Jobs for the Boys and Girls.

I’ve had a few decent jobs. I’ve had a couple of bloody awful ones too. I spent a good deal of my working life at The Telegraph; then a decent amount of time in London at TIME Magazine. I spent only a few months in the employ of Rupert Murdoch, but I don’t think he misses me. He’s probably got plenty on his plate to worry about at the moment anyway. Mr Dacre doesn’t lay awake at night wondering why I only did a couple of weeks freelancing on his Daily Mail. At least I assume he doesn’t. How much time Alexander Lebedev spends wishing I was still at The Independent, only he knows. When he gets too depressed about it, he goes off and punches someone, I hear. Robert Maxwell fell off his boat before I got the chance of working for him. Pity.

So you’d think that the constant moaning and whingeing from her father might have put a young Bealing off of journalism, wouldn’t you ? Well apparently not.

If you click on the picture above you’ll see an interview with former Tory politician Ann Widdecombe, the first raft of questions being asked by my eldest daughter Lucy (bottom right hand corner of this photo) . The more observant of you will notice Lucy keeps here questions to Ann’s role in Strictly Come Dancing rather than tackle her on political issues. It’s probably for the best: Her dad, whereas he would have struggled to come up with anything coherent or relevant to ask about Strictly, would have ended up on an assault charge should he ever have had to ask Widdecombe about her “struggle against Socialism”. Probably why her dad ended up as a picture editor, rather than an interviewer. You’ll also note that Lu speaks the Queen’s English unlike her father. Another advantage she has over me.

So that’s my eldest sorted out for the future, but the job market is a precarious one. My current job of “Watching Columbo and Printing T-Shirts” is one of my favourite jobs I’ve had, it just doesn’t pay anything like I thought it might. Almost the opposite in fact. On the other hand, I’m working at a place I like (home) with people I like (my mate Rob) and the hours are pretty good.

It could be worse, I could be Andrew Strauss who’s looking particularly precarious in his job as England cricket captain, his team having lost its fourth test match in a row. There’s no disgrace losing in Sri Lanka. The conditions are brutally hot and the pitches are so different from those in England that you’d need to be a particular talent to pull off a win, especially in Galle which has the reputation of being a graveyard for English players, and in particular English bowlers.

Bealing leads off The Fleet St Exiles having taken 6-22, taking them to a
3 wickets victory against the Sri Lankan Airways XI, Galle, Sri Lanka 2005

Then again some people are luckier than others. My good mate Dave has finally ended his long wait for a permanent job by landing a plumb one on a magazine. It’s been a long wait for him and I was thrilled when he called to tell me he’s landed it. Well done, Wavey ! Then there’s rugby’s Stuart Lancaster who has just been given the job which everyone in the country (57 Old Farts aside) thought he should have been given weeks ago. The new English Rugby Coach has fought off seemingly nearly every other coach in the world for the job before the old Twats of Twickenham finally run out of South Africans to turn them down. The RFU were forced to give the job to Lancaster, something they should have done when it was clear he a) knew how to coach a rugby team and b) had no time for show ponies. Celebrity coach he ain’t. And thank fuck for that.

Andy Robinson keeps his job. Yes, really. The Scotland coach had presided over a team which last won a match in black&white but somehow managed to convice the SRFU that he’s the one for the post. Can there be another man in the country (and yes, we can still count Scotland in that) who’s luckier to be still employed ? No, not if you don’t count Francis Maude there isn’t.

The Idiot Saville Row Tory Cabinet Office Minister Maude emplored drivers to fill up their Jerrycans with petrol and prepare for fuel shortages due to the tanker driver’s strike and that “there are lives at stake”. Once people had Googled what a Jerrycan was (apparently not everyone’s obsessed by WWII like me), checked that there is no strike (and won’t be one for at least a fortnight, and even then, probably not) and that the tanker drivers weren’t using Mad Max II technology to threaten people’s lives and protect the remaining gasoline, everyone assumed Maude would be taken round the back by Dave and Gideon and pummeled to death with his own Jerrycan. Sadly not.

