More Irony

I was in the work kitchen, preparing the staple of British nutrition, English Breakfast tea, in a mug given to me by the workplace at Christmas. Everyone was given a personalised mug with their name and cartoon character depicting them. It was a nice touch. 

My cartoon character looks more like Mr Bean with glasses than me. And… AND he has a better hairline!! It may as well be bloody Oprah Winfrey on the mug!

Next to me stood a young lady who was filling her mug (brought from home. Maybe she wasn’t impressed with the likeness either) with cereal. When quizzed by colleagues she explained that she felt a bowl looked untidy on a desk as opposed to a mug. 

“You go girlfriend,” I didn’t say, but I did think that she could do whatever she wanted and I couldn’t really care less. I just needed my caffeine. 

In close proximity stood an odd fellow. One of her colleagues. He leans close to me so that I can feel his breath hit my face as he whispers, “I have to work with her every day. She’s as thick as shit.”

I didn’t respond to this coarse whisper. I didn’t give him the satisfaction of a nod and a chuckle to concur with his degrading judgement of her with an air of misogyny.  

To be honest, I wanted to verbally destroy this man, but I didn’t because I thought that he wouldn’t remember the reference. Because, to some odd people, being a complete moose knuckle is a daily occurrence. It is simply who they are. So an act that was completely stupid, mind boggling and bizarre to the likes of me and the incredibly intelligent reader of this blog, and which therefore by default stands out as an unusual event, to the odd fellow, gets lost in the daily randomness of their brain farts. 

You see this is the very man who I witnessed with my own eyes (who invented that stupid statement? When do you ever borrow someone’s eyes to witness something? This isn’t Minority Report!) on his hands and knees on the floor of the gent’s toilets, looking at the wet floor under the hand dryer, then looking up at the hand dryer and announcing that, “It must have a leak.”

I shit you not! 

Furthermore, he thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a white canvas belt with work trousers. 

So when it comes to sneering comments about intelligence based on someone wanting to use a mug instead of a bowl, with his track record of thinking a Dyson Air Blade, an electrical appliance for drying your hands has a water feed pipe, I really don’t think there is any denying who isn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. 

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Meanwhile in Budapest….

It’s seriously chucking it down. If I wanted shit weather I could have saved on air fare. 

So I’m sat in a Costa with a croissant and coffee to perk me up. There are a handful of other customers looking miserable, as though they’ve made the decision to wait until the rain passes before venturing out once again, and have realised that the rain is here for the day, so now they’re trapped in a carbon copy Costa for the next 24 hours. 

The Baristas have a relatively unfriendly nature to them by Western standards. This is a common theme that Mrs Grump and I have found during our time here. If they work behind a till, they seem to have a hatred of all human beings. When making a purchase, I’m always feeling like I’ve been told off or my mere presence has pissed them off. Again, I could have saved on air fare for that experience. 

Is it because I’m English? I’m thinking of getting a T-shirt printed saying, “Hey, I voted Remain!”

Last night I ordered a couple of drinks in a restaurant with a wonderful romantic view. I opted for alcohol, Mrs Grump wanted a strawberry soda. The waiter brought over a cider. I did the very British thing of explaining that there’s been a mistake and that I ordered a strawberry soda, not cider and yet still included an apology in there even though it was no fault of mine. “It’s probably his accent, he’s from Birmingham,” Mrs Grump tried to explain. This, of course, meant absolutely nothing to the waiter who pulled a face like that of finding a dirty nappy on your doorstep. 

Back to the coffee shop and apart from the customer service skills of an aggressive verruca, the miserable atmosphere, miserable weather and the fact that the soya milk I requested doesn’t seem to want to mingle with my coffee, all is well. 

I’m reflecting as our trip is coming to an end and Mrs Grump and I have had a great time in this beautiful city. I would recommend a visit. There is so much to do that if you’re not careful, you’ll need another holiday to rest from all the running about. 

Then the Barista puts some music on to create a pleasant atmosphere. Some electronic, techno type of music that belongs in a fight scene from a Blade movie. 

Now imagine the scene before me if you will. Whilst this pounding fight scene soundtrack thumps through the speakers in this carbon copy Costa, a miserable old lady dunks her biscuit into her tea and tragically suffers the consequence of an overly saturated biscuit. 

Poor woman. She’ll have biscuit gunk at the bottom of her tea now. At least the soundtrack to the biscuit’s demise was befitting. 

The Birmingham Christmas Market

Birmingham, England. Every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the city is invaded by Germans who bring with them the Frankfurt Christmas Market!

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Behold The Birmingham Christmas Market!

Year upon year it has grown in size. It draws thousands of Birmingham folk to enjoy the atmosphere and all the picturesque, German Christmassy stuff.

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I can take it or leave it; I’m not particularly overwhelmed by this event. To me, it’s a chance to see a load of homesick Germans selling beer, sausage and tat that a 34-year-old man has no interest in. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to look at. But it’s a bit like Kim Kardashian. Initially you’re attracted to what you’re looking at but when you start to invest anything more and look below the sparkling surface, there’s not much more that really interests you. Besides, there isn’t anything that you’d be happy to take home to show your Mum.

