Sunday, 29 January 2012

Things I wish I was good at.....

....but I know I'm definitely not.

One of the joys of unpacking is the memories it unleashes. Open a box that has been sealed for several years, and the first whiff you get is of nostalgia. The second is of fetid decay of course ("So that's where that burger went" you think to yourself.....).

Anyway, whilst unpacking as we settle in to Dartmouth, I have unearthed three clear cut aspirations from my distant past. I really, really wanted to be good at 1. Boxing, 2. Playing the guitar, and 3. Talking to girls. To explain.....

In one box I found an old photo of me in the Marines. Fresh faced, pert buttocked, and raring to go. It was a photo of me in the gym, in some embarrassingly tight shorts as were de rigeur in 1988. Anyway, what I really wanted to excel in at this time was boxing. I wanted to be known as a granite-chinned, beast of a man with a pile driver of a right hand. We finally got a chance to box during our training, when you do a thing called milling which is essentially flailing like a maniac for three rounds of three minutes. I danced out from my corner in the approved manner, having watched lots of boxing matches but never actually thrown a punch in my life. At this point, as I bobbed and weaved and did clever little skippy steps like I'd seen Barry McGuigan do on the tele, my opponent punched me very hard in the face. I know this is the idea, but it really, really hurt. This immediately made my eyes water a lot, so I stopped dancing around and slitted my eyelids to see where he was, waggling my right hand in front of me optimistically as I did so. Whilst I stood in this bovine manner, peering myopically through streaming eyes, he punched me very hard in the face again. At this point I suddenly lost interest in boxing. And it's not like he was any good either. We were less Ali and Foreman, more French and Saunders. So that was boxing.

Next in the unpacking saga was my guitar. I've been playing the guitar for years, and I'm still rubbish. My friends have all stopped being polite about this, and every time I get it out they just immediately tell me to put it away again. Or - and this really annoys me - someone will say "Oh, I play a little. Do you mind if I have a go?" They will then play complicated flamenco for three hours, ending the evening with a giggling girl on their knee and everyone else holding up lighters and swaying. I HATE it when this happens, which is difficult as it seems to happen a lot. I played a tune to baby Isla Grace the other day to help her sleep. She immediately woke up, screamed, and then wee'd herself. I've seen grown ups do this too when I take the guitar out of it's case. So that's playing the guitar.

Chatting up girls. This is of course irrelevant now, but everyone likes to think they were good at it once. I've found a few pictures of old relationships, and it amazes me I ever got together with anyone. I had a rare gift of killing a conversation stone dead, clubbing it into unconsciousness with a single sentence. Two examples spring to mind. Ten years ago I was at a wedding with my best friend when a lovely girl came up to speak to us. "What do you do?" she said to me. I said, and I still tremble as I write these words "Ah, well, I'm a bit of a Renaissance man." Unbeknownst to me at the time, this is just a complicated way of saying "Ah well, I'm a bit of a dick." Anyway (long story and all that) she married my best friend, they now have two gorgeous children, and she still takes the mickey out of me for the worst first line in history. This line is only beaten by a comment to a very pretty girl in a pub in Exeter when I was a young man. She had a lot of make-up on, some of it not too well applied. I said "Do you put your make-up on the bedroom wall first then run into it with your face?". This was, apparently, not funny. So that's talking to girls.

The shop! We literally take it over at the end of next week (hopefully). We'll try and get something on a website soon so everyone has an idea of what we're up to in terms of courses etc. That's as soon as we figure it out ourselves of course.

Attached is a piccie of Reubs and the little one. Reubs is unequivocally the big brother, and if anyone messes with Isla they would have to deal with seven stone of annoyed timber wolf. Which is rather reassuring.....

Back to unpacking!

Ta, Mont    


  1. Great Monty... I feel somewhat reasured that I'm human and not the only person not good at a lot of things including the boxing , playing the guitar ad girls, although I must have been good at something as I have 4 boys (hmm no good at girls like I said)..
    However now I have 4 boys I am reliving my life through them and trying to inspire to be good in the areas I was poor in.
    Very ammusing , Best Wishes

  2. thats amazing, and dont dwell too much on the past, you have an amazing family which is growing, you have an amazing job, too which I would kill for!! I love animals and would love to get into animal conservation one day. I used to play guitar when I was young and never got any better so I gave up on it... I will never touch it again haha. And with the girls, dont worry about it! you're a catch!! haha. Great news on the shop and the photo is beautiful <3

  3. Gorgeous pictures, Reubs is absolutely adorable and being an avid follower of your programmes, what a life you have given him. Baby looks cute too !! I will be one of your first customers - get the coffee on !