Tag Archives: Gogglebox

Fashion…A Cut Above The Norm ?

With the record temps this week melting roads, buckling railway lines and making lots of people just nasty to stand next to, I decided to buy a new pair of shorts.

Now I have several pairs of shorts but only one pair has fitted me for the last couple of years as my waistline has expanded somewhat.  The others I keep, in the mostly forlorn hope that one day I may be able to “climb into” them and get the top button to actually go into the top hole……or come anywhere close to it.

This fitting pair work for me as they have an elasticated waistband, a boon to those of us with the accepted medical condition known as obesity !  The problem recently has been that, as with most of my clothing, I’ve had them years and have worn them almost daily since the start of the month. A few days ago I discovered that the material on each side of my precious bits has worn away and I risk being done for exposure if I wear them outside again.

Personally I’d just call them “designer ventilated” but I doubt that the police, fashion or otherwise, would agree.

So much as I hate shopping for clothes (I know, who’d have thunk it !), I went to buy a new pair earlier this week. I just wanted a similar kind, you know, the ones you see spectators wearing at golf matches (not in the US though, oh dear me no).

Like these……..


Now I admit I probably shouldn’t have gone to Tesco but it was nearby and I felt had a good range of clothing.

Just not for my age or size as it turned out.

They had NO shorts of the type above and so not wanting to go elsewhere, I lowered my expectations and just looked for any shorts that wouldn’t cause me to end up in the magistrate’s court.

At this point I have to say that despite having spent a lot of time in the US of A where oldies like me can wear just about anything and not be stared at or carted off to a rest home, we just aren’t like that here in the UK.

Or probably anywhere else for that matter.

So no shorts that were light blue, bright yellow, green, pink…..you get the picture, for this senior citizen.

Somewhat out of desperation and feeling slightly intimidated by being close to so many new items of clothing, I plumped for a pair that looked like sweat pants that had been cut off just above the knee. The label didn’t mention waist size and checking others of the same type on the rack, they only came in S,M and L.

As my days of being S or M ending in my twenties, I chose L and they seemed baggy enough for me. Stretchy too. They also came with a draw string method of tightening which I took to be a good omen.

Not bothering to try them on, I fairly scampered to the self checkouts and left the store with slightly raised blood pressure and a tightness in my chest.


Fast forward to a few hours later when I decided to try them on in the privacy of my bedroom. With only one leg in the shorts, I already suspected that I’d made a mistake. With the other leg in the shorts, suspicion gave way to certainty.

With movements akin to a trainee limbo dancer I managed to get them over my hips, at which point I noticed the ends of the draw string rapidly disappearing into the waistband material. I also felt the blood flow being constricted in my thighs so I stopped and despite knowing what I’d see, I checked myself in the mirror and, well lets just say if I did manage to get them a bit higher, my lack of Jewish ancestry would be clearly evident !

As there hadn’t been a choice of XL, 2XL, 3XL etc, I’d assumed L (with the draw string remember) would fit my fuller figure effortlessly.

Ha ! Big mistake. Big.  L mistake in fact.

And so it was that I found myself at the Tesco Customer Service desk the next day and after explaining to the lady that I’d no intention of taking part in the Tour de France in those shorts, I got my refund and went up to the clothing floor to try again.

As the forecast was for the hottest day of the year, if not of all time, I now was looking at shorts that I’d discarded the previous day as being unsuitable for my age group and without too much deliberation, I went for a pair that I believe are classed as “distressed” in modern fashion parlance but this time I also picked another pair, a size bigger and trotted off to the changing room to try them on.

Fool me once…and so on.

The first pair (again elasticated) fitted nicely and with no zip or buttons to mess with, just pulled on like swim shorts. I liked them.

But in the interests of comfort and increased air flow, I then tried on the larger pair and therein lay the conundrum. With the elasticated waistband and draw string, they were the dogs bollocks, as Gok Wan was never heard to say. Although they permitted a free flow of movement, albeit a bit too much freedom, I just couldn’t bear to accept the fact I’d be getting shorts that big.

