Sunday, December 30, 2007

A review of 2007 in the JerryChicken household

A year of upheaval, a year of change, a year of weddings and (so far) no deaths and (so far) no births, a year in which the strops got longer so that they are almost joined up in the middle now, a year in which I discovered a new solo holiday venue and a year in which I had presents thrown back in my face - and (eventually) a year in which I was bought my first ever dressing gown, I am now officially middle-aged, I look forward to a pipe and a bag of baccy.

January started off all political-like in the JerryChicken blog with lots of politicians being held up for ridicule by yours truly, well its what they get paid for and when the Home Secretary (who wasn't Home Secretary for long afterwards) calls the Home Office "Not fit for purpose" then he appears to be agreeing with me that they are all a right set of wankers in Westminster, so nothing changes there then.

The highlight of my January effort though was my predictions for the British music scene, which can be found right here. I am now free to freely admit that I blagged that list of hot tips straight from Napsters own list of hot tips and I freely admit that I knew of none of their names even while I typed the list, and I now freely admit that I still know of none of their names one year on, that would be the year in which they were tipped to do big things, in other words Napster's tippers spoke bollacks last year.

February was starting to get exciting, for February was the month in which we signed the contract to sell our old house and buy the new, but significantly smaller, house that we now inhabit and for the consideration of almost £10,000 in legal and taxation expenses we were almost packed and ready to go. February was the month when the dear old ladies at the Cancer Research Charity Shop in Horsforth had to go out and hire a small warehouse as a temporary storage facility after we bombarded them day after day with years worth of our accumulated junk, I drove past their shop just the other day and they are still selling old stuff of ours in the window, they have years worth of stock now.

February was also the month in which I went rally driving having been persuaded to part with an extortionate amount of money by our Ned in order to do so. Twas much fun, let down only by the fact that the other nine people on the rally driving course seemed to have come prepared with proper footwear and I had not - do you know how much of a twat you look clad in a fireproof racing suit and helmet with a pair of brown street shoes on ?

A big twat is the correct answer.

However I must have done something right for I finished third on the course ahead of all the young twats in their proper footwear who thought they could drive fast - well you can't, so there - one of said young twats being a petrolhead of my acquaintance who races his Honda veryfastsportscar on proper racing tracks and everything - sorry Richie, I haven't mentioned this before, but you drove like an old woman and I beat you by several minutes and thirty years.

March started with the house move, a day which went remarkably hassle free, perhaps it was because we only moved five hundred yards up the road or perhaps it was because it was our seventh move of our married life, or perhaps it was the fact that this time we paid £800 to four big strapping young lads to come from Whites Removals and do the whole job for us - I think it was the latter .

For anyone else considering a house move then please listen to me now - pay someone to do it for you.

I've moved myself, me and a hired van, for the other six house moves - disaster is always just thirty seconds around the corner waiting for you when you do it yourself - when you pay some big strapping lads to do it for you then the potential disaster is their problem and you just sit their on a box in the middle of your empty house and keep asking them if they want some more tea and biscuits, its dead easy.

March was also the month in which I went to Newcastle on Andy's stag weekend and partook of the noble art of Karting where one thing became immediately apparent when we were split into pairs and set off on a 30 minute grand prix race against each other - the team with the two skinny lads in had a significant advantage over the rest of us, weight being an issue in a motorised go-kart - furthermore I only overtook one other person during my sessions on the track and it is noteworthy that he was the only other person who was wearing a 3XL racing suit.

The seeds of doubt over my weight were sown on that day.

April was the month of the great mobile pond disaster, the post that got the most number of hits last year was "Dude, wheres my pond ?" after my magnificent Koi pond erection decided to go walkabout all the way down my garden, my drive, the street outside my house and the street at the bottom of this street, and onwards to the horizon, in short my new pond collapsed due in the main to faulty nails.

OK, so I shouldn't have used nails at all, and after I'd actually listened to a builder the next time, it worked fine, so the moral of the story is always seek professional advice, or something like that.

The knock-on effect of losing almost a thousand gallons of water down the street and causing the new neighbours to lock their doors and seek refuge on upper floors of their houses was that my project to build a conservatory on this new house has been shelved until I can demonstrate that I am capable and proficient at this stupid building lark to do it in a safe way where it will remain standing for longer than the ten minutes that the first pond did.

May was the month that I sold the family business for the princely sum of £3 rather than have HM Customs and Revenue walk in any day soon and tell me that they owned the place now.

Running your own business, the business that your grandfather started back in the 1920's can be fun, you get to pay yourself whatever you want, you get to take off any days you don't want to work, no-one tells you what to do, you please yourself, all of the time.

