we have a small problem

The problem is easy to solve, though. Admit it, you’ve been holding back the tears, thinking we’d disappeared into fat air. Perhaps Mags herself had finally had enough of all the slurs and cheek about Slimming World and, after a calming bath with Radox salts and a pint glass of Aldi gin, had sent a shitstorm of lawyers to close us down and burn our computer. Maybe we had given up the ghost and decided not to bother with the site anymore, driven mad by people requesting our RESSAPEAS PLZ HUN and subjecting us to their awful profile photos washing up on our iPad?

Well, the truth is far less interesting – we were actually on holiday. You may recollect us mentioning we were going on holiday at some point but we didn’t want to put it onto the internet that our house would be empty for a week, in case someone broke in and went through our ‘naughty’ drawer. I’d be devastated if I had to tell a policeman that our problem was that our iMac was missing, along with an assemblage of ‘loft insulation grade’ johnnies and a douching bulb. Oh the shame. We spent a week in sunny Corsica (don’t worry, I wasn’t sure either – it’s an island off the southern coast of France), tanning ourselves and basking in the sun like two especially hairy warthogs.

Naturally, the next couple of entries will detail all the bits and bobs to do with Corsica, and yes, I have some stories, and yes again, there’s accidental nudity and us causing embarrassment wherever we go. Shame follows us like the scent of a hurried poo at work. 

problem

But for tonight, just a few things. 

First, a moment of reflection. We’ve both fallen off the wagon lately and I’m not going to lie, we’re struggling to find our focus. Our problem is not the evening meal (which you see on here) but the hours in between, full as they are with cheesecake and sweets and pies and trips to Tesco for nonsense and calories. Our weight has been stable for a few weeks but I’m tired of being fat still. We’ve stopped taking the diet seriously, and that’s a shame, because we always do so well. 

How to fix it, short of giving up the delicious cooking and existing purely on Scan fucking Bran and those shitty ready meals from Iceland? How to solve that problem? We’re going to make our weight accountable again, and post our progress on here every Thursday so you can see that our diet works and that we are sticking to it. Hopefully the worry of hearing 20,000 chunkies sucking air over their teeth will be enough to keep us on track. We’re off to Iceland (the country, not the supermarket where an awful lot of people have that sour milk and fags scent) in December and it is imperative we lose weight before then. I don’t want to fall in the snow and be unable to get up, instead frozen in time like a memorial to Doritos and dilatory dieting. From Thursday, we will be back at class and ready to really try. We do have a fantastic class and it’s been a shame to miss so much of it.

To help you with the recipes, we’re going to be posting a competition tomorrow to win a box full of meat, and it’ll be nice and easy – so keep an eye on that. Don’t forget our Musclefood offer – click here for that!

Second, a promise. We’re going to give you a new recipe every single night until Christmas Eve, starting tomorrow. That’s 85 new recipes – the usual mix of syn-free and low-syn meals, all served up with the usual piss-taking sassiness you’ve come to know and demand from us. We can’t commit to reams of text to accompany each recipe so sometimes it will literally be only a picture and guidance, but when I can write more, you know that I will! 

To that end, please share the recipes and the group as far and as wide as you can – it helps us, obviously, but I like to think people are out there trying our stuff!

I certainly know people are reading it, because not only do we get all sorts of lovely comments and feedback, but we’ve finally had someone recognise us ‘in real life’ – hello to the lovely Elizabeth who nearly took my ear off with her enthusiastic recognition! I was out buying candles at a garden centre and it has to be said, had a face like thunder because I’d been stuck behind some dithering fart in a 206 all the way to the garden centre. Even a spot of singing along didn’t help because Radiohead came on and I couldn’t reach my phone to turn it off. By the time I had parked up I’d already fitted a hose-pipe to the exhaust. Anyway, naturally, she was lovely and it put me a much better mood – so thank you Elizabeth! You put a smile on this whiskery face. Excellent customer service too, although really you should have knocked at least 25% off. I mean come on.

Oh! A PLEA. If you’re sharing our recipes, that’s absolutely fine. We have no problem with that! But please give a link back to our pages if you do, just so we get new readers. We’ve spotted a couple of people recently taking our recipes – including our photos – taking off our watermarks and then passing it off as their work. Meh, a recipe can’t be copywritten, but show a little class. Give us the credit for the photos – we cook the food, we type it up. We pointed out this rudeness to one of the cockwombles who we had noticed was nicking our work only to end up in an argument with her, who stated that ‘we can’t claim our recipes as our own’. I’ve added in the vowels as she didn’t deem them necessary. Here’s a rule – if you ever spot something and think it looks like one of our recipes but with added Comic Sans, spelling like an upended Scrabble board and some shit rainbow effect added, let us know, because it’ll have been stolen from us.

We’ve just got a bit more class.

So, with that, we’re back, welcome to us, and it all starts…tomorrow!

J

PS: if anyone recognises where the title of this post comes from, you’re amazing. I could not be more excited about The X-Files returning. Oh hell yes.

my pussy is inflamed

In a major huff. I typed up, designed and published a wonderful article on Buzzfeed in the hope of driving more people to the blog, only to find it was deleted fifteen minutes later because I’d left a watermark from my blog on one of the pictures. BAH. I’ll redo it on the weekend but sadly, it means I don’t have time to cook a recipe tonight – so we just had tomato salad.

I have, however, finally managed to get the search button working on the blog again – so if you’re trying to find a recipe, you can just chuck a keyword into the search box and it’ll come up trumps. Best part is, given I’m probably mentioned every possible swearword at some point on here, you’ll even find recipes if you search for the Big-C-Word…

Finally, because I want to go to bed, I thought I’d share with you a picture of my poor, inflamed pussy. Bowser has been chasing bees around all morning and came in the house with a pet-lip where he’s been stung. He’s fine, eating well, but aaaw now then. I can’t take his cries for food seriously given he’s grinning at me like a court jester.

