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» School Assemblies

First day of secondary school
On our first day of secondary school we were all brought in for an assembly with the headmaster. The standard stuff about the choices you make in the next five years affecting the rest of your life, and that you needed to straighten up and fly right today, not two weeks before your GCSEs. To really drive the point home he singled out a boy to ask him a question. Unfortunately for him he singled out Alphonse. Alphonse was a Sudanese refugee who wasn't overly confident with the English language (that soon changed as he worked his bollocks off and ended up in top set English). The headmaster looked at him and asked in a booming voice: "You, boy, what will you do after you've finished school?"

"Sir! I am going to go home and read my book!"

After the laughter subsided he was praised for his eagerness to learn.
(Sun 16th Jun 2013, 16:06, More)

» Dumb things you've done

Dead Arm
My girlfriend goes to work early in the morning, and often leaves me, a filthy student, to lie in bed for a few more hours.

One day, just after we'd said our goodbyes, I rolled over and went back to sleep. In doing this I had, unbeknown to me, placed around 10st of myself on my poor left arm.

Cut to around 10:30AM, and I am roused from my slumber. However, there is a problem - I don't appear to be able to move my left arm. It hasn't just gone a bit numb, it has been full on paralysed. This shits me up a little bit, as even though I'm right handed, my left arm is a valued part of my anatomy. After the initial shock had worn away, I began to think about what I should do. Like most men I'm sure, my gut instinct was to go for one of those fabled wanks where because your arm is numb it's like someone else is doing it. Unfortunately my fingers were so paralysed it was impossible to grasp anything, so that plan was out of the window. I eventually decided to investigate whether I'd lost my postural reflexes as well. I dragged my left arm up above the head of my prone body with my right hand, and then let go in order to see if I could maintain my arm's position.

I couldn't. I couldn't right into my face. Furthermore, because my arm was completely dead I was unable to subconsciously slow my arm down on it's descent to my evidently already severely damaged head, so I got punched in the face by gravity first thing in the morning. Fuck you Newton, fuck you...
(Fri 4th Jan 2008, 1:37, More)

» Moving home

Liverpool, 2009
I should preface by saying that, whilst my story does involve many themes of a stereotypical nature about the above Merseyside city, it really is actually a very nice place with really friendly people, and I spent many happy years there. But anyway...

It was 2009, and my future wife and I were in the process of moving house. We were just moving across the road, so she was tidying and deep cleaning to get our deposit back, whilst my friend and I ran back and forth with boxes and furniture. On the way back from one shuttle run we couldn't open the front door. This would make leaving the building (and moving the furniture) difficult. But wait - there was a kindred spirit on the other side, wanting to travel in the opposite direction to visit his mate! We spoke through the door, and he ended up buzzing my flat so my friend could run upstairs and unlock the jammed mechanism.

I'm not naive, and I'd been apprehensive about giving someone my flat number just as I was going out, but I literally had no other option if I wanted to get my moving done. When I opened the door my worst fears were realised. Imagine every unfair stereotype of a Scouse child that you could imagine. I'd just quit teaching in a horrible school in Liverpool so I could imagine a fair bit, and this kid embodied everything I'd hated about the experience. He'd probably nicked his haircut. He walked past my mate and we telepathically knew that he'd broken the door -and what was going to happen next.

We sprinted back to my old flat, grabbed some heavyish stuff (bar stools and an Ikea rocking chair), and got back as fast as we could. As we returned we saw a mutual friend who also lived in my new building unpacking some Ikea furniture from a van (Warrington Ikea was close, okay?!). He asked if we'd seen a dodgy looking kid roaming the halls. We filled him in on the situation, and our posse swelled to three.

We made contact in the stairwell. He was putting a computer game in his deep-pocketed robbing trousers; a game with a distinctive mark on the case. My friend ran up to the flat as my neighbour and I questioned him.

"Hi mate, which flat have you been to see?"
"I live in 32. Which flat have you been to see?"
"Er, I meant 42..."
"These flats only go up to 36, and that's my game. You've just robbed me."
"Fuck off!"

My friend came down and confirmed the break in, so we called the police. The thief tried to scarper, but my friend had blocked the door with the furniture as he went to disk 999. The scally still resisted, but my neighbour used to do Kung Fu, and I was about two weeks away from doing my first Dan in Ju-Jitsu. He was staying right where he was!

Those chain emails about off-duty marines destroying petty criminals might sound good, but you don't want the police to arrive and see an outnumbered teenager with a brand new case of brain damage, so containment was the order of the day. He managed to wriggle out of my first headlock when I saw him going puce and loosened it slightly (again, didn't want him to lose consciousness, as it could end up on me as the trained individual). My neighbour then tried to put on a wrist lock on him but he snaked out of that (he was a slippery little fuck!). I then decided that he needed to be grounded, so I threw him to the floor. Or I would have done, if the wall of the corridor hadn't broken his fall. This knocked the stuffing out of him and he sat down on the stairs, before trying to bribe his way out by giving me my stuff back (only the Wii games, mind, not the fucking PS3 controllers he'd nicked as well).

