Friday, 30 November 2007

A-a-a-and relax.

30th November. Last NaBloPoMo post and I can't decide if I am relieved or disappointed. I have sort of enjoyed the discipline of putting digits to keyboard every day and although I doubt any of the posts will be in the running for a Pulitzer prize, they give an interesting insight into my less than interesting life. Or at least the bits of it occupying my brain at the point I sat down in front of the laptop.

Also, it has just occurred to me that I think the Na in NaBloPoMo stands for National. Since I am not, nor have I ever been, American (not that I would mind being American, I just wasn't born that way), it would make more sense to me to call it World Blog Posting Month. WoBloMoPo. Heh.

In other news, I went to the gym today for the last time as my membership expires today. On the upside, I will no longer be paying £48 per month for the privilege of sitting at my desk thinking "Nah, I'll just read instead". On the downside, it is a nice gym, it is handy for my office, it has parking and I enjoyed it when I went. Watch this space to see if I follow through on the whole "get a Leisure Card and start using the gyms your astronomical council tax helps pay for" plan.

I will try to keep posting at least fairly regularly, despite not having WoBloPoMo as a spur (hee! I just typed "sput" by mistake. I wish that was a real word.). You can decide for yourselves whether you think that is a good thing or not. Hope everyone has a nice (if windy - forecast here is hurricane force winds!!!) weekend.

Thursday, 29 November 2007


Well, hubby and I trotted off to see Beowulf last night. We even got some popcorn (£7.40 for 2 bags of popcorn - what's that in dollars for our North American cousins? $15?! It's an outrage I tell you!). Despite being a 5.30 showing on a week night the cinema was pretty busy. High proportion of young single guys of the slightly geek-ish persuasion. And the film is just a great laugh.

It is not deep or thoughtful and the plot is thin-ish and as expected, takes some liberties with the original, but it is absolutely fantastic to look at. If you want to see it, definitely go and see it in the cinema as it will be a complete waste of time watching it on a small screen. And if you are going to go to the cinema to see it, try to see it in 3D. All those arrows and swords and spears flying at you will be just pointless (hah! pointless!) if they don't make you sit back in your seat as they come at your nose. And you get spattered with blood and other fluids quite often, in a virtual way. But the fight and chase scenes are magnificent. Grendel is really well done - possibly the best realisation of the film - and you forget you are watching computer animation half the time. Ray Winstone is memorable in the title role (think dodgy East End car salesman: "Oi've come ta kill yer monstah!") leading to an outbreak of imitation last night and this morning in our house. "Oi've come ta put the bins aht!" This will run and run, I suspect.

One note of caution: the film is certified 12A here which means kids under 12 can see it if they are with an adult. There were some kids of about 11 or so in the cinema but I really reckon it's not for kids under 12 unless they are made of pretty stout stuff. The violence is pretty graphic and thanks to the 3D you are right in among it. And the humour is pretty earthy in places and you don't want to know what Angelina Jolie asks Beowulf to do. Or maybe you do, but not with your kids sitting beside you. My kids (a sensitive 9 year old and a more robust 7 year old) would have found it hard going in places, I think.

So there you have it. Thumbs up for 3D Beowulf (and fingers crossed that Angelina Jolie had to be significantly computer enhanced because if she really looks anything like that in real life, well, life just isn't fair). And tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo and provided I manage to crawl to the computer sometime on Friday, I will have posted every day of November.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

I'm so excited

No, I didn't find my watch (sadly) and it's not the prospect of the exciting summons I have to draft this afternoon. It's not the fact that I got the last one of the absolutely out-of-this-world french chocolates our occasional French/Spanish work assistant brought us (proper marzipan in dark chocolate - bliss!). It's not the prospect of a cup of tea shortly (though being Scottish, that is always cause for a little celebration). It's not the fact that I found the file for which I've been looking for a few (*cough* five *cough*) days. It's the fact that, after work today, my husband and I are going out. To the cinema. On our own. Sans children. My sister-in-law is kindly doing the boy wrangling for us this evening and we are off to see Beowulf. In 3D no less! I know it's a popcorn movie and I know it will bear little or no resemblance to the epic poem (we actually have the excellent Seamus Heaney translation at home, for we are interleckshewall) but I reckon it will be a good bit of mindless escapism. My only concern is that if I am put in a comfy seat in a darkened room and allowed to sit still and do nothing for 2 hours, I may just doze off. Either way, I'll enjoy myself. Review tomorrow!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

I apologise for this post in advance

Nothing interesting has happened to me today (other than that I have lost my watch which fell off my wrist because it has been needing a new strap for a while and I am dumb and didn't replace it. I got the watch for my 21st birthday mumble-teen years ago so I am kind of upset about that) I have been at my desk all day other than that and am due to participate in a partners' meeting tonight which I can tell you in advance will not qualify as interesting or entertaining on any criteria you care to mention. Partnership meetings, certainly in my experience, consist of us all getting together, moaning about how we don't like being lawyers and failing to make any decisions on any topic at all until we all get bored and go home. Oh, and the others talk about football for a while but I glaze over during that. So. There you go. A mixture of dull and dumb. Not a brilliant Tuesday really. (And needless to say I did not get out for a run at lunchtime because I was busy phoning shops to see if they had my watch. They didn't.) Rainbows and sunshine and unicorns tomorrow, promise.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Well, shucks, how kind of you

