The Remarkable Joe Connolly and his boys incl. The unseemly incident of the board eraser and the superglue.

Now it’s around this time of year as schools go back after the summer holidays, that I get to being nostalgic for the old chalk and talk routine. It is six years, give or take, since I set foot in a classroom and with each passing year, the thought that never again will I have thirty rapt faces, hanging on my every word (even if it is only outlining the perils that befall them if they don’t hang their coats and bags outside my room) catches me unawares.  I miss it you see, which is funny as when I am still working, each eve of a new school year, like every Sunday night, but much worse, fills me with trepidation and dread.

And before people start hollering ‘hypocrite’ and other Latin words; there is much about the job I never care if I never see ever again, such as ‘computerised admin systems’, ‘standardised assessments’ and truckloads of spurious, meaningless pupil data, that follows them round, year on year like a bad smell. Of course I like to keep up to date with educational debates. In fact I laugh like a drain when I hear IT is now to be referred to as Computer Science. Who knows, at this rate it isn’t long before we see the return of Divinity and the teaching of Rhetoric.

But listen; today you are in luck for you are about to get three stories for the price of one – which is pretty good value I reckon in these times of austerity, though I am not one hundred per cent sure where I get cut in on the deal.

Still, the last school I teach at is called Kingsmead an old 11 – 18 Secondary Modern turned comprehensive, which sees its fair share of ups and downs, mainly downs and is located on the edge of a trading estate in South Harrow. After I take up my post, my attention is soon drawn to a Maths teacher, who appears to be of an endangered species – if you believe Mr. Gove and the Tory Party, an extraordinarily gifted and inspirational teacher.  Joe Connolly. Now although I never actually see one of his lessons, his classroom is located next to the staff room with a connecting door, which he is in the habit of leaving open so many a time I hear Joe’s lessons and come to the conclusion that here is a guy who knows what’s what, has a genuine interest in crumbchasers and their welfare, has zero problems with discipline and a good sense of humour.

And he never wears a tie.

Well it so happens that I am not long at Kingsmead when Joe, a single man, begins the adoption process of first one 11 year old boy Danny, and then his younger brother David – and here you’ll have to forgive me, because as for the detail about the process, the boys’ circumstances and backgrounds, I know very little; which I appreciate seems like sloppy writing, but the truth being: private matter, I never think it my place to ask.

Suffice to say, however that these are very troubled boys, particularly Danny, who displays challenging behaviour from the outset. Joe gives the boys a decent home, cares for them and nurtures them. Not only this, but Danny and later David come to Kingsmead. Personally, a greater sacrifice I cannot imagine, as naturally the bulk of Danny and David’s teachers circumvent the school’s disciplinary procedures to complain about the boys’ behavior directly to him.

Young people at school. Causing trouble. Probably

Young people at school. Causing trouble. Probably

I teach Danny when he is in Year 8. It is a good job I have eyes in the back of my head and a few other places besides, as he is a handful sure enough. Anyway, I am teaching them about ‘Guernica’ which is a painting by Picasso he makes in 1937 – as Communist and staunch supporter of the Republican cause/He has no other ideas what to paint (Delete as appropriate)

To try and make it a bit more easy to understand I compare it to the despicable mortar bombing of the Sarajevo Marketplace which just happens.


Now one Monday morning Joe stops me in the staffroom and says like this.

‘We are at IKEA at the weekend, Danny, David and me, when all of a sudden Danny stops and says: It’s that Picture!’

He sees a reproduction of ‘Guernica’ and goes on to explain what it is all about; that there is a war sometime in Spain and this war is a Civil War, like the war in Bosnia. And the artist paints a picture of it and his name is Picasso. It seems Danny gathers a bit of an audience as he tells his tale, one of whom turns out to be an Art Lecturer at the University of something or other, who congratulates him on his explanation. Well, as you can imagine, I am delighted with what proves to be a highlight of my time at Kingsmead.