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Recipe tomorrow! Paul’s writing it, the poor bugger! Be nice to him.

my wrath will come down like the cold rain

QUICK: I know I’ve got loads of comments in the queue to clear and approve – bear with me, my app is broken! I’ve read them all and you’re all fabulous.

Came home today to find a clear plastic bag on the front step with a bag of chopped up rabbit in it. This is the pleasure and joy of living next to an ex-butcher with a shotgun licence. I wish he’d be a bit more discreet about it though – my freezer is absolutely full of unidentifiable bags of chopped up flesh and blood. I feel like Fred West when I go to get the fish fingers out. We had someone valuing the house the other week and when I went to get the ground coffee out of the freezer, I saw her wince and suck her teeth like she was expecting a jar of severed cocks to come tumbling out.

The Other Half has disappeared down to Peterborough for a couple of days to attend to family matters, and as much I would have just loved to spend time with my in-laws, I’ve elected to stay behind and attend to all the various bobbins we need doing around the house. What this actually means is that I can lounge around unwashed for three days with Pringles crushed into my back hair, stop brushing my teeth and revert back to sloth form. I dread to think what would happen if Paul went into hospital for a week or something, I’d probably end up looking like Ludo from Labyrinth with half the house covered in newspapers and cats. I do think Paul and I balance each other’s foibles and tics out very well but then see, we were always destined to be together – I’m the yin to his yang, the Myra to his Ian, the Arthur to his Martha (or vice versa if it’s his birthday). He was a poor boy (from a poor family), as was I, but I came with the benefit of having a crazy rich friend who funded all my shenanigans. When I look back on that time in my life, it’s astonishing what I got up to. Case in point: I flew down to Portsmouth to meet up with him on an absolute whim because he had a cold and I felt sorry for him. My friend bought the tickets and sent me on my way, and then bought me four new sets of tickets because I kept cancelling to stay another day. Clearly Paul was so impressed by the fact I flew down in a plane so small and old that I had to hand-crank the propeller before I got on that he decided I was a keeper and moved straight up to Newcastle with me.

At least, I hope that’s what it was. There’s a photo of us somewhere in history of us both lying in bed, taking a selfie (I know), with me looking into the camera with my usual boss-eyed squint, and Paul smiling dreamily at my wallet just at the edge of the shot. I had the last laugh there though, I’m in charge of the money. I’m like The Banker from Deal or no Deal, but that would make Paul Noel Edmonds, and as he’s NOT a beard with a twat hanging off it, the analogy doesn’t quite work. I’d be able to show you the photo if I’d been on board with Facebook and the like at the time but I wasn’t.

See, it took me almost five years to move onto Facebook and embrace all the soporific self-aggrandisement that came with it, but once I took the plunge, uploaded 7.3 million pictures of my cat and some filtered photos of Paul, I can see how useful it is, even if I spend more time than is healthy tutting at people’s poor choice of cutlery and inability to tidy away the fucking wires at the back of their telly.

Pardon me a moment.

I had to go and open the door for Sola, who was scrabbling at the glass on the front door like crazy. I half expected her to have her paw pressed up against the glass with NOT PENNY’S BOAT scribbled on it. She’s been doing my nut in today because she’s doing her passive aggressive trick of meowing to be out and then immediately scratching at the door like a man who has woken up in a body bag. I’ve mentioned before that she’s loosened a bit of the door frame so that she can pull it back with her paw and rap it against the door, meaning for about twenty minutes you get LET ME IN THE HOUSE I’M HUNGRY AND COLD AND YOU’RE CLEARLY COMFORTABLE SO YOU MUST MOVE’ in fucking morse code. It’s so loud. Bitch. She’ll waltz in with her tail in full ‘FUCK YOU’ mode, go to her water fountain and then immediately start meowing to be out again.

No recipe tonight as, with Paul away, I can’t be arsed to cook for one, so I’m having a jacket potato with beans and a chat with the cat.  Both cats are in a huff because they went for their injections yesterday, although Bowser is especially put out because I managed to drop his cat-box as I was putting him into the car and he went rolling down the drive inside the box like a Gladiator in an Atlasphere. Have no fear, he’s alright because the box was stuffed with towels and a plate of cooked chicken, but we could barely drive for laughing. That’ll be the RSPCA kicking down my door later then. I did go to Morrisons (the glamour – it never ends) to try and pick up some treats but I became so despondent with all the harsh yellow lighting and the dead-eyed 3.40pm reduced-item-clutching zombies that I picked up the first nauseating bit of pastry I could see and came home.

As it happens, I managed to pick up a Morrisons All Day Breakfast Pasty. Which is fine if your idea of an all-day breakfast is some indistinguishable orange gloop, potato with all the texture of a wet sneeze and a sausage with the meat content of a sofa cushion all wedged into a suitcase of fire-retardant pastry. For one thing, the pastry was so thick and dry that I had to be put on a drip just to finish the second half. And the smell! Listen, I wasn’t expecting a Heston Blumenthal level of magic and wonder, but I prefer my food not to smell like someone has just cut a cat turd in half and basted it in a dying man’s breath. I put most of it in the bin, and didn’t even need to pour Fairy Liquid on it to stop me going back later in a fit of greed. YOU LISTENING MORRISONS?

Anyway, this potato isn’t going to eat itself.

