Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Feeling festive

I do like Christmas. For all the sad things that always seem to happen at this time of year, it's nice to just have one day to be entirely indulgent and enjoy the nice things in life. As such, I'm very excited that it's just a week to go.

The wee guys don't quite get it all, they now recognise images of Santa, but when they met the man himself, they were entirely underwhelmed and looked at him as if to say "and YOU are??" Not aided by the fact that Oliver greeted the wind up Santa in a nearby shop with an enthusiatic "Santa! Santa!" fully within earshot of the human version. Ah well. Advent calendars are a source of chocolate, any attempt to explain the purpose of them gets rewarded with an impatient "chocolate" and frantic pointing.

Decorations are a little sparce due to little people's penchant for removing anything within reach, but this is this year's favourite:

I would love to see this scaled up, but luckily the French have more taste.

So peace to all and may you all feel the warmth of Christmas.

Sunday, 9 December 2007


What Christmas Is As We Grow Older

By Charles Dickens

Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture shining in our bright young eyes complete.

And is our life here, at the best, so constituted that, pausing as we advance at such a noticeable milestone in the track as this great birthday, we look back on the things that never were, as naturally and full as gravely as on the things that have been and are gone, or have been and still are? If it be so, and so it seems to be, must we come to the conclusion that life is little better than a dream, and little worth the loves and strivings that we crowd into it?

No! Far be such miscalled philosophy from us, dear reader, on Christmas Day! Nearer and closer in our hearts be the Christmas spirit, which is the spirit of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness, and forbearance! It is in the last virtues especially that we are, or should be, strengthened by the unaccomplished visions of our youth; for, who shall say that they are not our teachers, to deal gently even with the impalpable nothings of the earth!

Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy, to your shelter underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet. Welcome, old projects and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among the steadier lights that burn around us. Welcome, all that was ever real to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to heaven!

Welcome everything! Welcome alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, in your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is, sits openhearted!

Of all days in the year, we will turn our faces toward that City upon Christmas Day, and from its silent hosts bring those we loved among us. In the Blessed Name wherein we are gathered together at this time, and in the Presence that is here among us according to the promise, we will receive, and not dismiss, the people who were dear to us!

The winter sun goes down over town and village; on the sea it makes a rosy path, as if the Sacred Tread were fresh upon the water. A few more moments, and it sinks, and night comes on, and lights begin to sparkle in the prospect. In town and village, there are doors and windows closed against the weather; there are flaming logs heaped high; there are joyful faces; there is healthy music of voices. Be all ungentleness and harm excluded from the temples of the household gods, but be those memories admitted with tender encouragement! They are of Time and all the comforting and peaceful reassurances; and of the broad beneficence and goodness that too many men have tried to tear to narrow shreds.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

a week

This week I have done the following:

been to Paris for lunch, which was a lot of fun
had a very painful wisdom tooth extracted, which was in itself very painful
finished, yes, finished, my first essay!! I'm so happy! I forgot this feeling :-)

and that's about it really, I'm shattered...

Friday, 12 October 2007

damned ticking clocks


The baby thing was what is known as a chemical pregnancy. One of those things I wouldn't have ever known about if I hadn't happened to feel sick and do a test on the offchance. So I feel a bit silly, a little sad and incredibly broody. I am now obsessed with babies and want another one really rather badly. Sigh. It's hard being a woman and having these maternal things.

And the biggie I missed last week was what I thought it was with my friend, so she's actually having a baby in April and I am a tactless oaf. My fingers are crossed for her because there seems to be a lot of failing pregnancies at the moment, but she seems well and suitably sick which is a good sign although it feels like hell at the time.

Meantime I am completely failing to exert any control over the terrible twosome and am trying to study and get the flat ready for selling to get the house we worked out we can actually afford after all. Good things come out of bizarre unexpectednesses.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

False alarm

Well, blood tests confirm that I'm not pregnant. So now there remains the question of what caused positive results and symptoms.

I am Not Thinking About it.

(and feeling a little foolish)

Monday, 8 October 2007


Today it's negative results (no, I don't know why I retested), I don't know what's happening and am putting all thoughts out of my head till I hear back from the doc.

Freak out!

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Ho hum, life's a funny old thing. Instead of doing the Masters in engineering that I matriculated for YESTERDAY, I appear to be growing one of these children things. Quite remarkable really, I must be the most fertile person on the planet...

I guess it's time to admit to myself that I am not destined to have a career. Sigh. I am a babymaker.

Anyway, due to being annoyed that I didn't keep a note of the pregnancy last time, I intend to write a blog for this one, hence the early announcement. It will be most boring I should think, but hey, I need to write somewhere.

And can I just say... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, 4 October 2007


I just read my last two posts. I have lost my mind.

Yesterday I wanted to achieve behind the computer solitude. Today I want to get out there and interact with real people.

I think I need therapy.

bla bla bla bla bla bla. And bla.

The future is a place where I think and do important things and I am not stuck in the stupid house having virtual whatevers* with people that rub me up the wrong way and couldn't care less if I ceased to exist.

That's not fair. My house isn't stupid.

I am now going to make one of those mood boards where I stick on things that inspire me. Except I'm in a grumpy mood, I'm going to do one of things I want to throw things at, and then throw things at it.

