My parents were in the war… so ice cream is dear to my heart

19 September, 2010 Leave a comment

New blog post on the Ecobomb site. A few thoughts for 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


The Meaning of Life – according to Highbury

11 September, 2010 Leave a comment

Christ Church in Highbury put up signs advertising a course. Ten signs all saying the same thing: “The meaning of life is…..”
I’ve no idea whether they meant people to fill in the blank – but the did. These photos are taken two days after the signs were put up – and the answers reveal so much about my neighbours. Click here or the pictures to get the full set of 10.

Girls’ Dealbreakers

25 August, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday India Knight mentioned dealbreakers on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour programme and lots of people picked it up on twitter.  In fact, there’s an individual dealbreakers twitter account as well set up by a lady called Emily.

I remembered that in February 2004, when dating dealbreakers was a very relevant topic for me, I’d done a survey in the office and found that lots of people had a list. And as I had the list of dealbreakers for guys to hand yesterday, I put it up here.

So, here’s the full story. In pseudo-scientific way, I’ve included the question I asked – and all the responses are in the order they were submitted and are unedited.

The email I sent to colleagues: “Recent discussions have led me to try to put together a list of minor quibbles that a yound woman might have with a man. you know – those tiny things you notice where you suddenly think “oh no, this is never going to work…”. We’re talking the immediate turn-offs, dealbreakers. give me your suggestions and i’ll put together a list for a vote…”

The Summary: “hardly scientific, but in summary…

– girls seem to have a greater tendency to pick up the small details early on – spotting things which are immediate turn-offs. ones which got lots of votes were: bad teeth, white socks (not on a gym day) and there were various opinions on hair – but the gist was that back/neck not ideal.

– boys have a tendency not to pick up small details at first – tends to be the obvious physical points – but then can build a big list of what i’d call bug-bears later on – attitudinal things which they notice once they’re in a relationship.”

GIRLS will find the following things about BOYS a “dealbreaker”…

  1. * someone who gets their nails done
  2. * someone who spends more time in the bathroom than you
  3. * use of the word “lounge” or “toilet” (as in “I’m just going to the toilet”)
  12. * TIGHT WITH MONEY (ed. jeesus – you have to get it just right, don’t you!!)
  13. * puts x at the bottom of a text when he hardly knows you
  14. * hairy back
  15. * hairy chest
  17. * comb-overs – go bald with grace!!
  18. * hairy backs of necks
  20. * bright white trainers
  21. * bright white trainers with jeans
  23. * wears briefs, or God forbid speedos to the beach
  24. * being effeminate
  25. * Obssessed by any sport!
  26. * Into crap music but thinks he’s cool
  27. * Maniac driver
  28. * Sexist
  29. * Bleaching of any kind
  30. * Sweaty armpits – that is insistent on displaying – bo of any kind
  31. * Fast cars
  32. * Men who lean in too close and spit on you as they gibber at you.
  33. * brummie accent
  34. * tracksuit bottoms
  35. * won’t dance/ can’t dance
  36. * general scratching
  37. * bad table manners
  38. * sweaty/ clammy hands
  39. * Excessive PDAs (Public Displays of Affection for anyone not in the know!)
  40. * Dwarf qualities
  41. * BAD TEETH
  42. * sitting strangely
  43. * Goatees
  44. * Men who collect anything (this happened to an old flatmate of mine. She went to a new man’s house for the first time to find his bed
  45. covered in soft toys).
  46. * Men who spend an excessive amount of time in the gym
  47. * Men who still see their ex girlfriend. A lot. And alone.
  48. * Men who refer to you as ‘babe’
  49. * Men who still live with their parents
  50. * Men who drink wine in the pub (maybe that’s just me)
  51. * no socks
  52. * no socks and loafers
  53. * Men who sit with their legs excessively wide apart
  54. * Picks his nose
  55. * Uses excessive amounts of hair gel
  56. * Overly tactile and clingy
  57. * or not tactile AT ALL
  58. * Carries a man-bag
  60. * walking strangely
  61. * non-manly hands
  62. * sends red roses (ed. too much cliche apparently, not enough imagination)
  63. * books a romantic weekend for two – but chooses paris
  64. * being too masculine… farting in bed, etc.
  65. * bad breath
  66. * man without a plan
  67. * makes comments on your weight/eating
  68. * being a football hoolie
  69. * cheapness
  70. * white socks on non gym days
  71. * high trousers
  72. * Cheap Argos jewellary and lots of it
  73. * Crap Ringtones on fones ( i.e. feminine ringtones)
  74. * more make up than me
  75. * Hair worn brushed forward with pleanty of gel re prime trisha contestant
  76. * fussy eaters
  77. * brogue wearers
  78. * nasal hair
  79. * small hands
  80. * using a carrier bag as a main bag (i.e some men carry lots of stuff with them in carrier bags)
  81. * carrying loads of stuff in trouser pockets
  82. * Long Finger nails and long toe nails
  83. * Extra Long Last finger nail
  84. * Masses of Armpit hair

