Sunday, 18 March 2018

10 Years

I’m interrupting my End of the World series of posts to highlight a little milestone in my life.

Wednesday 21st March is the 10th Anniversary of “The Plastic Mancunian”.

Yes, that’s right – I have been posting inane drivel on this blog for ten years.

Can you believe that?

On Friday March 21st, 2008, I wrote and posted my first tiny little missive about the trauma involved in supporting a third rate football team called Walsall.

Although it wasn’t a particularly auspicious subject, sadly the same sentiment rings true today. I still support Walsall Football Club, my home town team, and they are still shit, threatening to ruin Saturday afternoons for me in the football season with their sometimes totally inept performances. Sometime, however, they do me proud and actually win games.

Enough of that nonsense – I don’t want to depress myself.

So what has happened to the blog since that first post?

Basically, I‘ve written 720 posts (including this one), mainly involving small essays. I have ranted mercilessly about things I don’t like, tried my best to introduce my wonderful musical taste to the world, talked about my travel exploits and skirted around the things that have popped in and out of my life.

Some of it has been funny, some of it has been controversial and some of it has been rubbish.

I’ve steered away from certain subjects such as my job. One day, when I finally quit or retire, I will let rip about my career – there is a lot of material there – but for now that subject is taboo – lest I get into trouble. I think that deserves a blog in its own right to be honest.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand; I have enjoyed writing these mini articles – even the bad ones.

The truth is that in the last few months I have been debating whether or not to call it a day – and the bad news is that I have decided, for now at least, to carry on for a while.

I’ve enjoyed the interactions with people from across the globe; UK, America, Australia, Europe and even places like Russia – it’s a truly global thing.

I’m also happy to have stamped a little of my inner thoughts on the vast universe of the internet – even though future generations might put me down as being a bit of a goon.

I don’t care really.

So what’s changed in 10 years?

I have become older, wiser, fatter and more grumpy but, ironically more happy with life. My work still irks me but now I can see the light at the end of a long and frustrating tunnel.

My hair is still mad and I now have grey streaks at the side. My eyesight is worse – I now wear varifocals and am even more frustrated about wearing spectacles than I was as a child.

I’ve learned a lot of stuff from reading other blogs – some amazing stuff in fact, written by some very funny and very interesting people with the same desires to put a little bit of themselves out there into cyberspace. You know who you are.

I’ve written about 75% of a rather terrible novel that needs a lot of work but may one day see the light of day (after approximately a thousand rewrites).

I’ve done a fair amount of travelling too, including weird and wonderful places like Brazil, Japan, Canada, USA, Iceland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Oman as well as a lot of European countries.

Mrs PM and I are celebrating 20 years together this year – and I am still a slave to two very old but very demanding moggies. All of them have been with me for the past ten years.

My two boys are now adults – one of whom is travelling to Australia on Friday for what I suspect might be the beginnings of a life-long love of travel. I'm proud of them both.

However, they do make me feel quite old – but I also feel quite young too in a bizarre way. People tell me that I don’t look my age. Judge for yourself.

Here I am in 2008 when the Plastic Mancunian first arrived.

Mrs PM and I in Hong Kong in 2008
And here I am now.

A selfie in Abu Dhabi taken last Friday
Regular readers (if there are any) will probably cringe at this next sentence – here’s a beautifully mellow song by one of my favourite bands to finish off (I love to end on a song). It's by a band called Riverside and is called "Towards the Blue Horizon" and is in many ways quite apt.

I’ll see you soon for the next post which will discuss the next instalment of the End of the World.

Perhaps I should have reconsidered that topic if I'm trying to be positive.

Saturday, 10 March 2018


I thought I would have a chat about the end of the world. I’ve done a little research and there are countless ways in which the Earth could be destroyed or suffer such a terrible calamity that there entire human race is wiped out.

I’ve narrowed the list down to ten possibilities – five realistic and five more ridiculous. Over the next few posts I shall attempt to discuss them in my own peculiar way, starting with the realistic ones and heading into weird territory after that.

First up: asteroid collision.

You may have seen the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact which basically have this subject covered. In both films, the Earth is threatened by a huge asteroid and the world combines forces to try to avert catastrophe.

While I enjoyed both films, ultimately they were the kind of film where you have to switch off your brain and enjoy the carnage – otherwise you end up laughing throughout the movie saying things like:

“WHAT? A bunch of oil riggers are going to drill a hole and blow up this asteroid with a nuclear bomb?”

