Saturday, 12 December 2015

The second, annual, fast becoming traditional, J2H Christmas special.

As with last years offering, it's not for the little ones.
Plenty of sweary fucking words and some Nazis.
Merry Christmas my arse, I pray God it's my last.
#BUMHUG.









Saturday, 5 December 2015

Once upon a time there was a tavern.

I thought I'd be good at being a grown up, once upon a time.

Like all fairy tales, turns out it was pure fantasy. I didn't do bad, for a while. I bought a house while many of my friends were still on their YTS courses, I had a lovely motorbike and a sexy car and I went to work in a suit. But I was never really happy.

I suppose it was just nerves, maybe I was amazed at my good luck and couldn't quite believe it. I think I was always scared I would lose it all, that I wasn't really worthy and sooner or later someone would surely notice, bringing the whole charade crashing down. Slowly, I dismantled the fledgling life I'd built and spent as much time having as much fun as I could.

And it was the late eighties and the early nineties, there was a lot of fun I could have.


Then came children, punctuated by a marriage, and a vain attempt to act as if I were worthy of this honour. I attempted to pretend to be something I wasn't and wound up failing, becoming a man I neither was nor wanted to be. I enjoyed it, being a family man. I was lucky enough to have two sons, what man doesn't enjoy bringing up two sons?

It's fucking brilliant, I heartily recommend it.


My marriage didn't really collapse, it fizzled out slowly. I was immature and wasn't suited to it and, inevitably, I took on the role of absent parent.

MacDonald's on a Saturday, football on a Sunday, museums, cinemas and DVDs. I was better at being the absent parent, something to be thoroughly ashamed of, but eventually I failed at that too.

At some point during my transition from shit family man to bitter old bastard I began living a life that was something like a mixture of Withnail and I and Train Spotting. During this time I had a brief relationship which ended after, I think, I'd gotten myself pissed and disappeared off the face of the earth for a day or two. It didn't matter, I'd given up on relationships and so it was easy to move on. Then I heard she was pregnant. Although I knew it was almost certainly my child, I'd discovered I'd not been the only man she'd slept with during what, if I stretched the maths enough, was the critical period. I got pissed again, for a very long time, and lied to myself.

Of course, chickens always wander back home come roosting time. Although I've never met my daughter, she did contact me a few years back. She is both beautiful and bright, the image of my own mother when she was the same age.


Unfortunately, I wasn't any good at being that kind of parent either (No matter what those American sit-coms tell you, it's not all loft apartments and baseball mitts) and so, aged forty six, I have three children and two grandchildren that I never see, along with a mother and sibling whose life I am also absent from.

The separation came slowly, so slowly I didn't really notice it. During the time I was losing contact with everyone I had a few problems, some quite challenging, and have spent much of the last three or four years struggling with one thing or another. That which should have caused me heartache sat on the back burner and eventually became just how things are.

Last week, contact was made. It was quite a shocker. A comment on a blog post, one of the many entries that mention my children fondly, from a member of my family. I snorted derision and deleted the comment. But I couldn't stop thinking about it.







I wondered why my initial reaction had been such that I had immediately gone on the defensive without having felt a pang of guilt or moment of sorrow. Surely I should? I'm an emotional guy, after all. I cried at a Danny DeVito movie the other day, for goodness sake. So I gave the situation a good coat of thinking about. Maybe the person that left the enquiry will check back and see this, maybe they stumbled across the blog they commented on accidentally and wont ever see another post, but here's what I came up with, just in case.

Please bear in mind, you're only getting my side and for all you know I could be a right lying bastard, but I'm not. You can ask Robert DeNiro, he'll tell you I'm as honest as the day is long.


The longer the daylight, the less I do wrong. [Thank you, Suggs]

Don't ask Dustin Hoffman, he tells lies. He's still angry at me for getting sand in his Vaseline when we went to Formby.

So, back to my side...

As the fractures developed and my family became more and more distant, they began in-fighting and one or two tried to drag me into situations I had no connection with or interest in. When I wouldn't agree with whatever point they were making some spitefully told me what other family members thought or had said. 

I'm glad they did.


I discovered I'd been accused of something really quite horrid and, rather than anyone tell me, it had been decided that if I were to be given a particular decision to make I would have decided upon the course of action they decided I would decide on. Maybe they were right and maybe they were wrong, but I wasn't very well and, by then, I just couldn't be arsed correcting them. As anyone who actually knows me will tell you, I am a stubborn bastard and, though I'm not proud of it, I unconsciously said "fuck 'em" and got on with things. Not over night, there was a period of mourning, a feeling of loss, a couple of years of crossed fingers on father's day and a few tears over messages received but I'd become poor and hungry, those sensations muffled all else. Anger and self righteousness, I discovered, feels very much like hunger.

I shouldn't have deleted the comment, things like that shouldn't go unaddressed. I should have replied, but I didn't.


So, here is the next best thing, an apology for deleting in haste and a blog dedicated to answering, that wont get shared by me and may quite possibly go unread by the questioner. It's the best I can do.

I have no excuses. I could have tried harder, not focused on the things I focused on, but
I didn't. That was a mistake and I apologise. I can do no more.

Pertinent to the continued separation, I have my own questions, although mine are rhetorical.

  • When I had my heart attack, where were any of you?
  • In the middle of the night, when I wished I still lived in a high rise flat so I could throw myself out of the window and escape the pain I was in from the nerve damage in my knee, when my screams caused the neighbours to complain, where were you?
  • When I sat alone in the waiting room at Salford Royal before the doctor could tell me how much damage my lungs had suffered, where were you?
  • When I had to wrap my foot in plastic bags, socks and rags and hold it in place with gaffer tape because my only pair of shoes had one sole between them, where were you?
  • When I wore the one soled pair of shoes to walk thirteen miles in the rain to collect a food parcel after not eating for four days and only eating sporadically for several months prior, where were you?
  • When an elderly lady in a Salvation Army uniform held me while I sobbed after she turned up unexpectedly at my door and gave me the ingredients for Christmas Lunch, where were you?
  • When I was scared, where were you?

I'd watched you all, for a while, keeping an eye on things. It's not difficult, in these wondrous times, to do so. It might be a bit creepy, granted, but I had the best intentions. Everyone of you, thankfully, were having a great time and doing more than fine without my ham-fisted, half-arsed help. Eventually, I stopped checking. I was busy. I'm sorry. In my defence, I'm of little practical usefulness these days anyway.

When I mention my family fondly, write about good times or bad, there is no pretence. Those memories are from a time when my love wasn't in doubt by anyone. It was real, and continues to be. I have little else, I won't be allowing anyone to refuse me access to those happy snippets of my uneventful existence that preceded this portion.

The years of "fun" in the late eighties and early nineties must surely have shortened the functioning lifespan of my long term memories, they'll be gone soon enough and then I'll just blog about which soup I had for lunch or how my home-help steals my tea bags. 


And I'll have some nice memories to revisit if I scroll back on my blog far enough. 

If my prostitution of the past offends anyone, then maybe anyone'd be better served not reading my nonsense? 

They should probably steer clear of YouTube too.

Some love is unconditional, the spring doesn't run dry. When no one takes a sip from the stream the spring water eventually joins the river and is lost, but it's still there, somewhere. Lost, but not wasted. Nothing we enjoy giving is ever wasted. 