“Half a tank of unleaded and 3 lucky dips for tonight’s lottery, please mate.” – a scene from Mad Maude II: The Road Warrior

For starters, Dave was too busy telling us how much he loved Pasties, and about the hilarious incident when he recently bought a pasty on Leeds railway station from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. MMMMmmmmmmm….Yum Yum. Trouble is all the poor sods at the Leeds station branch of the West London Pasty Company lost their jobs in 2007. So all that justification by Dave, all that gettin dahn wiv da prols an da kidz was, ow u say,  a load of old bollocks.

Still, Dave’ll soon have some proper opposition in Parliament to point out all his mistakes, scandals, lies and wrong-doings. George Galloway is back in a job. Sadly, it’s true. The Big Brother Cat Impersonator is back in his job as an MP, this time by winning a by-election in Bradford West, a once Labour stronghold. George won by a landslide by campaigning on one issue: An anti-Afghan War campaign in the predominantly-muslim neighbourhoods of Bradford West. He even intimated earlier in the campaign he actually was a musilm (he isn’t really).

Just fancy that: A tv celebrity, however micro and annoying to you and me, campaigns in a Muslim area against a war seen by many to be anti-muslim, securing a 10,000 majority and WINNING a by-election in a previously Labour heartland. Now who could have predicted that ? Should anyone in Labour be brought to account for this humliation? Should Mr Millipede still be in his job ?

The State of Play

Finally, there’s something to smile about, something to feel good about, something to look forward to. As the vinegar-strokes of Spring burst forth and the new season sprays its seeds over the flora and fauna of my garden and along all the lanes and byways of the sleepy little borough of Lewis Ham the sun, which has been in winter training south of the equator, make’s an early attempt to be over the yardarm before a mid-day thirst engulfs me.

As the sun’s rays stream through the patio doors, shedding shafts of dusty light over last night’s discarded lottery tickets I hear unmistakable sound of my faithful chien noir pawing at the door in a bid for freedom. He tries this every now and then and the chances are he’ll return pronto, but who am I to keep him forever at my side? I open the door to let my four-legged friend out and, as they say in the song, let the sunshine, let the sunshine, the sun shine in.

I stand at the threshold, inhale lung-fulls of chill, spring air, let the pale,weak solar beams wash over my ever-growing face then realise I should have put some clothes on before exposing my ample frame and dwindling genitalia to the neighbours in the surrounding houses and gardens. I quickly pull the curtains, leaving the rays to illuminate the beaks of the blue tits feeding on my nuts, and to dry out the cat shit on the lawn

My mood has been improving gradually over the past couple of weeks, as it tends to do this time of year. The first indicator that winter is over is the clocks going forward, then Boat Race, then the following weekend by The Grand National (that’s a horse race) and the US Masters (a rather important golf tournament) . The National and The Masters, two events separated by the Atlantic Ocean and 20 degrees Celcius, but almost inseparable by their postitions in the league table of sensational sporting events. Both have huge fields of brightly dressed runners, many carrying too much weight for their own good, most immaculately shod and watched by thousands of animated, vocal and knowledgeable fans. Though admittedly there are rather fewer pissed scousers at Augusta than turn up at Aintree (John Daly’s not from Liverpool, is he?).

Over the years both Grand National and Masters have cost me a fair few quid as I pour goodly amounts of my hard earned cash into the open wallets of the bookies while trying to predict who will win. Most part-time punters remember their few National winners, it being such a lottery and successes come so rarely. My love of the race started in 1975 when I had 50p each-way (probably paid for by my mum) on l’Escgargot which romped home at 13/2. This is easy, thought I and embarked on a, thus far, 35 year quest to repeat my success and adorn myself with the riches of the Indus. I waited 30 years for my next win when, somehow, I bet on the 2005 winners, Hedgehunter which won as 7/1 favourite. Hardly odds on which to retire.

