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Day: January 30, 2012

The Rambles of Neil Monnery search terms – a little bit Take Me Out heavy…

I was just looking at the search terms that resulted in clicks on my blog for the past week and one might say that the hit ITV1 show Take Me Out is driving traffic at the moment…

Rambles of Neil Monnery Take Me Out
Search Terms for TRONM Jan 24-Jan 30

Either Mark Bolton and Nick Halling were on the show or they are interlopers in this list. Next people will be saying this is a Take Me Out blog…

One thing from this list though is that Gracie has been the most popular searched woman from the show in the past week but overall it has been Bianca then Chloe then Gracie then Bainsey. Make of that what you will.

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The sadness of not being allowed to be the dad you want to be

On Saturday I witnessed one of the most depressing things I have ever seen. I was en route back from London on the train when a dad and his daughter were sitting there in the next set of seats. I wasn’t eavesdropping (don’t google ‘eve stropping’ to check for the spelling of said word – it is a porn star) but I did overhear a tiny bit of their conversation. Is was the dad asking his daughter for her mobile number and the daughter saying that she’d have to ask her mum. She rang her mum and asked and got the ok to do so but also asked if she (the mum) wanted to talk to daddy or wanted her (the daughter) to hang-up and she was asked to hang up.

I know I did this subconsciously but I looked over at this dad and saw his sagged shoulders and the despair he was going through. I have no idea why the relationship he was in didn’t work out. I have no idea as to the state of the relationship but I saw in his face how desperately he wanted to be a significant part of his daughters life and from the signs it looked like he was granted minimal access.

This isn’t a rare occurrence and I have known many parents facing this issue. Parenting is tough but when you so want to be part of your offspring’s life and you aren’t allowed to be the pain must be quite cutting. We hear so much of deadbeat dads who don’t care for their children but that number is dwarfed by those who sit alone at night waiting a fortnight until they can see their child once more.

As a football fan I know many other football fans. In this time I have come to know many fathers who only see their sons (and daughters on occasion) once a fortnight and this leads to them taking them to football. It is a bonding experience. The amount of times I have heard them speak to their former partners to tell them that they wanted to take their kid out after a game to get food or go to the beach only to be told that they had to bring the nipper home at the predetermined time is genuinely heartbreaking.

Personally I’m not a father so I can’t speak from personal experience. My parents split up towards the end of my teenage years so it was a completely different experience for me. However I lived with my mum until I was 18 and moved in with my dad and I know for that year and a half or so we lived apart he missed me a lot. Yes I still saw him but not every day and I know that hurt him. That was when I was all but grown up and by 19 I’d be off to university. How he’d have coped had my parents split ten years or so earlier I don’t know. He would have missed out on so much, not only me but with my brother and sister as well. Whenever I see a dad on a day out with his son or daughter on an access visit my mind always harps back to how my dad would’ve coped and subsequently how would I cope in those circumstances.

Being a single parent with custody of a child is not easy work of that I have no doubt but being a parent without custody who yearns to play a bigger part in their own child’s life must be just as hard mentally. I just think sometimes we overlook these people and laugh at the whole ‘Fathers for Justice’ crusade but they have a story to tell and have a fight to see their own children. Those who at least get access often have very limited contact and very strict rules to follow. That is no way to bring up a child and no way to play any significant role in their upbringing.

I have no idea what to do about it but I just think it is one of the saddest things I see – a parent who wants to be a great parent not being allowed to be because of the courts or their former partners. Every case is different I know but it just saddens me. It saddens me a lot.

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Just when did London move to Norfolk?

A shocking CNN report shows that London has migrated away from its natural home of the Thames for a new rural location:

CNN London
CNN breaks London's migration north

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My trip to the Big Smoke to take in a show – scary times…

Who here had me ever writing a West End Review? Anyone? *watches the tumbleweed flows through the lands* well due to the line at the London Aquarium being downright insane on Saturday lunchtime a new plan was hatched. This involved going to see a show. Not exactly what you would call natural Neil territory but heck we were in London and I’m relatively easy going.

After the first two choices were shot down thanks to no tickets being available (Phantom of the Opera and War Horse) the third choice was the one I’d mentioned – Legally Blonde. I suggested this for two reasons a) I knew the story and had gone to see the movie in the cinema and b) I had actually read some very good reviews about it. So Legally Blonde tickets were bought and we had just under an hour to get to The Savoy. If proof is needed that I did in fact but said tickets then look no further (well look just below these words).

Legally Blonde Tickets at The Savoy
Legally Blonde Tickets at The Savoy

See. Proof.

I know that is only proof that I bought the tickets and there is no proof I was actually at the show but I was. I didn’t think to take any photos whilst I was there. My main concerns were the lack of leg room at The Savoy theatre and when it started (after a brief delay for unspecified backstage issues) realising it was a little bit shall we say ‘preppy’ and the person I was with likes preppy stuff about as much as I enjoy enjoy mushrooms – i.e. not a great deal. I feared she may not enjoy it and considering it was her birthday trip into London I was fearing my choice would go down like a lead balloon.

My fears were allayed at the interval although I was informed these fears were not exclusive to me after the first few minutes. As for the show itself it was nice and simple. Some catchy tunes (although none that are so memorable that they are still in my head two days later as I’m writing this) but is wasn’t the worst way I’ve spent an afternoon that is for sure. I thought the cast did a pretty good job. I didn’t realise it was Steph from Hollyoaks playing Elle Woods and she was good. The guy who played the UPS guy had a small part but caused the most laughter without a doubt. The staging was all clever. You know what I enjoyed it.

As we left and foraged for food my next big task for the day arrived. Yes I went for a large pizza at Pizza Hut and boy it was large. Gutted I didn’t take a picture of it but it was a large BBQ Americano and I finished it. As I put the last mouthful into my mouth I said (rather loudly) ‘I win!’ at the empty deep dish. Several people looked at me. I think someone was rather embarrassed but I was rather proud of my achievement. I felt like Adam Richmond in Man v Food albeit on a much smaller scale.

So there we go. My Saturday consisted of seeing my first ever show in the West End and taking down a large pizza in one sitting. All in all I’d say that was a successful trip into London. This is not to mention actually going up close to the Houses of Parliament for the first time. I had a quick look in Downing Street and measured up for curtains too…

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