Monday morning, so back to work after the heady excitement of the weekend and Strictly Come Dancing (I can stop any time I want, honest I can). Had a nice morning today as I had a meeting with a new client. She is an older lady who isn't able to get out so I went to see her. She got me on side immediately by saying "Oh, I wondered if you would be a young thing or a middle aged lady.." I laughed and said "Well, middle aged is I think the accurate description" but she patted my arm and said "Oh, no, you're just a lass!" I like this lady.

I always feel slightly like a fraud when I am in full solicitor persona, as if someone at some point is going to point at me and shout "She's not a proper lawyer! Stop her!" This may have something to do with my deep seated insecurities and possibly a little to do with the fact that at least three clients of mine, with no connection to each other have said "You don't talk like a lawyer" or words to that effect. I am never quite sure what to make of that but it does seem to suggest that whatever I am doing, it is not what people expect a lawyer to be like. Whether this is because people have very mistaken ideas about what lawyers are like or because I am genuinely not like a real lawyer, I will leave you to guess!

But I must tell you of the best recommendation anyone has ever given for my firm. I acted for a client in a fairly lengthy matter and got a good result for him. He then recommended us to a friend of his with the immortal line "Use XY, you'll like them. They're no' up themselves". We are seriously considering using that as our advertising strapline "XY. We're no' up oursel's" Could catch on.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Wow, I'm go-o-o-od!

I wish I could get my water to pick the lottery numbers, I tell you!

I need a lie down

Well, I did it. I went out this morning, iPod clad, to do a long run - aiming, in fact, to do the longest run I have ever done. I have never got further than about 5 or 5.5km before and wanted to try to do 6km. I have to run 10km in public next year and thought it might be a good idea to start trying gently to increase the distance I can cover. I should reiterate at this point that while I can manage to run for about 30 minutes non-stop, more often I tend to run for about 15 minutes, then walk a minute and then repeat longer running with shorter walking breaks until I get round the appointed route or reach the allotted time on my feet.

I used to really worry that this meant I wasn't really running. I genuinely thought that all those people who run 10ks, half marathons, even marathons, all run without ever stopping to walk. I now know this is not true, so am a bit more relaxed about walking for a moment if I feel I need to. I still run at least 8 or 9 minutes for every one I walk so I am not too bothered. I figure I will gradually improve and need to walk less often. Incidentally, on this topic, I read on someone's blog (Zoot's, I suspect) about an interview done after a full marathon with both the winner and the person who came in last. The winner had run the marathon in, oh, 2 and a half hours or something, and the last person had taken 7 hours. The last guy in turned to the winner in awe and said "You can run a marathon in 2 and a half hours???". The winner turned to the last guy and said in amazement "You can run for 7 hours??!!!" I liked that - kind of put it in perspective.

Anyway, one way or another I got round my 6km route (including taking some wrong turnings in some residential streets I don't know well which kept turning out to be culs-de-sac) so I feel quite proud of myself. Then this afternoon, the boys, husband and I went out for a walk and I covered much of the same ground again at a more sedate pace and with less puffing and sweating. And swearing under my breath. (It was the hills - they deserved it.) I have a massive blister to show for my efforts which is now tucked up under a Compeed plaster and has confirmed for me again that I need to get some new shoes. So now I am off to make roast chicken, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, cauliflower, sweetcorn, bread sauce and cranberry for dinner and then SB and I will watch the Strictly Come Dancing results. (John Barnes is going out, I feel it in my water.)

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Iceberg ahoy!

Do you know how, if you are 9, you make an iceberg? No? Well, settle in and let me enlighten you. You get a carrier bag, fill it with water (do this upstairs so you have to carry it downstairs again, full of water), and then you put it in the chest freezer in the garage and wait for it to freeze. If you like, you can put it right beside that cup of dry tea leaves you put in there last week just to see what would happen. DO NOT ask for permission/help from any grownup. They will just spoil the fun by insisting you do stuff like check if the bag has holes in it.

Do you know how NOT to make an iceberg if you are 9? Get the aforesaid perforated carrier bag, place it in the bathroom sink and turn on the tap to fill it. Get called down for dinner by your Granny and think "Great! Noodles and tuna, my favourite!" Run downstairs for dinner. Eat dinner, happily humming to yourself. 20 minutes later, think "Uh-oh!" when Granny says "I am sure I can hear water running somewhere........."

Discover that, interestingly, your bathroom is located right above the entrance hall. Right above that damp patch shaped like Luxembourg. Wait, France. No wait, Canada.......

