Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

I'm in the middle of ironing a shirt to go to the local for the Hogmanay party. As tempting as it was to sit in and watch Jackie Bird and another unfunny Only An Excuse we decided against it and thought we'd have a wee dram down the pub. So a Happy New Year to everyone when the bells toll!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Relation onslaught

Christmas is over again. Back in the office feeling sleepy this morning after struggling to get out my street again. After a few beers last night I was dreading another hangover but woke up bright as a button, showered, slurped down a cup of tea and then headed out, feeling quite good in the bracing, ice cold air. Unfortunately the air was not the only thing that was icey. The snow which, has lasted longer than any previous snowfall I can remember, has now mostly turned to ice. The car was skidding around on the spot again trying to leave the street and Ka had to get out of bed and give me a hand, revving as I tried to shove the car over the icey patches. She came to my rescue in her polka dot dressing gown and a neighbour, whose missus was waiting to leave the street behind me, helped me shove the car into motion. As the car shunted forward into a normal form of movement I thought Ka was going to keep on driving at one point, not seeming to slow down as she got to the top of the hill. I thought her anger at being woken out of bed had finally sent her over the edge and she'd just keep on driving regardless. Leaving me and her cosey bed behind her and venturing out into the wintry world with only her polka dot dressing gown for comfort. Fortunately she did stop though and let me take the car on to work, leaving her at the top of the hill to go back to her bed. Hopefully she left the door on the snib.
We were in Mum and Dad's last night as they held a wee party for Christmas. When we were growing up the family would always gather on the Boxing Night, each adult volunteering their house to the relation onslaught every year. In more recent years this trend has slipped for whatever reason but Mum and Dad decided to have everyone over this year, just a little later than the usual Boxing Night. Most of the family gathered, driving up through the hills of snow to Chapelton and had a nice catch up, which included some snow shovelling, Ka and Kenny attempting to build a snowman, the traditional Christmas quiz, hosted by Dad, and the usual giant buffet prepared by Mum. Our team, the Troon Tortoises, ended up coming in last in the final quiz results, being narrowly pipped at the post to second place by Charlies Angels team. Lynsey Ann was on top form though remembering Scotland's last entry into a international tournament and all four Teletubbies among other answers to questions which left Tom, Mum and myself floundering. We still say Pluto was a pointer dog though and not a bloodhound.
This was all after a very sleepy Boxing Day in which Ka and myself sat through Christmas tv overload, too tired to do anything else after a late night on Christmas night. Suffering after the excesses of an excellent Christmas day hosted by Mum and Dad. Their dinner was fantastic, eleven of us round the table, wearing musical ties and fluffy halos. The pea and ham soup was a particular highlight along with the moments of madness including the lighting of the pudding and the fighting over the family china. All great moments which can only occur at family meals.
As i sit in the office I wonder when we'll be allowed out, since there is nothing to do. The sun is out now, so as the ice melts away hopefully some of this sleepiness will.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Who nicked my custard?

Snow is falling, all around us. Christmas is now in full swing. At least two inches of snow is lying on the ground, cars are skidding on the roads, the shops are still packed and we're all waking up bleary eyed with sore heads from the beer consumed the night before. This was the case yesterday anyway as I woke up feeling slightly under the weather, Ka jumping out of bed to begin the tidy up operation after our little party the night before. Unfortunately she had to wait a while before attempting the living room as Colin McG, Jillian and Kenny were still lounging around watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, either on the folded down futon or, in Kenny's case, across the couch, under a burgundy sleeping bag. As they shouted for pieces and sausage from Ka in the kitchen I rose and staggered through groaning. With every hangover I have as I get older the idea of giving up alcohol for life seems better and better. Life is too short to be wasting half days under a cloud of booze in the brain. But then you could argue the other way and say life is too short to sit at a Christmas party sober, worrying about the effects that a couple of beers will give you the next morning.
The party was pretty fun though with most folf arriving around half past eight. My brother turned up a little worse for wear after a work day out and was a little disgruntled when we forced him to drink at least four pints of water before being allowed any alcohol. He complained at first but when we all realised it was having the desired effect he did what he was told (though i suspect it was more fear of Ka that talked him into it). So Kenny shouted at Miley Cyrus on the advent calender, Chaz got slagged for his pink sweater, Colin McG nicked the custard, Chris had a power nap under the coats, a white wine spritza cured Heather of her food poisoning and Claire hummed to the music whilst listening to Gillian and her wedding plans. Most people seemed to enjoy themselves although we probably waited a little too long before starting the quiz, hastily prepared by myself in the afternoon. Apparently it was half past one at night by the time we started and as a result things got a little too loud and one person in particular got a little too irate forgetting the whole 'it's only for a laugh' theme that is supposed to run through these Christmas games. Everyone was too afraid to say anything though as the guy in question is a copper and he would probably have arrested someone the mood he was in.
The Christmas tunes along with the drinks were in full flow and those of us left in the flat didn't get to sleep till around 6 in the morning. Chaz was the last to leave after Clair and Martin, who ended up having to push their taxi into motion as it had ground to a halt in the snow on the upwards slope of the street outside.
A push I could have done with on Friday morning as the snow that had fallen on Thursday night had turned to ice and as a result transformed our street into a icey slide. I managed to drive the car half way up the street before it stopped and started spinning its wheels on the spot creating an unfortunate burning smell. I ended up gritting half the street on my lonesome with one of my Granpa's old spades using the grit bin positioned further down the hill, sliding as I worked, hands turning to ice. The South Lanarkshire Council have once again chosen to ignore most streets that are not bus routes and we have not had one grit lorry all weekend. Some of the main roads have not even been gritted or cleared of snow in the past few days making travel around East Kilbride slightly trecherous. Not the best when you've still got presents to buy.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Impressions of a perfectly enjoyable evening

It was the work night out on Saturday night. That time of year we all love when you pretend to like your work colleagues and have dinner together for Christmas. We all gathered in the opulent surroundings of the Corinthian in Glasgow City Centre for a an early festive dinner complete with drinks, too much cutlery and slow table service. The food was great but the crackers were rubbish. You'd think a posh restaurant of the Corinthian kind would have half decent crackers for a Christmas dinner but no, the jokes were still teeth grindingly bad and the gifts even worse. Most people ended up with those horrible black plastic moustaches which dig into the nasal septum generally causing extreme pain in the hope of getting a vague laugh. The service was pretty good though and the steak which some of us chose for main course was fantastic. We then retired to the lounge area which used to be the High court after it had housed the Union Bank of Scotland through the 1800s. With ornate decor, pillars and chandeliers it all looks very nice but, unfortunately, however it pretty much has the atmosphere of a morgue or at least it did on the night in question. This atmosphere was further enhanced by the presence of one of the guys' wives, both of whom are in the middle of a seperation. She had accompanied one of the other employees as a friend and as you can imagine this did not exactly help add to the Christmas spirit. The atmosphere remained slightly awkward because of this but the guy in question, too laid back to make any kind of fuss over it, remained silent but uncomfortable. Fortunately she didn't hang around too long. Getting bored in the prentension of the Corinthian, Creamy Chicken John, Stuart, Gareth and myself starting scouting around to see if anyone fancied a move to another bar. No one did so we left the company ourselves leaving the others to it.
Our small, motley group went on to Rab Ha's for a Furstenberg or two and then ended up in the Horseshoe Bar for a few whiskies and bourbons (for half the price!). Since coming back to work Gareth and Creamy Chicken John have been spreading malicious gossip about how I was apparently drunken and disorderly the whole night. Shouting at people, chatting up barmaids, being rude to Susan Boyle lookalikes from Kilmarnock and getting the wrong bus home. None of which happened, of course. I was perfectly civil to the Susan Boyle lookalikes for instance and deliberately got the wrong bus home as the number 20, true to form, had not turned up. I had returned home, after getting off at the closest bus stop 3/4 mile away, under the impression that I'd had an overall, perfectly enjoyable evening only to be told on the Monday of all the weird and disturbing things that had actually taken place. Quite frankly I prefer my memories of the night and don't believe a word of their distorted, fantastical stories - certainly not the one about me dancing home, out of Glasgow, on the Number 18 roof like Teen Wolf.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Later on Friday night

Ka and myself took both pairs of Mums and Dads to see the fantastic Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on Friday night as an early Christmas present. After a brilliant dinner by Ka's hand (her very first home made steak pie) we all jumped in a taxi, and went into the Clyde Auditorium in time for Camille O'Sullivan's support act. This was the first time I'd heard Camille and was surprised at how good she was. She sings with a passionate, slightly growling, vocal, singing her own tunes and covering the likes of Tom Waits and David Bowie. Nice pair of legs too.
Unfortunately you can't say the same for Jools but what a performer. It was the first time I'd seen him and his band live and they were even better than I thought they'd be. Jools strode out on to the stage ten minutes before he was expected to begin and immediately started hammering out the tunes, his fingers dancing over the piano keys like grasshoppers on speed. From blues to rock, from jazz and on to swing, Jools and his band covered them all along with Eddie Reader, Dave Edmunds and the "Queen of Boogie Woogie" herself, Ruby Turner who all made guest appearances throughout the night.
As that Monster coming over the hill that is Christmas approaches we went out on Sunday and completed the majority of our Christmas shopping. On the way home I dropped Ka off at the local Morrisons to get the Big Christmas shop. Whilst she was in there I ventured up to B&Q to get this year's tree. I walked out into B&Q's massive backyard to pick a tree, four or five different kinds stacked up out in the damp, each tied up in their netting. I choose a Noble Fir that looked the perfect size for our living room which had no net, and stood, leaning against one of the metal fences begging for an owner. However, I could not find any members of staff to pack the tree up through the netting machine. As always all B&Q staff seemed to mysteriously disappear before I had a chance to ask for assistance. When I had originally walked out into the DIY store's garden centre there had been at least two orange aproned members of staff milling around in the dim lit yard. Now they had gone, faded into the shadows among the trees and plant pots. In the end I had to opt for an already wrapped Noble Fir that seemed to be a good enough size for the flat. After completing the Big shop (Buy one box of mince pies, get two free!) went home and commenced another annual wrestling match with another tree. It's slightly bigger than last years and you have to do a Mission Impossible like sliding manoeuvre to switch the lights on but it looks great in it's corner so let the Christmas spirit commence!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Take That hell