The truth is I am sure that America has a plan to destroy any huge rocks they discover heading towards the Earth; they always manage to save the world across the pond.

But surely their success depends on the size of the approaching asteroid. For example I’ve read about something called a rogue planet and, worse, a rogue star and no bomb will be big enough to destroy either of those, I can tell you.

Basically a rogue planet is something at least the size of our moon that drifts through the galaxy uninfluenced by any star. If such a thing hurtled into our solar system all we could do is hope that one of the outer planets decided to add it to their collection of moons.

We certainly couldn’t destroy it – and even if we could, there would be thousands of smaller pieces all heading towards us each with the power to wipe us out with the same ferocity as the relatively small one that wiped out the dinosaurs all those years ago.

The truth is that I think such a thing is unlikely to happen in our lifetime.

However, if it did, and the asteroid wasn’t a giant planet sized monster, we could try asking it nicely via the medium of a huge explosion whether it would consider joining our little family (the Earth and the Moon); we could guide it into an orbit that would give us something even better to look at during the night time. The downside to this is that, of course with an extra moon, lots of things would happen on Earth.

For example, we would suffer earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes would start to erupt in a cataclysm that would also do some serious damage to humanity across the globe. The new moon itself might also go as far as to cause a mass extinction itself.

If we were to be wiped us out, perhaps the creatures that evolved in a million or so years’ time would look back at our fossilised bones and make a movie called “Quatenaric Park” about humans resurrected from the blood in the stomach of mosquitos from our time, terrorising whoever is in charge of the Earth at the time.

That all sounds a bit silly to be honest doesn’t it?

But the question is, does it sound sillier than plans to build a spaceship and send a bunch of brave volunteers on a one way trip to an Earth-like planet in the Goldilocks Zone of a distant sun? I guess ultimately we will end up doing this anyway – unless we are visited by aliens who help us to sort something out with their local neighbourhoods.

But that is something for another post.

Basically, my opinion is that if a fairly chunky piece of space rock is on collision course with Earth then we are fucked, even if a brave bunch of oil drillers volunteer to blow themselves and the asteroid up with a nuclear bomb.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Room 101 (Part 4)

As I get older, I am generally getting happier but when something really pushes my buttons, I feel the need to rant and these are becoming more frequent, despite my attempts to be more positive.

So I thought I would do something cathartic and liberate myself of more reasons to rant by popping ten more things into Room 101 so my nightmares can be inflicted on somebody else.

Here goes:

People who do not flush the toilet.

I expect toilets to be pristine when I use them. Sometimes it’s too much to ask for total cleanliness and I can tolerate some minor misdemeanours. But when I enter a cubicle in a public toilet and see a vision of Hell itself because the previous occupant has selfishly left it in such a state that Satan himself would howl in anguish, then I simply cannot forgive them. 
Worse, if the toilet lid is down and I have locked the door before lifting the lid then I am trapped in there. I can’t leave because if there is somebody waiting then that person will think I am responsible for the filthy mess.


Of all the months in winter, January is the worst. I can cope with December because Christmas is just around the corner and we get to have a party and time off work. February is bearable because the days are getting longer and the weather generally improving. 
However, January – all 31 days of it – is a wretched month with short, cold days and long dark freezing cold nights. Moreover, after the highs of Christmas we are all brought crashing down to earth in a month that is full of people preaching about how they are going to lose weight and go alcohol free. 
I’ve heard of people now detoxing by becoming vegan for the month and renaming it Veganuary. The month is so fucking awful that I totally need to drink and eat bad food to get through it.


When it comes to work, I am very professional and my aim is always to get the job done. At the same time, I want to enjoy a decent work/life balance and not let my job dominate my entire life. 
There are people around who sadly seem to be driven by something else and in order to achieve their goals do not mind working silly hours. Some people are worse than this and expect everybody else to be as dedicated to work as they are. 
Such people look down on others because they want to see their families and not work until 8 pm every night. 
Personally, I think that you need rest to perform. When I arrive at work at around 7:30 am, my mind is at its most incisive and I am much more productive. As the  days passes, my mind becomes less sharp and I become less productive. It is the same for most people. When I leave at around 4 to 4:30 I am ready to get the rest I need. If I carry on working,I don’t achieve much. 
So when Mr Workaholic urges me to stay until 8 pm I only have two words for him: “Room 101”.

The Daily Mail and The Daily Express

Of all the terrible tabloids in the UK, these two rags are the worst.

