Thursday, 29 August 2013

Full on

Full on - the title of this entry being a pretty accurate description of the week so far. I shall try and give you a summary of the main points here, which is after all the main purpose of an online diary. Unlike my usual offerings which divert off into complete randomness all too easily, which some people sadly just don't get.

I was wondering - what percentage of you out there can distinguish between when I am being deadly serious and when I am exaggerating things for comic effect? I guess you have to know me. I've been hanging around the deli counter in Sainsbury rather a lot (as you do if you are me) and I think the girls on there are getting to know me rather well now. To the extent that they know that any reduced offal that they are desperate to get rid of may tempt me, but as one of my new found friends discovered yesterday, even I have my limits. Sorry, "brawn" is off the menu, but I am sure there must be some fans out there, they wouldn't sell it otherwise, would they?

So - to the highlights of the week. From a family point of view, it was Ollie's birthday on Tuesday, meaning he is now six. He has been eagerly looking forward to it for weeks, and as he is now old enough to know what he wants, I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday. He asked if we could go to Zoomania, and if he could have a cake, and if he could have a roast dinner for his tea. We were able to oblige on all three fronts, Claire making him a fantastic "snakes and ladders" cake, and me taking care of the other two options.

Mind out for those snakes!
 A good time was had by all. So I have now been a parent for six years, my life before seems like another world.

On Wednesday I went down to meet Ross, the station manager for Radio Bicester. As you know, I've been toying for some time with the idea of having my own radio show, and they are more than happy to have me. My only concern over it all is finding the time, and to any of you who may scoff at that and think I have got all the time in the world, all I can say is, think again.

My plan for my show will be an hour long show which will be a mixture of nostalgia and chat. I am going to do a mystery year feature which will mean me playing hits from a particular year and doing news stories, other bits of trivia and factoids from the year in question. I imagine these won't be going back into ancient history, probably from any time within the last 30 years or so. I may throw in a few other bits and pieces. I'm also hoping to have some sort of interactive section where people can raise the topics of the day about local issues and we can get a bit of a discussion going - though it won't be on the phone as such facilities are not available at the station yet.

It's something I have always wanted to do - I still need to finalise arrangements and find time to do it all, but if I can get it all sorted then hopefully I will be on the airwaves in September. It will be valuable experience should any future opportunities arise - after all, one never knows what may come from small acorns. I only got into DJ'ing and running karaoke in the first place because I was at a karaoke night and the host was so drunk and incompetent he couldn't carry on and I jumped into the breach to help out. So who knows?

Lastly this week was the "official" launch of my new book, "Austerity Dad". I know it has been on sale a few weeks already, but it has been practically invisible up until now, so I have been working with a PR company for a modest fee to market the book on my behalf. The press release went out yesterday and I have had some interest and responses from some quite diverse publications which is good. I have sent out a few copies in a hope that I will get reviewed in a national publication and I also have a feature in the Oxford Mail next week which will be much more in-depth than the last one.

So, radio shows, press releases, it is all shameless self-promotion I suppose but if we don't push ourselves forward and give us the best chance of being noticed, then we can't hope to get anywhere as individuals, I feel. The more visibility one has, the more possible opportunities that can come one's way, and I for one am certainly not going to let a few knockbacks keep me down. Life's short, we can spend it with our heads down, accepting the mundane and trundling along or we can grab hold of it and give it our best shot. Even if we fail, well at least we had a go. I'm not going out of this life with any regrets of things I didn't do, I know that for sure.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The secret life of molecules

Whilst I was trawling around on the internet the other day in search of ever more obscure factoids, I came across this rather amazing claim with regard to molecules of water. The gist of it was that every single living person on earth has at least one molecule of water in them that was once pissed out by Oliver Cromwell.

Quite why Oliver Cromwell should have been chosen to represent this "fact" I am not sure as presumably it could have been applied to any historical figure or indeed anyone who ever lived. I am not even sure if it is true or just one of those "urban myths" that crops up from time to time. Further digging suggested it may have once been mentioned on QI, though I am not sure if that is where it came from or someone on the show heard it elsewhere and thought it worthy of an airing.