Okay, she's Swedish!! I had written in yesterday's blog entry that Tiger Wood's wife was Swiss when in fact she's Swedish. Fortunately Kenny was reading and was not slow in pointing this out to me on facebook so I quickly corrected my writing error, just in case Mrs Woods is reading. You never know she may come after me with a golf club, the mood she's in at the moment.
That's the one and only time Kenny has let on that he pays the slightest bit of attention to this blog. I'll have to make more mistakes in future! He did make a mysterious wheelie bin comment a few months back but I dismissed this as a slagging for writing about plastic disposal units. It wasn't until later that I thought, could Kenny have had something to do with it? He did seem to clam up immediately after mentioning it... almost as if he'd said too much. The wheelie bin troubles have long since passed, however, and the block has thankfully been able to dispose of it's rubbish with little difficulty.
Someone who has been making noticeable contributions to the wheelie bin usage is the new bloke that has moved into the block. We now have a overflowing bottle bin and two recycling bins full of empty lager cans. He is the new lodger in the flat directly above us and has most definately made his presence felt in the past few weeks but not in a good way. Last Sunday, for instance, Take That's 'Greatest Day' reverberated round the block from the interior of his flat, played at full volume at least twenty times throughout the day. He had folk round on the Saturday night, which is all fine, but, for some reason, they all decided to leave their party till the Sunday, during the day, hosting what seemed like a drunken Sing A Long A Take That day coupled with the Black eyed Peas' 'Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night', playing over and over again. I used to quite like the tune but after Sunday, I'm not so sure. Of course, it did not help that Ka and myself were suffering a slight headache, after effects from Roslyn's birthday party the night before. If it had just been the music it may not have been so bad but the fact that the lodger and all his, audibly male, mates sang every lyric continuously and repeatedly throughout the day pretty much made it hell on earth. I could not help but feel bemused and confounded as to why a bunch of blokes would spend a whole Sunday belting out Take That at full volume over and over and over again.
On Monday the girls in Ka's work suggested that it could have been the new Sing Star game for the Playstation. This still, to my mind, does not explain why they would sing Take That all day. Whatever happened to blowing prostitutes' heads off in Grand Theft Auto?! At least that would have been quieter and far less offensive!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A wood, an iron and an extreme Grannie

Mum and Dad have just called having arrived back home from their thirteen hour journey back from Hong Kong and their trip to Austrailia. Dad was worried that there was no mail for them to go through after a four week absence. It's always the first thing parents do on coming back from holidays, go through the post and always with more attention than they'd usually bestow upon it. Lynsey Ann, who had stayed in the house, must have tidied it all away. I just hope they did not record all the Coronation Streets while they were away this time otherwise poor Lynsey Ann will be coming home to a quadruple soap omnibus for at least a couple of days.
Whilst on the treadmill last night I seen on the News that Deirdre's mother in Coronation Street, Blanche has just died - in real life. Gutted. Blanche's acidic remarks and brilliant retorts were the only thing vaguely entertaining about the soap these days. She was like an extreme version of a Grannie. Not that I watch Coronation street of course. I merely see it in passing, occasionally, whilst eating dinner after the gym on some, few, nights. Hardly ever at all really... Anyway, doubt I'll watch it at all now.
Also seen the latest on all the carry on surrounding Tiger Woods' car accident. Tiger has more than a few stunning vehicles apparently, but now he's got a hole in one. Last Friday the golfer crashed into a fire hydrant and then a tree and all of a sudden he's having two affairs?! I must have missed something but how did all this suddenly come to light from Woods simply crashing his car? Perhaps the supposed golf club protruding from his back window had something to do with it. Apparently his Swedish wife javelined a club after Woods as he tried to escape in his Cadillac Escalade. He thought he'd clear his head with a drive and apparently she thought she'd do the same. The Swede's anger would explain the supposed extramarital affairs theory being spouted by the media and the sudden surge in supposed waitress lovers all over the globe. The sort of tale Blanche from Corrie would have a field day with. Not that I'd know, of course.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The new Leckie

The latest addition to the Leckie family arrived on Tuesday. Whilst I was running about the office on one of the busiest weeks I've ever worked in S&UN, Baby boy Leckie arrived early afternoon making Morgan a big sister. Ka and myself popped round after work to see the new Leckie with a parcel and got treated to a mug of tea and a slice of pineapple cake. He is still known as Baby Leckie as a name has not yet been decided upon, Steven and Angela going through the various possibilities as the baby slept on his Dad's lap. Various names are being hummed and hawed over, some being inspired by a certain football team's current lineup (most of which I failed to recognise being my usual ignorant self when it comes to facts of the football variety). Angela, surprisingly willingly, let me hold Baby Leckie for a time but, of course, he took an instant dislike and cried till Ka took him off me and after a few words from her quietened down into another sleep. Morgan then pulled us through to her room to see her playmobil collection which consisted of a large family house complete with various sizes of family members and a number of pet cats and dogs. We attempted to have a BBQ before we were interupted by a bunch of lassies from another toy set who liked to go swimming with dolphins. That was all before the earthquake hit and they ended up in Oz and the Prince turned to the dark side. As you can probably tell, Ka and myself got a bit carried away.
After all that excitement I left Ka in the bath and Chaz and myself took a trip to the flicks to see Michael Caine in 'Harry Brown'. A pretty good movie about an elderly guy who, after the death of his wife and the cruel killing of his old mate in a local underpass, takes it upon himself to go after the thugs that are terrorising the neighbourhood. Caine is brilliant in it and the film very believable thanks to the great pacing, characterisation and atmosphere. Embarrassingly enough the film even made me jump in my seat, twice. Thankfully a few others jumped with me. Unfortunately, from what I could tell, the others were women, so I just laughed at myself to hide the shame of it all. It brought back memories of going to see the Alien trilogy in the GFT more than a few years ago. Even though I knew the first movie like the back of my hand, I still managed to jump as the facehugger leapt from the innards of the egg on to poor John Hurt. Still, you'll only get jumps like that in the cinema, never sitting on the couch watching a movie at home. The atmosphere is never quite the same as it is in the dark under the giant projection of the cinema screen. Will hopefully go and see the new movie, 'Paranormal Activity' in the cinema at some point. Apparently it's taken 'America by storm' with it's frightening content and 'Blair With' like production techniques. Unfortunately I was never impressed by the Blair Witch Project with it's endless grainy forest views, babbling American students, trickling snotters and general lack of scares but I am curious about this flick. Unfortunately Ka refuses to accompany me and I'd rather not go with Chaz as he probably thinks I'm a big jessie as it is for jumping during Harry Brown.
Angela liked the name Harry too. What about Michael? There's a good name. Michael from the hebrew Mikha'el meaning "Who is like God?". Not a lot of people know that.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Being SAD

It's four thirty in the afternoon, it's pitch black outside and I may be suffering the effects of SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. The now seemingly medically recognised type of depression which descends on many people at the beginning, and continuation, of the winter months. This condition makes you depressed, uncomfortable, negative, full of guilt, tension, despair and just generally low. In fact, very much how you feel after watching an episode of Eastenders. In other words, you quite simply cannae be ar*ed. According to the doctors it's all due to the fact we don't get much sunlight in the winter months. This would presumably be why Scottish people are well known for being consistently miserable - a theory, I hasten to add, that I don't always agree with. Apparently there is now also a Summer version of SAD which is called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. A version where you presumably walk around ecstatically happy or still morose and depressed, walk around backwards, beeping repeatedly.
Of course, all this depression could just be down to the fact I'm trying to cover for my Line Manager, while he is off being a Dad to a newborn. Taking grief from aggrieved sales folk seems to sum up the job, certainly in the latter half of the week. The Doomhamers are a particularly grumpy lot and I've no idea why. I would perhaps put that all down to SAD as well if it was not for the fact they speak to us in the same 'off the sole of their shoe' manner all year round.
Since writing the past two paragraphs I've now been to the gym and feel great again. So I don't have SAD. Or at least, if I do I've found an easy enough cure. Doctors everywhere should take note. It's nothing to do with fancy light bulbs or happy drugs. All you need if you suspect yourself of suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder is a good kick up the jacksy.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Proposing toast

