The Bloke

All things being equal, 2010 was a bit of a rubbish year wasn't it?

So if I have any hopes for 2011 it's that the next 12 months will be a bit of an improvement. Which I don't think is asking too much.

There were a few things that particularly annoyed me last year.

It certainly didn't help that the economy was still in the doldrums and lots of people were getting fired. Which brings me neatly to my first bugbear of 2010: The Apprentice.

Now don't get me wrong, I really enjoy The Apprentice.

I liked the fact that Lord Sugar told Stuart Baggs (the real David Brent) he was full of poo, although not in that exact language. I also enjoyed watching leggy Liz in action every week – for her business acumen and general entrepreneurial spirit, obviously.

But that's not to say they can't improve the formula this year. Starting with the bit right at the end of each episode when they show you what happens the following week.

I don't mind this little sneak peek, it whets the appetite for more desperate haggling, ridiculous bragging and boardroom-squirming.

But right at the end of it you see Alan Sugar point to someone off-screen and bellow 'You're fired'.

Which would be fine. Except that I always remember where his finger's pointing when he says it, thus giving me a clear indication as to who gets fired when they come back into the boardroom the following week.

In the final, I knew that whoever sat to the right of Sugar would get the job. I announced this to the Missus just as Chris and Stella walked back into the boardroom.

I think her swearing was a sign she was impressed to see my theory proved right, but I can't be 100 per cent sure.

The next thing that drove me mad in 2010 was roadworks. Not just any roadworks, but the Rolls Royce of roadworks on Roundhay Road, where they're putting in one of those lanes you're only supposed to use if there are at least two of you in the car.

I'm not saying they've been working on it a long time, but when they were marking out the first completed stretch they painted a chariot on there rather than a car.

Like the pyramids and any other spectacular feat of engineering through the ages, I have no doubt that jobs on this site have been passed down from generation to generation.

From grandfather to father and on to son, they've all had a hand in crafting this masterpiece. Well, when they've bothered to turn up, anyway.

The irony is that if and when they finally do get round to finishing it, you just know people will use it regardless of how many people are in the car.

Lastly, I think it would be nice in 2011 to get a little bit more credit and praise for the little DIY jobs I do around the house.

Too often I feel my contribution goes overlooked or unappreciated. Or it's just plain misunderstood.

The other day, for instance, I replaced the toilet seat. Not a big job admittedly, but one I was quietly proud of.

Keen to show the Missus the fancy 'soft-close' mechanism which allows you to drop the seat and watch it glide smoothly down, I beckoned her into the bathroom. "Watch this," I said, and gave her a quick demonstration. "What do you think to that, then?"

"Oh dear," she said, with a folorn but sympathetic look on her face. "Never mind, I'm sure it will stop doing that once we've been using it a while."


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