Saturday 10 June 2017

File me under “Philosaurus”.

Suddenly, I feel very ancient.  I spent time this evening being shown the finer points of a computer game on an I-Pad. My mentor was one of my great-grandsons, Harry.

 He is two years old.

Sunday 4 June 2017

Old Men Forget

I’ve always been chronically  absent-minded. There’s usually so much going on in my head that great wodges of it get spiked on the mental  ‘pending’ file – out of reach of the instant recall mechanism. I tend to forget stuff.  So sue me.

Susie, who is to pessimism what Michelangelo was to painting ceilings, and  habitually sees everything going on around her in the light of a hypothetical worst-case situation, is convinced that I’m sliding pell-mell into senile dementia.

But the good news is that I’m not going batty.  How do I know that? Because my GP, the admirable Dr Williams, told me so. She took me through the standard NHS Are-You-Turning-Into-A-Gaga-Old-Fart Test yesterday, (and I bet you didn’t know there was one) which I passed with flying (if slightly tattered) colours.

However, in this instance I can understand Susie’s concern.  When I went to see the doc some weeks ago for a general health check, she suggested we make an appointment to do the test aforementioned. Just in case. So we agreed a date and time, which she wrote down on a piece of paper for me, and when I got home I entered the details into the computer which rules my life, and told it to remind me a few days before the due date.

Which it duly did. But there was one small problem. Could I remember why I was going to see her? Could I buggery. Complete blank.

 “Suse” I said  “Why am I going to see the doctor on Wednesday? I can’t for the life of me remember.”

“That’s exactly why! Because your memory’s shot”  (the word “dickhead”, though unspoken, hung in the air.)

Unusually for me, I had no answer to that. 

Sunday 19 February 2017

Should have gone to Specsavers?

So – I’m Idly looking through the magazine shelves in Asda while waiting for Susie to put her lottery on (a triumph of hope over experience, but never mind) when an interesting looking title caught my eye along  at the far end of the rack. Great – I thought  - a new humorous mag in the Private Eye or Viz  genre. So I walked over to have a closer look, only to find that  it was about sitting on a river bank catching bloody fish

The title – Total Carp. 

Tuesday 23 September 2014

From our Travel Corresondent

Coventry named as top holiday destination 

(headline in today’s Coventry Telegraph)

Ahhh - Yesss! I've spent many a happy ten minutes  soaking up the sun in the trendy, fun-filled Costa del Walsgrave, feasting on the local delicacy, the quaintly named Pork Batches, and taking selfies of me and mine with the statue of the Local Celebrity, (an eleventh century upper-class poll tax protester with a penchant for getting her kit off) and wandering awestruck through Coventry's shining example of  20th century architectural and artistic excellence known as the new Cathedral, aptly dedicated to St Michael, the patron saint of undergarments.

Then we can recommend the celebrated Tour of the Ruins – both those which Goering destroyed (the old Cathedral) and those which the Council Planning Department destroyed (the rest of the city centre.)

The shopping experience is breathtaking.  Visit the exotic Stoney Stanton Road. Here, you  can easily buy as many saris, burqas , jellabas, any other exotic clothing you might happen to need., a range of Oriental sweetmeats guaranteed to pile the pounds on, and  blingy gold and jewellery by the hundredweight, guaranteed to get you mugged the moment you go out wearing it. Meanwhile the kids can have hours of fun playing Spot the White Man.

If you crave a bit of excitement, you can try a circuit of the Ring Road. A 10-15 minute thrill-packed ride, ending up back where you started. Or in A and E. Or possibly somewhere more permanent.  You don’t get that kind of buzz at Alton Towers.

All in all, Cov is up there with the coolest holiday resorts in the country. Grimsby,  Barnsley, Accrington, immediately spring to mind..  So next time you want a break you’ll never forget,  remember our slogan. Don’t Book it – Fook it!

Saturday 6 September 2014


O what tricks the ancient mind doth play! 

I was rabbiting on to somebody about the Middle East situation, noting that there are two main Muslim sects. (and yes I do know there are others!) 

So far, so good…………

“They're called Sunni and Sushi “ - quoth Uncle Phil the fount of  all knowledge


Thursday 17 July 2014

Through a Glass, Darkly

I’m more than a bit worried about me, lately,  in that my chronic absent-mindedness is beginning to morph into full blown senility. Doddering and incontinence are now only just over the horizon,  I fear. 

Take yesterday morning for instance. I was proceeding along the road outside of the garden centre, on autopilot, head-in-the-clouds as usual.  Realised suddenly that I needed to chuck a right to go into  the car park.

Having established that  there was nothing lethal coming towards me, I went to check for traffic coming up behind.

So I glanced into my offside wing mirror, as you do.

At which point reality kicked in, and I realised that I wasn’t actually in the car, but pushing a mirrorless trolley full of pots of Dahlias.

(Now there’s an idea for you, Tesco. Fit your trollies with wing mirrors. Every little helps !)

Monday 21 April 2014

Gardener’s World

I was cataloguing some books this morning. This in itself is hardly hot news - I spend half my life feeding in ISBNs and describing every minor blemish to dustwrappers in excruciating detail. The latter mainly as a cover-my-arse stratagem for customers who can’t be bothered to read descriptions properly, and try to send books back on almost any pretext, and worse, give me crap feedback. (The most consistent sinners in this regard come almost invariably via Amazon, for some reason. )

But that’s an anecdote for another time, perhaps. Revenons aux jardins.

Some way down the tottering pile I came across a book on roses* (Staple-bound card covers, in As New condition, 64pp including index,  in case you care.)

Now as it happens we are just re-designing our garden. I say ‘we’ but in truth I have little to contribute as far as detail goes – if pushed I‘d probably make a right prat of myself by confusing Pelargoniums with Pergolas, or Ena Harkness with Ena Sharples.  

The family conversation has tended lately to veer towards the Titchmarsh end of the spectrum at almost every opportunity.  It’s  been Begonias for breakfast, Lobelias for lunch and Dahlias for dinner, chez Phil.  And it’s not just about plants – the minutiae of such fascinating constructional necessities as paving slabs and fence posts, decking boards and half-log rails, sheds and skips, are a constant theme. I can only pray that  ‘Capability’ James (Mrs)  doesn’t get ideas about a water feature – or  ‘Incapacitated’ James (Mr) will have to permanently live in the loo!

Anyway – there was talk of replacing some of our rose bushes, because the current crop had gone well triffidy since last summer and were not only maliciously trying to ensnare the dog every time she went anywhere near them, but they were going to be in the way of the proposed new fencing.  And guess who was given the job of getting rid of the redundant  ramblers, leaving him with a back out of kilter and thorns in  his hands and arms that are still painfully surfacing a fortnight later.

So as I picked up the book I thought “I’ll have a quick shufti  – maybe I can mug  up a quick Bluffer’s Guide.”

A substantial section of the book is given over to listing all the various varieties of Tea roses, Floribunda, Climbers, and so on , each with a short description of its good and bad points. Gripping stuff.

Until about half way through I came across this example:

ANGELA RIPPON: Popular  for bedding and exhibiting………..

At which point all ambitions towards horticultural understanding went out the window,

In yer dreams, James!

*Rose Jotter, by Dr D G Hessayon- £4.95 from any good bookseller, or £2.50  from Uncle Phil’s Books. (including p&p, natch.)