It is all to do with the sheer scale of the numbers involved. Atoms and molecules, being the extremely small things they are means that even in a single drop of water there are untold billions of them, so I suppose it is not unreasonable to imagine that even in one single visit to the 17th century latrine so many billions of molecules of water must have been released that they are now to be found scattered across every square mile of earth.

Molecules and atoms are forever, so every single one has existed since the universe was formed - it is a closed system, so take a single molecule of water or even atom of hydrogen if you so wish and imagine what adventures that must have had since the Big Bang, 13 billion or more years ago.

This whole Cromwell and pissing thing is quite unsettling though when you think about it. Perhaps it is best not to think about it. Every molecule of water must have been through countless people, and not just as urine. It is in fact highly likely that every time you have a drink of any sort you are drinking a huge collections of millions of past people's urine, faeces, semen and more. So much for anyone who says they don't swallow.

I must apologise for this lowering of the tone, I haven't done it for a while, it seems I have let my standards slip. I also think I am letting all of this get to me a bit much. Whilst I was in Sainsbury's the other day doing a bit of shopping, I imagined the molecules in my shopping basket talking to each other. I had just put down a pack of toilet paper on top of some beef I had just bought, so to all intents their molecules were more or less touching each other, apart from a bit of plastic wrapping. The conversation went something like this:

Toilet Paper Molecules: "Hello, I'm toilet paper, I've got hydrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms in me. I used to be a tree. How are you?"

Beef Molecules: "Oh not bad, apart from the fact I used to be part of a cow until I got killed and chopped up and sent here. I've got lots of elements in me, including lots of iron, it's very good for you, you know".

Toilet Paper Molecules: "Well, looks like we are at the checkout now, might not see you again as we'll probably end up in separate bags and when I get home I will be going to the bathroom and you will be going to the fridge".

Beef Molecules: "Well, that's true, but then again, thinking about it, we may well be meeting up again in a few days".

Toilet Paper Molecules: "That's very true, look forward to seeing you there, it's a date".

Well if that hasn't put you off your dinner, I don't know what will. OK what I have just written might seem utterly ridiculous but it's food for thought.

I'm always quite fascinated by where things have been and what they've done. I am quite interested in those experiments they do with geese where they tag them and see where they migrate to. You can even do it on the home front now with a GPS tracker you can buy and attach to your cat's collar. Perhaps we should get one for "our" cat Susie, we might actually find out where she lives then.

I've just been looking through my pockets at my change and oldest coin I have is a penny that is dated 1971. That's 42 years ago which makes it older than the majority of you reading this. Now that's another fascinating thing. Imagine if someone could have tagged it with some sort of tracker back in 1971 and followed it everywhere it had been throughout that time. What an adventure, from person to person, shop to shop, bank to bank. Now that could be an epic tale to tell! Who knows what great moments in history it might have witnessed. How many different products it may have been used to purchase. Perhaps that might be a book or a movie in itself! The secret life of a penny...

21st June 1976, "A small boy with sticky fingers prised me out of his pocket today and bought a penny chew with me as part of a 10p bag of penny sweets at the papershop. About 10 minutes later I was given out in change to a man in a suit who bought a copy of The Times. I was in his trousers for about half an hour before he took them off and I noticed he was in a hotel bedroom with a lady I am pretty sure was not his wife. And he was definitely married as I felt his wedding ring clink against me in his pocket. Later he left me on a plate with all his other loose change and I was scooped up by a waitress and popped in a jar, ready to be shared out later. I wondered who I'd be given to and where I'd end up tomorrow. Just another day in the exciting life of being a penny".

I think I had better bring this blog entry to a close now before anyone brings my sanity into question. When I told Claire the little story above about the toilet paper and the beef she a) burst into hysterics and b) strongly advised against writing it in the blog. As always on these occasions, I could not resist doing exactly that.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bright, shiny and new.

Out with the old, and in with the new.

It sounds like New Year, doesn't it, but I have been sitting here thinking how this year really has been a new dawn for our town.

One of the things that really gets my goat is people running our town down - both people that live here and people that used to live here. It is a shame that there are so many that want to see the negatives, because there has been so much good happening this year, that barely a month has gone by without some exciting new event or opening, that me, in my journalistic capacity as Bicester's leading blogger, I feel duty bound to report on.

