Showing posts from November, 2013

The reluctant teetotaller

I've been thinking about my relationship with alcohol rather a lot recently. We've been through a lot together, me and the wine, the beer and the cider. And all the rest of it. Yet it seems we have progressively fallen out of love over the past few years and may finally have reached the parting of the ways. It's several days since I last had an alcoholic drink. This is not because I'm on antibiotics, have been told not to drink, any moral, religious, or financial reason. It's quite simply that I just don't like it any more. If you are someone who witnessed the booze filled antics of the Jason of decades past, you might find this extremely hard to believe, but I am afraid it is true. I don't even set foot in pubs any more, that whole culture is something that no longer appeals to me. Perhaps I just got old, or boring, or maybe I just grew up. Who knows which, all I know is it is no longer for me. So how did I get to this point? Well the easiest way is f

Stay At Home Dad

I'm delighted to be able to tell you (if you hadn't heard already) that I am now officially a newspaper columnist! My new column, "Stay At Home Dad" began in the Oxford Mail last Friday. Now as you know, I've written literally miles of material on this subject already - enough to fill two books (amongst all the unrelated ramblings) but there is never any shortage of material. Every day of being a parent brings new experiences, new challenges, and new moments of joy. Already I have had lots of positive feedback from the new column - both from those of you I know, and also from those I don't, which is really positive. Support from friends and family is fantastic but when it comes in from people you don't know, you really know that your work is being enjoyed by the wider audience. There is plenty still to be written on the subject of parenting and I'm hoping the column is set to run and run. Who knows where it might lead? For other writers out there,

Return Of The Fat Bloke

He provided the biggest laughs and the most banter of anything that happened in my fifteen years at Nielsen. And for many years, he's been missing in action. But today, thanks to my good friend and peer, Lord Marston, he has returned. And here he is: This man is responsible for some of the funniest moments of my working life. So who was this cartoon hero and where did he come from? Well we must take a trip back almost two decades to the mid 1990's. Back to a time when the internet was in its infancy, there was no googling, no photoshop, and very little for entertainment on the computers at Nielsen other than Solitaire and Minesweeper. But email had recently been installed, not yet connected to the wider world, but allowing communication around the building. This made sending things around considerably easier. Prior to that we had printed out memos with distribution lists on them, photocopied them, highlighted the names and put them in the internal mail basket. Then we

Dining at Deans

If I was a restaurant critic I could dine out every week for the rest of the year in Bicester, as the openings in the new shopping centre are coming thick and fast. Well I'm not a restaurant critic - well not yet anyway, however I feel duty bound to you my readers who have come to expect some food related anecdote in every entry to visit each new eaterie that opens in town. Even if it doesn't involve sausages! Today's venue does in fact offer sausages in a hot dog format, but I am all "sausaged out" after yesterday (see previous entry), so did not sample them today. I was at Deans Diner, an exciting new restaurant that opened yesterday in Bicester's new town centre development. Deans Diner is a small chain (this is only their fifth outlet) of restaurants that promise to help you "Live The American Dream!". Think of those old 50s style American diners of the style Marty McFly visited in Back To The Future and you'll get an idea of what to ex

Banger Bonanza!

It was a tremendously exciting day in Birmingham City Centre as the crowds excitedly gathered for the West Midlands Area cook off Final, the glittering climax to British Sausage Week 2013. I travelled up in style, on the 11:30 train from Bicester North, arriving in Birmingham to grey skies and persistent rain. I don't know what it is about that city, but every time I have been there, the weather seems to have been the same. It is as if the clouds know I am coming and gather waiting for my arrival. But there was nothing they could to to dampen my enthusiasm on this most spectacular of days. To get the old saliva flowing, I had a quick walk round inside the Bullring, an area where it seems almost every major food chain in Britain has a branch. Nandos, Burger King, McDonalds, Pret, Pizza Hut and countless others are all located within a stone's throw of each other. Bravely I walked the gauntlet between these packed food outlets, watching Birmingham's finest hungrily devour

Downton Shabby!

So, half-term is behind us and I find myself back at the keyboard raring to go with all manner of things to write about! I have a very exciting week in prospect, not least because it is the final of the British Sausage Awards on Wednesday which I am preparing for. Look out for another interview in the Oxford Mail. I have a photographer coming around at lunchtime to photograph Bicester Blogger in his natural habitat, along with of course, the now obligatory sausages! I'll just give you a quick round up of half term before we get into the meat of the blog, which isn't sausage related for a change! October half term is often a tricky one because of the weather and the kids can get cabin fever cooped up if it rains for too long. It's certainly not as easy as in the summer when they can play to their heart's content in the garden. There's something about being inside that seems to bring the monster out in them both and there's been a fair amount of rough 'n'