Well, from the get-go no one will give you odds of 100 to 1 that Danny makes it to the end of year 7, let alone year 11. But he does … Well almost.

You see Danny has a long running spat with his Maths teacher Deputy Head and school sex pest Mr Garter, in his lesson one day as the end of the school year is in sight he exacts a spectacular, not to say audatious humiliation of his nemesis. While Garter, King of the Comb-Overs, who walks like he has a pound coin between his butt cheeks, is not looking, nimble-fingered Danny squirts the whiteboard eraser with superglue. You can imagine the rest. Truly, there is a weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42) It is the Straw which Breaks the Camel’s Back (Glasgow Central 16:45) and Danny is banished into the wilderness.

Whereupon Danny gets a job and buys a scooter.

Danny and David are all growed up now. In fact Danny’s son Barry will be starting secondary school soon. I wonder if he goes to Kingsmead?

Please note names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

C Andy Daly 2013


… all of which goes to prove that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drunk.

Now, where was I?

Ah Yes. I have here scribbled on the back of my hand in biro ‘Write about bones’.  So I will.

A handful of broken ribs – which point to the likelihood of a punctured lung, four or five fractured vertabrae, a broken ankle and a dislocated shoulder and elbow.

No. Not the haul from some archeological dig, but the injury list after Rye House Rockets speedway team play host the Ipswich Witches in a League Cup clash. The riders who take to the track in this particular form of motor sport on powerful 500cc machines without brakes, are sanguine about the possibility of injury. The stock reply when quizzed is

‘Well, that’s Speedway isn’t it?

And indeed it is.

Not surprisingly, you find exactly the same mindset in the more glamourous, higher profile, yet equally dangerous ‘road racing’ classes of motorcycle sport, for example Moto GP and Superbikes.

The Moto GP race from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last week was an exciting three way battle to effectively see whose collarbone lasted the longest.  Dani  Pedrosa whose bone was not plated after his injury and was therefore relying on nature to take its course.  Jorge Lorenzo, who broke his in practice at Assen in June, flew home to Barcelona to have it plated that evening, returning the following day to ride to fifth position!  –  (only to high side at the Sachsenring in the very next GP and twist the titanium plate, meaning fresh surgery as a result). Then there was rookie Marc Marquez leading the championship in his first year. He dislocated his collarbone in the morning at Silverstone yet rode to second in the afternoon GP race.

Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez locos!

Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez locos!

Not surprisingly, the motorcycling fraternity have a robust lack of sympathy for other sportspeople, particularly top flight professional footballers who over-dramatise or feign injury. While many a time I have seen speedway or ‘road racers’ dust themselves off after the most appalling looking falls or collisions and rejoin a race, or if the referee so decides, to take part in a re-run.

Safety First!

Improvements in safety at road circuits in recent years, such as gravel run-offs have meant far fewer serious injuries or fatalities, likewise in Speedway, where air fences are mandatory in GPs and the Elite League (Though not in the lower leagues) But this in itself means the bar becomes raised a notch higher, with some riders prepared to take even greater risks resulting in what seems to be a worrying trend to riders succumbing to multiple injuries.

And so to this week’s quiz. Whose legs are these?


Cheap Laughs

Some readers may find aspects this post offensive, therefore it may not be suitable for persons of a … Well you know what I mean

I think some of you may be aware of the love/hate (mostly hate) relationship I have with Swedish giant IEKA. But, as well as being a source of cheap furniture (if you believe the marketing) did you know IEKA can also be the source of cheap laughs?  courtesy of the game ’Rude, Suggestive and Silly IEKA names’.

We paid a visit yesterday and as a result came away relatively unscathed and with some products for Autumn and Winter 2013 which may not have found their way into the IEKA catalogue.

Try some of your own!


Who says the living room isn’t a suitable place for a dump?

Dump TV storage combination. Fully adjustable shelves. The ultimate media solution.