We’ve finally got round to making a Facebook page BTW, which makes things easier – if you like it, you’ll get our posts automatically appearing in your newsfeed and plus, it’s easy to share! https://www.facebook.com/twochubbycubs enjoy enjoy.

a thick, meaty guide to Options on Slimming World

We’re out and about tonight so no real post, but I made this for you guys and girls – it’s a guide to Options.

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My good friend Phillipa, knowing my kitchen is awash with volcanic red Le Creuset and other expensive frippery, decided I needed a cup with a handle made from a cock with a skidder down the side of it. I’m not going to lie, I totally love it, and it’ll sit proudly on my windowsill so ole Vinegartits over the road can get her gusset damp over it! Options aren’t a bad option on Slimming World, especially if you’re like us and you find yourself craving chocolate last thing at night and it’s a toss-up between getting a McFlurry or having some angry sex.

There was also a penis cake, but that’s an entry all on it’s own. I had to bring it home because I’m not convinced I could have got away with putting it next to my desk at work and offering it out. I mean if I can’t do that with my own penis I can hardly see a cake version winning. Another friend of mine once made a cake where it was basically a vagina with a baby coming out. Who on Earth thinks that’s a good idea? I felt so guilty cutting through the baby’s head that I could barely go back for thirds. Man I miss baking.

…long entry tomorrow, fnar fnar, starring…cake!

J

two chubby cubs go to germany – part five

I’m working overtime, again. It’ll be past midnight when I finish, and I’ve eaten rubbish all week – Dominos, sweets, creme eggs. Gutted about the inevitable weight gain but do you know, I needed sugar late at night to keep me from toppling over the balcony in a sleepy daze. I have no photos or recipe with me at work, so it’s sheer text pleasure for you all! So, here we go again – the next part of our blog post! You can see the last four entries here, here, here and here.


How’s this for a twist? After our day of sleeping and eating burgers, we both woke up around 11pm and decided on a whim to visit an underground salt mine in Austria, which was only a two hour train ride away. The tickets were booked and the alarms set before the half cows in our bellies started turning into poo.

We awoke bright and breezy – well, as bright and breeze as you can be getting woken up at 4.45am by eight separate alarms. I feel bad for our room neighbours, they probably thought the sky was falling in although, if the apocalypse comes, I don’t think it’ll be heralded by a calypso version of Ode to Joy. After a quick ride on the U-Bahn, we were at the München Hauptbahnhof by six just ahead of our early train to Salzburg. Munich, so early in the morning, was gorgeous, but there was no time to admire it as we were whisked to our first class seats where there is nothing more eventful to report other than we slept most of the way, with me only waking up whenever I heard the buffet trolley coming. I swear I can hear a Kitkat being snapped from over 300 yards – I was like the world’s most corpulent meerkat peering over the seats. I like to get the full benefit any time I travel first class – if there’s a little lamp, I’ll flick it on and off, if there’s a doily on the back of the seat I’ll be sure to rub my forehead with it. Although, given how excellent standard class is in Germany, first class was an unnecessary frippery. Still, it did extend me the chance to say ‘Well, it doesn’t look any bigger than the Mauritania’ when I stepped aboard. The train sped us into Austria and we were in Salzburg in no time at all.

Our first impressions? Not great. Salzburg had a curious bland square when you stepped off the train, full of people begging for money and smoking cigarettes that smelt like burning hair. We slipped into a McDonalds (so cultural – but it was the only place open) for a bit of breakfast and I thoroughly enjoyed my crappy croissant – the stress of having my wallet stolen and my pockets pinched only adding to the flavour. We decamped to the bus-stop to wait forty minutes before the bus to the salt mines rolled in. I barely had enough time to admire the fact someone had taken a shit into a tuna can and left it on the bus-stop seat. Disgusting, but I couldn’t help but admire his technical prowess. It’s the little things you remember.

The bus ride was just lovely – rolling forest hills on one side, crystal clear blue streams on the other. It felt like I was in an advert for aftershave. The illusion was only spoiled by a little old lady next to me who seemed to have packed enough food and snacks for a bus journey to Krakatoa. She just didn’t stop eating, smacking her lips together and fishing around in her endless bag of treats – she was like Mary Poppins but with saturated fats. First there were sandwiches, then biscuits, then crisps, then boiled sweets, then a banana – it was a shame we had to get off the bus when we did because I was sure she was about to pull out a pan and a cylinder of Calor gas and rustle up some bacon sandwiches. Ah well.

Naturally, being us, we managed to get to the salt-mine precisely one hour before it opened, and, being in the middle of Nowhere, Austria, there was nothing to do or look at. Indeed, the only movement was me doing the hop-back-and-forth piss dance. Paul is like a feral cat, he’ll happily piss anywhere and everywhere, but I’m very British and like to do things properly. Alas, with the sound of the babbling brook and Paul’s impressions of a waterfall ringing in my ears, I could hold it in no longer and had to nip to the side of a service road for a tinkle. Of course, no sooner had I got my cock out than a coach full of French school-children came barrelling around the corner like the bus from Speed. I almost re-circumcised myself in my haste to put it away and not be arrested for indecent exposure. I wish I knew what the French for Gary Glitter is. Well actually, it would be Gary Scintillement, and that sounds quite charming and non-threatening to children.

The hour passed by in no time at all – nothing makes time pass quicker than being surrounded by a litter of French schoolchildren, all screaming and shouting in French and smoking Gauloises. Thankfully, the doors crashed open at 11am and we were in. First task? Change into the type of jumpsuit last seen on Sue, Computer Analyst from Burton-on-Trent on The Crystal Maze. Thankfully, I was given the correct size and was straight into it, but Paul was handed an M. There are no conceivable circumstances where Paul could be considered an M unless that M stood for ‘Muffintopped’. He had to go back to the stern, moustachioed lady on the front desk and explain, with him speaking no German and her speaking no English, that he was altogether too fat for an M. She gave him an L and a sneer. It was still like trying to stuff a settee into a bin-liner so, exasperated, he went back and she finally threw an XL at him with a loud ‘Mmmff’ sound. Bless him, it was tight, but he managed to get in, even through the denim was see-through across his arse where it was stretched so tight. She was horrible – awfully judgemental for someone who was keeping the backs of her knees warm using her tits.

