Avatar Election puffins?

Kev’s done the traditional Puffins? post this year, but I had this saved up already, and next year Puffin Day won’t be an election day, so I’m not wasting it.

That makes it… DOUBLE PUFFIN DAY!

Avatar Where are the Marcus Rashfords of British tennis? The truth is they’re still not welcome

I expect you’ve seen it by now, but my article was finally published in today’s Guardian.

As you know, I’m a coach supporting talented, underprivileged young players – and it’s no surprise so few of them make it to Wimbledon. But you’ll know that because I talk about it a lot.

Anyway, it would be great if you could read my article and let me know what you think. I spent ages on it.

Avatar Culture in the workplace: newsflash

Almost two years ago, in July 2022, you might remember that I blessed the toilets at work with a second piece of artwork. Thanks to my efforts to improve the lives of my colleagues, Piet Mondrian’s Composition London 1940-42 has been gracing the gents for the last 23 months.

I now need to report to you an important development. Since 2021 I have been placing beautiful artworks in the toilets, but now it appears I am not alone. Last week, Mondrian made way for a new image, placed there by an unknown hand.

It’s undeniable that the new artwork is a little less highbrow than my choices, but art is for the people, and I am not going to stand in the way of a more populist approach if it increases the appeal of the men’s toilets.

We’ll see how long Werther’s Original Man lasts. When he disappears I’ll collect your suggestions for a replacement with mass appeal, if the mystery curator doesn’t get there first.

Avatar Kev up in a brewery

The other day we went to a brewery and made some tasty beer. You know that, of course, because if you’re reading this, you were there.

Anyway, I have now published photos of this excellent day in the Photos section, so that the three of us, and Sarah, can see what we got up to all day. It was one of our best days for photography.

I also had a great plan to edit together a video using all the footage we shot on the day, but despite having coined the new catchphrase “get a video”, we seem to have only created three videos. One of them was in portrait and was just me pulling a pint with nobody saying anything, so having skipped that, there were just two videos.

Not to be put off, I made a video out of them anyway. It will only cost you three minutes of your life. Please enjoy.

Avatar Holiday picture

I am on holiday, but I still need to make one more post this month to earn a bean. The obvious thing to do is to post a massive gallery of holiday photos and be all smug about where I am and what I’m doing.

I respect you both too much to do that. Instead I will post one carefully chosen picture, which is a self-portrait I took using an underwater camera while I was wearing a snorkel mask. The rest of my smugness can be inferred from this if you wish to experience it.

Avatar 40 things

I am now 40. That’s fine. The joke is that everyone has a mid life crisis when they reach 40, that it means you’re “over the hill” and all that. I think 30 bothered me way more than 40 did. What I can’t deny, though, is that I am noticing the effects of getting that little bit older. 

Here are 40 things about being 40 that weren’t the case when I was 30.

  1. There’s several grey hairs on my chin. I suppose I’m old enough now to call these “whiskers”.
  2. There are also about five grey hairs on my temples. 
  3. When I trim my beard I also have to trim some small hairs growing out of my ears.
  4. I appreciate Redbush tea now.
  5. If I put my feet up, and leave them in the same position for too long, my heels hurt and I have to shift them around. 
  6. I can pull a muscle in my shoulder just by tying my shoelaces in a reckless position. 
  7. I can sense a cold coming on days in advance. 
  8. The level of mental arithmetic that my grandparents wanted me to have aged about 8 is very nearly mine. I reckon I could probably have a stab at my times tables now if I had to. 
  9. I can no longer run up three flights of stairs and then immediately hold a conversation. 
  10. The cleanliness of my car’s interior bothers me less, though that might be to do with owning a dog. 
  11. I listen to quite a lot of Radio 2. 
  12. I don’t mind hearing music I don’t like. I used to be very tribal about music and hate songs and bands that weren’t my taste. Now I don’t really care. 
  13. Eating an egg will have a noticeable effect on the speed of my digestive system for up to 24 hours. 
  14. I have moments of nostalgia for very ordinary things from my past, which sometimes are quite unexpected. 
  15. There are things I saw my dad doing when I was a child and he was 40, which I now involuntarily do myself.
  16. If I have to get up off the floor I need to put my hands on my knees to brace myself on the way up. 
  17. I give much less of a toss about whether or not people like me. 
  18. I feel much less need to make jokes about everything. 
  19. All my friends live a long way away. The nearest ones are an hour’s drive.
  20. I’m quite good at DIY now. I thought I was before, and would have said I was when I was 30. But now I actually am. 
  21. I appreciate early mornings more. I’m rarely awake for them, but when I am I like them.
  22. The fact that the lawn is mostly moss and buttercups genuinely annoys me. 
  23. I don’t care any more who knows about my hobbies and geeky interests. 
  24. If I don’t want to wake up stiff in every muscle in my body, I now need to consider warm up exercises before doing jobs in the house or garden. 
  25. I am working with people who were born when I was doing my A-levels. Some of our apprentices were born while I was at university. 
  26. I need to moisturise my hands every now and then to prevent them taking on the texture of sandpaper all over. 
  27. I own a pair of Birkenstocks. 
  28. Old people moving slowly are much less frustrating to me.
  29. The type of chair I sit on matters much more, and if I have a choice of chair I will give it careful thought.
  30. I can see the appeal of cricket. However, I don’t understand it or watch it any more than I did before.
  31. If I find an item of clothing or a pair of shoes I particularly like I’m quite likely to buy several of them, because finding something that suits you and fits well is not to be taken lightly, and you’ll be sad when it wears out.
  32. I prefer a regular hoodie to a zip-up one now. 
  33. I have developed better coping strategies for making small talk with other men who expect me to have a grasp of either football or sports cars.
  34. It’s no longer possible to switch to cider when I decide I’ve had enough of beer at the end of an evening, because the sugar will keep me awake all night.
  35. I’m more willing to have a go at new stuff. 
  36. I like Motown music.
  37. One very big meal will fill me up for the whole day, regardless what time I eat it.
  38. I’m much better at remembering to wear a hat when in the sun. 
  39. I have a dog now. 
  40. When I trim my beard and my ears I also have to do my nose hairs. 

Unchanged since I was 30:

  1. The 2012 Olympics were, I’m pretty sure, about two years ago.