However it seems I am destined still not to get in to the cinema to see the film I wanted. Yes, despite the cinema being open six weeks I am still to go there. The fact that the opening has coincided with the school holidays has not helped, along with the fact that the film I specifically wanted to see opened on the weekend we left for a two week holiday. But even so, I was rather disappointed to see that despite only being launched 3 weeks ago, the film I am desperate to see, Alan Partridge, Alpha Papa is already being listed as a last chance to see at our cinema. I had arranged for the boys to stay at my parents on Wednesday so that Claire and I could go, yet now I find there is only one showing that day, at 21:30pm, and that is too late for me. If I was watching a film at that time it would be at home with a bottle of wine. My idea was more of an afternoon visit, a nice meal out afterwards and then a few pints down the White Hart afterwards. Still the rate things rush along now, I expect the DVD will be out before Christmas. Have you noticed how quick it all happens these days? I'm sure 20 years ago that you would have had to have waited at least a year for a video release and then another year for it to get on to SKY, and then maybe you'd get on to BBC1 about 3 years later!

Speaking of the White Hart, what a fantastic job they have done with the place. If you weren't aware it was closed for a few weeks for an extensive works and the end result is amazing. The interior has almost doubled in size, with a completely new indoor area where the old courtyard used to be - this has a big dancefloor area and a proper DJ booth - which is absolutely fantastic. I worked in there for the first time at the weekend and really enjoyed it. It's hard to believe it is the same pub that I first stepped into 22 years ago and had my first ever pint in Bicester. In recent years it has gone from strength to strength but this latest upgrade is by far the biggest and best and it really does stand out now from the other pubs in Bicester. Apart from my DJ booth (OK it's not mine personally, but I am the longest serving DJ in the pub, or member of staff of any type, so I can lay claim to it to some extent), there's completely new toilets, garden furniture, a coffee area at the front, and even a feature of an ancient well which was discovered during the building works. This is to name but a few of the new things, I suggest you get down there and take a look, and in fact if you happen to be there this Sunday night, I shall be providing once again my world famous retro disco when it is 80s and 90s all night long. I am expecting a big crowd.

The White Hart's facebook page with details of all the new features can be found here:

The new shiny White Hart is just another example of this brave new world of Bicester this year, hot on the heels of the cinema, Sainsbury and everything else. But there's more - and it's music related too, so leads on nicely from the DJ'ing theme.

My DAB radio recently packed up, so I have started using the internet for digital radio and really discovered how much there is out there. In fact I was rather disappointed with my DAB radio, it really didn't pick that much up apart from a few BBC stations and a few other commercial stations. Whereas on the internet itself there are thousands if not millions. I have taken to listening on my tablet which is great because I can listen also to local stations if there is something on them that I specifically want to hear. This has led to me tuning in to LBC, Radio Mersey and some specialist sports stations. I certainly don't miss the DAB radio and see no point in buying another. Anyway, it came to my attention some months ago that we in Bicester do in fact have our own internet radio station and I have tuned in to it on occasion to hear some good music and also it is great to hear a few of our local businesses advertising on it.

There have been a number of attempts to get a station off the ground over the years, and it is great to see a group of teenagers have got behind this project and got it on to air. It has been broadcasting for around a year now from the Courtyard Arts Centre, with a team of young DJ's offering a mix of programmes for the community. They have also just got a website up and running which I strongly recommend taking a look at, you can find it here:

When you consider how much people bang on about "the youth of today" and young people I think this group deserve nothing but praise for getting this project off the ground, and I have the utmost respect for them. The challenge now is for them to bring it to a wider audience. Discussions I have had with their founder suggest this is not just a youth project - it is for everyone in Bicester, and with that in mind, I have offered my services to be their first "older" DJ. This offer was gratefully received. I've got a couple of ideas for shows, both of which were well received, but I won't say more at this stage as there are technical issues to be resolved before at least one of them can realistically be brought to fruition. All I can say is that my ideas would appeal to a wide demographic, i.e. all age groups, and I am sure what I have to offer can help in growing the station's audience.