Dressed to depress, we were herded up into a group by a very stern looking man and taken to a tiny train (it looked like something you’d see in the Borrowers) for our trip into the side of the mountain and into the mine itself. It was brilliant! Despite feeling like I was going to be decapatitated at any given moment by a low beam, the train chugged along in almost pitch black until we were around a mile into the Earth. There, we were given translating tools which we promptly pocketed and forgot about. The leader was the very personification of dourness but he did try to make things interesting. We ignored him entirely and spent the first part of the tour looking around the mine. It was brilliant – but it gets better.

To get to the next part of the tour, we had to descend eight stories. You were given a choice – either walk down a twisty turning path for about ten minutes or slide down on a proper wooden slide! Well look – we’re two gay lads, we’re not going to turn down a slide down a shaft on a decent sized bit of wood, are we? Oooh nasty!

Now deep into the mine, we spent a while looking at mining equipment and following the story of salt, before the next amazing part – crossing the underground lake which they called a ‘mirror’ lake, because the water is so clear and undisturbed that it creates a perfect reflection of the ceiling above. Of course, being British and cynical, I spent a good ten minutes telling Paul that it wasn’t a lake at all, it was just polished glass and a special effect, until he got tired of my cynicism and splashed his hand in the water. Well honestly. What do you get in terms of special effects here in the UK at outdoor attractions? Impending bankruptcy and Hepatitis B. I was enthralled. As we crossed the lake, they played a tasteful laser show (the first time in history that the word laser has ever been prefixed by ‘tasteful’ I reckon) and some music. Without wanting to sound cheesy, it was magical. There was a bit more chat and then we were in a funicular back to the surface in no time at all. I can say, with all honesty, no-one has ever had more fun deep underground in Austria since Josef Fritzl got himself a Screwfix catalogue and a tape measure.

You have no idea how long I’ve been itching to bust that gag out.

Now, I wish I could tell you that after the mine we spent a merry afternoon exploring Salzburg, but we didn’t. We’re not a fan of Mozart, we’re not a fan of being asked for change and the whole town is on a gentle slope, so we were back on the train to Munich quicker than you can say Siebentausendzweihundertvierundfünfzig, which is the German word for 7,254. Obviously. Back in Munich, we were off to bed to sleep off the excitement and ahead of a lovely day exploring Munich the next day…

takeaway style beef and broccoli

Yet again I find myself working late with nothing but a Wagamama menu to look at. I’m lucky to have a fairly interesting job and I do enjoy working in the city centre, but it’s an absolute ballache if I have to work late as the only places near me that deliver are Wagamama and Pizza Express. I mean, I COULD walk further, but I’m a lazy, lazy man. So – as I’m busy working – I’m pressing the button on a ‘saved’ blog-post – my fourth chapter on our visit to Germany. You can read the previous instalments here, here and here. Because we’re amazing, there’s also a recipe for takeaway style beef and broccoli at the end which is genuinely delicious. Enjoy! Normally skip holiday posts? Give this a whirl – feedback welcomed!


Now, I’m going to be honest, I lost my page of notes for the last day of what we did in Berlin, so I can’t go into any great detail – good riddance I hear you cry, this’ll be a short entry. Nope…

We woke on our last day in Berlin with a heavy heart, and only a small part of that was down to the amount of cholesterol and fats we had taken on during our short stay. Berlin was amazing – something happening on every corner, history all over the place, fantastic mix of people. Having all of the Christmas markets on only added to the atmosphere and neither of us would hesitate in going back. Heartily recommend. Nevertheless, we traipsed down to the checkout, gave our luggage to some hipster fucknugget who had left his little afro-comb in his afro (argh!) and wandered out to kill the time before we were to get our overnight train to Munich.

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One last look at the view…

First, Checkpoint Charlie, which took us about forty minutes to find. It shouldn’t have – if we’d just turned left instead of right as we breathlessly climbed out of the underground station, we’d have been there, but instead we walked for forever in a massive circle until we found it. Meh. I know it’s historically very important but I felt its impact was lessened somewhat by the McDonalds just to the side of it. Plus, they had a really ropey statue of a soldier with a bit of tinsel on his head. How respectful!

Afterwards, we spotted the Ritter chocolate museum on a map, and headed there. Again our sense of direction failed us, and we wandered and wandered and wandered, all passive-aggressive sighing and bitchy looks at everyone else who were clearly going exactly where they wanted to go and knew exactly how to get there. The smug twats. After gradually turning our feet to corned-beef in our shoes, and with the blood pouring out over the top of our socks, we FINALLY found Ritter World. Well, honestly, I was expecting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I got Billy Vanker’s Chocolate Camp. It was full of tourists and fat children jiggling about with sticky hands and gleeful expressions.

Paul immediately managed to cause international offence by declaring loudly ‘well you’d know all about that’ in response to young slave workers picking cocoa beans along the chocolate highway – he was actually talking to me in response to eating chocolate but the young Puerto-Rican couple in front of us looked pretty crestfallen. I’m surprised he manages to brush his teeth in the morning – whenever he opens his mouth his boot automatically falls in. We loaded ourselves up with 24 bars of Ritter chocolate, ostensibly to give to co-workers – we had the box open by the time I’d put my wallet back in my pocket.

