Saturday, 30 July 2011

It's been a while since I sat here and tippy tapped a blog post. That's mainly down to my old, steam driven PC really beginning to give up the ghost and die. It's taken to just shutting down of its own accord now. That's very infuriating if you're in the middle of writing something important. Luckily for me I use my PC for nothing more important than playing music and watching porn. That said it's still infuriating if Mick Jagger's half way through singing The Next Goodbye or Nina Hartley is midway through doing her stuff.

The PC ain't quite dead yet although it's operating naked at the moment. I've removed the cover as I reckon the internal bits are overheating. Probably a bit too much Nina Hartley action. But while I'm on the subject of death I'm quite nicely segued into the latest comment from my anonymous contributor. His/her latest offering can be seen attached to my last blog post but basically it states that I was a tosser when those photographs were taken and I still am now and I should crawl off and die in a hole.

I could, of course, simply delete this comment but I'm a fervent believer in freedom of speech. If 'Anonymous' wishes to state publicly that I like one off the wrist who am I to argue with him/her? I wonder if any of my compadre bloggers suffer the same anonymous contributions?

Anyway, I am now back at work after a tour of duty that had me feeling very vulnerable. I kept thinking that someone might leap out from a cupboard with recording equipment having captured some inappropriate comment or other and finish me off for good. Unlike 'Anonymous' I make all of my comments in my own name.

Vulnerability aside it didn't take long for the natives of SW11 to welcome me back into their slightly warped bosom. My problems of late seemed to dissolve when I witnessed the aftermath of the gentleman that mistook the engine air vent on his girlfriend's Smartcar for a fuel filler cap.

After wrenching off the vent cover (surely the fact that it didn't unscrew smoothly should have been a clue) he proceeded to pump £7.04 of unleaded over the hot engine.

Highly flammable liquid plus red hot metal is a fine combination if you're trying to achieve an impressive conflagration in a petrol garage and the destruction of your girlfriend's new Smartcar. Luckily for the boyfriend he suffered no injury. Well, at least he didn't whilst at the scene. I suspect his (ex) girlfriend might have given him the good news when he got home in a cab.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day and I'm due back in SW11 for more fire related shenanigans. Our new Fire Brigade Union branch rep is due to address his members to inform them of the latest round of attacks on our terms and conditions.

Unfortunately the new branch rep is a tosser.

Well, according to 'Anonymous' he is, anyway as the new branch rep is Yours Truly.

Who'd have thought it? A man whose politics sit slightly to the right of Genghis Khan.


Memories in Black and White

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Right this is a bit of a cheap shot. A bit of blog indulgence that takes little effort.

I ran into an old friend the other day. Adrian is from a posh family and back in the day was a high flying university undergraduate.

'What the fuck was he doing running around with you, Waterman?' I hear you ask.

I used to go out with his sister.

Anyway, he decided to do an examination of the cult London Rock-a-Billy scene of the 1980s for his sociology degree. It just so happened that I was part of that cult. It was a cult not unlike the cult of the West Highland Way Race in that everyone knew each other and gathered at the same events except that rather than Ron Hill Tracksters and Inov-8s we wore Levis 501s and dealer boots.

At the time Adrian gave me a load of hard copy photographs he took of us Rock-a Billies. They were in black and white to effect a 1950s feel. Over the years and through moves to West Germany, Canada and Ireland the photographs were lost to the four winds. Forever, or so I thought.

Then, after 25 years I ran into Adrian again and he have me a disk of the lost photographs. So in a cheap shot, an act of blog indulgence, I attach some here. I was about seventeen or eighteen. You will notice that we spent an inordinate amount of time combing our hair (of course I selected specific photographs to illustrate this, but in those days losing your comb was the 80s Rock-a-Billy eqivalent of losing your mobile phone).

If I could achieve this level of skinniness again I might give Jez Bragg a run for his money.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Well, in terms of stressfullness that was about as tough as Brixton parking warden. I am disallowed from commenting on the detail of the Carpet Parade and each of the individuals that arrived at Meerkat Manor to testify to what a great bloke I am were instructed the same so don't expect too much detail from them either. Oh, by the way, if you are one of those that turned up to support me, the cheque's in the post.
(Nb: If you happen to be reading this and are in the employ of The Man, that was a money actually changed hands. Although I bought an awful lot of alcoholic beverage immediately after.)

