Thursday, 30 October 2008


Anyone watching Dead Set on E4 at the moment? It's a rather entertaining drama horror based around the premise of a Big Brother rudely interupted by a zombie outbreak in the best George A. Romero fashion except with a more 28 Days Later atmosphere to it all. It's actually surprisingly better than I thought it would be and a lot more dramatic with a lot less comedy. Charlie Brooker is the man behind it all. He usually writes for The Guardian and does a show on BBC four called Screenwipe in which he reviews and snidely slags of tv. Like Harry Hill except without the stupidity and a ladelfuls more sarcasm (and when I say Harry Hill, I mean the TV one, the one with the big glasses and collar, not the one that I go hill climbing with!). We've also been watching more of The Mighty Boosh, 'The Legend of Old Gregg', to be precise in which our hero Howard Moon has a scarring encounter with a strange, transsexual merman who likes watercolour. Brillaintly weird as always.
Talking of brilliantly weird what's all this about David Tennant leaving the TARDIS? Gawds sake. Gutted! Who could possibly replace the mighty Tennant as the Doctor?! It just cannot be done! When Tennant first donned the suit I wasn't so sure but his sheer enthusiasm and brilliance in the role got me hooked again (more than Eccleston's personification did). Steven Moffat is taking over the writing duties as of 2010 though (a great tv writer), so that should breath some new life into it. Was never a major fan of Russell T Davies' arc building and then disappointingly demolishing...
Passed Crystals in EK the other day. The other night my sister claimed it was being demolished and replaced with a very similar building. It is in fact being renovated and is now surrounded by scaffolding. Ah shame... those sticky floors always made those Crystal nights memorable. It was a bit of a dive. It got so bad that at one point, earlier this year, Ka, Chaz, Kenny and myself opted for Centre Point instead... and that's saying something.

Brand of intolerance

What a load of nonsense this whole thing with Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand is. Okay, they were being stupid, okay they shouldn't have left the daft messages on the answering machine, okay their egos may have got the better of them but is it worth all this uproar? Are they solely the ones to blame? They are both always well known for their mouthing off after all. Ross on his talk show forever making his interviewees squirm on that uncomfortable looking sofa of his and as for Brand, well, don't we all know by now what to expect from the ex drug addict, comedic nutter now? Generally I'm not that much of a fan of Russell Brand's, but I do know what happened and as far as I can tell he just pushed a joke too far, as he usually does and got caught up in the moment of supposed hilarity and garbage talking. Nothing he isn't used to, and nothing the rest of us are not used to with him. Same with Ross. Yes, they did go too far in leaving messages on, lets not forget, a comedy actor's, answering machine but they apologised and sent flowers privately soon after, before it was all picked up by the press. The mass media and press have led a witch hunt for the two of them as soon as they've all got wind of it and as usual blown it out of all proportion. It just seems that as soon as an opportunity arises to attack the good old BBC the commercial news channels and newspapers go wild with it. Losing his one or two nights on Radio 2 is no big deal to Brand. He resigned because he doesn't need the hassle not because of any guilt trip. He's never off Channel 4 and is now in pretty successful Hollywood movies for gawds sake. He doesn't even need the radio 2 gig. Ross, of course, is in a different position in that his BBC work is his life but if they were to sack him he would easily get work elsewhere and immediately pull the viewers in for some other channel. The buck should stop with the editors and producers who passed the programme in the first place. Did they not sense that the joke had went too far and needed a little tweeking on the editing table? The news report yesterday showed a crowd of protestors outside the BBC moaning, not one of them under sixty. That kind of says it all as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A ransoms worth