Most of their shows are afternoon or evening based at present, but because of my child care commitments, if I were to take up this role it would be likely to be for an hour one morning a week. If/ when it happens I shall let you know more, but chances are you may be hearing me on your airwaves some time this autumn.

It's another exciting development in this amazing town of Bicester, I am so glad to be offered the chance to be a part of it. If you've ever fantasised about having me coming in your ears in your very own living room, this could be your dream come true!

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Junior Blogger

It seems I have written acres of material about my kids since I started - enough to fill two books and more. It hasn't escaped Ollie's notice and he has begun to take an interest in what I am doing. So much so, it has inspired him to start writing his own diary of what he did on holiday.

It's his birthday soon - he will be 6 at the end of August and I am toying with ideas for what to get him. He has already grown out of the leappad and I am well aware of the existence of tablets designed specifically for children such as the Kurio one. How young is too young to access the internet, have an email address or write a blog? In my opinion, as long as it is safe and filtered, it is never too early to start. With the speed that technology is developing, I believe IT skills to be every bit as important as the classic "3 R's". Anyone not tech savvy in the next generation may as well be illiterate.

So I am now handing over my blog to Ollie, with pictures of the first 3 pages of his hand-written blog. Note that this is entirely his own work and please bear in mind that he is only a 5 year old so you'll need to forgive some of the spelling and the fact that nearly every sentence begins with the word "And". Having said that, there is not that much in the way of errors, only on a few longer words such as "restraunt". Since he has written it in pencil it is quite hard to read from the pictures, so I will translate underneath, and correct the spelling where I need to:

That's the car going on holiday
 Monday 5th August.

My daddy took me on holiday and we went to Butlins and when we got there my mummy and daddy were packing our toys. And then we went to the restaurant. And in the evening the sun was shining. But when we got to Butlins it was raining. And then we went to the fair. And we went on lots of rides. And then we went to bed.
The ball rolling towards the pins
 Tuesday 6th. I woke up and I got dressed. And then we went bowling and I won. And we went back to the hotel and we had lots of fun. And then I went in the play area and I went up to the top and I went down the swirly slide. And then I went and had my tea. And then my family took me on lots of rides at the fair and then I went to bed.

The waterfalls in Splash Waterworld
Wednesday 7th. I got up and I was getting dressed. And I went to have my breakfast. And after that we went to the swimming pool and I went under the big water falls and I had great fun. And then it was time to get out of the pool. And then I went under a shower. And then I went to have my tea. Then I went on the fair. Then I went to bed.

So that's the story so far according to Ollie. I am very proud of my little mini-blogger, who knows, he may well have his own soon! Hope you enjoyed that.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Gus Honeybun's Birthdays

What a weird title for this entry, don't you think? All will become clear in the fullness of time.

Speaking of fullness, this has been the most full on holiday we have ever had. I often feel we don't do enough as a family back home as real life just gets in the way but this holiday has been literally packed from dawn to dusk with activities. So much so I have precious little time to write, but write I must, because every day that passes, I forget a little of what I have done.

I wish I had started writing like this decades ago and kept a complete record of my life. I think back to say, a holiday down here in a caravan we had in 1988 and I can remember scant details at best. Had I written it all down at the time it would be preserved forever now for future generations to enjoy. And regardless of the quality of my writign, enjoy they surely would. I feel I know so little about my parents and grandparents lives. Truly I would cherish being able to read back to the 1940s, some sort of diary like this written by my grandparents who I miss terribly, but their memories have died with them.

I mention the 1940s because today we visited Flambards theme park which has a permanent exhibition of wartime memorobilia including a number of letters written home by evacuees who were sent down here to Cornwall during the war, some as young as Ollie. I've always said I am more interested in the history of ordinary people as opposed to royalty and politicians and this is no exception. One thing I was struck by was the beautiful handwriting of these young children in old fashioned italic ink. I guess this is a dying art.