No, no, no. I’m at the start of a diet and exercise program to reduce my HbA1C level to below that which currently labels me as being type 11 diabetic so I’m determined to reduce my waistline.

I replaced the larger sized shorts (you may have noticed I’m not mentioning any sizes here – I’m fat, not stupid !) and left the store with a spring in my step as I’d bought clothing and survived the experience.

So….distressed.  What’s that all about ?  Why the need to buy something new that looks like something old ?  Given time and wear, they’ll be old soon enough.

God knows I know THAT feeling.

But as well as being blotchy, these shorts have multiple built in creases around the precious area that give the impression that I’ve slept in them for a month or more.

Again…….that would happen naturally over time so why introduce it when new ?

Oh it’s fashion you’ll say.  It’s bollocks I say.  I want my new clothes to look new. At least to look new till the first wash.

I saw a photo of multi millionaire F1 driver Louis Hamilton this week and he was wearing white shorts, somewhat in the style of the photo I added earlier.

But they were slashed like he’d come second best in a fight with Neil “Razor” Ruddock and the hems were more frayed than my nerves when clothes shopping.

This is fashion ?

Oh well, with my new distressed and pre creased shorts, I can go walking knowing that I’m almost on the edge of being fashionable….and decent.

If I want to go full Gok Wan, I’ll need a pair of scissors and that’s not happening. There may be one or two differences between me and Louis Hamilton but I’m happy that MY shorts don’t look like they were on the outside of his F1 car doing over 200mph.

By the way, if you’re wondering about my use of the word “precious” when referring to my old (very old) family jewels, it comes from an episode of Gogglebox I watched this week. The families and friends were watching a show about lifelike human models with artificial intelligence that, if the show’s facts were to be believed, will soon be all the rage.  Clearly at this stage in their development, these models were being bought by, lets call them, lonely men with needs (and women, as there were male models too) !

Yes, lets leave it at that.

Anyway, being anatomically correct, the (male) creator showed us how, when he used his fingers in a certain place on the (female) model, it would make realistic sounds of pleasure or whatever.

One of the 3 elderly Caribbean ladies who were watching the show said “oh he’s touching her precious” which, despite putting a completely different slant on my enjoyment of Lord Of The Rings, I thought was a rather lovely way to describe that area, male or female.

Or in my case, semi precious I suppose !

Friday February 26th, 2016

This morning I was up with the lark, which then gave me a peck on the cheek and flew out the window. I hate one night stands !

Ahhh Fridays…..5th best day of the week.  It was to be the usual afternoon and evening featuring lunch with my friend Barbi, followed by a meal and a movie with Daphne and Stephen. Today however I was squeezing in a shopping trip to Tesco as I needed a basic shop..bread, fruit, milk etc.

So after having my breakfast porridge at noon, as you do, I set off for Tesco to get my usual Friday order of a foot long steak and cheese sub with a latte for Barbi and a steak and cheese salad and a hot chocolate for me. I don’t quite have as many Subway points (2527) as Nectar points (94,957) but then I keep spending the Subway ones !

Armed with the food, I drove the short distance to Barbi’s place and we had a good catch-up while we ate. Then as planned, her Tesco home shopping delivery arrived while I was there to put the groceries away for her.  Just after 3pm I left to go to Tesco myself to do my own shopping and got a bit carried away with their Classic Kitchen range and decided to stock up my freezer with several of their meals.

At 3 for £6 for these complete meals, I can eat as if I was back in my student bedsit days !


After putting my shopping in the car and returning my trolley/cart, I saw an old guy with a walking stick struggling to get his shopping from his trolley into his car which was parked in the closest handicap bay to the store. I helped him and then took his trolley back and he was very grateful.

As I passed him again on the way to my car, he started talking to me and one thing led to another and I ended up getting the full story of his ailments ( a long list including gout) and even those of his wife, who, it turned out, had been taken into hospital only the day before.

