Writer’s Block: Places to Lay Your Head

I have lived in a number of residences. Chronologically:-

listed here


School Legends Part 3 of 7

In the late 80’s there was a type of crisp which you would get with no flavour. Instead you would be able to add your own flavour from a choice of a variety of different sachets of powdered flavouring. To be honest it was just a gimmick. Adding your own flavour is equivalent to “Just add Egg and Milk” batter mix. One particular flavour, fish and chips, was reminicent of what I imagine an old ladies unwashed private parts would smell like. Indeed if I ever got served fish and chips flavoured like that I’d probably go off fish and chips all together.  Other flavours included smokey bacon, cheese and onion and salt and vinegar.

One lunch time in my third year in secondary school I opened my packed lunch to discover fish and chip flavour – flavour yourself crisps. ūüė¶ I put the sachet in my pencil case and had the crisps with salt from the dining room table.

After lunch, Jon Phillips, now a presenter on Sky Sports I believe, was sat in front of me in Miss Gambadella’s English class. I was sat next to Nick Small, now something to do with something important, Jon was sat next to David Judge, now something to do with something. Nick saw my fish and chip flavouring in my orange pencil case and asked what it was. I told him. He opened the sachet and took a sniff. The smell was awful. Really it was. How anyone in crisp design thought that fish and chip flavouring was at all palatable is beyond comprehension. Nick then blew it all over Jon’s blazer.

“Ha! Now Jon smells like an ald granny” he giggled.

Oh how we laughed. Of course giggling being attention drawing we tried to stifle our giggles but to no avail. Judgey noticed the smell next then the kids in front of them. Being a sexually repressed all boys catholic school, crude comments about feminine hygeine started to pass around the room. Poor Miss Gambadella. She had a hell of a time trying to get the class back into order.

Me? Well my sides still bear the scars of having split that day. Of course, looking back now it was possibly the height of cruelty but at the time….the stuff of legend.

School Legends Part 2 of 7

It was assembly. We were all in the assembly hall listening to Mr Deveraux discuss the current affairs of the school week. One of the fifth formers came into the hall late. The said fifth former was wearing a fashionable denim jacket. School uniform being strict at my school Mr Deveraux saw him immediately and his voice boomed across the hall.

“The only people that come to this school in denim jackets come to empty the bins lad”

The assembled school burst into peals of laughter. The fifth former fell into a pit of embarrassment never to be heard of again.

Stegzy Gnomepants School Days Part 1 of 7

Some things during my school days became legendary amongst people in my year. Others became anecdotes for dining out on in later years. I thought it best I put pixel to webpage and tell you of seven of the most peculiar legendary occurrences before I get old and my mind fails.

Number 1: Paul Broughton and the Sausages

My high school, St Francis Xavier College, was an all boys comprehensive. Boys from a variety of areas of Liverpool and social backgrounds would attend. One such chap, Paul Broughton, came from one of the rougher parts of Wavertree. His social background I am unsure of.

On the day the legend formed, my friends and I were having dinner in the dining rooms. Paul arrived just as we were leaving having been kept behind for some reason. We left him there to dine and went out side to the playground. Less than two minutes had passed when Paul joined us outside. We questioned how he had managed to eat his dinner so quickly. In reply he smiled and fetched from out of the side pocket of his blazer, a handful of chips and started offering them around. We laughed and then watched in horror as he then took a sausage from his inside blazer pocket. We gawped in shock as he dipped the sausage into his top pocket and it emerged coated in gravy.

Someone jokingly asked him where his pudding was. In answer to this he produced a piece of jam roll from his trouser pockets. Mirth ensued. Legend was made.

Writer’s Block: The X-Files Birthday

I used to love the X Files my early to mid-twenties were spent being almost fanatical about the programme. The first two and a half series were shown on BBC2 regularly on Thursday evening at 9pm. I would set my video, disconnect the telephone and chill out on the couch while I watched the unfolding adventures of Mulder and Scully.

read all about it


Yesterday, all my spices seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. At least now I’ve found a top traditional indian convenience store in Agbrigg in Wakefield. The shop might have been pokey but with HUGE bags of spices, rices and nices at stupidly low prices who am I to argue.

