Saturday, January 28, 2017

When You Say Nothing At All

My wife left me today. Just for a few hours, mind you. ‘It’s now or never!’ I said to myself, retrieving my poor laptop and sinking into my favourite armchair. Just one minor problem, of course: I couldn’t think of anything to write about.

As the minutes ticked away and my blog deadline loomed ominously closer, I could see that urgent action was called for. Thirty minutes and three hundred “Like” clicks later, I realised that trawling aimlessly through my friends’ Facebook updates wasn’t getting me any nearer to my goal. But then I had a brainwave: I would write about... nothing! Just like Ronan Keating.

At this stage, I had two options: I could either google “Ronan Keating” and waste a further half an hour or so checking out Boyzone on Wikipedia... or I could settle down in my favourite armchair and— Hang on a minute! What’s with all this “favourite armchair” nonsense? OK, then, in the absence of anything better to talk about, let’s talk about our favourite chairs, shall we? Here’s mine:

Please note the absence of cushions. And here’s one my wife made earlier (Gosh, I hope she doesn’t read this!):

I used to have a similar battle whenever visiting Mum and Dad at ‘Penlan’ in High Wycombe, but I always made it eventually:

A glance at my relaxed ‘Best Practice’ pose might lead us to a discussion on the relative merits and drawbacks of sitting up straight. Such thoughts, however, would be missing the point: it was quite impossible to sit ‘properly’ in Mum and Dad’s armchairs as they had a mind of their own (the chairs, I mean). Once you descended into one of those big beasts, you could say goodbye to any plans you had made for the rest of your day; even more so if Dad happened to be sitting in the armchair opposite you.

Penlan is up for sale as I write these lines, so I was pleased to see that the man-eating armchairs are being thrown in for the unsuspecting buyers.

Dear oh dear! If Microsoft’s word count is to be trusted, I have written a pitiful 400 words in the best part of two hours. And that’s your lot, I’m afraid. I’m off to the swimming pool now to see if I can mend my broken back. According to my swimming notes – yes, “swimming notes”, I know; How sad can you get? –, the last time I went swimming I got wet was on January 10th 2015. I wouldn’t normally go back to the swimming pool in such quick succession, but it will most likely be time better spent than carrying on with this nonsense.

Thanks for reading!


Colin was slouched in his favourite armchair, whisky in hand, laptop on stomach, gazing into space, pondering, wondering, and tapping keys randomly with the other hand. That’s what writers did, wasn’t it? It was a tough life, but nobody had said being the non-thinking man’s Bill Bryson was going to be easy.

dayrealing, Chapter 45, "Wonderful Life"


–Dos para la piscina, por favor.
–¿Son socios?
–¿Cómo vamos a ser socios si acabamos de bajar del avión?

–Two for the pool, please.
–Are you members?
–How can we be members if we’ve only just got off the plane?

–¿Quieren hacerse socios?
–No, gracias. Sólo queremos usar la piscina.
–Aún así, compensa, señor.

–Would you like to become members?
–No, thanks. We just want to use the pool, please.
–Even so, it’s worth it, Sir.

–Así que son sesenta euros, por favor.
–¡¿Sesenta?! ¿Para nadar durante media hora?
–Efectivamente. Le sale el minuto a dos euros. ¿Seguro que no quieren hacerse socios?

–So that’s sixty euros, please.
–Sixty?! For a half-hour swim?
–That’s right. It works out as two euros a minute. Are you sure you don’t want to become members?

–Cariño, ¿No habrás visto mis chancletas por un casual?
–Sí. Las tiré..

–Darling, you haven’t seen my flip-flops by any chance, have you?
–Yes. I threw them away.

–¿Por qué nos están mirando todos?
–No lo sé. Ni caso, cariño.

–Why’s everybody looking at us?
–I don’t know. Ignore them, darling.

–Tienen que llevar gorro.
–No tenemos.
–Haberse hecho socios. Se los regalan.

–You have to wear a swimming cap.
–We don’t have any.
–You should have become members. You get them for free.

–¿Puedo usar el gimnasio?
–Claro que sí, señor. Son treinta euros.

–Can I use the gym?
–Certainly, Sir. That’s thirty euros.

–¿Crees que hay que pagar la sauna?
–¡Rápido! ¡Que no nos vean!

–Do you think we have to pay for the sauna?
–Quick! While nobody’s looking!

–¿Por qué la pista de tenis no tiene red?
–Porque es la cancha de baloncesto, idiota.
–Ya decía yo que algo no encajaba.

–Why doesn’t the tennis court have a net?
–Because that’s the basketball court, you fool.
–Yes, I thought something wasn’t right.

–¿Has visto mi llave de taquilla?
–Sí. Se te cayó en el jacuzzi.

–Have you seen my locker key?
–Yes, you dropped it in the jacuzzi.

Spanglish for Impatient People, Lesson 15, “at the sports centre”


  1. Mike you aways make me laugh out loud. I love Spanglish. xxx

    1. Thanks, Tee! You're always so encouraging! xxx