Autumn and today the sky was as clear as a bell. The trees around us glinting yellows, browns and golds under the clear blue sky. With Autumn, however, comes the sharp drop in temperature, especially in Scotland as it's bloody freezing up here. We put some washing out this morning to dry in the sunshine and brought it in with icicles hanging from it. We are also desperately trying to refrain from switching the heating on in our wee flat as it costs so much. Unfortunately our flat has some ancient form of underfloor heating which is not at all easy on the electric bills. We always get a large late unwelcome Christmas gift from Scottish Power every January in the form of a fat bill so we're holding off for as long as we possibly can. I'm wearing three layers as I write.
On our day off today we done the monthly shop. Exciting way to spend your Tuesday holiday eh? Wandering around a supermarket looking for 2 for 1s, skillfully negotiating the aisles and the growling pensioners with your trolley and arguing over which passata to buy. Apparently Ka is inviting her sister round for dinner soon so we had to buy organic. I'm not one to begrudge accommodating other peoples likes and dislikes and usually this would be fine, but organic passata is £1.20 more than the usual brand we get?! £1.20! Okay, it's not a ransom's worth but still - it all adds up!
Talking of ransoms, we then had a trip to the cinema to see 'Taken' starring Liam Neeson. An exciting revenge thriller which sees Neeson in a hard man type role, running round the city of Paris, cracking,chopping, knifing and shooting all the bad guys involved in his daughter's kidnapping. She went to Paris as the first stop of a U2 european tour and gets kidnapped to be used in the sex traffic trade which Mr Neeson, as a former spy, has to throw himself into to rescue her. Neeson does well in the role whilst the film edges on over the top at times it was still a good, gripping thriller with some brilliant, sometimes surprisingly, shocking violence. Talking of surprising, I can't believe Adam is dead? Spooks is back with a bang. A fairly big bang which seen yet another main character written out. The Spooks writers keep doing it, but it does make it all the more exciting and, dare I say it, realistic.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Throwing subtle shapes

Friday night was interesting as Ka and myself went into town to see Alphabeat. Yes, you read right. Alphabeat. The cheesy, danish pop band, that I have slagged in previous writing, hit the Glasgow ABC on Sauchiehall Street. It's a very strange feeling to be among the oldest in the crowd at a gig. Ka and myself joined the queue outside among small guys with trendy fedora hats and yelping girls with multi coloured tights and sparkly plimsoles. This all started because we missed Alphabeat at T in the Park in June this year, because I had delayed us in losing my wallet, so I had promised to take Ka along to see the grotesquely cheerful danes when they played Glasgow in the near future. Unfortunately, she kept me to my word. Being only thirty, it is a bit of a shock to find yourself in a small minority of folk as the elders of the crowd at a gig. Ka and myself played 'spot the old person' when we got in to the large club venue, looking for older folk. Looking for grey hair, middle aged girths or people who had refused to leave their coat in the cloak room, as if leaving your jacket at the mercy of some young cloak room attendant was unsafe or foolish. Not being one to be put off by any of this, however, I tried to get into the atmosphere, with the help of a few vodkas and jumped about to the music like the rest of them. Well, shuffled about, anyway. The two support acts were surprisingly okay too. A leggy trio named Pandering and the Golddiggers kicked things off with some interesting moves and some music that didn't sound unlike some eighties throwback electronica. The three singers/dancers, two girls, one bloke, dressed in very little and what little there was, was extremely tight. The trio's weirdest attribute was by far, the bloke singer's hairdo. They were followed by the Belgian band Das Pop who had none other than Brian Blessed on Lead guitar (or so it looked like with my old glasses on). They would probably have been better if it had been Brian Blessed on guitar. "Das Pop's ALIVE!". Alphabeat were actually better than I thought they'd be. Very energetic, colourful, kooky and fun, not to mention ridiculously happy, as they always are. The main lead singer, AndersSG (no idea what the name is all about) jumping about like a crazy person smashing his tambourine off various body parts, whilst the little lassie, Stine, threw some subtle shapes on the spot. Complete candy floss pop but good for a bit of fun. The worst part of the night was waiting in the queue for the cloakroom. Damn those sensible old people, they were right!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Diesel do the trick