Highly therapeutic I should think. Also highly unlikely as I can't actually be arsed, but hey, it's a different idea.

*some of my whatevers do make me smile. It's not all bad.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

a new level of antisociability

Each time I meet someone I feel compelled to apologise for being crap. That's not meant to sound totally self depreciative, I actually do things that I have to apologise for.

Examples from this week alone:

1) met people for the first time and was unintentionally but still comprehensively rude.
2) had coffee today with a friend who was clearly trying to tell me something, wittered utter rubbish then about two hours later it dawned on me that I'd missed a biggie.

So from this moment I am going to conduct all my "meetings" from behind the safety of a computer where I have the added bonus of having time to think about things. Well, sometimes it takes 37 attempts to realise everything, but most of the time it works ok.

This means I no longer need to wash or get dressed and thus will ensure noone mistakenly meets me.

Friday, 28 September 2007

A night out for the girls...

Off for dinner in Glasgow, arrive in Glasgow to be informed that I am staying over, not going home early as planned naively by me. The arm twisting was not excessive, I may add.

Slightly unconventional way to meet someone for the very first time: do come and drink wine in our hotel room and please don't mind if our toilet attacks you.

Yes. Attacked by a toilet. A torrent of water from a burst pipe, which was threatening to drown us all until we turned it off in absence of any action whatsoever from the hotel staff.

Room was pretty much unusable due to the several inches of water and now non functioning toilet, but unfortunately the hotel was full. Negotiations extracted a promise to be moved to another hotel "just across the river" at the end of the night. So off we went for a night out, procuring a free pizza completely unconnectedly in the process and returning as agreed to get a taxi to the new hotel.

Somewhat intoxicatedly negotiating a taxi and hotel with an Ian Fleming (that's not your real name?) we ended up in a taxi going a very, very long way away and depositing us at a rather posh castle hotel. Nice, but where the hell are we? Huge rooms, huge beds, fantastic televisions that didn't work. Our original hotel was being shared by Narcotics Anonymous, this one had a wedding party, and the bonus was that I was officially added to the party despite being a new addition. The strange man in charge provided us with coffee, wedding cake and about 1000 biscuits while trying desperately to put £1 onto a credit card "just because he had to put something through". A suggestion that he should be playing his flute damned near had me ending myself.

And from there on, it was perfectly normal...

To yay or to nay


  • Olives stuffed with jalapenos
  • Galaxy Dark
  • Gorgeous boys
  • The internet

  • Windows Vista
  • People who post endless youtube videos. We know how it works
  • People who don't have small children, or any feasible reason other than sheer laziness, that take parent and child spaces. Child, incidentally, doesn't mean teenager or adult offspring
  • The planners that decide that regular parking spaces don't need to be big enough to open all the doors of a car in anyway
  • Hospitals
  • Asda deodorant that makes me sneeze
  • The whole recruitment process
  • Being internetless for 24 hours
  • Taking things too seriously

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Third unsuccessful job interview today, it really is soul destroying.

Worrying about the sick/stoical, and the stupid/hypochondriac.

Sick and fed up of people being the way most people are.
Sick and fed up of paranoia that those I am not sick and fed up of must clearly be lying/deluded/finally seeing the light.

Tired. So very tired. Need sleep. Need motivation. Need miracle.

Friday, 21 September 2007


So I'm sitting here drooling over the iphone. Yes I need one. For the ten phonecalls a year I make and the 10 miles travel I do these days. Yes, I need one. It's just... necessary.

But wait...

No camera? What???????????????

One day, there will actually be a device that does everything and does it well. I think the Nokia N95 is just about there. We'll see.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Freak out

Arrrrggghhh. Today the children spent the whole afternoon flitting from one impending disaster to another. I did discover that both the dishwasher and washing machine can cope with being reprogrammed and turned off, they both valiantly continue on their intended cycles. I did however have an embarrassing phonecall from Fife Police to ask why there had been a 999 call from my house. They did figure it was children, so were very nice and just checking it out. Yikes.

So far, no job, I am an oaf. Nothing from the Council job I thought had gone well, eventually got an email to confirm that I had been unsuccessful on this occasion (a stupid trite phrase). Sky tormented me for a couple of hours before telling me I wasn't up to standard to answer their phones so feeling really shit hot now. Next week I have interview number three, again with the Council, this time as a receptionist. Hours aren't great, would need childcare for about 6 hours a fortnight, and I have no idea where I will find the energy to work after a day with the terrible twosome. And as to the Masters I am beginning any day - a ha ha ha ha ha ha. Methinks that is potentially a mistake.

I need longer days or a nanny.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Job job job

Despite my impatient ramblings, I ended up with two job interviews. The first of these was today, that of Leisure Attendant at a local primary school. Hours are great, pay is good, job is interesting, but lonesome, no colleagues to chat with - although my friend has a position as head in another school so may be sorted for online scrabble via the intranet.

The second interview is next Thursday and is with Sky's call centre, which would be a good laugh if mindnumbing. And I'd get free Sky Plus, which is almost worth it in itself. Well, ok, no it's not, but here's to positive thinking. Trouble with this is the 3-4 hour interview process. That doesn't sound like a good laugh.