Except of course its nothing like that, what really happens is that you get to pay yourself after yoru customers have paid you and after you have paid your employees and you have paid your suppliers and after you have paid the last six months tax bills and after you have paid the last two quarters VAT bills, thats when you get paid, and when you pay yourself what is left your wife nags you because she doesn't think its enough money for the fact that youve not been at home at all for the last twelve years, and she's right because if you divided it up by an hourly rate you're actually paying yourself less then the minimum wage, far less than what you've just paid your 18 year old apprentice.

And when you reach the point where your accountant starts ripping you off with increasing bills for work which you can't remember authorising, and when you get to be on first name terms (as I did) with the Inland Revenue bailiffs - then is the time that you start to wonder whether collecting trolleys in the car park at Asda would be a good career move - and when you tell yourself that yes, that would indeed be a good career move, then you know that its time to fuck off, sell up and move on.

So I did.
I just own 10% now, just do sales now, I love it.
May was a good month then.

June brought rain, deluges of biblical proportions and thoughts turned to summer holidays of which there would be none for the JerryChicken household, us being skint from the house move and all, but I booked a few days in Edinburgh for three of us ...

July and the decking was finally finished at great expense and I finally decided to buy a black car, although the make was yet to be decided upon, and in the long run the new car was not black at all but a sort of grey colour. We started the first of our school summer holiday family days out with a trip to York, shopping and a visit to York Minster where a shock awaited to find that you had to bloody well pay to get in - pay to get in a church, whatever next ?

August and the glorious four days at Edinburgh Festival, what fun I had on my own there after the current Mrs JerryChicken and younger daughter had decided that they did not wish to spend four days of culture vulturing with me, so I left them at home and took all the money to Edinburgh - what a truly wonderful three week event that is and one which I will certainly be rebooking for next year , hopefully I'll get to do it on my own again, that was most of the fun.

September was the month when Northern Rock investors wanted their money back and Golden Brown shat his kecks at the sight of the queues outside their branches, so I wrote of my one and only experience of a savings scheme, the one where I beat the tricksters this time.

It was also the month when my wife demonstrated why women should not be allowed at sporting grounds and how it all used to work perfectly fine when it was just men and boys that were allowed through the turnstiles.

And I spoke of the day I met Elvis.

October was the month when I went and searched for my maternal grandmothers grave, and found it accidentally, and there was lots of talk of purchasing clothing in preparation for the showbiz wedding that we were invited to, and of course I spoke of my childhood dream of being a top scientist, an ambition thwarted by the boy who blew a hole in his stomach, "this big" (holds fist up), he has not come forward yet after publication so I still cannot verify the truth of the old wives tale.
November was the month of the podcast, the month in which I rediscovered my yearning to be a disc jockey in true Tony Blackburn stylee, a yearning not backed up by talent unfortunately.
We discussed at length the Magic Razor Comb of Death and discovered that it was a feared phenomenon in the USA too, ripping childrens scalps being high on the parental agenda in the 1970's and Dennis our Tuorettes service engineer made another appearance with his untimely comments at a funeral.

December is almost done, tonight will be spent seeing off the 2007 year and welcoming 2008, a procedure which is highly choreographed in our family being as Suzanne comes from the North East, an area reknown for its voracity in celebrating the New Year Eve - personally I'd be in bed by 10pm but she's upset if she has to go to bed by 10am on 1st Jan.

So tonight I will once again be "First Foot" and at 11.55pm will be evicted from the friends house that we have all gathered at with a glass of whisky and a lump of coal (don't ask why) with instructions not to re-enter until invited to. At the stroke of midnight I will be stood outside int he cold and rain with my nose pressed up against the window while the gathered friends inside hug and kiss each other for what seems like hours until someone remembers that they've locked me outside, at that point they may decide to let me in, on the other hand they may decide that it would be funnier not to let me in yet and I will starve and freeze to death outside.

It happens every year, I've been "first foot" for the past 27 years and yet I still bring no luck to anyones new year, being the most stupid one of the party means that I will be picked until I finally perish in a frozen lump on someones doorstep in the early hours of a January 1st...


Anonymous said...

Why hang around freezing. Walk down the street and knock on another door. The party might be better. ;)

All the best , and may words never fail you in 2008

Gary said...

Many thanks to you and have a good one yerself.

When we lived "oop north" I recall standing outside her mothers house in a street where several others were also standing outside waiting to "first foot".

So we all joined up together and went and drank our whisky in someones coal house leaving the whole street without a first foot that year :)

Zoe's Dad said...

The First Footer thing is fascinating! (I had to look it up)I had never heard of such---damn you for making me learn something by reading your blog.

Happy New Year!

Zoe's Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Happy new year Gary.