Event of the year: The birth of my third grandchild Ava on 11 May. It's amazing how much a baby develops in just seven months. She is now at the crawling stage and isn't too far away from taking her first steps. She will soon be helping Jack and Hannah in their cunning plan to walk all over their Papa and get their own way. I'll be popping over to see the little
Gig of the year: 2010 wasn't quite the vintage year for The Ranter as 2009 was. Pick of the gigs I attended were The Beat back in the spring and the legendary Skatalites at the end of November, both at The Picture House in Edinburgh. Ska music as its best. Special mention, though, for local band The Skababs. For a cheap and cheerful night out with some stomping ska cover versions, they can't be beat!
Tip for the Top for 2011: Aaron Wright and the Aprils - an Edinburgh band who will be huge in the months and years ahead. You read it here first!
Best comedian: The Edinburgh Festival is always a great event for comics. Tim Vine returned to the Festival in August and he was brilliant as ever. Reginald D Hunter, again at the Festival, was superb too.
Unexpected Good Time: I have to admit going to see The Ladyboys of Bangkok at the Festival in August with some trepidation. However, it was a bloody good show, entertainment for the alcohol fuelled masses!
Best Football Match: Jim Jefferies (the manager not the Aussie comedian) returned to Tynecastle at the start of the year and has turned Hearts from a negative, low scoring team with a couldn't be arsed attitude to one that now plays free-flowing football, scores goals and is a joy to watch again. Highlight for me in 2010 was Hearts 5-0 thrashing of Aberdeen in December (sorry, mother!) The maroons were immense that day and in young David Templeton they have that rarity in Scottish football these days - a skillful winger, a throwback to the old days of Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Henderson etc. Temps will be on his way for big money in a couple of years but we'll enjoy him for now.
Book of the Year: Derek Wilson's Scotland On This Day. A wonderful read, one of those books you have difficulty putting down.
Best Television: It's been an awful year for television in this country. The best series of plays was the BBC's Accused which ended just before Christmas. Individual stories were all written by the sublime Jimmy McGovern, a master craftsman when it comes to scriptwriting.
Best Radio Show: I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Since 1972 it's streets ahead of anything else. In my totally unbiased opinion the BBC Radio Scotland documentary series So Who's Got the Children? was also essential listening...
Quote of the Year: As I struggled with a severe attack of the potentially deadly ManFlu - and receiving no sympathy whatsoever from the rest of my family - my three year old grand-daughter Hannah put her arms around me and said 'Aw, Papa - I'll look after you' Brought a tear to my glass eye to know that a least one person in this world cares!
Most devious behaviour of the year: Grandson Jack started school earlier this year and is now proficient at writing his name. So when the name 'Jack' appeared scribbled on the wallpaper on the grandchildren's bedroom his plea of 'It wasn't me, it was Hannah' was never going to fool anyone - not even me..
Pain in the Arse Award: Not the Laurel and Hardy of local government, Midlothian Council whose complex system of emptying the rubbish would leave even Einstein baffled; not the infamous Worst Group who are likely to replace their bus timetables in Midlothian with calendars in 2011; not satellite sports broadcaster ESPN whose continual changing of their signal output led me to throw my hands up in surrender in September and cancel my subscription.
No, the Auld Reekie Ranter's PITAA goes to FLM Loans who harassed me in the summer for my daughter's slightly delayed payment on her personal loan. Someone from the company left a message on my answerphone at the beginning of November - and I suspect someone from the company also visited this blog and left a message under 'Anonymous' - but nothing further has happened. It seems customer service takes various forms..
Here's to 2011 and whatever the new year will bring. I suspect there will be a few changes in my life in the months ahead and, no doubt, this time next year I will be reflecting on those. To those who follow my ramblings may I offer my very best wishes to you for 2011 - may the year be everything you want it to be.