In my opinion they are purveyors of hate-filled right wing fake news and unproven scaremongery.

Don’t get me wrong, there are respectable right-wing papers out there that put a different slant on the news that is actually worth reading.

But not these two. Their headlines encourage the politics of hate – when it suits them. Some of their headlines and stories are scandalous. At the moment it seems that the only people who read these rags are the older generation and I can thankfully see a time in the future when newspapers like this start to fade from our lives.

I probably won’t be around to see that day but in the meantime if putting these two into Room 101 helps then I am delighted to do that.

Jamie Oliver

I really do not like TV chefs but Jamie Oliver is the worst of them all.
Not content with his awful accent and his use of words like “pukka” he has also tried to use his “celebrity” to suggest stupid things. Once he suggested that women should deny sex to the men in their lives unless they start cooking.

Who does he think he is?

 Before you accuse me of anything, I have to tell you that I do cook – and not because I have been blackmailed by Mrs PM because of Jamie Oliver. His TV shows and appearances make me want to rant mercilessly. I refuse to go his restaurant in Manchester, unimaginatively  called “Jamie’s Italian”. Mrs PM even has one of his recipe books and when it is out on the kitchen table with his smug grinning face leering at me as I pass, I turn it over in disgust. I would throw it away but Mrs PM would be upset.

And finally...

That will do for now.

I will almost certainly be ready to consign more annoyances into Room 101 soon.

Certain things are living on borrowed time.

Do you agree with my choices?

Saturday, 10 February 2018

How To Speak British

English is a language that is widely used across the globe in Canada, the United States, Australia and many other places. However, I personally think that in the United Kingdom, where English originated, we have a kind of weird monopoly on crazy sounding words and phrases.

I have been to many English speaking countries on my travels and often been looked at strangely – not because I am a weird looking fella but because sometimes I forget that I am in a foreign country.

For example, in America I used the word “bloke” and received a rather strange look from the person I was talking to. I had to translate the word into American – I used the word “guy” instead. Had I been in Australia or New Zealand I would have been understood because “bloke” is used there too.

Nevertheless, there are some words that are quintessentially British or at least widely used in the United Kingdom and not generally in the rest of the English speaking world.

I thought I would compile a list of some  of these words, so that if you are ever unfortunate enough to meet me, you might actually understand what on Earth I am talking about.

I imagine that some of these words have made it across the pond or traversed the globe to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa – so some of them may sound familiar.

Arse – The equivalent in America is “ass” but in the UK it is used in a slightly different way. For example “I really can’t be arsed” means “I really can’t be bothered”. Also, if you describe somebody as “arseholed” or “rat-arsed” it means they are drunk.

Barmy – Foolish – but in a good way, I think. For example, if somebody I knew was about to go skydiving I would tell him to his face that he was “barmy” and he would laugh. It is also heard at football matches when fans of a team unite in a chant based around the manager of the team  - “Gareth Southgate’s Barmy Army!”

Blimey – An expression of surprise or alarm. “You’re going skydiving? Blimey!”

Bollocks (Dog’s bollocks) – This really refers to a man’s testicles but has become an expression of anger. “Bollocks! I’ve dropped my dinner!”. It is also used as a way of ridiculing something that somebody has said, for example “You are talking utter bollocks!” Conversely, if something is great it becomes “The Dog’s Bollocks!”. I’ve never figured that one out.

Chav – This is the equivalent of “white trash” in America. Chavs are typically lower class and behave badly, swearing all the time and causing trouble whenever they can.

Chin Wag – A conversation. “I’ve just been having a chin wag with my wife!”

Chuffed – Very happy or delighted. “I was really chuffed to have won the lottery!”

Cock Up – A massive mistake. “We lost the bid. What a complete cock up!”

Codswallop – Meaningless nonsense. “Piers Morgan’s speech was a load of old codswallop!”

Dishy – Strangely, this means attractive. “Morena Baccarin is really dishy!”

Faff – A phrase that really means to waste time. “Stop faffing around!”

Fag –I realise that this is a derogatory term for gay people in America but over here it is simply a slang word for a cigarette. Going for a smoke is known as “having a fag”

Gagging – I guess the closest  translation for this word is “desperate” as in “I am gagging for a beer.”

Gobshite – Basically this is a person who “talks bollocks” (see above).  “Piers Morgan is a gobshite!”

Gobsmacked – Astounded or surprised. “I was gobsmacked when the Americans elected Donald Trump”.

Kip – Sleep. “I’m going for a kip! Wake me up in an hour.”