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Stuff that a Grumpy Young Bloke doesn’t buy.

But this year I ventured out to visit and enjoy the ambience of this spectacle. It could be different; perhaps I was deluded before and the market had before caught me on a particularly grumpy day. Allow me to talk you through my Wednesday evening at the German Christmas Market.

 
I was attending with two of my comedy writing peers, Matthew and David. We’re a small comedy-writing group of six, thrown together by a con artist. That’s another story, but it’s been great to meet like-minded lovers of comedy writing, to discuss comedy and share ideas, gain critique and expand our knowledge and network.

 
Only three of us could make it Wednesday evening. I was last to arrive and so to join my writing brothers; I went and ordered a beer. I paid with a tenner; I received a sturdy tankard glass containing a pint of strong lager, a plastic chip and not much change. This was because they were anticipating that I might want to keep the glass and if I returned it with the chip it would prove I was the rightful owner and I’d get some money back. It was a nice glass, but it was a bit presumptuous to think that I’d want to steal it. Birmingham clearly has a reputation. But it’s completely unwarranted in my opinion. We are a kind, loveable and friendly people.

 
“Someone got glassed up here on Monday night,” said Matthew when I returned with my beer. On a Monday? At a Christmas market? Who glasses someone at a bloody Christmas market? Although, as I looked at the sturdy glass tankard I was holding, I couldn’t help but think that despite it being an atrocious thing to do, it did show a certain amount of ingenuity.

 
The beer was smooth and strong for a lightweight so it was just the one pint for me. So I returned to the bar with my tankard and chip. The lady serving asked if I wanted another. “No thanks, I’m feeling a little drunk,” I said as the friendly affable Brit. Hey, I was doing my bit for European relations here. I smiled and so did she. Well, I say smile, it was more like a half smile. Actually, on reflection, I think if you broke a smile down into thousandths, I’d go as far as to say it was 3/1000’s of a smile. Or it might have been a tick.

 
Food! It was time to sample the delicacy that is the German sausage and no, that’s not a euphemism. I approached a Bratwurst stand and ordered a standard hotdog. The lady grabbed a small sliced roll. It was a little bit larger than a choking hazard. The woman then shoved the sausage in it with the same disdain as someone throwing an ex-lovers underpants into a bin bag. The sausage dwarfed this bread roll. She thrust this thing into my face and demanded £4 for it. It was then I realised that this wasn’t a hotdog. This was a German sausage with a bread handle. Oh well, I thought, It’ll probably be nothing short of a taste sensation. It was, after all, a German sausage, made by Germans and sold by Germans.

 
It wasn’t. I’d added ketchup and mustard but still I couldn’t evade the overwhelming saltiness of this sausage. Who would have thought that extortion tastes so salty? There’s a gag there about sex trafficking, but I won’t go there. The sausage contained the equivalent of a weekly dose of salt. Probably, to encourage the sale of more beer. I was starting to feel myself dehydrate. I was fast resembling a raisin. I had learnt my friends, that I hadn’t just purchased a hotdog, I’d purchased disappointment for a sweet £4!

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More salt! Definitely more salt needed.

I stood there contemplating whether I had gone to the German Market for a nice evening but inadvertently purchased angina.

 
I still ate the bloody thing. I was hungry and I’d spent good money for this shit. Damn it I’ll eat that disgusting salty German sausage! Again, that’s not a euphemism.

 
Matthew had also bought one and he wasn’t exactly overjoyed with his. David was waiting for our reactions before buying one. David’s not stupid!

 
We concentrated on the evening’s entertainment. A fat German bloke with a Karaoke machine. I’ll level with you, he wasn’t so much a singer, more of a butcher. It’s kind of imperative that the words have to be sung in time with the music. He should have stuck to some German songs or even some Hasselhoff tracks.

 
Between songs he’d try to get the crowd pumped by shouting, “Where is Birmingham?!” Only the drunk would reply with a “Yey!” I couldn’t help think firstly, who tries to enthuse a crowd by asking them directions? You don’t see Prince get on stage and say, “I need directions to Walthamstow!”

 

Secondly, doesn’t this bloke know where he is? “You’re here!” I shouted. “Look around at these underwhelmed, disappointed and dehydrated people. These are Brummies you’re punishing here!”

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Then it got worse. He passed the mic to a female colleague who proceeded to sing Amy Winehouse’s version of Valerie. It was bad. “It’d help if she could pronounce her V’s,” observed David. He wasn’t wrong. It’d help if she had a gag, I thought. “Sounds like a pet shop burning down,” I said. “I feel like I’m in hell right now,” said Matthew, polishing off the remains of his sausage handle. She followed up with that classic Christmas hit, The lion sleeps tonight, demonstrating impeccable timing. Well, like that of Network Rail after gypsies steal the power cables.
She passed the mic back to the bloke. “Where is Birmingham!” Good God, this bloke’s still bloody lost!