Boys’ Dealbreakers

24 August, 2010 1 comment

Some years ago I came across the concept of dealbreakers when a female friend chucked a bloke on a third date because two dealbreakers combined:

1. his use of language: he used the word toilet instead of loo/bathroom, as in ‘I’m going to the toilet’. And he said ‘lounge’ rather than front room / sitting room. I know, bizarre. This was combined with  2. his use of jewellery: he had a pinky ring and wore a thin gold chain round his neck. Combined with no.1 this was just too much.

So, I did a survey round the office – and it turns out that almost everyone has some kind of dealbreaker – however relaxed they say they are – however much they only care about the character.

Today, as India Knight has mentioned her dealbreakers on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I thought I’d post the dealbreakers that my then work colleagues came up with. If you’re faint of heart, then read with a gentle health warning – these comments are word-for-word what was written down and in the order that they were sent to me. Enjoy, and please post your own below.

I’ll post the Girls’ dealbreakers tomorrow.

BOYS will find the following things about GIRLS a “dealbreaker”…

  1. her hands are more manly than yours /   nails bitten raw
  2. insists on driving with her nose right up against the steering wheel when there’s no need at all
  3. she’s plump but still has a pierced belly button (and it really doesn’t work…)
  4. Too much make-up, or wears any base/foundation whatsoever
  5. Eats more than you at dinner
  6. Drinks pints
  7. Has big feet (ed. forgiveable if there’s a pay-off…)
  8. Has a wonderbra disguising a tiny bust. (If they’re small, that’s fine, just don’t dress them up to be something they’re not) (ed. also known as Millenium Dome Syndrome – ie looks big from the outside but fuck all to see when you get in there)
  9. False Titties!!
  10. Cellulite
  11. Smelly (fishy in particular) noony
  12. fat ankles
  13. Insists on telling you a non edited version of her day
  14. Thinks that its no longer taboo to talk freely about periods
  15. Wear those really horrible half tight popsock things
  16. Thinks they can get away without shaving their legs
  17. Turns regular events into moments, eg don’t you remember this is the place we had our first larger top etc etc
  18. speaking with your mouthful
  19. girls who give more attention to their cat/dog than you.
  20. cant stand aftershave
  21. takes all the pillows
  22. earns more than u and cant stop talkny about it/making reference
  23. film watching – asks questions you cant know the answer to,
  24. Starts talking in coo chi coo
  25. she has a brummy accent
  26. she laughs with a piercing cackle
  27. she’s carrying a few pounds but still thinks she is entitled to wear a bear midriff top or worse a thong
  28. she replies to very question with I don’t mind (apart from the saucy ones that is)
  29. She thinks she has a good signing voice and would go far on fame academy
  30. Has had a “difficult past”
  31. Never buys a round
  32. Everything’s an allergy
  33. At dinner don’t notice that they have got mayonnaise on their chin even though it has been there 10 minutes
  34. Insist on putting that lip gloss stuff on that makes you feel like you are kissing a post it note
  35. Get lip stick on your glass when they want to try a bit of beer (ditto cigs)
  36. Don’t understand that lying in front of the TV on a Saturday does constitute “doing something”
  37. Indicates when driving when only a slight swerve is necessary
  38. Wears trainers with a suit skirt
  39. After you have finished a telephone conversation with a friend she asks you if you asked him a certain question when she has been listening all along anyway and knows you haven’t.
  40. has a bigger dick than u
  41. red heads….no hair just a red head
  42. long hair down her back…none on her head just all down her back.
  43. more than usual allocation of fingers and toes.
  44. always sporting a camels toe.
  45. think that men don’t mind standing aimlessly in ‘birds’ shops feeling like an arse (apart from Top shop where chairs are provided)
  46. can’t understand that guys will know what they want, where it is and how much it costs and will only spend the absolute minimum shopping for it.
  47. always always asking ‘does my bum look big in this’, when her bum IS BIG, and looks big in everything.
  48. freely admits that blow jobs aren’t her thing.
  49. Has the ability to come home bladdered and wake you up to tell you every detail of the night – yes ….every detail
  50. Inability to open doors quietly past midnight after one glass of white wine
  51. The need to phone 40 times of an evening on her journey home – again after one glass of white wine
  52. very hairy nipples
  53. Shoes shoes shoes and more shoes
  54. Your clothes always get the smallest amount of room in cupboards and draws
  55. Loo seat always has to be down
  56. Thinks it is ok to go to the loo while your in the shower……..going to the loo
  57. If you forget to put a ‘x’ at an end of an email/text gets in a huff
  58. Can’t pronounce the names of certain wines
  59. Makes you watch the full series of Sex in the City and Friends on dvd
  60. Never happy when going to the cinema if they have not picked the film
  61. she uses all the towels in the bathroom because she ‘needs to’ – usually cos she’s washed her hair.
  62. she spends an hour on the phone to someone she’s going to see 20 minutes after the call ends.

