Saturday Sports
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
2w ago
Pre-children, my first commitment on a Saturday was watching Football Focus at midday. Nowadays, by the time the opening credits are rolling, I am ready for a lie-down.  We have entered the age of weekend sports. On one hand, this is lovely as it gives the boys an opportunity to exercise, socialize and grow as people. On the other, it means we cannot do as we please on a Saturday for the next 10-15 years as this cherished part of the week is now spent making touchline small talk with other flagging parents. A couple of weeks ago, I learned that going out on a Friday night is now more reck ..read more
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Frozen Party
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
1M ago
“I don’t like Frozen anymore, Daddy,” Jacob declared less than a week before his 100% Frozen-themed 4th birthday party. “But you’ve loved it for the past year? Could you not just hang in there for a bit longer, buddy?” “It’s boring. I only like animals now.” “Can you not like Frozen and animals?” “Don’t be so silly, Daddy.” As if this revelation wasn’t enough of a headache, the day before the party, I was handed a shopping list so complex it felt like I was participating in a task on The Apprentice. My Morrisons search for 24 minipacks of Skittles proved fruitless (pardon the pu ..read more
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January: The Least Wonderful Time of the Year
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
2M ago
The first week of January is, without doubt, the worst time of the year and cracks are starting to appear. When an Amazon man hammered on our door at 7 a.m. the other day, Louise was less than thrilled. “Why are you being so loud at this time?” she said. “I wasn’t sure if anyone was in. Anyway, I’ve dropped off the package now.” “Where have you put it?” “I carefully placed it over your fence.” “Do you mean our 8-foot fence? You carefully placed it over that? You definitely didn’t throw it?’ “Sorry, miss,” he said as if addressing a prison guard, before scuttling sheepishly down the drive. Pre ..read more
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Countdown to Christmas
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
3M ago
When a colleague changed the radio station to Heart Christmas on Tuesday 14th November, I stood up and, with uncharacteristic assertion, said. “No, don’t be ridiculous.” It felt good to put my foot down. Unfortunately, I was overruled and, having heard “Stop the Cavalry” twice before lunch, tempted to put my coat on, walk out of the fire exit and just keep on walking. My Bah Humbug approach, however, was a touch hypocritical. Since becoming parents, we (Louise) have started ramping up the Christmas hype machine early and the weekend saw wall-to-wall festive activities. On Friday morning, the b ..read more
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Day Out in Blackpool 
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
3M ago
I first went to Blackpool with two friends in 2002. We’d seen an advert for The Syndicate, allegedly the UK’s biggest nightclub at the time and, as passionate clubbers (regulars in the one nightclub in Leeds that accepted our International Student fake IDs), we decided we needed to experience it. Accommodation was deemed unnecessary – we would simply stay in the club until it closed at 3 a.m., then whittle away the hours until the first train back to Leeds. No problem. Armed with £60 between us and covered in unsociable quantities of Lynx and Dax wax, we shared a small bottle of Glen’s vodka o ..read more
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What it's like to be an Airbnb Host
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
3M ago
Our wedding turned out to be considerably more expensive than we'd envisaged. It turns out weddings cost absolutely loads. Who knew? I'm not saying we are deserving of sympathy, though. A harpist, for instance, is not essential. Despite generous contributions from our parents, we were still coming up short so, in the months leading up to the big day, a quickfire money-making scheme needed hatching. Louise was unconvinced by my idea of a trip to Napoleon's Casino, and suggested, instead, that we list our house on Airbnb. “Do many people visit Leeds, though?” I asked. “Well, I've somehow en ..read more
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Happy Campers
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
6M ago
We went camping near Castle Howard in North Yorkshire recently. I am not yet convinced by camping - it seems an awful lot of hassle to make yourself voluntarily homeless - but, last year, Louise spontaneously bought all the gear anyone would ever need (from a man on Facebook) and will be damned if we don’t make the most of it. After returning home from our previous trip with a broken tent pole, a broken spirit, and three relentless days of washing cycles awaiting, I subtly suggested we might break even if we sold the gear on ASAP, but this was met with short shrift. “The boys loved it, Andy ..read more
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Cheshire
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
9M ago
We spent the May half-term in Cheshire with Louise’s mum and sister. I like this part of the country and, when I was 18, came close to starting a teacher training course at Chester University. In truth, this was less about genuine aspirations to inspire the next generation and more about being a Hollyoaks fan; Lee and Bombhead appeared to spend most of their time in the students' union, drinking snakebites while flirting with implausibly attractive women over the pool table and it looked terrific. A few weeks before I was due to start, though, I impulsively reversed my decision. “And how do yo ..read more
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Center Parcs, 2023 (part 2)
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
11M ago
Our next stop was the Jardin des Sports where Louise ordered a pair of espresso martinis. This seemed a wildly inappropriate drink given we were surrounded by badminton courts and a roller-skating class. I was also surprised as she is becoming increasingly cautious with her caffeine consumption; when I made a latte for her at 2 pm recently, she looked livid.  “I’m not drinking coffee at this time, Andy! Have you gone mad?” Feeling like the Great Gatsby of Center Parcs, I strolled around with my cocktail while the boys played on the grabber machines, wrestled with an unsupervised long-hair ..read more
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Center Parcs, 2023
The Flagging Dad
by Andy Carter
11M ago
A friend of mine told me that installing a roof rack on his car was the moment when it really struck him that he is a dad. “More so than the birth of your daughter?” “Yes.” I cannot fully vouch for his claim as I paid extra at Halfords for a teenage lad who was, I think, stoned, to install ours while I sat in Starbucks, sipping a latte, but I can see his point; a roof rack confirms your youth is over. When Louise and I first met, she had grand plans of driving a Ferrari by the time she was 30. Instead, we co-own a 0.9-litre Dacia Sandero decorated with scratches and dents following an incident ..read more
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