The sun is very slowly coming up over the hills outside, before the bedroom window as I write this. The cold winter air and clouds hanging over it seem to be fighting it's ascendence. Yesterday was very busy in the office with the first day of the boss' paternity leave. Felix is now off for a month after the birth of a new baby girl whose picture is now stuck up on the notice board with a handwritten 'Alexa?' over it. No one knows the name yet for sure, but apparently this was the last name mentioned by Felix as a possibility.
While Shirley Ann was having her baby on Sunday I was suffering in a much more idiotic and self inflicted manner. We were out on the town again on Saturday night and for some reason I woke up with the most horrendous hangover I've had in years. Unfortunately I was not yet drinking to the health of my boss' newborn child, if I had been it would possibly be the healthiest child EVER! Chaz is to blame for this one as he brought round a 'quality' red wine for dinner before we headed into town. Before eating Chaz insisted on 'teaching' both Ka and myself how to drink red wine properly at the table. Sipping through the teeth, letting the wine lie in the mouth for a short time, tasting and appreciating the flavours before finally swallowing... stuff that everyone knows from watching five minutes of that Jilly Goolden and all her pretentious twaddle. The way Chaz went on you'd think Ka and myself had never drank a decent bottle of wine. Even if he thought we had he must have believed we had downed it round the local swing park or something. After around ten minutes of him 'teaching' me how to appreciate wine I have to be honest, I did start to ignore him and get on with my dinner. Ka's bolognese and meatballs again but as always they're just too hard to resist! Anyway, I'm guessing it was the red wine's fault for the dreadful hangover. So you can keep your £17 bottles of wine Chaz, I'm going back to Asda for the 3 for a tenner deal. That's if I ever drink again that is... I propose a toast to my boss' newborn child, toast with a spot of marmalade and a nice cuppa.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Oooooo, aaaahhhhhh

Thus were the noises the family were making last night. Steven was in charge , entertaining us with many a blast, fizz and burst of firework spectacles. We went round to Angela and Steven's house for seven o'clock, Ka and myself arriving just ahead of Colin, Jillian, Grace and Dougie. Steven had went out and spent a fortune on fireworks which we all enjoyed, whilst slagging off his firework ignition skills, then went into the house and used up all his living room seats, drank all his hot chocolate, ate all his pizza, devoured all his biscuits and left. Poor Morgan was a bit off colour and feeling the effects of a cold and lay in her dressing gown during the hot chocolate supping whilst Colin and myself sat and howled at Tom & Jerry on the Boomerang channel. What a fantastic channel - must remember to check if I have it on my Virgin TV package. Tom & Jerry cartoons must have been on for a solid four hours last night. My favourite of all the shorts and surely the best from Hanna and Barbera. This fired up some more reminiscing as Colin and myself talked about Saturday eveings in the eighties with Tom & Jerry always on after the footie and before Rolf's Cartoon Club. Which led on the talking about Glen's Cavalcade in which Glen Michael sat behind a desk introducing shorts, mostly from the cheaper end of the animation market, alongside his dog and a talking gas lamp. I wonder who came up with the idea of a talking gas lamp?
Both Colin and Steven also confessed to being one of few people that have actually read some of this blog. So I'd better be careful of what I'm writing about them from now on certainly must not mention anything about a lack of catherine wheel expertise... damn. I just did didn't I? I wouldn't do much better myself anyway. Maybe next year Steven.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Health & safety implications

Morgan, our 5 year old niece, phoned up last night inviting us to a fireworks party in the garden of their new abode. When we asked if there was anything that we could bring she stopped and thought a little and then shouted 'Champagne!'. What a splendid life she must lead. Not only does she get fireworks on Bonfires night but she also gets champagne. Not sure that champagne is part of the traditions of Guy Fawkes night or of the health and safety implications this would raise what with catherine wheels spinning about gardens and rockets being lit. Ka had to give her a polite no (and in the background I said a polite p**s off) and it was revealed to be none other than Steven, Morgan's Dad, who had made the suggestion. He's always good at chancing his arm is Steven. My right shoulder has only now just about recovered after the strains of that flitting of his. If anyone deserves champagne it should be me for surviving that onslaught and chancing my own arm under the weight of his washing machine.
Rockets have been going off in, and around, our street for days now anyway. Every time, for the briefest of seconds, I have thought it was my neighbourhood finally descending into gun toting chaos before realising it is just the neds playing with fireworks. Unfortunately there are never many bonfires about these days, (unless you count the ones that are obviously invite only and involve wheelie bins). I used to love a good bonfire. Going round the neighbours, collecting all their old furniture and other extraneous junk and tossing it on to the pitch outside Duncanrig High school. Those disorganised bonfires were always the best once they got started. This particular fire on the pitches, which are now Duncanrig's 5-a-side football turfs, used to get quite massive. They got particularly exciting when there would be sudden explosions and bursts of gaseous flames from the depths of the bonfire after the occasional paint pot, spray can or vodka bottle had been included in the wood and junk collecting from throughout the day. You would be diving for cover when the glass shards started spinning through the flames, with only a sparkler and a balaclava as protection. The wee girl in the woolly hat with the burnt hand in the eighties ads never warned us about that! Nowadays it's all very safe and cordoned off, if your lucky enough to even attend a bonfire, never mind construct one, without the council's health and safety officials having their say. It's probably for the best. There'd be less exploding glass injuries and wheelie bin abductions that way. Maybe we'd be better off staying at home and cracking open a bottle of bubbly for poor old Guy Fawkes. Bet he didn't foresee all the trouble he'd be causing by going and getting caught!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Woolly thoughts

The family and I were all up to five in the morning on Friday dancing, drinking, playing table football, and wearing balaclavas. Yes, balaclavas! After dinner Kenny pulled a box of his old stuff down from upstairs that had been collected by Lynsey Ann as she had moved into his old room. This box contained all sorts of strange memorabelia from his younger days including drawings, hand written stories and comics, old teddy bears and embarrassing headgear. In among a pile of old baseball caps were the two matching sets of balaclavas and gloves that Mum had knitted for Kenny and myself when we were young. For a time, in the Scottish winter months, Kenneth and myself trooped to school in home made woolen brown balaclavas. Only one pair of the gloves had survived the years and the string of wool that joined the two gloves was long gone but it didn't stop us trying them on for size. I always used to think those joined mittens were revolutionary. My Mum's own invention, sitting at home, knitting furiously coming up with all these weird and wonderful designs. Of course I learned later that quite a few youngsters had them and probably just didn't let on. The line of cord leaving one mitten going up your arm around your back and down your other arm holding the other mitten to the other hand just in case you got confused with the whole 'how to work a pair of gloves' idea. The balaclavas no longer fitted either. Does anyone still wear balaclavas? I mean anyone that's not exploring the Arctic, driving a Formula One car or robbing banks or generally causing some form of terror? The brown balaclava itself was enough to induce terror in anyone. Poor Mum, she just wanted to keep us warm. Now that I've written this I'll probably get a new one now for Christmas!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Moos and monkey nuts

Trying to talk Mum and Dad into starting up a blog for their Grand World Tour of Austrailia. They're off to Oz on Monday for a month to travel through the cities, beaches, deserts, tropics and barbies meeting various distant relatives along the way. They've even been invited to a Wedding while they are over there.
Not sure if they're keen on the whole blog thing although Mum is talking about keeping a journal in a small notebook I apparently bought for her many moons ago. Mum came across the book the other day finding a small message on the inside cover, written by myself. Turns out the notebook is a nice little hardback number with illustrations littered throughout it's mostly blank pages depicting scenes from, none other than, The Wizard of Oz. Let's just hope they don't get hit with any tornados while they're over there. Or meet any Witches, flying monkeys or pumpkin headed men. (I've never met most of the austrailian relatives before so who knows).
Talking of pumpkin heads, it's halloween this weekend and Ka's nursery are having a party today, three days early. No doubt there'll be loads of monkey nuts and apples flying about.
Halloween was always bad for monkey nuts. Who came up with the idea of monkey nuts at Halloween? Who wanted monkey nuts for telling folk your best jokes? You knew you had to walk a little further afield on your trick or treating if all you were getting for your trouble was flamin' monkey nuts. Sometimes you'd get really lucky on you way round the houses and start getting actual money for your jokes, usually from folk that were either unprepared or just rich and generous. Nowadays, if you were to give money out to the kids you'd probably get reported for suspicious behaviour.
Anyway, today Ka is dressed as a cow with a pink skirt and a ginger fringe. This was the only costume that came to hand for her nursery party. Her brother, Colin McG, wore this cow costume, one of two, at his drama group's panto last year and on Saturday Ka and Jillian borrowed the costumes for a trip to Motherwell. As you may or may not be aware, a bunch of cows stoating around Motherwell on a Saturday is nothing too unusual but on this occasion the cows were panto versions of the actual animal, large and furry with the afore mentioned ginger fringes. It was an animal themed Singing Kettle show which Grace took them along to with Morgan. The lengths these girls go to to entertain Morgan is quite extraordinary. I dropped them off outside the theatre, driving off speedily as they pulled on the furry black and white cow costumes and posed for Grace's camera alongside Morgan, who was a Giraffe. As if this wasn't confusing, or embarassing, enough for Morgan, she was then pulled up on stage during the show to be a penguin.
Saturday is Halloween and will hopefully be the same as last year with no visitors and no rubbish jokes told by seven year olds from under rubbish costumes as they stand muddying up your hall carpet. We live in a flat so we can easily shut and lock the close door to stop any of the kids into our block. This is assuming, of course, that not all the kids are down the swing park boozing or mugging each other. We've only had trick or treaters at our door once and I don't think they've ever come back. They couldn't have liked their monkey nuts.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Drugs and flamingos