Knackered – Tired. “I’ve just been to the gym and I’m bloody knackered!”

Lurgy – Any illness. “I think I’m coming down with a lurgy.”

Mug – A gullible person. “He conned me out of £10. I’m a right mug.”

Nosh – Food. “Where shall we go for some nosh?”

Numpty – A fool. “Don’t listen to him. He’s a numpty.”

Nutter – A mad person. I’ve mentioned that I am a nutter-magnet before – I seem to attract them. I’m talk about the kind of person who will hurl himself into a weird or dangerous situation without thinking of the consequences or somebody who simply talks gibberish.

On the piss – Getting drunk. “Where’s Dave? Oh – he went out on the piss with his mates. Don’t wait up for him; he’ll be rat-arsed.”

Quid – A pound sterling, our currency. “Can you lend me ten quid?”

Plonker – A clumsy idiot. “How did you manage to fall down the step you plonker?”

Scrump – Steal apples. “The farmer caught me scrumping from his orchard.”

Slapper – A promiscuous young lady. “She’s a right slapper. She’ll sleep with anyone.”

Tara – Goodbye. “See you tomorrow. Tara!”

Thingamajig - Something that you can’t think of the name of. “Pass me the thingamajig!”

Toff – A well-off person. Most members of our Conservative party and the Royal family are toffs.

Wobbler – This is really used to express a temper tantrum. “I told him he was wrong and he threw a wobbler!”

You may have heard of some of these words watching British TV programmes and movies and I recall hearing a couple of them on my visit to Australia. Hopefully, next time you meet a British person and think he’s speaking codswallop you will recall this post and be able to translate his words.

See you for the next post.


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Mr Denial

I have been watching Leah Remini’s documentary about the aftermath of her split with Scientology and have been fully absorbed by it. One episode in particular struck me because it discussed the true beliefs of this so-called religion and covered how a Scientologist would advance to a state of “Clear” and effectively become something more than just your average human.

Scientology claims that you can heal yourself, just like its mad founder L. Ron Hubbard claims to have done, and that every human is possessed by an alien called a Thetan, that is used to push people along something called “the Bridge”, via OT Levels (“Operating Thetan”) to powers that are beyond belief thus making Scientologists super humans.

When L. Ron Hubbard died of a stroke, unable to cure himself of death itself, the new Scientology “pope”, David Miscavige, said this:

So L. Ron Hubbard didn’t die! He merely discarded his body so that he could leave Earth for God knows where and explore the upper OT echelons.

What an absolute pile of crap!

Yet, practising Scientologists believe this. – and every single word that Hubbard wrote and that David Miscavige continues to preach about – no matter how utterly absurd they sound.

Similarly, members of the Flat Earth Society are absolutely convinced that the Earth is a massive frisbee, that gravity doesn’t exist and NASA and all governments of the planet have been lying to us for centuries.

These are yet another truly amazing group of people who have dug their heels in and simply refuse to believe what the rest of us know.

But can we be wrong? These people are so convinced they are right that sometimes, for a brief microsecond, I have actually begun to doubt myself – but only until my inner brain kicks in and says:


And then common sense prevails and I realise that they are – I’m trying to find the right word here but I can’t. Are they idiots or gullible or brainwashed or stubborn or crazy?

I honestly don’t think they are crazy or stupid but I believe there is an element of brainwashing going on – certainly in the case of Scientology. In a sense, you could argue that a lot of religions are the same, I guess.

As a Catholic, for example, I was brought up to believe in a God I have ever seen and told that if I didn’t dedicate my life to him then I would be sent to meet the devil, another being I had never met, and spend the rest of eternity having hot pokers shoved up my arse by Piers Morgan while listening to modern jazz on an eternal loop and being force fed rhubarb while Satan chuckles on his diabolical throne.

Obviously again common sense prevailed and I questioned it.

Yet if you talk to somebody who believes the crap that Flat Earthers or L. Ron Hubbard tell us they are absolutely astounded that you don’t think the same way that they do.

Another favourite of mine is David Icke who also has an army of fans and listen to him witter on about his major conspiracy theories for hours at a time.  He has written loads of books and people actually buy them. Whether they encourage him for a laugh or not, I don’t know but he certainly appears to captivate audiences with speeches about his mad thoughts about aliens, reptiles and the Illuminati.

Here he is trying to convince anyone who is listening that aliens are treating us a batteries, just like the machines did to us in the movie The Matrix:

In 2016, for example, people in Sydney queued to listen to him give a 12 hour seminar – 12 HOURS!!!

