Saturday, December 29, 2007

Normal Service has been Resumed

Slowly the fingers of heat found their way through the cold frostbitten pipes. From the pipes the heat danced through the air replacing the cold with fabulous warmth, for so long missing from this poor house. Oh yes, many hoorays I now have a new boiler!!

The two chaps who came to fit said boiler could have been a double act although Laurel and Hardy they were not. More Good Cop, Bad Cop. In a display of stereotypical nonsense that you just could not make up we had a cheery happy bloke and a miserable bad tempered fellow. Cheery fellow would attempt any feat of plumbing or electrical bravery with a kindly smile and a pleasant word while bad tempered fellow just looked on in disgust. Attempts at pleasing the customer were far from his priority. Bad tempered fellow informed me with some pleasure that he could not fit the thermostat to my new boiler while cheery fellow managed the simple task without problems. Bad tempered fellow was not amused, but regained his bad tempered ground on telling me that I was going to have a large hole in the wall to fill. With glee he took me to the kitchen to show me the rather disturbing spectacle of daylight forced through a large rough hole in the wall. A hole large enough that a window could comfortably have fitted into its circumference. However, the hand, and Pollyfilla, of cheery fellow was in on this, as when I next looked the hole was miraculously filled in. If you hold a light object up to it there is a slight motion but I’m not going to let that worry me.

I had been told that all you need to do to ensure happy workmen is to offer them tea/coffee and lots of biscuits. This I attempted to do, but both workmen were not interested. Perhaps with some food and drink inside them things would have been very different.

My dad came over and we tried a new trick. He asked me to hold my head over the gas hob (on but not lit). This could be seen as a) Child Abuse or b) Testing to make sure that I could smell any potential gas leaks. I’m kind of hoping it was b). Scarily the upshot of it was that Cheery fellow could smell it but my dad and I couldn’t. Should I be worried?

Come the end of the day’s work and cheery fellow was dispatched to the van. I felt that things could now get difficult with my erstwhile saviour engaged removed from the house and currently lashing the ladder to the roof of the van. Bad tempered fellow probably felt the same way and he loaded his final bad tempered bullet, took aim and fired. All he needed was well over £1000 there and then, cash or cheque only. I looked at him and laughed. He didn’t return the laughter. I tried a smile but the effect was the same. Eventually I persuaded him that, as the invoice I had signed stated 30 days to pay (I had checked this before I signed) that that is just what would happen. He tried to tell me that the “30 days to pay” didn’t mean anything. “It’s just what we put on our invoices but you don’t really have 30 days to pay. We just get the money right away.” My dad came in at this point and laughed even more. Bad tempered man remained bad tempered. There was a moment (only a moment but it appeared to last) where we stared each other out wondering who would be the first to flinch, to back down, to capitulate. I actually wondered if he would attempt to dismantle the boiler. Fortunately he didn’t and we were able to negotiate. Reasoning with him that we simply did not have the money and therefore we would have to get the money together before he would see a penny of it seemed to do the trick. We did reassure him that we would get it to him soon but you can be sure that “soon” will be 30 days!!! He seemed to believe us on the subject of the speed of his receiving his money and left, still bad tempered. I wondered if, in fact, his bad temper is what his customers know and love him for and, probably come to expect from him. If he started being cheery would they not be a little disappointed? Added to this, what would cheery fellow do? Would he be forced to adopt the affectations of bad tempered fellow?

Once he was gone I moved through my newly warm house. It felt strange not to have to be moving large electric heaters about with me and thinking about where best to put then to gain the best heat advantage. A small part of me actually missed the security of the newly abandoned routine.

I sat down and sighed. Then, just because I could and they were there, I demolished all the uneaten biscuits.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

So it’s that time of the year again. Apparently Dustin Hoffman celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. That could either mean double the misery; visits from the dreaded in-laws or double the fun; loads more presents.

As for me I will be spending it very quietly; seeing a few friends and family. Whatever you are doing over Christmas, have a lovely time and I will see you all back here in 2008.

I hope you all have a merry and peaceful Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's A Bit Parky Round These Here Parts

It's short and sweet today. So far this week I have: Bought all my Christmas Presents and actually wrapped some of them - Hooray, Bought and posted all my cards - Again Hooray, Organised and sent invitations for my Hogmanay Party - Phew. However just as I was congratulating myself on my amazing organisational abilities my boiler broke down. It hasn't exactly stopped working; more it's making a noise that sounds as if it is channelling all the agonies of the world out into my kitchen - ie it is none too pleasant. To put it out of its misery I have now turned it off in the vain hope that I will find a heating engineer before the Christmas Holidays and, more importantly, before my Hogmanay Party. Should I contact my friends now and ask them to bring woolly jumpers?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cold Comfort

Slowly she inched towards me with a sharp implement in her hand. The damage she would inflict upon me would be cruel and terrifying.

My hairdresser had a cold and I would soon have a taste of the suffering she was experiencing.

The hairdressers I go to is not a state of the art affair with designer fittings and hairdressers with names like Anton and Marcus. Instead it’s a very small room filled with hairspray and mousse ready to fall from narrow counters and also doubles as a men’s barbers. A young boy was in the chair next to me in the barbers section eyed up his hairdresser with a deep suspicion.

With the usual pleasantaries over (ie “Are you doing anything nice tonight?” “No, are you?” “No” “Oh Well then”) she proceeded to tell me that she had a really wretched cold. A cold which, by her heroic attempts to struggle into work, I was now destined to catch. To give her her due she was able to tame the disaster zone which my hair had become but she also left the seeds of her virus in amongst the remaining follicles. This act of sharing complete, when next I touched my hair the cold time bomb would be released to choke my system.

My hair looked good but the timebomb duly went off. The sore throat started and I immediately took some Echinacea. Sadly this didn’t seem to have much effect but I took more just in case my cold would have been worse had I not taken any. Next I started to cough and tried some lockets. Strangely however, the coughing got worse the more lockets I took so I stopped that. By the time the runny nose started I know that the game was up and I might as well accept that I had a cold. Well, share and share alike I always say so I then took it into my own work and liberally spread it around.

I’m still snuffling. I wonder if I should go back to the hairdressers and give her it back?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Senior Ladies’ Social Committee

The Senior Ladies had decided that they must be seen to be doing something to encourage the youth of the local area. With this in mind they had devised a scheme involving a Youth Assembly, but not having any idea of what anyone under 40 actually enjoys doing, they had asked me to attend a meeting to offer some ideas.

The senior Senior Lady sat opposite me and eyed me with some suspicion and not a little fear for the future.

“If you could just give us some ideas we can take them away and work on them.” she said without any hint of a smile.

“Well, what about getting in the African Drummers. I’ve always fancied trying that out myself and I’m sure the youngsters would love them.”

Senior Senior Lady’s eyebrows arched away from her pearly blue eyeshadow as she pulled her lips in towards her teeth. “No, I’m not sure about drumming. Can you imagine the complaints about noise we would get. No, most definitely not.”

I wasn’t giving up that easily so I smiled sweetly and continued. “OK, well I’ve got a contact for a girl who does massage. That shouldn’t be too loud and I’m sure it would be enjoyable.”

“Oh no. That’s all that Reiki stuff isn’t it. That’s the invocation of evil spirits so we couldn’t have that.

At this point she may have heard the mini explosion as I attempted to stifle a laugh. “Erm I don’t think it’s got anything to do with evil spirits. I think its simply…”

“No dear, It’s just not what we were looking for”.

By this point the Youth Activities Section of my Mental Filing Cabinet was beginning to take on a rather sinister hue that I had never previously contemplated. “Well I do have a contact for a magician.”

By this point I could hear a few sharp intakes of breath. The more charitable amongst them were probably considering praying for my tainted soul. “A Magician!” Most certainly not. What have we just been saying about evil spirits?”

“But magic’s not evil. It’s just sleight of hand really.”

“Most certainly not. You really are not understanding our point. Look perhaps we will just leave our discussion of what we are going to do and think about how we are going to get sponsorship.

Now I should have been aware of the way the conversation was heading but the next words just seemed to slip out of my mouth without warning (It’ll be those pesky evil spirits I suppose).

“Well the Fox and Hounds has been good to us in the past.”

“THE PUB!” Oh my goodness well that certainly will not do. You don’t think that we would have anything to do with pubs do you. Oh dear oh dear.”

At this point my attempt to suppress my laughter was failing miserably and I felt that it was time to leave. To be fair I think that it was the only thing that we all agreed on all night.

“Oh all right I’ll admit it, I am in league with the Devil. Why don’t you just do crochet then. You’ll get a huge uptake of youngsters for that one”. *

*Of course I didn’t actually say this but the temptation was very strong.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

56 Things About Me

I had already written a blog for this week but the lovely Kelly has tagged me to write about 56 things about me. To be honest this seemed much more fun, so how could I refuse:-

8 things I'm passionate about:
1. My family. There’s not a lot of us so there’s more passion to go around.
2. All things Scottish. Honestly how could you not be.
3. Reading – Anything and everything, whether I understand it or not.
4. The weather. A warm sunny day (rare though they are) can lift your spirits and make the world seem a better place.
5. Cooking. I just love eating so why not?
6. Singing. I constantly sing very loudly all around the house. My next door neighbours recently moved out. Mmm I wonder why.
7. My friends. A regular friendship fix whether over the phone or over a meal or a drink is tremendously important.
8. Youth Work as I’ve said before.