Fäg hag

A compact put-me up for those ‘unexpected’ guests.


Scented tea lights you won’t forget in a hurry.


A range of budget yet stylish bed linnen


Designer cutlery. Only from Sweden!


Life is just so much easier with a Gøbshite around. How else will you get those corks out of wine bottles?


The only thing missing in this kitchen is a good shäg. Where? On the floor of course! The shäg non-slip floor mat is a must for busy kitchens like yours.


Warning. May not be suitable for persons of a nervous disposition.

Those that know me will understand that I can’t shy away from tackling difficult subjects head-on. It may make me seem brusque, forthright even, but I am always to be relied upon to call a spade a you-know-what, especially if I am using it to beat the bushes round the houses where we live.

With this in mind, I am musing about the idiosyncracies of a product which can be found, in luxuriously quilted form all the way down the quality spectrum to something known as Izal: a name to strike fear into the hearts of stout men and women.

That’s right: it’s the thorny issue of toilet tissue: Bog Roll, Bum Fodder*, Daily Mail –call it what you will

Did you know that the use of toilet paper was apparently first recorded in 6th century China, while specifically manufactured toilet paper began to be mass-produced in the 14th century? I didn’t either, but I didn’t allow it to disturb my reverie, during which I was reminded of the stuff they made us use at school; the aforementioned Izal.

To be fair, it made great tracing paper

To be fair, it made great tracing paper

In fact, now I think about it, Izal should have made more of the ‘message to user’ concept. Instead of the ‘Now Please Wash Your Hands’ reminder on every sheet, they could have been much more imaginative and exploited the opportunities for sponsorship. Something like very 50 sheets: ‘This sheet entitles the bearer to sex at dinner time’ (Sex was our shorthand for ‘seconds’ –  don’t get excited) Or  ‘Rush to your local corner shop where this voucher may be exchanged  for ten Benson and Hedges  Soveriegn.’

Or perhaps they could have done something in the style of appropriate  Love Hearts’ messages ‘Big Boy’ or  Squeeze me’ for instance.


At school in lessons, we not only had to ask for permission to go, (fair enough) but then the teacher, Mrs. Haight-Childe would count out in front of the class the number of sheets felt appropriate for the job (so to speak) I remember a lad called Paddy McDaid returning from the toilet, and walking up to the teacher’s desk and putting down ten sheets of Izal, for all the world like some Kansas City high roller laying down 10Gs at the card table and saying:

‘It’s OK Miss. I only farted.’

(*Fodder bum of course. I attended the same Upper School my Dad taught at. Although our paths rarely crossed he did cover one of our Geography lessons. We were doing some tosh about types of farming. At one point my mate Huggis put his hand up and with a frown said ‘Sir, what’s fodder?’ Without batting an eye my Dad said ‘Fodder Cows’)

Where does yoghurt come from?

Where does it come from?

Where does it come from?

Now this is a subject I don’t give a great deal of thought to, there being much more pressing matters in the world at this moment in time eg. Poor umpiring decisions at Trent Bridge, and should Tulisa leave the country for good (Yes please, and take Dappy and the rest of N Dubz with you.)

However I am obliged to consider it when it raises its ugly head as a topic of conversation one breakfast time. I am sitting with my colleagues on a sunny picturesque balcony surrounded by honeysuckle and jasmine. (To tell you the truth, I have no idea what we are surrounded by, but writers always seem to mention same, so I figure the odds are that there is at least a bit of one or another) enveloping us in their heady scent as we enjoy a ‘continental breakfast’ of rolls they could practise their batting on up at Trent Bridge, fruit and yoghurt.

Whereupon someone announces they can taste ‘the cheese’ in their yoghurt. Now I am a little perplexed at this statement, never having considered cheese to be an ingredient in the humble yoghurt, and express my surprise.