Of course, I was nowhere near last year’s 100-1 Mon Mome, not even in the office sweep. No, I was on State of Play which finished fourth, so I just about got my money back. No-one would ever (or shouldn’t ever) bet ‘to win’ on this race, as a field of 40 horses jumping over 30 sodding great fences over 4 1/2 miles is anyone’s race, so my little ‘each-way’ wagers each year have just about kept my head above water.

So it was with curiously mis-placed optimism that I sat down to watch yesterday’s race. I’d spent long hours studying the form, listening to professional pundits and looking for funny names, but eventually I went with State of Play again, (which this time came in 3rd), while my mate Rob (who has absolutely no interest in the Sport of Kings) had a last-minute, completely uninformed and lucky fiver-each way on the winner, Don’t Push It (10-1) and thus went home with a smile on his face and a bulge in his wallet. Oh goody! How I laughed.

Meanwhile, across the pond in Augusta Georgia, The US Masters has for years had a similar grip on both my interest and wages and, up until Tiger showed up, was as unpredictable as the gee-gee race over in Blighty. Any one of the 90-odd players in the field were capable of winning and picking the winner was very much a game of chance. Once Woods came onto the scene, things became a little more predictable, but by no means a sure thing. Nevertheless, in 20 years of handing over my crisp notes to the good bookmakers, I have yet to collect anything back off them by way of winnings. Again, each-way bets would seem to be the key to all this, not that I’ve even gotten a 4th place.

When Tiger zipped up his trousers and decided to make his comeback at this year’s event, I resisted the temptation to put the house (or even a shilling on the side, just to make it interesting) on him. I was banking on the past 6 months of chaos and media frenzy that has followed young Eldrick Tont Woods around would have put him off his stroke (on the golf course, at least). No, I plumped for the plump Lee Westwood of Ing-er-land as this year’s conduit of delivering my money into the safe clutches of turf accountants of the world.

Lo and behold, my man Lee is having a stormer!! After two rounds he was leading the field with his fellow Brit Ian Poulter, and at one stage during the third round he was 7 shots ahead of Tiger, Phil Mickelson or anyone else. SEVEN SHOTS!!! It was in the bag. Lee would have to drop about a dozen shots to drop down to fifth place, to where my each-way bet wouldn’t bring me any money back. But chances were that he was gonna romp it. In my head I began counting my winnings: £10 at 25/1 is…er..£250, plus my stake back, that £260. That’s 86.6667 pints of Guinness in O’Neills (81.25 in The Crown). Even if Westwood stumbled a little and came in, say, 3rd I’d still get a percentage of the odds, enough for a pint and a curry in Khans.

Hang on a minute.

I logged onto to my online bookies, just to make sure I hadn’t put 50 quid on him (I had had a little drinky when I placed the bet) and thus about to become a very rich man indeed.

Sadly I hadn’t bet 50 pounds each-way, or even 10 pounds each way. I had, for reasons best known to God and Arthur Guinness, placed ten pounds on Lee Westwood to win. TO WIN! No-one bets to win on anyone but Tiger. No-one except bad, drunk, amateur gamblers, that is. As I looked up from my computer screen, Lee’s lead had been cut to three shots. The one shot. Then he was level. Then he was one shot behind. Bollocks. By the end of play Westwood was again top of the leaderboard, but by one shot from Mickelson, with Tiger looming ominously only a couple of shots back.

So that’s that, then. My one chance in 20 years to clean up at The Masters gone, duck-hooked out-of-bounds, sliced into the long grass. Unless it isn’t and Westwood holds strong and wins. In which case I shall celebrate by drinking just enough to put on a well-judged wager. Lib Dems at 200-1 one look tempting. On the nose, of course.