 

I was still hungry and we decided to wander to the other part of the market which was less German, on the other side of the demolition site where they are tearing down the brutalist block building that was the old library.

 

I looked for more food and there was plenty to choose from. There was also plenty of stalls selling tat that I have no interest in whatsoever.

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Pretty to look at but, no thanks.

It was just a case of damage limitation now. I’d been ripped off with the sausage; I was going to be ripped off some more. £6 for a burger, £5.50 for a hot dog with onions! I opted for a £4.50 falafel. The main draw being, that I was getting more value for money. Making a falafel wrap is so much more labour intensive isn’t it? It would thus leave me with less of a bitter taste in my mouth.

 
Matthew had opted for a bag of pork scratchings. Perhaps he hadn’t yet had enough salt. David played it safe and had French fries. Both of whom had finished their meals by the time I arrived with my falafel. Okay, some might have called it slow service, I called it getting more value for my money. It actually tasted okay. Just missed that certain meaty quality that I like. No! That’s not a euphemism either!

 
It was time to bring the evening to a close. As we entered the German Market zone, the fat bloke was still going strong and still lost. “Where is Birmingham?!” I found myself wishing I still had that glass.

 
Same time next year then?

 

Merry Christmas folks!

Are You With Me?

Grumpy Brothers and Sisters!!!

Here me now!

Alas the time has come to expand the word of Grumpiness!

While the sun is shining, the neighbours are listening to UB40 in their garden and trying got converse with their evil b*stard cat! I am weary of neighbours in the summer. When I first moved into Chateau Grump, during my first summer here, there was a knock on the door and it was one of my neighbours, Lee. “Hiya, just thought I’d let you know, we’re having a barbecue next door.”

I felt quite moved by this compassionate act of my neighbour. Knowing that I’m the new guy in town and living alone back then, they obviously had taken pity on my loneliness, my nights sitting in doors, in the dark, watching old episodes of Lovejoy. My neighbour, my newfound Brother of Dudley obviously thought that this would be a good opportunity to break bread with me as it were. To welcome me and to show that I’m not alone because everybody needs good neighbours and as the soap theme tune would have you believe, good neighbours can become good friends!

“Oh right,” I said, waiting for the formal invite which was about to come.

“So you might want to get your washing in.”

“Oh right,” I replied. My high expectations fizzling away with disappointment much like my GCSE results.

There was no invite. There was no breaking of bread. Just an oven pizza and more Lovejoy for me. Lovejoy was an 80’s TV show by the way. I know it sounds like some sort of solo love pump. It’s really not. It’s got Ian McShane in it with a mullet. Say no more!

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So whilst my feline conversing neighbours drink cheap lager, play UB40 and talk about bunions, (not that I’ve stood on the authorised of the fence listening in for ten minutes, only five minutes) I have mostly been slaving away, to try to get with the times and have a presence elsewhere on the web. But a good presence, not an unwelcoming presence like a nightly visit from Jimmy Saville.

So to those of you who enjoy reading my posts, by all means, share the love and join me on Facebook too! There will be more grumpiness than the regular posts here. Really step into my world, get involved, get grumpy and let off steam.

Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grumpy-Young-Bloke/1463976320566413

I’m also on Twitter: @Thegrumpy_bloke should you be one of those twittery types.

Thank you, good night and happy summer!

The Rock

The Fridge Is Not A Buffet

I’m not a pretentious foodie. I don’t know what quinoa or ocra is. I have no interest in going to a fine dining posh restaurant to receive a small plate with something resembling a contemporary piece of abstract art and where it wouldn’t be out of place in a gallery with people standing around it, staring with their arms folded, perhaps a hand raised to their chin, stroking a goatee, as they contemplate the artists pain and use words like, “Modernism,” “Juxtaposition” and “Synergy.”

Food is just a necessity to me, it serves a purpose; to fill my grumpy stomach. Of course, I like food to be tasty but nothing too fancy. That said, as I live in Dudley, to many of the locals, I would probably be classed as a fancy b*stard. Why? Well, I’ve discovered my love of houmous. I know there are many different ways of spelling houmous but that’s how it’s spelt on the packaging.

Houmous hummus

Yes, I love houmous. Houmous with slightly toasted pita bread at 11am in the morning, as a mid morning snack, a joy. Also a necessity as I am calorie loading now that I’m a regular gym attendee. Slowly but surely, working my way towards being a bald human specimen. I’m kind of like Dudley’s version of Dwayne The Rock Johnson without the height, Hollywood grin, bank balance, Polynesian heritage and muscle mass, but apart from that, we are pretty much identical.

So on Monday morning I wrote my name on my houmous and put it in the fridge in our office.