I love Flambards. It is not full on like Alton Towers, but they do have a roller coaster and a log flume, it is just all on a smaller scale which suits me. I would estimate the drop on the log flume is less than a quarter of the height of the one at Alton Towers but for a 3 and 5 year old it is perfect. Having said that, Ollie has become fearless and wants to go on everything. This is from a boy who up until about a year ago was terrified to go on even little rides like the ladybirds and bumble bees. Now he wants to go on things which are at the upper limit of what I am willing to go on which isn't that high. Hence why I don't go to places like Alton Towers, Flambards and Legoland are more my level. While we were in the queue for the roller coaster I remarked that it looked a bit scary and asked if he was sure if he wanted to go on. He said "Don't worry Daddy, I will hold your hand so you won't be scared". And just for good measure, Jamie was keen too, so he came on after with Claire.

So does anyone know who Gus Honeybun was? Well I will explain. Now writers and comics who like to do routines about what life was like in the 70s and 80s tend to stick to the same old cliches, talking about toys, sweets, e.g. whatever happened to Spangles and TV, marvelling at how there used to be only 3 TV channels. Yawn, yawn, same old, same old, and these people get paid fortunes when there is undiscovered talent like me giving you original missives like this to chew over. Well let me tell you, there were not only 3 TV channels in the 1970s, there were at least 12. I know because as soon as I could read my favourite page in our daily newspaper was the TV page. There was BBC1,  BBC2 and ITV. But ITV was not like it is now. They were all individual regional stations with fascinating names like Harlech and Westward, Tyne Tees and Grampian. I had no idea what any of this meant, since my grandfather was known as Grampy, I naturally assumed that Grampian was a TV station for old people. It was actually Scottish ITV. Our local station was ATV. Back then, other than a few flagship shows like Coronation Street, all of these ITV stations showed their own programmes, especially when it came to children's programmes.  I guess the only modern bit of this we have left is the regional news.

So during the 1970s, I noticed that every day the children's coverage on HTV (At least I think it was HTV, but I am not completely sure on my regions, and there is no way to check since I have no internet access where I am writing this) began with a show called Gus Honeybun's birthdays and was fascinated to know what it was. Finally I found out in 1980, when on holiday in Devon, we had a flat with a TV. Gus was a rabbit puppet who read out birthday cards sent in for local children every day.

Sadly Gus was a victim of changing times. If you live in my region you will remember that ATV was replaced by Central on 1st January 1982. This was when the TV licences came up for renewal and several stations bit the dust, and many shows with them. I believe Gus survived in some shape of form until the next licence cull in 1993 though when the South West franchise was taken over by another company. 

This sort of thing happened all over the country in when the licences changed hands. Many of the new stations axed a lot of the predecessor's shows, another notable casualty being Worzel Gummidge which had been made by Southern Television. Jon Pertwee never gave up on that show though, and eventually took it to New Zealand.

However, Gus did not die, and had his own exhibition here at Flambards. Sadly this has been scaled down somewhat and is now just a rabbit burrow with some fluffy rabbits in it and the little exhibition with the history of Gus has gone since my last visit, however, just by writing this, I have kept it alive a little longer. Sorry if any of my facts are a little hazy, I will just have to check them up on Wikipedia when I get home. And add a picture of Gus!

There is so much I wish I had time to write about but I guess I am going to have to summarise. Yesterday's activities included an adventure nature trail and some golf. They have a 9 hole pitch and putt course here, all par 3s. I took Ollie around with me and taught him all about the game. If he takes it up, I hope he is better than I am. I failed to make par on any hole, but neither was I embarrassing. In fact, I scored 4 or 5 on every one.

We really are having an amazing time, I wish we could stay here all summer. I have toyed with the idea of buying one of these caravans on the park, they start at 10k, and spending as much time down here as possible, but I guess the hassle of the maintenance and so on makes it not as idyllic as it might sound. I so love it here though.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Cornish Coasts

So here we are in rural Cornwall, and rural it certainly is. That means that the mobile signal is non-existent. I was under the impression that coverage was pretty much 99.9% these days, guess we must be in that 0.1%. And the signal is zero, everywhere in this caravan park. But it doesn't matter because it is absolutely beautiful here. We are at Sea Acres by the village of Kuggar, near Lizard Point. From our caravan we have stunning panoramic sea views. We are in caravan No. 1, the first one at the front of the park, right next to the pool, play area, restaurant. In fact, everything is within about 30 seconds walk.