I sincerely hope that all of you reading and all those I mention in these blatherings flourish and live long, happy, fulfilling lives. Take care.

N.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Black cocks and tatty tits.

My high school was massive.

At some point in the early 80s the head of our sports department was becoming increasingly sick of his wards standing on the touchline with their hands down their shorts complaining it was too cold, with hacking smoker's coughs punctuating their expletive peppered entreaties.

And the boys he had to endure were no better.


He came up with one of those rare things, a solution to a problem that was welcomed by all. He called his master-plan the "elective initiative".

It sounded cool and was even cooler.

Electives were what we could choose to do instead of learning to dodge around dog shit at high speed on an inclined football pitch, the result of our school having been built on a hill. The teachers came up with a short-list of activities and, to everyone's surprise, there were some pretty good options on there.

Through my last two years of school I spent a couple of afternoons a week doing and learning things I wanted to do and things I was interested in learning about. Sailing and canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. I became a fencer (of the fully buckled swash variety), a toxophilite and much more besides.

And I learnt what a toxophilite was.


One day we arrived half an hour late back to school after a hard afternoon capsizing Toppers on Rivington Pike, a brief but powerful downfall of snow having brought the motorway to a near standstill. My school bag had gone missing whilst I was out on the water pretending to be a pirate and I'd been provided with a Kwik-Save carrier bag to cram my wet clothes into for my journey home. The bag had a little rip in it. It was a shit bag.

As I crossed the main road from our school gates I spotted a gang of lads from the neighbouring school sat on the wall of the park. Our schools were forever fighting each other and I jokingly said to the only other of my schoolmates that had left by the same gate as I, "Look, we're going to get battered now".

I really didn't think we would. I'd done nothing to these chaps, had never clapped eyes on a single one of them in my life before, why would we?

As I crossed the road and stepped onto the pavement the little rip in the shit bag became larger, reaching it's event horizon and tearing itself in two, depositing my wet clothes in the crisp, white snow. I stopped to pick my things up as my schoolmate walked on.

I saw two of the boys from the other school jump down from the park wall and jump him from behind, dragging him to the floor and beginning to administer a damn good kicking. Two on one, that wasn't fair. Like a complete knob head I ran, arms flailing and notions of a heroic and righteous battle ahead filling my head, to even the odds.

I completely disregarded the other eleven members of the neighbouring school's assembled war party who hadn't joined the fracas. Yet.

I remember a hand on my shoulder, then I was on the floor and could see my schoolmate fleeing down the hill. Doc Martin boots rained down on my face, chest and stomach. Toe caps mashed my testicles into my pelvis. I curled into a ball and tried to roll away.

As I rolled onto my right side a blue Ford Cortina mounted the pavement. It skidded in the snow, snow that was now scarlet with my blood, and the tyre came to a halt within a few inches of my shattered nose and cheekbones. I rolled away from the car, driven on purpose into the crowd of feral school kids by a man who made the decision that yes, he might kill me but if he didn't I was surely to die. He later told the police the attackers were taking it in turns to run up and jump, stamping on my head with two feet. As I rolled back onto my left the last of the attackers decided to give me one for the road. He aimed a foot at my face and swung.

I have no idea how but I caught his foot and held it, managing to struggle to my feet. His face changed from a contorted grimace of hatred to a picture of pure terror, he looked so young as I head-butted him. I was red with my own blood, my shattered face already swelling and the wounds wide and raw. I roared and he began to sob and plead through the mixture of our blood that surrounded his mouth and nose, mine dark and lumpy and his bright and frothy. I don't think I cared.

That's the last thing I remember before waking up in the back of my sports teacher's sports car and apologising for the blood on his seats, then I was in hospital.

I gained quite a reputation, returning to school within a few days with battle scars that brought forth promises of retribution from boys who, until this point, hadn't even liked me and made the girls either cry or swoon. I'd have made full use of the latter effect were it not that my genitals were now black and, although three times their more usual size, really rather tender.

And just because that's the way life pans out for me, the swelling went far earlier than the pain. The whole kit and caboodle was both pretty much non-functional and aesthetically un-pleasing until well into the new year.

I had a new party trick, though. My nose was now sideways across my face and would remain so for a year before I could get it fixed. If I closed my right (Or, to be pedantic, "bottom") nostril and sucked hard through my left (Top?) nostril I could make a noise similar to that which the comms system on the Star Ship Enterprise made when a call came through.

No one was charged. The police said they couldn't put any one injury down to any one assailant. That made my parents angry, but I wasn't bothered. Many of those lads had already been on the receiving end of violence done in my name but without my prior knowledge. This, of course, led to more gangs waiting for our pupils in the park, more running battles across the pitch and putt, more fights, more stitches, more shattered jaws. Blood spattered jumpers in the noble grey of our school or the shitty blue of theirs littered the hedgerows.

My mashed face wasn't the catalyst for this spate of violence, our two schools had been involved in fights for decades, I was just the first victim of this most recent escalation. My injuries were still raw, my nose still whistled and the left side of my jaw would occasionally drop out if I tried to say a word that began with a "P". I was immature, I'd been hurt and my nice persona was still decades from perfection. I rejoiced in the stories of another settled score and I joined in wholeheartedly whenever a fight broke out at the bus stop that both sets of pupils had to use. No one, not even me, cared whether members of the original hunting party were the ones on the receiving end. More innocents were hurt on both sides, more victims became aggressors, more comrades joined both sides and more anger resulted.

Many years later I discovered I was working alongside one of the chaps from the original hunting party during a chance conversation in a building site crew cabin in Birmingham. Up until that point the chap in question and I had got along swimmingly, both he and I being from the same home town and being of a similar age. We'd spent nights in the pub together, covered for one and other at work and mocked the accents of those around us. He mocked my big nose and I mocked his lisp. A lisp that he hadn't had for the first fifteen years of his life but, it turned out, that had arrived after he'd bitten off a portion of his tongue when head-butted, by a boy with a bloodied pulp where a face had recently been, on a snowy street corner in Salford two decades earlier. He didn't laugh when he told us the story. The passage of years hadn't changed his tale into a clever, funny tale. He described himself as a coward, said he'd joined in right at the end and had deserved what he got. The whole story bookended by two very different shitbags.

Maybe he'd recognised me, maybe he was confessing. Whether he was or not, the remorse was certainly there. His leathery face did a fine job of remaining neutral, but was betrayed by his watery eyes.

I didn't tell him. I no longer cared. I'd bought a car with the compensation, had my nose fixed (fixed as in straightened, to this day it no longer works, but I can now breath through my left ear. An anomaly that has made me even more popular with the ladies than the big, black cock of '85) and had briefly had my pick of the girls at school.

He'd got a lisp leading to a new nickname, "Lizard".

He'd been that kid that tried to get one last kick in. Unlucky number thirteen. The child that might have killed me, that may have dealt me the camel's back breaking straw of a blow and ended my time on this earth but instead led to years of hatred and an escalation in violence until no pupil from either school was safe. Vendettas were formed that lasted long into adulthood. This, of course, would still have been the case had he killed me and not bitten off his own tongue. It had been a lose, lose situation from it's very inception.