Friday, 23 November 2007

Well, it's Friday

This NaBloPoMo thing has definitely been interesting as more than once I have found myself facing a blank laptop screen , devoid of inspiration but needing to write something. Most days something has occurred to me, albeit not always something terribly enlightening or entertaining. Tonight is a blank night. It is 7.30pm. I am home from work. Husband is out doing musical type stuff and the boys and I are lounging in the living room. First Born is playing Gameboy. Second Born is producing another of his fantastical Lego creations (last night's was a car which was controlled by the driver's mind and with an engine that you unplugged and took with you when you left so it wasn't worth stealing the car). I have every intention of preparing something comforting to eat later and vegging in front of the TV.

I half-heartedly thought of joining in the fun of photographing the fridge contents but as I am (a) really feeling very lazy indeed, (b) a bit dense about operating our camera, and (c) due to go shopping tomorrow and the fridge is accordingly so bare that I'm sure I saw tumbleweed rolling across the salad drawer, I have decided not to. (Yet!)

The weekend in prospect is full of the usual joys: shopping, running (I hope to do 6km this weekend. You may shout at me on Monday if I haven't at least tried), washing and if we are very lucky, a family walk at some point. The weekend weather has been unremittingly awful recently so it would be nice to get up into the hills again for a bit of fresh air if we can. OH! And Strictly Come Dancing of course. Second Born and I are predicting that John Barnes will go out this week. Maybe I had better schedule some nice rough football practice for the boys too. Just to redress the balance....

Thursday, 22 November 2007


I got myself off to the gym at lunchtime today for a run (on the dreaded Treadmill of Terminal Boredom but a run nonetheless). This is the second time this week I have been to the gym for a run. Which is twice more than I have been to the gym in the whole of the last 2 months. And would you like to know what has finally motivated me to get off my backside? I cancelled my gym membership. It was costing me about £48 per month and I was barely going, so each trip was costing £12 or something, and frankly I could not justify the expense if I was not using it at least 2 or 3 times a week.

So I cancelled it, and my membership ends on 30 November. I have therefore been motivated to go to the gym at long last by the fact that soon I won't be able to go to the gym any more. This is so ridiculously perverse that I want to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and shake myself.

I have decided to try getting an Edinburgh Council Leisure Card, which for the cost of one month's gym membership, will give me discounted entry to any of the many Edinburgh Council leisure centres. There is a swim centre/small gym about 10 minutes from my office, a pool and bigger gym 3 minutes by car or about 10 minutes on foot from my house and the place where I take First Born for karate on a Sunday also has a local authority gym in it. So in theory, with so much choice, I should be able to go to a place that suits me when it suits me.

I am now taking bets on how often I actually go to any of these places once I have bought the card. And on whether I decide in 4 weeks' time that I truly love my Virgin Active gym with its shiny lockers and comfy bar after all and re-join. I'm fickle like that.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Whee! A book meme!

I was tagged for this by the lovely Isabelle and since it's about books I could hardly wait!

Hardcover or paperback and why? I kind of answered this in Isabelle's comments. Paperback definitely. I do other things while I read such as eat and stir dinner and you just can't hold a hardback in one hand. And I'm cheap. Oh! And I have been getting lots of books recently via a wonderful website called which I thoroughly recommend if you read a lot, and the books I get from there just tend to be paperbacks.

If I were to own a bookshop I would call it... this is my regular fantasy - my own bookshop. I have even decided what kind of bookshop it would be - it would specialise in Scottish literature so that the hordes of tourists who come here would have something better than a fake kilt and a stuffed Loch Ness Monster to take home. Books by everyone from Neil Gunn and George Mackay Brown to Iain Banks and Christopher Brookmyre. And a coffee shop selling my cookies, naturally. Don't know what I would call it though........I'll think about that one. I'd be tempted to call it Guddle, as with my organisational skills, I suspect that's what it would become

My favourite quote from a book (mention the title) Difficult one. I have always liked "It was the day my grandmother exploded." which is the opening line of The Crow Road by Iain Banks. Although it is a very obvious attention grabber, it still sort of sums up the attitude of the book and of Iain Banks' fiction generally. And there are loads of good one-liners in the stories of Saki, but if I start listing those, I'll be here all day.

The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be.. someone like Jane Austen. It would be fantastic to be able to tell them that their books are still read and loved hundreds of years later.

If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide it would be... gah! Impossible question! Erm...I think I may go for the complete works of Saki just because it is light and frivolous and clever and would transport you away from your predicament. And you can dip in and out of it. (I love Saki as you can tell. I used to really covet a t-shirt I saw once which said "H. H. Munro is a wry swine". For I am a nerd)

I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that....marked your page for you at the point where your attention started to stray because you are reading in bed and dozing off, so you don't have to go back looking for the last place where you actually took in any information, rather than where you actually stuck the bookmark. Or a gadget that allowed you to fall asleep reading and gently took your book out of your hands, marked your page, put it on your bedside table and switched off the light. Too much to ask for?

The smell of an old book reminds me of... law library, unfortunately.