A trip to an experimental computer art-gallery followed next – yet again our normally faultless navigation failing us, leading us into a proper run-down sink estate where I started my ‘protect everything in my pockets’ Macarena dance that I mentioned in a previous entry. In our defence, the art-gallery was tucked away down a side street full of chavs smoking weed. I felt like I was in a Paddy Considine movie.

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Oh! We did spot this. Goodness me.

The art gallery was, as you may expect, full of experimental videogames and controllers, and we had a whale of a time geeking out. It was smashing but the best part was the virtual reality headset at the end. Paul normally can’t manage anything like virtual reality – he gets dizzy looking at a magic eye puzzle due to his boss-eyes. Ah bless. He’s got lovely blue eyes – one blew to the East, one blew to the West. Kaboomtish.

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We did stop for one of these. My reflex action already had me on my knees until Paul pointed out it meant garlic bread.

Anyway, you think me writing about videogames is exciting? Well you haven’t heard anything yet, because after the videogame museum came the…font museum! That’s right! We saw this on tripadvisor and thought it would be right up our street, and indeed it was, being only a mile or so mince from the videogame museum. We’re sticklers for the right font – it really makes my face itch when I see screenshots that people have put on from their phone and they’ve chosen to use Comic Sans as their display font. Comics Sans should only be used in care homes to illustrate which tap is hot and which is cold, and nothing more. The museum was full of ‘letters’ – random letters from hotel signs, train stations, massive installations – some old, some new, some neon, some metal – it was really quite interesting! I don’t know if I’d pay the amount we paid to go around but I still got to crack a joke as I left and they shook the ‘suggested donations’ box at me – I said ‘Are you taking the P’. Well, as you can well imagine, how we all laughed – we were still chuckling and shaking our heads whimsically as Paul pulled me out by my fagbag. Spoilsport.

By this time the night was cutting in, so we wandered back to the hotel, picked up our suitcases and nipped into the closest restaurant for a last-minute meal before we got on the train. Well fuck me. We couldn’t have picked a more German looking place, it was like being in a themed restaurant. The waitress was wearing lederhosen, there was oompah-oompah music playing, the menu was full of words longer than this bloody blog post…you get the picture. I ordered something that sounded like a bad hand at Scrabble and received a pile of meat and potatoes which was absolutely bloody delicious. I washed it all down with a bathtub sized glass of German beer and suddenly the restaurant seemed like the finest on Earth. Paul had duck and a fizzy water, the great big puff. We settled the bill and waddled, clutching our stomachs full of fermenting beast, to the train station.

We were planning on driving to Munich but I’ve always fancied an overnight train journey, and it was around £200 for the both of us to have a private cabin. That makes it sound infinitely more grand than it was, but it was surprisingly roomy, with two bunkbeds, your own netty, a table to rest at and even a shower! A shower! On a train! The only time I’ve ever managed to get wet on a train is when I’m sitting next to the toilet on a Pendolino and it lurches around a particularly sharp corner.. Once the train pulled in, we were escorted to our ‘room’ by the train conductor, yet another officious looking man with a face full of woe who looked as though he’d push you under the train if you asked him anything. He assured us he’d ‘look after us through the night’ like some creepy fez-wearing Harold Shipman. I was left more than a little terrified. He shut the door and Paul immediately dashed to the toilet ‘to try it out’. I optimistically hoped that this meant testing out the flush or, at a push, having a tinkle, but no, it meant hearing the world fall out of his arse, punctuated by ‘OOOH THAT’LL BE THE CURRYWURST’ and ‘I’M NEVER HAVING SAUERKRAUT AGAIN’. Just once I’d like to be able to relax in a new environment for longer than ten minutes without having to hear my other half straining out a poo. It’s not too much to ask. Course, it gets worse – no sooner had he pressed ‘flush’ then the train conductor clicked the door open and asked whether or not we wanted food. Fuck food, all I wanted was a tank of oxygen, and he totally knew what Paul had just done because I saw his nose wrinkle. Frankly, I’m surprised his nose didn’t burn up like a dry leaf in a bushfire. He didn’t come back until the morning.

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The glamour! Look at that size of that toilet – now imagine how small the shower is, to the immediate right of the loo – then read on…

Mind you, it wasn’t just Paul causing embarrassment – about half an hour into the journey I remembered that we had a shower in the tiny bathroom and immediately undressed. The shower cubicle was approximately 80% the size of me but by gaw, I was determined. Through the human equivalent of pushing a beachball into a postbox, we managed to get me in, but I literally didn’t have space to move, so it was a case of standing there letting the water pool around my shoulders as Paul lathered shampoo into my scalp. Finally, there was a loud sucking noise and the water found a way through the dam of my back fat and down my bumcrack and disappeared. I win again! After ten minutes, Paul pulled me back out of the shower and back into the little living room area. Now this is where it gets embarrassing – in all the excitement of working the shower, we hadn’t realised that the train had stopped at a rural passenger station and was obviously taking on a few more people – us looking out the window could barely make anything out because our room was bright and it was night outside. This situation wouldn’t have been so bad had I been dressed, but I’m ashamed to say that at least six good, honest German folk on the platform opposite were treated to the sight of Paul changing into his nightwear and my hairy arse pressed up against the glass like two paint-filled balloons. We only realised our error as the train pulled away – probably ahead of schedule to save my blushes. Wars have started over less than my arse in a window, trust me.