It transpires that the ‘cheesy’ flavour is the result of the fact the yoghurt comes from milk, which as it happens is where cheese comes from too. Well this is news to me, (not about the cheese, but about the yoghurt)

‘Well where did you think yoghurt came from?’

I sense they are trying to catch me out, but have none of it: ‘From the supermarket of course’

‘No, no before that. How is it actually made?’

As I say from the outset, it is not a matter that bothers me much. But after being put right by my fellow diners I am left all day trying to figure how they pour the milk from bottles or cartons into those little pots, or is it squeezed straight in from the cow? Very labour intensive, I conclude. And what about the fruit? How and when does that get in there?


Confused of Ruislip.

This post is sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board and any characters represented herein bear no relation to any persons living or dead.

I hate it when that happens

Warning. This post contains some bad language and scenes of mild to moderate bloody gore.

May not be suitable for those of a nervous disposition.

Ah! fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck  fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

I’ve bitten my tongue.

I hate it when that happens.

Andy Daly 2013

And now especially for you, here’s the weather X X X

And another thing…

What in the wide wide world of sports is going on? Just what is it that makes the current crop of TV presenters, particularly weather reporters and those fronting documentary programmes think that it is acceptable to address the viewing public as though we are stone-deaf retards?

Condescending delivery with certain words painfully enunicated at volume as though they were shouting down some deaf dowager’s ear trumpet is a characteristic trait. “RAIN … tomorrow … It’s going to RAIN!” – Peter Cockroft of BBC South East’s weather team being by far the worst offender.

Then there is the ‘Sexing up’ of  what would otherwise be agreeably dull documentaries by a team of academic ‘pin ups’ Exciteable  media-savvy types such as Neil ‘the hair’ Oliver (hon. Phd) , Dr Alice ‘Breathless’ Roberts, Prof. Brian ‘Big Bang’ Cox over-enthuse like children’s TV presenters (imagine the Blue Peter studio full of puppies)

Big Bang

Big Bang





We are hooked and reeled in by same with the promise of the revelation of long-hidden secrets. Well when I finally do see a documentary which really does tell me something I  don’t already know about the Valley of the Kings, I swear I will eat my Doc Marten boots: Bouncing soles and all.

Is there a special department of the BBC which trains them all to be so intolerably enthusiastic, in the same way BBC announcers were coached in the dark art of Received Pronunciation back in the 40s and 50s?

Thank Goodness for Mary Beard.

Copyright Andy Daly 2013


I went to the Hospital last week for an EMG. That is an Electromysomethingorothergram, for the uninitiated. The doctor bore more than a passing resemblance to Matt Lucas in looks, mannerisms and voice. All of which I have to say I found a little disconcerting.

Dr Steve, or is Matt Lucas?

Dr Steve, or is Matt Lucas?

‘Hi. My name’s Steve.’ He said by way of introduction

‘And you’re …’ He glanced at his notes. ‘… Andrew. Lovely! Now let’s have a look at this arm shall we?’ and took me through to a room, where sitting next to a bed was a computer attached to lots of little wires.

It just so happens that I have had one of these nasty little tests before, so I knew what was coming. I remember the jolts of electricity from electrodes placed on the skin going down my arm, causing individual muscles to fire and jumping about like a cat on a hot tin roof in response. Then the needles which were stuck into the muscles which are stimulated by movement of the arm or by wiggling the needle in its site and readings taken. Not neccesarily painful, but extremely uncomfortable.

