D’ya hear yer man

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Join the ‘cue

It’s taken 62 years but my dad has finally discovered the wonders of barbecuing.

On Sunday past, with the skies clear and the sun splitting the stones, he decided to fire up the barbecue. It’s a gas one so it didn’t take long.

He’s had the gas barbecue for a good while now but I think this was the first time that he truly connected with it. On Monday he was all biz about the barbecuing he’d done the day before. It was as though every other barbecue had been a meaningless fling when compared to this ultimate cooking experience. He spoke of meat cooked to perfection, of gas-fired flames dancing a merry jig and of fun, food and family-feasting in the sun. He declared that every meal from now on would be barbecued - be it soup, pasta or mashed potatoes.

Mum was a bit more grounded. She said that dad had cooked some chicken and burgers on the barbecue. It had been very nice, but he hadn’t cleaned the barbecue when he’d finished.

I sampled some of the cold chicken leftovers on Monday at lunchtime and I have to say it was rather special. If it’s that good when it’s cold I can’t wait to taste it straight off the ‘cue.

Part of my dad’s newfound love of barbecues could be down to the fact he’s got one of those barbecue kits that come in a fancy case.

I’d like to imagine him arriving at a scene of distress. There’s a crowd of people staring and pointing at the carnage - piles of raw meat wobbling high on plates surrounding an untamed fire in half an oil drum. Then dad enters the fray.

“Stand back, please,” he says and the crowd parts. He steps forward producing his special case. He opens the case and lays it flat to reveal his utensils. He beckons one of the crowd forward and asks for their assistance. He takes a long look at the fire then turns to his assistant.

“Tongs, please,” he says. The crowd gasp. “Don’t worry,” dad says. “I’m a qualified barbecuer.”

Darting success/failure

When I was camping with the Scouts two weeks ago I got wind of a darts competition that was taking place in Newtownbutler on the Friday night we were there.

I’d never entered a darts tournament before so I decided it was as good a time as any to make my debut. As the competition night drew nearer I started to get nervous. What if I had to face a seasoned marksman? Worse still, what if I had to play someone who was very good at darts?

My nerves were eased by a couple of the older Scouts who bought me a set of darts and a sweatband set so I would at least look the part. They presented me with the darts and accessories at flagdown so I knew I was going into the competition with the backing of the entire troop.

It was all set up for a cracker night of darts with £50 up for grabs for the winner. The venue had a fancy blackboard which was marked with liquid chalk and one of those roll out dart mats to set the oche.

The only thing this darts competition was lacking was darts players. I was the only one who showed up.

I presumed this made me the winner, but my parade was hit by hailstones when the barman declared the competition had been cancelled.

Live and kicking

On Sunday night I put my hand on Karen’s belly and felt a kick.

As I rubbed my throbbing shin, she warned me never to take her by surprise like that again.

Seriously though, Karen is starting to feel the baby’s movements and I’ve been lucky enough to have my hand in the right place to share some of my unborn child’s kicks, punches and headbutts as well. We’ve been asked whether the child is a boy or a girl? The truth is we weren’t given the option of finding out when getting the ‘big’ scan.

We’ve also been asked if we can tell from its movements if he or she is going to be a rugby player, a footballer or a hockey player. My intuition is that it’s going to be a darts player (unlike myself). I base this on the fact that when I was monitoring Karen’s tummy for baby movements the other night I saw her belly button pop out momentarily and heard a muffled, little voice shout “bullseye”.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: the other end of the rope isn’t tied to anything.

Here’s this week’s teaser: The verb ‘to be’ is unusual in that it has three different singular forms: ‘I am’, ‘you are’, ‘he/she/it is’. Is it ever correct to say ‘I is’?