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The rest of the journey passed without incident, although I had trouble sleeping through the rocking of the train. Paul was out like a light, but I remained fitful on the bottom bunk, sure that every creak and groan of the metal bed above was a sure sign that he was going to come crashing down on top of me and that I’d be smeared up the side of the train like a fly on a windscreen. I kept myself amused by writing up the first few days of the holiday and looking wistfully out of the window as the night turned black. Oh, saying as I indulged in some toilet talk before, I’ll add a bit more – the combination of good, rich German food and the rocking of the train meant that we were both full of wind – and when one wasn’t farting, wafting and laughing, the other one was taking up position. The poor bastards in the room next door must have thought a brass band was tuning up before a key performance. When we awoke in the morning, the air was so thick I almost swam to the toilet. Even putting on my glasses didn’t remove my blurred vision. I’m only thankful it was a no-smoking train else it would have been like the Paddington Rail Disaster all over again. At six there was a sharp little tap on the door and the conductor, barely hiding his wince, set down a tray of breakfast goodies on the table. It was the usual German fare – apple juice, jams, bread (the bread was fresh when brought in but after two minutes in the fetid air of our room, had gone a lovely toasted colour) and minced animal. They love their indistinct pâté, that’s for sure. Still, it was free food and I couldn’t waste a crumb, so I didn’t, and it was delicious.

The train pulled into Munich at around seven and we were unceremoniously dumped on the platform as the train hastened away, probably to be burnt to ashes thanks to our almost inhuman farting. We jumped onto the underground and after a short ride, we were at our hotel. The guy checking us in clearly thought we were checking him out, and he was posing and fluttering his eyes and being all coquettish. He didn’t have a fucking chance, he had more make-up on than Dame Barbara Cartland for one thing, and he gave us a proper ‘knowing’ leer when he realised that we were a married couple with a king-sized bed. I really hate that! He might as well offered us an upgrade, rimjob or felch for the amount of subtlety he was displaying. We gave him fairly short shrift and were allowed up to our room, where I’m disappointed to say we stayed for the rest of the day. Actually – disappointed is the wrong word, a holiday is for resting, and we had a lovely day in the room, ordering room service, watching the German version of Air Crash Investigation and sleeping. No word of a lie – we pretty much slept from 8am to 8am the next day. The room service was extortionate – €60 for two burgers, although they were the size of footballs and delivered with the usual German élan (i.e. no care at all – they crashed the tray down like they were delivering a verdict on England itself).

Mind you, that’s not surprising, given our hotel room probably smelled like the countryside of England did when we had the foot and mouth crisis and all the cows were being burnt. Fact: the foot and mouth outbreak started less than a mile from my house. I still blame my mother for feeding the dog Aldi stewing steak and starting it all off.

I’ll write more about Germany tomorrow, but in the meantime, speaking of well-cooked beef…

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This recipe is dead easy to make and only takes about fifteen minutes or so. It might be helpful to have all your ingredients prepared beforehand. Having the beef cut into smaller chunks means it goes further, and cooks faster.

This serves six people.

to make takeaway style beef and broccoli, you’ll need:

ingredients: 500g diced beef, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp + 60ml light soy sauce, 1 large onion, 5 cloves of garlic, 2.5cm cube of root ginger (grated/minced), 250g broccoli florets, few pinches of red chili flakes, 250ml beef stock

to make takeaway style beef and broccoli, you should:

recipe: in a bowl drizzle 2 tbsp of soy sauce over the diced beef and mix until it’s coated. Heat a large non-stick pan on a high heat, add Frylight (or use a drop of oil, like sensible folk) and add the beef in one layer for one minute, and then flip over for another minute. Put the beef to one side on a plate.

In the same pan and still on a high heat, add more Frylight (see above) and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for three minutes. Add the broccoli and two pinches of the red chili flakes and sauté for another three minutes.

In a bowl mix together beef stock, 1 tbsp of corn starch and 60ml soy sauce. When mixed and there are no lumps pour this over the broccoli mixture and mix to combine and cook for a further three minutes. Add the beef back into the pan, mix, and serve immediately over rice.

that Paul has done a post

Just a quickie for tonight (oh aye) – James is stuck in his fancy office doing work and will be ’til the early hours. He’ll be like a hairier Quasimodo hanging from the town clock pining for a bit of quark come two o’clock. I’ve just come home from a meeting too so an unproductive evening on the website front, so apologies for that. Tomorrow though a spanking new recipe, I promise!

Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading the next part of my story. Please do feel free to leave feedback! This follows on from my earlier post here about my foray into cooking (or not)…


Not long after that I landed in Portsmouth. Despite living in a gorgeous house it was also stuffed with two 60-year old, orgy-loving, dungeon dwelling S&M queens (really gross, believe me), it was handily located on top of a massive hill which meant that every day I had to walk up the bastard thing to get home from the train station (getting down was alright, I just rolled). Couple that with having even less money to spend on food meant that I was pretty quickly shedding weight and lost nearly half of it in all the time I was there. I even skirted XL at one point. My diet though was still pretty bad – the first meal I made James when he came to see me was a cheese sandwich made on stale bread and stale cheese (y’know, when it looks like a cracked heel) and a stolen Petit Filous yoghurt from my housemate Fabian. He still wolfed it down though, the little trooper. It was the exercise, though, and the fact I HAD to do it (I couldn’t afford a bus!) that meant the weight had no choice really but to go down. It was quite nice at times. The hill was still knackering but it did become easier, and I was still eating all the things I loved. I started to notice though that I’d get very dizzy and when I played around with the blood glucose meter at work it was always a little too high for my liking. I tried to eat more healthily although I didn’t really know how to cook anything, but I could never last long because I just didn’t have the money in the first place to buy healthy things, nor have the foresight to actually plan things in advance to see things through the whole month (I was still having to buy food at the first opportunity, before my money went on debts!).

