Friday, 29 February 2008

It's the Age of the Tram...

Travelling in our wonderful capital city can be chaotic at the best of times - but with work going on in the city centre preparing for the return of trams in 2011, it's even more of a nightmare for the poor, harrassed citizens of Auld Reekie.
From Saturday, Shandwick Place will be closed to all vehicles - for five months! The good people of Dublin say when their beautiful city underwent the same transformation for a tram network four years ago, they had similar problems - constant road closures and incessant delays in the city centre. But now, they say, the inconvenience was worth it as they have a wonderful tram system and the city is all the better for it. But we are Edinburgh...
As well as Leith Walk being dug up there are new gas pipes being laid in South Clerk Street and roadworks at Cameron Toll. If you live in Dalkeith you also have to put up with the Council's fetish for digging up road after road in the town and with temporary traffic lights at just about every ten yards.
It would be nice to think that, three years from now, there will be a superb tram service in Edinburgh, the port of Leith will be a thriving redeveloped new town and getting from A to B will be as simple and as quick as possible.
But as I've said- we are Edinburgh...

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Mike Smith Dies

Well, I'm not exactly feeling Glad All Over...

Sad news though. The Dave Clark Five were big stars back in the 1960s.

Bad Cop, Even Worse Cop

The follow up to Life on Mars - Ashes to Ashes - continues its run on BBC1 tonight. It's not quite as sparkling as LoM but there are still some wonderful lines from DCI Gene Hunt - the new Jack Regan.

I loved The Sweeney. As a teenager still at school in the mid 1970s, I used to sit and watch in awe at the antics of Regan and Carter. Until then British television police dramas were the likes of Softly Softly and Z Cars. The Sweeney was daring for the times and blew away forever the cosy, homespun image of the British bobby on the beat.

'We're The Sweeney, son' Regan would bawl as he delivered several punches to the ribs of a hapless villan, 'and we haven't had any dinner'

I think the appeal of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes is that it takes viewers back to a time when political correctness didn't exist and people said and did things without the fear of upsetting anyone. Of course that wasn't necessarily a good thing but at least you knew where you stood. Working in Human Resources as I do, I shudder to think how long Messrs. Regan and Hunt would last in today's world!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Something About a Routine

It's great having three days off work. You can do what you want, when you want; you can have a lie in; you can go for a lunchtime pint or three; and you can generally pig out. Even taking into account demanding daughters and even more demanding children (you're off work, Dad? Can you look after Jack for half an hour? Which turns into three hours)
But now thoughts turn to work once more. And tomorrow will undoubtedly bring two thousand e-mails on my dilapitated computer and a couple of hundred voicemail messages on my phone.
Although it's nice to be off, there's something to be said for getting back to a routine. The commute to work in Scotland's capital city can be a pain in the backside, particularly if you use public transport. First Bus recently issued a new timetable for the number 86 from Dalkeith to Edinburgh. I suspect this piece of literature could be in line for the most original work of fiction at the Booker Awards later this year. Lothian Buses are more reliable i.e. they actually turn up at the time they say they will but travelling into Edinburgh involves crawling through Gilmerton and its twelve hundred bus stops. And if there happens to be an accident on the infamous city by-pass then most of the city simply grinds to a halt.
So, what to do on my last day of freedom? Being something of a masochist, I'll be at Tynecastle tonight to see a Velicka less Hearts try to put one over Rangers. An unlikely prospect but Hearts chances will be enhanced by the fact I'll be sticking a fiver on Rangers. Before then I may head for a rather lenghty pub lunch - anything to escape daytime television.
That's enough to drive you to drink.....hic!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Capital Punishment

Yet another serial killer in the news. Levi Bellfield murdered two young woman and attempted to murder a third.

There seems to have been an even greater number of these killers in the news recently. Which has raised the issue of whether capital punishment should be brought back to this country. The families of those young people murdered may feel that a life should be taken for a life. I have to say I tend to agree with this view. If there is no doubt about the guilt of the accused - and in Bellfield's case he was apparently abusive to the bereaved families in court - then the ultimate punishment should be decreed.

The do-gooders will spout about human rights and the likes. Well the human rights of those young women murdered have already been extinguished.

So should the likes of Bellfield and all the others...

Monday, 25 February 2008

It's Tough Being a Man

One of the many blissful things about having a few days off work is that I don't need to get up at 6.15am to shave. I hate shaving. It's one of the many curses we men have to put up with in life - women don't know how lucky they are.

I stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom (that was a great song, by the way), bleary-eyed, trying to think about what the day will have in store. I have BBC Radio Five Live on in the background - Nicky Campbell is good for the soul first thing in the morning - but the conversation on the radio is drowned out by my electric razor as I attempt to shave off another day's growth. There's always a niggly wee bit that takes that wee bit more of an effort and the danger of this is that you hack a great chunk out of your face.

Then there's the shaving rash which can make your neck and chin look like an over ripe tomato - I tend not to use afterhave because a) of the stink, b) it stings like hell and c) it doesn't usually work for me.

So I'm sitting here on Monday evening with three days growth and, as my daughter Michaela isn't slow in telling me, I look like a tramp.

If I slap on the cheap aftershave I got as a Christmas gift in 1998, I'll smell like one too...

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Cookery Programmes

Saturday mornings on the telly used to be all cartoons and kids programmes. Now, in this digital television age, there are designated channels for the kiddiewinkles so the likes of BBC1 have decided, in their infinte wisdom, to bombard the poor viewer with cookery programmes.

Now I've nothing against cookery programmes as such - well, okay I have, they're pretentious twaddle in my view - but two bloody hours cooking all sorts of stuff at a time when many of us are feeling the after effects of a half pint shandy or ten the evening before doesn't demonstrate the best planning in the world by the Beeb.
There is one small consolation - Ainsley Harriott doesn't appear.....

Friday, 22 February 2008

Friday On My Mind

Friday nights, eh? Ye cannae beat 'em. Especially if you're off for three days the following week and don't return to work until Thursday. Braw!

So why am I at home on a Friday evening when I should be down the pub toasting my extended work free period? I suppose part of the reason is that I spent most of last Friday evening in the company of Gary the Hibby who regaled me with tales of football flair (although much of it was fantasy)

Perhaps this is the way society is going. You work your bollocks off Monday to Friday and on Friday night there is the urge to lighten up with a few half pint shandies. When you don't and head straight home you feel you may be missing something.
So it was a Chinese takeaway in the company of daughter Michaela (who didn't have a particularly good day) and a couple of cans of Belhaven Best before watching a dvd of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. I didn't get where I am today without watching a dvd of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin! (if you never watched it you won't get that!)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Council Binmen

Recycling. That's one of the buzzwords these days. Everything must be recycled to reduce the 'carbon footprint'. Fair enough. Naturally, politicians fall over themselves to show how they can 'do their bit'. Also fair enough. But when it filters down to local authorities actually trying to implement recycling then the whole thing falls apart.

Take Midlothian Council for example (please, somebody) The good citizens of Dalkeith have been given one black wheelie bin for 'normal' rubbish (Council manifestos and the like), a brown wheelie bin for garden refuse such as hedge cuttings (but for God's sake don't put these in a black bag first), a wee blue box for paper and a wee red box for glass.

So we make the effort - as we feel we should - of sorting out our rubbish, seperating the papers and bottles and putting them in their proper boxes. Only for our esteemed Cooncil binmen to leave the bottles and jars on the premise that 'they were dirty'. Of course they're dirty, they're rubbish that's being thrown out. Apparently the people who run Midlothian want us to wash our rubbish before putting it out. It's bad enough that we have to cart our wheelie bins and boxes about half a mile on to the street ('cos they won't come to collect) but now we're expected to wash the bloody stuff too.

Well, here's my message to the people in the big pink hoose in Dalkeith. Until you come even close to resembling having the ability to be able to organise a p**s up in a brewery, all my rubbish is going into one big, black bag.

Sort that lot out...

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Bloody By-Pass

I love Edinburgh. But when there's an accident on the city by-pass the southern half of the city grinds to a halt. When there are two accidents then forget about having your tea at a half decent time (not that I do anyway)

Take tonight. On the FirstBus No. 86 service - although I use the term service loosely - the driver didn't fancy sitting in a queue from the Park and Ride to the Sheriffhall Roundabout. So he headed back to Gilmerton - and we sat in the huge queue on the Gilmerton Road instead. Having left the office early after hearing about the accidents - and getting a lift from a work colleague to Cameron Toll - it still took me an hour and a half to get home to Dalkeith.

I could have flown to Amsterdam in less time. Ho-hum....

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Your Bill, Sir

This isn't an Edinburgh rant - but it made me smile!


This is the first post of what may well be many inane rants from a fortysomething citizen of Auld Reekie - aka Edinburgh, Scotland's beautiful capital city.

Keep visiting this blog for my incoherent ramblings!