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!