The most overestimated book of all time is..... a close run thing between anything by James Joyce (I just don't get it) or "The Catcher in the Rye" which I LOATHED. Never wanted to slap a main character so much in my life.

I hate it when a book.. tries too hard to be deep. I like good, multi-layered, thought-provoking literature but I also like a good yarn with no pretensions. I hate it when the latter tries to dress itself up as the former. It's like those american sitcoms that try to incorporate deep moral lessons. Urgh.

If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title) it would be... isn't that weird, the first couple of characters who popped into my head aren't the lead character, but sort of supporting cast. What does that say about me, I wonder? I really like "The Crow Road" by Iain Banks and a large part of this is because I like the character of Ashley. She is a well-drawn female character and I just wish I was like her in real life! But if I am thinking the other way, ie what character would I like to be in a book I would have to say Thursday Next in Jasper Fforde's books - jumping in and out of any book you want? Brilliant! And who wouldn't want a pet dodo?

I'm too scared to tag anyone else again so anyone reading this who likes books? Consider yourself tagged. And thanks, Isabelle - I enjoyed that.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sad Persons Anonymous

I have a confession to make. I watch Strictly Come Dancing. Religiously, on a Saturday night, I watch the entire show. It is the only TV programme I specifically sit down to watch. And I watch the results show on Sunday (although, BBC? We all know the Sunday show is a con. It is recorded on Saturday night and could be a grand total of 15 minutes long and still happily include the recap, the results, the dance-off and the ejection of the losing couple. Don't make me sit through Westlife please.)

I also watch Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two on weekday evenings. In my defence, I am usually pottering about the kitchen anyway so have it on in the background but I do specifically turn it on. I love Claudia and I especially love Claudia getting dancing lessons from Len. That's the week's best 5 minutes of comedy on TV. Second Born too, likes his SCD. He and I creep upstairs on a Saturday to watch it together sprawled on my bed making scathing comments (we are experts, you know). But I am slightly worried that this is not a good influence on SB

I may have mentioned before that we are not a sporty household. I am married to one of only about half a dozen Scottish men who couldn't care less about sport, and particuarly about football. My brother has in the past stated that bringing boys up in this heathen atmosphere is tantamount to child abuse. This issue was thrown into sharp relief yesterday morning.

We drop the boys at school at a pedestrian crossing manned by a very nice lollipop man. He always chats to the kids while they are waiting to cross and on Monday, he started with the opening gambit which would have worked with 99% of the Scottish population: "What did you think of the result on Saturday, eh? Rotten, wasn't it?" My boys both looked a bit blank and I suddenly realised that SB might take this as a SCD reference and the lollipop man's reference to Scotland's defeat at the hands (feet?) of Italy would be greeted by "What do you mean? Kate and Anton were long overdue to be kicked out! That pasa doble was rubbish!"

Fortunately, the light changed and the boys crossed before they had a chance to answer. SB's reputation as a Scottish male is intact. For now.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A peek inside my head

I have recurring dreams. Yes, I know, fascinating aren't I? What bothers me though is how mundane they are. And useless. I would love to be able to write about some completely surreal dream I keep having which needs careful thought and insight to decipher. Or to have dreams that inspire me to write brilliant fiction or that give me ideas for inventions or even just new and effective ways of getting that burnt-on brown stuff off the cooker. But my dreams are stubbornly, boringly mundane and pointless and a 5 year old could interpret them. You want examples?

1. I am in a strange building/shopping mall/city street/my old school and I am desparately in need of a toilet. There are lots of toilets but they are all either filthy and revolting (think that scene from "Trainspotting") or bizarrely open to public view with no doors. Interpretation? I shouldn't have had that last cup of tea before going to bed (duh!)

2. I am back at University, the exams are tomorrow and I have mysteriously managed to forget to go to any of the classes all year. Is there anyone alive who HASN'T had this dream? I mean, it is embarassingly unoriginal.

3. Suddenly noticing I am either naked or wearing very little in public. See number 2.

4. I am out trying to go for a run and I can't run. Literally - it is like my ankles have been shackled together and I can't take strides properly and people are looking at me weirdly as I stumble along. Hmmmm. Don't think we need to look too far for the meaning of that one either.

See what I mean? No earth-shattering revelations to be found in any of those. I am boring myself even when I am asleep! My husband on the other hand has spectacular dreams - Hollywood quality epics involving invasion and going on the run to avoid the enemy troops and what have you. How do I get those instead? Someone should invent an iPod-like gizmo that lets you share someone else's dreams. Never mind the iPhone, I'd be first in the queue for one of those.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Sunday again

I can't believe how quickly the weekends go these days. One minute it is Friday evening and in a blink of an eye it is Sunday evening and I am shepherding boys into the shower with a cattle prod. It was a dreich Sunday today in Edinburgh. First Born had his karate class and Second Born and I cemented our return to the mundane after our media debut by taking a trip to Makro.