Woke up rather disturbed this morning thinking I was in Libya and Ka and been jailed for drug running. Another crazy dream but one that seemed all very real. We had been holidaying in Libya, walking down a busy street in a busy town when suddenly a bunch of black uniformed police officers started chasing us. We looked one way and they were pushing people aside to get to us. We looked another and more officers were marching down the street, eyes glaring. They swiftly arrested us and as we objected one of the officers ripped Ka's bag from her shoulder and, after a little rummaging, pulled a large wad of notes, tied by an elastic band, from her bag swiftly followed by a small bag of suspicious looking white powder. Ka argued she'd never seen the items before (as they all do) and we were pushed off to the nearest Libyan police station. After being held for a short time I was released (for some reason) but Ka was detained due to the fact the items had been in her possession. I was fairly distressed by all these goings on, as you can imagine, and argued with the officers ferociously as I was shoved back out on to the streets. Ka had been fitted up and as I set off into the warm, dusty streets to get help, she sat in prison, in fear and isolation. This is where she remains as the dream ended shortly afterwards and I woke up flailing around in bed as I tried to shoulder my way by some market tradespeople.
I used to keep a dream diary. During my time in Art School I used to entertain folk with stories of the dream from the night before. Some of them even used to inspire drawings or stories! I've always had pretty epic dreams of all shapes and sizes. I still remember a nightmare I had when I was around eight or nine about giant flamingos surrounding our house in the black of night like some tropical version of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. My family and I were sitting cowering in the living room, turning all the lights off as the small beady eyes over their large beaks peered in through the windows at me from the black outside. Remembering dreams for longer than an hour, however, is usually a bit of a struggle for me. I'll wake up thinking, "That was great, I'd better remember it and write it down". But, after my Bran Flakes, the images and stories will disperse and fade into the clouds of my mind. The next thing I know I'll be sitting in the office wondering what the hell that had all been about. Someone once bought me a cheap dream diary which didn't even touch the surface of some of the stuff that goes on in my head during the night. The stuff that goes on in my head during the day is bad enough but during the night it's just damned crazy.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Crates full of fairytales

I'm ever so slightly achey today after the torture that was Ka's sister's house move at the weekend. Angela, her partner, Steven, and our niece, Morgan, were moving from Bellshill to Bothwell involving many a trip in the hired white van on Saturday and more than a few journeys with my own car filled to the roof with 'stuff'. 'Stuff' is actually quite an accurate description as it seemed to me there was a suspicious amount of 'stuff' kept especially for those infamous, mythical times when things might come in handy. Not only that but Dougie and myself had to deal with possibly the messiest garden shed I'd ever seen in my life. A garden shed which held pick axes, crowbars, thousands of coloured plastic balls, thousands of nails, spanners, skipping ropes, spades, hoes and at least five spirit levels. That was before we tackled the garden with it's collection of inflatable animals and balls of all shapes and sizes.
The presence of the spades along with the pick axes, drills, mallets and other nasty looking tools inside the nail floored shed made me suspect that Steven was perhaps slightly more than the innocent family man that he makes himself out to be. I was almost expecting to be knocked unconscious at some point and wake up strapped up in some horrible mechanism, surrounded by spirit levels, sawing my own hand off and chatting with a freaky looking puppet on a tricycle.
Don't get me wrong I'm a bit of a hoarder myself, at least, according to Ka anyway. I've still got hundreds of Empire, SFX and Q magazines lying around in large piles, some at home, some boxed up in Mum and Dads but I'll keep them. Boxes of issues soon to be stored away up in Mum and Dad's loft turning their attic into a smaller version of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse. Just in case. You never know. Someone someday may ask me who played the supporting actor role in suchandsuch a film and I'll be able to spring up, go to my Empire collection and pull out the relevant issue, flick through the dusty pages and find the details after scouring through a large feature of that particular month. Either that or I'll just google it. In that case hanging on to the issues seems rather pointless. Better not let on to Ka... I don't think Steven had any mag collections though he certainly had some hefty books. As did Morgan who has at least two crates full of fairytales along with her many castles, dollshouses and plastic cars. Later in the day, at the new abode, whilst busily unpacking from the rear of the van, I almost dropped a box with fright as, squeaking out of the shadows inside the van trundled a tricycle.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Safaris and Stevie Wonder

Over a week since my last post! Good grief - what's happening to me?! I have been off work for a week and enjoying myself in posh hotels, trips to safari parks, eating out in the town, relaxing in the sauna and jacuzzi, spending Wedding gift vouchers and visiting graves. Well, I wouldn't class the latter in the 'enjoying myself' category but it is one of these things that you always mean to do and never get round to doing. I've carried out a few of those 'meant to do' jobs and trips having the whole week off and to myself and it has been great.
Ka and myself stayed in Malmaison last weekend for a five year anniversary treat - and also because we had a voucher given as a Wedding gift by a parent in Ka's nursery. You know your in a posh place when the bathroom sink is on a table and the toilet comes out of the wall and not the floor. A floating toilet seat - amazing. I did manage to pull myself away from the posh toilet seat to go down to Humming Bird on Bath street after our splendid two course meal in the Malmaison restaurant. Another trendy overcrowded bar with a mix of music, cocktails and clientele.
Blair Drummond Safari Park was surprisingly impressive too. We arrived at five to ten on Monday morning with Morgan, the neice, singing in the back seat, eating cheese sandwiches. Blair Drummond proved to be a great day out with talks, shows and enclosures for elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, chimpanzees, meerkats, penguins, guinea pigs and a dead bear. Morgan informed us the bear was now in heaven. Watching the sea lions wave and jump was quite fun, though a little disappointing if you happen to have already been to any Deep Sea World abroad, the Sea Lions best skill being their rather accurate impression of Stevie Wonder as they stood swaying on their plinths.
The Birds of Prey talk was far more entertaining as a giant eagle of some description done it's best to take our heads off. Morgan seemed unfazed by it all, apparently the overfriendly lamas were far more frightening. Driving through the lion enclosure was surprisingly intimidating too especially when one of the lions jumped up and broke into a run, heading straight for us. I nearly chocked on my chocolate button but fortunately refrained for jumping on the accelerator as the lion in question then decided to slow and settle down at the foot of a tree in the shade.
Tonight Ka and myself are off to another ELU fund raiser involving the old wooden horses on strings ordeal. You never know I may even win some money out of it... certainly more than a visit to the Shawfield Stadium anyway.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A bit of talent

I'm in a minority. Am I the only person that doesn't watch and has no interest whatsoever in the latest bunch of wannabe's and unfortunate souls to take part in the X Factor? Yesterday evening Ka and myself were round at the In-laws for Sunday dinner and the main topic of conversation, among the chaos, was all about, what feels like, the thirtieth series of the talent tv show. Colin, Ka, Grace and Dougie all argued about an Essex boy, the essex girl, the two Irish guys that can't sing for irish toffee and the teacher with the arrogance. Maybe it's the feeling of being completely unable to comment that annoys me more than the affects of this show. The fact I am now offically an outcast in society and the world around me because I have no interest in the latest, half manufactured, supposed talents nodded on stage by Simon Cowell and his minions. However, I must confess to stopping dead in my tracks on my way through the living room yesterday afternoon during Saturday night's repeat. Ka was watching after we had attended a birthday party the night before and as a result missed the big couch lounging decision making episode. I may even have watched the entire episode if I'd known that Kylie Minogue was going to be involved. I stopped halfway through the living at the precise moment when Dannii introduced her big little sister to the waiting hopefuls before her and I gasped alongside the potential singers. Then all the contestants started screaming and talking about how they couldn't believe it and I resumed my trek to the kitchen. How could they not believe it I wondered? Kylie is her sister after all. Kylie is a successful singer, and she has more flamin' right to be judging s singing contest than her plasticated, one hit wonder, grinning sister. I must confess I actually seen more than I'm letting on though... if only Kylie had strolled out with those palm leaves on...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Chipmunk and tea coseys

Ended up in the SECC last night at the MOBO awards, shaking my thirty odd year old hips to Keri Hilson and trying to figure out why people kept ranting about Chipmunks. It was all very different seeing an Awards show in the flesh - quite a lot of flesh as it happened with the Glasgow glamour factor turned up to a volume knob defying eleven. After arriving and making our way through the spangly crowds, Ka and myself had to make a quick stop at the loo before entering the main MOBO Arena (or Hall 4 as it's usually known in the SECC). It just so happened that the female loo was right next to the exit of the VIP lounge and after visiting the male loo I moseyed on over to wait on the other half just as the VIP doors were flung open. A parade of VIP guests then made their way out from the purple curtained interior, leading the way Scotland's own Kaye Adams. Yes, Kaye Adams! Anyway, a whole army of VIPs followed her out, most of which were dressed up to the eyeballs in their finest, from the glamorous to the downright horrendous. Duncan Bannatyne, in a usual black suit, sauntered by my elbow in mid chat. One of those 'I know him from somewhere and only realising when he had passed' moments. Probably just as well or else I would have probably jumped out infront of him shouting "Duncan, Duncan Bannatyne, are you out, get it, out and about?!" The permed red haired woman that walks around Scotland on tv getting soaked was also there adding to the Scottish celebrity class alongside a lot of other fashion victims. One of the women that emerged from the shadows of the VIP room had, quite possibly, the biggest bust I'd ever seen, somehow fractionally suspended from within, what can be loosely described as, a dress. I suspect some of these rich folk got dressed in the dark before they left the house and maybe even tripped over their dog on the way out.
It was refreshing to witness an Awards show being recorded live, seeing the presenters twiddling their thumbs through the videos and try to read from the screen at the back of the hall. We were on the left of the hall alongside the tables of afore mentioned celebrities, shouting and cheering. In Beyonce's case jeering, when she appeared on the big screen to accept her Best Video award and mentioned about not being able to be there. Dizzee Rascal wasn't even there and he only lives in London?! This did leave room for the likes of Tinchy Stryder and others to take to the stage who may not have got the chance if the bigger stars had been there. Peter Andre got one of the biggest cheers of the night from the gathered in the SECC hall and he only appeared talking on screen, a live video feed from backstage. The three piece N-Dubz won two prizes so that will hopefully enable Dappy, the wee guy, to buy more tea cosey style hats. The X-Factor runners up JLS (or JLC as I kept mistakenly calling them) also dubbed their way through their song onstage whilst the actual winner, Alexandra Burke had to make do with merely presenting an award. The performances were mostly pretty good with David Guetta and Kelly Rowland for me stealing the show with the brilliant 'When Love Takes Over'. The Michael Jackson tribute was a bit of a let down though with Jermaine Jackson coming on and singing a version of 'Smile' after that wee guy from some Talent show sang his bit in the same grey suit he wore at the Official Jackson tribute concert. I think I was expecting something a bit more theatrical or collaborative with all the other artists coming up on stage and having a good singalong, Live Aid style, but that was saved for the Warchild single at the end, a dreadful version of the Killers' 'I've got Soul'. It is for charity though so I'd better not slag it off too much.