8 things to do before I die:
1. Find a wonderful caring man to be with for the rest of my life. I can but hope.
2. See a bit more of the world. I should really have set foot on every continent but so far I’ve only seen Europe with a tiny toe dip in North Africa. I must get out more.
3. Own a chic city apartment and a country pile. (Again I can but hope).
4. Return to horse riding which I haven’t done since I was 16.
5. Plant a tree in honour of someone. I’m not sure who yet but it feels like it should be done.
6. Learn to say “No”. I must harden my heart the next time someone comes to me with sorrowful eyes asking for help which I just do not have the time to give them.
7. Despite the above, learn to be more tolerant and caring. This is sometimes hard when dealing with a bunch of teenagers but I must try to remember that their view of the world is different to mine.
8. Learn how to make the perfect loaf of bread.

8 things I often say:
1. I lie on a regular basis – ie – “No really the cake you made is delicious”
2. “I’m sorry my boss didn’t call you back. No, it’s not that he didn’t want to talk to you, it’s just that he had to go into an urgent meeting and it will probably not finish now until the end of the day.”
3. “Yes, no problem. When do you need it done by?” Please see item 6 above.
4. “Have you seen the weather forecast for today?” I am a little obsessed.
5. “I’m sure that these recipes off the internet are fine to use”.
Followed by
6. “I haven’t a clue why it didn’t work out.”
7. “Good Morning” at work when it is really the afternoon and vice versa.
8. “Let me spell that for you”. I have a rather complicated second name which no one ever spells right.

8 books I've read recently:
1. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler – A whole lot of fun but a bit confusing at times.
2. The Amateur Marriage – Anne Tyler – Sad but very true.
3. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan – A fantastic build up of tension.
4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon – I absolutely loved this book and the wonderful characters although it did take me 7 weeks to read!
5. Happiness – Will Ferguson – Very funny and thought provoking.
6. Wonder Boys – Michael Chabon – Probably the funniest fiction book I have read in a long time.
7. Absolute Friends – John Le Carre. Again, I enjoyed this but struggled to follow all that was going on.
8. Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin. A bit of harmless fun.

I am slightly worried by the preponderance of American authors here. Pass me another John Le Carre will you.

8 songs I could listen to over and over:
1. Super Trouper - Abba – OK Glasgow comes into it but I would still love it anyway. This is by far and away my most favourite Abba track and to be honest I love them all.
2. Moonlight Shadow – Mike Oldfield. I know – weird and depressing but I love it.
3. One Night in Bangkok – Michael Head (From Chess). Again I can’t explain why but I still remember the moment my friend introduced me to this song in a small draughty study bedroom and it just blew me away.
4. Anything on the eponymous, hugely underrated album by a band called Silversun back in 1997. Whatever happened to them?
5. Ditto the above for a band called The Blessing from 1991.
4. Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
5. Goddess on a Hiway – Mercury Rev – I used to be able to play this on the guitar.
6. Orinoco Flow – Enya
7. Nkosi Sikele
8. Cannonball – the Breeders – I mean really how good???

8 qualities I look for in a best friend:
1. A sense of humour and a willingness to appreciate mine!
2. The ability to remain close even when we haven’t seen each other for weeks.
3. The ability to see the good in people
4. Optimism
5. The offering of encouragement when needed.
6. Patience
7. Someone who always returns things lent to them and in the same condition in which they were first lent.
8. Someone who respects you and all your quirky idiosyncrasies without a bad word.

Well that was fun. However I’m not going to pass this on to anyone in particular but if anyone is interested in taking up the challenge please do and I will enjoy reading about you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Blogging Story

Kelly has memed me to find out why I blog.

It started with a book. “Where Did It All Go Right by Andrew Collins. It’s a very funny, warm account of growing up in the 70’s however there was something else about that book which was to lead me to the world of blogging. On the front inside page was a website address ( and I was intrigued. Following the link (as I believe is the correct terminology) I found a whole website devoted to the book and further investigation uncovered the blog.

Discussions ranged (and in many occasions raged) from birdwatching to homeopathic remedies to 9/11 conspiracy theories all in the space of a couple of weeks. I was fascinated and began to experience the first flutterings of envy. In the best tradition of a small school child I wanted one of these toys too. Of course, not being technologically minded I hadn’t the slightest idea of how to get one. And to be perfectly honest I’m still not too sure how I got one. One day I clicked on a button which brought me to a menu. I followed the instructions and “hey presto” I had a blog of my own. Now, due consideration had to be taken with what to fill it with.

My first post was about Breadmaking. Not perhaps the most exciting subject but perhaps I hadn’t yet grasped blogging conventions. It would appear that most blogs are either controversial or funny. Sadly I fear I don’t really know enough to be controversial (I could quite easily confuse Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama and then there would be trouble) so I thought I would go down the humour route. Humour never hurt anyone apart from the man squashed by a sixteen stone comedian.

It may have been around this time that I started considering my fellow bloggers. If you post a blog and no one reads it, did it really exist in the first place? In the course of my travels in blogland I found a number of other blogs which I found to be funny, warm, amusing and lots of other lovely words. It’s wonderful to be able to visit all those other bloggers and read snippets of their lives – all in so many ways so different from my own. I visited and these kind people visited my blogs back. Now my blog posts really existed and it was, and still is a lovely feeling.

I blogged regularly (at least twice a week) until this summer when I lost one job but gained roughly three others in its place (including the one I lost but that’s a whole books worth of a story). As a result I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like. I now have a routine of one blog post and visits to other blogs a week and if things change I might be able to come on more frequently again. I do miss it when I’m away and love the feeling now of sitting typing a load of daft words onto a page and knowing that someone out there will read them and hopefully put a comment into my comment box. And that my friends is why I still keep coming back for more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It’s Only a Victoria Sponge

It was a Monday night and at the Youth Group we were attempting to make a Victoria Sponge. Not an onerous task you might think and not worthy of starting World War III over. Sadly ten teenagers begged to differ.

The trouble started almost at once when they decided that they would rather make Chocolate Cake. I tried to reason with them that the Victoria Sponge decision had been taken with their full support many weeks ago. “I wasn’t there that day” one whined “P. must have made that decision. Why does she always get her own way? It’s just so unfair.”

“Because life’s unfair.” I almost spat but then stopped myself. “We only have ingredients for Victoria Sponge and if you are going to keep on arguing you may as well all go home because I don’t have the patience for it.” was what I actually said. At this there were a few nervous laughs as they hoped that I was only joking. I assured them that I was not joking and, after some persuasion they finally helped in the cake making effort. When I say helped, I have never seen eggs broken and added to the mixture through a small hole in the bottom of the shell and have also never seen such a lacklustre effort made to cream a mixture. All this went on under the malevolent glare of a few of the girls, still unhappy, standing at the door of the kitchen with their arms crossed defiantly. If they were hoping to see some sorrow in my face they were disappointed.

Soon the cake was ready for the oven and in it went, with cries of “It doesn’t look right”. “You’ve ruined it.” and many more I have erased from my memory.

Despite all the valiant hopes of the youngsters that the Victoria Sponge that was not a Chocolate Cake would be ruined thereby giving them some small measure of vindication, it popped out of the oven 20 minutes later no less than perfect. You might think that that would be the end of our woes, but sadly it was not to be.

The traditional method of filling and topping of a Victoria Sponge is jam in the middle and icing sugar on top. Generations will testify to the unblemished nature of this method and the exquisite taste therein. However, for the sake of my teenagers I was prepared to use whatever filling and topping they desired. Somewhat naively I considered this to be a good ploy. Of course I didn’t count on the fact that 10 teenage girls are not readily going to come to a unanimous decision. Not knowing the meaning of the word unanimous probably also doesn’t help.

“We can fill it with jam” I started “ but I’ve also got skooshy cream and chocolate spread so we….”

“Eurgh it’s not Nutella” said one “I’m not eating that.”

“OK, I’ll put it away so what will we do then?”

“We should use jam” said another starting to enthusiastically dump dollops of jam all over the cake and spread it in.

“That’s not fair” a small voice wailed “I’m allergic to jam and she always gets what she wants and I never do”.

This may of course have been “It’s just so unfair” from earlier on but I forget.

“But it’s got to be jam” said the enthusiastic spreader of the sticky stuff.

“Well I don’t like it, and I also don’t like Chocolate spread or cream so that means I can’t have any. It’s just (you will now be able to fill in the blanks).

Her cries were then taken up by all ten girls each arguing with one another about what should or should not go on the cake and the reasons for each thing meaning the ruination of the cake for each individual. Eventually I cut through their cries, but not with the jammy knife because that would just have been messy.

“Right, that’s enough” I said. “I’ve had it up to here with you lot. I’m going to take the cake into work tomorrow and give it to people who will appreciate it since you certainly don’t. Out of my way”. As I bore down on the cake the opinions of the girls remarkably gelled as one as if exposed to extra strong jam making pectin.

“OK” they said, and I could see real fear in their eyes “we’ll eat it ourselves”. At that all thoughts of allergies and personal dislikes were miraculously lost and the cake was reduced to a few paltry crumbs in less than five minutes. It was a truly remarkable transformation.

After that they went home and I thank singledom that I don’t have to take one home myself.