Diana conversing on the phone, Lost Ian is surfing the internet, Cameron is playing his online games, Craig is reading and the admin women are going back and forth from the kitchen on their (many) tea breaks. Everyone taking a breather after the previous four days in the office. Friday's are always a bit strange though. Always busy enough, as far as work goes, but with a more relaxed, amiable atmosphere than usual as if everyone is just getting ready to switch off from the work for the weekend. Slowing powering down to the stop that is Friday evening when we all skid out of the car park.
Yesterday I bought my new glasses. Finally. I have been wearing spectacles for driving and long distances since 2003 but have found myself relying on them more and more over the past few years for things like television viewing and looking for mislaid people in clubs and pubs. Not only that, but I've had the same pair all this time. The final straw was on Sunday when the glasses just popped apart, screws, lenses and frame exploding from my face. After managing to put them all back together again with a knife I hummed as I looked at the heavily warped frame. Over time they have definately grown out of shape. It probably did not help either when, a few months ago, I sat on them while I was noseying at the neighbours through the blinds. I'd left them lying on the couch and on hearing the door to the communal porch/hallway area downstairs sprung up from my lying position on the counch into a sitting position, only noticing the definate feeling of tangled thin metal under my rear end after concluding what the neighbours were up to (which wasn't anything particularly interesting as far as I remember - certainly not worth bending a pair of spectacles out of shape for). Ka relates me to an old, nosey, grandad with nothing better to do than spring to the blinds whenever someone walks by in the street. My gran was always quite good at that come to mention it. In fact, I'm sure she has the uncanny ability to tell you what people are up to in the street without even looking out through the blinds. Anyway, got myself a nice pair of Diesel glasses with the help of Kate in Optical Express. Very nice they are too. Though my vision does go a bit wonky when I wear them. The Optical Express lady did warn me this may take a short while to get used to as my perscription has changed slightly since the last pair was bought. It felt like looking around after you'd just belted your head off something hard. Everything in focus but with a slight twinge to the eyes and some disorientation flung in for good measure. Not so much pain in the cranium thankfully. As a result I've not really worn them for any decent amount of time yet so far and am continuing to use my decrepit old pair for driving. The Optical woman did advise not to use them straight away for the driving and judging by the disorientation involved this was probably a good idea. Hope the Optometrist got his perscription right?! He did seem about fifteen... maybe slightly inexperienced... maybe on work experience?! Maybe he was not an Optometrist at all! Fooling me with his machines and his pink tie. That pink tie was suspicious...

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


After a particularly busy day at work, tonight I had more car difficulties. A flat tyre. I had to change a wheel on the Audi A6 Quattro I'm driving at the moment after coming out of work at half past eight. You would think this would be straight forward enough, but no, there were four of us working through it. We all reckon that the wheel's bolts had been superglued. Paul, Craig and Lost Ian were all excellent help in removing the flat wheel and helping me replace it with the spare one from the boot. If it hadn't been for them, I would most certainly have been there till at least midnight. Paul with his surprising mechanic skills, Craig with his strength of a bear and Ian with his indispensable socket spanners. Thanks guys, owe you one! Chaz, the ever helpful car salesman that he is, managed to get me the Audi last week, little did I know it had a flat though. Thanks Chaz! Drives like a dream now but eats petrol like a nightmare.
A very real nightmare of a more serious and saddening nature was in the news yesterday, about the charity worker being gunned down in Afghanistan by the Taleban. She spread the word of Christianity, that was what the Taleban claimed was their reason for this latest murder. Gayle Williams worked for a charity organisation called Serve Afghanistan which primarily aided in the education and help for people with disabilities and special needs. A couple of guys sped up to her on a motorbike, as she walked to work, and shot the South African six times at close range, killing her immediately. She gave her life for the cause and highlights the plight of all the aid workers out in these war torn countries. By not taking the bodyguards offered her, Ms Williams obviously did not value herself enough and underrated her own importance and her own heroism. These needless deaths and terrible incidents always bring it all home and make you wonder why your bothering worrying about things like the price of bread and petrol.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Fry and apple tea

