Mark Tales of Parenting 4 Comments

Resolutions of a Stay-at-home Dad

I’ve never been one for resolutions, new year or otherwise. Much like anything left on the shelf I resolved to put up last year, they’ll gradually slide until falling down the back of the sofa never to be seen again. And besides, I like to keep an element of surprise in our relationship so to brief Janet on her impending disappointments would only be counter-productive.

But that’s not to say I haven’t set myself some goals for the year ahead. Not life-changing goals, mind. I’m not planning to save the disabled donkeys of Djibouti or scale Kilimanjaro on a quest to find myself. For a start, I don’t even know if Djibouti has disabled donkeys in need of saving, and if I did decide to find myself I need only look to the sofa, in bed or on my hands and knees in Poundland scavenging for the last packet of Chocolate Cheerios.… Read the full post

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Pokémon Sun and Moon Review

Pokemon moon 3ds box coverAccording to Oxford Dictionaries, the word of 2016 is post-truth. Not in this house it’s not. In this house, post-truth is when I’ve told Janet I’ve cleaned the house, only for her to return from work to discover it wasn’t necessarily based on objective facts. So that’s pretty much every year since … when did I first become a stay-at-home dad?

Our word of the year is Pokémon. Pokémon Go, Pokémon plushie, Pokémon books, Pokémon advent calendars and for the love of Pokémon will you stop talking about Pokémon and go to sleep!

I’m clinging to the hope that their 11+ will be entirely Pokémon related, in which case Grammar school is a formality and I should probably start looking into cheap same-day returns to Oxford and Cambridge.… Read the full post

Mark Rants 8 Comments

Reflections on 2016

It may seem a little premature to be writing a review of 2016, but I’m not sure what my internet signal will be like if I need to bunker down with a four-year supply of tinned sardines and a wind-up torch. If Vodafone’s coverage in my kitchen is anything to go by, it’s not looking good.

If 1992 was an annus horribilis, this last twelve months must surely qualify as an annus whatthefuckisthis.

So many creative visionaries bailing out early as if they foresaw something we didn’t. The rise of the far-right at the expense of the left. Basic humanity deemed somehow incompatible with hosting Match of the Day. Syria, Brexit and Trump.

Now, I’m no theologian, but I’m pretty sure that’s the seven signs of the apocalypse right there.… Read the full post

Mark Uncategorised 6 Comments

Middle-aged Spread

Do you remember when this blog used to be about the kids? Nope, me neither. I should probably just change its name from The Tales of Sonny and Luca to The Miserable Mutterings of a Middle-aged Man and be done with it, although to be fair, if they want to play a larger part in the blog they could try taking their faces out of a screen once in a while and communicating. There’s only so much you can write about them stomping upstairs and eating bogeys.

*Makes mental note to write a post about them stomping upstairs and eating bogeys.

This post is about middle-aged spread, which apparently is something that hangs heavy over my belt and not a buffet with pineapple and cheese on sticks as I’d always assumed.… Read the full post

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Paper Mario Color Splash

paper-mario-colour-splash-coverRole-playing and card battle games are genres that have largely past me by, such is my refusal to entertain anything beyond left, right and jump. But as a disciple of all things Mario and a sucker for a kidnapped Princess I’m always prepared to make an exception.

With a talking paint can for company, the basic premise of Paper Mario Color Splash is to restore colour to the land of Prisma Island and find its stolen Big Paint Stars.

What’s most notable when you first start the game is how beautiful the graphics and textures are. The Wii U might not have the processing power of its rivals but that doesn’t stop it turning arts and crafts into gorgeous level designs, doing with paper and cardboard what Yoshi’s Woolly World did so brilliantly with yarn.… Read the full post

Mark Short Stories & Poetry, Tales of Parenting 1 Comment

The Penny Pincher

Strange things are afoot. Tales are emerging of a grim creature intent on frightening children and adults alike. So terrifying it would give a killer clown the willies.

Rumour has it he’s the result of an experiment that went horribly wrong. An ambiguous mix of chemistry and alchemy. One part stay-at-home dad, many parts don’t-make-me-get-a-job.

Some think it the stuff of urban legend. Others claim to have witnessed his devilment first hand. All know him as ‘The Penny Pincher’.

One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have experienced his presence on numerous occasions.

Jeanette (not her proper name), takes up the story.

“It was early October. The temperature had dropped into single figures so I went to turn the heating on.… Read the full post