The best quote of the night came at the end from one of the girls in the older group who had been watching their antics and stuck her head round the door as they were leaving and said “You guys suck”!

On the basis of Monday night’s performance I was very inclined to agree.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pulling Teeth

The phone call came early in the morning, at the point at which I had arrived at work but long before I had officially woken up. “This is your Dentist’s surgery” snapped the voice at the end of the line. “Are you aware that you haven’t been in to see us since APRIL?” The word April was exaggerated to give the impression of the committing of some heinous crime. “We don’t exactly FORCE our patients to come into the surgery but when we haven’t seen you for such a LONG TIME we do feel the need to contact you.”

As you can imagine the idea of visiting the dentist is not exactly one of those things which I excitedly mark in the diary and then count the days down to with a heightening sense of eager anticipation. The last time an appointment had been made for me I had managed to get out of it by having to go to a meeting at work. After sending them a letter explaining how sorry I was I just stopped contacting them and hoped that they would forget about me. Little did I know that the receptionist had a detection system second only to that of an over enthusiastic bloodhound. For all I know she had been trailing me for months, waiting for just the right moment to pounce.

I’m not actually very strong willed in the face of such administrative authority and mumbled that yes, I would take the next available appointment.

“Ah but that’s not good enough” she said, with what I’m sure was a note of satisfaction in her voice.
“You have been away so long now that you will need TWO appointments”. “One for a check up and one for a scale and polish.”
“What’s a scale and polish” I said feeling like a car about to face an MOT.
She didn’t give me a definitive answer apart from saying ominously “The dentist wouldn’t suggest one if he didn’t think you needed one”.

By now, feeling utterly press ganged and not even receiving a king’s shilling to show for it, I asked her to suggest a date.

“Well, by this stage there’s no free dates until January, but we SHOULD be able to fit you in then”. she said with a sigh which appeared to indicate that there being no free dates until January was in some way my fault.

The date made, she rang off, in order to harass some other poor individual who also was under the false apprehension that he had thrown the dentist off his scent.

Shaken, I resumed my work and to prove how out of sorts I was, proceeded to ask a colleague who lives in Glasgow if she needed travel and accommodation organised in order to attend a training course in (yes, you’ve guessed it) Glasgow.

I think I need a holiday!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Not Mountain Biking

Obviously I’m devastated. Due to the likelihood of inclement weather and the fact that many of our number were not very well, our bike ride was cancelled. All I can say is that, as of this moment, I would much rather be sitting here in my nice warm house than struggling through the countryside while others much fitter than me purposefully cycled on ahead.

The text message to inform me of the lifting of the terror which has been hanging over my head for well over a week now came last night as a friend and I left the cinema after seeing Ratatouille. The film was OK and I felt for the rat as he juggled multiple jobs for many and varied bosses. Let us just say that I can relate all too well too the joy of multitasking with a wide variety of hats, although none of them, as yet, is that of a chef. I suppose however, that that might come one of those days.

Glasgow last night was filled with hundreds of kilted chaps and chapesses celebrating the result of some football match which apparently we had won. I had to ask because I just don’t have a clue about such things. I was accompanied on the train journey home by a vast number of fans – all very drunk but very happy nonetheless. As I sat down in my seat I put my foot in what I can only hope was tomato ketchup. On getting up to leave the train I slid in this gloop and sailed down the aisle to the bemusement of the befuddled supporters. It was only through sheer luck or perhaps my relative sobriety that I did not land on one of them. I suppose it might have made for a more interesting end to the evening.

I have only just switched my mobile phone back on. My theory being that if, by some strange twist of fate, the cycle ride was back on, I would not have known about it. I believe that there is talk of it being postponed to another date. You can be assured that on the appointed date, I will have a prior engagement.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Loneliness of The Long Distance Mountain Biker.

One might ask what a supposedly responsible PA in high heels was doing riding a muddy mountain bike around a dingy garage. One might even wonder why she was pulled out of a high level meeting in order to do so. It’s a dark tale of cruelty and despair – or at least it will be come Sunday!

A couple of weeks ago we were, at work, invited (if that is the correct term) to take part in a sponsored cycle. Not wanting to appear uncharitable I feigned interest. This was of course a mistake as this pseudo interest was immediately snatched upon in the manner of a door-to-door seller persuading you to buy something you neither need nor want. I was, in a word, sucked in to taking part in an activity which now fills me with much fear and dread. On Sunday I will be expected to cycle for 26 miles and then “we might catch the train back home or depending how we are feeling we might just cycle back”. Can I just say here and now that when I agreed to this, the exact number of miles was cruelly kept from me. A couple of miles I could have coped with. 26 of them is an entirely different journey of fear. Abject terror would now be an understatement.

Back to the mountain bike. In a futile attempt to get out of this horror, I stated that I didn’t have a bike. In actual fact I do, but it is currently slowly decomposing in my parents’ garage so I would imagine that in its present state it would be somewhat inoperable. It may not even resemble a bike anymore. Sadly this lame attempt at an excuse held little truck with the organisers of the event and an alternative bike was procured. This bike (the aforementioned muddy mountain bike) was ceremoniously rushed to the garage underneath my office. The important meeting I was attending at the time was stopped in order that I could go out and check that the bike and I were compatible.

I tentatively descended to meet my fate in the basement. The bike leaned nonchalantly against the wall and silently laughed at my unsuitability for riding it in full suit and high heels. I swung a rather stiff leg over the bar straining to keep my shoes on my feet and started pedalling. As I wobbled all over the garage I wondered how long ago it was that I had actually ridden a bike. Ten years might be a possible count. You know what they say about never forgetting how to ride a bike – it may have been a lie – especially in my case. Eventually I seemed to be able to make it go and more importantly make it go straight. My high heels rattled about the pedals in a most ungainly way and threatened to either get jammed in the pedals or fall onto the floor. That’s when I bashed my knee against the very low handle bar. “Aha” I thought. A last ditch opportunity for forgoing the bike ride presented itself and was immediately dashed as someone fetched a handy allan key and righted the problem. He tried very hard not to laugh.

The day of doom draws closer and the fear I am feeling is rapidly accelerating in a manner which I am unlikely ever to attain on the bike itself. All the known excuses are gone and no more will be accepted. It’s down to me and the bike and I think I know who will come out on top.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fresh Faces and Sticky Paws

Sometimes I just love the synchronicity. I’m working at the moment with two quite different groups of girls within our Youth Group, I’m doing Cookery and, oh joy, they both want to do something involving chicken. This makes my job very much easier when negotiating the aisles at Asda. If these girls had any inkling whatsoever that they had caused my life to be made easier they would at once have changed their minds so I won’t be letting on any time soon.

I have been working in and around Youth Groups since I officially ended my tenure as a youth myself. In my local community there has always been a strong emphasis on promoting activities for teenagers so the natural progression for me was to work as a youth group leader as soon as I was old enough. I have put on plays with youth drama groups, made the most delicious messes in numerous kitchens, eaten myself silly at sleepovers and taken trips to places like Alton Towers. How else could an adult do these things without fear of ridicule.

Of course this is not the only reason that I do it. There are of course some people who would beg to differ but I feel that it is vitally important to support and help the youth of any community. Kids these days (as at any time) face enormous challenges, whether it be something such as their best friend falling out with them or problems with parents. To have someone other than a parent or a teacher who they feel that they can talk to or who simply takes an interest in them can make all the difference.

I admit that sometimes all the good feelings can be forgotten when you have a group of 20 screaming teenagers in a room who cannot master the correct dance moves for the show taking place next week. However the mere fact that they come back week after week gives me some confidence that we must be doing something right and that one day they may look back and admit that they had fun.

And that, my friends, is a brief resume of the life of a Youth Group Worker. If you have any specific questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them. I think as a last word I would add that, if nothing else, it keeps you young.

P.S. Apologies for the lack of regular blogging in these parts. I am now working for my current boss, my previous boss and doing quite a bit of preparation work for the youth group. It makes life interesting but time melt away. I will try and keep up the blogging but it may be a little less frequent for a while.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bananas, Bats and Boats

Perhaps it was a last ditch attempt to make up for the rotten summer. Whatever the reason, despite being encircled by a number of threatening clouds, the sun shone all day today. Why the sun couldn’t have fought off the advances of the clouds any other day this summer is quite beyond me but there you have it. The glorious sunshine and a slight wind made it a perfect day for a walk.

The walking group had decided to drive up to Balmaha and walk round a part of Loch Lomond (also a part of the West Highland Way.) It would be a gross understatement to say that the scenery is magnificent. When the sun sends brilliant rays of white light through the water and that water is surrounded by lush woodland which draws the eye up dramatic mountainsides, the sight is awe inspiring and nothing less. I do hope that you will permit me a little bias here, but I truly believe that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world – especially when the sun is shining.

We set off along the waters edge where little yachts with brown sails were already starting their passages across the loch. We pondered on the reason for the brown sails, could find none, and moved on. We passed some fishermen on the hunt for trout and salmon and watched with some disgust as they scooped out their worms which wriggled and crawled all over their grimy hands. On entering the woods we heard strange shouts which we variously attributed to the spirits of the forests or neds having a drinking session. It was then that we spied the three jogging bananas.