I didn't socialise with him after I'd found out who he was and he never asked why. We just settled into civility.


And let's not forget, I got a bright yellow, MKIII Escort out of it. Every cloud, and all that.

It had only hurt for a minute, but something like that can't be over in a minute. We don't let things like that be an end. Those things require a response. Someone hurts us, we hurt them, creating justice at the same time we create a new, injured party, who then seeks justice of his own.

If we decided something had to be done about world hunger but we couldn't figure out how and some bright spark said "lets make more people hungry and see if that helps" they'd be laughed out of the room. If we listened to them, we'd be adding to the problem. We're not so stupid.

It would seem, though, that violence is the one problem we treat with like. Tit for tat and an eye for an eye would leave the whole world full of tatty tits, though fortunately we'd not be able to look at them.

Fighting fire with fire, it must be remembered, at least briefly creates a much greater fire. That's why firemen use hoses and not flame-throwers and why today, given our nation's decision regarding military action in a land thousands of miles away, we're all just a smidgeon less safe.


J2H.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Geronimo's rifle, Marilyn's shampoo.

An incredibly sexy storm has raged around my house for the last few days. Blustery wind whistling through the letterbox, gusts rattling the door knocker, rumbling clouds and rain of biblical proportions. It's really very atmospheric.

This morning, I watched the rain trickle down my window pane as I smoked my pipe. It filled me with a sense of nostalgia, transporting me back to a half remembered time decades ago, the seven year old me taken on an uninspiring journey to an uninspiring place.

Blackpool.


The nostalgia inducing raindrops running down the misty window and the cloud of tobacco smoke surrounding me combined to take me back to that year's trip to "see the lights", an annual event that I had to endure for a good portion of my childhood.

My dad knew I hated it and I knew he did, but when I'd begged not to be made to go he'd pointed out that my mother and sister enjoyed it and so it'd be unfair not to. I wasn't convinced. He asked me why I didn't want to go, I said I didn't know. And I really didn't. I just knew I didn't want to go. Apparently, though, "I don't know" isn't a good enough reason. So I had to go.

"Can we have some rock this year?"

"'Course we can, sonshine. Now put some bloody trousers on."

Sat in the back of my fathers Renault 12TL, I spent the next hour and a half feeling nauseated as my parents chain-smoked their way through the traffic jam to then spend a further hour sat in a queue looking at some poxy lights. To my sister and I, seated in the back, the radio was nothing but a tinny hiss of white noise that made conversation impossible. Then, at some point, my mother glanced over her shoulder and caught me yawning.

Just like my father and myself, my mother hated the trip. By the time we reached the golden mile my parents cigarette packets were exhausted, offering my asthmatic lungs brief respite. The sudden nicotine withdrawal meant mum's temper was near it's limits and, having mistaken the tiredness of a small boy's yawn for boredom or disdain (in fact, it was both), she exploded in rage, loudly proclaiming that she didn't know why she'd bothered bringing us (a sentiment shared by a her husband and at least one of her offspring) and demanded my father turn the car around and cut short the evening.

"And don't think we're stopping for any rock, either."


Unfortunately, her rage hadn't broken the surface until we were already stuck in the procession of cars crawling along the windy prom with their passengers oohing and aahing and eating candy floss, and so we had to endure forty minutes or so of silence interspersed with occasional, loud reassertions of her earlier point before we could take a right and head back home. I placed my forehead against the glass, settled into the corner and watched the rain drops trickle as my sister nervously clawed at the flesh on my left forearm, drawing blood and leaving tracks (Tracks that should probably have raised a few spurious suspicions regarding my well-being, but didn't) and steadfastly refused to join in with the game of I-spy that my dad later suggested just when she was dozing off and slackening her grip.

The raindrops were catching the orange light cast by the ordinary, non-garish street lamps that lit our route home and pissed about with it, creating amber lenses through which brief images of a distorted world that had never existed and that would never be seen again in quite the same way as I was able to see it were visible. A twisted reality captured briefly within the walls of a shimmering, transient bubble. The rain was far more entertaining than a few shining clown's faces and a neon representation of a tube of Smarties. Quite possibly this was the beginning of my appreciation of the little things, a way of escaping the world around when the world around was passing through one of those periods when it's just not worth not escaping. Those boring, pointless periods that come between the interesting portions.

You can always find something to stare at and lose yourself in, even if it means giving your eyes a rub so you can watch the sparkles dance.


Many years later and a parent myself, my mother suggested we take my kids to see the lights. I have no idea why on Earth I'd do such a thing, but I agreed. I remembered I didn't like going, but I couldn't remember why, just that it hadn't made me happy.

The lights were a different type of shit to the lights of my youth, but at least equally shit. There were a lot more of them, but basically it was just a series of advertising screens like those you see in the petrol station. The boys politely smiled and nodded whenever their grandmother said "oooh, look at that one" and both toyed longingly with the Nintendos they weren't allowed to turn on.

We stopped and bought some rock, and it was raining.

There were no arguments. The car had speakers in the back so the kids could hear the music too and, of course, there was no cigarette smoke. As we began the journey home, I glanced over my shoulder and saw that my youngest son's forehead was resting against the glass.

Worried about him falling asleep too early and being a right, royal pain in the arse at stupid o'clock the following morning I instigated a game of I-spy. He joined in, begrudgingly. He was four years old at the time and so hampered by a limited vocabulary and ropey spelling skills, but he eventually managed to win.

"Your turn, sonshine."

"A"

"Do it properly."

Arms folded, he sat up and, through pursed lips, spat the words.

"I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with A."

His brother, grandmother and I began guessing, but he really had us. Eventually, we requested some clues.

"It begins with A."

"Yes, but is it in the car or outside."

"In."

"Is it in the front of the car or the back?"

"The front", He made eye contact with me in the rear view mirror and continued, sternly, "It SHOULD be in the back as well, but it's not."

Try as we might, we couldn't get it. Meanwhile, despite my employing such tactics as winding all the windows down and turning the radio up full blast, both my sons began to nod off.

"Do you give in?" Number two son mumbled from his slumped position as he fought an increasingly hopeless battle with slumber.

"Yes, what was it?" In the mirror, I saw satisfaction spread across his sleepy face as I conceded defeat. Nothing cheers a child up like beating his old man.

I could've kicked myself. Not for not getting the answer, but for not thinking of it myself when I was a little lad. The answer that meant I never again made my kids sit through that bloody rigmarole, the one thing that makes any period worth not escaping. The thing that should have been in the back, but that wasn't...

"'Appiness".


If something doesn't make anybody 'appy, what's the bloody point?

J2H.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Eight times eighty-three and a quarter.

The night of my youngest son's birth was a long one.

On the day he was due, the very date the doctor had given for his arrival, I arrived home from a shift working behind my father's bar on a bright, autumnal Friday evening to be greeted by my eldest boy.

"Mum says to tell you it's started. She's in the bath. Are we still having a chippy tea?"

"You can have whatever you like, son", I called over my shoulder as I disappeared up the stairs.

The bag had been ready for a week or two, so once I'd got her 'dressed', but before she'd stopped being angry with me for every bad thing that had ever happened in her whole life (To be fair, I probably was responsible for the majority) we set off.