‘The test is designed to check muscle and nerve connectivity and shouldn’t take too long. All right?’ He said in his Matt Lucas voice. Yeah right, let’s get it over and done with, I thought. Now needles I can take. I mean I wouldn’t jab them into myself for laughs, but since having had to self-inject every day for four months, I don’t have a problem with them. So he stuck the needle into eight or ten sites, and the electrical activity in the muscle was recorded. It was the part of the test designed to measure general muscle activity which is done via the electrodes which caused the trouble. It reminds me of when we were kids and used to hold on to farmers’ electric fences (as you do)

That sure looks fun

That sure looks fun

Each time Doctor Steve presses a little button – barely concealed in his chubby hand: I hit the roof. He begins to show signs of frustration, as I am hopping about so much he is finding it difficult to get a reading. In fact during the course of one particularly extended series of shocks, he definitely gives me a glare. As if to say: ‘Come on, get a grip’. What neither he nor I realise is that this is because he hasn’t switched it off while he is taking his readings. So I am rewarded by the sight of him jumping about three feet into the air as he goes to peel the electrode off my hand and completes the circuit. He looked flustered. More by his own discomfort than mine I suspect.

I am minded to say something about Health and Safety, but decide to let it lie.

Copyright 2013 Andy Daly

200 Posts! A landmark in Blog and Web Publishing


Yes indeed. Today marks my 200th post.

I know.

Who would have thought it? AND I have still got plenty of crap up my sleeve – if you will pardon the expression.

Now I have thought long and hard (as if) about how to mark this auspicious occasion, and come to the conclusion that of late, I have been guilty of a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to posts. Too Low Brow. And not enough references to Parkinson’s.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls here is your 200 special: A double header; comprising ‘Thought For The Day’ plus a dip into the ‘Sitting Comfortably’ archive for a personal favourite; a glimpse at an often overlooked contemporary issue ‘The Post Modern Male’ and Body Image’.


Warning! Contains male nudity of a graphic nature and Sheffield accents. May be unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition.

This is the tale of Jinks’ anus. I will never forget him telling me this story and the helpless laughter it left me with, and for which I only have to recall the story’s dénouement to have it re-kindled.

Jinks, despite being from ‘Sheff’ (Sheffield) was a smashing bloke. Bit of a nuisance when he was drunk; but then so are a lot of people. He had a tendency to square up to, or a wish to discuss the finer points of issues with Lads (and sometimes Ladies) of considerably bigger build, and who seemed to have an air of greater ‘combat experience’ behind them. He was never a great-looker, bless him (Use these words to form a sentence of your own: Pot, Black, Call, Kettle)  the last time I saw him, he wore baggy army surplus trousers, a Sex Pistols T-shirt and a denim jacket. His head was shaved, revealing an angry lunar landscape of spots, blackheads and acne scars. A long spike of hair, bleached, sprouted from a point to the front of his crown, and for the most part dangled down over his eyes and face.

“Did I ever tell y’t’ story of when I saw me oan arsehole?” He asked one day in the pub, apropos of nothing.

“Well, I were on’t’ bus comin’ oam fr-fr- fr-fr- frum college one dinner time…” (he stammered too)

I was immediately hooked and listened intently.

“Aye, I were on this bus, when I thowat: Y’ knurr, twenteh too yeayurs on th-th-th-th-this planet and I’ve n-n-n-n-n-never seen me oan arsehole.”

Then and there, Jinks resolved to do something about it. He hatched a plan. What sort of bizarre meanderings and tortured thought processes lead a human mind to close focus of such an issue is beyond me. However, unimpeded by such concerns, the intrepid Jinks prepared to alight.

At his stop, he scuttled down the stairs and off the bus. He quickly covered the quarter of a mile or so to his house.

“Twelve-thirty: brilliant, me Mum won’t be ‘oam till at least wun. Should be perfect!” he thought to himself as he glanced at his Tintin watch

He described reaching home, hurridly unlocking the front door, and racing straight up the stairs into the bathroom.