Film Trilogies – rated and visualised

27 July, 2010 Leave a comment

Naming of Names part 2

27 July, 2010 Leave a comment

I am at Splashdown in sunny Poole, Dorset, on England’s south coast.

I’ve climbed to the top-most water flume to have a go at The Screamer.

A group of german school children are ahead of me and behind me in the queue.

My turn comes.

I swipe my pass and settle into position. I watch the red light and wait with anticipation for amber, then green.

Suddenly, from nowhere, a chant goes up. “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!…” the german kids begin to shout.

I see the green light.

I turn. I bless them.

And I dive down the chute.

100 views from the tower

12 July, 2010 1 comment

In March 2009, I started work for a media company based on the 19th floor of 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf – also known as the tower. This is a photo journal of the view from my desk. Click here or any of the images below to go to the slideshow.

The view is looking west across London with the River Thames in the foreground, the Gherkin and Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest Tower) in the distance on the right and the BT tower in the far distance. My favourites are the sunsets, the snow and the window cleaner.

Almost all shots were taken with an iPhone 3, those of higher quality/more zoom were a Canon Ixus 430. Oh, and it took me till shot 15 to standardise the position of the camera.

June's summer sun

Christmas lights

Visitor outside

The view from my desk: 100 image slideshow

Naming of names

1 July, 2010 Leave a comment

This week I have been called five names.

Three were by colleagues to my face: beardy (unimaginative but accurate), Teen Wolf and Harry from Harry and the Hendersons

One was  by an old duffer at the golf club: Ned Kelly

And the final was the traditional salutation of  “Gingaaaaaah” yelled from a passing white van. I would have doffed my cap if a cap would fit on my head.

So, I ask you… can you see any likeness?

Harry of Harry and the Hendersons

Ned Kelly

Teen Wolf

beard love at Hyde Park gig

65 days in: Speech-less

3 May, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, so it went on more than I thought it was going to. There were a lot of lists, and a lot of thanks to cover.  Sorry. I hope you had a seat.

It looked something like this.

4 days in: Andy boo’s the choir

3 March, 2010 1 comment

He didn’t boo them – he boo’d them.Not because they were bad, you see – in fact Andy was in the choir and was recording it at the time. Yes, Swing Low and Flower of Scotland as recorded in the choir loft. You can listen to it on Audioboo here.

You should have seen the look David (my new father-in-law) was giving me during Swing Low… he thought they were just going to do that one! No-one had any idea that either rugby anthem was on the way… and David genuinely thought it was just going to be the English tune. The look said “bloody sassanach”….

3 days in: Post-script and pictures

2 March, 2010 Leave a comment

Day 3 of Marriage: Not really the time for blogging.  This is more of a post-script to Saturday’s tremendous occasion. More of a proper follow-up later.

We had the most wonderful day of our lives and we can’t thank enough all the people who played a role in that. Thank you.

For pics of the day:

  • Dapple’s – a couple from the pub and plenty of crackers from the party – especially nice from the DJ’s vantage point.
  • Graham’s – lovely shots in the church pre-match, the bride’s arrival and a couple from the crows-nest of the choir loft, then party shots and some from round the piano

and if you’re on facebook check out Alison Clough’s, Siobhan Furlong’s and Alicia Blum-Ross’s.

And a few of mine here.

4 hours to go: Excitement in a taxi

27 February, 2010 2 comments

I’m in the back of a cab on my way to drop off some stuff at RIBA.
I’ve got that pit-of-stomach tightness.
Had a lovely 9 holes with Mr Walker this morning – sun dappling through the trees, rain holding off and I played ok too.
Excitement is building all round – the social networks are abuzz with best wishes and chatter. Thanks to everyone.
Steve’s back at my place – rewriting the rewrite. Nerves all round.

Wedding Travel update: the Victoria line’s out so go to Arsenal tube on the Piccadilly line – the walk’s shorter too!

this may be my last post as a single man. come on….

1 day to go: Speech time

26 February, 2010 2 comments

If you know me at all, you know that I love good process and planning. And graphs. And lists. I make lists. And then lists of lists.