I was feeling hungry before 11 so I headed over to the fridge after toasting my pita bread and retrieved my houmous at about 10.45. When I reached my desk, I slipped off the outer cardboard sleeve and to my absolute horror found that some cretin had unwrapped my houmous, helped themselves to some and then put it back in the fridge!

I’m the only person with my name in the office so whoever did this, knew I was the owner. They wouldn’t do that to The Rock! Why do they think they can do it to his identical Dudley counterpart?

The Rock

This is the Rock, not I, the Grumpy one.

I was shocked and appalled. Who would do such a thing? This required some serious action. I wasn’t going to eat it now. I’m a germophobe / buffetphobe at the best of times. What if this stranger double dipped? That was it, it was ruined.

The managers were all in a meeting but I had to act fast. There was only one thing I could do. Yes. A strongly worded email.

A couple of years ago, before I started working for this company, there was a man who had some of his milk stolen. He sent a furious email to the branch threatening to put arsenic in his milk. He was taken to one side and given a harsh talking to. This was not the tact I was going to take. For one, I don’t have any arsenic and secondly, it would render my own food inedible for me and therefore it would be pointless.

I set to work writing the email and within ten minutes, a literary rage was emailed to all on my floor. It was titled, “The fridge is not a buffet.”

Within the email, I explained that I hadn’t received the previous email explaining that the fridge was a free-for-all. That it is not good that someone would go into the fridge, take something that had my name on it, unwrap it, take some and put it back. In future I would have to cough on my own food or dip a licked finger into it to ensure it is protected from the houmous thief.

I explained that I had lost faith in humanity. (Probably a bit melodramatic, but I was conveying my disappointment and building drama.)

I then set out a warning to the thief to strike fear into the deepest darkest depths of their cavernous, detached, inconsiderate soul. I said, “I will find you houmous thief and when I do, I will guide you to the nearest foodbank because you can’t help yourself to other peoples food out of the communal fridge!”

I then left a link to the local Birmingham central foodbank. It was an opportunity to spread the word of the good work the food bank does for people in the community who are struggling to feed themselves.

The response was like a ripple across the floor. Some actually did see the funny side but others shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Anyone would have thought I dropped the C-bomb in my email or had a shocking racist rant about something or even worse, included a picture of Kanye West. But I hadn’t.

Some even said I should withdraw that email before the managers return from their meeting because I was surely to get in trouble. But damn it, I was going to stand my ground. Someone was stealing food and I wasn’t going to let them get away with it. Firm unflinching action had to be taken.

After lunch, the managers had returned. I sit next to my manager and my electronic rage was never mentioned. This can only mean one of three things:

  1. He’s got bigger fish to fry and my email wasn’t offensive.
  2. He’s a sympathiser. A brother who believes in the Grumpy cause to fight the food thieving inconsiderate oppressor!
  3. He knows who did it and he’s keeping his head down.

Many of my colleagues were sympathetic towards this victim of crime. Well, apart from one colleague, who sent me this picture.

stolen hummus

Shocking isn’t it? They’ve spelt houmous wrong!

Do You Stick To Your Principles?

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Yes I usually do. But there’s a fine line between principles and stubbornness.

“Screw you capitalist swine!” I shouted, with my middle finger raised at the woman behind the till in Starbucks.

This was in my mind of course. It was probably a bit harsh to take it out on her. She just wants a job like the rest of us. Probably a nice person, with bills to pay, dreams and aspirations of escapism towards a fulfilling and meaningful existence. She might even be more of a tea drinker.

I had purchased my last Starbucks coffee. I had made the decision and that was that. My line in the sand was drawn damn it. The reason? Simply, I refuse to part with my money to a company that doesn’t pay tax back into the UK economy. Using this legal loophole is crafty, but fundamentally and morally wrong. We’re undergoing severe austerity cuts here in this country and our National Health Service, which we should be proud of, is struggling and falling into disrepute because of financial difficulties, even resorting to putting parts of the service out to tender to large corporations, which will run put profit ahead of quality care.

Anyway, I made the decision that Starbucks would no longer get my hard earned spondoolies.

I tweeted, ‘That’s it. My last @StarbucksUK coffee. Not fair to spend my money when they don’t pay tax. @TaxAvoidance_UK Power to the small independents.’ Yes, I copied in Tax Avoidance UK. I don’t mess about. My tweets automatically link to my Facebook too, so all my family, friends and 48 followers on Twitter were going to hear about this. I knew that this ripple would escalate through social media and send a shockwaves around the world.

I was right. Within a matter of days, I had gained 7 likes on the Facebook post. No response on Twitter. I always preferred Facebook anyway.

Must be a slow burner.

A few days later, I walked past a Starbucks and raised my fist saying, “Ooh pay your taxes you bloody tax evading bastards!” My friend looked at me and asked whether I was turning into Alan Partridge intentionally. It’s not a conscious decision.

I decided to Google companies which do not pay tax in the UK.