Were these people just there out of a morbid curiosity or do they truly believe the rubbish that he is blithering on about?

I ask all of these people three questions:

(1) Why do you believe what you do?
(2) Where is your evidence?
(3) Why do you not trust the reams of evidence that contradicts your arguments?

I honestly believe that the more you try to convince them they are wrong, the more they dig their heels in – almost as if their pride forces them to prolong the myth and they don’t want to appear to be seen as wrong.

Of course, some people see the light (so to speak) – people like Leah Remini. In her case, she was a Scientologist from childhood so had the bizarre teachings of Hubbard forced on her from an early age, when she was susceptible to this nonsense – she had no other points of reference until later life.

But what about David Icke? Does he see himself as a sort of L. Ron Hubbard character? Does he truly believe that inter-dimensional beings are using our emotions as energy to feed them and that there are reptilian shape-shifters running the world’s governments and waiting to enslave us?

I don’t know but to me it sounds utterly ridiculous.

And when questioned, Icke basically calls disbelievers naïve sheep who don’t see the bigger picture.

I’ll leave you with a video of an Australian news presenter questioning David Icke about his beliefs as he was promoting his 12 hour seminars Down Under. When pushed – he gets very defensive and slightly aggressive. It’s worth a watch.

Don't you just love Australians?

To be honest, I also like David Icke – aka Mr Denial – because I am fascinated with how he has managed to get where he is based on absolutely groundless rubbish.

I wonder what he thinks of Flat Earth theorists and Scientology? That would be a cracking three way debate to watch.

I’m even tempted to read one of David Icke's books – I love a good comedy.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Do-Gooder

I sometimes contribute to a message board – I’m not going to say which one as I want to remain largely anonymous on there.

Usually it is a fun experience where contributors discuss various things, debate others and most of the time engage in good-hearted banter. I am a nice guy so I try not to upset people and if I inadvertently do I always offer an olive branch to rectify the situation, which at worst is just due to a difference of opinion with no malice involved whatsoever.

Of course the odd keyboard warrior pops up now and then and insults anybody who disagrees with him and there have been times when such a persistent troll has been banned by the administrators of the board – quite rightly in my opinion. Generally most of us are civil with each other.

However, a troll turned his attention to me over something I really should avoid – politics.

I admit that I need to rein myself in sometimes and usually I manage to do so. In this case, though, I was accused of being a do-gooder. This intrigued me and I pushed back at the troll to find out more about this, in his eyes, derogatory term.

Here’s the (urban) definition of a do-gooder:

An earnest but often naïve person (typically educated and white) who wants reform through philanthropic or egalitarian means. e.g. wealth redistribution, social justice, welfare, third world immigration, adoption of "disadvantaged" children (usually non-white and from abroad), affirmative action and spending other peoples' money for good causes.

The truth is that I probably fit some parts of that description because ultimately I am a nice guy who wants to help the disadvantaged. The troll didn’t like this, stressing that if I were in any position of power then the country would fall apart and become his living hell, simply because I believe that privileged people should help those less well off.

I asked him what he considered himself to be, suggesting that perhaps if he were the antithesis of a do-gooder (which he seemed to be given that he thought my views were completely abhorrent) then that would make him a do-badder.

When I looked it up, the term do-badder does (kind of) exist being defined as:

A person who does bad things.

The troll didn’t like this and disagreed in the strongest terms. I further suggested that a do-gooder really “does good things” and therefore if you don’t like me for that reason then you must be a person who does bad things.

This lead to a a heated exchange (heated on his part) where his descriptions of me included words that I had not encountered before – like snowflake, which is:

A person who has an inflated sense of their own uniqueness and has an unwarranted sense of entitlement; or a person who is easily offended and unable to deal with opposing opinions.

I actually have quite a thick skin and can take insults but I also quite like a good debate and am not easily upset. When I pointed out that the troll was more easily offended by my views and that indeed he was more of a snowflake than I was, the insults flowed. I was called a know-it-all, arrogant, holier-than-thou and various other words that violated the cursing filter and are largely unrepeatable for a humble blog like this..

Ultimately I am a nice guy who cares for people and in a sense I guess I am a bit of a do-gooder although I am not naïve at all. The troll seemed to be the opposite.

Interestingly, when I looked up the official antonym of do-gooder, it turned out to be narcissist – not necessarily the malignant kind (which you can read about here).

And then it kind of made sense and, much to my surprise, I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for the troll – despite his views.