Another Unpleasant Valley Sunday

Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

Kris Kristofferson (who liked a slurp)

There’s no nicer weekend than the weekend when the clocks go forward. It’s the recognised start of Spring, the end of those long, cold dark nights and those short, cold dark days. Makes a man feels good. Unless, of course you caught the BBC weather forecast that says it’s going to snow heavily on Thursday. Snow. In April. Someone’s having a laugh and, as usual, it’s not me.
Adding to my woes this fine Sunday morning was the fact I had to go to work. So let’s get this straight. I get a one-day weekend AND I lose an hour in bed because of the clocks going forward ? Spiffing! Oh, and I’ll be in my duffel coat again by mid-week. Lovely.

To most, the switch to British Summer Time means they get up at 10am on a Sunday, rather than 9. For the insomniacs among us, who have the added privilege of sleeping on a bed of nails, it means waking up at six o’clock as opposed to the usual five. Christ, I’m tired. I’m definitely gonna change that sodding mattress this month. The springs poking out of it are giving my back the pattern of a Maori’s bicep.

I trudge wearily downstairs to put the kettle on. The birds in the garden had been up for a while and were in full, happy chorus. They’d all remembered to put their clocks forward, smug bastards. Tea in hand I switch on the tv and am greeted by the build-up to the Melbourne Grand Prix. It’s raining in Melbourne. Good. I only went there once and it was pissing down when I arrived. Looked like Croydon to me, not this sunny playground the Strines carp on about all the time. So it’s sunny in London and grey and wet in Melbourne? Good. I drank my tea then I went back to bed. It was still only 7.15.

I doze fitfully for an hour-or-so, but eventually have to concede that I am indeed off to work. The bathroom takes a battering as I off-load and de-clagg. More tea, a bowl of cereal , I pause to listen to Lewis Hamilton moan about his team’s strategy. They’d made him come into the pits and change tyres, thus scuppering his chances of winning. He was sulking like a seven year old boy stopped by his mum from having a kick-about in the street. I suspect that, now that Hamilton has sacked his dad from the management team, he wasn’t expecting anyone else to tell him to stop playing and come in to change.

Oh well, off to work. With the sun trying it’s damnedest to elbow it’s way though the clouds, a fine morning greets me. The daffodils on my front lawn are up and out and, ignoring the obvious Welsh connotations, look beautiful. In fact, the patterns they make on my lawn, along with the odd bluebell and the fox and cat shit, really is a design classic. Brer Fox and Brer Cat are heading arse-first into a goolie-kicking session, if I ever catch them. The words Ebay and Spud-gun enter my head.

So, with a spring (or rather a winter) in my step, I leave Railway Cuttings and stride up the deserted street (deserted as every other fucker is in bed, sleeping through the lost hour). At the end of the road I stroll into the station car park. It’s 9.20 and the Farmer’s Market is setting up at the far end of the lot. This is one of the Blackheath success stories. I may have mentioned before that there’s little more to the village than 6 curry houses, 7 pubs (sic) 8 hairdressers and 93 estate agents. If you want to rent a flat, have your highlights done and scoff Nepalese food, you’re in luck. There is a heel bar (Cobblers to the Pope), the world’s most expensive electrical store, a video store (closing down) and some kind of weird, gothic, travel agents which I’ve never seen anyone go into or come out of. Think of the fancy dress shop from Mr Benn and you’re nearly there.

There’s a Londis or a Happy Shopper, or something along those lines at the top of the hill (and, if it indeed is a Happy Shopper, they should be closed under the Trades Descriptions Act: no happy shoppers nor shopkeepers are to be found therein), plus a couple of little not-very-convenience stores in the valley of the village. But there’s nowhere you can buy a decent joint (meat, that is, not what the sell in the pub toilets round here), fresh veg, a good selection of dairy products (blessed indeed are those cheesemakers) and suchlike.

So with 10 minutes until my train was due (so therefore 17 minutes before it actually did) I afford myself a stroll around the now-familiar market stalls. Most were either setting up, or had done so and were waiting for the 10 o’clock start bell. There’s a fella who does a mean line in bacon butties and many of his fellow stallholders were chomping on his wares. The smell was torture. My previously-devoured bowl of Special K was having a hard time justifying itself as a proper breakfast. Top of the shop, nearest the station, is the vegetable stall. It’s one of three veg stalls in the market but is always the most popular, with the longest queues. The reason escapes me. Perhaps it’s cheaper than the others? though everything is relative, of course.