1. Starbucks – I will miss the Caramel Machiatto and shortbread cookie that I see as an odd treat. I shall also miss sitting in a certain Starbucks in Birmingham City centre. Oh well, I am a man of principle. I will not falter and change my mind now. Especially as I’ve told the world and the world has listened!

2. Amazon – I do a lot of online shopping and Amazon is my usual first port of call. My regular purchase consists of nasal strips to minimise my snoring and the resultant bruises from the good lady. Blue is usually my colour, but not when it’s skin tone. Oh well, at least there’s always eBay.

3. eBay – Bollocks!

4. Facebook – So much for social media campaigns then. My seven supporters will have to get on Twitter. I err, always preferred Twitter anyway…. honest.

5. Google – There’s an irony that I found out that Google don’t pay UK tax through a Google search. Oh well, I’ll have to find a new search engine. Is Ask Jeeves any good?

6. Apple – Well that’s me completely f****d! My Mac, my iPhone and iPad need to be binned. I can also forget about all my music on iTunes and on my iPod. I’ll have no means of surfing the web, using a different search engine, for other online retailers or alternative independent coffee shops!

I am a man of principle, stubborn, easily agitated and distracted by balloons. Much of that sentence is irrelevant. But if I stick to that principle and apply the whole boycotting of non-tax paying companies, it is going to prove very awkward and expensive for me.

So I’m sitting here, enjoying a shortbread cookie and a grande caramel macchiato, but not tweeting about it. I don’t need seven friends on Facebook, including my aunty Doris to boo and hiss at me with placards calling me a Judas!

Happy New Year to you all!

You Know What Cheese Is Don’t You?

cheese mouse

Every day, we have a man turn up at work to sell sandwiches. Let’s call him Adrian. He also sells toasties, baguettes, crisps, sweets and cans of pop. He’s reasonably priced and the sandwiches are, well, okay I guess. If you choose a sandwich with mayo on, you’d be better off if you really loved the stuff because there seems to be no definitive distinction between a normal serving of mayo and a serving that results in a soggy baguette and who loves a soggy baguette? That’s right, twisted people!

Anyway, I was in the queue because that’s the polite, orderly, British and correct way. There was one guy in front of me. He is looking at the sandwiches. I’m sure you’ve seen sandwiches sold like this in plastic containers, sliced into triangles and placed in a fashion so you can clearly see the filling.

The guy in front of me pointed to the cheese and salad sandwich and asked, “Is that chicken?” There was a pause from Adrian and a look as if to say, “Are you taking the piss?” Then politely he answered, “No, thats cheese and salad.”

There is a moment while the guy considers what to have. He then points to another sandwich. A chicken mayo sandwich. I could tell this because the filling was chicken and mayo. “Is this chicken?” he asked again. “Yes, that one’s chicken,” replied Adrian. After another momentary pause, the chap opts for the chicken and mayo sandwich, pays and goes.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that there were distinct differences between chicken and cheese. One being that chicken looks like, well, chicken and cheese looks like, err, cheese. Of course the big give away between the two is that cheese tends to be sliced and yellow in colour where as chicken, as in the soggy sandwich he was about to enjoy, is a white meat.

I arrived for my choice, I picked up the cheese salad sandwich and looked Adrian straight in the eye. “This yellow sliced stuff here, is this cheese?” Adrian knew I was having a laugh and instead of punching me, assured me that it was indeed cheese. “What’s this salad type stuff that’s with it?” I asked. “That is salad,” replied Adrian. I then picked up a Mars and followed up with, “Is this chocolate?” “Yes, that is a Mars bar,” replied Adrian.

I paid for the items, thanked him and went on my way.

Hey just because that chap couldn’t distinguish between cheese and chicken, doesn’t mean I should draw any kind of presumption about his ability to give sound advice to customers in relation to their insurance claims.

Do You Realise The Power Of Metal?

Metal christmas

Get out of my way! My brow is furrowed and I look angry. My stride is one of power and determination, much like one of the female candidates on The Apprentice. Yeah, I’m a strong, independent woman!

 

I may as well have a large neon sign over my head that says, “Don’t mess with me!” and if I could hear my footsteps, no doubt they would be pounding into the floor with large earth shattering thumps.

 

If I could roar, I probably would but as I’m just getting over a chest infection, it’s probably best that I don’t. (I’m feeling a lot better now. Thank you for wondering and your concerned thoughts that you no doubt had immediately after reading that sentence.)

 

That’s the power of music you see. From my ears there are two white wires leading into the inside pocket of my winter coat. The earphones emitting music, which I haven’t listened to in years. Not just any music. Metal!!

 

I don’t know why it affects me so. But alas, when the Metal is playing I become empowered. When doing the house work, if I have Metal playing directly into my head, then you’d better not stand in my way because I will vacuum straight through you!

 

The only other music to have such an effect is the Rocky IV soundtrack. I made the mistake of going out for a “short” run once whilst having that playing on my IPod. I don’t know what happened because I must have blanked out. I woke up in Aberystwyth, with a flat IPod battery and my trainers smouldering. When I asked a local what had happened, apparently I’d been shouting, “Drago,” a lot before collapsing. It made Forrest Gump look like a work of fiction.