I kept edging further away and after several minutes I was so far from him that he started texting me and then I got a Facebook friend request from him.

Only joking.  But I’m sure I was there a good 5 minutes getting the story of his family (never visit), his dog (in a cone after a vet visit), his house (got damp and Sky TV……I know…..what ?  Never heard of that deal) and of course his wife (gout too) who I suspect was enjoying her time away from him in hospital !

Bless.  I was just glad I’d not bought any frozen goods.


I drove to Daphne & Stephen’s house and despite having that food in the car, I knew the temperature was low enough that it would be fine for the 7 hours before I’d get home.

We watched Wednesday’s Survivor and at about 6pm Daphne and I went to the local chippie (Atlantis on Harrogate Road) as we’d decided to have fish and chips for our meal this evening.

After supper we settled down to watch “The Lion King” as Daphne had never seen it before.  Boy did it look dated compared to modern animated movies……but then it was 22 years old !

When it came to the scene where Simba’s dead father appears as a cloud (oh sorry……spoiler alert) I was reminded of the spoof in The Simpsons when Lisa sees a similar cloud except it starts with Bleeding Gums Murphy who thanks her for making jazz popular, then Mufasa appears saying “You must avenge my death, Simba”, then Darth Vadar appears saying “Luke, I Am Your Father” and finally James Earl Jones appears saying “This Is CNN”.  The last 3 were all voiced by James Earl Jones of course.

Ok it was funny at the time !

The Simpsons  Jazzman  Lisa and Bleeding Gums Murphy  Part 2   YouTube

After the movie we watched Gogglebox which is always good for a laugh and then I went home and finally got my groceries into the fridge. I think they’d been colder in the car boot !


Back in 1970, my diary records that on this day I got my passport back from the US consulate in Belfast with a US Visitor Visa in it.  Someone born in N. Ireland but with parents or grandparents who had been born before N.I. became part of the UK could claim Irish or British citizenship.

As I planned on going to America during the summer, I’d decided to get an Irish passport as I thought that would help me more given the large number of Irish communities there and the general impression that Irish people were good people !

I’d got my passport from the Dublin office on 6th February and immediately sent it off to Belfast to get the visa.  Despite that being 46 years ago, I still have that passport.  I never did get to America that summer and in fact the passport only has one stamp in it……when I went to Palma, Mallorca in July 1972.

Irish Passport

Irish Passport American Visa

When this passport ran out in 1975, I got a UK passport (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and have had one ever since.


Still talking about dates, on this date in 1993, terrorists set off a bomb in the parking garage under the North Tower of the World Trade Center in NYC.   The explosion killed 6 people and injured 1,042. Thanks to finding a part of the van used by the terrorists and the fact that they weren’t the brightest bombers in the world *, they were soon all caught and each was sentenced to 240 years in prison…..so they’re going to be really REALLY old when they get out !

As 6 people were killed and that goes nicely into 240, I have to think the sentences were life terms (40 years) for each victim. Or maybe the judge wanted to be absolutely sure they’d not get up to any shenanigans when released and added a bit of TAT….Terrorist Added Tax.

Mohammed Salameh had rented the van from the Ryder Rental Agency in Jersey City and then reported it stolen. He compounded this by insisting that Ryder returned his $400 deposit.

Clearly terrorism wasn’t as well funded back in the day !




Friday February 19th, 2016

Before I set off for my usual Friday afternoon/evening with friends, I was looking at some old photos again….this time from this day in 2011.

I’d been playing around with some silly online program that let you put different hairstyles around a photo of your head and even let you change your skin colour in some cases. I created a few of myself and put them up on Facebook one at a time over the course of the morning and couldn’t believe that some friends were commenting on them as if they believed they really were photos of me from years gone by !!

Really ?  Even the last one ?!!!!


No, not even in my Denzel Washington days !

Actually I wouldn’t have minded N0.4……kinda SoCal surfer dude.  Yeah, that’s me for sure.


