I was a huge Madness fan in my (and their) younger days. Since their Ladykillers tour brought them to Newcastle yesterday, I had to grab some tickets.

Squeeze, who I’d (weirdly) never actually seen live before, were supporting, and they were a huge bonus. Particularly since I’d not known that Glen Tilbrook had rejoined the band.

I’d actually watched the Ladykillers, the classic old film, on TV yesterday afternoon. I’d assumed that the tour of the same name was unconnected, but the gig definitely had something of a theme, with images and clips from the film. There were also, unusual for this band, pretty open criticisms of UK politics.

Yes, they’re getting on a bit, but they do still put on a good show.

It was also clear that they’d had some coaching in the Northeast dialect, when they performed Wor House. There was also the correct pronunciation of Newcastle, as opposed to the inappropriate Newcarstle.


A while back, I needed my passport for ID purposes. But, it couldn’t be found.

It turned up a few weeks ago, but it’d since expired.

A few days ago, I submitted a renewal application. There wasn’t an option to post the decade old passport approved picture, left over from I don’t remember what purpose.

So I uploaded a new picture. Well, it wasn’t exactly new, but an old Glastonbury ticket picture surely would work. After all, it looked a lot like a passport picture.

So that didn’t work. All was not lost though; I found an old photo, which was fortunately in the right format. It existed in paper form only, so I took a picture of the picture and uploaded it. It looked fine and was accepted by the passport picture robot.

After a couple of days, I received an email, asking me to upload another picture. It seemed that my picture of a picture wasn’t acceptable.

This meant that I needed to either take a new picture or seek a photo machine. With little fair in my selfie prowess, I opted for the machine.

It’d been a very long time since I’d used such a machine (I probably need one once more in my lifetime). Such machines had been largely unchanged since I was a child, so I was somewhat confused by the controls. After successfully taking pictures of my head, I realised that the machine only accepted cash. All was not lost though; a cash machine was located just a few yards away. I needed a £10 note because the £5 in my pocket was insufficient.

Returning with my tenner, I repeated the process, only to find that I needed the exact money, £8. I’d noted that no change would be given, but had assumed that the parking ticket principle would apply – I didn’t mind losing £2 just to get the process over with.

And, so, I spent 79p on a Fry’s chocolate orange. It was the only vegan chocolate in the shop, although It was only purchased to give me change.

I had a slight concern that my £2 coin might not be accepted, but my doubt was unfounded. I completed the process once more, only to be faced with a charge of £24. It seemed that my previous attempts had been retained.

With no cancel option, I did what any other man would do. I went for a pint of beer to wait for the machine to time out.

Obviously, I needed to allow enough time for this to happen. After one pint, the machine had still retained my head. Realising that this would start the process again, I returned to the pub. After several pints, the machine worked perfectly.

I do wonder how my new picture could be acceptable. The old one is pretty close, but the thug in the new one only loosely bears a resemblance.


I joined a Covid protest yesterday, on the basis that its focus would be a possible third national lockdown.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The first, overly long, speech concentrated on demonising the Police and weaponising 5G to trigger genes mutated by Covid vaccinations.

I learned that the vaccinations will result in millions of deaths in the UK and that God will protect the unvaccinated.

Fortunately, the many people joining the protest along the route didn’t hear this speech.

There was a huge missed opportunity; the focus should have been on the Government, the actions of those in power and their knee jerk decisions. Not conspiracy theories and religion. But that’s just my view.

Two Wise Guys

I went to see Karl play in Durham the other night; well, Two Wise Guys.

It’d been over two years since I’d last seen them, thanks to Covid and the associated lockdowns.

Although I did have to rush off soon after the gig to catch a train, I really enjoyed the music.


To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing the Libertines last night. I’d seen them a couple of times before and hadn’t been too impressed.

But a mate (Ian) had bought tickets months ago, so I really did have to go. If anything, it’d be a chance to catch up with a good mate.

At the end of the day, it was a great night; the band were actually ridiculously good. We ended up staying out pretty late afterwards too, something I’d not done in ages.

A walk in the sunshine

So, me, my beloved and the hound had a pleasant evening on Thursday in Peterborough.

We weren’t there for the best of reasons, a funeral.

Roadworks meant we arrived later than we’d have liked, but we still managed most of the bits that mattered: the Bumble Inn, the Ostrich, the Draper’s Arms, the College Arms (ok, so the last one’s awful).

We met a lovely guy in the Ostrich, from Cramlington originally, but he’s lived in Peterborough for a couple of decades. He’s a Gateshead supporter though.

This morning (yesterday really, I guess), I had a big decision to make. While my beloved was at the funeral, I could either fill in the pub gap from the previous night (just two), or go for a walk with the dog.

Surprisingly, I decided on the latter.

So, the hound and I walked along the Nene, ending up on the Green Wheel route. I’d cycled that way a few years ago, but it’s so much slower on foot, even with a two year old dog.

Anyway, we had a lovely walk this morning/afternoon.

And then it rained. And snowed (the hailstones we’re a killer).

The dog doesn’t like rain. So she didn’t like (or understand) hailstones. We were caught out in the open.

My usual plan in such circumstances would be to seek a pub. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option, since I was on a bike path. That left me with a choice; continue on the path back to Peterborough, or seek shelter.

I decided on the latter, ending up in Stanground. That probably wasn’t my best decision.

With no shelter in Stanground, other than a leaky bus shelter, we waited to be rescued by my beloved. We were a bit wet at that point.

Proper wet.

Bendy wine glasses

A year or two ago, my beloved broke one of my bendy (recycled) wine glasses.

The dog broke another tonight. They’re not precious or anything, but they’re over 20 years old and I’ve not seen anything like them.

We still have two though.

Belly rubs

A new first. Watching TV, with the dog lying next to me. She was asleep.

But then she started kicking me. I looked at her, then she moved her leg for a belly rub.

The Holy GrAle

After hearing about a new micropub in Durham, we had to take a look. The Holy GrAle is definitely worth a visit; a really decent range of cask and keg.

And a pretty lovely Marble imperial stout, 10.5%.

Since we were in the area, we also called in the rather excellent Station House.

And the Waiting Room.

Unfortunately, the dog experienced her first delayed train (waiting for an ambulance).

After her ordeal, she needed gin in Newcastle.


I’ve only been to Nottingham a couple of times in the past, so our eBay purchase of a van front end created the opportunity for a third visit.

It made sense to drive down yesterday and pick up the rusty lump up today. That gave us a chance to fit in some decent pubs, starting with the Doctor’s Orders, a pretty cool micropub I’d found on Mansfield Road the last time we were there.

It’s everything a micropub should be; decent prices too. Also discovered last time was the Crafty Crow, also run by the Magpie Brewery.

Naturally, we had to visit Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, allegedly the country’s oldest pub. I knew that the beer wasn’t going to be the best, but the building’s a real experience.

There were one or two other pubs, but I didn’t take pictures.

One minor negative was the £25 dog surcharge at the hotel, the highest of the three hotels accommodating the dog this year (£10 and £20 at the other two). So we made sure that the dog made the most of the facilities.

This morning, we collected the van front end. Fortunately, we managed to squeeze it in without resorting to the angle grinder I’d taken.

Yes, it has holes. But I love it. We’ll attempt to remove it from the van in the morning.