Monday, 28 September 2009

A round in Mosquito

Kenny stood in the centre of the Mosquito bar in Glasgow on Saturday night practising his golf swing. After pulling on his newly bought Pringle jumper, polo shirt and cap he found a small clearing in the centre of the bar and readied himself for a shot. Dad had taken the family out to dinner in the excellent La Laterna Restaurant on Hope Street and treated us all to a slap up three course meal with a good few glasses of wine, finishing with a liqueur which Kenny ordered with a flourish of the hand receiving only an nod from the miserable looking waiters. Perhaps taking slight assumptions as Dad was picking up the bill.
Mosquito was busy, the clientele it's usual mix of ages, from students to older blokes, like me. Ka, Kenny and myself headed in after leaving Mum, Dad and Lynsey to jump on a 66 and met up with Andy for a few drinks. It was then that Kenny decided to pull on his newly bought Golf gear and start practising his golf swing. His shot was not up to much, probably due to the fact he was using an invisible club and ball, but the Dr. Pepper shot was better. A Dr. Pepper was a glass of Amaretto dunked in a half pint tumbler of coke. Very nice to drink and not in the least unpleasant but for some reason we had to down it in one which I did not quite manage and deserved a slagging for. After three Kenny and Andy left Ka and myself standing outside Mosquito after some drunken goodbye cuddles and danced off down Bath Street with their carrier bags of golf jumpers. We called a taxi and unsurprisingly Raymond from the Auldhouse came out to pick us up. Raymond was one of the regulars from the Auldhouse Arms, when I worked there, and now drives a taxi having rescued us from the chaotic, post club hour, streets of Glasgow after a night out on many an occasion recently. As we waited outside the Kings Theatre, watching the road for a Mondeo, a countless number of near collisions between taxis, other passing vehicles and chip eating drunkards entertained me. A growing throng of passengerless taxis piled up as they turned the corner from Elmbank Street swerving, honking and growling as the Glaswegian mini skirted zombies milled around the kerbs of the theatre. Luckily within ten minutes Raymond sped up in his big Ford, various bodies getting knocked to the side as he pulled over after spotting us. Ka and myself dived into the back seat as a few members of the surrounding crowd clocked on to the waiting taxi and we sped off on to the Kingston Bridge. A bad choice of place to get our taxi, Raymond told us. I must owe him a few drinks now for the amount of times he has rescued us from the streets of a Saturday night. I never heard if Kenny and Andy made their midday teeing off timeslot...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Chamber of secrets

The sun was out over George Square as various nutters jumped from a small metal cage suspended high above George Square from a ginat red crane. Screaming yelling and swearing these guys plummeted and then bounced on the end of the bungee cord with onlookers craning their necks whilst eating their Greggs and feeding the pigeons in the square below. Maybe it was just my imagination but there seemed to be far more tourists than usual strolling around with their cameras on Saturday but it could also have had something to do with Scotland's Open Doors Days which Glasgow had over the weekend in which many of it's buildings and locations, which are usually closed off to the public, were opened for us to explore. I discovered the surprisingly impressive City Chambers on the eastern side of George Square with it's large marble staircases, archways, balconies, halls, rooms and stained glass windows. Some of the hallways were like something out of a M. C. Escher painting (without the impossible diagonals). I felt as if I was back in Italy as most of the decor seems to be of great Italian influence alongside the murals and the domed ceilings of the Banqueting Hall. It was also quite interesting walking down the Upper Gallery, under the glass domed ceiling, viewing the many different portraits of the various Lord Provosts that Glasgow has had through the ages. Walking down the hall of paintings you can't help notice the portraits of the seventies and eighties seemed to favour the simpler, more boring, drab, option of a photograph after the magnificent painted portraits of the past. Now, in more recent years, the classical portrait has been embraced again with the likes of Peter Howson's Pat Lally and Alexander Stoddart's Liz Cameron. Stoddart's painting came as a bit of a surprise as this guy is more of a classical sculptor but you could see the resemblance in the approach he took to the portrait.
After the City Chambers I walked over to the GOMA and had my first wander round the Gallery in a good few years. After a wander round the galleries inside, and getting extremely dizzy by simply walking up and down before a Bridget Riley for half an hour, I lurched back out into the square and had a look at the paintings on the railings. Every time I pass the 'paintings on the railings' sales I always end up hating the artists selling. They're so flamin' organised and talented. At that moment I then made another promise to get back to my canvases. Not that I'm as talented as those guys... well, most of them anyway. Come to think of it, there were a few dodgy bowls of fruit...

Monday, 14 September 2009

DJs and Jack Russells

Another Wedding with Jane and William getting hitched at the weekend in The Byre, East Kilbride's newest bar/restaurant. Jane is one of Ka's bosses and William is the brother of Claire, Ka's mate from the same work. In the short times William did talk to me he was calling me Scott Mills. Apparently I look like the Radio 1 DJ now. The last time I met William he was calling me Shakin' Stevens as I was wearing jeans and a denim shirt (I probably deserved that though). I'm not sure whether this name calling is because of some unfounded dislike for me or not but I suppose he could be calling me worse names though I'm not sure about the whole Scott Mills lookalike comment. I'm sure Scott Mills would be more than a little offended.
After the wedding celebrations Claire, Martin, William and Jane were all heading off to Ibiza with their kids to enjoy some sun, coincidentally on the same day that Scotland had it's sunniest day of the year. Saturday was roasting and we were all sitting in The Byre's beer garden, or rather beer decking, chatting in the good weather. As far as I can remember the best weather since May when we got a brief few weeks of great weather quickly replaced by the rain of the following months.
The women were not long in going off to their own table leaving us blokes to talk amongst ourselves. Conversations over the large beers ranged from the dire state of the property market, BMWs, jagermeister, encounters with strippers, saving people's lives whilst fishing and the rise in the price of drink. Apparently the latter two were closely connected with an instance Ian experienced on the edge of a cliff somewhere up north overhanging one of the larger rivers. After The Byre most folk ended up in Chris' house, another of Ka's work colleagues. Chris, along with her husband Jim, own possibly the biggest house I have ever been in that I have not had to pay an admission for. Doing the housework would take a week in that home. They also own a friendly Jack Russell. Something I'd never encountered - a friendly Jack Russell. I've had some quite bad experiences with various Jack Russells in the past, the majority of them involving this particular breed of dog wanting to bite my face off. In one particular instance, when I was around thirteen, and delivering papers a Jack Russell literally attacked me as I delivered it's owners newspaper and I literally had to fight it off with a paperback I had been reading at the time. The paperback, and my trousers, barely survived the vicous onslaught and gnashing incisors. Thankfully Chris and Jim's dog was surprisingly amiable though and no trousers or paperbacks suffered in the meeting. Perhaps Jack Russells have a liking for Scott Mills these days.
Chris ordered in pizzas and kept us all fuelled with alcohol until the end of the night when Ka, Sara, Margot and myself piled into Chaz's car leaving Carol singing to her Romeo from Chris' balcony. Chaz was the Romeo in question in this case, (well, as is usually the case), and he replied by quickly starting the engine. Not quite how Shakespeare would have intended things to happen...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Brick by brick

Some of the admin women in the work have just discovered my website and are now offering their services as life models. This was before they knew that life models get a pretty decent wage - or at least so I was led to believe back in Art school. Not that I was ever offered the chance of baring my body for the easels I might add. The admin women were also offering themselves up as photographic models after the arrival of my new camera yesterday.
My brand new DSLR camera arrived at the office yesterday and I have been toying with it ever since. The operator's manual has the dimensions of a reasonably sized paperback and being the slight perfectionist that I am I have decided to read at least a good quarter of it before I have any reasonable attempts at photography even though I know I'd probably work it all out easily enough. I've never really understood why people charge into the building and working of things without even glancing at the instructions. Men, for some reason, have a bit of a reputation for doing this. As a man I don't really see anything incredibly unmannly about reading some instructions myself. Our living room came together enjoyably quickly because of the instruction manuals (thank you Ikea!). When our living room furnishings arrived four and a half years ago from the giant furniture store I swept Ka to the side with a - "Don't worry my dear, I'll deal with this!". Ka was happy to continue cleaning as I pulled the various instruction manuals from each of the boxes and knuckled down to some hard labour. If I had not used the instruction manuals you can be assured that I'd have finished building it all with at least one table leg and twenty screws leftover and wondering why the hell Ikea would supply me with so many spare parts. As I put my tea down I'd frown confusedly as the table tipped over and collapsed into pieces behind me. The Ikea instructions are especially easy to follow not unlike the instruction books you used to get with your Lego buildings and pirate ships as a kid. Both companies are Scandanavian, of course, and both now multi million pound companies and it's all probably down to their instruction books. An Ikea pirate ship? Go even further - an Ikea Space shuttle?! Imagine the possibilities! Apparently that third bloke from Top Gear, James May (the one that is not Clarkson or Hammond), was making a house out of Lego for a series he is working on at the moment. He intends to live in it for a short time once it's finished. The Lego house would probably be far stronger than any piece of housing Ikea could come up with. I wonder if he's using an instruction book? I'd say it's a safe bet that he is, considering he hopes to have a flushing lavatory in it along with other various lego built applianes.
Talking of property, Heather from Your Move was round yesterday looking over the flat making sure it was marketable. She left leaving me optimistic for a quick sale when the time comes. Ka and myself have plans of upgrading in the property market. I wonder how much James May is selling that Lego house for? That's a model I'd like to take a picture of and, I dare say, a property that would be great in for Ka and myself to build our lives together.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Two days slow