Needless to say, I realised that no matter how much I discussed the topic further, I would not convince him that perhaps I could be right. After all, that would be a personal attack on him and that is totally against the law in the world of narcissism.

Later, he claimed that my silence had meant that he had won the argument despite the fact that other contributors disagreed with him, causing him to turn his nastiness towards them.

Even more interestingly, he was banned shortly after that for crossing the line.

Ultimately I believe that people can have a difference of opinion and discuss things amicably without having to resort to insults. I am genuinely interested in other opinions because it gives me an insight into the bigger picture.

Also, I know that I am not always right – and sometimes spectacularly wrong. I have had my mind changed on several occasions and do not bear a grudge against people who do this.

Maybe I am a do-gooder after all and, if that’s true, I don’t actually regard that as an insult.

If anybody wants to discuss this or other topics then I am absolutely fine with that – even if you are a malignant narcissist or a pseudo-intellectual.

Bring on the trolls!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Mr Sick

My Christmas break from work was partially ruined last year by Mr Motivator.

For those of you who don’t know who Mr Motivator is, he is the personification of all those workaholic ambitious fools who work all of the hours God sends “at 150%” and look down on those who want a decent work/life balance and actually want to spend time with their families.

I do not like Mr Motivator.

So, how did this imaginary nemesis of mine ruin my Christmas?

He made me ill.

Regular readers will know that I am a hypochondriac and the mere mention of an illness makes me think that I have the symptoms. Ironically, I rarely actually get ill. In the last few years at work I can count on the fingers of one hand how many days I have had off ill.

When I get a cold, it is usually just a mild sniffle with a minor sore throat.

However, last year, on the day after Christmas Day I was struck down with a nasty bout of man flu. My head thumped like there was a mad robot inside my skull trying to smash his way out with a sledge hammer. My nose was so badly blocked with snot that it felt like it had swelled to three times its normal size. I was scared to sneeze because I honestly thought I could demolish the house. My throat felt as though it was being sandblasted and I was coughing so much that you could have been forgiven for thinking that I was a barking dog.

I was so weak that I could barely climb off the sofa. I spent three days on a Lemsip diet watching terrible television. My will to live had gone on holiday.

I was far worse than this guy.

Before you ask, I wasn’t asking Mrs PM to make soup or rub my head.

I had virtually no beer - that’s how ill I was.

As I lay there feeling sorry for myself on the sofa, I started feeling anger that I had been struck down while on holiday rather than during a work. I remembered seeing people suffering at work with the same ailment that had struck me down, some of whom were visibly ill before ultimately deciding to take the day off sick themselves. Others plied themselves with vast quantities of Lemsip so that they could get through their working day with as little pain as possible.

It is these people who gave me this horrendous illness – just in time for Christmas and my week and a half holiday.

I don’t blame all of them. Some of them felt that they needed to come in and power through the trauma in order to please Mr Motivator, a man who will be in work for most of the day regardless of any illnesses. Mr Motivator he needs to give 200% and can battle through any illness in order to complete the essential work that needs to be done.

When I returned to work after the Christmas break, three of my colleagues had also been struck down, spending most of the Christmas break in bed with the same flu-like bug having a party inside their bodies.

Like me, they were annoyed, one even suggesting that perhaps he should have taken the week off work to compensate for his lost holiday time.

On those rare occasions when I have been ill during work, I have decided to take the day off the moment the symptoms appear. After all, I do actually like the majority of my work colleagues and the last thing I want to do is strike them down with the same lurgy.

I truly don’t think that Mr Motivator understands that if you come in with a terrible cold for example, then ultimately anybody who comes into contact with you will also get it. Most of these people do not have the same warped philosophy in life as Mr Motivator and will take the time off to recover from it, both for their own benefit and the benefit of their colleagues. More importantly, that person will not spread the disease and the workload will suffer less as a result.

I am happy to say that although Mr Motivator does work at my company (he works at almost every company in fact), nobody thinks any less of you for staying at home when you are ill. It makes total sense to do so because if everybody on my team were to fall ill at the same time, then work and the company would suffer.

So please, Mr Motivator, if you feel ill then stay at home and relax so that you can get over it without harming your colleagues and your company’s productivity.

You know it makes sense.

As an afterthought, I am proud of myself for not asking Mr Google about the symptoms of my illness. Had I done that, I would probably have panicked about dying from a rare tropical disease and made my Christmas even worse.

Here’s to an illness free 2018.