A storm broke as we left the house, lightning flashing across the sky. I laughed and made a joke about the Anti-Christ and she told me she hated me and that I was never to touch her again. Such a special time, the birth of a child.

Having deposited the existing offspring with his grandfather and agreed that "you can have whatever you like, son" meant he could have a kebab, a shandy and a new game for his Nintendo we drove, through driving rain and howling winds, to the local hospital.

The unusually dark, local hospital.


A lightning strike had caused a power cut, but the emergency generators were in operation and so dim lights lit the interior. We were deposited in a delivery room to get comfortable, the general consensus being that the demon's seed gestating within my wife's gizzard was several hours away from unleashing Armageddon upon the world, and I drew her a bath as the thunder crashed outside the little window.

Whilst she soaked in the warm water and moaned about how shit I was at everything, I wandered off to find a phone. Unable to find a payphone I asked at reception, only to be told that the phones had gone the same way as the electricity. A chill ran down my neck as the storm continued to rage. The nurse I was speaking with made a joke about the Anti-Christ and I giggled nervously, interrupted by a blood curdling scream.

He was coming.


I dashed back into the delivery room as a flash of lightning lit the little window revealing a crow, oily and black with beads of rain on his bill, sheltering from the weather on the window ledge. It cawed. I gulped.

Another scream brought me back from my stupor and things began to get busy. I cracked inappropriate jokes whilst my wife gave birth to the second drain upon our resources in what has to be the easiest, most text book of deliveries. He was even clean, just a tiny spot of blood on his pointy head from the probe that had been attached. And he didn't cry. He was breathing, he was moving, everything was fine, but no screaming.

He was placed on the scales and left there, safe in the stainless steel bowl, whilst those people whose names I wish I'd bothered to ask tended to business.

It was dawn. The storm now over and the sun's early rays beginning to cast long shadows outside, birds were warming up their cheeps and chirrups in preparation for a hard day's chirruping and cheeping. I hadn't noticed it cease, the storm. I've no idea at what point during the labour, but given the night we'd just experienced I assume it was the moment he took his first breath.

There was a clunk and the power came back on, the strip lights flickering into life at about the same time a young chap put his head around the door and told me I could use the phone now. Then we were alone.

I looked at my new son in my arms and smiled down at him. I laughed with my wife about how we should call him Damien and I made some joke about how I'd have to execute him on an altar, a comment which thankfully went unheard by anyone but us.

There was another storm, on his first birthday. As ferocious as the one the previous year, surely this must be proof? That child wasn't mine, he was demonic, he was GINGER for Christ's sake! How could there be any doubt? The spawn of Beelzebub born into the perfect hiding place, the home of a devout Atheist. Someone who didn't believe in all that shit, someone that would let the black soul of the cloven one flourish in his care without ever suspecting...

But I was on to him.

As I sat in my armchair watching the future Lord of Flies mash birthday caked into a paste with his fists and wearing a paper hat at a jaunty angle, his brother singing Happy Birthday to him for the umpteenth time, it all became clear. I knew what I must do. If he was the Devil, if he was the one that would bring Hell to Earth...

...then I was on the Devil's side.

J2H.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Utterly reject harm and mischief.

The junior doctors are going on strike.

Lazy bastards.

If you ask me, they're just using it to get some time off for Christmas shopping. The Trafford Centre will be rammed with the work shy, loony left leaning, parasitic, junior doctors.

The Government have done everything they can to avert the strike. They've bent over backwards to accommodate the juniors doctors demands, even though the junior doctors kill so many people at the weekend.

If one single word of what preceded this lovely, italicised paragraph rings true with you then please, get a fucking grip.


Generally, the most obvious answer is the correct answer. Yes, occasionally a bizarre and random series of unfortunate events leads to the answer. Maybe the dog really did eat the homework or someone broke into your house to put the cigarette burn in the cushion that appeared while you were on holiday and your son wasn't misbehaving in any way, shape or form during your absence, but it's more often that the homework never got done and your son is a twat.

So, if I pose the question, "Which guys are the good guys in all this?", then what would the most obvious answer be?

The Government will talk, but only if the junior doctors agree to the majority of the new contract in advance. But that's the bit they need to talk about, so that's bullshit then.

The Government did their adding-ups wrong, so they changed everything a bit, did them again and got them wrong again. For a while they said they'd got them right, then mostly right, then we forgot.

The junior doctors left school and took out enormous loans to learn how to make you and your loved ones better, to stop people dying whenever they can and to earn a decent wage. They work hard and their product, the nation's well-being, is more valuable than any Government contract with a foreign power to take wealth from our shores and jobs and prospects from our people.

Even more valuable than a bank.


The Government is filled with career politicians preparing the finest feathers for the nests they'll one day look down on us from. They can't add up. They have told lies. None of them need rely on the NHS for their own health and well being, or for that of their loved ones.

If the Government can't get it's own way, it changes the rules a bit until it can. If the junior doctors can't get their way they protest, debate and challenge, they follow the rules and they get little or no support from most of us until they arrive at the point where they are so exasperated and feel so undervalued that ninety-eight percent vote to go on strike. Ninety-eight percent. Is it possible that ninety-eight percent of junior doctors are lazy, greedy, liars or a combination of the three? Or is it more likely that we, their patients, have taken their service with the gratitude of a pigeon pinching a pie crust and let them be battered and bullied into a corner by a Government that thinks it can behave in whichever way it wants?

If something is valuable to you, you protect it.


If you own a gold bar, you bury it on a deserted beach under a coconut tree, if you've a secret you keep your fat mouth shut and if you've a gorgeous partner you make them grow a tatty beard and wear a hat.

I'm optimistic that most folk will agree with my sentiment. That they, like I, will wish things could be settled differently but that they can see through the lies and half truths of the so-called Conservative Government. Your taxes paid to save the bankers after they'd fucked everything up, shouldn't they also be used to provide the NHS with the resources it needs and the doctors with the respect they deserve?

Non-essential operations are going to have to be cancelled. That's a shame, but at least they weren't essential. Some people will shout loudly about how unfair it is. It is unfair, and unfortunate that those people weren't so vociferous when first the junior doctors asked for support.

We've let the situation develop, so busy in our own little bubbles that we forgot to keep an eye on the world around us. This hasn't been sudden, it has been looming on the horizon for ages.

Time doesn't sneak up on us, it's the most predictable thing known to man. Every year, Dickfingers has a panic as Christmas approaches. There's never enough time and, eventually, she'll utter the words "...but it's Christmas day TOMORROW!" amidst the now traditional, frantic, rabid, yule tide preparations, and I bite my tongue. Yes, it is tomorrow, the tomorrow that has been sitting behind the last doors on all of the many advent calenders she's been working her way through for the last three weeks.

If we leave things until the last minute, we lose the NHS and have sausages instead of turkey.


When it comes to the decision about whether to back the junior doctors or to side with a guy in a suit and a polished face, it all boils down to just two questions:

If Jeremy Hunt gives you a pill, should you swallow it?

If the doctors themselves tell you that you're running a health service wrong, should you listen?

The Government couldn't be more obviously the bad guys if they donned eye-patches and decorated their fucking hats with little, silver skulls.


