April 27th 2006

The days when most men would only enter a kitchen in order to have sex on the kitchen table, and even more men would need a map to find the kitchen in the first place, are long since gone. In this enlightened  new man age not only do men know where the kitchen is and what it is for other than novelty nookie but actually cook in it, and take great pleasure in doing so. Even bearing this in mind people are still surprised to learn that I do all the cooking chez Ravenscroft, and have been doing so since shortly after The Trouble and I married. They wouldn’t however be surprised had they ever been exposed to The Trouble’s cooking.

We’d moved into our first home after living the first two years of our married life with my parents, a common occurrence in those days. During this time my mother, God bless her, did all the cooking. The Trouble was cooking her first meal for us, a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. She’d said it would be on the table at one-o-clock prompt. The hour arrived, the roast with all the trimmings didn’t. One of the trimmings, the cabbage, wasn’t yet cooked, The Trouble explained. One-thirty came, and went, without the arrival of the victuals. “Cabbage not yet cooked,” said The Trouble, by now looking a little flustered. Two-o-clock, same story.

I put down my newspaper and ventured into the kitchen to take a closer look at this cabbage that need so much cooking. The Trouble, by now almost tearful, obviously feeling that she had let both me and herself down, pointed to a large pan on the stove. There was no lid on the pan. You couldn’t have got one on, for in the pan sat a very large, whole, cabbage. Now I don’t know how long it takes to cook a cabbage whole, only that it’s over an hour and a half, as that’s how long it had been cooking, and the centre of it was still quite hard.

I didn’t take over the cooking duties immediately; that happened the following Sunday when she roasted a chicken with its giblets still inside, still in the little plastic bag. I ‘m sure if I’d asked her to make me baked beans on toast she’s have put the beans in the toaster along with the bread.

I’ve often wondered, since The Trouble is adept at all other domestic tasks, if she boiled the cabbage whole and roasted the chicken and giblets on purpose, as proof that she was a totally inept cook, and in order to free herself of this duty. I’ll never know. But my money is on that she did.


April 26th 2006Despite earning my living as a comedy scriptwriter for a large part of my working life I can’t write jokes for the life of me. By jokes I mean stories that typically begin ‘There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman….’ An example – A blind man walked into a pub, picked up his guide dog by its lead and swung it round his head a few times. The landlord was outraged. He said ‘”Why did you do that?” The blind man said:” Well I only came in for a look round.”  That sort of thing.

I can’t do it, I only with I could.

My humour, such as it is, depends on character and situation, and owes much to observation. I can also do one-liners, such as ‘My wife was in labour for over two days before the doctors realised she still had her tights on’, lines like that.There are very rare exceptions to this general rule, when I do manage to come up with a joke, usually by accident. One such happened this morning. It isn’t a very good joke, so don’t hold your breath. Here goes then –

A man went to see the doctor. He said: “I feel terrible doctor. I’ve got a headache, my nose is stuffy, I’ve got an upset stomach and I’m running a temperature. And as well as that I’ve got this constant sound in my head, like a chanting sound, going ‘Round…round…round…round…. What do you think it is?’ The doctor said: “It’s a bug that’s going round.” That’s it. I warned you it wasn’t very good, didn’t I. However I did once come up with a really good joke when I was writing my novel A Good Walk Spoiled. If you like you can read it on this page –   You are invited to rate both my jokes on a scale of 1 to 10. I would award the first one a dodgy 4 and the second a solid 8.  But then I’m biased.

Desert Island Dicks

April 25th 2006

Following my post on homosexuals the other day Paul Quayle of Brentford has e-mailed me, accusing me of being a homophobe. I’m not, it’s just that I can’t see the attraction of anal copulation. Nor indeed can I imagine how such a ridiculous notion was ever contemplated. It can only have been conceived out of desperation, probably by a man cast away with another man on an uninhabited desert island, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean……..

FIRST MAN: (INCREDULOUS) Can you do what?

SECOND MAN: Put my dick up your bottom?

FIRST MAN: You’re joking of course?


FIRST MAN: You really want to put your dick up my bottom?



SECOND MAN: Well I’m feeling randy and, in the absence of any women, I thought…..

FIRST MAN: You thought what?

SECOND MAN: Well I thought that your anus would make a very good substitute vagina.

FIRST MAN: A good substitute vagina? There’s shit up there.

SECOND MAN: I don’t mind.

FIRST MAN: I mind. Any shit up there is meant to come down not be poked farther up. Jesus, the nerve of you!

SECOND MAN: Please. You can do it to me afterwards.

FIRST MAN: What? What would I want with my dick all covered in shit?

SECOND MAN: Well if that’s all that’s bothering you you’ll be able to wash it off after. There’s the whole of the Pacific Ocean to wash it off in. It would only be like washing off sperm and vaginal juices after having sex with a woman.

FIRST MAN: Sperm and vaginal juices don’t smell like shit.

SECOND MAN: You could hold your nose.

FIRST MAN: Look, life may be a little boring right now but I can still find better things to do with my time than stand here washing my dick in the Pacific Ocean with one hand while I’m holding my nose with the other.

SECOND MAN: You might like it.

FIRST MAN: I might like washing my dick in the….?

SECOND MAN: No. Having my dick up your bottom.

FIRST MAN: I might enjoy shitting glass. Come to think of it it might be very similar to shitting glass.

SECOND MAN: Oh I’m sure it wouldn’t. Please?


SECOND MAN: Why not?

FIRST MAN: Because it will hurt.

SECOND MAN: No it won’t, I’ve only got a small dick.

FIRST MAN: Small dick my arse!

SECOND MAN: Ooh I thought you’d never ask!

Last of the Summer Walking Frame

April 24th 2006

“There are three men with walking frames at the front door,” said The Trouble, with her expression of ‘And what have you been up to now?’ on her face.

I looked up from my Oldie magazine, trying to look unconcerned. “Oh yes?”

“What do they want?”

I spread my hands. “Search me. Perhaps they’re collecting for something?”

“Well if it’s walking frames they’re collecting they’re having a lot of success. See to them would you.”

I went to the front door. Abreast of each other were Mr Jeffs, Mr Barnaby and Mr Ross. Standing behind their walking frames they looked like a small football crowd. How had they known where I lived?

“Mr Atkins told us where you lived,” said Mr Jeffs, as if on cue. I made a mental note to give Atkins Down The Road a piece of my mind the next time we met; they’d obviously called on him and now he was making me have some of what they’d given him.

“Why haven’t you been turning up for training?” asked Mr Ross?

“I’ve decided to change my event.” Well I had to say something.

I thought quickly. They would no doubt want to know which event I’d switched to. The Downhill Stairlift was the first paraplegic-like competition that sprang to mind. I would tell them I was already in training for it and had already got very close to Thora Hird’s long-standing record. But hang on a minute. Downhill Stairlift? Wouldn’t that be a Winter Paralympics event? Are there such a thing as the Winter Paralympics? Skiing down the side of a mountain at a hundred miles-an-hour is difficult enough as it is without being hampered by having only one arm or one leg or partial sight, so probably not.

“What event are you going in for then?” asked Mr Jeffs.

“Putting the Truss,” I said. “In fact I’m just off to the hospital for a new one, nice seeing you all again,” and with that I walked down the drive and out of their lives forever. I hope.

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