Have just sat and watched the second episode of 'Stephen Fry in America' and what a great series it is turning into. Throughout the series he is to visit all 50 states of America, some of them way too briefly but it has proven to be a pretty entertaining watch. Fry is usually pretty honest, witty and interesting in all television projects he has been involved in, so to see him hit the big U. S. of A. has got to be engaging viewing. He's so english he looks quite out of place walking about in some of the situations and surroundings he finds himself in and does not shy away from being blatantly honest infront of the camera. Tonight he was up in a hot air balloon in North Carolina, gliding slowly over the giant tree tops, at first gripping the sides of the basket. No camera work could disguise the guy in a state of absolute fear. He did seem to relax a little as the slow flight continued, however, collecting a few leaves from passing trees. I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon. Ka, I'm sure, would say something sarcastic such as 'how fitting' but it's true. I've always fancied it. I'm not great with heights so it's probably not the wisest thing to hanker for but that slow glide through the skies, over a mile above the ground, looks great on tv. In Tenerife I did do some paragliding so it can't be much different can it? Well, it probably is very different and generally much higher but still vaguely similar! The rest of the folk I was on holiday with at the time certainly didn't seem too keen and preferred to sit around the pool side all day. Personally, I hate holidays like that. Why spend a couple of hundred pounds to go abroad, to a different country, only to sit by a pool all day? It's great to walk and soak up the streets, try and experience a bit of the culture, the marketplaces, speak to the people, and just generally learn more about your new surroundings. You just don't get that with an uncomfortable plastic bed and a bottle of sun tan lotion. Don't get me wrong I've ended up in a few dodgy situations before in recent years, the most recent being in Turkey when a 100 year old Shopkeeper trapped in his shop in an effort to make me buy something to gain my release - which of course I did. Ka and myself were walking down from the tombs in Fethiye and in dire need of a drink so we strolled into a small corner shop to see if there was any fanta in the fridge. As we hummed over the contents of the fridge we were aware of a gnarly old man in a white hat, not unlike a very ancient man from Delmonte, getting up from a wooden stool behind the counter and walking round to the front of the shop. Ka and myself turned to see the old man grinning into out faces asking us if we would like a cup of tea. Never one to deny a cup of tea off hand, I considered, as Ka ran out the shop, ducking round another old man that had emerged from the shadows at the back of the shop, who seemed even older than the first, who growled through his tooth. Being a little slow in the uptake, as usual, I sensed danger and doffing my hat made to leave. But the old man sprung forward and almost tripped me with two small plastic crates which he upturned and offered as seats, producing another in between us to act as a table. As Ka and myself hesitantly sat down the second old man offered us some apple tea, which we gingerly accepted. Suddenly the first old man went up to the front of the shop, reached up and flicked a switch. The shop's front shutter shivered into motion and started to close before us. Ka and myself looked at each other in alarm over our apple tea. Grabbing the hat on my head I readied myself for a dive under the descending wall, imagining an Indiana Jones like dive followed by a quick grab of my hat from the ground level of the otherside of my escape. Fortunately the old man stopped the shutter and was only lowering it a little so shield the sun which had been shining in our eyes. How kind. After this Ka and myself drank a few more sips of our, admittedly, rather refreshing apple tea and went on our way, of course, not without a packet of apple tea under our arm, doubled in price thanks to the slightly unsettling table service. Looking back at this as I sip on my apple tea, I'm considering that maybe I'm actually better off just staying at home...