But... today I did an interview and I DID NOT MAKE AN IDIOT OF MYSELF! Really, it went as well as it could have and if I haven't got it, I wasn't the right person for the job. Managed not to talk myself out of each question and at the "do you have any questions?" bit, all these intelligent things started coming out of my mouth. I was impressed, I didn't know they were in there, but I trust that the interviewers didn't notice that this intellect was all new to me.

I must be the only person on the planet who gets a confidence boost from an interview. Here's hoping I get the job as well.

Please cross all your fingers and toes for me.

Saturday, 1 September 2007


I'm sitting here at the desk I got when I was 18, which I rescued from being a plant stand today. I'm next to the bed, back to the mirrored wardrobes, next to the bookcases overflowing with books, and I'm wondering why I've moved on many, many years in time and my bedroom looks exactly the same. It's not the same house and I'm certainly not using a Mac Classic II, but I've got a rush of nostalgia and memories.

I may add the decor and particularly the wall adornments (more art, less BMW) are quite different now, but I don't seem to have changed otherwise all that much. The main thing missing is the stereo and shelves of CDs (updated and part of the infrastructure of the living room), but the laptop, mobile and Palm are all additions I'd have killed for back then. The reason for my being in here is due to two little guys moving into the spare room and slowly spreading throughout the rest of the house, not because this is it, my entire living space.

It's strange. I've got it in the same corner of the room it lived in at home. The windows and wardrobes are in the same relative places. Spooky, somehow, the ghosts of my own past are looking over my shoulder. I hope they aren't too disappointed, I must point them down the hall to the ex-spare room...

Monday, 27 August 2007

Happy little surfer

Sometimes I like the internet.

For one, you get sites like this one:


As well as providing amusement, my other half has decided that he needs to train to win at what I call paper, scissors, stone and so we have to play for virtually any task. Which does mean that I have got out of a lot of things I would normally have to do, being as I am better than he.

Then you get useful sites. The Motley Fool is great, it allows me to feel like I am in control of my finances for a good few minutes of delusion when I first check my email, everyone should sign up to their mailing list. I pulled this out of my spam filter as I realised I was actually reading it out of my spam folder. Hmm. Today's hints on living below your means (an alien concept to she-who-likes-lipsticks-and-smoked-salmon) led me to the following website:


which literally tells you what's in season foodwise. I've been looking for this for ages! You can't trust the shops, they have the same thing year round, just most of the year it tastes rank.

And I am utterly addicted to facebook. It has endless things to do to pass the time.

Happiness is a laptop called laptop.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Oh dear

I am feeling very sorry for myself.


Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The joy of jobseeking

Well, due to the fact that children selfishly need nappies and food and other things that cost money, it has come to that time where I need to sell my soul and get a job. Being mostly unemployable doesn't help much as I now have very limited hours to add to my failings.

The obvious local employer has signs everywhere you turn asking for staff. Apparently they are desperate for staff, they have exhausted the workshy labourforce of this slothful town and so I put in an application and waited. Today I decided I was fed up waiting and telephoned them to see what was what. "We are experiencing a high volume of calls, please leave a message". Grand. Because it is possible to speak to an answerphone without sounding retarded? No, it is not. So probably scratch that one.

Employer option 2, sent in application, fed up waiting, called recruitment hotline for "immediate telephone interview". High volume of calls, spoke to a person who took a message, better, but still not actually spoken to anyone. Is the whole of Fife looking for a call centre job today? Why?

Employer option 3, local council, put in two applications. I expect to hear a) nothing or b) something in October. I shall have another look and ponder how many times you can submit an identical application form - it is all entirely factual so there is no room for making it relevant to the job, thus making it unique, or indeed for demonstrating your suitability for the job. And it being the council, it takes them 7 weeks to open the application, 14 weeks to read it, 4 weeks to shortlist [10 minutes warning for interview], 3 weeks to make a decision, 2 weeks to tell you.

Employer option 4, Sainsburys keep their vacancies a big secret. Apparently they reveal them for ten seconds each year at the Jobcentre, but it would seem you actually have to be in the Jobcentre at this golden time.

Employer option 5, Asda. Please God, no.

Employer option 6, McDonalds. The house will be sold before this happens.

Marcus Brigstocke

Tonight's entertainment was the very wonderful Marcus Brigstocke.

I am in love. No, really.

He was very funny, very clever, and he ranted amusingly about all the things I like to rant about: 4x4s, Poles, Europe, debt consolidation adverts, right wing parental utterances, global warming, God and many others I forget.

A truly fabulous show. My husband thought he was a bit smug, but I thought he was magnificent - he put on accurate accents and was really rather different. And very clever. And very funny. And extremely attractive. Sorry, that's irrelevant, isn't it?

Hmm. I have lost all eloquence. He's ace.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Early teenager

At the grand old age of 19 months, Oliver has become concerned with his appearance. Should his mother choose an item of clothing that he doesn't like, he refuses to wear it, pulling it off and fighting the process. So a choice is required, only a selected item will be acceptable. Normal nappies are out of the question, grown up boys apparently will only permit pull ons. Stupid mothers that try to put a little boy nappy on young Oliver get rewarded with tantrums and removal of said nappy. And none of those romper suits for bedtime thank you all the same, Oliver will be wearing pyjamas.

This morning a fight nearly broke out as Oliver wanted to wear the top I was putting on Rob. Luckily this was a gift, so there are two of the same top; peace was restored when the second top was produced and Oliver could wear it as well.