I have seen many strange sights but none quite as strange as three grown men dressed in banana suits approaching along a forest track. It turned out that they were running for charity. Quite why running for charity justifies the wearing of a banana suit I will never know, but it made our walk that bit more interesting I can tell you.

At one point the woodland path had become so eroded that we had to continue our walk on the beach. Bemused families making sandcastles with their children watched as we strode past them in walking boots with rucksacks on our backs.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, thinking that it is time to get up? It would appear that bats are just as susceptible to body clock dysfunction as we can be. Just as we were nearing the end of our walk we noticed what looked like either large moths or small birds darting over the path. On realising that they were bats and it was daylight; we can only assume that they had been rudely awakened from their slumber – perhaps by the banana joggers although we will never know.

At the end of our walk we did the sensible thing and repaired to the pub for a well deserved rest after all the strenuous exercise we had just undertaken. However, when working out just how hard and strenuous that exercise had been we discovered that we had been walking an average of 1.5 miles an hour. So not that strenuous then? Perhaps not, but just the kind of walking group that I am quite happy to remain a member of.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Plan B

As a result of the rain on Saturday it was with regret (who am I trying to kid) that Plan B was put into operation. Perhaps Plan B should have concerned itself with maintaining the commitment to some sort of fitness but sadly it did not. In fact we ended up with “A Play, A Pie and a Pint”.

The aforementioned Play, Pie and Pint is an excellent idea offered by Oran Mor on the corner of Byers Road and Great Western Road in Glasgow. It does what it says on the tin and for £10.00 of your British Money you get a drink, a pie (it literally is just a small pie on a small plate, but we managed to get two of them each) and a play.

The play in question concerned your average female with two men in her lives; a cross dresser and a chap with a drink and anger management problem. Of course she chose the cross dresser over the charming other fellow (well you would wouldn’t you?).

After the play and after rescuing my very badly parked (ie abandoned) car we decided to have a wander along Byers Road.

There are a number of very good second hand shops in Byers Road and taking me anywhere near them is a very bad idea indeed, for my friends in any case. At a good 50 paces I can already smell the gloriously musty books, authentic vintage clothing and other assorted nick nacks. By the time I’m in the door I’m drooling and counting my available cash. And that cash was spent liberally in a fair selection of Aladdin’s Caves full of bright colours, interesting smells and mystery. Well, they were “bargains” after all.

We ended our day in Thornton’s where we shamelessly ate ice cream despite the fact that it was pouring with freezing rain and summer had given up trying to perform its intended task and gone home.

So that was our day out in the name of Plan B. A pretty good Plan B by my reckoning. I’m supposed to be going on a hike on Saturday, so, if it’s raining I’ll meet you in Byres Road for Plan B – The Sequel.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Saved by the Hail

For once it would appear that the vagaries of British weather will save me tomorrow from the agony of physical exertion. It had been suggested by friends much fitter than I that tomorrow we would go cycling. For fit people this might consist of a jolly day freewheeling up hill and down dale, but for me it would tend to offer the prospect of hoisting myself in a rather ungainly manner into the saddle and puffing and panting up steep hills with every muscle in my body protesting at my lack of training. When I looked at the weather forecast in the middle of the week it showed glorious sunshine for Saturday, making my heart sink every so slightly and my muscles tremble in fearful anticipation. Everything however changed today. As so often happens, despite the fact that we are at present bathed in glorious sunshine, the forecast for tomorrow has changed from a sunshine symbol to one depicting a cloud and three drops of rain. There will of course be many more than three drops of rain but there is only so much space available on a weather symbol.

In the event of rain, Plan B will be put into operation. I have to admit that Plan B has not actually been planned but here’s hoping that it will involve as little physical activity as possible.

I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Do Teenagers Ever Sleep?

It was my pleasant duty at the weekend to accompany 38 teenagers to Alton Towers. We left at 3 in the morning and returned at 12 Midnight the same day (but only just!) and not once did several of them actually sleep. Where do they get their energy? They just kept going and going.

We may have been a formidable sight on entering Alton Towers. Two of the boys wore kilts and most of the others had painted Scottish Saltires on their faces. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I have to admit that I am an absolute wuss and the closest I got to going on a ride was going on the cable car from one end of the park to the other just so I could say that I had been on a ride (of sorts) at Alton Towers.

I did however conquer my fear of Oblivion. Oh yes; I managed to stand beside it as squealing adults and teens hurtled to their doom. That was scary enough so there was no way I was actually going on the thing itself.

Myself and the other leaders spent the day on a restaurant crawl and it’s best that I don’t think of the calories I must have consumed on the day. Perhaps calories don’t count on crossing the Scottish Border. It would be nice to think so.

The homeward journey again echoed that of the outward one, with 38 teenagers all screaming and shouting when they should have been sleeping. Someone had won a giant red dinosaur and the bus driver was none too happy at midnight when all the stuffing came out and went all over his bus. The dinosaur was last seen adorning our village roundabout.

It was on getting home that I got my first real fright of the day. I was confronted by a massive spider. It was so big that, had I managed to catch it, I could have kept it as a pet. I chased it round the room to no avail. I was only going to safely catch it in my spider catcher and deposit it out of the window but I assume that it thought that I was about to mercilessly kill it. It shot round the room and eventually found sanctuary underneath my bookcase. I decided to leave it there as I knew that the only way in which it would prove lethal to me was if I tried to move the bookcase, with the result that it came crashing down on top of me.

I finally collapsed into bed sometime after midnight and was dead to the world for more hours than would normally be necessary. As for the spider, I’m sure it is still crawling about the house somewhere waiting to pop out when I least expect it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Scratching at the Surface

You may remember a blog post of a few weeks ago dealing with mysterious goings on in my street. I felt under an obligation to uncover what I felt was the murky truth of the matter, for research purposes only of course. Sadly I didn’t uncover the truth of that particular matter but in attempting to do so, I unwittingly stumbled upon a much bigger and altogether darker story.

Picture the scene if you will. A young teenager full of the joyful anticipation of young love gets a nasty wake up call when she discovers that her beloved is seeing someone else. Obviously she is distraught and keen to find out who the “other woman” is. Imagine her horror on discovering that the “other woman” was in fact her own mother. They say that “blood is thicker than water”, but so enraged was the teenager in question that spilling blood was in the forefront of her mind.

One day while her mother was gardening the girl saw her chance. Finding some handy garden twine (they don’t tell you in the shop but I believe it’s pretty good for this kind of thing) she attempted to strangle her mother. In the words of my 16 year old informant she “strangled her TO THE GROUND!” Quite why to the ground should be any more lethal than any other kind of strangulation I’m not sure but our 16 year old friend seemed to feel that it was. *

Happily (for the mother anyway we can assume) the strangulation itself was not lethal, the mother survived and the young man in question is now seeing neither the young strangler nor her mother (wise chap).

So you see, you may think that you live in a very quiet and unassuming street but to quote one Charlie Rich “no one knows what goes on behind closed doors”.

*To be honest there is just the outside chance that young J. has made up the whole thing but I hope not.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ain’t No Fun When You Gotta Run

It was my painful duty yesterday to embark on a “Fun Run”. Now, in my experience the words Fun and Run are a contradiction in terms. I can see no fun at all in running and to be honest no necessity to do so. For me, the only possible use for running would be in any instance where one was unlucky enough to find oneself chased by a lion or a tiger, not common occurrences in this part of the world and still not an experience that could ever be classed under the term “fun”.

Anyway, on the basis that it was for charity and that it was only 5K I reluctantly said that I would have a go. However between my offering to take part and the actual day I had hatched a cunning plan.

I am a member of a walking group. To say a walking group perhaps gives the impression that we manfully (and womanfully) stride up Munros and the like every Saturday barely breaking sweat in the process. This is however an outrageous fallacy. In fact we amble rather idly through the least hilly paths we can find. As you can imagine in Scotland that takes a huge amount of research and preparation so it is no mean feat in itself.

Therefore it was decided that the members of the walking group would, merely by dint of being in the walking group, not be required to run. Instead we would turn up on the day and proceed to walk with no fear of humiliation or retribution.

We turned up at the allotted time and were given our numbers. Ominously mine was 13 which is never a good sign. I had expected a good number of the walking group to turn up to support our quest for a run free fun run, but in the event only another two turned up. Nonetheless it was walking we were doing and we strode out as the runners (after having gone through a very serious looking limbering up session) streamed past us. Our striding soon became our usual amble and pretty soon we were chatting and not really too worried about what time we would come in at.

Due to the cyclical nature of the design of the course (to try to maximise our embarrassment perhaps) we had only just set out when the first runners passed us on the way back. It couldn’t be said that they looked like they were enjoying themselves so we took some comfort from that.

Eventually we returned back to the start after a very pleasant stroll. By the time we got back to the start (5K in 1 ½ hours which I thought was a splendid time) the award ceremony was over and the organisers had given up and gone home. Sadly we didn’t get a medal or any plaudits for our achievement but equally we had not had to go through any of the agony. We might even be persuaded to do 10K next time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Going Down to Liverpool

We arrived at the Speke Marriot Hotel in Liverpool on Friday night to be met by a dazzling display of slightly over the top Art Deco. Blues clashed with golds swirling up spiral staircases to meet dazzling light fittings illuminating the whole sorry affair. I would advise you not to visit after taking any hallucinogenic drugs.