I set off early afternoon to visit my friend, Barbi, and we’d arranged that I’d call at the local Subway on the way and get us both lunch. I do this so often on a Friday that I’d not even got to the counter when the little Asian lady who owns the place started fixing my order before I’d opened my mouth.

I had been thinking of having something different but felt under pressure to go with what she was fixing – how British was that !  Next time, if I want, I WILL have something different. I will.

I can be strong !  Maybe.


After visiting Barbi, I went on to Daphne & Stephen‘s house for our usual Chinese & A Movie Night.  Now as you may know, we don’t always have a Chinese but have Indian, Fish & Chips or something homemade on a rotation basis. Tonight it WAS Chinese but before we ordered it, we watched last night’s “Survivor” which was different as the contestants were divided into 3 groups, Brains, Beauty and Brawn.

I knew just what some female contestant in the Beauty group would say and wasn’t disappointed.

If I get a chance to use my looks to progress in the game, I will.”

I hate that sort of attitude with a passion.  Obviously I know there are people who are good looking but when they are so full of themselves that they have that attitude, well it just pisses me off. To me, they immediately become ugly on the inside and I just wish someone would put them in their place. Sadly I’ve never seen it happen and others fawn over them, thus stroking their egos even more.

I guess if you ARE really handsome/pretty and are always being told that you are, then it must be hard not be affected by it. Personally I’d just prefer it if those people had the modest boy/girl next door attitude and then they’d be attractive (to me) on the inside too.

But I think I may be in a minority……..


Anyway after Survivor and our Chinese we settled down to watch “Spotlight” which I’d enjoyed a few weeks ago. Once again I found some of the dialogue very hard to hear and was glad to find I wasn’t the only one.

It may pick up an Oscar but it wouldn’t be the one for Best Sound !



Back home I watched a new episode of Gogglebox. I love that damn show.  For those who don’t know about it, the format is simplicity itself. Several families/couples/friends watch tv shows in their homes and we watch them making comments about what they’re watching.

I know, right ?  How could that have been successfully pitched as a concept ?

But it was and it’s one of the most popular series on tv here in the UK and regularly picks up awards.  It’s on its 7th series now.

And I love it.


It’s that time of year when a retired person thinks about holidays !  I’m thinking about a few road trips this year, weather and health permitting.

First up would be a trip up to Scotland for the ferry over to N. Ireland for a few days visiting old haunts before driving down the west coast of Ireland as I’ve never done that before.  Where I get the ferry from back to Britain is still in the planning stage but it might be one that would take me across to Wales so I’d end up visiting all the main countries that make up the British Isles. I’ve done it before but it’s always worth another go around !

I also want to drive again over in continental Europe. I toured parts of France, Portugal and Spain last year but driving 3,857 in 22 days was just too much in a small, manual, non air conditioned car. I’ve been offered a place to use as a base in Southern France near the Spanish border so that might dictate my route as I could then go east along the French Riviera to Florence in Italy, up to Venice and back home via Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.

European road Trip 2016

A rough guide to the distance comes out at 2,881 miles so that’s already 1,000 miles less than last time but the big difference would be that I’d not be booking hotels in advance. I found that had more cons than pros as the Ibis Hotel prices on the day were just the same so booking in advance didn’t save money AND it meant I had to pass up on nicer places to stay that I passed on the route.  Another plus to not booking in advance would be that I could change my entire route at any point and stay more time or less time depending on where I was.

It’s at the early stage of planning but I enjoy the planning stage.  I’ve never been to Switzerland or Germany and I love to visit new places.

I’m getting excited already.

And if I do that trip in the early part of Summer before the temps get too high over there, it’ll leave me the rest of the summer to visit parts of the UK I’ve never been to before, especially Devon/Cornwall if I can avoid the school holidays !

I’ve not ruled out a late trip to the US although that very much depends on others as I don’t want to go there on my own again.  Been there, done that.

Anyway that’s all in the future with much planning ahead but it gives me something nice to think about.

First things first though. I’d better make a start compiling my road trip music !