I have to confess to a secret fondness for Makro. There is something alluring about all those familiar products but in HUGE quantities. The sight of boxes and boxes of Caramac, for example, always sets the heart racing! The shopping we do there is pretty dull though - toilet roll, kitchen roll, washing up liquid, trays of tins of tuna and plum tomatoes and beans. It does feel a bit like you are settling in for a siege when you get home. Second Born as always enjoyed being on his own without his older brother and was very helpful (small boys are useful for climbing into the very back of those big shelves to fish out the last of the BOGOF Bounty kitchen roll!) Rest of the day has been spent cooking, washing, forcing First Born to do some work for his project that is due in on Tuesday - the usual. I now fully intend to watch the Strictly Come Dancing results (please please please let Kate be put out this week!), eat something unhealthy and get to bed early. Hope everyone else had a good weekend too.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

So did you see my nose?

Second Born and I got ourselves togged up in something approaching our running clothes yesterday afternoon and set off for Glasgow for the Scottish end of the Children in Need live broadcast. SB navigated like an expert, reading out the directions I had printed off from the AA website (which I duly ignored and followed my gut instead. Fortunately, my guts were on form). We arrived safely and queued up to get in to the studios. The BBC building in Glasgow is just HUGE - it's a whacking great 5 storey slab of light and glass sitting on the water. Very impressive.

The studio was quite big with rows of cinema-like seats at the back and some round tables and chairs artfully arranged down the front where the stages were. SB and I were gobsmacked, upon displaying our wristbands, to find ourselves described as "featured fundraisers" and ushered to seats at one of those tables. There was a huge amount of activity as you would expect in the immediate run-up to a live broadcast. Scores of people in "crew" t-shirts and headsets running around, warning the audience in the cinema seats not to stand up or raise their arms or they would lose a limb to the crane camera that swoops over the audience getting those fast tracking shots. That camera is seriously huge too - they all are. I was very impressed by how smoothly the operators swished around the studio without hitting each other.

Jackie Bird was practising pieces to camera (she is both taller and skinnier in real life than on TV. Seriously, not only can you see her ribs, I think you can actually see through them). The bloke dressed up as Pudsey bear was led into position (given how carefully he was led around, I surmise he can't see a damn thing in that costume). As we sat waiting, a guy wandered onto the stage nearest us - about 8 feet from where we sat. I didn't pay much attention until the girl at the next table started to hyperventilate. It would appear the gentleman concerned was Shayne Ward. I had no idea who he was (I had to Google him just now to check how to spell his name) thus confirming that I am indeed old. He was quite good though, despite his inability to pronounce "Calderburn".

After what seemed like no time, our little stint was over and we headed out (clutching two stuffed Pudseys - can't leave First Born out unless we want never to forget "that time that not only did I not get on TV but SB got a Pudsey and I didn't and you hate me don't you??"). SB and I stopped in Govan for a McDonalds (for we are brave) and SB was asleep in the car by the time we got home. It was a great experience and I am really glad we went. And if you looked really closely at the audience during Shayne Ward's song, you could see the back of my head and most of SB. So now we are famous.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Well that was weird

Just did the wee spot on Fred Macauley's show for Children in Need on Radio Scotland. And I have to tell you it is a bit of a surreal experience to be speaking to a studio full of people on the phone at my desk, surrounded by the usual piles of files and papers and faxes. I think I managed not to garble too much but I doubt that a career in broadcasting beckons.

My poor mother meantime was apparently phoning my office switchboard in a paddy because she could not find a radio in my house on which to listen to the broadcast. Now, we have digital TV which includes all the radio stations. We have a laptop sitting in the living room on which you can listen online. We have an ancient hi-fi there too, with its tuner. We have a "ghetto blaster" type CD player in the dining room with a radio and a tape deck. Her car (out on the drive) has a radio. I was laughing afterwards with her and pointing all of this out to her. "Well, you have to realise" she said "that us older people can't work that stuff out".

"You were looking for something Bakelite with a big light-up dial, weren't you?" I said. She was.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

My first!

Heather tagged me for a meme! I've never been tagged before! This is almost as exciting as my first comment. I feel so grown up in an interwebby sort of way. (So, Heather, should we exchange rings or something?)

And since this is the month of NaBloPoMo there is no way I am going to turn down the opening for a post. The meme is the variation on a favourite "8 random things about me" so here goes:

1. I am terrified of moths. I know they can't bite, sting or throw things at me but just the sight of one makes me go all shaky and adrenaline-y. I can now just about handle the little ones, but those big hairy ones with faces? Eurgh. I'll be in another room until you KILL IT!

2. I don't like clothes shopping or shoe shopping. If I have to buy something, I will go in and out of the shop as fast as possible. When I find something that fits the bill, I stop. Don't know how to browse aimlessly.

3. I can make fart noises with my hands - really expressive ones. I am talented. I taught First Born to do this and REALLY wish I hadn't.