The hotel used to be an airport before it became John Lennon Airport and got a fancy new building. In the bedrooms we are treated to Aromatherapy everything including an Aromatherapy shower cap and sewing kit. I’m still trying to work out how a shower cap and sewing kit can be infused with aromatherapy oils. On going down for dinner I was asked by the manager if we were with the Saga Party. I feigned a little more disgust than I actually felt (finding it humorous in the extreme) and said how shocked I was that he had assumed me to be Saga age. It turned out that there was a large saga party in that weekend and the Manager was on automatic pilot assuming everyone to be with Saga. My dad at age 60 something has a very healthy fear of anything Saga so he was not best impressed. However the irony of this for me was that at the end of our meal we met up with some 80 – 90 year old family members and I couldn’t take the pace and had to go to bed several hours before they did. Maybe I would have been better off on the Saga Tour.

The morning of the wedding dawned and I was helping my grannie get ready.

“You know, I’m not sure I really like this outfit now” she said.

I advised her not to say anything to my mum who had spent a long and fretful day with her finding something which she appeared to be happy with at the time.

Then grannie happens to glance at the mirror.

“Why do I see such an old person’s face?” she sighs.

At the age of 93 I wonder just who she does expect to see.

Eventually we managed to make it to the church to wait with the groom and the rest of the family for the appearance of the bride.

Before entering the church, however, we were greeted by a group of lads singing Beatles songs in the graveyard of the church. Further investigation revealed that we were in the midst of a Beatles Convention and the lads were paying homage at the grave of Eleanor Rigby. I assume that it was that very song they were singing but one can never be too sure.

After this strange diversion we eventually made it into the church. The bride was in fact early and the mood of anticipation and suspense for the groom was ruined by the minister coming up the aisle and cheerily stating “She’s here”. That’s not how it is supposed to work is it?

I had bought a fascinator to wear, mainly because it’s not such a big commitment as buying a hat. However every time I bent down to speak to a small child or bent back to take a drink the blessed thing would fall off and I would spend the next five minutes scrambling about for it. If, like me, you have a small head, think twice before buying one.

The reception was lovely and gave me a chance to meet up with all my relations whom I rarely see nowadays. Sadly, however, the prize for the longest travelled didn’t belong to me, but to two couples coming from America and Canada respectively.

Young G aged almost 5 had a great time at the reception, spending most of it chasing older boys all over the room. His brother M. aged almost 2 took in most of the evening with an air of utter bafflement, only broken by the couple of occasions when G. returned to the bosom of his family to lovingly beat up his younger brother.

His favourite bit of the evening was “throwing the paper” (confetti). G. had in fact been given the highly important task of passing around the confetti from a wooden basket which he discovered was much more fun when balanced on his head.

Young G. eventually fell asleep around 11.30 followed soon after by his dad (an alcoholic beverage or three may have been involved). M. fought the onset of sleep all the way but eventually all the boys were in bed out for the count.

Did I manage to keep up with the drinking? Actually I think I may have done. I always had a glass in front of me anyway and can’t actually remember how much I had so I must have been doing well.

The scariest story of the weekend was finding out that a girl who only a few short years ago was a bridesmaid at another cousin’s wedding is now a mum at 18. That makes her father a grandfather at 40. Distinctly frightening as I’m sure that you will agree.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How Clean is Your Liverpuddle?

Hi all

I will be away until the beginning of next week as I am off to a wedding in Liverpool at the weekend.

I am hoping to bring you back lots of stories about the wedding. At the advice of several friends I have been practising my alcohol drinking skills so that I will hopefully be able to consume more alcohol than I did at the last wedding I attended without feeling ill. I have certainly been trying and really pushed the boat out last night at a work do in Wakefield by having two glasses of wine and drinking the last one in 10 minutes flat as we had a train to catch. Ooh I’m such a wild one am I not!??!

Anyway we will wait until the weekend to see if my training has paid off.

Before I go I’d like to go back to the subject of dreams. I had a really funny one about Kim and Aggie (of “How much can we Criticise the Cleanliness of your House?” fame) last night. It was incredibly funny and I woke up in hysterics. The only problem is that now I can’t remember the full details. I think it had something to do with finding out that the one with the blond beehive (Aggie I think) was actually only in her twenties but that years of obsessive cleaning had led her features to deteriorate so much that she looked like she was in her 60s.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my subconscious has a bit of a problem with reality sometimes, but it’s a wonderful feeling when you wake up laughing.

Well I must go because my trusty green packing case is calling and it’s not sounding very happy.

Have a lovely weekend whatever you do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Exam Stress

I was out last night with friends of mine who have teenage kids. Talk turned to the exam results and one story really made me laugh.

A. is a very clever girl, expected to get 1s or at the very least 2s in her standard grades. She was away on holiday with her parents on the day the results came out and didn’t trust going onto the internet to find out how she had got on. Subsqeuently her gran had been despatched to her house and instructed to call her and tell her how she had done.

The fateful day arrived and A. was on tenterhooks. She had studied hard and just knew that all her friends would have done really well and she just couldn’t be seen to have done badly. Not only that but she was on holiday with two of her friends who had already found out that they had done well by accessing the internet on the previous day. As an aside I thought that everyone under the age of 25 was fully comfortable with the internet these days but it just goes to show.

The phone rang and A. dived for it, breathless and barely able to contain herself.

“So gran, how did I do?"

“You did really well dear you got, now let me see, I’ll just adjust my specs and, oh here we are, yes.”

“Come on gran, what did I get?”

“You did really well dear, like I said you got a 5 for everything.”

“WHAT!!!! A five! That’s a fail. How? That’s not possible, it can’t be."

By this time young A. was in hysterics.

“This can’t be happening. What will all my friends think? My life is over? All fives, and I studied so hard.”

“Well dear” continued her gran “That’s what it says here. I thought that a 6 must be the highest mark and so I thought that you had done really well."

“What, so as well as telling me how badly I have done you also think that I wouldn’t have got the highest mark. Just what are you trying to say here? Do you have any idea that my life is now officially over. I’ll have to leave school. I’ll be destitute. What am I going to do?"

By this point A. had got so hysterical that her mum intervened and a voice of a little more reason spoke to gran.

“So mum, not good news then? Can you read me out what it says exactly.”

“Gran starts to read from the sheet - French Standard 5, History Standard 5 etc etc.”

As she does so a little lightbulb had come on in A’s mums head.

“Are there any other numbers after the 5’s on the list?” she asked.

“Now you come to mention it, yes there are. Now let’s have a look, French Standard 5 and then there’s a little 1, History Standard 5 then a 2. Does that mean anything?”

“Well yes, it means the difference between my daughter consigning herself to the scrapheap or not. Those are her actual grades Mum. 5 refers to the Standard Grade Level she sat not the grade she got in the exam.”

“Oh dear” said Gran “I hope I haven’t upset her too much then.”

“No, nothing that the right information and some chocolate won’t cure. Thanks Mum. You’ve given me a good laugh today if nothing else. I’d better go and let A. know.

I believe that Gran’s now back in the good books, but come A’s highers she may not be asked to repeat the same “favour”.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

When Planning World Domination, Get Your Facts Straight First

In a series of very occasional pieces entitled Strange Dreams I Have Had (this only being the second in the series) I will relate an odd dream that I had last night.

There I was innocently checking my e-mails when a spam e-mail popped up and caught my attention.

The message was simple, direct, and to the point (and strangely had nothing to do with pulchritudinous ladies) “Phone this number now” it stated.

Perhaps in a rather ill-advised move (but it was a dream remember) I called the number and all at once, I found myself magically transported to a small untidy office wherein sat a man of indeterminate age (but probably about 60) and his lady wife. The lady wife had a non-speaking part and just sat behind her husband smiling benignly during the course of the scene.

“I’m glad you came” the man started. “We want you to join us and help us to take over the world”.

“I’d really like to help you, but not today thank you” I told the evil genius (as I now supposed that he must be) “I’ve got a perfectly good job to go back to and lots to do there so I really don’t have much time for taking over the world. It’s nice to be asked though, but I had really better get going now, if, you know, there’s nothing else”.

“Well, that’s where you’re wrong” cackled the evil genius (well he is, isn’t he?). “I’ve contacted Mrs X in the Building Control Department of Inverclyde Council and handed in your resignation so you can’t ever go back. You’re stuck here with me! Ha Ha". (Imagine here an evil genius-like laugh if you will).

“Your plan is therefore thwarted” I countered “I haven’t worked in Inverclyde Council since 1999 and it wasn’t in the Building Control Department either. You may be an evil genius but you will have to work on your research gathering skills”.

At this the evil genius looked genuinely rather crestfallen and gave his wife a rather stern look. However, if you remember she didn’t have a speaking part so she could only give the evil genius a look that said “Whoops, sorry dear, I’ll be more careful next time”.

I did at that moment feel a little sorry for the evil genius. He looked genuinely distraught at the thought of this knockback to his career in world domination.

“So erm does that mean I’m free to go?” I asked.

“Well yes I suppose it does” he said looking a little confused. “I mean are you really sure that you don’t want to help me in my quest for world domination anyway”?

“No, not really I said. “The more I think about it the more I just don’t see the point, but, you know, best of luck and everything”.

And at that, as if by magic, I was transported back to my own bed where I had another strange dream about a cross dressing groom on his wedding day, his wife-to-be very put out that someone had turned up with the same outfit on, and then I woke up.