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Fellow blogger, Music Monkey, over at MIND body MUSIC soul, stole a mini survey from another fellow blogger on her blog and challenged us all to answer. The 'IF' survey I think it was called. One of these little surveys that tells everyone a little bit more about yourself like the ones you used to receive circulating on email, but this way you don't have it clogging up your inbox.
My answer to question 3 is actually quite apt today as it is the fourth anniversary of Ka and myself meeting for the first time. It was a Saturday night and I was meeting up with a long lost friend from Secondary school, named Paul, formerly known as Bungle. We had a few drinks and realised that if we were to stay out we'd better find a club to go to. Unfortunately for us we chose the truly awful Jumpin Jaks. I'd never been in before, but was aware of it's dodgy reputation. It was exactly as legend had foretold. A club filled with, seemingly, every middle aged Glaswegian drunk under one roof complete with a karaoke band on stage. Some parts of the crowd were a bit like watching a giant Nesbitt family reunion. Feeling completely out of place, Paul and myself decided to make the most of it and continued to have our catch up. We'd actually paid to get in so we weren't going to waste that money. It was then, just off the packed dancefloor, I spotted her. She was dancing with a guy that could only be described as a tall shrek. Seeing the one diamond in the rough was taken, I gave up any hope until her friend sauntered up to me a little later and told me, in the best Secondary School like way, that her pal fancied me! Before the lassie had even finished I lept out on to the dancefloor only to find the girl in question had scarpered. She'd run off to the toilets in embarrassment. When she eventually came out of hiding I talked her into a dance. As we were being chucked out at the end of the night I asked for her phone number to which she replied she did not have a phone. Seeing this as a brush off I almost shrugged and walked off. Even though I did not believe a word of it, I left her my number on her friend's phone, just in case, and left it up to her to call. Afterwards I learnt that her pal had actually tried to get rid of my number, her finger poised over the delete button on her phone, as I 'wasn't good enough'. (Not sure if mobile phones have a delete number these days...) Ka persisted, however, and managed to get the number off her. The next evening I was standing drawing a rather large naked woman when I received a surprise text. Taking my attention away from my easel in life drawing class for a brief moment I seen that it was from KA. The rest, as they say, is history.
If I hadn't bothered to contact Paul, the long lost secondary school buddy, Ka and myself would have never met. If I hadn't plucked up the courage to venture into Jumpin Jaks for that one night, we would never have met. If her horrid, so called, friend had pressed delete on her phone before Ka realised we would never have met. One of the most powerful words in the human language isn't it? If.
Happy Anniversary Ka. Love and best wishes. If your reading...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A skirtless multitasker

So Guy and Madonna are no more? Didn't see that one coming... That reminds me, I went to see Guy Ritchie's latest movie, 'RocknRolla' last week and quite enjoyed it. Energetic, sharp, enthusiastic and with great performances from the main players, I enjoyed it more than his previous efforts, with the exception of 'Lock, Stock', of course. Looks like there may be a sequel already planned too. Quite fancied the new Simon Pegg film but haven't got round to it yet. Ka's brother, Colin, claims the first half is great but it then turns into a run of the mill rom com halfway through so not so sure now. Waht I'm really looking forward to is the third in the Ice Cream trilogy. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's loose trilogy that includes the recent Hot Fuzz and the fantastic Shaun of the Dead. Come on guys, get yer skates on!
Infuriating day in work today. Now that I am trained in various departments within the one office I feel I'm being used and abused. Flung from one corner of the office to the other. There's being adaptable, helpful and easy going but there's also having the piss taken out of you. Certain female multitaskers, whom we shall not name, seem to flutter their eyelashes and get to work in various sectors whenever they wish and the rest of us skirtless multitaskers get moved around like pawns in an evil game by a corrupt totalitarian management. Or at least, that's what it feels sometimes. Certainly today. It just seems that some female employees take advantage with the so called managers at times. It's just not fair for us blokes. We don't have eyelashes... well, okay, we might have eyelashes, but we don't flutter them!

Monday, 13 October 2008

The ego of Ringo

Tired, worn out and exhausted. No, not the latest Coronation street plots. This was how I felt at work today. I suspect the weekend is catching up with me. No amount of tea was enough to waken me up. Reaching the end of the ad workflow I started reading the top news stories of the day. Alongside the news of the struggling Royal Bank, Lloyds TSB and HBOS I happened to find an article on a former Beatle. Ringo is no longer signing any autographs. Ringo Starr, announced on BBC news and on his website that if any fan mail arrives at his various homes dated after the 20th October it will all be binned. He claims he is too far busy to deal with fanmail and that it was a serious message to everyone watching on his fansite. He has even made sure he has made the news with this devastating announcement. What the hell are we all going to do?! Where will we all be without Ringo signing any autograph requests? Precisely where we all are right now, I'm guessing, and not giving a rat's arse. Why he still receives these 'massive piles' of fanmail I'll never know. A classic tale of blind luck and knowing the right people is what got him where he is now, which is thankfully usually in the South of France. He can't sing and he certainly cannot play drums. Ringo recently, more or less, insulted and disowned Liverpool, his own home town, in a dreadful interview with Jonathan Ross in which he came across as a complete knob. His hedge statue at the Liverpool's South Parkway Station was beheaded for his comments. You'd think he'd appreciate any mail he'd get for being a blagger and living off the success of McCartney, Lennon and Harrison. If he'd been a good drummer I could understand his ego, unfortunately the duracell rabbit proved itself to be a better drummer, probably with less tuition. There are one armed drummers better than him and drug addled women with beehive hair-dos who can sing better. Talking of bee-hived hair-dos, that reminds me of a Simpsons episode that detailed Marge Simpson's infactuation with ringo and told of how she used to send him fanmail. Come to think of it, this would mean Marge Simpson is about sixty?! That can't be right can it? I would of took her to be about fortyish. Maybe it's her that's still sending Ringo all his fanmail?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The genre spanner

