Mark Tales of Parenting 3 Comments

Sanctuary of the Shower

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but you know that image of a polar bear clinging to an iceberg? That’s me in the shower that is. And if you’re thinking hippo in a bathtub, shame on you!

It all began when the kids first scaled Mount Stair-gate. Until then, upstairs was a savannah of sanity. A place of respite from all those that sought to destroy my mental well-being. An oasis of order in an otherwise disorderly house.

But what followed must surely go down in history as the biggest land grab of the twenty first century. Huge swathes of previously unspoilt rooms were destroyed. Where once there was tranquillity, chaos reigned. My natural habitat, disappearing faster than you can say ‘didn’t this Tesco used to be a rainforest?’

I found myself being backed into a corner, or more accurately a cubicle, and it wasn’t long before the sanctuary of the shower was all that remained.… Read the full post

Mark Family Tales, Tales of Parenting 29 Comments

A Very Public Five Count

I’m not one for judging other peoples parenting skills. Well, how can I when as toddlers my boys could turn any public space into a thrash metal moshpit of despair at the drop of a hat … or glove … or raisin.

I’ll always remember one such occasion in a supermarket when a lovely old lady walked over, looked down at Sonny spreadeagled beneath the magazines, then back up at me and said,

“They can be little shits can’t they!”

Words I never would have imagined coming out of her mouth, less still,

“You know, most angelic toddlers turn into teenage pricks. Trust me, it’s so much better that they get their tantrums out of their system early.”

She then crouched over Sonny,

“Right young man, are you going to put that comic back and help your dad with the shopping, or shall we leave you here for the bogeyman?”

Whoa, back up a minute old lady.… Read the full post

Mark Growing Old, Tales of Parenting 6 Comments

Age is just a number, but sleep is sleep!

It’s been a tough few days in my quest for eternal youth, and my self-esteem has taken a bit of battering in the process.

Yesterday whilst walking through the park, I heard,

“Yo grandad! Can you pass us our ball?”

Grandad? GRANDAD?! Sorry, but would a grandad be able to do … jeez, my back!

“Sorry lads, good luck getting your ball out of the tree.”

I’d like to say it was an act of defiance. Truth is I sliced it, such is life with ageing knees.

This was just hours after grumbling to myself, as I often do, about the recent trend in men’s skinny tracksuit pants. Do they not look in the mirror before leaving the house? Am I the only one seeing chicken drumsticks?… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting 8 Comments

Alternative Education

alternative-educationI’ve invested heavily in the boys education. By invested I don’t mean financially, obviously. There’s no way they’re going to a fee paying prep school so long as I’m still watching my football on a not-so-flat-screen TV. It’s more of an emotional investment.

And by education I’m not talking about the three Rs. I appreciate those are important too, but it’s not like failing my 11+ prevented me from becoming a … ah, stay-at-home dad.

Let me start again.

I’ve invested heavily, on an emotional level, in the boys alternative education, on the subject of comedy.

I’m not expecting a round of applause for doing so, even if my funny walk clearly warrants one, but should I not be seeing some kind of return on my investment by now?… Read the full post

Mark Days Out, Family Tales, Tales of Parenting 2 Comments

Operation Alphabet

tower-of-londonLast week we embarked on a top secret mission to London. Code name: Operation Alphabet.

It was based on a book by the same name which had really captured the boys imagination. For those who haven’t read it, all the letters from all the words in all the world live in a postbox under the shadow of Big Ben. To contact them you must find an old fashioned red telephone box, dial six and count to ten slowly, but more on that later.

Our cover story was that we were staying with some friends, visiting a few landmarks and attending a rave at the Ministry of Sound. The perfect foil.

But we needed aliases, and for the purposes of this mission we would now be known as Terry and Jude.… Read the full post

Mark Uncategorised 4 Comments

Modern Art Post Kids

There was a time I quite liked modern art. I actively sought it out.

Many a weekend was wasted interpreting the uninterpretable, hours spent looking for meaning in the meaningless.

With the Guardian’s ‘what’s on’ guide as my bible, I considered myself cultured. A patron of the most pretentious ‘art spaces’ Manchester had to offer. A devoted disciple of the deluded.

Then I had kids.

You see, a funny thing happened when I became a parent. Through sleep deprived, cynically depressed eyes came a clarity of vision that cut right through the densest of bullsh#t. I no longer have time for it. I see things for what they are. The murkiness that is modern art doesn’t stand a chance.

A couple of weeks ago Janet and I found ourselves in an art exhibition.… Read the full post