J2H.



Monday, 9 November 2015

Exactly what it sounds like.

Mrs Mattapier stirred the porridge in the pot
And glanced at her wrist where her wristwatch tick-tocked
She called up the stairs to her daughter above
"You're going to be late, get a bustle on, love"

Her daughter came dashing her way down the stairs
And sat at the table on one of the chairs
"Careful", said mother as she placed down a bowl
Of sizzling porridge to fill her daughter's cake-hole

splash of cold milk so her mouth she'd not scold
And a dollop of honey the colour of gold
Her rumbly tummy now filled with hot oats
She went and collected her bag and her coat

She pulled on her hat and her scarf and her gloves
Then tickled her dog who replied with a "woof"
She stepped out the door and into the street
The dry, autumn leaves crunching under her feet

"Good morning, Russell", she beamed at her friend
Who'd waited, as ever, down the road on the bend
Unusually, though, he was on hands and knees
Staring at a pile of crisp, golden leaves



"What on earth are you doing?" she asked as she knelt
"And what the heck is that disgusting smell?"
"Shhh", hissed her friend from his spot on the ground
She did as he bid with a bewildered frown

"If you listen hard and tilt your head right
You can hear those two ants, there, having a fight"
She held her breath and listened intently
But all she could hear was the breeze blowing gently

Then, far away, a new noise, a grumble 
Growing until that deep, distant rumble
Grew louder and louder and was joined by a roar
Then a hiss and a clunk and a whole heap of sounds more

clatter and crunch and a grumbly groan
squeak and a squeal, a mechanical moan
hiss and a pish and a blast of cold air
And the bus sailed past, leaving both children there

Down on their knees with their ears to the ground
Watching two ants fighting atop a mound
Of leaves that exploded and fluttered and flew
Revealing a dried up piece of dog poo



The girl and the boy stood and chorused "Oh, great"
Left behind at the stop, now they'd surely be late
"Now we're in trouble", said Russell as they
Rose to their feet and set off on their way

"We're not going to make it now we're on foot"
"Don't worry," said she, "For I know a short cut"
She ducked and disappeared through a gap in a bush
And called back to Russell, "Come on, Russell, rush"

Dashing hand in hand through the fields and trees
Laughing and grinning and buzzing like bees
They leapt 'cross the stream that babbled gently
Downhill to the river then far out to sea

They passed by the ducks that waddled and quacked
And the derelict farm house with windows all cracked
They asked a lone horse if they were going the right way
And laughed at the nag when he answered them, "neigh"

A large, woolly sheep tried to baa the kids path
And a flatulent goat had made the friends laugh
They splashed through the puddles and squelched through the mud
Heading for lessons as fast as they could



They ran by some chickens who "bock, bock, bock bocked"
And climbed an old gate an old farmer had locked
Then laughed as they carried on up the small hill
Watched by a crow with an oily, black bill

The crow caw-caw-cawed out his early warning
Of danger approaching on that autumn morning
A swallow gulped and a robin did, too
Then they took to the air joined by a cuckoo

Swooping through the sky, larking around
Whooshing and swooshing far from the ground
Watching the children who dashed far below
Under the beady, black eye of the crow

They crashed through the trees standing proud on the brow
Then sped through the field, past a miserable cow
Who tutted and mumbled as green grass she chewed
No smile on her face, she was in a bad mooed

Fields and streams crossed and one final fence climbed
They zipped down the street at a minute past nine
Heads down they whizzed in through the school gates
Puffing and panting and red in the face



Late they had been, though late only just
And, surprisingly, they'd beaten the bus
It had broken down a mile from the school
And the unfortunate driver carried no tools

Russell pulled out his best friend's chair
As she pulled a twig from her best friend's hair
They sat side by side, both wearing wide grins
And awaited the rest of their class to get in

Mud on their shoes and leaves in their hoods
Collected on their journey to school through the woods
And fields and fun places between here and there
The smiley kids looked a right scruffy pair

But what a tale young Honor had
To entertain her mum and her dad
When, home once more and safe and sound
Their tea-time chatter came around

The noises they'd heard and the smells they had smelt
The things they had seen and the feelings they'd felt
The squeaks and the squawks, the clucks and the clatters
The end's just the end, it's the journey that matters

J2H.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Name that tune...

It isn't easy, writing some songs
And counting your money all afternoon long
But wealth's not enough without the poor to walk on

You'll not believe it
So bloody poor all he's got is nice stuff
The poor bugger seems to forget
He shits sitting down just like us

He had to help it happen, it had to change
Crushing the riff raff under his heel
Flying over from New York, enjoying first class fun

So he chose fuck 'em
While pissed up on some subsidised booze
And sending the poor to the wall
We never expected 'owt else

Chorus
Don't cry for Andrew Lloyd Webber
The truth is he's doing okay
His stomach is full
His wallet so fat
He voted that way
'Cos he's a rich twat


And as for fairness, it's such a shame
He never invited it in
Even though it's quite plainly the right thing to do

They are the selfish
They are the ones who tell us cruelty is kind
Although it sounds spiteful to some
They're mantra remains "mine, mine, MINE"

Chorus


Does he have too much?
There's little more I can think they could take from you
Unless they start to tax the air that you're breathing
Or the steam off your poo

J2H.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

They're there.


They're there, you know? When you close your eyes
Despite what you've heard, your parents told lies
When they said that there's nothing to give you a fright
When they tuck you in and they turn off your light
There is, there is, on one night they're there
Watching you sleeping and stroking your hair













There they will wait and they'll wait there all night
They've nothing to do but give children a fright
They'll sit on your chest and they'll wait for their prize
All that they need is you open your eyes
For it's then, only then, that they're able to pounce
To stop you from screaming they'll first eat your mouth

All year they have waited and now autumn's here
The night of their visit grows ever near
That wondrous eve when they rise from their tombs
And giggle and whistle and hide in your rooms
They watch and  they wait 'til you flick off that switch
And signal the start of the night of the witch













All that they crave is your precious, sweet soul
To scare you to death and then swallow you whole
Is it too much to ask? They don't take everyone
Just you and your friends, then away they'll be gone
And just to be fair, they've given fair warning
Just keep those eyes shut and shut tight until morning



Now heed my words and heed them well
They'll know you're awake for your terror they'll smell
They're patient, they'll wait for as long as they must
Until the morning's fresh sunlight turns them back to dust
Don't murmur, don't fidget, don't dare to peep
Pretend if you must, but you must stay asleep













And what if you don't? What would happen then?
A terrible fate is in store for you when
Your eyes flicker open and glance round your room
They'll rush from the corners and shadows and gloom
They screech and they'll chatter and rush to your bed
And feed upon flesh of a child, newly dead

So remember, dear children, this story I tell
Remember my words, remember them well
They're waiting for you every year on this night
To see your eyes open before the sunlight
Comes creeping through your window pane
And makes your bedroom safe again













They'll leave the next morning, each year just the same
They'll slither off back to from whence they came
But be assured, children, next year again
They'll come creeping back, waiting for that moment when
You've opened your eyes in the dark and you've seen
The horror awaiting you on...

...Halloween.

J2H.



Friday, 9 October 2015

The elephant in the room.

During the strikes of the 1970s, our house became the most popular house on our street.