 

Now, as I listened to the distorted guitars, pounding drums and aggressive wailing of the lead singer, who by the way had clearly suffered in their lifetime by the sounds of the screams, although I couldn’t exactly distinguish the lyrics but anyway, I was an unstoppable force. I was walking like a badass and if anyone were to get in my way, like a very large muscular thug, like a gang of racists, like a stampede of Dudley folk on giro day, God help them for they will meet an immovable object; me. Why? Because I’m listening to Metal!

 

“Sorry officer for all of the casualties left in my wake, but I had somewhere to go and I was listening to Metal!”

 

“What’s that? One of the unconscious is Britain’s most violent and highly dangerous escaped convict? Oh right. Didn’t even break into a sweat.”

 

“What? You want to nominate me for a special reward for heroism? Hey, it wasn’t me, it was Metal!”

 

“What was that Lord Mayor? You want to give me the key to Dudley? No, you’re okay thanks.”

 

So what if I was wearing a flat cap? So what if I had glasses on? So what if I was wearing sensible shoes and business trousers and a scarf because of my recent chest infection whilst shrouded in a sensible, thick, three quarter length, winter coat? Image is nothing, mind-set is everything and I was listening to Metal.

 

I was thinking, it could kick off right now and I would be the lone survivor!

 

Get out of my way woman with French stick! Don’t push that trolley into my path old man, you could end up wearing it! Easy there, old lady giving me evils, you could end up in the sprouts!

 

Because I am a man, listening to Metal, in Tesco, with a basket, in search for decent Christmas cards, perhaps some that are labelled as luxury.

 

What exactly is “luxury” about Christmas cards anyway? When I think of luxury, I imagine waking up in a swanky hotel room, overlooking a deserted golden beach, blue skies and calm blue seas. Or I imagine having a Jacuzzi or a bubble bath with a ridiculous amount of bubbles, maybe even scented candles but only for the missus of course!! When I think of luxury, I don’t think of a bloody Christmas card with glitter on it, which you’re begrudgingly filling in the same thing you say every year out of obligation because if you don’t give some people a card, they’ll take offence! Bah!

Anyway, thanks to the Metal I was in and out in about five minutes and when I got home I showed Mrs Grump the fruits of my labour.

 

She wasn’t impressed. She’s said that next year, I should give her the money and she’ll buy them for me. I think they’re alright.

 

Metal, good for aggressive cleaning or for taking on the might of Tesco. Not great for picking a Christmas card that gets the approval of the good lady.

Ice Bucket Challenge To Humour Fail

I did an ice bucket challenge. I got wet and cold. I donated to a different charity that I wanted to support, The Stroke Association, in memory of my late Grandmother.

 

So yes, I jumped on this bandwagon and I rode it all the way to 26 likes on Facebook and two out of the three nominations I made also did the challenge. I don’t know why Malcolm didn’t do it. I guess he likes to go against the grain. He always was a trailblazing renegade. Bound to be with a name like Malcolm.

 

Yes people moan and say that there are people without water in the world and we should be ashamed of wasting it. But then again, I guess these people who say that never wash their car because of the amount of water wastage, never have a bath and never send a card for an occasion because it’s a waste of paper. They sit, miserable in their homes which they only heat and light with one candle!

 

At the end of the day, this activity has spread across the world, gotten people involved, spread laughter and raised a lot of money for charity as well as an awareness of motor neurone disease. I think people need to lighten up a bit. I can appreciate that there are people without water in the world and that is a terrible thing. I just think people can jump on the moral high ground without looking at themselves. There are people starving in the world but it doesn’t stop people going to a Sunday carvery and helping themselves to way too much food, trying to carry a mountain of meat and veg, piled high, drenched in gravy, trying not to drop a precariously placed Yorkshire pudding!

 

What I’m trying to say is, unless you are completely perfect, shut the f*ck up! Some people are going to get extra help, resources and support because of this thing.

 

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

 

So we had a buffet at work, on our team. We all chipped in and brought in various things. I opted for cocktail sausages, sausage rolls and pork pies. A pork theme. Others splashed out and bought cakes, chocolate and other sweety badness. I helped to clear some of it away to prevent others from eating that sh*t. Doing my bit for my colleagues’ well being. Although, after seven chocolate rolls, four cupcakes, a slice of home made cheesecake and one Pringle, I was feeling a bit nauseous. I blame the Pringle. It was time to take a break from the buffet and actually try sitting at my desk and doing some work for a while.

 

After fifteen minutes of adrenaline pumping insurance based stuff, listening to someone tell me about the stain on their ceiling and how it was ruining their life and how they were a single mother with eighteen children and a goat, I returned to the buffet and dived straight into the barbeque cocktail sausages.

 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good joke. Sometimes, I even try to think of them and sometimes the comedy genius oozes out of me without control. However, it is important to pick your audience. To know your audience.