4. I once won first, second AND third prize in a fancy dress contest. Because no-one else entered. (I suppose it could have been worse - I might still not have won)

5. Uncannily similar to Heather, I like looking at the sale listings for other people's houses, but particularly in Canada where we go on holiday. I remarked only the other day to Husband that I would like to spend part of our holiday looking at houses for sale there. The only things stopping me doing so are (1) the children would never view this as a fun holiday activity and (2) I would feel so guilty at wasting the real estate agents' time.

6. I can bite my toenails. I mean, I don't but I could.

7. I used to like to drink cold coffee (with milk in it) as a child. That disgusts me too, now.

8. I am a lawyer and became one because a teacher told me, when I was 17, that "Law is a good degree. You should study law" and I shrugged, and did, and here I am. I would like to go back to my 17 year old self and tell her to run, RUN! in the other direction and go off and study something I actually choose myself.

9. I really hate celery. Oh, you knew that.....

There you are. I am supposed to tag 8 other unsuspecting victims. I don't think I know 8 other bloggers well enough to tag, so I will (with trepidation) tag K, Lynsey, Anne and Isabelle. Anyone else reading this who has a blog and hasn't done this meme? Consider yourself tagged too.

And if you haven't already done so, go and read Heather's blog. It's cool.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

I have a really bad....uh......thingummy

I am turning into my Granny. Or, to be more accurate, my mum is turning into my Granny and I am following behind her. I used to laugh at my granny as a child because she could never remember my name. I was right in front of her, my mum only had 2 kids and the other one was a boy, and still she couldn't get my name right. In fact what she most often called me was "(my mum's name) err.. I mean (my aunt's name) I mean (my name)!" Every time. I thought it was just my granny's idiosyncrasy. But now I know better. Now I know that children rot your brain cells and at the same time, fill up the ones you have left with a pile of stuff to remember (school trips, packed lunches, clean swimming kit, tell him to cut his nails or I'll paint them pink) so there is no room left for the other stuff. Like your kid's names. I now frequently find myself addressing a child as "Hey, First Born, I mean Second Born, I mean Fred or whatever your name is!" And I once addressed my dear child by the cat's name. He answered too. He knew what I meant.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

On the road again

Well, I managed to get up this morning for a run and this feat was achieved by telling husband last night that I had to be up at 6am for a run and to prod me until I moved. I then laid the running gear out on the floor like a deflated me, ready to crawl into. Husband duly performed said duty (I think he took a perverse pleasure in it, but that perception may be down to my sparkling mood at 6am in the dark).

I headed out onto the streets. I had already decided not to run my usual morning route because it goes down some pretty isolated streets and I thought it would not be wise in the dark. Anyway given that I have not been a picture of health recently, I suspected I would struggle to run for 30 minutes non-stop and that I should therefore, break myself back in gently with a wee 20 minute jog. So I just headed off into the residential streets near my house.

And it was dark. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be light at 6.10ish, but I thought maybe it would be sort of "rosy fingers of dawn peeping over the rooftops"-esque. But no. It was "Good grief woman, it's the middle of the night, what are you doing out here when all sane people are still under the duvet?!" dark. And the dark made it harder to see where I was going (amazing, I know) so I had to keep an extra sharp lookout for obstacles on the pavement such as those left by the less well-managed dogs around here. I was not however, expecting a gate. Rounding a corner in a street of bungalows, I came across the gates to someone's drive left opened fully outwards across the pavement. And by "came across" I mean " ran straight into with a deafening clang". I presume the homeowner concerned was worried about disturbing his neighbours with the noise of opening his gates in the morning (or maybe he was just lazy) but if so, I ruined that tactic as I think they may have heard the impact in Glasgow. I await the bruise with interest. It should be a good one.

Anyway, I managed a not too spectacular 22 minutes so at least I am back on the road.

Monday, 12 November 2007

This is getting silly

The BBC called today (you have no idea how giggly the sound of those words makes me. I am shallow) and as well as going to the TV studios on Friday evening with Second Born, I am now pencilled in to chat to Fred Macauley (people in Scotland nod knowingly, people elsewhere shout "Who?" in unison) on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday. It appears that someone in the Beeb finds the idea of me being roundly beaten in a race by a 7 year old amusing. I tell you, I had better raise some more money before Friday - I will feel slightly daft brandishing one of those big cardboard cheques for only £130. Which reminds me, must contact bank and ask about big cardboard cheque........

PS I will not definitely be on the radio but if I am, it will be between 11.30 and 12 noon on Friday. Feel free to listen out for me disseminating the details of my humiliation to the nation. (Oh, and I had better make sure my grammar is up to scratch if Isabelle is listening!!)

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Me and my big mouth

I ought to have known better. It was tempting fate in a big way. After my wee tummy bug or whatever it was at the beginning of last week, I finished a post with something like "It could have been worse - at least I wasn't ill on the weekend". Well, guess what. I've been ill on the weekend. Second Born has been ill this weekend - his turn with the virus - and I seem to have at least partially come out in sympathy.