And so it pretty much just carried on like that until we finally moved in together Oop North. Our financial situation was much better meaning we could buy stuff that wasn’t convenience or just pure crap, and James was quite adept at throwing together a few different meals. We managed quite well, losing a little bit of weight here and there, before we finally joined Slimming World a few years later and wanted to do things properly. I started giving a few simple recipes a go, like the good ol’ Mince ‘n’ Mash (with real round potatoes!) and branching out into other things. I still remember the feeling of pride I had when I made my first ever spaghetti bolognese and served it up to an equally impressed James. I started experimenting even more with different things, still keeping it simple though, and relying on the Slimming World books like the One Pot ones and the ‘Extra Easy Express’ that nearly always meant that quick equalled easy.

We then moved into our current, gorgeous house, Cubs Towers and with it came a new kitchen that we were able to design (with the help of the Ikea man, natch) that we could make our own, and weed out those little annoyances we’d had in our old places, like no worktop space or a sink that was too small. We stuffed it full of no-end of gadgets (like the ones here and a load of books so that cooking could actually be fun. Armed with some pretty decent equipment (for once!) and no end of room I really started to branch out and develop my skills, something which I’m still doing even now! I still struggle with anything too complex but at least now I’ll give it a go and most of the time it works out alright. And that’s probably the best bit of advice I could give anyone – just try it! If you take the time and able to learn from your mistakes, just try it. Nothing bad can really happen if you get it wrong (except setting yourself on fire and getting salmonella, I suppose…) and if you get it right it means that you’ll become even more confident and competent. Looking back over some of the recipes I’ve cooked I really am quite surprised at how they’ve come out, given that a few years ago I couldn’t work a George Foreman grill.

Next, I’d really like to take a catering course. Not that I see myself becoming a professional chef in the future (Christ no, I couldn’t contain myself) but really just for fun and to develop my skills even more. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up on the telly. Hopefully thinner and more photogenic by that point, mind. And I wouldn’t mind more hair. Perhaps a boob lift too. Oh the possibilities are endless!


And there we have it. G’neet!

just to be the man who walked a thousand miles

Paul’s back tomorrow. It’s been odd without him in the house – the air smells fresher, certainly, and the toilet is remarkably un-pebbledashed, but it’s been quiet and my feet have been getting cold during the night. We very rarely spend the night apart – I can genuinely only think of 6 nights, in over eight years, where we haven’t been burbling sleepy nonsense in each other’s ears and dutch-ovening our way through the night. I’ll be glad to have him back, I’m about three days away from dressing in rags and wailing around the street in the rain like Eponine from Les Mis. In the meantime, a little bit about walking – I’ve walked for years.

I don’t know how well any of you know Newcastle, but there’s a town moor just outside the main city – a lovely, open field with a well-lit path cutting right across it. Well, to help improve my fitness, I’ve taken to walking across there into work and back in the evenings a couple of times a week – four miles in total. I’m not doing this to boost my weight-loss but rather to get back to a decent level of fitness. You don’t need to exercise for SW to work, but well, it can’t do any harm.

Of course, the town moor, by the very nature of its name, is also used by lots of other people, and has four unique problems – cyclists, walkers, dog-walkers and cows. Let’s take cyclists first.

A few years ago, you’d be lucky if a cyclist had anything more than two wheels and a handlebar as they went past you. Times have changed, not least because you can now sense their self-satisfied attitudes before you see them, drifting ahead of their bike like a breath on your neck. I’m not a fervent anti-cyclist – admittedly, I don’t see the point, but the ‘Professional’ cyclist does wind me up.

Now its not the helmet-cam that gets me cross, although it’s just so needlessly passive-aggressive – the Halfords equivalent of wearing a sign saying Telltale Tit on it. It’s not even the lycra, which clings to every wrinkle and takes away the mystery of whether a man has a matt or gloss finish. No…it’s the lights that wind me up – I used to cycle merrily in the dark along country roads with only the little reflector that came free with my box of Frosties lighting the way, with my long black coat and my shit goth black hair billowing behind me like the gayest Scottish Widow you’ve ever seen. Now you see cyclists coming towards you looking like a tiny mobile oil-rig, all shiny helmets (admittedly not the first time I’ve had one of them come at me of a morning) and blinking lights morse-coding ‘YES, I AM A TWAT’ on the front. It’s lucky I’m not epileptic, I’d be twitching halfway to Sunderland by the time I finished my walk.

Then see there’s other walkers – I’m an incredibly competitive person but also someone who is fundamentally lazy, a dangerous combination. I don’t like to be ‘outwalked’ by anyone, but I’m too fat and slovenly to move beyond a speed that could be best described as ‘god bless him, he’s trying’. If I see someone coming up behind me (admittedly not the first time I’ve had that happen of a morning, either) I’ll immediately try and quicken my pace, but I’ll sharp need to slow down as my trousers start smoking and the smell of bacon wafts around me.  I’ll lump joggers and runners in with this lot – fair play to anyone who wants to improve their fitness, it’s all good fun, but why do so many need to run towards you with that weird cum-face thing going on?

Dog-walkers are even worse, though. I don’t mind dogs, but only if they’re decent, dog-sized dogs – not cats that bark. As a rule, if you can lift up a dog with one hand, it’s too small for me. I like walking a dog to be a battle of wills, see. But by the by, it’s those people who let the dog run up to you and jump up on my work trousers – I don’t particularly like dogs I don’t know at the best of times, but I could really do without a muddy pawprint over my crotch. Oh how the owners laugh gaily as I shoo their little shitmachine away from me, all ‘OH HE’S REALLY NO BOTHER’ and ‘OH HOW HE LIKES YOU’. I’d love to reply ‘DO YOU THINK I COULD DROP-KICK HIM OVER ST JAMES PARK FROM HERE?’ but of course I’m too British so I just laugh nervously and call them rude words as soon as they turn their back. Keep your dog on a leash if you’re incapable of calling them back, it’s really that simple.