The future of clothing my (fractionally) younger son looks ominous. There are two saving graces - one, Rob couldn't care less as long as the whole process is over as quickly as possible; two, St Daddy of Daddydom can put on whatever he likes, he's Daddy after all and if Daddy thinks it's good, it must be good.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

My life in books

I was reading a magazine (don't ask which one, it was more than an hour ago) and it was interviewing some celebrity (again, don't ask who) about books. They stated the books that had meant a lot to them over the years, so I started thinking about the books I have loved. I pinched the title "my life in books" from that article by the way, it's not remotely a reflection of my life. But onward...

he first book I remember loving was "A Child's Garden of Verse" by Robert Louis Stevenson. I was hugely into this at about the age of 5, providing huge amusement to my parents by referring to the author's middle name as "Louise". I think I liked this because it referred to his childhood in Edinburgh, like mine. My most favourite poem from that was The Lamplighter:

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

A little older and I read "101 Dalmations" by Dodie Smith. I loved this book so much, thankfully nobody subjected me to the Disney travesty by the same name (Perdita's the liver spotted stray, her name means "lost"; the female protagonist is called Missus;). This is just an utterly beautiful book, I read it and read it and read it. Some years later I discovered "The Starlight Barking" which is the sequel to this, also lovely.

My mother was keen to introduce me to the books she'd enjoyed as a child and so she bought me Anne of Green Gables which I adored and read all of the sequels (which did get progressively less good, but never mind). A girl with an imagination even more vivid than my own! And of course I read Little Women, which remains one of my favourite books of all time. I cried when Beth died, I so wanted Jo to fall in love with Laurie, I wanted to be Amy. The sequels to this did match up to the original and even the Hollywood Winona Rider effort was fitting (except Clare Danes was dreadful as Beth).

From here I forget the chronological order of everything...

Pride and Prejudice gained me a B for Higher English. I read this of my own accord (I hated the dissection by English classes) and having been completely traumatised by the lack of poetry and presence of a Macbeth question in Paper I, I was overjoyed to have a question that could be perfectly answered about Pride and Prejudice in Paper II. It thus holds a special place for me, as well as the fact that I'd really like to be Elizabeth Bennett (although I think Darcy could do with a little more spark).

When Andrew Lloyd Webber did The Phantom of the Opera, I fell totally in love with all of it - Michael Crawford and all. I'm not big on musicals, but I love all the music from this
. I listened to the vinyl of the entire recording incessantly and finally a couple of years ago managed to get a CD of the original cast. Aside from the music though, this is a lovely story, so when I saw the book by Gaston Leroux I was intrigued to read it. It is a fabulous book, it is written as a piece of investigative journalism and even though I knew the story from the musical, I was hooked. The film, although good, is based on the musical rather than the book, the script appears to be the same. Gerard Butler as the Phantom comes pretty damned close to fantasy.

Having always loved Christmas and also the Muppets' Christmas Carol, I am not sure why I never thought to read the Christmas Books by Charles Dickens until a few years ago. Still, I did and they are/it is fabulous. Dickens writes superbly, he really does make you feel like you have seen what he describes.

Now, I don't have any aversion whatsoever to Chick Lit, it's mindless escapism and a very easy way to spend time and lose yourself in a story, even if real life doesn't ever emulate it in its annoying tendency to be real. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes, anything by Freya North and the utterly silly and adorable Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella are my favourites. The Old Girl Network by Catherine Alliott is the book I'd have written if I had the talent/inclination/timing.

I read a lot of self help books, especially ones that promise to fix things that I really ought to be able to fix myself without reading a book. Most of them I discard in disdain, most of them are useless, but at a particularly low point, I read Fiona Harrold's "Be Your Own Life Coach" (I know... I have lots of "Be Your Own X" and "Change Y in Z days", I believe in miracles) and it really did somehow hit the right spot. Almost overnight I was able to change my views on many things and it literally did cure a bout of near-depression.

Finally, I must include Jasper Fforde. I don't mean a specific book, the first one I read was the first Nursery Crime one, The Big Over Easy, but all of his books are in a similar vein and they are clever without being taxing for a poor child frazzled brain. The Thursday Next series are all fabulous and everyone should read them. Immediately.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

A danger on the roads

I keep nearly crashing my car as I negotiate a double bend with this in giant form ahead of me:

It's not safe, I tell you. How's a girl meant to look at the road with those delicious eyes in front of her???


So I added myself to facebook finally. Why do I do this? Ego, I guess, but there's a possibility of keeping up with folk. And hey, maybe poking all my friends is fun, who knows?

Although now I've actually created a place where "real" people, who know all the real stuff, can integrate with "virtual" people, who probably don't.


Thursday, 9 August 2007

The banks that like to say "duh"

Due to a number of extremely irate secure messages being sent to the wondrous websites that operate my finances, I have two most grovelling messages today:

(a little paraphrasing *may* be involved)

Message no. 1:

We at Cretincreditcards.com are complete imbeciles and realise that we have cost you money because we are incompetent morons that can't actually keep track of what our automated system is doing. We do realise that this system cocked up big time and our morons couldn't help you. Unfortunately for us you do in fact have a series of messages that confirm this, therefore, if you send us a copy of your bank statement, we shall refund all bank charges caused by us.