I went to bed at 10pm last night and had to haul myself out again at 11am this morning. Managed to take First Born to his karate class and then came back and basically folded myself onto the couch with Second Born and stayed there. We watched old Doctor Who episodes, back to back Jamie Oliver (which is a bit too perky when you're not well, to be honest) followed by Star Wars episode VI which is the old episode 3 I think - the one with those little furry things (you can tell I was really concentrating). I have had the grand total of one bowl of Rice Krispies all day and I have every intention of going to bed in the next half hour or so. Oh! and I finally finished reading the last Harry Potter book to the boys and I managed not to cry too much and they didn't take the mickey too much when I sniffled. So we'll have to find something else to read at night now.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Fame at last

A letter from BBC Scotland dropped through our letterbox this morning inviting Second Born and I to attend the BBC studio in Glasgow this Friday for the early evening slot of the Children in Need live broadcast. Second Born is delighted of course (First Born less so).

I am quite looking forward to seeing the inside of a real TV studio and to seeing whether they do indeed surreptitiously drug those studio audiences in order to achieve the required level of enthusiastic hysteria. If you see me standing on a chair, whooping at the top of my voice, you will know that they have slipped something into my diet coke.

The downside (you knew I'd find one, didn't you?) is that they would like us to come in our running gear. That's fine for Second Born but I am not sure the country's retinas are quite ready for the spectacle of me in lycra. Do you think they will believe me if I claim I always run in a full length dressing gown?

Friday, 9 November 2007


I had some vegetable soup for lunch yesterday. (You're fascinated already, aren't you?) It was perfectly nice soup except....a couple of spoonfuls in, floating just under the surface...I found.......(deep breath)........celery. Please bear with me while I rant briefly.

What is the point of celery?????? It is bitter and stringy when raw. Foul and squishy when cooked. It taints everything it touches but confusingly it looks lovely. Shiny people in 70s american dramas who brought their shopping home in those brown paper bags always had celery peeking out of the top. There used to be a TV advert when I was small with a smiling wumman dunking it in peanut butter and munching deliriously and that looked FANTASTIC! I couldn't wait to try it and when I did? My lifelong love affair with peanut butter began and at one and the same time it was confirmed beyond all doubt that celery is just VILE.

There are lots of other things that are "acquired" tastes, things only grownups tend to like that I have persevered with and grown to like. Olives. Anchovies. Gin. Watching the news instead of cartoons (well maybe not that last one) But the attraction of celery eludes me. When I finally rule the world, make no mistake, celery will be outlawed.

Thank you. I feel better for having got that off my chest.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

End of week 1

Well, I seem to have struggled through week one of Nablopomo posting every day. I can't pretend the posts are good ones, but they are at least there. The imperative to sit down for five minutes each and every day has been interesting. Basically I thought more fun stuff happened on a daily basis in my life than seems to be the case. Although I suppose spending a couple of days moaning and clutching my head and stomach haven't really helped.

Last night was Parents' Night at school for both boys. Nice to see the boys' new teachers in a one-to-one setting. Less good sitting on those teeny wee chairs and trying to haul ourselves out of them afterwards. We were, as always, mugged on the way back into the house by the two boys trying to get details of what their teachers said about them. So of course we told them that the school said they were both awful and they wanted them out of there by Friday. To howls of "No, they didn't, be serious!", we conceded that okay, the school didn't really say that and in fact the teachers just said that they were both a bit smelly, especially around the feet, and could we please do something about that. I think the boys still aren't buying that but since we have not sat them down for a "Talk" they know the reports were pretty good (which they were).

So, back to work now and hopefully out for another run sometime this century.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Death wish

One of these days I am going to kill someone and chances are they won't even notice I've done it. I drive into work every day (I know, carbon footprint etc but there are no buses that go the way I need to go in the morning to get the kids to school and then to work so I'd have to take about 4 different buses and that would mean getting up yesterday to be there in time so, no) Husband and I drop the children off in the vicinity of school, then I drop husband off and then I go to work (husband only works about 500 yards from where I do, so it's not so bad).

But nearly every morning I come close to maiming or injuring someone. People going to work nowadays are in full 21st century armour - iPod earphones in and mobile phone held about 12 inches from their faces as they text away. They are completely oblivious to what is going on around them and I cannot count the number of times I have had to brake sharply to avoid a pedestrian who has wandered into the road I am turning into, without looking, and then looks positively astonished to see a car! On the road! About to knock their legs out from under them! I am convinced that we are shortly going to discover that the statistics for pedestrians injured in accidents with cars are soaring due to the iPod/mobile effect. And that is why my 7 year old is getting neither an iPod nor a mobile phone for Christmas. At least that's my excuse.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Well, I'm vertical

After yesterday's exciting post I succumbed to the dreaded lergy and went home to bed, thanking Heaven that my mum and dad are around to help with the kids. I can't begin to imagine how difficult all this sort of stuff is for parents who both work and don't have such excellent, willing and capable childcare on tap. Anyway after about 6 hours sleep I surfaced briefly in the early evening and then went back to bed again at 8pm. Woke this morning feeling not exactly well, but not nearly as bad as I was, so I am back to work. On the plus side, I have not felt like eating so the return to the wagon after the Halloween binge is off to a flying start!

