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.