This is not the caravan we booked either, we have been upgraded for no obvious reason into one of the top of the range 3 bedroom caravans that sleep 8. It costs hundreds more per week than the one I booked. I am not complaining,  obviously. I have lived in houses smaller than this.

We have been doing a lot of travelling around. In fact I have driven over 100 miles today alone. This is surprising when you consider that I hate driving and avoid it all costs. That is largely due to all those endless wasted hours driving up and down the motorways to client meetings in my past life. But round these little Cornish roads, exploring, it's become a rediscovered pleasure.

First off today we visited Port Isaac, a lovely little fishing village I have always wanted to visit, even more so since it became famous as the. idyllic setting for the comedy drama Doc Martin. We had a wander round looking at the locations, including the Doc's house itself. There were a few people having their pictures taken outside. One woman commented, "Oh the people who live here must get really pissed off with people looking at this house". Well maybe, but I am sure ITV have bunged them a fair few quid for the privilige and it'll no doubt add a few grand to its value so I can't say I am that sympathetic.

Bert's restaurant is just someone's house and the exterior of the school is not actually a school at all. It was until 1979 but then a new modern one was built elsewhere. It still looks like a school though, and is now a hotel. We had lunch there in one of the old school rooms, still recognisable as such. It is a lovely old building in fact, and the lunch was lovely. Rather than be boring and have ham or cheese I decided to have crab. Delicious.
In the afternoon we drove down to one of my favourite places to go on holiday, St Ives. I have been there six times since 1991. It is the home equivalent of Fuerteventura for me. It is simply beautiful and if you are a fellow devotee you will know how easy it is to fall in love with the place. We spent about four hours there today, including an hour on Porthminster Beach. I could not believe how warm the sea was, surely the warmest I can ever remember in the UK. I can only think it must be down to the amazingly sunny summer we have had.

For our tea we went to the Balancing Eel fish and chip shop, and six years after my last visit, I can confirm it is still the best chippy in Britain. Well, the best I have been to anyway. I would like to pretend that I have been to them all, but in reality, I have probably been to less than half. Ok, probably about 1% in total. Let's just say it is very good.

After tea we wandered around the town, passing by many familiar pubs where I used to spend my holidays getting pissed in days gone by. In my new responsible persona, we did in fact have ice creams instead. I went for a salted caramel, which once again led me to use the word, delicious, for at least the 3rd time today.
Apart from a wifi hotspot at lunch, mobile reception and internet access was lacking almost everywhere we went today, but I am beginning to think this is a good thing. It is quite nice to be cut off from it all. We do have a hot spot in the bar here but it literally is a spot with a radius of about 10 yards. So later tonight before I go to bed I will pop down there and post this. It seems there is not a great deal of good news whenever I log on. Book sales are trickling along hut there was another bad review on Fortysomething Father today. Now I can live with bad reviews, everyone gets 1* reviews it is a fact of life. I don't even mind this latest reviewer saying they "loathed me". But I do wonder how much they actually read, since the reviewer actually said something about me not giving up my day job, and since it is hammered home frequently throughout the book that I have not had a day job since 2007, I do wonder. Reminds me of that review criticising my grammar, which then had a double comma at the end of the sentence. Funnily enough, that big and unexplained sales surge I had when I sold 100 books in a week came just after that review appeared, so who knows, maybe bad reviews are not as bad as they seem as people reading them are curious and take a look at the book because of it.

Amazon actually gives you the option to comment on other people's reviews and I have seen some authors actually respond to bad reviews but I think it is a bad idea. It looks like they have got to you. Though if any of you, my loyal blog fans wants to jump in and defend me, well I am not going to stop you.
To be honest, I was expecting far worse, what with all these internet trolls about. To have got to 3 months, hundreds of sales and 15 reviews before getting  my first 1* review is not bad going. Perhaps I will get totally slated in the next one and have to eat these words, we shall see. I still live I  hope of getting some more good reviews, but some don't even appear. I know of at least one that never showed up, it was a 5* one and not by a relative or anything, by a blog reader that I have never met so hardly a case of nepotism, but this happens a lot apparently. Some reviews appear instantly, others are reviewed and rejected seemingly at random. There is nothing that can be done about it.