Subsequent (automated) message :

PS We've already refunded our own charges because we thought we'd look better if we wiped them off your account almost as if we'd never charged them. You didn't mention this and it's nothing whatsoever to do with your complaint but hopefully this'll confuse you and you won't send your statements as previously stated.

Message no. 2

We at Numptycocks Building Society are utterly incompetent and have disabled monkeys working in our customer care centres. Some muppet managed to change your address and even though you told us about this 6 weeks ago, we weren't able to work out why. Now it transpires that it was in fact another member that "misquoted a number" and mysteriously pulled up your previous address. Yes, that's right, the one with the dodgy subsequent tenants and bad credit rating. What a coincidence is it not? Anyway, we're very sorry and it's all fixed now, and look, your account is all shiny again and we've written to Experian for you, just in case. I guess you probably want to complain, so here's the link to do so. Please don't ask any more questions, we're a little embarrassed, but if you really have to, here's the phone number of someone that can string an entire sentence together and knows a little about banking.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

My tunes

There are certain songs that I can hear again and again and they always make me smile, or sigh, depending on the song. I've been formulating a list in my head, it changes constantly, but I shall try to remember the songs that really have meant a lot to me...

Hallelujah by John Cale.
This is just lovely. I think I heard it for the first time when I saw Shrek, it's relatively new to me. I simply can't listen to it enough, once I finally got hold of "I'm Your Fan". If it wasn't good enough, my children respond to it like some sort of magic - they stop whatever they are doing (particularly good if what they are doing is having a tantrum) and gaze in awe at the speakers. They both now attempt to sing along, which is cute if entirely inaccurate. When I played them the Jeff Buckley cover, they looked in astonishment, then gazed on in semi-awe.

When You Grow by Bernard Butler
While I'm on the subject of the children, this song calmed me manys a time when I was pregnant, I simply couldn't listen to it enough. I will always think fondly of it because of that.

Always on my Mind by the Pet Shop Boys
This was the first 7" single I bought for myself. I loved it, I played it to death, I still love it. It was Christmas #1 in 1987 and it stayed there right until a couple of days before my 13th birthday, where it was knocked off by Belinda Carlisle with Heaven is a Place on Earth. Grr.

Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
I'm not sure when I first heard this, sometime between meeting their biggest fan and marrying him. It's just a perfect song.

The Mighty Quinn by Manfred Mann
Friends of ours used to run a 60s night in a club owned by another friend, and every single week they'd play this, I'd think "that's a fantastic song" and ask Ryan what it was called. Every week. Eventually, after many weeks of annoying poor Ryan, it penetrated my brain and I managed to buy it. This is just one of those songs that every time I hear it I think, that's a fantastic song...

Days of Pearly Spencer by David McWilliams
I have no idea when I first heard this, I just hear it every so often and think "wow".

Altogether Now by The Farm
I loved this. If it played on the radio before I went to school, it was a good day. If it was possible to wear out a CD single with overplay, I did it to this. Despite the fact that The Farm weren't very good and were utterly appalling live, I still love this, I like the subject, I like the tune, I like it.

Broken Heart by Spiritualized
I'm not entirely sure why I bought the Abbey Road EP by Spiritualized, but as it had the live version of Broken Heart on it, I am so very glad I did. What a beautiful song and what a wonderful introduction to a wonderful band.

Everybody Hurts by REM
Yes, I know, it's a cliche. But I listened to this every time I was sad, every time I needed a good cry, when I was in my late teens. When we saw REM live at Loch Lomond, the crowd all swayed together and sang this as it got dark, it was lovely. On the day of the London bombings, Jeremy Vine read out all the confirmed fatalities and then played this, it was a very poignant moment.

I'm sure there must be more recent ones, but for now I must stop because I need my sleep.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Exercising those laughing muscles

Well, being the cheapskates that we are, we got 3 pairs of tickets for the preview week of the Fringe and thus spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights childfree and chortlesome.

Thursday night we saw Frankie Boyle and I have to say I was rather disappointed. The main reason for this is that several of his jokes had been on the previous week's Mock the Week and when we got home and watched the replay of that night's Mock the Week, there were most of the other jokes. This would seem to be the downside of being topical, but it still rankled rather. I would expect most fans of Frankie Boyle would watch Mock the Week, that being the show that he is known for. He was still funny, and a few of his jokes were shockingly and side splittingly politically incorrect (including referring to political correctness itself being "spastic gay talk"). A little difficult to like, he was offensive to just about everyone, but amusing all the same.

Friday night we saw Jason Byrne who is incredibly funny and adorably nice, I have no idea why he is not massively well known. He does a lot of audience participation (aka picking on the front row) which makes his show unique, but what makes him stand out is that he can talk about the most cliched of topics and make it really, really funny. Dylan Moran disappointed me a little last year when he started talking about parenthood, it just made him sound all grown up and a little middle aged even if he was being undoubtedly amusing. Jason Byrne however made parenthood sound like a fun adventure and while he has clearly matured somewhat from when we first saw him four years ago, he is no less funny. Everyone should see this man perform, he is funnier than anyone else I have ever seen (praise indeed as the first time I saw him was straight after Bill Bailey).