Nothing in this market is cheap. Keeps out the riff-raff, love. It’s selection of carrots and turnips, many of which have grown into rude and amusing shapes, will set you back a few quid more than the Tesco/Sainsburg “Washed-and-Scrubbed Winter Veg Selection (only 89p)” yet there’s always a long line of new-age yuppies, blue-rinse tories and the Barbour Brigade willing to through their hard-inherited sovereigns at these puveyors of fine-and-still-muddy produce. If you don’t believe queuing for a cauliflower could start Class War, come along with me next Sunday. You’ll be amazed by what and who winds me up.

Nextdoor we see a table, and a cash-till atop next to a pile of pears and a mound of apples. Now I know you’re imagining Cocker-ney yelps of “Ooo want’s yer Apples ‘n’ Pears-ah?” eminating from behind the table. No such luck, I’m afraid. This stall is selling organic apple cordial and organic pear squash. No, I never have! And judging by the lack of customers, nor has anyone else, since you’re asking.

One bloke I do hand over the Helen Reddies to is the Crazy Cheese Guy. Now I don’t know from where this aimiable, smiley man comes from , but I bet it ain’t South London. South Minsk would be a closer guess. Our conversation follows the same pattern each week:

“Wuld you like sum chiz, sur?” he asks
“Yuz pliz” I reply
“Crizy chiz?” he offers
“Crizy Chiz pliz” I confirm. Well, it keeps me happy for a few minutes.

Where the aforementioned Crazy Cheese is made, and from what I know not. But my little East European friend may as well leave all his other stock behind in the cow, sheep or goat from whence it came. It really is superb stuff. If you like the roof of your mouth being ripped off when you bite into a crusty cheese sandwich, then Crazy Cheese is the cheese for you. Go buy some. Pliz.

There are fishermen from Essex (“luvverly bit a Dover Sole, my sahn”); the milk and yoghurt woman, who sells lovely milk, but which keeps fesh for about three hours, then turns into yoghurt; and the roly-poly butcher with the complexion of one of his un-cooked cumberland sausage. At first meet, he seems a jolly enough chap (as us fatties tend to seem, at first meet), but after a while I’ve gotten the feeling that he actually thinks he’s doing me a favour by selling me 6 lamb n mint bangers and a leg of pork for 28 quid. No wonder he’s jolly. Fat cnt.

Finally there’s the bread guy: The Pointy Guy. Now he may-or-not be related to Mr Crizy Chiz, but it’s a fair bet that when he was growing up he was expecting for be fighting Chechen rebels before he got too much older. But whatever his upbringing in the Motherland, his bill of fare is sensational. Rosemary bread; walnut and raisin bread; olive bread; soda bread; bread bread; ciabatta; focaccia (which I believe is the BNP’s battle cry); baguettes and croissants. All of this, of course, is news to the Pointy Guy. He doesn’t know what he’s got.
You might go and say “A small ciabatta and a rosemary bread, my fine fellow”. He will give you a blank stare, then point to any loaf at random, raising both eyebrows and ask “Thiz wun?”
“That wun. And that wun” you reply (I can’t help myself).

I put it to you that, Farmers Market or not, the last time our Pointy Guy was on a farm he was wielding a shovel on the Russian Steppes rather than swinging a scythe in the Weald of Kent. And as for being a baker? Do me a favour. I reckon you might find him and his mate, 7 am every Sunday morning, on a street corner in Orpington waiting for a lift from a bloke called Dave (who makes bread and cheese in his garage). Dave drops these two blokes off in Blackheath, unloads the van of produce, leaving our two heroes to sell this stuff, completely unaware of what they’re purveying. Dave then buggers off home to have a bit of Sunday morning humpty with his (or someone else’s) missus. Hope she put her clock forward this morning. He might come too early.