I really could do with a couple more decent reviews, but I guess most who would review already have. Austerity Dad has no reviews at all yet, but it has only been out 2 weeks so I guess I just need to be patient and give those that have bought it time to finish it and hope they like it and review it.

In the meantime the holiday continues and it really is action packed. We were out for 9 hours today, and there is much more to come, and hopefully more blogs if I can squeeze them in.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


My attempts to write on this holiday have been seriously hampered by a couple of problems. Firstly that my bluetooth keyboard, so handy in Fuerteventura absolutely refuses to work, leaving me to type on the touchscreen which I hate and secondly the wifi here at Butlins is highly unreliable. At least in the room anyway. You get 15 mins a day free, after that it is 7 quid a day, which I would consider if it was fast and reliable but it drops out all the time so I won't pay it. And the 3g signal here is even worse than usual, my phone has accessed it extremely sporadically. It took about 8 hours on Tuesday to upload that picture I took of Ollie bowling.

There is no point me rabbitting on about what a holiday at Butlins is like as you have heard it all before, so I will focus on something new. Today I am afraid you all missed an extremely rare opportunity to see me make an absolute laughing stock in public. This completely unplanned and unscripted debut of mine into the world of acting saw me thrust briefly into the limelight and a few minutes of fame in front of an audience of hundreds.

Ironic is it not, that I suffer daily as a struggling writer, desperately hoping for my big break that will catapult me into a J.K.Rowling world of literary fame, yet on yet another day of zero book sales, a brief moment of fame of a different kind was thrust upon me.

We had gone to see once again the I Can Cook show from Cbeebies. No Katy Ashworth this year, she is about to have her own little Beebie so we had the lovely Julie instead. Once again by a combination of charm and a few cunningly choreographed crocodile tears, Ollie managed to get himself up on stage. As before there was a little interview stage and this time he was asked who was the best cook in his house. Of course, he said "Daddy". So I jumped up and rather over-enthusiastically cheered. This did not go unnoticed by Julie. Strangely enough, nearly all the other kids said Daddy too. Each time I cheered and thrust my arms in the air. What I did not realise at the time was that I was singling myself out for later attention.

Once all the cooking was done there was a story time which was Goldilocks. Again volunteers were required and 3 kids were selected to be Daddy, Mummy and baby bear. Then they decided they needed a Goldilocks, a role which I assumed would be given to some 7 year old girl. Wrong, suddenly the spotlight was on me and I was thrust up on to stage. I was required to wear a blonde wig and a girlie apron. The script was more panto than story time and clearly designed to humiliate whichever poor sod was given the role e.g. I was required to skip merrily through the forest which I did in the most camp way I possibly could. John Inman in his panto heyday would have been impressed. I decided to enter fully into the spirit of things and camp it up to maximum effect. This included speaking in a falsetto voice and deliberately putting emphasis on certain words to entertain the mums and dads e.g. when asked about Daddy Bear's chair I answered, "Ooh it's too HARD". Brilliant, it brought the house down. Anyone there who didn't know me and that was everyone would have been convinced I was gay. But only a rugged alpha male heterosexual comfortable with their own sexuality such as myself could have pulled it off.

Although the whole event was filmed, only by Butlins, Claire fortunately wasn't there so it is unlikely this footage will ever see the light of day unless by some miracle I do hit it big and it finds its way on to one of those before they were famous type shows. So sadly dear readers, you will have to just imagine the scenes. Though I have now got it into my head that I might have a future as a pantomime queen. I rather enjoyed it I must say.

Jason xx

Friday, 2 August 2013

Fantasy Meat

Now there is an interesting title. Not an unsurprising one for me, after all, we all know by now my meat obsession and it is not beyond the realms of the imagination to think that I might fantasise about it. In a completely non-sexual way I hasten to add. No oven-ready chickens have ever been abused in this house.

What shall I talk about first - meat, or fantasy? I'll put it out to my new instant blog reader we go...and it's meat!