The final problem is cows. For eight months of the year, there are about two hundred cows milling around on the moor. No-one else seems fazed by them but they make incredibly nervous. I grew up in the country and was never fazed, but one day I was walking across the town moor with my headphones on, in a world of my own, when a cow ‘crept’ (I say crept, a cow weighs around 100 stone or so, so she did well) up behind me and nudged my side with her nose. I got such a fright that I actually screamed out loud like a jessie and well, now I’m terrified of them! There’s only one place in Newcastle for 100-stone beasts with insanely long eyelashes and pendulous titties and that’s the Bigg Market. I console myself by eating their brethren with a smug smile.

So yes, walking. Perilous. Recipes tomorrow when t’other half returns! I PROMISE.

J

quickpost: I’ve finally did it myself!

Using my quickpost for this week to make sure there’s a post every day! VERY quick post tonight because I fell asleep in front of the TV and it’s nearly midnight. Why am I so tired? Simple. I spent all day DOING DIY! Honest to God. I’ve never felt manlier – I almost went out and bought a cigar and a six pack of beer. Did I? No. I did some DIY though. Admittedly all my drilling and measuring and sawing (I shit you not, I used a saw) were done to the best hits of Juice Newton, but still? The shelves will probably end up on the floor with a cat pinned underneath and it’ll cost me ridiculous amounts in vet fees, but for a moment, I FELT LIKE A KING. I once put a bed together from IKEA and realising that I hadn’t quite done it correctly, I just used a pile of magazines to prop up one corner. That bed lasted me three years of hard ‘single living’, if you know what I mean. God bless you Nintendo Magazine, you have no idea how many intimate moments were stacked upon your pages.

Anyway – bed for me, recipes tomorrow – this is like a mini break for Paul and I see.

Here’s what I did!

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Ladies, if such a display of manliness has left your lettuce wet, I apologise, but I’m married! Tsk.

J

my old job as a call-centre worker

As jobs go, my current one suits me fine – it’s busy, demanding at times and very occasionally, whisper it, fun. I know right? But how’s this for temptation – I’m going to be sitting amongst £165 worth of pick and mix next week. I mean haway. I’ve also spent thirty minutes finding pictures of sprinkles, lambs and cold beer this evening, all for work, so not so bad. I’ve been thinking about my previous jobs recently, so with that in mind, let me take you back to the early 00’s. Warning: this post contains the C-word, and it isn’t chocolate.

My first job was working for a well-known british telecoms provider in the complaints department, which, as a fresh-faced young eighteen year old, was quite the eye-opener. I went in full of cheeriness and enthusiasm and left seven months later a broken husk of a man. There’s only so many times you can be called a thieving cunt for charging 35p for Caller Display and still feel peppy about slipping on your work slacks of a morning. Actually, we did have a man who called up who was called Mr Kunt – and that’s not me being crass, that was his 100% genuine surname, which we knew because we checked his record. Brilliant. Try fault-finding on someone’s line when you’re trying to squeeze his surname in at every opportunity. ‘IS IT CRACKLING, MR KUNT?’. Haha.

I left on a hungover whim after a mutual agreement with a friend that we’d see where we got to in the day after spending all night out and about – we got to 9.30am, and it was me who cracked first. I had some old spinster ring up, giving it the whole ‘I’VE BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR FORTY YEARS’ nonsense (she actually sounded old enough to sit on the party line with Alexander Graham Bell, but that’s by the by). She was ringing up to complain because we’d changed the colour of the phone book spines from a mild purple to a deep purple, and that upset her because her phone book didn’t match all the others. I shit you not, she not only collected phone books, she displayed them in her living room. There’s no happy ending there – she’ll be found face-down on a stack of newspapers with cats eating her feet. Anyway, she was so intently obnoxious and rude (as if I’d personally standing at the printer and changing the inks over myself, instead of sitting there looking up Mr Kunt and burping out little boozy burps) that I ended up telling her I’d immediately remedy the situation, then promptly ordered her a pallet of Aberdeen phonebooks, which I was sure she’d find incredibly useful in her hovel in Sussex. I bet her face was red. And fucking hell wouldn’t THAT clash with her shelves of broken dreams.

There were also the usual games of trying to get Abba lyrics into customer phonecalls – surprisingly easy when they were complaining about the cost of phone-calls (‘I can save you Money Money Money Sir…pardon?’ or ‘Saving YOU money is the name of the game, Madam…eh?’) but more challenging when they’re ringing about interference on their microsockets (‘So your broadband drops out when you’re viewing German animal porn….er…Does Your Mother Know?’) etc. Finally, good old squidfucker – how many times can you get the word squidfucker into a hastily read out script about direct debits? YOU-CAN-CANCEL-SQUIDFUCKER-THE-INSTRUCTION-AT-ANY-SQUIDFUCKER-TIME…

Ah, great times. I’d work for a call-centre again – I did like the camaraderie and sense of working as a team, but I don’t miss having a set amount of time to go to the toilet and buy a Kitkat. Plus, the pay was shocking – was it any wonder that we used to put the phones on mute whenever Doctor Who was showing on a Saturday evening on the giant screen they used for showing stats? Top tip – when you’re being transferred, don’t mouth off about the adviser, they can still hear you and chances are you’ll be rerouted to some automated menu somewhere. Oops. And if you mouth off about not wanting to speak to ‘THOSE INDIANS’, fully expect to be put through to the adviser best at doing Welsh accents…

Unusually, no recipe tonight – because I’m home so late, it’s just chips, beans and sausages for tea! Something new tomorrow.

J