Not many people had more than one television, but we did. More importantly, our second television was a cutting edge, monochrome, portable television that my father had acquired from a chap by the name of "Sniffy", a friend of his who was employed as a security guard on the docks.

My mother wasn't best pleased. The huge, crackling, teak clad box in the front living room displayed her favourite shows in glorious technicolour and was big enough to see from her seat on the settee, and so the tiny, black and white set he'd staggered home from the Staff of Life pub with that Friday evening was left on a shelf in the garage. Until the strikes.

Our electricity went off every night. For some reason, though, the television stations were able to remain broadcasting throughout the blackouts. Broadcasting to an audience of folk with no electricity in the 1970s meant very low viewing figures. Unless you lived on our street.

The little, grey television in the garage was carried into the living room, along with the battery from my fathers car. The portable television had a DC socket on the back and, with the assistance of the old bloke who lived next door and a big, cardboard box filled with cables, wires and connectors, our living room was once again bathed in the flickering light of Coronation Street.

The only house on the street with the comforting glow of cathode rays spilling out through the crack in the curtains made our house as inconspicuous as an elephant at a dinner party, and by the time Corrie had ended our living room was packed to the gills with neighbours. It was fucking brilliant.

The strikes didn't last forever, and once our neighbours had gone back to looking down their noses at my packing case maker father and cashier girl mother, the television was once again redundant and I became the first child in Salford to have a television in my bedroom. I felt like a king.

The TV was installed atop the drawers in the corner of my room and I began watching all those shows I'd not been allowed to watch in the past. They were shit.

Try as I might I could find very little of interest to a five year old boy, no matter how late I stayed up, on any of the three channels available. It was most frustrating. "Maybe," I thought, "the good stuff is on in the daytime". That made sense, selfish grown-ups putting the good stuff on when we urchins couldn't watch it. I formulated a plan.

Whilst my mother was preparing a healthy, nutritious breakfast (A bowl of ReadyBrek with half a pound of sugar dumped on it) I held my palms against the radiator in the lounge. Whenever I could hold them against the surface no longer I placed my palms on my cheeks, over and over until I was flushed and clammy. Then I stuck my fingers down my throat.

Sufficiently convinced, my mother sent me back to bed for the day.

That day was the longest day of my life. Daytime television in the 70s was approximately eight times more shit than the evening stuff. Open University, some gardener bloke, the bloody news and no remote control. Oh, the humanity of it all.

At some point, I watched a show about three blind beggars in India and an elephant. Filmed in stop-motion, it told the tale of the beggars being led, one at a time, into a room with an elephant in it. Each was asked to touch the beast and to describe it. One felt the elephants leg and thought it a tree. The second felt it's tail and thought it a snake. Finally, the third felt the trunk and declared it to be a hosepipe. God, it was boring.

But, as tedious as it may have been at the time, the message got through. It's all a matter of perspective. That day I drank a lot of Lucozade, watched shit television, vowed never to pretend to be poorly again and learnt that you should always have the full picture. The end of the elephant in the room show demonstrated that, once the three men had spoken to one and other and having shared their own individual experiences, they realised they'd been examining an elephant. They cooperated and, as a result, knew the truth.

Some of you may have become aware of a Facebook post that went viral. Authored by an American visitor to our shores, a Mr. Scot Waters, it sums up his experience of Britain. It's brilliant. (If you've not already read it, you can find it HERE.)

Now, like a blind beggar being experimented on by an Asian emperor, I've undertaken to expand on his work and offer a different perspective for a few of his points.

1. "Almost everyone is very polite."

Thank you.

2. "The food is generally outstanding."

See #19.

3. "There are no guns."

There are no guns.

4. "There are too many narrow stairs."

I think you'll find there are just the right number of narrow stairs to reach the tops of the narrow staircases.

5. "The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards."

Actually, it's so we can practice our jousting on the daily commute.

6. "You'd better like peas, potatoes and sausage."

...but if you don't, there's always #19.

7. Refrigerators... ...are very small.

See #43.

8. "People don't seem to be afraid of their neighbours or the government."

We're afraid, where appropriate, but fear is nothing to be afraid of. Stiff upper lip, old chap.

9. "Their paper money makes sense, the coins don't."

Your cents make money.

10. "Everyone has a washing machine, but driers are rare."

Clothes won't wash themselves, but left to their own devices they'll dry. See #13.

11. "Pants are called "trousers", underwear are "pants" and sweaters are "jumpers.""

Trousers are called trousers, underwear underwear and sweaters are what we call our MPs whilst they're being audited.

12. "Fanny" is a naughty word, as is "shag".

My Aunty Fanny would disagree with half of that statement, and she'd admonish you for saying "shag".

13. "Doors close by themselves, but they don't always open."

Occam's razor. See #10.

14. "They don't seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they're just neater than we are."

At least once a week I have to tell Dickfingers that she has pie crust or sausage roll in her hair.

15. "The wall outlets all have switches, some don't do anything."

Those that do nothing are actually wall safes. We keep our tiaras and monocles in them.

17. "Black people are just people: They didn't quite do slavery here."

We did, and we made a fair few quid out of it as well. We're every bit as bad as everyone else.

18. "Cookies are "biscuits" and potato chips are "crisps"."

Cookies are indeed biscuits, that's just generic, and potato chips are what we call crisps when we want to pay over the odds for them.

19. "HP sauce is better than catsup."

HP sauce is better than EVERYTHING!

20. "After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food."

I'm generally far too full to eat a curry after my fish and chips. See #43.

21. There are no guns.

There are no guns.

22. "Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You're welcome."

I just tried that, it makes you walk like a hieroglyphic.

23. "It's not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don't, everyone knows you're an American."

Honestly, even if you didn't do that we'd still know.

24. "There's no AC."

It's fucking freezing.

25. "Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper."

We prefer onesies. Dickfingers has a pig onesie, mine is Elvis - the Vegas years. Rhinestones and everything.

26. "You don't have to tip, really!"

You don't have too, but you should. Really!

27. "Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries."

Cornwall is a different PLANET.

28. "Only 14% of Americans have a passport, everyone in the UK does."

That's because the rich take lots of holidays and the poor want to be ready in case they get the chance to escape to somewhere nice.

29. "Their TV looks and sounds much better than ours."

Yes, but to even things out you chaps made Breaking Bad.

30. "They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven't put them all back up yet."

We discovered all we had to do was tell our kids what the streets are called.

31. "Everyone enjoys a good joke."

B'dum, Tsssh.

32. There are no guns.

THERE ARE NO GUNS!

33. "Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere."

My German Shepherd is a bastard and most people hate him. That said, he is German.

34. "There are no window screens."

A window IS a screen, isn't it?

35. "You can get on a bus and end up in Paris."

Yep, that's one stag-night I'll never forget.

36. "Butter and eggs aren't refrigerated."

That's because we have little space in our tiny fridges.

37. "Excess cider consumption can be very painful."

It's not the consumption that hurts, it's the cessation of consumption. Consume more.

38. "The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, then £1-£2-£5-£10, etc. bills. There are no quarters."

I've always thought, if you chaps bother with a 25c coin, why haven't you done a $25 note?

39. "Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America."