How long it's been since I've bought something from the ice cream van. The ice cream van hits our street at least twice a day at the weekend and once every night during the week and I've never used it. Not until tonight. Ka had an ice cream and I bought myself a Dime bar, or a Daim bar, as they are now known (I'm a sucker for that sweet almondy taste). A late dessert. Today was a lazy day. Got off to a slow start with a headache from last night's beverage intake in Glasgow's West End and the rest of the day did not really pick up any pace. Skipped the usual Sunday worship for the first time in months - body worship in this case. Will just have to do double the workout at the gym on Wednesday. Watched some of The Mighty Boosh in the afternoon followed by some messing about on iTunes. For some reason I missed most of the adventures of Howard Moon and Vince Noir when originally aired so am watching them all on DVD now. Fantastically, brilliantly weird stuff. As evening approached, Ka made a beautiful chicken dinner with paprika, spices and chillis together with some salad and tatties and have now just sat and watched Bayona and Del Toro's 'The Orphanage'. A brilliant little spanish horror about a family losing a son in mysterious circumstances in a supposedly haunted orphanage. Last night's night out in town seems like ages ago already. Ka, Chaz and myself went out into the West End after laughing at the X factor following dinner. Hitting The Loft first and then moving on to Media, or is it The Venue? The club underneath Oran Mor anyway, with its overpriced entry fee, serving overpriced drinks and dark, crowded interior in which going to the bar is a major undertaking. A bit like one of Howard Moon's quests. We had a good laugh though, especially when Ka kept slipping on the dancefloor and subtly tried to blend it in to her natural dance moves. Naturally, she did not pull the wool over my eyes. No siree. Unlike afterwards when we were walking back up Byres Road, after a short needless walk, and some guy was singing something along the lines of 'Nice leather Jacket! You've got a nice leather jacket! Nice leather Jaaaaacket!' along to the tune of "There's only one 'football player's name inserted here'". Making a point of stopping and saying thank you very much, I then proceeded to tell him I'd got it as a Christmas present from my dearest Ka, not realising he had not actually stopped chanting at me. Ka pulled me away hurriedly tutting under her breath. There's nothing wrong with my leather jacket. It's the height of fashion! Just jealous, obviously...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Lights, camera, traction!

It took us around 2 and a half hours to buy washing powder today. Just one annoyance about living without a car. One small, half hour job now involves a good half hour walk, a walk which involves passing through three car showrooms (funnily enough), the usual stroll around the supermarket and then the walk back home. Whilst at the car showrooms we did stop to have a quick look around and were immediately set upon by one of the salesmen. Car salesmen always seem so desperate. He started off by showing us a Kia Ceed and started going on about CSI and Law and Order. When he discovered that neither Ka or myself watched it, he then went on to talk of the Olympics and how Kia had sponsored part of the games. Finding Ka and myself again unimpressed he then moved off trying desperately to find something in common with us. We proved a hard sell. I think I actually witnessed his little heart sink when we finally excused ourselves. Not wanting to look like a complete b**ta** I did ask for his card, just to provide him with a faint glimmer of hope for maybe sometime in the future. Can't seem to find it now... Overall it was a fairly pleasant walk however, with the autumnal colours all around in the sunlight from the clear blue sky. There was a fair bit of wind though and not only from the weather conditions.
Last night's beers from the Early Learning Unit Charity Race Night are to blame which Ka and myself attended alongside Chaz, Mum and Dad. The races involved sitting on a chair facing a wall at one end of a long floor with a horizontal stick in your hands attached by string to a small wooden horse ornament positioned at the opposite end of the floor behind you. On the blow of the whistle you then had to wind the string around the centre of the stick, pulling the string up from under your chair thusly pulling the horse ornament along the floor behind you. Good wrist exercise. On entering the hall I was volunteered for the first race along with Chaz and four other girls. Unfortunately Chaz managed to win the race but only just as I was a very close second. This win made Chaz part of the Champions Race at the end of the night when he turned out the be the close second. Ka won her race in the ELU nursery race against other representatives from the other rooms within her work making her the Champion Jockey winning her the coveted ELU Challenge Trophy presented to her by her lordship herself, Carol, the boss. For some reason Ka does not regard this as a big deal however and has strenuously forbid me to put it on the living room shelf, above the television, for all visitors to see. However, I do have a photo of her receiving her illustrious prize so I ''l have to get down to the printers. We were less lucky with our raffle tickets though, only winning a twenty pound voucher for Dominoes Pizza. Not a place we frequent.
Last night I also uploaded my very first youtube video! Yes, I know, I'm ridiculously behind the times but there you go. The film is from up the Eiffel Tower in Paris on New Years Day.