Saturday night we saw Russell Howard, also known for appearing on Mock the Week but, unlike Mr Boyle, did not resort to using the same jokes. This show was entitled "Adventures" and indeed he made everything he had done sound like a big adventure. He was accused by a heckler of "pissing and moaning" which was entirely unfair as he focussed a lot on the really good things in life. He was almost entirely free from being offensive, he was nice about most people, and he was endlessly extremely funny. I would recommend anyone to go and see this guy, you will come out with the biggest smile on your face and a sore side from laughing too much. He's only 26 and I sincerely hope he becomes a very big name in comedy, he's naturally brilliant.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

I think...

In my usual indecisive way I shall blog a little bit longer because otherwise my things-to-bore-with meter will explode.

Yeah, I know.

Tonight I am going to see Frankie Boyle. I must have an outlet for oohs.

Monday, 30 July 2007


I need some. Not much, just more.

A gift would be nice and slothful.

Please give generously.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

A completely self absorbed note

Well, I expect this is pointless, I doubt anyone's interested, but just in case... Those who are, please pass it on to anyone else who cares/wants a laugh..

I have recently had a series of hissy fits and have mostly deleted my presence on the internet. There are two reasons for this 1) I don't feel very interesting and do feel entirely inadequate and boring next to pretty much every one I speak to; 2) I don't want to share space with the sort of person that revels in spoiling things for other people, be it a book or a group.

As far as email is concerned, I could do with deleting a few contacts because I don't like being nothing but strife, but as that would be like removing a limb, I hope they either have huge levels of tolerance or the sense to block.

I'm being a sap, I know, I'm not in a good place. Normal service resumed as soon as this is posted.

Just now...

I am reading:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I am about 3/4 of the way through and I'm rather enjoying it. I have been much ridiculed for reading this, but I care not, it's jolly nice to read something I like.

I am playing:
Wii. Incessantly. We got the Wii a few weeks ago and it's great. I spend my time trying to improve my fitness with Wii Sports (57 yesterday, I am terrible at baseball), improving my brain with Big Brain Academy and spending many hours playing the simple games of Wii Play. We also have Mario Power Football, but haven't got into that yet. Most fun is making Miis of everyone I know, I just need to work out how to get a screenshot...

So, my leisure pursuits are that of a 16 year old, except I don't feel the need to go and drink cider in the park.

I am listening to:
I'm not. I have The Enemy album to listen to, I haven't got round to it yet. But! Sabotage: Live by John Cale comes out on Monday, I think that'll be one for the purchasing.

I am eating:
Salmon. Almost exclusively. I don't think I can afford this.

Anyway, I am now off to maximise the benefit of naptime and do all of the above. Happy day.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Bernard Butler

Well, having been to see Bernard Butler as a guest alongside Bert Jansch on Friday, I feel I really ought to write something about it. I shall endeavour to get past "my, doesn't he have nice legs."


Bert Jansch is lovely. He really is. He sounds ace and his songs are really pleasant, but largely indistinguishable. His other guests, Paul Wassif (who I have just had to look up) and Beth Orton were perfectly competent but I don't care for Ms Orton's voice. So I feel unqualified to comment on the performance generally.

Bernard Butler, on the other hand, is sublime. He really is. He plays guitar like noone else I have ever seen. This may be a reflection on my limited experience, but still... His fingers are magical and his distinct style just sounds amazing.

Any more I can say on the subject would just be further gushing of the same, so I'll leave it at that. The man is a God and I can't review him.


Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Failing resources

I forgot to have breakfast this morning. I do this a lot. It's not like I'm not hungry, or there's nothing to eat or I don't have time. I just forget.

It's not normal. I think I need to make notes for myself and pin them up so I remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

Next to bed:
Get up, that noise is children, it can't be snoozed from there

Next to children:
Change nappies, feed, dress, amuse

On fridge:
While getting food for children, eat something

On TV:
Have you eaten yet?

On front door:
Seriously, go back and eat something

Next to pillow:

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Why do some people really really overstate their own importance? Why can't they be humble?

Why do Sony seem intent on making TVs that have more colours than the human eye can see? How will they know?

Why is nothing ever simple?

These three things are not connected in any way.

Monday, 16 July 2007


Insane... Insomniac... Indescribable... Indecisive... Intolerant... Infatuated... Insecure... Inevitable... Insufferable...

Thursday, 12 July 2007

"Bad" weather, beautiful skies

Clouds from the motorway

Here comes the sun

A thunderous sky

Nearly midnight on the longest day


Today I am in a state of excitement and am thus incapable of more than frivolity.

For one, it would seem that Nintendo are to bring out a Wii version of Mariokart, complete with wireless steering wheel. I LOVE Mariokart. I don't get the point of driving in circles games, but Mariokart is just so very playable.

I am largely in love with our Wii. I am currently hooked on a game on Wii play called Find Mii which is simple and ridiculous, but highly addictive. The kids like watching it :-)

But even more importantly, tomorrow I am to see Mr Butler perform. This is just like, wow.

Tomorrow I tell you, tomorrow. Like the day after today. Like really soon.

And I get to go on a train to get there, and see a jolly nice friend, so it couldn't be better really.


Tuesday, 10 July 2007


It's hard when you want to rant about something but you know it's going to cause offence even if it's not meant to be.