But I have to report that on Friday morning I took roll call in South Chelsea to applause from my lads. Later I took my place in the chair in the mess where I always sit. It's not 'my chair' as we don't do designated places around the mess table at Battersea.....but it's the chair that I mostly sit in and bristle with concern when someone else sits in it.

Anyway, I'd like to claim that things are back to normal now but I have this feeling that I've been smashed about these past eight weeks and it'll take a little while to get over.

While I was at home and making like Steve McQueen in the cooler I had much time to think. I decided that if I returned to my role as a Station Officer at Battersea I would be a soft, fluffy Guv'nor that tolerates all the foibles of those around him.

That lasted a day.

It didn't take long to spark at a lack of courtesy and fairness and metaphorically slap one of my younger charges down.

Daddy's back.

Anyway, I'm gonna sign off now and prepare for my first night duty in eight weeks.


Flipping Flippant

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

You may have noticed a wee bit of jiggery pokery having taken place. Basically the last blog post I wrote is no more. It's zapped, kaput, ironed out (although I'm assured that it resides somewhere in Google's cache.)

A good friend suggested that given my current situation my last post was flippant. Firstly, every blog post I write, unless it concerns suicide or death, is flippant. If flippancy were a banned concept on my blog, I would have no blog.

So I guess in that sense it was flippant, but not carelessly flippant, or so I believed. I had intended to convey a message. But if it appeared carelessly flippant to him then it must have to others as well and for that reason I removed it.

Secondly, what I was trying to suggest was that this situation hasn't broken me. I'm still the same man that I was in January when my professional conduct attracted a different type of attention. But saving life is what a person in my employ gets paid to do....get over yourself. Insult a politician, however, and prepare your sorry arse for a flailing.

Anyway, the fact that I've spent hours upon hours with a cloth and a tin of Parade Gloss, going round and round in circles on my shoes, should be a demonstration of a lack of flippancy.

Bulling shoes is a well known concept in service personnel circles but for the uninitiated it involves spending forever rubbing shoe polish and spit into one's shoes to achieve a mirror-like shine. Then as soon as you put the shoes on your feet a good fifty percent of your hard work cracks and pings off onto the floor.

I also picked my undress uniform up from the dry cleaner's today. I have no idea why it's called an undress uniform because it's a dress uniform complete with rank markings and medals. It's a naval thing, I think.

The last time I spent this much time preparing my undress uniform it was in preparation to represent my employer at the Royal British Legion Annual Service of Remembrance at the Albert Hall.

How things change.

Anyhow, tomorrow will come and tomorrow will go. See you on the other side.

Blue Spots on Parade

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The discussion went something like this:

'Dave, are you running the Horton Park ten mile race on Sunday?'


'Oh, go on. It's for charity.'


'There's a bottle of wine for the first three finishers.'

'Is Steve the Snake running?'

'No, he's injured.'

'What about Dickie the Dart?'

'Injured too.'

'Fred the Flash?'


'Brian the Bullet?'

'He died two years ago.'

'What percentage is this wine?'

And that's pretty much how I got talked into running a ten mile race two weeks after running sixty miles on the West Highland Way. Artistic licence has been taken with the names above (you don't say!!) but it was an examination of a relatively small field of 58 runners and the lure of a bottle of Vino Collapso that made me don my Royal Tank Regiment running vest on Sunday and go out the door at a stupid time to run around Horton Park.

So I arrive at the race registration and immediately think that I'm fucked as I see some serious looking, lean runners around me. The preponderance of Garmin GPS's always makes me feel technologically inferior and like a fella that's woken up after a night on the wine and decided to do something he's clearly not prepared for.

Probably because that's exactly what I am.

Anyway, the race starts and true to form I hare off like George Michael after hearing a new public toilet has been opened on Hampstead Heath. For a short while I'm leading the pack and I can smell the demolition of my recent ignominy in failing at the West Highland Way Race. Even before I've reached the first mile marker (bags of ambition....fuck all ability).