Short and sweet, not to mention a bit on the wobbly side, but there are some nice shots of The Eiffel Tower's structure in there and some nice dancing lights. Not bad for my wee 5 mega pixel camera. Hopefully the first of many (or at least a few).

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

All good things...

This morning I said goodbye to the finest, truest friend of the past 7 years. My wee red Renault Clio. It stood on the dim garage floor looking lost and desolate with no where to go for the first time in it's ten year old life. The echoes of some watery drip was the only noise to be heard as I stood looking over it's tired frame once more. Arriving at the garage in the early morning I had already cleared out the few remaining contents inside the car and was now handing the registration form over to the mechanics who seemed to nod sympathetically, almost like understanding Funeral Directors.
Pathetic isn't it. Getting this depressed over a car. I for one never thought a small red road vehicle could make my so glum but there you have it. What a fabulous little car it was. Bought from an ex boss for the not unreasonable amount of two grand approximately seven years ago, I started driving the Clio about in Birmingham and the West Midlands when I worked down there. Including more than a few trips to various towns, cities and trips back north to Scotland, the Clio could hardly be stopped and very rarely let me down, the only money spent on tyres, MOTs and the odd service here and there. A great, reliable wee runabout it has served me well and done me proud. Only now, with a good amount of mileage run up, has it been cruelly forced off the road by a burst timing belt. I will miss it. My thanks go to all the folk in the work for all their consoling, advice and their lifts in the past few days. Gordon in his brother's car, Creamy Chicken John and his hand brake turns at bus stops and Linda M who has been especially helpful, going out of her way on two mornings already, to give me a lift to work, juggling babies, kids and mothers (not whilst driving thankfully). My Dad also allowed me to talk him into extending his usual route twice this week to take me to the garage. Chaz is now on the look out for a replacement vehicle, however, I know I'll never have a true replacement. No matter where my motoring life takes me in the future I shall always remember my Clio. Maybe I should take heed to the words of Winston Churchill:
“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Or Tom Baker:
"It is the end, but the moment has been prepared for" (after which he was replaced by a far lesser model).