Now, I obviously believe in marriage, because I did it. We got married for the extremely romantic reason that if we hadn't and something had happened to my then boyfriend, I would have had nothing more than squatter's rights in our house. As his wife, it would become mine. The easiest way to do this was to sign this thing called a marriage contract and it quite nicely laid down all sorts of rights for both of us in the events of bad things and children. We didn't do it for the wedding, we did it to be married. And the relationship improved, because we both finally accepted that the other wasn't going to leave any day.

Today on the news they were talking about incentives for marriage. I think this is great, obviously. But there are many people complaining that this is unfair on unmarried couples. That you can get married easily and quickly and that people who do that then benefit over couples who have been together a long time but haven't married.

Now, these are my ranty points:

1) It makes sense, it is just a piece of paper, but it's a useful one. It's not a trick. If you get incentives, then that's just another benefit. You don't have to have wank and circumstance, you can literally grab a couple of witnesses and do nothing more than sign.
2) Yes, it's unfair on civil partnerships, this is why they should be called marriages. A marriage should be between two people, regardless of their sex, and the church should get stuffed.
3) Why have children if you are not prepared to sign a contract of togetherness? If it doesn't work out, you can still divorce, but statistics show that couples who have children within marriage are far more likely to stay together than those who have children out of wedlock. Surely it's worth giving it a better chance. I don't think it is fair on the children to not at least intend to be together forever, and if you intend it, why not make it legal.
4) Being married isn't bad. It's nice. It's not like it's an awful situation to be in and you don't want to be trapped into it. If you feel like that, you picked the wrong spouse! The old fashioned concept of ownership is gone, you have equal rights, you don't have to change your name or title. It's simply a legal state that makes a lot of sense.

And you do get lots of presents :-)

Monday, 9 July 2007


Now they believe they have identified the beginning of the universe. The beginning of time. Before that there was nothing.

Er, wait. Nothing? How does that work? There must have been SOMETHING there, or the universe couldn't have formed. And if there was something, then that something had an existence, before time began.

What is time anyway? It is relative, it is somewhat arbitrary, it is inaccurate. It is a measurement placed by us to measure the passing of time itself. If we place it upon our surroundings, then how do we define when it began, surely it began when we learned to measure it? Which is considerably later than the beginning of the universe.


Sunday, 8 July 2007

War and tears

Last night I watched Channel 4's 100 Greatest War Films. As I sat there thinking "That was such a great film", "Oh, I must watch that again" or "I'd really like to see that" it occurred to me that this seems to be a genre that either appeals to the part of my brain that likes violent computer games or that this is a genre that is very well done.

Saving Private Ryan was no. 1. The opening scenes are superb, but once that is over - 20 mins in or so - then there's two hours of perfectly well acted boredom. Tedious. Well overrated.

Dr Strangelove should quite possibly be the best, except I cannot abide Peter Sellers' overacting, that spoils it for me. George C. Scott and Slim Pickens almost redeem it, but not enough.


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Fame and other hideousnesses

I do wonder at people sometimes. What exactly goes through people's mind when they apply to go on one of the makeover type reality TV shows?

The one that gets me is "How to Look Good Naked". Now, these women are supposedly so ashamed of their appearance that they won't strip off in front of their partners and hate their body completely. Yet they'll strip down to their underwear in front of tv cameras so everyone can see them????

Or the house ones. Not the ones where you go out and come back and the BBC have finished your DIY/added an extension, no, the ones where sniffy women come along and turn their noses up at just how disgusting peoples homes are and then show them how to clean. Like, is it really worth that level of embarrassment just to get your house tidied? They don't even do it for you!

Basically all these programmes do is get stupid people to get told off smugly on TV. Then you have the likes of Supernanny and House Doctor who come along and tell idiots to apply some common sense and tada! The problems are gone.

But WHY would you do that for 15 minutes of not really fame, because noone will remember you once the credits roll, apart from your mates who will never ever let you hear the end of it? Is it really worth it for a life/face/house/parenting makeover?

Monday, 2 July 2007

Mini mutterings

The little guys are at the stage of learning to talk where they copy everything. So when I hear things being said repeatedly, it indicates that I say them a lot.

It would appear that my most common utterances are (in order):

"oh dear"
"bye bye"

(this is why I need to talk to grown up people)

Due to favourite songs, we also get "Baaaaab" and "Aaaayaaa".


Sigh. I hate when I think I've upset someone. I'm good at that, being mean when I intend to be funny.

I don't like offending though. What I can't understand is people who cause offence, then defend it as being the problem of the offended. It doesn't hurt to say "I didn't mean to be offensive, I didn't realise it would offend you and I won't do it again". I hate to see people being told they should get a life because they found something offensive. Who is anyone to decide for another what they deem acceptable?

But still, that's an aside. I think I need to issue a generic apology for when my sense of humour falls flat. Maybe it doesn't, but it's a worry.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Night time sharpens

It's a new month. I feel compelled to make rash promises of behaviour aimed towards the new improved me.

I think... this month I shall endeavour not to make statements of intent that I am clearly not going to keep to. I think that probably quarters what I have to say. Hmm.

I'm thinking, that always leads to trouble. This month I shall think less.