 

I picked up a small cocktail sausage, held it between my thumb and forefinger and whilst staring at it, it just came out. I don’t know where from. I couldn’t help it.

 

I sighed and followed it with, “This reminds me of when I did the ice bucket challenge.”

 

Okay it’s a cheap penis based joke highlighting the effect of the cold on the nether regions. Scientific Fact! But still a penis joke, which in itself is a little juvenile but come on, there was a bit more thought in it. It was a step above putting the little sausage downstairs whilst pulling a face and running around the office shouting, “Look, I’ve got my cock out and it’s barbeque flavoured!” I like to think I’m a bit more refined than that.

 

So there it was, it was out there. The response? Well, raucous laughter in the whole office which spread from department to department, from floor to floor and down the phone lines to our other offices in the country and then globally and before you knew it, I was hoisted up onto the shoulders of my colleagues and paraded around like a champion for saying this incredibly hilarious joke. The CEO wanted to personally congratulate me on raising the morale of the entire organisation which increased productivity, profit and quality service to our customers.

 

Again I joke. Nothing. Nothing happened. It wasn’t really heard. Not properly anyway and also I noticed I was surrounded by women. They probably wouldn’t have appreciated the joke.

 

And then a voice speaks up. A young female voice. “What did you say?”

 

I turn to face her with the cocktail sausage still between my thumb and finger, mere seconds away from being devoured. The sausage, not me. ‘Don’t say anything,’ my inner voice was telling me. Thank the sweet lord for intuition, which can guide us out of harms way and potential humiliation.

 

“I said, it reminds me of when I did the ice bucket challenge.”

 

I don’t always listen to that inner voice. Should really.

 

I stood there frozen in what seemed like several seconds but was probably only about…several seconds while she tried to dissect and understand the poor attempt at humour this strange bald man had made.

 

And then it happened. Almost in slow motion, the penny had finally dropped. She understood and her facial expression changed from one of blank gormless wonder, her eyes starting to squint, laughter lines appearing, this was it, I had gotten a laugh as her teeth started to show. But wait, what’s going on? It’s contorting too far, why is her nose all scrunching up like that? Why is her mouth downturned and why the furrowed monobrow?

 

“Uuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrggggghhhh,” she loudly exclaimed whilst looking at me like I had just posted some dog poo through the letterbox of a foster home.

 

So know your audience people. If I’d have cracked that kind of gag in the pub with my mates, I’d have been hailed a bloody comedy genius….kind of….for a couple of seconds. Actually, no, they’d have probably belittled me in some way with some kind of small appendage slur. So uncouth.

 

I am never saying that joke to anyone ever again!

 

 

 

Proof That Karma Is Real!

Fear not my legions of Grumpy followers (33) for although I have been silent for a couple of weeks or so, I have not deserted you. I know you may have been losing sleep at night worrying about it. Rest easy now for I have returned.

 

The subject of this post is somewhat of an esoteric one. You see, I have witnessed Karma. Karma is indeed real. I can vouch for that.

 

Karma is the energy of equilibrium. The idea that you get what you give. Give good Karma and receive good Karma in return. Give bad Karma… you get the point.

 

So I grabbed my morning coffee, the caffeine kick I have come to rely on in the mornings and headed for the train. Having boarded the train I strolled down the aisle looking for a seat. Now I usually like to be the social assassin at times because some people deserve it. I’m talking specifically about people who feel they have a right to occupy two seats at once using one seat for their bag, rucksack, handbag, whatever. I usually aim for them and take the seat forcing them to move the bag.

 

I wasn’t in the mood for this kind of thing so instead I opted for a vacant aisle seat next to a small man reading a newspaper. On Virgin Train carriages there are tables every now and then. One of these tables was just across from me and I could see a woman sat near the window with paperwork strewn over the table in front of her. Her handbag sat on the seat next to her. Perhaps she was doing some work. Perhaps she was studying and doing some homework last minute like I used to on the school bus.

 

Down the carriage came a young chap. He had bedraggled hair and a bit of a beard. He was carrying a small brown paper bag. He was either an alcoholic or had been to the shop on the train. It was too early to tell which.

 

He approached the seat next to the lady doing her homework and asked if he could have the seat where her bag was. I had my earphones in listening to a TED talk, but even so, I could hear her dramatic sigh and looked to see her rolling her eyes and shitty attitude whilst grabbing the handbag and placing it under her legs. Her face looked like a bulldog licking piss off a stinging nettle.

 

Did she buy two tickets that morning? One for her and one for her bag? Probably not and yet people seem to catch the train and think they have every right to take two seats. They then pull faces and get the arse ache when they’re asked to move their bag.

