starts ‘You will not believe what he’s done now…’


I have invaded the southern state of England with a wallet full of Scottish money. Really, I should know by now. Use the cashpoint when you arrive, not before you leave. The matter is not insurmountable. Few matters are. I will fix it in the morning.

It’s a very nice place but the bar is expensive. There won’t be much whisky going down. Which is likely to be a good thing anyway. I am not here to drink. The barmaid is too smart to fall for ‘Scottish money is worth double when buying whisky because of the Solemn Covenant of 1601′.

I didn’t just make that up, you know. I made it up years ago. It rarely worked but when it did…

One bugbear only. The WiFi is free but doesn’t work outside. So no smoking and tweeting or smoking and blogging. At these prices there’ll be precious little whisky involved either.

You may note a certain placid nature in this underdog, at least for a few days. Limited smoking, very limited drinking… and also because of a reason.

My reason arrives tomorrow.


Little chairs – part 2

A bit late home from work tonight. Called in Tesco to see if they had any kosher bacon. They didn’t know, so I said I’d risk it and bought some anyway. That’s for breakfast tomorrow – I have to sit on a train for absolutely ages, and I’m not eating the crap they sell in the buffet.

I have no idea how much internet access I’ll get while away, but I will have the little Acer just in case, and maybe a backup toy machine too. Might not get much time to post here, I’ll have to wait and see.

Anyway,¬† an uncharacteristically early night beckons so just time for some more of the chair photos. No time to process them all tonight. I’ll finish the chair story when I get back.

Here is the start of assembly. Took time, I had to leave them alone for the glue to set. Patience… I’ve heard of it but…

7_chairsAnyway, after a few goes, I managed to leave them alone long enough to set and finally got to this stage… 9_chairsThat’s a sneak peek of the upholstery. You didn’t think I’d leave those little rats to sit on a hole, did you? I’m not making a commode! Although… no, too late to change it now.

Some of the corners look rough. I have a Thing to round them off.

10_chairsYes, it’s a tiny circular saw blade attached to a motorised shaft. Very fast and very sharp. Now I know what you’re thinking – ‘Who the hell thought it a good idea to let him have one of those?’ Nobody here to stop me though, so full power and away we go…

11_chairsCorners rounded and all fingers still in place and working! Not one drop of blood shed! I am smug now. Possibly getting a little overconfident though…

Next was the 0.5 mm drill and the gold-plated pins. The glued joints are pretty strong but I’m reinforcing them anyway. Don’t want them falling apart after the upholstery is on. The drill is to make the pilot holes for the pins – if I just bang them in the wood might split.

They are gold-plated pins only because I happened to have a bag of them handy. They are ideal for making tiny contacts for little trains.

That’s the manual drill. It takes time. I’ll wedge the bit into the end of the Dremel and use it that way to finish the pinning.

More upon my return. Turns out I have until the 31st to finish these so no need to panic-rush tonight. Once the frames are secure I’ll have to decide between rosewood or mahogany for the visible wood Since the upholstery is brown, I think a dark mahogany is probably best.

Okay. There might or might not be any activity here for the next few days. I have no idea because as usual, I have absolutely no plan beyond getting there. I have tonight looked at the matter of getting back and realise I risk being stuck on Edinburgh Waverley station for five hours in the middle of the night. Well it wouldn’t be the first time. It’s not as bad as Preston, it gets seriously cold on that one. Being forewarned, I should be able to avoid that problem.

I might or might not tell you where I’ve been when I get back. Depends how devilish I’m feeling.

But then, it’s possible you might already know by then…