Oh, and after all that, I missed my train to work. Arse.


Lost in Translation


Welcome back after the break.

“Where have you been?” I don’t hear you ask. Well here and there really, and mainly at work—which continues to pile on the hours stopping me from visiting one of her majesty’s hostelries, but more of work later.

Last Saturday, The Incumbent and I travelled on the EuroRattler to Gay Paris. It was my birthday weekend, and where better to celebrate it? The young lovers along the Seine; La Tour d’Eiffel; Le Metro; The Crap Pound vrs the Euro. We stayed with Trev and Sylvie (previously featured here) and had arranged to meet Mr Horrible (ditto) for an adult, sedate, celebration of the 45th anniversary of my birth.

I’d been hoping to deliver to Mr Horrible a gift which I ordered eons ago in part repayment for his kind loaning of his apartment in Normandy, earlier in the year. Sadly, it never arrived. Amazon keep telling me it’ll be here soon, but by the time they say they’ll dispatch it, the postmen will be warming themselves by the braziers outside Mount Pleasant, Mr Mandelson will be warming himself by god-knows-who and my package will disappear into the ether, lost for all money.

No matter, after a long and wrong afternoon in Trev’s flat, with just the four of us, the cat (yes, the cat) and enough cheese, pate and vintage vin to feed a BNP rally in Hertfordshire. Four Quatre Bon Viveurs and a chat, which, incidentally is what nearly did when I saw him. No worries, we batted and slurped on, and apart from losing the power of my eyes due to my chat allergy the evening went swimmingly and nothing untoward happened even when we went down the local eaterie later on, just in case we hadn’t troughed enough.

Dawn broke and we started again. Pressies and Poo for brekkie and we’re off on the toot again, where Monsieur Horride would join us for an afternoon nibble. Unfortunately he came too late to fully appreciate my wit and wisdom. The occasion had got the better of me and I was a tad elephants. I think he joined us just after the first mixed crate of cheeky blanc and rouge had been quaffed and within seconds of his arrival I’d lost the power of my legs and nez-dived into his crotch. He being American may do things differently to us back home, but I suspect even in upstate Nebraska (that’s a guess, and one I’ll pay for later) that the traditional thank you for lending a mate your apartment is probably not getting snuffled in the goolies by a bald Limey.

I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. A little later, back at Trev’s flat, I collapsed across the coffee table, into the take-away Chinese meal, which the girls had been enjoying. I’d lost the power of my legs twice in two hours. A mere 45 years old and I’ve already forgotten how to walk and how to drink. Bollocks. I was kinda hoping to quite a bit more of both before I snuff it.

Back in Blighty on Tuesday morning and not feeling at my peak, I get the fab news that everyone else in the world has called in sick and I am to run the main desk at work, which apart from anything else, means finding a front page photo, as well as overseeing every news pic in the paper that day. Not having done this sort of thing in about 15 years (and I’m not sure I was very good then), and having been on the slurp for three days previously doesn’t seem to be the ideal prep. Courage, mon ami.


The Leaving Time Magazine Speech

To be honest, as first days go, it wasn’t a complete disaster, all the pics went in the right way up, and The Times didn’t go bust overnight. There was one steaming turd in the water tank though: During the 12 hours I was in work that day, I lost a cufflink. Not just any cufflink, but one the Incumbent had given me as a Birthday present just two days earlier. Sod it. Sod it, sod it, sod it. In truth, when I told her, she took it better than I did. And, in truth, I’m still a little upset about it. But as none of my senses were working at their full capacity, I don’t suppose it’s completely surprising that everything didn’t go completely smoothly. I least I passed my inaugural newsroom test without completely fucking-up. I shall replace the cufflinks.

So that was my week. Nothing groundbreaking, just thought I’d catch up with you (my daughter Lucy complained that I was slacking).