Feel free to analyse this rather strange concoction or, maybe just advise me not to drink so much before I go to bed of an evening.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fawlty Towers

And you thought that the saga of the wedding was over, well here’s a strange little postscript.

About a year ago, when my friend the bride-to-be first announced her impending nuptials I decided to look into booking myself into a guest house for the night of the wedding as the journey back home takes a good 1 ½ - 2 hours. I called round a number of B&Bs and eventually settled on one which sounded nice and reasonably priced. I asked if they had any beds free for that night, they said that they had and sent me a brochure on the establishment. I left the situation to marinade but it would appear that it became a festering sore. Because I had been made redundant and had got the offer of a lift there and back I decided not to go ahead and book a room. I thought nothing more of the matter. Nothing more of the matter, that is, until I received a tersely worded letter from that establishment in tones of high moral umbridge.

It appears that they had assumed that I had booked a room, had waited up for me until 11.00pm (oh the horror!) and were now demanding that I pay for the room which I had booked but not had the decency to spend the night in.

I called the lady in question to see if I could explain my side of the story (ie I had no idea that I had booked a room) and see if I could dissipate her umbridge. It appears that umbridge dissipation is not my forte and she was as immovable as ever.

I then did something which proves that I am advancing in years. I wrote a strongly worded letter.

Having first checked the literature which she had sent on her B&B I stated that it clearly says that a deposit is required when booking and that the room will be held for 5 days to allow said deposit to reach their fine establishment.

As they had not heard from me in almost a year and no deposit had been received from me I felt that it was a reasonable assumption to make on their part that I had not in effect booked a room and was no longer interested in doing so.

Furthermore in our telephone call she stated that she only had a postal address for me and appeared quite put out that I had not provided her with a telephone number and an e mail address. I would imagine that the mere fact that I had not provided her with this information would again tend to indicate that I was not interested in booking a room. In the light of her attitude I am very glad that I did not give her any more contact details than were absolutely necessary. To be honest I am now regretting ever giving her my home address.

In an attempt to sweeten the bitter pill I was delivering I did state how much I regretted our “misunderstanding” but felt that in the circumstances it would be entirely inappropriate of me to send her a cheque. This especially in the light of her own literature which would tend to make real the assumption that I had in fact not booked anything.

And that is what I did with my umbridge. The letter is now sent – second class post of course as I’m not spending good first class money on this one. It will be interesting to hear what she says. Will she bring down on my the full weight of her lawyers, or will she just invoke fire flood and pestilence on my wicked soul? Who knows. Over the next few days we may surely find out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Too Much Champagne

Most of my friends are married. I attended the wedding of one of the last of our little group of old school chums at the weekend. She walked down the aisle, a vision in sparkling tulle to “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”. It seems to be a pretty popular choice for brides these days and I suppose that the Kaiser Chiefs might not go down so well with the grannies.

The bride herself was, of course, late. Brides are meant to be late but this one has never been early for anything so she was very very late. Her mum called across the church to reassure the grooms’ parents that she was on her way, although they didn’t appear to be too concerned. It turned out that her dress had come adrift and her dad had had to take a needle and thread to it and sew her back in. It was a bit of a revelation to us (and perhaps him) that he was so nifty with a needle and thread.

Weddings always make me cry. This has got nothing to do with still being single (honest!) but more to do with the overall emotion of the whole thing. So of course we were midway through the first hymn when little droplets of water started in the corners of my eyes, quickly becoming rivulets and then small floods. My attempts to stem the flow were watched avidly by one of the bridesmaids. A look of extreme puzzlement crept over her six year old face and continued for the rest of the evening whenever she saw me. I may have put one small child off ever getting married. I do hope not.

Later on in the evening another single friend got very drunk (well I’m assuming that that was the reason) and made me make a pact with her that if we were both single at 40, we would each buy a cat, move in together and embrace a life of eternal spinsterhood. I reminded her that 40 was not such a long way away for either of us (although I will be getting their first) and tried to dissuade her from any such foolish notions. Sadly she was not for having it. I just hope that she was drunk and forgets because it is not a pact that I have any intention of following through on although cats are quite pleasant creatures…..

I thought that weddings were supposed to be joyous occasions. Granted, most of the guests appeared to have permagrins on the whole time but one chap was in quite a maudlin mood.

“Well” he said “That’s most of the weddings out of the way, so the next time you (myself and my old school friends) see each other again it will be at a funeral.”

“Thanks a lot” I almost spat “I think it will be quite a while before there will be any funerals involving any of us”. I mean, honestly, we are only in our 30’s. What a terrible thing to say and especially at a wedding. I will just have to assume that it was a spectacularly bad attempt at humour or that, again, drink was involved.

Speaking of drink, I had hoped to speak to a former primary school teacher of mine, but unfortunately she had one glass of champagne which proved a bit too much for her and she spent the rest of the night recovering in her hotel room.

She’s not the only one who has a problem with holding her drink. I myself just can’t seem to drink as much as I used to be able to do. I was hoping to hit that just slightly nice, woozy feeling but after one glass of champagne and half a glass of wine the only thing I was feeling was queasy. I drank a glass of water to stop any potential hangovers in the morning and gave up the alcohol as a bad job. Gone are my wild drinking days it would seem.

And then it was all over. The bride and groom slipped off into the night, the dancers kept on dancing and I headed off home to recuperate and prepare myself for another wedding which I will be going to in a fortnight. Perhaps I should work on my drinking technique between then and now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Edinburgh Festival 2007 - A Tale of Two T-Shirts

Part Two – "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"

Fortunately we weren’t blown apart by either my rucksack or by terrorists and were able to stagger to our feet at some point in the next day to see Robin Ince.

When I was younger I was given a book on dinosaurs. I was devastated as it immediately ruined any street cred that I might have had. One can imagine Robin Ince being given the same book and clutching it to him, atremble with anticipation at the knowledge bestowed upon him and the comedy potential just waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

The idea of a comedy set revolving around science sounds to me (who failed every science subject possible) like a contradiction in terms but he was actually very funny although I might have got a little lost around molecules and atoms. I wish my science teacher had been more like him. I might have actually passed something.

The religion jokes went down well but, Comedians Beware! In Scotland, never mention the words Catholic or Protestant, especially not in the same sentence as previously mild mannered atheist catholics and mild mannered atheist protestants could come to blows down some dark alleyway after the gig.

However, for all Mr Ince seems to know about science, he knows very little about the potential of the common or garden sweat gland. He wore a light grey T-Shirt which was a bad move as it steadily darkened in the requisite areas until he looked like he was wearing a map of the world. Not a good look. He would do well to follow the example of Mr Herring and wear a dark T-shirt. I do hope that Mr Ince has a good change of clothing strategy and decent washing facilities.

I would however recommend going to see Robin Ince. Just don’t sit upwind of him – or Richard Herring for that matter!

The mayhem however didn’t end there. Oh no, it continued until 6am the following morning, although for most of that I was out for the count…………………….

The evening progressed (as these things tend to do) into somewhat of a pub crawl, and after a few hours in this vein, picking up a very drunk Irishman on the way, I decided to head off on my own back to L’s house. After a struggle to get in the front door (not the drink – honest it is a bit stiff after all) I gingerly lowered myself onto the bed. The gingerliness was again not to do with the drink but down to the fact that a couple of years ago L’s ex boyfriend had, on being dumped, decided to take his rage out on the scene of their intimate trysts. As a result the bed was in constant danger of collapse and the slightest movement could have sent it, and its occupant, plummeting to the ground. (OK it’s not six feet in the air but I like plummeting in this context.) After some careful manoeuvring and exhortations to myself not to turn over in the night, I drifted off into blissful sleep.

L and R’s night was however not over by any means. After a much longer pub crawl during which time they managed to lose the Irishman, who by this time was, I believe, paralytic, they headed off home. As they got off the bus at L’s house they realised that they had a new friend. A young lad of 22 stepped off the bus at the same time as them and engaged them in conversation. Neither R nor L have been 22 for quite some time, and maybe he had seen The Graduate, but when asked he was more than keen to give R a piggy back into L’s house in return for a massage. He then produced a video camera and filmed the ensuing action but it was all totally innocent I was assured when I heard the gory details the next morning. The climax (?) was reached when L. suggested that she go and get her camera and take a picture of him. R. advised him to get out while the going was good, and, perhaps not surprisingly, he did.

The next morning (actually mid way towards the afternoon) a very weary R. and L. surfaced.

“Oh you really missed yourself last night”

“Well at least I had a good night’s sleep, and I was very careful not to let the bed collapse”


“Well, you know, the slightest movement and I would have been pitched off with broken bits of wood flying around me.”

“I doubt it” said L. once she had finished laughing at me. “That bed won’t be collapsing any time soon. It’s a new bed”!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Edinburgh Festival 2007 - A Tale of Two T-Shirts

Part One – Is That a Rucksack on your back or ………..

Risking life and limb by travelling through so many railway turnstiles with a rucksack on my back, I made my merry way to Edinburgh for the festival. I pitched up with L. at a small pavement café on Cockburn Street eating pasta and breathing in the heady scent of flowers in baskets hanging precariously above us, mingled with cigarette smoke wafting over from other pavement diners. After a leisurely pasta and smoke avoidance in the drizzle (because we are trying to pretend that it’s summer round here) we headed off to see Richard Herring, but not before R. had called to inform us that we were late and in danger of not getting in. (Note: we are always disgustingly late for everything but always seem to get in.)