Watching movies and eating crisps. That's how I spent the weekend - or, at least, that's what it feels like. Back in work this morning and I've realised I've only got two teabags left in my office drawer. I've got to survive a Monday shift with only two cups of tea?! I'm not sure if it's possible but I'll give it my best shot - I may have to go grovelling though. Some fellow office workers sometimes throw the odd teabag in my general direction if I find myself struggling.
Last night, Sunday, I was forced to sit and watch the epitome of Chick Flicks - 'Bride Wars'. I'm not sure why I allowed myself to watch this piece of nonsense but I have to admit I've watched a hell of a lot worse. Plus I'm probably guilty of forcing Ka to sit and watch movies that she does not particularly want to see so maybe I deserved it. Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson starred as the main characters so this in itself made it a little more watchable along with the copious amounts of Red Sky crisps. Fantastic crisps, by the way, introduced to us by Tom and Linda and well worth paying the extra money for.
Ka was struggling on Saturday after waking up hungover after her Disco Diva night. While she was out enjoying herself I was driving everyone about. Chaz and myself went out for a pint and I, in my eternal wisdom, decided to drive and on walking into EK's new pub, The Byre, we met my parents who were sitting at the other end of the room getting happy with wine. So I was volunteered for lifts home before picking Ka and some of her friends up and taking them all home. The female company ranging from the plain drunk to the disorderly, teary eyed and/or joyously talkative. So it was down to me to carry out all of Saturdays messages such as visit the Wedding photographer, pop in to Your Move, do a bit of shopping and generally clean the flat up.
So on Saturday night, with Ka still suffering, we lounged on the couch and watched, the funnier than I remember, 'Meet the Fockers' followed by Johnny Depp in 'Secret Window'. DeNiro is a hoot as that uptight CIA Dad in the first movie and teamed up with the exuberant Hoffman made a great team. The latter flick was an entertaining enough romp with Depp playing a lonely writer in solitude in a lakeside log cabin out in the middle of nowhere struggling with a weird visitor who appears out of nowhere at his door. This reminded me of Ka with the strange,wee Avon girl that appears at our door occasionally, threatening her with her ridiculously overpriced make-up. It was almost strange to see Depp play a normal guy for the first half of the movie after all the dancing about as a pirate and wild staring of Sweeny Todd that we've seen recently. He seems to switch from the more normal characters to the weird and wonderful with amazing ease and is going back down the wild and crazy path again with Tim Burton's up and coming 'Alice in Wonderland'. Can't think of a better director than Burton to tackle the 'Alice' tale with Depp playing the Mad Hatter, the tea obsessed nutcase with his weird riddles and nonsense words. Sounds familiar somehow...

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Getting better all the time

Uncle Tommy has almost finished the Wedding video. Well, DVD movie, they're not called videos anymore are they?
We watched the rough a good few weeks ago now and since then Tommy has been working hard on a finished version. Ka and myself nipped round to the Westwood to visit Tommy and Tricia on Monday night. Ka is off to a 'Disco Diva' hen night on Friday and needs an outfit of some description. For some reason, Tricia was sure she could help. She was sure she would be able to find something lying around in her wardrobes. Tricia complains that she used to wear this gear before meeting Tommy so, in effect, must blame Tommy for killing off her inner Disco Diva. As my Auntie takes Ka upstairs I imagine Tricia supplying her with a large dark pair of shades before going into a wardrobe full of glittering, sparkling, luminous blouses and flares beaming an incandescent light out into the bedroom as she opens it's large doors. As it happens, Ka came down with a rather normal looking pair of jeans so my Sergeant Pepper like visions of Tricia's magical wardrobe were perhaps a little over the top.
The wedding DVD is almost there as Tommy has been patiently working on it for weeks, modifying, tweaking and generally slaving over his laptop in various movie making applications in order to get all the footage he filmed on the day into as good a movie presentation as possible. I feel I should publically, or at least on this blog, say a big thank you to him for all his efforts. To tell the truth I suspect he's had a few hairy moments with it all and more than a few moments of near laptop through the window incidents but the disc he gave me on Monday proves it has all been worth the wait. Thanks again Tommy.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Bolognese and badgers

On Friday night there was a desperate search for organic beef. We travelled to three different supermarkets, throughout the wilds of Hamilton, seeking organic produce with which to feed Angela, Steven and Morgan who were due to visit on the Sunday. We went to Asda, Morrisons and then finally, Sainsburys where we managed to find some organic beef mince. Asda were useless with only a few organic beef joints which would have struggled to feed three people, and Morrisons had one lone organic chicken on the shelf. At least Sainsburys had one or two shelves devoted to the cause but with such little food available either we had just went in to the supermarkets at the wrong time of day or the organic food market is just not catching on, no matter how much Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall rabbit on. I did manage to make a cracking spaghetti bolognese with the organic meat for the visitation though which, I was told, was my best ever, so maybe there is something to all this organic carry-on after all. Personally I'm not sure it tasted any different to my usual 'conventional' bolognese, it just cost more to make this time round. Ka made the most expensive soup ever. £1.50 for four carrots?! I'd rather buy the non organic, pesticide riddled, insect protected full bag of ten carrots for 70p thank you very much and risk the possibility of Whittingstall knocking angrily on my front door. But then, that's the problem with the general population at the moment - too concerned about the holes in our wallets than the environment and what effects conventional food production is having on it?
Before the Spaghetti cooking we travelled down to Hawick on Saturday to visit Morven, Sean and Leo and see Morven's brother and his band play at the town's annual 'Party on the Pitch'. 'The Honey Budgers', sorry, 'The Honey Badgers' were excellent, though suffered the type error on the day's playlist and the support of a dreadful Elvis tribute act. Luckily we had our picnic lunch to divert our attention while he warbled. We sat on the green eating rolls, sausage rolls, Morven's vola vons and Sean's Mars Bar cake. After the Badgers, the dance outfit QFX took to the stage and the surrounding Hawick locals seemed to get a little overly excited about the beats blasting out over the Cricket grounds. Personally I thought 'The Badgers' were far more deserving for such a reception but there's just no accounting for taste. Shortly after, Ka and myself took our leave ending the day, after the long drive home, falling asleep on the couch with a bottle of champagne. Not sure what we were celebrating exactly but the bottle had been in the fridge for weeks and so Ka and myself decided that it deserved to be drunk!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Magnificent


U2 rocked Hampden on Tuesday with a fantastic concert. Ka, Chaz, Tracey (a friend of Ka's) and myself headed into the stadium around six and met up with Colin and Heather who had already picked their spot. A rather good spot as it turned out almost directly infront of the stage, facing the east side of the stadium and directly infront of the circular walkway which surrounded the stage. Above us stood the massive 'claw' stage with it's giant screen circling the upper part of the claw and the tower of lights at it's centre spewing out dry ice as David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' roared from the eight sets of speakers hanging above us.
Then Larry took the stage pounding on his drums, the opening beats of 'Breathe' welcoming Adam, The Edge and then Bono to the stage. I had been moaning about the sound quality at the last Hampden gig with the Vertigo Tour back in 2005 (ish) but there were no such problems this time round, whether this was to do with the stage being more centralised in the stadium or not I have no idea but it just sounded ten times better and as a result made the whole gig far better. There was a slight problem later in the gig when the sound was lost during 'Walk On', one of the roadies must have tripped on a plug wire or something. The sound loss only lasted around a minute or so and things soon kicked back in making everyone breathe a sigh of relief. 'Walk On' was sang in tribute to the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose prison sentence was extended last week, and sang in protest and support for her with volunteers from the stadium's crowd taking to the stage with masks of photos of her face. A face I had mistaken for David Mitchell's upon arrival in the crowd when the masks were being dished out.
There were countless folk holding their phones up for the near entirety of the gig, filming the whole thing. You only have to have a quick look on You Tube to find loads of clips of varying quality from quite clear and sharp to just plain rubbish. I only took a couple of short little clips, the longest of which I've put on my You Tube page but most of that picture quality comes from the enormous circular screen which was really something to see, especially when it expanded down over the stage and gave us the incredible light shows which accompanied some of the songs such as 'Unforgettable Fire' and 'City of Blinding Lights'. In all a great concert and a great night out.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Volatile thoughts and hot ice cream