Check a search for Groom Speech online and you, broadly speaking, get a series of  links that would lead you down the path of banality. Luckily, I don’t need to use any of these suggested “jokes”, romantic notes or pre-prepared prose. I have a list to rely on. Having said that, if you’ve got suggestions, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of crowdsourcing so bung ’em in.

Of course, I get the easy job: thank people, make multiple mentions of “my wife” to rapturous applause and remember to toast the beautiful bridesmaids. I’m told that the BF, David, will have some things to say. He usually does. Based on what he said about the other daughter, FSIL Sarah, on her wedding day, it should be the most entertaining speech you’ve ever heard. No pressure David. And then there’s the BM, Steve. Such a good and supportive job so far. Such a good stag do. And I have every confidence he’ll deliver with aplomb.

Right. Better get it written then. Now, which ppt template to use…


24 February, 2010 Leave a comment

PHEW – I’m glad i got that out of my system. better now. woke at 5.30 with a stonking headache – a sense of excitement, apprehension, trepidation and a list of things that need to get done. oh, and Old Red Eyes by The Beautiful South going round my head. pre-match nerves are a good thing though, right? – otherwise you wouldn’t enter the field of play geared up and ready to go.

anyway, tension always builds when you’re in the last days approaching a big product launch… the FMA conversion process being the most valuable project I’ve managed and this is definitely going to be the biggest party I ever have or ever will organise.

Obviously none of this has anything to do with being out on the town (liverpool) with some of the TMR management team and finishing the night with a Hemingway.

Rehearsal tonight. That’ll help calm everyone down then.

6 days to go: Last Lasts and the BEST rsvp

21 February, 2010 Leave a comment

Less than a week to go now. Excitement with the FMA is so intense she will, actually, burst unless work can take her mind off next Saturday. Obviously I’m still completely unruffled. Looking forward to the skiing though. Oh, and the cakes (there’s going to be a good selection) and the party. And maybe the church bit. And all the rest to come…

The “Last Last” Syndrome has kicked in good and proper. The last saturday night out as a single man. The last haircut (sorry mum, I was never going to go back to the short, back and sides). The last friday at work, the last time of going to church, … the list goes on.

BUT, enough of all that. Firstly, I have to show you the BEST rsvp. My hat, real and virtual, tipped to Uncle George.

And just to be complete, another “last”,  the last of the stats:


19 February, 2010 Leave a comment

“I’m just Soooooo excited!! It’s ridiculous!” she says.  “In a week’s time…”

“Do you get nervous? I get these ridiculous ideas that i’m going to accidentally fall over and smash my nose in. Of getting a massive spot – or falling over and scratching my face, or smashing my teeth in. ”

No, I can honestly say I don’t get that kind of nervousness. The producer (natural control freak) in me gets concerned that every detail of arrangements might not go according to plan – but then I remember it’s quite simple: Vows then Party. Otherwise, no, no nerves. But I do get a warm glow from knowing I’ve made a cracking choice – perhaps that’s similar.

Good catch-up with Rod and Max today at The Story.  And I’m delighted to see how many facebook friends keep in touch. As we go into the last week, welcome all.

15 days to go: The FMA – what does it *really* mean?

12 February, 2010 1 comment

The Future Mrs Ayers?

The first step for most inquisitive people is simply to try googling it… and google has some pertinent suggestions as to the real meaning of The FMA:

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17 days to go: A Stag Stumbles

10 February, 2010 1 comment

The other one is svelte

It wouldn’t be a stag do if nobody got injured – and I mean more than the battering taken by our livers.

At last night’s choir Andy hobbled in and revealed that, having eschewed the sensible taxi in favour of more shenanagins on Saturday night, he was then required to walk back to Banbury Farm. But, being a towny, he hadn’t factored in that it would be dark – pitch black, in fact. And that’s when accidents occur. See image of what happens when you’re inebriated and fall into a pothole. There is also a vague memory of taking a nap in a hedge for a while. Unsubstantiated.

20 days to go: RSVP update

7 February, 2010 Leave a comment

20 days to go: Blokes, Booze and Banter

7 February, 2010 1 comment

Back in Black

An open letter to those in Charlbury in the last 48 hours:

Dear Gentlemen,

It was a simple recipe and one that worked tremendously well. Blokes, booze and banter. Thank you all for coming and for contributing to such a celebration of, er, whatever it was we were celebrating.

Another b, barrels, used well for drinking from and, earlier in the day, the over and under kind used with some success against the clays. The speeches at the end of dinner were great – and would only be better if I could remember what was actually said.

And finally I must give my thanks particularly to the brothers – BM Steve and FBIL Ferg  – who combined brilliantly to organise everything. Gentlemen, I can’t thank you enough.

Pictures: Dapple’s are here and Steve’s are here.

If I don’t see you before, see you in 20 days.

big love. that is all. carry on. as you were.

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