Monday 24 January 2011


It is that time of the year when the credit card statements for Xmas excess arrive and all those standing orders that seemed a good idea to sort all at once to get them out of the way arrive on the mat to haunt you.

I am convinced that insurance companies wait until the last possible moment to inform you that the premium is due so that you can’t get time or are too inert to have a good look around for a cheaper and better alternative.

It was with that thought the car insurance reminder plopped onto the floor adjacent to the letter box. Adjacent due to the howling gale that roars through the front door of my house.

Due to my job there is a fierce occupational loading on car insurance that puts me on a par with publicans and sportsmen. To insurance types I exist in a drunken and cocaine fueled world where I am constantly driving my Lamborghini the wrong way down the motorway at the dead of night with a selection of mega famous people clinging on for grim death.

“Excuse me sir is that Keira Knightley in the back of this sportscar”

“Shorry offisher no idea..I thought it was Halle Berry hic sniff. Davina fancy another toot?”

I remember some years ago visiting a broker and the 11 year old counter clerk asking me:

“Are you famous?”

“Do you know who I am?


“Well I think that answers your question then"

However this never seemed to have any impact on the premium.

Until now that is....

The enormous amount of money demanded by my existing insurer galvanised me into action so I phoned...THEM.....the people who serve the over 50’s.

I have steered clear of them for the past four years mainly due to vanity and denial. In the end cold hard cash seemed to be the catalyst and the call was made. End result my premium was slashed nearly in half. Although I was disappointed not to receive a personal visit from Frank Windsor with a carriage clock as a welcome gift. Although the thought of Parky turning up with a free pen may have made me think twice. We both share a love of jazz but if he started on cricket I would have had to have made my excuses and left.

Perhaps in an attempt to prove that I was still young and vital I needed to do something physical. CD filing seemed an obvious task. They had been mounting up for some considerable time. It is easier to remove them from the shelves in the spare bedroom than it is to replace them. Plus the ones that I buy and the ones that the record companies send. It is a joy but also a trial.

So I spent a day putting them into piles of alphabetical order. Not exactly, nor by genre. Just anything with an A anything with a B etc. I have noticed that not many artists have names beginning with X. So if you are thinking of starting a band and want to stand out in the record racks “The XerXes seem a pretty good bet. You would be just ahead of Mercury award winners “THE XX”.

So after a day doing that. It was then time for a day of doing more of that. This time putting them on the shelves. This took rather longer than expected.

“How you getting on?” trilled the Dark Lady.

”I am now on the B’s” I grunted.

In fact two days of heavy filing elapsed before all was in its place. Or so I thought.

I don’t drive all that much these days due to the show having moved from Birmingham to London in 2008 and the train usually (not always) seems a better and more efficient means of transport. Getting into the car and opening the boot a sight assaulted me. Yet more CD’s that I had forgotten about!!.

This was turning into the audio version of “Brewsters Millions”.

It is great that there is so much music out there and that I have so much to listen to and play for you. So I don’t mean this to be a whinge.

It just takes a little husbandry.

I used to know someone who was so miserable and managed to suck the pleasure out of anything that I once said to them.

“If you were given a £1m you would complain about the colour of the envelope the cash came in”.

So the filing is a chore not a problem.

By now I was on a roll. So CD filing done the next task was the table. This is where I keep stuff. In other words this is where I put stuff after I have opened the envelope. Also for some reason I keep the envelope. I really needed to sort stuff out. Did I really need an electricity bill from 2005? Every year I pay my TV licence by direct debit and they send me the document. Why do I need to keep them going back ten years? Yet there they were, all over the table. There was other stuff there I discovered which an archaeologist or “Time Team” would have had a field day with including a box of cereal bars with a sell by date of 2008.

Shredding and filing began in earnest and so far I am halfway through with two PVC sacks of paper which will need to be taken to the recycling area at the supermarket next time I am there.

Is this the mundane humdrum existence of your average national radio treasure. I hear you cry?

Actually yes. However things are beginning to move in the direction of fun once more. You may have noticed in a previous blog that after 18 months of white knuckling and mid life crisese I have a Microlight licence. This means I can fly a three axis fixed wing aeroplane up to a weight limit of 450kg.

(Before you start this is the maximum all up weight including fuel and passengers so thin people get to travel further as they can fill up with more fuel ).

However looking at my log book. What with the time of the year and the bad weather and the week in New York. The proposal; which to my intense relief the Dark Lady said yes too. I have not flown since November.

So it was to Hadair at Halfpenny Green airfield near Wolverhampton and a refresher flight with Steve my long suffering instructor. To my delight and relief and his relief I remembered most of what to do. It was also a gorgeous winter's day. Little wind. Great visibility and calm dense air which meant little or no turbulence.

I am a very low hours pilot so although I am licenced to carry passengers I don’t intend to for a while yet. Even though the DL is a game girl and wants to fly with me. She is too precious to risk until I have more confidence.

As far as the show is concerned we are coming out of the black hole that is Xmas and New Year when many of the night shifts are shut down and there are fewer trucks on the road and generally fewer nightworkers. This means the show is quieter than normal. However there has been a significant upturn over the last week. Witnessed by your response to my news on the duffle coat.

DL gave me a fab Paddington Bear type Duffle coat for Xmas. Not had one like this since I was at school. It has toggles and everything.

The only problem is that I am not a standard shape. In other words. My arms are too short. So I had to take it to be altered. DL had noticed that it had not been worn and was worried that I didn’t like it.

“Is it too Duffley?”

She asked. Concerned.

“No my arms are too short”

It has been fixed, although I am now wondering about the source of the word “Duffley”.

Is it from the Latin do you think?


“DUFFLAS” Of the coat

“DUFFLAT” By/with the coat


Holland said...

The name derives from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium where the material originates. Duffle bags were originally made from the same material.


mwhite229 said...

I don't care where Duffel originates from - you don't half look a cutie in it - all you need to set it off is a nice little red hat (and marmalade sandwiches in the pocket)

Unknown said...

Deflate - when the DL thought you didn't like your Duffle coat. Hope it's a Montgomery

Micky B said...

My (local) recycling depot won't take shredded paper. They told me that it clogs up the machines. Please let me know where your recycling depot it and I'll bring my shreddies down there. Thank you.

Madam Shoeshine said...

Keep chickens! The recycled paper is ideal for bedding and it's really satisfying looking at nasty letters from the unsympathetic bank manager which have been used as chicken toilet paper ...

MOGS BLOG said...

THE WAY FORWARD A WARM COAT I WEAR A RADIO ANORAK ! sorry i am shouting just been tuned to your shoe playing metal in the morning

Is it me? said...

I always understood that the name derived from General Sir Arthur Duffel-Coat.

He invented it because he had arthritic hands and could not do the normal button up on his tunic.

It was originally called the Duffel-Coat Coat, but the marketing men soon sorted that one out!

Unknown said...

you wear what you want can wear a potato sack if you want,,your show gets us truckers through the night,keep up your good work,,,potato bob..

Unknown said...

I'm wondering what you did with that box of cereal bars…

You're missing the essential accessory for that Duffel coat Alex, wellies!

If you and the DL ever want a helicopter flight, just give me a call and I'll fly to your nearest airport; maybe I can fly you to your hotel after the wedding?

@yorkshire_chris (on Twitter)