So yeah I got all the ingredients I’ll ever need to make curries for the rest of my life and all because of and his recent curry postings….wait….what’s that ? Yes I know I’ve only got into curries recently but there is a reason for that. Let me explain….

See, as a child of the 1970’s and 80’s my palate was one assaulted with bland post war traditional cookings and easy cook branded ready meals. The menu in the Gnomepants house would have been one like some awful greasy spoon. Chips with everything, suspicious cheap mince (avec spinal material) and fish (in the form of fingers) on a Friday. Pies were fattening so they were few and far between and the most exotic thing on the kitchen table was probably spaghetti bolognaise (the garlicless version:- Mince, dried onions, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and a teaspoon of dried thyme).

I think around 1982 (possibly later) my folks must have been somewhere where they had a curry. I recall one Saturday my olds opening a tin labelled “Marks and Spencers Curried Chicken”, heating the contents in a pan and serving it with rice, a selection of sliced fruits (bananas, apples and orange segments) and some sultanas in little dishes. They then proceeded to eat the bizarrely smelling substance with gusto. The pair of them sweating with the spice heat and strained “Yes this is nice. No really.” looks on their faces. Such a sight is enough to put anyone off their dinner. I wasn’t offered any curry, I had to make do with something with chips. I forget what. Probably offal sausage. Though, not wanting to be left out, I was given a spoonful to sample and I immediately knew that curry was not a nice food, just like beer was not a nice drink. My father would comment about how all Indian food tasted like that and some now probably socially unacceptable comment about Asian culture. Such was the early 80s. Oh how we laughed.

So that meal put me off curries. Even in later life I would scoff at the thought of eating in a curry house “Good god!” I’d exclaim “These people are very odd eating that foul stuff”. I would hold curry in the same regard I still hold Marmite (but marmite is poisonous). Spicy foods were shunned and in my early 20s I continued my non-exotic diet of chips with everything (deep fried in lard) and post-rationing treats (sausages, bacon, pies) with the occasional garnish of vegatable (mostly baked beans or peas, rarely carrots). What a terrible diet I had. No wonder I had a heart attack at 29.
When I was living alone in my little flat in Patterdale Road my friend at the time, Min, introduced me to the delights and wonders of kebab. Kebab was the perfect after pub snack. Spicy and foreign it would belie new and exciting journey into food. Min also popped my chinese cherry and took me beyond the realms of Sweet and Sour Chicken and down the dark recesses of crispy duck pancake and chilli beef in black bean sauce. My new found palate was keen to explore. But never curry. Even Min would smirk at the thought of people eating rotten meat disguised with spices. Though that smirk might have just been in mockery of my assumptions that Indian food was rotten meat disguised with spices.

Curry was awful. Even the smell would knock me sick. Though Chinese curry sauce became acceptable. As did Coronation Chicken Sandwiches. Chinese curry was different, wasn’t it? And Coronation Chicken was just an interesting spicy mayonnaise. I had a kebab from a different kebab shop where, unbeknownst to me, the donar meat was flavoured with curry powder. I was nearly sick. The kebab was discarded and curry was shunned more.

Then about three or four years ago (I don’t know, you might want to check back in my LJ, I’m sure I made a post about it) I went on a night out with and his chums. After several pints it was decided that something was needed to soak up the alcohol. I was hoping an all you can eat chinese restaurant would be selected but you can probably imagine my horror when I learned that the foodery of choice was to be an Indian Curry house. I was mocked by . His chums also smirked at my horror. It was as though these well cultured metropolitan gentlemen had suddenly unearthed a time trapped Neanderthal. My attitude, on reflection, was one of nurture rather than nature.

I seem to remember the waiter at the restaurant guiding me into having a dhansak based on my discussion of Chinese foods. I enjoyed it. Surprisingly I actually enjoyed it. The thoughts of rotten meat disguised by spices and sauces faded. Since then, I have dined in several Indian restaurants and have even partaken in take aways of similar origin. Indeed, delighted as I am with this new found culinary genre I have even bought a book after a recommendation from .