The police arrived.

"Hello again Ryan!"

Turns out this wasn't his first time: he'd moved his operation down into Toxteth as everyone was wise to him in nearby Dingle, and he was going to get his mum evicted because of his thievery. He had his brains to fall back on though - he'd kicked in (the fortunately empty) flat 23 before my flat 32.

We got the moving done (just!). I got to see a proper forensics team in action (they obtained a fragment of shoe print from where he kicked our shitty Yale lock in and were able to identify the trainer brand on sight - I thought that was quite impressive!). I got two new locks fitted the next day and got to know our building's maintenance manager really well. He made us feel really welcome - he didn't even mind that the forensics dust was still clinging onto the door when we left three years later!

Tldr: Scouse kid shouldn't have robbed my flat. He got a year.
(Mon 12th Jan 2015, 1:02, More)

» Travel

I don't think I've posted this on here...
Back in 2008 we decided to take my dad to Paris for his sixtieth birthday. He was working across the road from the St Pancras Eurostar link and had seen it being built bit by bit, so we thought that would be a nice mode of travel for us all to take.

My girlfriend is better at packing than me so she did most of it, leaving me to sort out toiletries and books and stuff (hand luggage basically).

So we rock up at St Pancras all packed and raring to go. Through customs we went, and the bags got scanned as normal - until it got to our bag. The customs lady put on a latex glove and asked me to open the bag. Fair enough, I think, just a randomised search. She then starts pulling things out willy-nilly.
"Is there a problem at all?" I ask.
"We've found some bullets in your bag."
"There must be some mist-oh shit..."

I had not intended to try and smuggle ammunition onto the continent. To work out how this happened we must travel back to the start of the noughties. My dad and I had been on a really interesting trip to a disused nuclear bunker in Kelvedon Hatch (I'd recommend it if you're into that sort of thing - www.secretnuclearbunker.com/). I'm a sucker for gift shops, and had bought two bullet keyrings (a 9mm and a 7.62mm). These had served me well until I went to university, and they eventually fell off the actual ring part of the keyring (so they were basically bullets). Not being the tidiest of students - and a hoarder to boot - I'd chucked the de-keyringed bullets in the first place I saw: my washbag. I just left them there with the rest of the detritus I'd snaffled away in there - out of sight, out of mind. I didn't have a passport for most of my university years, so why would their hiding place matter?

It mattered to the UK Border Agency. It also mattered to the plain clothes policeman they summoned to question me. He was actually a friendly chap, and would've been quite disarming - if he hadn't stretched his shoulders quite deliberately as he came over to me to show me his shoulder holster. I was shitting a brick by this point, not only was I in danger of ruining my dad's birthday, I was far closer to getting shot than I like to be. The policeman questioned me about where I got the bullets from, and what I was doing. He even tried to catch me out by changing questions halfway through - "So you're going to Paris wi-you've never been nicked before have you?"

Eventually, my decidedly ropey (but true!) alibi involving nuclear bunkers and gift shops was accepted, and I was sent on my way sans the offending items. I got a letter confirming the receipt and destruction of the contraband items by the authorities, and I'm reminded of this every time I pack a suitcase.

I'm getting on a plane next month to go to on a tour of a particle accelerator. I dread to think how I'll explain that one to the Swiss authorities...
(Wed 24th Apr 2013, 12:09, More)

» Injured Siblings

Wakey wakey!
I'm the only male child in my family, and I have two sisters (8 and 5 years older than me), so I never really did anything violent to them after I reached about 9-10, as I was actually getting to the point where I could hurt them properly.

When my older sister was 10, she was notorious for sleeping like a sloth on Ketamin. My dad told me to go and wake her up one Saturday morning, as we were all going out somewhere. I spoke to her, I yelled at her, I prodded her...nothing. So using my five year old's ingenuity I smashed her in the face with the Usbourne Book of Knowledge. That worked a treat...

Also, one Christmas, during a huge row with the same sister over wrapping paper, me 9, her 14, I threw a spreading knife down on the frontroom table in a fit of rage. It bounced off the table, and landed on her hand (not in, on). Cue her screaming blue murder (literally) - "MUM! MATTHEW JUST TRIED TO STAB ME IN THE HAND!" I got a serious bollocking for that. I was a little bit offended as well, if my parents thought I was going to stab my sister, they could at least have given me enough credit to use a knife that was remotely sharp...
(Sat 20th Aug 2005, 23:54, More)
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