First Born is still off school having moved from being sick to having problems at the other end. Fortunately he is now big enough that he looks after himself in that department and even managed to change his own pyjamas etc, so we didn't even discover he'd been unwell until this morning! Second Born is pouting slightly at being completely healthy and therefore required to attend school. I mean, what unreasonable parents we are - there is nothing wrong with him and we still insist he goes to school. Tyrants, we are.

Normal service will hopefully be resumed here now and I should soon be able to post something slightly more interesting than a run-down of the state of various family members' digestive tracts.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Eurgh, it's Monday

Not a good start to the week. First Born wasn't well yesterday and finally threw up late last night. He managed to do so into a bucket rather than all over his bed, so I should be thankful for small mercies. (As an aside, I always laugh when I hear new parents-to-be worrying about whether they will be able to cope with dirty nappies. Dirty nappies are nothing, NOTHING compared to having a small child vomit down your neck, in your hair and your ears at 3am and then having to clean up not only the child, and yourself, but the bed said child also covered with puke. I'll take any number of nappy explosions if I never again have to scrape a mattress and pillow in the wee small hours.)

Anyway, having vomitted last night, school policy dictates he must be off school today. Which meant an early morning call to my mother to ask if she can come in early to look after him so we can get to work. I note at this point that I am feeling a bit off-colour myself. Put it down to the chinese food we had last night and crack on. My Dad (my hero!) arrived within an hour and we set off to drop Second Born off to school. Only to find that the road the school is on is being dug up and it took us the best part of 40 minutes to perform the drop which normally takes 10 minutes start to finish.

Got into work with 10 minutes to spare and remembered I have a dentist's appointment this morning. Note that I am beginning to feel worse and that if a dentist comes near me I am likely to throw up on him. So nipped along to the dentist's office (which is about 4 doors down from where I work) and his assistant took one look at me and agreed we should rearrange the appointment. Hmmmm. That can't be good. So I am now sitting at my desk nursing a headache and a vague queasiness and wondering whether I should just give in and go home.

First Born of course is now full of beans and is IMing me about the videos he is watching on YouTube (we're such a modern family!). Mind you, it could have been worse. I could have been sick all weekend.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Very dull but it's a post

Well, I actually managed to get out and go for a run this morning. And before 8am. On a Sunday. You're impressed, aren't you? I wasn't expecting much and I lived up - or should that be down? - to expectations. I allowed myself to walk when I felt I needed it, which turned out to be every 10 to 12 minutes or so but I did manage a total outing of 42 minutes so that's not too bad. My legs are, even as we speak, reminding me of every step.

Since then, it has been what is now a fairly standard Sunday. Taking Second Born to a birthday party, taking First Born to karate, picking Second Born up from the party, commiserating with First Born who had to leave karate early because he is not feeling well (just a cold I think but he was quite spectacularly pale), then doing washing, baking cookies - the usual. Planning to spend the rest of the day slobbing about.

This has been a quite amazingly dull post but Sundays aren't supposed to be exciting, are they? Hope everyone else is having as nice a day as I am. I'll try to come up with something spellbinding for tomorrow, promise.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A visual treat

Thought you might like to see some genuine photographic proof that an unfit, overweight, 40-ish mother of two does occasionally drag herself round a muddy field on a Sunday morning in the wake of her sprightly offspring. (I might add that this was taken a wee while after the race when my face had calmed down a bit and I'd had a cup of tea. A photo taken in the immediate aftermath would have been too awful to contemplate).

Friday, 2 November 2007

The chocolate has eyes

I'm not kidding. It's looking at me. All that calorie-stuffed nutrition-free sugar-laden goodness. I mean badness. I know I double wrapped it in plastic bags. And then put it in the garage. On the top shelf. The one I have to get the stepladder down to reach. But still. I can feel that it's looking at me, calling to me. I could of course go and throw it in the bin right now and be done with it but is there a red-blooded Scottish person alive who can throw away perfectly good sweeties? And if I go near enough to pick up the bag to throw it out I am scared I will be sucked into its sugary gravity field and, well, things will only get messy from there.

Blooming polite guisers/trick-or-treaters - all their fault. Kept telling them to take handfuls and they all took one or two pieces each. Halloween is hard for those of us with no willpower.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

I did what now?

Um, in a moment of optimistic madness I seem to have signed up for Nablopomoohno! Which means I have to try to post every day in November. And November was really far away when I signed up and thought "I'll have plenty of time between now and then to come up with a stock of witty, articulate, thought-provoking posts to draw on when inspiration dries up". And now it's......not so far away. And I have nothing in reserve. So can I just apologise for the next 29 days in advance? And if any of you kind people out there have ideas for posts or even questions to ask that I can answer and call it a post, go ahead and let me know.
And as I am typing this on Halloween evening, I have to give you the best joke from guisers so far, courtesy of Josh who is 5 and lives over the road:

Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Dunnup who?

Well I laughed.