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...).

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A trip to Brussels

Well, Brussels. What can I say? What a great weekend. Plenty of booze and plenty of food in a great city. I've only now just about recovered. Dad, Kenny, Colin McG, and myself headed over on the plane meeting up with Jim and James on the Friday evening who tackled the Belgian traffic to be there on road. Colin Main then met up with us on the Saturday afternoon,jumping off the Eurostar, after much wandering around the main train station, which then made a motley crew of seven.

Greatly impressed by the city and it's people, I found the city folk all generally, very friendly towards us roaming Scots but that was probably something to do with the fact that most of the locals we did converse with were all after our money being bartenders, waiters and ladies of the night (only kidding with the last one!). The only grumpy folk we met were the rude female hotelier, who would have easily got a job at Fawlty Towers, and the tramp in the underground hurling abuse at the passers by (but all cities have one of those anyway don't they?). The Delerium cafe was a must for any visitor to Brussels with it's vast bar of supposed 2000 different beers. Perfect for a stag trip but not sure how many we tried of the list of 2000. We did see plenty of the town, hitting a few pubs in the European sector on the Friday night up beside the new Pariliament buildings. On our travels the following days we done plenty of walking through the famous medieval town square of Grand Place which houses the gothic town hall, old guild houses and market areas. Although we did not manage to see the statue of the peeing boy, Brussels' own kind of mascot named Manneken Pis, we did see the female version, the Jeanneke-Pis, a statue of a peeing girl. The only reason we found this was probably due to the fact she was sitting outside the Delerium Cafe surrounded by gawking or offended tourists.
So after another late night on the Sunday we all headed home on our respective routes with cloudy heads but entertaining memories of our time in the Belgian capital. A capital definately worth a future visit.

Monday, 8 June 2009

DIY and a Brussels spout

Mum is getting her new carpet delivered today for the new extension to their house. A whole new room, that not six months ago, was the smelly old garage, which housed everything but a car. Now walking from the same kitchen entrance you walk into a bright, airy, well painted room, with a skylight and cupboards, more than suitable of being a new living area. I say well painted because I have been helping out over the past two weekends with a bit of matt and a splash of gloss. Dad has done most of the work, of course, but has slightly overrun Mum's ridiculous 'deadline' of 6th June. He has done extremely well to turn it around in such a short time. Mum is tansforming it into a dining room so it should all look pretty stunning when finished.
While I was painting on Saturday, Ka was working at the Early Learing Unit's 10 year anniversary fair. Her nursery had a fun day to celebrate their birthday, putting on games, raffles and all the others shenanigans that go with such an event. Ka bought a fiver's worth of raffle tickets and brought home a candle that looks like a turnip(she disagrees but I say differently). Later, on the Saturday, Ka had been at her second hen doo which turned out to be a Take That tribute night in the nearby Holiday Inn followed by a trip to the local, newly opened, Downtown. A club in the local town centre which Chaz described a couple of weeks back as 'Deperate Houswives material'. Thankfully the only man Ka brought home was small, at around two foot tall, plastic and full of air. He had the words 'Ma Michael' scrawled over his six pack torso. Excluding the fact he had a bit of a Robbie Williams look about him he was pretty similar to me (I would say because of the six pack but I'm sure Ka would insist it more to do with the fact he was full of hot air).
Three more days of work this week, then it's a thursday off and the small matter of a stag trip to Brussels on Friday. Still have not done any homework on the place. Whenever I've booked to travel somewhere I tend to try and find out a bit about a place, but I've just not had the chance with Brussels. What I do know consists of five main points. The city has a large medieval town square, it has many pubs, there's a big silver monument with silver balls, Tin Tin comes from there and there's a bronze statue of a pissing boy in a fountain somewhere. It's also famous for it's waffles and the brussel sprout apparently originated there. Who would have thought? Christmas dinners all over the world would never have been the same if it had not been for the Belgian capital. I'd better do some googling and educate myself. Kenny, my brother and best man, assures me there'll be no need for any homework as there will be no museum visiting or art gallery viewing. We'll see.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A long wander in the sun

Have been enjoying the sunshine for the past few days with plenty of walking and burning. On Saturday I took a wander into town and began the wander with a quick browse through the CCA's Book Fair which turned out to be fairly unimpressive, and probably quite rightly so as the sun beamed in through the shop's large front windows burning the front room up. Most of the books and magazines littering the display tables bending and curving into weird and wonderful shapes in the freak Scottish heat. Following this I took a wander up the hill to the Glasgow School of Art and found myself walking down Renfrew Street, in front of the Mackintosh building for possibly the first time in a long time. The eastern end of the Mackintosh building has recently undergone some refurbishment. there is now a spacious shop and Mackintosh furniture museum where there used to be student classrooms and an art store. These changes have been carried out to bring it more in line with the original designs for that end of the building presumably this is not only to celebrate the building's centenary but also to cash in a little more on the Mackintosh name, giving the tourists more of a reason to visit the school building. Perhaps all part of a masterplan to earn the School more dough, something which was very much lacking when I studied there at the end of the nineties. Standing in one section of the new shop is a brilliant 1.60 scale model of the Mackintosh building designed and built by Brian Gallagher of B.G. Models. It even had a miniature version of the Mackintosh weather vane - brilliant.
After my visit to my old haunting grounds I took a long walk down past the GFT and through the shops and before I knew it, it was 5.30pm. The streets were warm and busy with summer shoppers. The small, fenced off courtyards, restaurant and pub exteriors packed with afternoon diners and drinkers enjoying the Scottish summer weather. After waiting on a bus for thirty minutes, and successfully burning my forehead in the rays, the number 20 eventually sauntered up Stockwell Street, as if it too was feeling oppressed by the heat. As the bus chugged its way across the Gorbals Street bridge the Rangers fans started piling in, towards the city centre, scarves aloft and singing. A victorious crowd I assumed as they sang at the bus as it passed.
Sunday was spent painting Mum and Dad's new extension walls with more of the blazing sunshine pouring in through the large front window. We did take advantage of the sun later though with a few beers and a barbeque out in the back garden once the girls had returned from their hen trip to Newcastle. I picked up Mum, Ka and Lynsey Ann from Hamilton as Dad fired up the barbie, piling on the sausages and chicken for another invisible army that was apparently coming to dinner. The trip down to Geordie land all seemed to have been pretty successful. Apparently Ka even met a local squad of Stormtroopers?!