I'm pretty sure there are one or two Navajo that would disagree with you on that one.

40. "By law, there are no crappy, old cars."

Which is why Dickfingers and I can't afford one.

41. "Soccer is a religion, religion is a sport."

IT'S FOOTBALL, FOR FUCKS SAKE! How many times do we have to point out that a game played predominantly with your hands isn't bloody football?

42. "Europeans dress better than the British, we dress worse."

Technically, Britons ARE Europeans, but you're right.

43. "There are far fewer fat English people."

See #7.

44. "Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste."

Only if you're a Tory.

45. "Every pub has a pet drunk."

Pleased to meet you.

46. "Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it."

We love our NHS, what we're really bitching about is the destruction of it by big business and government.

47. "Cake is one of the major food groups."

To paraphrase one of your most famous fellow countrymen, "Mmmm, caaaaaake!"

48. "Their coffee is mediocre but their tea is wonderful."

Granted, except when Dickfingers brews up. Her tea is shit as well.

49. "There are still no guns."

There are no guns, except the ones that were secretly being aimed at the unarmed protesters in my home town last week.


50. "Towel warmers!"

Radiators!


J2H.

Monday, 5 October 2015

J2H does... The foul chicken.

The latest of my stories that rhyme, and this one's another of the child-friendly variety.

"The foul chicken.


on Audioboom and YouTube.
















Monday, 28 September 2015

The rabbit, Warren.

The king of all rabbits, King Flopsy the third
Sat on his throne watched by the herd
He yawned and he lifted a kit by his scut
Said "I name this rabbit Fluffy" and kissed his left foot

He handed each child back to it's mother
Who stepped away smiling, replaced by another
More and more children, his day had dragged on
Then a buck with a book said, "Sir, here's the last one"

He held up the kitten but, for the first time
As hard as he tried, no name came to mind
Each that he thought of he'd given before
He'd used all the names, there weren't any more

Flopper and Tufty and Cotton-tail Jill
Fluffy and Bunny and  Lop-eared Bill
Bella and Topper, Tufty, Snowball
He had no more names, he'd now used them all

He looked left and right and up and around
Until, suddenly, inspiration he found
He smiled at the mother who'd brought him her son
And announced to the world, "I'll name him Warren"

The king of all rabbits made his way through the crowd
As the does did their curtsies and the bucks bowed their bows
And the trumpeter sounded the royal fanfare
Leaving young Warren's mother just stood standing there

Now, young Warren's mother wasn't best pleased
She thought that her son would be mercilessly teased
With a name so outlandish what would others say?
So she spoke to the book buck about her dismay

"But Mrs. McFluffykins, I can't change his name
The king, he has spoken, the name must remain
I've written it down in my book, anyway
And I've not got a rubber on my pencil today"

Kits are like kids, they can't half be horrid
But Mrs. McFluffykins needn't have worried
The others did tease him, though he teased them back
Along with his best friend, a rabbit named Jack

And it didn't last long, before many years
Warren became the kit known as "big ears"
An insult to some, but not to this bunny
Water off a duck's back, he thought it was funny

Warren grew quickly and Warren grew strong
And grew into those ears before very long
Handsome and smart, quick of wit and of mind
Both caring and strong and above all else kind

Then came the day that the old king did die
All the bucks, does and kits in the kingdom did cry
Then, once the old king was placed in his crypt
A new King of all Rabbits had to be picked

The contest was held in the time honoured way
On the top of the hill on the first day of May
The oldest and wisest doe held aloft a stopwatch
And began the contest with "Ready, steady, HOPSCOTCH!"

Thousands of rabbits set off down the hill
Leaping and bounding and racing until
Just the two fastest were left in the race
Hopping and scotching and red in the face

Neck and neck as they neared the finish
Warren and a buck by the name of Spinach
But just as they were about to cross
The line poor Spinach trod on a wasp

He shrieked and tumbled to the ground
Tears in his eyes as he rolled all around
A one rabbit race now that Spinach had fallen
Warren must win, even if he were crawling

But, no, he stopped short, turned around an returned
To the rabbit now sobbing as his poor, stung foot burned
He smiled as he crouched down beside the poor buck
And said "Here was I thinking our feet were good luck"

He put vinegar on Spinach's wound and checked the wasp was okay
Then helped the stricken buck to his feet and was cheered upon his way
When finally had Warren crossed the finishing line
He'd spent so long being kind he was a hundred and eighty ninth

The wise, old doe that held the stopwatch
Met the pair at the line and exclaimed "That was top notch!
You'd already proven yourself the most fast
But the King of All Rabbits needs far more than that"

The trumpeters fanfare filled the air
As the buck with the book stepped forth and declared
"The race has been run and the new king selected
Now let's have a party, get the marquee erected"

You've never partied 'til you've partied rabbit style
The conga alone was over a mile
The carrot cake was delightfully light
A jamboree running right through the night

The new king slept with his crown on his head
Yawning and tucked safe in his royal bed
So proud of himself that he felt he might burst
The King of All Rabbits, King Warren the First

J2H.

Friday, 18 September 2015

The foul chicken.

Racing 'cross meadows and forests and streams
Chasing away the dark and our dreams
The warm, golden fingers of the morning's new sun
Telling the chicken the day had begun
He fluttered his feathers and puffed out his chest
Perched on the gatepost, his back to the west
And signalled the start of a day that was new
With a hearty cock-a-doodle, a-doodle-cock-do

His day's toil over, his job being a doddle
He went down to where the ducks quacked, flapped and waddled
He strutted and clucked his way through the crowd
Of ducks gathered there and announced rather loud
"There's a pond needs be swum in and quacks to be quacked
Now get to work or I'll see you all sacked"
The same every morning, he'd appear with his frown
Squawking his orders and making ducks down

He bullied the cows, was a swine to the pigs
Got on nanny's goat and upset her kids
He scared all the lambs by shouting "mint sauce!"
Then went to the paddock and sat on the horse
Watching and waiting for that moment when
He'd catch a glimpse of that lovely, plump hen
The one that he'd fallen for, hook, line and sinker
Who just couldn't stand him, who thought him a stinker!

He saw her and called out, "cock-a-yoohoo"
But she just called back "Can't stop, things to do"
The horse looked around at the bird on his bum
And said "Tell me, chum, why you looking so glum?"
The chicken didn't answer, just stared hard and long
"What's up?" Asked the horse, "Did the cat take your tongue?"
"Oh my word," The chicken did squawk
"I had no idea that horses could talk?"