Hot ice cream?! That's impossible! Ice cream withstanding oven temperatures?! How can this be?! The answer, my friends, is Baked Alaska. A layer of ice cream protected in a meringue shell atop a fruit and sponge base. A dessert, I like to believe, only a few can successfully recreate. My very own multi skilled mother being one of them. After much shouting, blending, stirring and beating Mum emerged from the kitchen with a Baked Alaska which only just made it to the dinner table after a failure of kitchen blending tools. Thankfully Dad came to the rescue in building the new advanced blender at the last minute, a new piece of equipment that had lay dormant in the kitchen cupboard until last night, when it answered the emergency call. Mum is still bemoaning the breakdown of her old blender - her original number one blender and presumably this was why she has never used the new device considering the original, the best. I asked her if she buried it in the back garden and surprisingly she nodded with a yes. A vision came into my head of her holding a service for it, a gathering in the garden, singing 'Blend us together lord'.
Before all this Ka and myself had the laziest Sunday Ever. Nothing. Sheer, unadulterated, nothing was done. No gym, no painting, no shopping, no visits, no internet, zilch. Merely the odd chapter of my latest read. We did not get to bed till half six this morning mind you getting back to the flat at approximately half four only to find the living room overrun by Ka and three of her mates after a work night out, all lounging around the couches drinking vodkas, eating pringles and generally putting the world to rights.
Before this Chaz and myself had been in Glasgow, starting off in the Merchant City and ending up in Glasgow's Royal Exchange Square having a catch up over some drinks where discussions got slightly dark and deep with subjects such as life, death, religion, Richard Dawkins and Sambuca. Well, the sambuca wasn't so much talked about, just drank, quickly and sent my stomach into strange, volatile movements with which it slowly recovered after some medicinal vodkas. A trip to the casino followed and then a taxi journey home with Big Raymond from the Auldhouse at the wheel. Raymond was one of the locals from the Auldhouse bar, the famed small country pub I used to work in through my student years, and we done a bit of catching up with him on the way home. Once again the main subject of the conversation being the cheery "who was now dead and who wasn't" like that rather melancholy game they used to play on Radio 1 when listeners had to phone in and tell Simon Mayo if a certain famous person was dead or alive - a major kick up the arse to any work quiet, listening celebrities that were accused of having passed away.
Obviously, since the events of last week, the subjects of death and loss have never been far from my mind. Hopefully thoughts and conversations will get a little cheerier with time.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Byrne in full swing

During the weekend Ka and myself took a brief and deliberate break on the Saturday night. We went through to Edinburgh to see Mr. David Byrne again. We last seen him in Glasgow at the end of March as he hit Scotland on his Everything That Happens tour and I was delighted to find he was going to be part of Edinburgh's Edge Festival and booked the tickets with a mere week to go before the gig. Unfortunately after Gran passed away I was unsure whether to still go through for the gig but after various relations told me not to be silly and what Gran would have said I agreed that it may still be a good idea and would maybe even help take our minds off the grief that was to come on Sunday and Monday.
It worked, if only for the Saturday night, and Mr Byrne and his band were great. There were a few teathing problems for the first half hour however as Byrne had to restart the third song after realising the guitar he had started using for that song was completely out of tune. Unfortunately there was also a couple of gobsh*tes in the audience who revelled especially in the guitar tuning break yelling at the musician and his band in the first half hour or so whenever they got the chance. Presumably they were shut up at some point as they went quiet after the first half hour or so once the music was back in full swing. In fact, after Byrne had tried and failed with that guitar he seemed to start up full throttle again as if in answer to the critics in the crowd and after a couple of songs more everyone in the Playhouse was on their feet and dancing. Byrne's dancers were excellent, spiralling, jumping and swaying over the stage, behind, in front and around Byrne and his band as they played a good mix of new tunes and old, mixing new material from the 'Everything that happens...' album and the Talking Heads material, mostly from the Eno produced albums. The sound in the Playhouse was not great (certainly not as good as Byrne had sounded in the Royal Concert Hall in March) but was certainly not the worst, being a hundred times better than any stadium gig I've been to in recent years.
Talking of which, U2 will be at Hampden next Tuesday with their new sci-fi looking spider stage. U2's sound at Hampden had been a major disappointment the last time on the Vertigo tour so hopefully things will have improved since then.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A fitting ceremony

Well, what a weekend. Along with the rest of the family I spent the weekend grappling with the extreme sadness of Gran Reid passing away whilst the funeral was organised and prepared for. The service was held yesterday in St. Vincent's Church, Gran's own parish with a congregation that Gran probably would not have believed. We ran out of orders of service with the church only half full as the people paying respect kept on coming. My cousin James even suggested we ask the priest if he had a photocopier handy in order to spontaneously create more leaflets. I suspected we were grasping at straws though and Kenny, James and myself had to stand at the door a little dumbstruck as more mourners filtered through the doors, some looking a little disgruntled at not receiving a leaflet. Inside the church some people ended up having to sit in the cry chapel, situated up the right hand side of the usual pews, in the bright airy building. The service was beautiful with the organ belting out the tunes to the lovely voices of the church choir as we said goodbye to Gran, making our way to the Philipshill cemetary after church to lay her to rest alongside Granpa Reid. A fitting ceremony to a great woman.
Back at work today I couldn't help but feel depressed not only at the loss of my last Grand parent but at the prospect of having to go back into work as if nothing had changed. Everybody milling about their usual business. Giving orders, moaning on the phone to sales reps, laughing and joking as if nothing had ever happened. Ignorance must be bliss.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Annie G. Reid

My Gran, Annie (Nan) Gillan Reid died on Tuesday afternoon. She was preparing for a bus trip with her pals from the surrounding complex and suffered a heart attack presumably as she went for her coat. She passed the way she lived. On the go. Forever on the go.
I'm still feeling a little numb from the news as she had seemed to be better than she had been for months battling various ailments with her usual fierce, stubborn determination. Taking unwell around a month before the Wedding she had argued with anyone that had suggested a visit to the hospital. Gran feared that they'd just keep her in and merely confine her to a bed, a treatment, she insisted, she could well put upon herself in her own bed at home thusly not risk any way of missing the Wedding. Afterwards she did seem to recover and on the day of the wedding 'looked a million dollars' as more than one person commented.
Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother - Gran was the rock of the family. The Matriarch, the Queen bee. A woman to be loved but also a woman to be feared! When Ka started seeing me she was not sure who to fear more, my Mum or my Gran! Happy, loving, hard-working, socialable, kind, considerate, generous, noble, faithful, principled and extraordinary are only a few words to describe my Gran. Words that don't even do her justice. She will be sorely missed. My Gran. Annie Gillon Reid (Pollock). 1928 - 2009.

Monday, 3 August 2009

The disappearing wife trick

On Saturday Ka kicked me out of bed to attend Morgan's birthday party (not true, I was actually more excited than she was!). Morgan was five on Thursday and Angela and Steven had a party to celebrate at a large indoor play area in Blantyre with thirty other kids of similar age. Finding myself surrounded by around ten mothers and the odd family member I volunteered as chief tea and juice pourer. Any husbands that had dropped the kids off had quickly scarpered whereas any Mums were quite happy to sit, chat, gossip and drink teas and coffees producing the usual Mum gabble. At times I looked over at all these Mum's sitting blethering to one another and wondered if they were even listening to what each other was saying. They all just seemed to be talking instantaneously. While I poured the teas the kids had all run off into the play area which, I have to say, looked great. Ka's brother, Colin, and myself were genuinely disappointed we were not allowed into it. They never had play areas like that when we were kids! A huge towering construction that filled one end of the warehouse sized room, this blue tower of plastic and rope had slides of varying steepness, punch bags, ladders, bridges, climbing frames, rope swings, helter skelters and even a giant tub of hovering balls. Amazing. I looked on disappointedly as I poured the teas, sighing as I put up with the Mums' ongoing jibba jabba in the background.
After the play area the kids were then called into the hired room for some entertainment in the form of a 'magician'. Unfortunately I'm using the term 'magician' rather loosely. Personally, telling the kids he's going to make my new wife disappear, putting her in hand cuffs and then simply shoving her out the room's back door was not quite as impressive (or effective) as I had hoped. Especially as Morgan immediately rushed out the entrance door, sped round the corridor outside and brought Ka back herself, before the 'magician' had the chance to announce any form of magical reappearance. He couldn't even make a half decent balloon animal?! After bursting one on his first attempts he opted for swords which were basically a long balloon with a short tie at the end to act as a hilt. Okay, maybe I could not have done a better balloon myself but, if given the chance, when sitting listening to the Mums' continuous jibba jabba I could have done a better disappearing trick.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Photo update


Finally finished putting together and uploading some new photo pages for Reidnet. The new pages include a collection of photos from the Wedding kindly contributed by Uncle Tommy, Aunt Trish, Aunt Ann, Chris, Martin and last, but certainly not least, the wonderful Jillian. Thanks very much to all of them for supplying me with a good amount of photos - especially since I did not take any. The most important day of my life and I barely clicked a camera button!
The other new pages include photos from our holiday in Rome and Venice. Both of these collections having been heavily filtered as I think I went kinda camera crazy after taking none on the Wedding day. Hopefully both collections show, to some extent, how beautiful Rome and Venice are and what a great time Ka and myself had walking around the Italian streets.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Father Gaffney and the video nasty

Thankfully Auntie Patricia held back the tears at the weekend when we all settled down to watch the wedding video that my Uncle Tommy had been spending the week working on. Apparently Tommy had plugged the camcorder into the tv on the Sunday after the wedding and had Tricia and my other Aunt, Ann, who had had been visiting from London for the occasion, both in tears as they watched what he had recorded. Personally, I'm not sure I believe them and think they may have been exaggerating a little. My mum and her sisters were born in the Gorbals which makes me believe it must take a hell of a lot for them to shed any form of tear. Thanks to Tommy though, the wedding now exists in televisual format to help us remember our special day (I certainly hope I never wake up one morning and wonder who this female is that I'm living with). Of course, it also exists for women to cry and gossip over which is what will probably happen next week when Ka's female friends all pop round to the flat for a viewing. I very much doubt I shall hold such an occasion especially since my brother, the best man of the piece, turned down his invite to the BBQ/film showing on Saturday night describing it as a video nasty. Thankfully it was not so nasty, except from the fact that I looked as if I had a bean pole stuck up my arse as I spent the whole time in the church standing straight and rigid with a look of extreme seriousness on my face, seemingly unable to move without some great difficulty. Kenneth laughed, Ka cried, Angela cried and laughed and the priest, a rather entertaining Father Gaffney, forgot my name, at least twice. He even called the ceremony a baptism at one point. In fact, I'm sure Father Gaffney may well require the video to remember the day more than the rest of us.
Ka picked up the phone to him on Monday night and he asked her how the holiday in Paris went. Paris was great thanks but that was two years ago now - we were in Rome and Venice for our honeymoon! Father Gaffney would no doubt have took a trip at one point to go and see the Pope? I wonder at what point it was climbing up the Eiffel Tower that he realised..?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Mr Topsy-Turvy and Hannah Montana portraits

