Mark Tales of Parenting, Rants 3 Comments

Seeking Sanctuary on the Toilet

I’ve decided to embrace my inner grumpiness through a series of posts I’m calling ‘the mutterings of a middle-aged man’. And before you say it, no, it wasn’t always such; at least not officially.

And where better to start than this.

I’ll leave you to ponder this photo for a few seconds, although I should probably warn you, look away now if you’re easily irked…

Are we done?

I’d like to assume you share my horror, although judging by those I share a house with, maybe I shouldn’t be quite so presumptuous.

I’m talking about the ring of ire which, given the subject matter, possibly isn’t the best choice of phrase.

It has nothing to do with last nights curry and everything to do with what surrounds the toilet.… 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 Tales of Parenting, Tales of Fatherhood, Rants, Short Stories & Poetry 1 Comment

Through the Eyes of Another

The street lights flickered as if unsure what was expected of them. I found a bench beneath the most assertive and sat down.

A van approached, fast at first but significantly slower the closer it got. As it crawled past its engine called out to me, revving as if bereft of gears. Looking up from my phone I noticed the man in the passenger seat had locked eyes on me. They remained locked long after it’d driven past. Uncomfortably so.

The van then stopped a little further up the road, performed a three-point turn and was now coming back, even slower than before. Now I was nervous. This time both passengers stared, the man furthest away visibly stretching beyond the driver to get a good look.… Read the full post

Mark Rants 2 Comments

In Support of Jeremy Corbyn

jeremy corbyn labour leadershipWhilst watching the recent budget announcement, something troubled me.

It wasn’t anything George Osborne said, I’d actually expected far worse.

It wasn’t even the fist pumping of Iain Duncan Smith, like a teenager who’d just groped his first boob.

What bothered me was that in presenting a budget so unequivocally blue as to make Pantone question their primary colours, they’d still somehow managed to out-Labour Labour?

They’d been to the reclamation yard, rummaged through the rubble of the infamous tombstone and pilfered the best bits for themselves.

Now I’ve nothing against a good policy crossing political lines, but there was a time when Labour policies were so far removed from Tory ideology that to reach them would induce travel sickness. They were radical and progressive.… Read the full post

Mark Rants 17 Comments

Post Election Blues

I’ve got post election blues. It’s been four days since the election and I still feel numb. To liken it to mourning is maybe overstating it a little, but the five stages of dealing with grief still resonate.

Stage One – Denial

Denial came and went as quickly as Sunderland counts its votes. Exit polls had been wrong before. They’d clearly not counted the votes from my Twitter timeline as they were 90% anti-austerity. Until the BBC canteen served up a sautéed hat to Paddy Ashdown or a deep fried kilt to Alistair Campbell there was still hope …

Stage Two – Anger

… or not …

By the time I was snoring on the sofa in a pool of my own dribble it had already turned to anger.… Read the full post

Mark Tales of Parenting, Tales of School, Rants 27 Comments

Don’t Judge a Kid by their Costume

A lot has been written about World Book Day, and rightly so.

A celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. Shared in over one hundred countries. A beautifully uncomplicated premise in an otherwise complicated world.

And yet, like any parade, some people can’t wait to piss on it. The main target of their ire? Dressing up.

Across social media they bemoaned the influence of Disney, bewailed the rise of the Superhero and mourned the death of their own literary heroes.

In most cases it was well intentioned, but more than a few smacked of downright snobbery.

I’m no expert on EYFS, nor do I have any experience other than that as a parent, but I can tell you what I witnessed at school on Thursday.… Read the full post