One of the great things about the new Sainsbury is the deli counter - specifically the part that has the cooked meats on it. Now all week I have been getting the most amazing offers here. We all know that generally, meat off the deli is quite expensive - and being Sainsbury, this is no exception. However, nearly every day they are marking down stuff by quite considerable margins to get rid of it.

Now I know that instantly that will wipe out a lot of you as potential purchasers. Many people just feel squeamish about buying food near the sell by date. But I have got a trained eye, and I can see that these hams, beef and turkey slices and more are all perfectly good. When I asked they said that it had to be eaten by tomorrow - now that is more than enough time.

So I have been getting really nice deli ham, beef and more at knock down prices - e.g. reduced from £1.50 per 100gm to 75p per 100gm. That's great quality stuff at great prices. You don't have to buy loads, just two or three slices for the average consumer. Or if you are me, ten. Then just go back the next day and get some more.

The ultimate bargain came on Tuesday when their Ox Tongue and Pork Tongue was reduced to just 20p per 100gm! Amazing value! I bought loads and it was absolutely fine. I worked out it was about 5p a slice!

Apologies for the inclusion of the tomatoes in the picture.
This was due to an administrative error.

Now some who turn their noses up at reduced stock will very probably also turn their noses up at the idea of "tongue". I have noticed that there is a certain demographic - well basically, nearly everyone else except me that finds the whole idea of tongue, black pudding, kidney, anything of that ilk vaguely disgusting. Now here in 2013 I don't want to say anything that might be perceived as sexist but such revulsion does seem to come particular from females, so perhaps eating unconventional bits of animals is just a "man thing". Who knows?

Anyway I have eaten well and cheaply all week, tying in with the launch of Austerity Dad, so I am happy, and as far as I can tell from my bowel movements, nothing untoward has occurred on account of eating this food close to its expiry date, so all is well. Quite honestly, I think all this use by date stuff does is create paranoia in the minds of the population and they do it to protect themselves. The word on the street is that big supermarkets chuck out millions of pounds worth of perfectly edible food every day because of the regulations. Heard of skip surfing for food? Look it up. No, I haven't sunk to those depths but if I don't start shifting a few of these books, I might soon!

Fantasy - what's that all about? Well I've ducked out of playing Fantasy Football this year, I have got to be honest, my interest in Premiership football has dipped to an all time low. It is rather boring to be honest, and I do play another footie game on facebook. I've come up with an idea for a much better game though, and I am surprised nobody has made it.

In this era of reality TV, computer games, simulations and all the rest of it, how about a new game called "Fantasy Pub". You see, I really don't understand the appeal of all these war games where you go around killing people and all the rest of it. Perhaps it helps people work off frustration or whatever. Until they do it in real life. Then there is all that farm building nonsense. I've got no interest in hanging around farms in real life so I certainly am not going to waste time pretending to have one on the computer.

Anyway, I reckon a great interactive game would be where you just go down the pub. It could have fruities, some sort of virtual currency, and you could also interact with people over the internet. An ideal environment in which to try and meet and get off with people of the opposite sex without the humiliation that a rejection or a knee in the bollocks often causes in real life. You could have avatars and everything. There could even be a choice of various after pub eateries like in real life where you stagger around looking for some late night food whilst trying to avoid stepping in the pools of sick or getting beaten up. All the fun of a night out from your front room. And of course if you did pull in the virtual pub, there's nothing to stop you meeting up with them in real life. Just don't be surprised if the incredibly hunky six-packed gorgeous hunk you pulled turns out to be an gluttonous 43 year old cider swilling married fat bloke. You see I have got my avatar worked out already.

"Virtual Pub" - it's a winner - don't nick my idea games companies please, I announced it here first so you can buy the rights off me. Have a word with my agent if you want to negotiate a deal.

Just before I go - got a free gift for you loyal blog readers. Because I am trying to drum up sales for my new book, Austerity Dad, I am doing a free promo on my first book, Fortysomething Father which you can get for absolutely nothing, that's £0.00 until 8am on Sunday. Grab yourself a copy, and if you like it, you can always buy the new one for real cash! Here is the link ***FREE COPY***

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please take a look at my books on Amazon (Paperback & Kindle), where you can read lots more of the same! Click here.

Jason xx