Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: 10 things

10 things every man should own

To be a man, a real man, there are certain things you should own, that should be at your disposable whenever a situation to use them arises. Things that when produced amongst other men gain you the nod of respect. Things that get you back some masculinity in a world of anti ageing creams, spray tans and spinning classes. So here they are in all their glory, the top 10 things every man should own:

  1. Cordless power drill; for shelves, or just to make machine gun noises. Even better if you have a work belt to hang it from. Plus of course you’ll have to buy a variety of drill bits, bonus points if you get a really long drill bit for drilling through walls.
  2. Wetsuit; a wetsuit shows that you may be a dad and have responsibilities but you can still walk down the beach in neoprene splendor and attempt to catch a few waves. You’re manly enough to wear something that no one looks attractive and become one with nature, just like the cavemen would have.
  3. Radiator bleeding key; surely there is no more manly job than bleeding a radiator, the modern day equivalent of providing a fire for your family?
  4. BBQ; cooking in the 21st century is manly, it’s what real men do. So cooking on real fire, from coals of course, is the ultimate. Particularly as it’s also a perfect excuse to cook MEAT.
  5. Jump leads; how can you rescue a damsel in distress if you don’t have jump leads?
  6. Spirit level; you know those shelves you put up with your drill? Well you have to make sure they’re level don’t you? Plus any time you’re doing DIY having a spirit level at least makes it look like you know what you’re doing
  7. Games console; and no a Wii doesn’t count, an Xbox or a Playstation are the name of the game. Throw in Call of Duty and you’re pretty much there, even if you do have to wait for your wife to go to bed before you can use the TV.
  8. A beer fridge; preferably kept in your man cave, even if it does contain more Rose than beer.
  9. Whisky collection; a real man settles down in the evening with a single malt, but you can’t just have one can you? You must have a selection, preferably containing some from Islay and of course a collection into double figures will make all your mates jealous
  10. Star Wars Trilogy on DVD (extra points for the digitally re-mastered Blu-ray version). The first 3 movies of course, you know the proper ones no man gets any credit for the modern ones.

P.S. If you really want know what to get your man this christmas you could do a lot worse that this fine book featuring some amazing dad bloggers.

10 things I learned in New Zealand

I know, I know another bloody blog post about New Zealand, well I’d forgotten that I had started this one so you’re having it whether you like it or not. Here are my 10 top things that I learned in New Zealand.

  1. New Zealand drivers are in no hurry; the speed limit in New Zealand is 100 kmh on everywhere outside towns, this is pretty slow on a quiet open highway but no matter the Kiwi drivers on the whole went much slower. Apart from the lorry drivers who steam around like they’re formula 1 drivers. Not only do the locals drive slowly they will also pull out in front of you on a highway and then ever so slowly get up speed. It’s not as though the roads are busy and they need to grab their chance, but they seem determined to join the road when THEY want.
  2. You soon learn how to manage your activities on a 3 hour cycle; that is Matilda’s time clock and woe betide anyone who tries to change it. Any time we wanted to drive somewhere or do an activity it was finish her feed and then go go go! Maximise the time before her next feed was needed.
  3. How to cook the best 1 pot meal; when you are cooking in a camper van with a small hob and small sink to wash up you soon learn how to minimise the use of pans. I am now a master at making pasta with a tomato sauce and bacon, with just a frying pan and a fork.
  4. Matilda is fascinated with eyes and if you’re not careful will poke you in them; there we were having some quality time at the campsite, rubbing noses, smiling and laughing when WHAM finger in the eye.
  5. How to eat dinner in the dark; Matilda goes to bed at 6.30pm, the van was our home and transport, so once in bed torchlight was our only option. Certainly heightens your sense of taste, although sleeping in sheets covered in pasta sauce isn’t so glamorous.
  6. New Zealand is where old brands go to die; if you’ve ever wondered where companies take old brands to die wonder no more, I have found the place and it is Pack and Save in New Zealand. I’m sure this branding was in the UK in the early 90’s?tea 2Tea 1
  7. Nowhere is open for dinner at 4.30pm; as above having to have Matilda asleep in the van by 6.30pm means if you want to have dinner out it needs to be early. But have you ever tried to find somewhere serving dinner at this time? And no, bar snacks or ‘just starters’ doesn’t constitute dinner. We soon learned to have lunch out and a light dinner in the van.
  8. You realise how much water you use when you have to fill up each day; seriously, all we used it for was drinking and a little bit of washing up, yet we got through GALLONS. It was pretty bloody scary, imagine what it would be like if we had a toilet and a shower in there also? Really makes you think about what you use at home when you have a dishwasher and a washing machine also. No wonder there is a water shortage.
  9. Don’t lean forward on an automatic flush toilet; I learned this very valuable lesson in Singapore airport, if you are sitting for the performance as it were and lean forward for say extra leverage then there is a chance the toilet may flush all by itself. Then really it becomes a bidet doesn’t it? It is also a mighty shock to the system when you have been on a plane for 13 hours with a baby and are knackered I can tell you.
  10. Kiwi’s LOVE venison; or at least I assume they do given that there were miles and miles of deer farms throughout the country. A very odd sight, seeing so many massive deer penned it by big wire fences. My only encounter with deer on the trip was a rather tasty ‘Bambi’ burger in Queenstown.

10 things you don’t know about me

Tom has tagged me in this meme that is doing the rounds, the idea being to share things with your readers that they might not know about you. An interesting meme this one and I think probably one that is going to be harder to answer than it looks. So here we go, 10 things that you most probably don’t know about me;

  1. When I was a kid I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, I also wasn’t going to under any circumstances be stuck in an office. That went according to plan didn’t it? If I won the lottery today though I would immediately buy a small holding and grow some pigs.
  2. I’ve had lots of nicknames growing up, especially given that I played rugby from the age of 6 so you inevitably get lots of banter. The most random was ‘necky’, for no other reason than someone once shouted at me “oi you, the one with the neck” and that was it, I was now necky for the next 5 years.
  3. Given the choice Walkers Prawn Cocktail would be more first choice of crisp every time
  4. I broke the big toe on my right foot skiing 10 years ago; my toe nail has never grown properly since. It falls off at least once a year and is wonky.
  5. I own a Playstation 3 but have never played a game on it; instead we use it to watch TV via Play TV or movies.
  6. I lived in Vancouver for a year when I took a gap year aged 19. It was an awesome year working in a private school teaching PE in the day and skiing at the weekends. Vancouver is in my top 3 places I would consider emigrating to.
  7. It really pisses me when people assume it is ok to shorten my name to Ben from Benjamin. No problem being called Ben just the assumption that it should be shortened.
  8. The dress code to our leaving event from Sixth Form was smart dress, so I wore a smart dress.
  9. When I was 15 I had my one rebellious moment and died my hair black, if you look at a photo of me you can see that this is about as far from my natural colour as you can get. My motivation was that I wanted to have black hair with blonde roots, the exact opposite of all the losers bleaching their hair and having blonde hair with black roots.
  10. I proposed to my wife in the ruins of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall because legend says that is where King Arthur proposed to Guinevere. I know, very romantic and enough romance for at least 10 years right?

So what do you think? Freak or unique?