Richard Herring did not disappoint. Perhaps the paedophile joke was teetering on the edge but he didn’t fall in to the muck and the Chris Langham reference was hysterical and got an excellent response from the audience. The sperm joke was surprisingly profound but perhaps that was just me.

I felt also that he was surprisingly restrained when two people walked out to the toilet right across his stage. He said absolutely nothing and said nothing again when they walked back in. It would seem that he’s a well brought up boy.

Now, I must bring up my concern with the T-Shirt that he was wearing. The T-Shirt in question was an intrinsic and funny part of his set and must have got pretty sweaty during the course of it. I am therefore seriously hoping that he has a few identical T-Shirts to wear during the course of his run so that he can perform the same joke without knocking his audience senseless with layers of built up sweat. Can you imagine the stink if he were to wear the same T-shirt for his whole run. I don’t wish to put anyone off going to see him, but you might wish to check with his agent about his T-Shirt strategy and cleaning facilities. You might also want to ask a similar thing of Robin Ince’s agent but that’s for the next instalment.

Despite this, go and see Richard Herring. He will not disappoint.

And then we were off into the city with its drinking potential stretched out before us and we certainly didn’t waste any of that potential. We pitched helplessly, from one bar of heaving humanity to another until we were part of that heaving humanity. We finally ended up squashed into the corner of a large bar with a beer garden where it would appear that half the lost souls of Edinburgh had chosen as their home for the evening. Despite the rain, people spilled out of the bar into the beer garden to watch helplessly as the rain plopped into their pints.

More people kept coming into the bar. It was standing room only as they squashed and crushed their way in, leaving barely room to breath, never mind drink. And drink they did, copious amounts disappeared down throats and into cavernous bellies. I kept banging into people with my blessed rucksack and those people were giving me some very strange looks in return.

The smile on R.’s face broadened and a wicked gleam came into her eyes.

“This would be a good place for the bombers” she said.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Edinburgh Time

It’s that time of the year again. I won’t be blogging for a few days now as it’s time to make my annual pilgrimage to The Edinburgh Festival (Hooray). Among the highlights for us this year will be Richard Herring and Robin Ince. I’m not sure what my friends have chosen for us to see, but that adds to the general excitement of not knowing quite what to expect.

What you can expect however, is a full round up of the Festival goings on on my return at the beginning of next week. Have a lovely weekend whatever you do.

I will leave you with Shower Protocol (not my own work but doing the e mail rounds at the moment and sent to me by R.) Enjoy!

Shower Protocol
How To Shower Like a Woman

Take off clothes and place them sectioned in laundry basket according to lights and darks.
Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
Look at your womanly physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.
Get in the shower.
Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced.
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.

Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.
Rinse conditioner off hair.
Shave armpits and legs.
Turn off shower.
Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
Spray mould spots with Tile cleaner.

Get out of shower.

Dry with towel the size of a small country.
Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.
Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
How To Shower Like a Man

Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
Walk naked to the bathroom.
If you see wife along the way, shake willy at her making the 'woo-woo' sound.
Look at your manly physique in the mirror.
Admire the size of your willy and scratch your bum.
Get in the shower.

Wash your face.
Wash your armpits.
Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.
Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.

Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
Wash your bum, leaving those coarse bum hairs stuck on the soap.
Wash your hair.
Make a Shampoo Mohawk.
Rinse off and get out of shower.

Partially dry off.
Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of bath the whole time.
Admire willy size in mirror again.

Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on.
Return to bedroom with towel around waist.

If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake willy at her and make the 'woo-woo' sound again.
Throw wet towel on bed.

Is it just me or is it easier and more fun for men?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Never a Dull Moment

Perhaps it should have been a dark and stormy night. In actual fact it was a bright and sunny evening but real life isn’t like the movies and let’s be honest, who would want it to be? Fighting off the advances of Hugh Grant while Batman and Spiderman try to outdo each other in the superhero stakes isn’t my idea of a good day, but I digress.

It was Saturday evening and all I was doing was innocently carting computer equipment into my garden shed (maybe another post if it becomes an interesting enough story) when sirens began to wail and police cars and an ambulance raced along our road until they very quickly realised that it was a cul-de-sac and skidded to a rather abrupt halt.

Thoughts of “the PC’s mine officer, it’s not knock off, honest” came to mind but the policemen and ambulance men had other things to think about.

Thankfully this time their thoughts did not concern terrorists but the ubiquitous “group of teenagers” who were milling around in the way that they are wont to do. This does, in the minds of many, constitute them playing havoc with law and order, so had someone called the police and the ambulance just on the strength that they might be about to commit some heinous crime like well, standing in the street and talking?

A serious faced policeman, who didn’t look much older than his interviewees, took statements and the youngsters tried to look innocent with a well practiced attitude of “it wisnae me what done it sur”. Of course, by this stage I was wondering just what been done and it was at that moment that a girl was wheeled into the ambulance. She looked a bit older than the other teens so had they been with her or had they just seen something happen to her and called the police and the ambulance. Should Hercule Poirot have been on the scene with his little grey cells?

A couple of people passed with dogs and I really wished that I had had a dog as it would have given me an ideal opportunity to walk past, nonchalantly like, and hopefully find out what was going on. I could even have trained my dog to do its business near the policeman so that I could dawdle longer and hear more. Sadly it was not to be.

The ambulance drove off and the police and the youngsters were still deep in conversation. At one point someone held up what appeared to be a small yellow box. A detonator perhaps?

Much later when everyone was away and I was hopeful that aimlessly ambling along the street wouldn’t appear too nosey, I took myself off to the spot of all the excitement. I’m not quite sure what I expected to find. Blood? Broken Glass? A hand grenade? Sadly there was nothing there to indicate that anything untoward had happened. There was however a faint, intermittent siren like sound which lasted all night and into the early hours of the morning.

I never did get to find out what happened but there’s never a dull moment in these here parts.

Thoughtful Blogging

Kelly has very kindly nominated me for the Thoughtful Blogger Award for making bloggers feel at home on my site. It’s a great honour and there’s always a kettle on and cakes on the go round here.

I’d now like to pass the award on to:-

Valentine Suicide in the hope that I might get some Sainsbury’s Fruitcake when I next visit.
Katie for braving the Scottish Weather and putting up with Glaswegian humour.
Debio for living somewhere hot and sunny.
Pepette whose blog is named Il Pleut Il Mouille. I had to look it up in the French/English dictionary and she’s right, it does.
The Good Woman who is leaving Scotland for sunnier climes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I’d Have Been Quicker Walking

I suppose I should have realised that there was something wrong when I approached the station platform to find far too many people milling about looking disgruntled. The announcement board told the story of their and my impending misery with its stark “Train Delayed”. Since I started my adventures in train travel there have been many imaginative reasons for train delays and cancellations. As well as the infamous “leaf on the line” and “the wrong kind of rain” other memorable excuses have included “the driver didn’t turn up this morning” (and we couldn’t be bothered to find a replacement), and “stormy conditions the previous night” (a slightly stronger wind than normal which let’s be honest, in Scotland we should be able to cope with).

Whatever the reason for the delay, we were never informed and eventually a train hauled itself along the track in the direction of the platform. Of course not the platform it was supposed to be at and we all had to shuffle our way through the throng of passengers whose trains had come in on time and were now rushing in the opposite direction.

When the doors opened we collapsed into the train as if our lives depended on it. Despite it having seemed to be an empty train when we started to step aboard, somewhat miraculously as soon as we were inside all the seats were taken. We were lucky to have got on mind you and felt for those with sadness and anger in their faces who we left behind. They could only watch helplessly as the doors shut in their faces leaving them to whatever fate they imagined awaited on the platform. Let’s be honest their fate would probably be their spouses shouting at them for being late and the dinner being ruined so it probably was a fate worse than death.

The train started its crawl out of the station like a sick old man, coughing and spluttering as he contemplated the last moments of his life. In stark contrast trim eager young trains set off beside us at an energetic pace and at least three had passed us before we even met the daylight outside the station walls. Even the posh voiced taped announcer sounded sick.

"Thi..i..i..i..s train is urgh"


We didn’t hear any more. Either she had expired or she had thrown herself from the train in misery. We never did find out.

The train struggled on. Sometimes stopping for a breather and then hauling itself into unwilling motion again. No conductor came to take tickets and with the loss of the announcer we really hoped that someone was actually driving the train. Eventually, and thankfully, the train came to a standstill at my stop, taking roughly double the time it normally takes. I only hope for the other passengers’ sakes that it made it to the end of its painful journey.

I think I’ll take the car in tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Who?

Who’s this Harry Potter chappie I keep hearing about? I believe he’s got a book out about gardening - Harry Potter’s Healthy Marrows. Is it any good? It sounds quite interesting and marrows can be so difficult to grow but I’ve heard that he’s a bit of a wizard so it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for him should it?

Apparently he’s had a few books out before this. I don’t suppose any of them are about cabbages? I’ve had nothing but trouble with them this year.

Rockin’ Girl Blogger

I have been nominated for a Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award by Debio. This calls for a trip to the shops to buy a glamorous outfit and some killer heels.