Once in, he threw off his jacket. The bathroom, though clean and tidy, was small and poky. The only mirror was that on the front of the vanity unit placed high on the wall, adjacent to the sink. Now this was going to be tricky, it would require nerve, balance and more than a little agilty. Not to worry! Our Hero had done his planning and, after feverishly unbuttoning, dropping and stepping out of his pants, naked from the waist down, he began his ascent. Careful!… one foot on the basket that housed spare toilet rolls, old newspapers, and inexplicably, a can of WD 40. Good! … it did’t give. A step up with the other foot onto the window ledge. Easy! The fan light was open causing the net curtain to play in the fluttery wind. This was the big one … Ready? One, two, three … Hup! Other foot into the ‘soap space’ corner of the sink, behind the tap … Will it hold my weight? …. Yyyyeeessss! Done it!

I recall the expession on his face as he reached this pivotal point in his recounting of the whole tale: a mixture of triumph and relief.

“At last! The Holy Grail!” (His words!) “I could see me oan arsehole!”

He should have taken more notice of the open window, for no sooner had his face of triumph clouded with revulsion at what he beheld in the mirror than the bathroom door (which in his haste he had forgotten to lock) swung open, and his Mum walked in.

“Jeremy!” She screeched “What on EARTH are you doing….?”

“I’m br-br-br-br-brushin’ me teeth Mum!”


I got to thinking (as you do) what would have happened had James Parkinson and Thomas Crapper been swapped at birth?

Parkinson would have invented the Water Closet and people would still giggle and make jokes about ‘going for a Parkie’, but I would still have a crappy disease.

Painting The Town

Our house

Our house

Now last night I just get back from a blinding holiday in a place called Italy. And I wish to say I never see a prettier sight, what with trees and birds and bushes called vines.

In this Italy they are pretty big into churches, cathedrals and suchlike; and where you find churches and cathedrals you can take odds at six to four on that you will also find plenty of pictures. I’m no expert but I reckon they are painted hundreds of years ago to keep the punters awake. You know when the sermon gets a bit boring and they get to thinking I am sure I hear the same thing last week, they might find their eyes wandering over pictures of scenes from the life of Jesus, St. John the Baptist and other famous Italians.

But exercise caution, as wherever you find paintings, you are almost certain to find sculpures too. Sculptures are 3D pictures and are generally the things you trip over as you stand back to admire a picture.

We are staying at the Masaccio Art Centre (Masaccio being a famous artist who invented the camera) which is high up on a hillside near Poggibonsi – or ‘Podgy Beyonce’ as some of our party are apt to call it – Now although I call this a holiday, it is anything but. The general idea being that we (that is to say me and my thirteen colleagues) spend our days painting the Tuscan landscape and all that we find therein. Well this is a tall order in my view. Personally I think instead of paying for the priviledge of tackling such a tricky task, we  should be on a decent hourly rate, given all  the things we have to do, such as mixing paints and whatnot.

0112smOur teacher is an amiable guy by the name of Gary, who it seems does a fair bit of ‘smudge with the sludge’ in his day. In fact I am in the Art teaching dodge myself for some years, although the last thing I paint is a garden shed and by that I mean a garden shed and not a picture of one.

The trouble really starts when we begin to use oil paint. This infernal stuff takes decades to dry and seems to magic itself onto my shirt, trousers, hair and into my ears. I begin to get a reputation (unjustly in my view ) as a messy worker and a horder of materials and equipment.

‘Where’s the Yellow Ochre?’ ‘Andy’s got it’ ‘Where’s the Alizarin Crimson?’ ‘ Don’t know, but if you look on Andy’s desk…’

Then, horror of horrors. It is announced we have an exhibition to show our work at the end of the course. Now needless to say, my paintings are clearly the work of an idiot who is messing around and not listening when he should be and so appropriate action is taken. To whit, I knock out a few abstracts and even go as far as sticking red ‘sold’ labels on some of them in an attempt to generate some interest.IMG_0120sm

Unfortunately, at the exhibition private view, the only interest I generate is that of a daffy English doll who lives in the village; or more accurately lives in the bar in the village and who is 102 if she is a day. Cut her and she bleeds Chianti. On top of which she is a Know It All.

But despite this I have a blast and hope the others do too.