So last night I made a chicken dupazia. It was probably the best curry I’ve had in a long time. My pantry smells like an international food store with odours of fenugreek, star anise and methi leaves. Over dinner my wife said that my mum and dad would probably enjoy it. To which I scoffed. “Yes, maybe if we served it in a tin labelled “Marks and Spencer” and with little dishes of fruit. Of course this then made me think of how my folks now travel up their road to their friends once a month so that they can dine on curry from a takeaway. I amused myself with thoughts of my mum and dad trying to look cultured and being horrified to discover that curry served with little dishes of fruit is so 1970’s.

Bless them.

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School Report

I’ve done something similar to this before


School of Life
 Subject GCSE
 Previous Grade  Now Comment
¬†English ¬†B B ¬†B+ ¬†Though Stegzy’s writing style has improved of late he has been becoming increasingly late in submitting work. While it is understood that he has other commitments recently, this is still no excuse for shoddy lazy and sloppy work like memes and Youtube posts of which there have been a few of late.
 Maths  B  C  C-  It was horrifying to see Stegzy trying to work out angles and the length of the hypotenuse. It is feared that his wood work may suffer greatly by this. Also while his comprehension of  metric weights and measures have been of exceptionally high standard, it is felt that his use of imperial measures still leaves a lot to be desired.
¬†Chemistry ¬†C ¬†B ¬†C ¬†Standards are slipping. While his skills in the kitchen laboratory have been of exceptional standard, Stegzy’s work has of late been sloppy and apathetic. Experiments in the carbonisation of bread are hardly substitutes for examining the sublimation of Custard. However he is still aware what the Haber Process is all about and twice in recent weeks he has been able to pop “Covalent Bonds” into the conversation.
¬†Physics ¬†C C ¬†C While ¬†Stegzy’s ability to waffle “Coffee table” physics is still quite strong, standards in the electronics department have been slipping. Possibly down to lack of motivation. Surprisingly he was able to describe the basic physics behind aerodynamics in a recent conversation
¬†Biology ¬†C ¬†B ¬†D- ¬†Oh dear. What has gone wrong here. Stegzy’s sloppy style,¬†poor attention to basic biological systems¬†and apathy will no doubt bring about his downfall.¬†It is uncertain¬†if this downward standard of¬†pulmonary¬†experimentation and¬†increasing obsession with fatty acids will prove detrimental to his future.
 French  D  E  D-  It did not go unnoticed that Stegzy has used French in at least 3 livejournal posts of late and that he did actually say Parlez-vous anglais? in a telephone conversation with a French native just this past week.
 Spanish  D  D  D-  Zapatos? Zapatos? is that all Stegzy can manage these days? Must try harder.
¬†History ¬†D ¬†C ¬†B ¬†Very impressive. Stegzy’s historical knowledge has improved of late. His wistful studying of Wikipedia of a lunch break has obviously paid off. It is also encouraging to note that Stegzy’s interest in¬†local history has also taken on new energies.
¬†Music ¬†D C+ ¬†C ¬†Stegzy’s performance at the last Christmas carol service left a lot to be desired. It is also¬†felt that his music tastes have become detrimental to his development.
 English Literature  D  B  C  Sloppy sloppy sloppy. Harry Potter indeed! And not to mention poor quality crime fiction. Things must improve!
 Religious Education  D  B  Р Who is this guy?
 Art  E  C  D  Doodling on napkins and in the margin of workbooks does not count as constructive drawing. Though his sketch and technical drawing of a possible cabinet project was impressive. Even if the angles were slightly wrong.
 Latin  E  F  E  Having successfully translated a motto on a coat of arms things can be said to have improved slightly
 P.E.  E  U  U  Unless Stegzy attends more PE sessions he will find it difficult in later life to progress beyond the job centre.
¬†Attendance ¬†B+ ¬†B- ¬†A* ¬†Stegzy’s absences from work and life have vastly improved of late. It may be that life in the country has proven beneficial to his health or possibly because he doesn’t necessarily have to share an office with many people.
 Home Ec.  Р Р B  Stegzy could have been a star pupil, but burning the non-stick off the frying pan was probably not a good idea.