No hang on, there was something else. Now what was it? Oh yes, I remember now: I lost $2,500 tonight. Wanna read that again? Two-and-a-half-thousand-dollars. U.S.

As my regular reader in will know I used to work from a different bunch of Yanks than I do now. That last lot used to give out stock options. And the longer you worked there, and the higher up the ladder you went, the more stock options they granted you. Since our friends in the city (hello boys) fucked it up for the rest of us last year, my options have been worth nothing. Not a sausage. Bugger all. But just as I plotted my escape from TIME, the price started gradually creeping up again. I’d get occasional letters from New York informing me of their progress, and like most of my kind (fat, old, lazy, er.. bloke) left the letters in that special place on the sideboard where all letters with windows stay.

Then, for reasons unfathomable to me, on Tuesday night I opened the latest one. There it was. There in black and cream I read I was worth, in their eyes at least, around $2,500. Quick-as-a-flash (well, 24 hours later) I dug out (well, The Incumbent dug out) my pin numbers and rushed home (well, after the pub) and called New York immediately (well, after we had tea). Stunned that I got though to the department I needed, and flabbergasted that I had indeed got all the information she needed from me, I was even more elated to hear the girl at the other end tell me that my options had elapsed on “10/3”. Sadly, that’s October 3rd, not March 10th. They were now nul-and-void. Worth nothing.



I have to go to IKEA at the weekend to buy a new door for the kitchen cabinet which I kicked several times very hard moments after I put the phone down. Hope I haven’t lost my wallet.

The One with the Waggily Tail

09_10_2008 - 16.54.31 - SUNFEA - email_bpst008b

You’re never alone with a Strand, so the advert went. Cobblers! You’re never alone with a dog, I say. Unconditional love, always happy to see you and, if nothing else, if you’re all alone in a big house with the windows rattling and the stairs creaking, you can always rely on your hound to get as spooked as you are and curl up in bed next to you and keep you company.

As someone funny once said, when the doorbell goes, a dog more-often-than-not will rush towards it, as if it’s for him, when it invariably isn’t. Dogs are like 2 year-old kids: ever-loving, trusting and smiley, even when they’re pooing on your carpet. I met one the other day called Arthur, an excitable little chap, who wagged his tail at anyone he caught smiling at him and rolled over for his tummy to be tickled . Wish I could do that.

Dogs smell and moult and slobber on your furniture and whine when they want to go out and keep you up at night howling and chew the legs of your chairs and jump up on you with their muddy paws and skid across the lawn rubbing their arses and sniff each others arses and your goolies and lick their balls and yours and knock ornaments off shelves with their waggy tails, oh and they have a penchant for shagging your leg. But they do ALL this with their tongue hanging out and an inane grin across their doggy faces. They are comedy animals. Yes, always been a fan of yer canine.

But not cats. Evil, spiteful little things. Satan’s children. If there’s a cat section on ‘You’ve been Framed’ I turn it off. If there’s a Franklin Mint plate with kittens on it advertised in the Observer Magazine I refuse to part with my “four easy payments of £49.99”. Cats show no interest in you as you walk in the door (unless they’re starving), and even if you do feed them then go into the garden and half kill, half kill, mind you, some poor dicky bird or frog, bring it back into the kitchen where it squirms around the floor until you accidentally step on it with your bare feet or have to put it out of its misery with the aid of a hoover attachment. Cats are definitely not comedy animals. Horrible little bastards. And they know who in the room is allergic or has a phobia of them, as that’s the poor sod who the moggy makes for to march all over their laps, or bury its claws into their bum. Little fuckers.

So it was with great surprise and not a little mirth that I received a link for The first and only time I have laughed-out-loud at anything feline since Clarence in Daktari. If I’m ever forced at gunpoint to own a puss, I want this one:


or this one


This bloke has gone a bit too far (or even a Bridge Too Far), if you ask me


And there’s the added bonus that, once you’ve stopped laughing, you’d have no qualms in kicking the little sod up the arse.