Showing posts from September, 2013

Bangers 'n' Cash

I may have to rename this blog and my twitter account Bicester Banger soon, such has been the huge response to my recent excursion to Shropshire in my newly found role of sausage taster. In the meantime, in an attempt to come up with an amusing title for this blog entry you can see that I've come up with Bangers 'n' Cash - this is in recognition that I was delighted today to receive my first offer of a paid interview for my story - I won't say who from or how much as that would be inappropriate, however, it's very pleasing for me that all the time I have invested into my writing career is finally beginning to come to fruition. Speaking of inappropriate things, I went all through the alphabet thinking of words that rhymed with "Mash" whilst looking for my blog title, which produced some amusing combinations! I shan't lower the tone but I have been trying to think of a title for my going around the world eating a sausage in every country TV idea, but

Home Made Crisps

When I come to think about it, it is amazing that the idea of making my own crisps never crossed my mind before. As readers experienced with my work will know, I have more than a passing acquaintance with crisps. In fact when it comes to crisp and snack products in general, I am considered somewhat of an authority on the subject. Yes, my love affair with them goes right back to 1974 when as a four year old boy I was thrilled at buying my packets of Walkers from the off sales at the pub for the princely sum of 4 1/2p. For younger readers, there used to be a 1/2p coin up until the early 80's. Excessive inflation rendered it unnecessary by then, but 40 years ago most things cost around one tenth of what they do now, so the half penny was of quite significance. Here's a piccie of a supermarket window poster from the 1970s. Bargains! But inflation rendered the half penny redundant, prices rose rapidly back then, in fact I remember the shock of the crisps at the pub going

A Butcher, Two Bloggers, and 300 Sausages!

I have just come back from the most amazing day out at Harper Adams University where I have been hugely privileged to have undertaken possibly my most inspiring role to date - that of 2013 VIP Taster for this year's British Sausage Awards. "Let's get stuck in!" - "No Jason, they have to be cooked first!" That may sound like an exaggeration to those who don't know me well, but long term readers, friends, past business colleagues and employees who work on the deli counter in Sainsbury's will know only too well my love of all things pork related. It is highly appropriate then that this coveted role should come to me through the Love Pork facebook page, a page whose title needs no further explanation - but please check it out. Myself and 85,000+ others can't be wrong. So - what actually happened today? Well I arrived this morning at Harper Adams in Shropshire to be ushered into a large conference room where approximately twenty people wer

Tales from Telford

In fact, I haven't got many tales to tell about Telford, but since I have an hour to kill before dinner, I thought I would sum up the story so far. All went smoothly with the journey. I have said it before, but I do love travelling on trains. It is so relaxing to be able to just sit back without having to keep ones eye on the road, read a book, listen to music, do a bit of writing, sat at a train with a desk in front of me. And with lots to look at through the window. It has to be said, not all of what I was looking at was particularly pleasant. Now I don't want to upset any West Midlanders but it has to be said, the view from the window of the train all the way from Birmingham to Wolverhampton is unremittingly grim. Crumbling buildings, industrial decay, weeds everywhere, abandoned sites full of rubbish, it looks like some sort of post apocalyptic scene in places. Perhaps it is just train lines that attract this level of decay, they do after all travel through a lot of ind

My sausages await!

So here I am, excitedly making preparations to depart on the 2:30 train this afternoon on my all expenses paid trip to Telford to be the official "VIP Sausage Taster" for the 2013 Sausage Awards. When I said I had won a competition on facebook, I got a few cynical responses. It seems many of the competitions on there are not all they are cracked up to be. Well this one certainly has been! Hats off to "Love Pork" - they cannot do enough for me. Two nights in the hotel, meals, the events, trains travel, even taxis to and from all the stations, we are being treated like VIPS! I did eventually manage to juggle things and arrange help from family members in order that Claire can join me for at least part of the trip. Whilst I am going up this afternoon, she is travelling up first thing tomorrow at which point we'll have cover to look after the boys - thanks Dad and Mother-in-law! The actually event itself does not start until tomorrow which means this evening I s

Official Sausage Taster 2013 - It's me!

As you know, there is always something exciting going on in my life and today was no different. In fact I had a couple of excellent reasons to be cheerful today. Firstly, someone who had bought my first book left a fantastic in-depth review of it on Amazon and gave it five stars which is really nice after a few less than enthusiastic responses recently. It makes the whole writing thing worthwhile and strengthens my resolve to stick at it. Secondly, and this is really exciting, I won a competition! This is only the second competition of any note I have ever won - the first one was a trip to the Champions League final four years ago. This time, it was a competition run by the "Love Pork" page on facebook. The competition was to win the prize of being an official judge at next week's British Sausage Awards 2013, which are to be held in Telford. I'm also pleased that it was a writing competition, I was not just drawn out of a hat or something, which also inspires


In an increasingly desperate attempt to come up with new material to write about, I am really scraping the bottom of the barrel this time, as I thought I would do a little bit about smells. I was on this occasion inspired by passing a dustbin lorry in town (or garbage truck if you are reading from across the water). I think I have a very distinctive sense of smell which is surprising really considering I seem to be blocked up with hayfever or various other problems most of the year round. I am sure my sense of smell was not always this pronounced. A pity, as I once had the opportunity for a dream job in the world of smells. No, it was not a tester for various aftershave's which would have left me "smelling like a tart's window box", an oft quoted phrase I heard frequently in my youth (but which you never hear any more). It was while I was working in the marketing department at Tesco Head Office during the mid 1990's. Part of my job involved liaising with the

Sporting Prowess

I mentioned some weeks ago that I was going to give you a round-up of my sporting prowess or lack of it in various fields, and now the time has come. But first readers, before we head back into a mythical past where I was a young sporting superstar, we must look at the present day. I have to say I am not totally happy with my current state of fitness. Being overweight I can cope with - I always have been, but I always felt if I was working out and keeping fit, I could carry the excess weight reasonably well. But in recent years my level of activity has dwindled to virtually nothing. Now I am not one of those writers, or people in general that feels sorry for themselves or utters "oh woe is me", quite frankly it is no-one's fault but my own that I have reached this spectacular level of non-fitness but there are plenty of excuses I could use. The most obvious one is that I have the kids and it is not an excuse - it DOES change your life. Not that I have got any regret

Something out of nothing

"The best things in life are free - but you can save them for the birds and bees" So sang "M" on her 1979 hit single. Presumably she was talking about sex here, quite racy for 1979. But to be fair, whoever coined the phrase "There's no such thing as a free lunch" had it right. Let's be honest. Everything has a hidden cost. Since we were talking about sex, I may as well continue on that subject. As this is normally a "family blog" you might have to look away now if you are under, say 15. As you know I like to find mathematical solutions for explaining everything, and sex is no different. To prove my point that sex is not free, you do have to in fact be a parent, it kinds of falls down if you aren't but bear with me. I worked out that you can work out exactly how much sex has cost you if you are a parent, by following this simple formula. The first bit is easy. Write down how many kids you have got. Most people should be able to