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A matter of timing

Driving along the East Kilbride expressway yesterday at 65 miles an hour the wee clio started making a strange noise and then it's engine suddenly stopped working. Lights blinked up infront of me and the speed began to fall. I was certain this wasn't right. Fortunately we were just approaching the High Blantyre turn off so I managed to coast the car off the busy A725 all the way down the hill, straight through the T-junction and into the layby opposite. Being unused to these kind of engine malfunctions in my car but having seen plenty of them in acquaintance's old cars I had hald a dreaded suspicion of what had occured. Sure enough, when the toe truck turned up, the mechanic immediately identified the problem. A bust timing belt. Possibly the worst thing to go in an engine - so it looks like it's the bus for me this week and a possible fond farewell to the wee clio. You never know there may be some kind of miracle and the damage may not be that bad but timing belt malfunctions are not known for their kindness on the wallet and it may spell the end for the eleven year old clio. Will hopefully find out in the next few days...
So it was the bus, tonight, to take us to the McGarva household for a brilliant sunday dinner from Ka's mum where many questions were raised watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang such as should the Baroness not have died after her fall to the water from the height she was at after her dress was shot by the Baron? Or where did the Baron learn to shoot like that? Personally I reckon it was from his time under the persona of Goldfinger, but that's a different story. Also, how annoying were the kids in that film? No wonder they were caged up by that Child Catcher (Bet you that's what Russell Brand will look like in 40 years time). Relying on public transport again is a real pain though. We went out to get our bus home and the bus driver ignored us and our stop. Refusing to be ignored Ka and myself ran after him though and after he got a lucky red light we got him at the next stop. Arguing with bus drivers is my favourite past time (not really - but they make me do it) but tonight I just could not be bothered, flicking my ticket in his general direction and taking my seat. Bus drivers are generally very poor, certainly in this Glasgow area. They are always rude, grumpy, stupid (half of them don't know the areas they drive through) and give the impression they have a major gripe with the world and anyone that wishes to use their smelly, slow, creaking vehicle. You try to be polite to them, they growl back. You ask a question such as how much to... they growl back. You accuse them of missing the stop you'd just been standing at and the swear and shout at you. This has given me the impression that generally bus drivers are mostly unpleasant people but, unfortunately for me, they are my taxi service for, at least, the next few days. Unless I phone an actual taxi, but they're just silly money. Some of the folk in work may help me out (fingers crossed) - I may have to pull in a few favours! Please Clio, don't die! If only Caractacus Potts were here.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Colin for teachers

Went to the new bar/restaurant in East Kilbride on Wednesday night called The Byre. Nice interior, nice layout but zilch atmosphere unfortunately. It is early days yet though, maybe once people start actually going things will change. Chaz, Colin and myself sat down to a pint infront of one of the large flat screen televisions dotted throughout the large open bar. At first the Liverpool match was on but after an hour or so we realised this had changed to considerably dodgy music videos involving scantily dressed women rolling about in mud and which soon descended into blatant soft core porn. We couldn't help wondering in what way this new pub was trying to appeal to the family orientated leisure and dining market. Once the teen bar staff eventually cottoned on to what was being viewed on all their tv screens they hurriedly turned it over to the Smash Hits channel giving us music videos from the likes of Robbie and Justin. Our meeting was a farewell and congrats to Colin as he was leaving for Warrington again having completed his teacher training. He's been very busy of late, buried under his books, jotters and dissertations so it was good to catch up and wish him well with a lot of moaning about women, talking of the 'old days' and basically putting the world to rights again (as blokes do when they're out with 'the lads'). This is why it's always healthy to have a 'lads' night. There's far more jobs, teaching jobs specifically, down south for Colin which is why he's heading off again. Often thought about teaching as a career myself but have always coincidentally managed to gain employment elsewhere. I'm just not sure whether I'd have the patience for dealing with secondary school pupils. It may still happen though, who knows. The first time I muted the idea I actually sent in an application (too late, as it turned out) only to be immediately shouted at from my Uncle Tom who completely advised me against it. What does he do for a living? He teaches.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Dire states

Does anyone still care about the whole presidential election in America? How much longer must it go on for? Along with the seemingly repeated news flashes of how global shares are in dire states, the panic on Wall Street and how our country is suffering as a result with banks, building societies and airlines slumping or closing all we hear about is moaning and fear mongering from the press about who is running what country. If it's not about Barack Obama and John McCain over the pond, it's about Gordon Brown and what a disaster he is making of his first year in office as PM. Give us a break and give it a rest. Let these guys do their jobs and get on with it. What can we British possibly do about any American elections (Obama! Obama! Obama!) and what is the deal with everyone attacking Brown? Is he solely responsible for the state of the financial market in the UK at the moment? Of course not! I almost wish they'd go back to the latest on Amy Winehouse, where she's been, what she's been doing and what she had for dinner last night. No, in fact, maybe it's not quite that bad yet... As my Aunt Ann said to me last week, the UK has seen a lot worse financial times (thanks to the Tories mostly) and probably will again. This ain't the worst of it. We still may have another year to go, at least.