Then the familiar sound of footsteps behind me increase in volume and I feel like a floundering fish being reeled in by some eager angler.

I look over my shoulder and see some fella I recognise by sight just hanging on to my pace. For a moment I compare my frustration to that of Jez Bragg in his battle with Stuart Mills in this year's Highland Fling. Then I realise it's a bit like Del Boy Trotter likening 79 Nelson Mandela House to Kensington Palace.   

Anyway, I ease off the gas a bit and engage my shadow in conversation.

'Alright mate, what time are you looking for?'

'Don't know....I've never done a ten mile race before, only half marathons.'

'What's your PB for a half?'


'I'm gonna stop for a piss, mate.'

So off he trots and I slot into second place. The rest of the race is run at bastard threshold level as the sun rises in the sky and the morning gets hotter. I'm in such a serious, Paula Radcliffe style zone, that when I really needed a piss I have a quick look about and then get my willy out and piss on the move. You know that way that leaves a zig-zag trail down the road.

Somehow the Gods smile upon me and inflict everyone behind me with feelings of inadequacy. A 44 year old fella with wine stained lips breaks the tape in second place in 1:17 on a course that was actually measured at eleven miles.

So what now?

Well, I didn't get my wine because I bugged out before the prize giving as Mason (dog) needed a walk. The wine cannot now be located (probably because some other fucker has drunk it) but I also have a free one hour session with a physiotherapist.

This quite excited me, particularly when the race organiser identified said physio as a she. Then he pointed her out and I realised that I've 'won' an hour with a Jo Brand lookalike.

This all goes to prove that it matters not how high and mighty you can convince yourself you are, in a big willy contest, John Holmes is just around the corner.

Or on parade, when you've decided to use Klear floor polish on your shoes, there's always an unexpected rain cloud on the horizon (only squaddies will get spots).


A Broken Toe???

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Listening to David Haye's constant verbal demolition of Wladimir Klitschko began to rile me a bit. Hearing Haye tell us how much he disliked Wlad, refusing to shake his hand and ignoring his cheery welcome was just downright rude. But I stomached it knowing that Haye was cranking up the pressure and selling tickets for the unification of the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF Heavyweight belts.

I've met David Haye and I coach the youths of Battersea in the Noble Art with a very good friend of his. Also, Haye boxed out of Fitzroy Lodge, a boxing club not far from Brixton where I boxed as a boy, so I feel a definite link with the now former WBA Heavyweight World Champion.

Despite my loyalty to David Haye I couldn't help developing a sneaking admiration for the big Ukranian. He offered his hand in every meeting with the South Londoner and then listened as Haye likened his accent to that of Sasha Baron Cohen's comedic creation Borat. Possibly ignorant of the fact that Wladimir was speaking in one of the five languages he's mastered.

But in boxing, the hardest of sports, it matters not how many languages you speak nor what inflection you employ to speak them. One's fists do the talking.

So I settled down last night to watch David Haye stomp all over 'the big robot' and teach him a masterful lesson in pugilism.

Oh, boy! What a disappointment.

David Haye was outclassed, outboxed and made to look very ordinary. Wladimir Klitschko proved beyond doubt that talk is very, very cheap.

After twelve one-sided rounds the Ukranian collected Haye's WBA belt (and, in his Borat voice, no doubt said thank you) to celebrate with his brother, Vitali, the WBC Heavyweight Champion. The brothers now own every version of the World Heavyweight title.

But what of David Haye? Well, he has claimed that a broken little toe was his undoing and even climbed upon the desk at the post fight press conference to show us his little piggy.

I must admit it did look sore and slightly swollen.

I wonder what my mate, Mark 'Drama Queen' Hamilton makes of that. A man that broke his ankle five miles into the West Highland Way Race in 2006 yet continued to run for another ninety miles to collect his finisher's goblet.

I wish I could type a bit more of this blog post but I stubbed my toe so I don't think I can. Instead I'm linking a video made about a man that might have made a very good boxer.

Mr Mark Hamilton.