Black squares... black squares... black squares... nothing but black squares...
(I haven't hung the washing up. Drat.)
Black squares... black squares... squares of black
(Hang on, isn't it meant to be just the one square? Double drat.)
Black square... black square...
(Or is it white? What coloured square are we going to?)

I think (it's hard to stop, you know) I shall go and hang the washing up and worry about thinking later.

Saturday, 30 June 2007


I seem to have an addiction to these quizzes you get on myspace etc and many of them seem to ask the same questions. The ones that remain on my mind refer to favourites: favourite film, favourite book, favourite TV programme and so on. I don't have an answer to these, I really don't. I wish I did.

Now, I haven't seen a LOT of films, but I tend not to like films. I'm not sure what it is that I do like about films, but there are so many I don't like that I'm "supposed" to. I don't get Woody Allen, I simply can't watch him, and I watched Match Point, thinking that maybe I'd get it if I didn't have to actually watch him on screen. Nope, didn't like it at all. I finally saw Citizen Kane, didn't care for that much either.

The film that had the biggest effect on me when I saw it at the cinema would be Twelve Monkeys. We went to that during the day and came out into daylight and somehow everything seemed weird, as if you couldn't trust anything to be as it seemed. Which is strange because that's not what the film's about. Film that I most loved at the time and watched most times would be Pretty Woman, because I was 15 when it came out and it really is what every girl dreams of... But that's not a "good" film.

The Usual Suspects is fabulous; I adore that and it is one film I wish I hadn't seen just so I could see it for the first time. Shrek always makes me smile, it's got so much in it to smile over. Shrek would be the film I chose if I had to pick just one, but it isn't my favourite film ever.

I have a favourite director: Luc Besson and maybe I'd have to take Leon or The Big Blue as a favourite. Too hard. Can't pick favourite actor, Steve McQueen was the coolest though.

This is even worse. I really don't like any of the books that people go on and on about. I tried to read Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Memoirs of a Geisha, Birdsong, The Time Traveler's Wife (which I itch to correct the spelling of...) along with many other highly regarded books, and although I have finished some, I didn't enjoy them much. I am currently reading The Secret History which every single person on the planet thinks is wonderful and, so far, I can't be bothered continuing past page 48.

I can't wait for the last Harry Potter to come out, I have enjoyed all of those so far. I also loved The Da Vinci Code. So it's not that I have the sort of brain that doesn't "do" fiction, I can read and enjoy things that are quite definitely fiction, and not very well written fiction at that.

I liked Pride and Prejudice mostly because I studied it at school and managed not to be put off by the in depth analysis. Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux and The Christmas Books by Charles Dickens are two of my favourite books, they are both superbly written and thoroughly enjoyable despite both being extremely well known and much dramatised.

I love the Magical Maze by Ian Stewart - about mathematics - and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss - about punctuation. If I could only take one book off on a desert island, I think it would probably be Ian Stewart's... which is a bit sad. That's not my favourite book either, I immediately feel bereft at the thought of not having the others.

My favourite author is Jasper Fforde because he's bonkers and shares my birthday.

TV programme...
Now, based on most effort put into watching and anticipating and guttedness that it ended, that would be Friends. But that's mindless comedy... The funniest thing ever on TV was Fawlty Towers, closely followed by a number of other comedies: Blackadder, Alan Partridge, Bottom, Father Ted, Black Books. I adored Ally McBeal, I fall over myself to watch Top Gear, I sit on the edge of my seat throughout 24 and I really enjoyed Life on Mars (apart from the TERRIBLE ending - but I'm not sure what would have pleased me). Picking just one? It would have to be Fawlty Towers - the same age as me.

I don't have a favourite album. I don't. I have a favourite song - it is Hallelujah by John Cale - but I simply don't have a favourite album. I never listen to them, I have been making compilations since I got my first tape deck. If I was forced to choose one, it would be The Velvet Underground and Nico, People Move On by Bernard Butler, Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space by Spiritualized or The Division Bell by Pink Floyd. (I think, I change my mind sometimes) But none of those have Hallelujah on it and I couldn't have I'm Your Fan as The One, so I need my compilations.

Why aren't there easier questions? I have many things I know for sure what my favourites are:

coffee: java
tea: chai
soft drink: Coke
freshly made juice: carrot, apple and ginger
wine: M & S Oudinot Champagne (cuvee, medium dry)
red wine: Georges Duboeuf Fleurie
liqueur: Drambuie
beer: if I must, Hoegaarden
cider: Addlestones
day: Thursday
bit of road: Junction 2a on the M90
artist: Claude Monet
place: the rock garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
shop: Valvona and Crolla, Edinburgh
perfume: Chanel Coco
aftershave: Higher Energy by Dior
bread: ptira
ice cream: pistachio from B. Valletta in St Andrews
property on Monopoly: Oxford St
board game: Trivial Pursuit
card game: Aces to Kings
seat on the train: on the left, the third one in, window seat, front carriage
boss: Mark
museum: Musee d'Orsay, Paris
shoes: black wedge mules from Clarks
boots: brown suede knee highs
city: Paris
country: Italy
continent: Europe
language: French
accent: Australian
instrument: bass guitar
means of communication: text message
winter sport: skiing
console game(s): Super Mario...

I just need different questions.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Don't know why

So, people what need to talk incessantly should probably do so by blog rather than by email.
Ta da.