 

It’s like when people sit in seats that are reserved and despite clearly saying reserved, the dickhead will still chance it and sit there rather than look for a seat that is available. Because we’re British, we do have a tendency to be too nice and I regularly witness the awkwardness of the person who has found their seat with some miserable, inbred, inconsiderate, Troglodyte and their fat arse warming the seat, only to have to say, “Excuse me, I believe that’s my seat?” with the tonality of their speech going upward as if to be asking a question and whilst showing the ticket to the Troglodyte to prove it. This is then followed by a big sigh and attitude from the Troglodyte whilst they have to stand up, all eyes glaring at them as everyone knows they’ve been caught out. They then have the walk of shame. The person with the reserved seat is way too nice if you ask me. But that’s the British way I guess.

 

This would be a perfect time to be completely rude to the person sat in your seat. They deserve it for the bare faced cheek of it in my opinion. “Oi! Troglodyte, you’re in my seat, F*ck off! Can’t you read it says reserved?! Move you’re shallow gene pooled arse somewhere else you inconsiderate, rancid scum bucket!” Despite the politeness of the one who belongs in the seat, that’s probably what they are thinking. But you have to be careful not to arouse the Troglodyte into a physical confrontation, that thick, dense skull is designed to be take hits to the head to protect the minute brain inside.

 

You may be getting the vibe from me that I detest these people. I do. I don’t even have a reserved seat!

 

So back to the woman at the table. She has her little, completely unnecessary strop aiming her negativity towards this young chap who just wanted to sit down. She starts to get on with her homework and the chap sits down next to her.

 

This is when I witnessed Karma and as it went on and on I felt more and more warm inside.

 

The woman suddenly stopped writing, sat up and turned her head towards the window. Her hand raised and she placed her first finger under her nose. Why on earth was she pretending to have a moustache because she probably already had one, I thought. But of course, as I looked at the chap sat next to her, at his blank, vacant expression on his hairy face and I noticed that he appeared to be trying to create dreadlocks, I realised that although he didn’t really look that dirty, he must have been giving off a little bit of a whiff.

 

The act of placing a finger lightly under the nose is supposed to be a way of trying to deal with the smell with some decorum but it’s actually really obvious. You may as well shove a sock up each notstril.

 

It’s a credit to her amazing resilience and grit that she managed to focus her mind at the task at hand. Perhaps she was able to use some of her brain power to shut out the smell or perhaps she opted to breath through her mouth but she carried on with her homework.

 

It’s not easy to concentrate on a train. There are a number of sources of sounds and potential irritations around you along with the swaying of the carriage from time to time. I watched with glee as the woman suddenly stopped again, unable to concentrate as our Greenpeace, tree climbing, swampy activist friend reached into his crisp paper bag, the cracking sound of the paper creasing louder than you’d expect, and pulls out a Bounty chocolate bar.

 

If ever there was the need for a taste of paradise, this was it. Bounty’s come in two individual halves. Swampy threw one half in whole and proceeded to chomp away with his mouth open. The chocolate and coconut taste of paradise slopping around in his mouth resembling underpants in a tumble dryer. The slapping and squelching sound as his mouth opened and closed was like something you’d expect from a Bull Mastiff. Shortly afterwards the second half went in and again the chomping, slopping and spectacle began again.

 

The woman looked uncomfortable. I was enjoying this.

 

With some small flakes of coconut caught in his beard, he reached into his paper bag again. Again the sound of crinkling, crisp paper bag cutting through the background sounds of the train and even the TED talk I was listening to. Slowly his hand emerges from the bag with …… a Snickers. This really was the breakfast of champions. Chomping away with half asleep eyes, mouth open, nuts, chocolate and caramel sloshing around in his mouth completely oblivious to the woman sat next to him, looking on with a slight panic on her face about how long she would have to endure this.

 

It was obvious that she now felt dirty and wanted a good scrub down with bleach and a wire brush. She caught me grinning but I tried to pretend it was something I was listening to that was making me laugh.

 

The feast continued as he threw his second wrapper onto the table next to her homework and reached into the crinkling paper bag for a third time. This time, he pulled out some sort of nut bar and again the carnage commenced. This time, some nuts did manage to escape his mouth and they took shelter in his beard alongside the coconut flakes from earlier.

 

Casting the wrapper away he reached in for a fourth time and pulled out….. a packet of biscuits. The woman looked on in dismay. She was trapped. It was brilliant. A finger under her nose like a moustache, her eyes glancing from his hair to his open mouth, to the wrappers on the table, back to the open mouth as he forced a whole biscuit most of the way in and proceeded to chew with crumbs tumbling and cascading, down his hairy chin and into his lap.

 

This my Grumpyans, was Karma at it’s best.

 

I had to get off the train whilst his onslaught of the biscuits continued but I fell prey to Karma too. Probably for getting so much pleasure from that woman’s anguish. Later that morning, I discovered that some Starbucks coffee had dripped down the front of my shirt leaving several small stains. Later that day, whilst eating my sandwich, some beetroot escaped and landed on the left side of my shirt. I looked like I was wearing the shirt used as a “Before” example in a washing powder advert. I felt like a tramp.

 

Karma people, Karma!