After having the parents round for a thank you dinner on Saturday night, which involved boring them with many a Wedding photo and Rome or Venice snapshots, it has been birthdays all round in the first half of the week with Aunt Linda's on Sunday, Colin McG's on Monday and my cousin Megan's yesterday.
So on Monday we were round at the McGarva's to celebrate Colin hitting the grand old age of 29. He got a doll of Mickey Rourke as the Wrestler for his birthday and a Nintendo Wii. We didn't get a shot though as we were all too busy eating (not that I wanted a shot of his Mickey Rourke figure anyway - humpf!). Grace and Dougie treated us all to a Chinese take-away which caused a few arguments as people tried to taste other people's choices, nick other people's rice and nick chips from other people's plates. As a result many people were shouting, complaining and slagging in true family fashion. Colin himself even stooped to the level of nicking chicken from Morgan's plate while she was looking in another direction. His very own niece! Can you believe it? He gave the excuse of "I'm the birthday boy", with which he managed to get away with it.
More chaos ensued when the pass the parcel started. The now traditional pass-the-parcel for birthdays was introduced as Morgan got a little older and liked winning the funny prizes Grace buys in for these occasions. The last time I successfully finished a game, narrowly beating the father-in-law, I won a plastic thermometer shaped like a guitar. Bearing this in mind, I hurriedly volunteered to control the music on Monday night and thusly opt out of the actual passing of the parcels. It then turned out that Monday night's prizes were far superior with actual novels being won. As I stopped and started a Small Faces track I grumbled jealously, complaining under my breath about rubbishy, guitar shaped, plastic thermometers.
Thankfully there was no pass-the-parcel last night when we popped round to my Uncle Laurence and Aunt Maria's for Megan's party. Instead there was bowls of chilli, sausages, meatballs and cakes as well as a game of tennis on the Nintendo Wii. It was the first time I'd attempted the tennis and it proved more difficult than it looked as Megan played me off the court as Lauren (Megan's little sis) done her very best at impersonating one of my Mum's cackling laughs. Before this there was arguments about chicken and why it tastes better eaten from the bone, realisations of having worn a ripped shirt to work the whole day and not having even noticed and a test of my Hannah Montana portrait drawing skills. Unsurprisingly, I'd never drawn Hannah Montana before and have barely seen her on TV (the only time was a Jonthan Ross interview in which she talked him off the set) so my Hannah ended up looking a little like Miss Piggy. Luckily, I don't think Megan noticed (she probably doesn't even know who Miss Piggy is!). Megan was also fairly impressed with my Mr. Men knowledge as I knew Mr. Strong was red and had eggs for breakfast while Mr. Funny wore gloves and drove a shoe. She did catch me out with Mr Topsy-Turvy however, as I thought he was a green man. Turns out he is actually orange. Fancy that, Mr Topsy-Turvy - an orange man, who would have guessed?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Do you believe?

40 years ago a couple of guys hopped down from a dodgy looking space pod and set foot on the small rock called the Moon. It was at this moment that a whole new era began and the human race suddenly realised that maybe dreams of setting foot on other planets and other outer space bodies was perhaps possible. That is until it suddenly occurred to someone, somewhere that it was perhaps all a big ploy just so the Americans could say they'd done it all before the Russians and the whole thing was actually filmed on a film set somewhere. Could that really be possible? The more I think about how incredible the whole landing was in '69 and how they managed it with the technology at that time, the notion of it all being a completely elaborate fake seems more realistically possible. Nixon was President at the time after all!
I've always believed the moon landings were completely real and will continue to think so but there's always going to be a small part of my mind that wonders how crazy it would be if it was all revealed to be fake. Imagine how gullible we would all feel?
Here's take one:

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Well, I'm back

Well, back to reality. A slightly different, married reality that is.
Ka and myself got back from our Italian honeymoon trip late on Tuesday night arriving back in Glasgow Airport, greeted by the rain and a grumpy bus driver to take us back to the airport car park. That morning we had been leaning back in a gondola, basking in the italian sunshine, watching the small streets and large buildings of Venice slide by on our way down the Grand Canal. It's now Thursday and it all already seems so long ago. Venice was a fantastic little city and truly one of a kind, probably for obvious reasons. Apparently July and August are it's busiest months with us tourists and you could easily tell that as you walked down the tightly packed streets but it did not take away from the city's beauty. On our first night we got lost in the streets trying to make sense of the nonsense map the hotel had given us and ended up walking nearly the whole circumference of the main islands but by the third day we had the place sussed and were soon coasting along from St. Mark's Square to the Rialto bridge with ease.
Before Venice we had been in Rome for four days exploring another fantastic Italian city - probably THE main Italian city. The Colosseum, the arch of Constantine, the Vatican City, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Terrace of the Quadrigas, the Spanish Steps, just a few of the sights and buildings we seen, explored, climbed or generally walked around in with our jaws hanging open.
Of course, before all this was the Big Day. July the fourth flew by in a whirl of ceremony, cars, photographers, eating, speeches, dancers and drinking. The day kicking off at St. Leonards Church in East Kilbride and then continuing at House for an Art Lover in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park which, thankfully, was not playing host to the local orange walks of that day as had been previously feared. The happiest, most wonderful and memorable day of my life and I took the grand total of two photographs. So it would seem Ka and myself are pretty much relying on everyone else copying some snaps for us to go with the professionals' efforts which we have yet to view. Probably the most arduous task of the day was posing for all those photographs, more so that the dreaded thank you speech - which I, perhaps unwisely, had not planned, penned or practised in any way shape or form. Kenny done very well with his speech though, as did the father in law, Dougie. In fact, the day went swimmingly thanks to everyone involved including all our fantastic guests, family and friends. So if any of you are reading out there, Ka and myself would just like to shout out yet another big thank you to you all. Here's to married life!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Word floundering and inflated condoms

Yesterday I strolled into work to find everyone looking at me. Unknown to everyone, my desk just happened to be over in planning this week, as cheery Cameron is off on holiday, so as I sat down over in the planning area I felt eyes on me. Rather disturbed by the staring I asked the office why they were looking at me and as I did so turned to see my usual desk and chair covered in banners, streamers, a wedding helium balloon and a number of inflated condoms. Later in the day I was talking on the phone to Ka and did not even realise everyone milling up the office towards me and surrounding me before. With a heavy tap on the shoulder by the boss, David I was then taken up to the floor and forced to make a speech, accepting presents and bottles of various sizes and content, some of rather questionable content. To tell the truth I was rather surprised by the generosity of my colleagues at S&UN. A digital photo frame, a set of glasses, a bottle of sparkling red, a bottle of brut champagne, a bottle of Asda's Blue Charge (an energy drink apparently), a box of energy capsules, a box of paracetamol and a bottle of durex tingle gel. I'm sure what you can guess the energy products were for as well as the tingle gel. After my rather awful acceptance speech, which ended up sounding like a leaving speech, I sat at my desk for the rest of the day, inflated condoms bouncing around my head, and began thinking about speech preperation and how I should probably prepare something for Saturday. All this time I had not planned on writing out cards and reading from papers and such like but after my word floundering yesterday, it may well be a good idea.
Sitting at my desk now counting down the minutes. In a few hours I'll be stopping work for over two weeks. Fantastic. It'll be a busy holiday, of course, but it will be great to get out of the office for a break.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Nervous yet?

Less than five days to The Big Day and I'm getting a little nervous now. Everything is fine though. Everything is organised - well, there are a few niggly things but everything is pretty much there or thereabouts (wherever 'there' is). The last few weeks have had a rather damaging affect on my precious blogging time too which has not been good as I've not been able to rant online properly for a while.
Last weekend I spent getting drunk in Glasgow with around eighteen bloke friends and family members in various bars in and around the city centre. We kicked off around half past one in the afternoon with some Virtual Golf on West George Street and then headed out from there, not getting home till 5am.
The Sunday I spent recovering.
The week after that and the weekend just passed was spent working on favours, orders of service and generally running folk about, including, a shopping trip into town for presents, an appointment at House for an Art Lover, running the future wife and my sister to their hairdressing appointments and on Sunday running the Mother-in-law to a dress fitting in an obscure little rural town past Larkhall. There we ended up whiling away three hours sitting in the seamstress' sitting room playing eye spy. The chief bridesmaid has disappeared to Paris to meet Mickey Mouse so it's all hands on deck.
While all this has been going on, Iran is in chaos, Wimbledon is in full swing, Glastonbury has been and gone, Michael Jackson has died, Farrah Fawcett has died and the papers have finally stopped talking about over paid, cheating, money hoarding MPs (that should have all been sacked immediately!).
For months I have been expecting some nerves to kick in which has not happened, until now, with less than five days to go. It may well be down to the fact seemingly everyone in work feels the need to ask the question "Are you getting nervous now?" This question alone repeated constantly over the course of a day is enough to make anyone feel nervous. Meeting people at the coffee machine, "Are you nervous yet then?". Sitting down to get on with some work the guy next to me "Nervous yet?". Escaping out to lunch only to have someone sneak up behind and mutter in your ear, "Are you nervous?". If people keep greeting me like this for the remainder of the week I probably will end up a nervous wreck, shaking uncontrollably in my kilted boots (not that I'm wearing boots...).