I hope I get to meet George Clooney at the awards ceremony. Mmmm I think a trip to La Senza might be in order too don’t you?

Thanks Debio.

Now on to my nominees for the award. They are:-

Kelly the Domestic Goddess
Funky Munky
I Should be Working
Nunhead Mum

We can all chip in for a taxi but George is mine!

Sadly my blog seems unwilling to add a page element to the template thereby ensuring that the Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award picture may never see the light of day on my blog. If anyone can help I would be most grateful.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Life Begins at 30

One of my new colleagues turns the big 3 0 at the weekend and is viewing the experience with some trepidation. This may have had something to do with the fact that her flatmate told her that the best time of her life had been that from 20 – 30 and after that it had gone downhill rapidly. To be fair there are a number of downsides that I have encountered since hitting 30 which I shall painfully relate:-

1. You develop an unhealthy obsession with “what the weather’s going to do tomorrow” and buy a sensible raincoat.

2. You dash home in time to see “Location Location Location” and know that your home must be “decorated in soft neutrals.”

3. You turn up to a nightclub only to have the bouncer ask you respectfully whose mum you are.

4. Your hairdresser has stopped asking you if you are “going anywhere nice tonight”.

5. All your friends are getting married and you haven’t met any single men of your own age for at least 10 years.

6. Your friends have stopped asking you if you are seeing anyone.

7. You meet your mum whilst admiring that lovely cable knit cardy in Marks and Spencers.

8. You realise that the 1980’s only seem like a few years ago.

9. You have colleagues who weren’t even born in the 1980’s.

10. And the worst? You find yourself quite enjoying that nice chap Terry Wogan on R2 of a morning.

I think that I convinced her however that things actually do get better after the age of 30. Actually hitting 30 itself was a bit painful for me but here’s why the subsequent years have been more than kind:-

1. Being cool and fashionable no longer matters and in fact it is quite acceptable to be a little eccentric.

2. You can economise by borrowing your mum’s clothes and shoes without fear of embarrassment or ridicule from your peers who are by now doing the same thing.

3. You now have friends who are older than you, thereby passing the important age milestones before you, making the process less painful when you reach them. (Thanks here must go particularly to R. and J.)

4. You start to mentally prepare for and look forward to the challenges of the mid life crisis.

5. You can criticise younger people for their taste in music and clothes sense and in fact it now becomes a new fun hobby.

6. Your boss doesn’t laugh when you mention that great new idea you have had. OK he also doesn’t take it much further but there is a sense of progress no matter how small.

7. You get to experiment with hair dye as a “gradual lightening” of your hair takes place.

8. Your auntie stops asking you what you are going to be when you grow up despite the fact that neither of you know yourselves yet.

9. When you buy far too many sweeties and the shop assistant gives you a funny look you can say “it’s for the kids”.

10. You can indulge in a relaxing snooze after lunch without anyone thinking anything untoward

See it’s not so bad it it? Now...... Roll on 40. (Gulp)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kids These Days

Hooray – I’ve made it through to the second day of my new job. I think that there was relief all round when I turned up this morning after yesterday’s run through of all the numerous tasks that had been allocated to little old me.

Yesterday on the way home from work on the train I encountered one of those horrors of children, recalcitrant and cruelly joined to an ineffectual mother. The child could possibly have been quite cute in a pleasanter alternative reality but his screwed up childish pout put paid to any notion of that. Said child had one of the biggest helium balloons I had ever seen tied onto his wrist which was battering into everyone within the radius of half the carriage. Mother, as you’ve probably already guessed, did absolutely nothing. Our balloon misery experience was intensified by an open window which gave the balloons trajectory more force as it thwacked into faces and rendered the reading of newspapers impossible. Grown men grew apoplectic with rage but, as is the British way, said nothing. At one point the boy whined that he wanted the balloon untied from his wrist, and when Mother said no in a rare moment of activity, he then proceeded to wave the balloon about even more maniacally. Everyone in the carriage was giving the boy and the mother dirty looks but she appeared to be oblivious and continued to do absolutely nothing as the balloon whipped into the faces of all the nearby passengers with gay abandon. The mother did say something about cutting it off his wrist when they got home. I was very tempted to find a pair of scissors and not only cut the thing off his wrist but also to burst his blessed balloon there and then. That would have shown them both.

When ah were a lass I wouldn’t have been allowed a helium balloon, never mind been allowed to take it on a train. Come to think about it, it is very possible that when ah were a lass they hadn’t yet been invented. Ooh, in my day it were a crust of bread before bed if you were lucky. Kids these days eh!


I'm really not worthy but it appears that I have been nominated for a Schmooze Award by Katie, a Long Islander now living and schmoozing in the fair city of Glasgow. The award is for "the ability to converse casually with others and make social connections". The blogosphere is of course an excellent way of making connections all over the world so long may it continue. Of course part of the fun of being given an award is the ability to pass it on. I would like to award it to Omega Mum for her constantly funny, witty and sometimes poignant posts which never fail to make me smile. The quality of her posts have given her a large circle of blogging buddies, making her an ideal recipient of this award.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Eating for Scotland

I have been tagged by The Good Woman to recommend 5 Glasgow Eateries. I have to say that on being tagged I immediately encountered Bloggers Block and the names of the many restaurants I’m sure I must have have visited over the course of the last few months mysteriously vanished from my mind. This is of course the same mind that tried to enter a boarded up shop and car park so perhaps that’s only to be expected. Anyway, whilst I was desperately trawling the vast empty recesses of my memory and t’internet trying to remember where I was when I last encountered a Glasgow Eaterie, R. called me and reminded me where I was while I was with her in any case. So here are the combined recollections that we could rustle up:-

1. Café Cossachok, 38 Albion Street, Glasgow

This restaurant has recently moved into bigger premises in Albion Street and I’m very taken with its Russian, Armenian, Georgian and Ukranian menu which includes Blinis, Beef Stroganof and Musaka. There is a lovely homely atmosphere, the staff are very friendly and the food is very good value for money. There is also live folk and jazz music and an art gallery to peruse at your leisure. The only thing that lets the side down is the puddings which are not home made and appear to have come out of the frozen food section of the local Asda. However everything else is so good that, in my opinion, this small inconsistency can be overlooked.

2. Bombay Blues, 41 Hope Street, Glasgow

If you love Indian food and you love buffets this is the place to go. All manner of Indian delicacies are available in a cosy, friendly atmosphere and at the sort of prices that suit your average penniless P.A. Just don’t do what I did and take the phrase “eat all you can” too literally or your stomach will protest for the next week. I can assure you that when this happened to me it had nothing to do with the food – just my greed.

3. Thai Lemongrass Restaurant, 24 Renfrew Street, Glasgow

All manner of gorgeous, authentic Thai food which I can’t pronounce so it must be good. The service is very pleasant and the atmosphere and décor is fabulous. The prices are not overly cheap but it’s worth saving up for a couple of weeks and going to experience it for yourself.

4. Two Fat Ladies, 118A Blythswood Street, Glasgow

Fortunately you need neither be a fat lady nor have any interest in bingo to gain admittance to this fine establishment. A veritable feast of speciality fish and shellfish awaits, along with a friendly service, an intimate atmosphere and prices that should but won’t have your bank manager freezing your account.

5. Topolino, 285 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

A lovely little Italian establishment offering not just Italian Food, not even M&S food, but burgers, piri piri chicken and Cajun spiced salmon. A friendly service and excellent prices make this a real delight.

I would also like to give an honourable mention to Wagamama, 97 – 103 West George Street (outlets throughout Britain) who do quite the best noodles I have ever tasted.

I believe now that the correct form is to tag three more people to recommend 5 eateries in their necks of the woods. Rather than put the onus on anyone in particular I would just say, if anyone reading this would like to do such a review, I would be very interested to read it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This Could be the Last Time

I left the office, where I have worked for the past 2 ½ years, for the last time yesterday. Around a month ago I had been advised that I had been made redundant. To be honest, it didn’t come as a great surprise as things have been difficult financially for some time. It was still a huge shock though and a few tears were shed. The company will probably be wound up over the next couple of months and it will be sad to see it go. We all had our hopes and dreams for the business which just could not be realised on the basis that we were paying out more money than we were taking in. You don’t have to be a student of economics to see that things are not going to work out under these circumstances.

Maybe I stayed too long. Whenever things were looking bad my boss would say “Don’t worry, it can only get better. Better times are just around the corner.” I really wanted to believe him and fell for the line a good many times but things seemed to get progressively worse with each proclamation of better times ahead.

Over the past month I have been involved in the winding up of the business which has been extremely hard. Somewhat harder was letting the other staff know. Fortunately though they have all been able to find alternative employment with a bit of help from my boss’ contacts. I have also been fortunate enough to find myself another job, leaving my boss to take the ship down on his own.

I had taken a few days off last week and I returned yesterday armed with cakes to say goodbye. The electricity, gas and water had been shut off in most of the building, the formerly busy rooms had been stripped bare and the remaining staff were huddled together in a small room with sagging floorboards which appeared to be on the verge of collapse.

As I was leaving my boss took a phone call and I waited until he had finished.

“Good News?”

“A client is talking about a new big job that is coming up. This could be what we’ve been waiting for. This could really turn it around for us”

I smiled encouragingly and closed the door.