Now, the horse had been horsing around and about
Long before the proud rooster had cracked his way out
Of the egg that his mother had laid on the floor
Older and wiser, he'd seen it before
"Go on then, old timer", the chicken enquired
"She really should like me, I'm cock of the yard!"
The old horse just snorted, "If you want my advice
Learn to be nice or she'll never look twice"

He thought it a long shot, but well worth a try
Tomorrow he'd be a far nicer guy
That night he slept with a smile on his bill
And woke as the sun rose from behind the hill
He knocked on the door of the farmer's old house
Then whistled and wandered over to the little duck-house
Popped his head through the door and called quietly
"Cock-a-doodle-doodle, a-doodle-cock-dee"

All that day long he kept a smile on his beak
And took extra time to stop and to speak
With every farm animal, the great and the small
He smiled and was pleasant to one and to all
Silly songs he sang and silly jokes he told
All about chickens crossing a road
He'd struggled at first, he'd have to admit
But by that afternoon he'd got the hang of it

He went back to see his new friend, the old nag
Who stood in the field with his nose in a bag
"I did it, I've managed to be nice all day"
"That's great" said the horse as he munched on his hay
"And was she impressed with the new, nicer you?"
The chicken said "Impressed?  Impressed with me who?"
So busy being nice to the pigs in the pen
He'd forgotten all about the lovely, plump hen

A voice from behind, "cluck cluck cluck cooee
I'd heard you'd be here, waiting for me"
He stammered and stuttered, his cheeks flushing red
Lost for words, he nodded his head
"There's a barn dance tonight, I hear you'd like to go"
"I'd love to", Said the chicken, "but how did you know?
A cough from the horse, he looked over his shoulder
The horse smiled and said, "It was me who told her"

The barn didn't dance, but the barn-dance was great
The cock and the hen danced until late
They giggled and laughed as he walked his date home
He said he liked her eyes, she said she liked his comb
Then she said goodnight with a peck on the cheek
And ensured his new smile would last for a week
The cock of the yard strutted home to his bed
And dreamed of the chicken that one day he'd wed

The farmer's far happier with his new alarm call
As are the cows, the pigs, lambs and all
Each morning's now lovely if you're a duck
And, after a while, the chicken's smile stuck
Now older and wiser, each morning he wakes
And sets off for work as each new dawn breaks
A peck on the beak as he walks out the door
The cock of the yard, foul fowl no more.

J2H.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Games without frontiers.

Playing a game, we're playing a game
He'd told me when the day to leave came
And so began our epic fun
Just me and my daddy on the run

He smiled and he joked as we walked through the night
He promised me soon that all would be right
We talked as we walked and we walked as we talked
Until meeting a van where the dusty road forked

We clambered within and joined playmates new
Who shared with us water and laughter and food
Songs sung and chats chatted along the ride
'Til we finally arrived at the windy seaside

To the boats for our final intrepid expedition
Just this one more peril upon our mission
To leave behind those sandy shores
And find a brave, new world to explore

Smiling and laughing as dad held my hand
We set off for the promised land
We're nearly there, he promised me
As he pushed my boat out into the sea

He and two others clung to the back and paddled the boat with their feet
As I sat with new brothers and a half dozen others and dreamed of the food I would eat
When finally at the end of dad's game I could stop and take a rest
Maybe watch some Sponge-Bob and fall asleep with my head upon his chest

Our little boat was tossed left and right
Giving me and the others a terrible fright
But I'd worried not when that last great wave came
Because, after all, this was only a game

As that wave struck I was tossed from the boat
And salty water filled my throat
Playing a game, just playing a game
Though the deep, briny sea took my life all the same

J2H.

Monday, 31 August 2015

J2H does... Why do men have those?

There's just no point me trotting out my usual apology for these any more, it's becoming less and less sincere.

"Why do men have those?" 


on Audioboom and YouTube.













Why do men have those?

It's true when they say what a difference a single day can make
We had the phone cut off last week but tonight we're eating steak
The arse is hanging out of my jeans and my goldfish, Bobby, drowned
But I found a tenner in these old jeans and a pound upon the ground
So up the road and into town I wandered all alone
Some nice, thick steaks from the butcher's shop and I treated the dogs to a bone
A bag of spuds to go with the meat and my pocket again held nowt
Then slowly home with a smile on my face to find I'd locked myself out

I sat on the wall at the front of my house awaiting Patty's return
I filled my pipe and settled back as the baccy began to burn
I took a puff and looked around both down and up the street
And at my watch and at my phone, then down at my aching feet
Tatty and scuffed with a hole in the sole that my big toe was peeping through
Laces frayed and mismatched socks and I'd stepped in some dog shit too
On hands and knees by a patch of grass picking out shit with a stick
Effing and Jeffing and cursing my luck and feeling a bit of a dick

A shadow fell across the ground where I crouched and muttered my mutter
Then a voice from behind that startled me, "Get out of the fucking gutter"
There she stood above me, made up like a whore and fake tanned
A fag dangling from the side of her gob and a half eaten pie in her hand
She coughed and burped and giggled, then asked me for a light
And sniffed the air and wrinkled her nose and said "Can you smell shite?"
I held aloft my shitty stick and wafted it around
"I use it to beat the ladies off" I explained, but she just frowned

A brief exchange on the pavement by the road on which we live
Revealed she'd not got her key either, though only I was a "div"
Around the back and through the gate, we stood in our own back yard
And spied the window high above that we'd stupidly left ajar
I stripped to the waist and shimmied on up the drain pipe that led to the roof
A task I'd last attempted many years back in my youth
Back when it was muscle, not flubber, that made my manly chest ripple
I'd almost got myself half in when I trapped my fucking nipple

She laughed so much she started to choke upon her fag
Spluttering pie crust and streaming eyes and rifling through her bag
She wanted her phone to take a pic of my dangling, shit soiled feet
To use along with some childish abuse and share with the world in a Tweet
The laughter stopped quite suddenly, replaced with a nervous giggle
"Any chance of a spot of help" I called, continuing to wriggle
No answer from the Dickfingered one, just deathly quiet below
"Hello" I called, "are you still there?" expecting the answer "no"

I craned my neck and looked around
To where she stood upon the ground
Holding aloft a bunch of keys
And saying "Oh look, I did have these"
A prick, a dick, a knob and much more
I called her as she went and unlocked the door
She called back to me "If you want help, Twohats...
...you'd better be nice and stop being a twat"

Now, I'm a nice guy, of that I am sure
But I've a stronger trait that comes to the fore
See that streak in my beard that you all think is grey
Is a streak of pure stubborn that I'm sure one day
Will lead to my untimely death
When I've cut off my own nose to save my own breath
"Bollocks to her" I thought and, lo
I closed my eyes and just let go

She said it was quite comical, the look upon my face
When I'd slipped from sight beneath the sill as downward I did race
She'd only just exploded in through the flimsy door
Then had to turn and run back down the bloody stairs once more
"Are you okay?" She asked of me, lay crumpled by the wall
"Absolutely splendid, the gravel broke my fall"
"So why are you crying?" She asked, now looming over me
"The rest of my fucking nipple's up there and I think I did a wee"

Bruised and bashed and feeling blue
And forgetting about the state of my shoe
I winced and limped in through the door
And traipsed across the kitchen floor
Took my seat upon the couch
Uttering noises like "oof" and "ouch"
Then from the kitchen an almighty din
"There's shit on your shoe and you've trodden it in!"

That day's now over, I'm happy to say
Though the bruise on my arse hasn't yet gone away
And my nipple is still unusually long
My own fault for thinking that I was King Kong
If I learnt one lesson it has to be that
Climbing through windows is best left for a cat
It wasn't a day I'd want to live twice
But the important thing is that our steaks were dead nice

J2H.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

J2H and Patty do... Ending

Another, sorry. Thing is, I've gone all anthropomorphic about my stories that rhyme, I don't want any of them to feel left out. 

"Ending." 


on Audioboom and YouTube.