Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Happy Birthday Michaela

My darling daughter Michaela is 22 years old today so I am just one of hundreds of people wishing her a fabulous birthday. She heads for New York tomorrow for a few days to celebrate - quite what the good citizens of the Big Apple have done to deserve this, I'm not quite sure....

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Travelling on Buses

The regular reader of my ramblings - Mrs Trellis of North Wales - may look at the title of this post and think 'oh no, not another diatribe against Worst Group' (rants passim) As anyone from Edinburgh will point out by looking at the accompanying photograph, this particular posting is about the other bus company in Scotland's glorious capital city - Lothian Buses, the one that actually does care about people who use public transport.

I was on one of Lothian's spanking new buses the other day - what they're calling a Hybrid bus. Apparently it is cleaner, quieter and smoother than other buses,will cut the carbon footprint of the daily commute and is more efficient, more environmentally friendly and quieter. And, I have to say, I was impressed. It's also a talking bus - a recorded announcement is made for each stop along the route (the next stop is...York Place) and there is a small screen that displays how long it will be until certain destinations are reached. As if this wasn't enough, there is also free wi-fi access which, if rolled out to other bus routes such as Edinburgh to Dalkeith, will be a boon on the long journey trying to ignore screaming kids, drunks, loud students and annoying adolescents...

It's another sign of life in the 21st century. As a child growing up in Aberdeen, I was used to some ramshackle old buses as I made my way to school in the early 1970s. People still smoked on buses forty years ago, the only concession (if you'll pardon the pun) was that one had to sit upstairs if one wished to puff on a cigarette. Thus, the roof of the top deck of an Aberdeen bus invariably became brown coloured through years of cigarette smoke. Conductors were slowly disappearing from the scene in the 1970s but there was something reassuring about a man with a peaked cap coming to collect your fare and rummaging in his black satchel for change before handing you your ticket. On occasion he would, rather like today's Hybrid bus, tell you where the next stop was, although bawling 'Come on, get aff' tended to confuse non Scots visitors to the Granite City...

That brilliant singer/songwriter Paul Weller used to sing about 'travelling on buses' on The Jam's classic number That's Entertainment. Well done to Lothian Buses for at least trying to make public transport an enjoyable rather than just a necessary experience for many.

Now, I can't post about public transport without having a pop at First Bus. While Lothian Buses are going the extra mile, First Bus have done the exact opposite in the area I live. They've amended the bus route meaning my bus-using neighbours and I now need to walk half a mile to catch the nearest First Service 86. Alternatively, we can walk a few yards and catch a Lothian Bus which will be clean, on time and reliable. While the Worst Group buses are now running half empty.

As Lothian Buses will tell you with some degree of accuracy - they're streets ahead in Edinburgh...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Mind of a Child

The other day, my darling grand-daughter Hannah leapt on to my lap in her usual, ebullient style. She wrapped her arm around my neck and asked 'So, Papa.' There was a pause.

'Yes, small child?' I asked.

She flashed those blue eyes at me. 'Have you got any kids?'

Naturally, this took me aback somewhat as it's not something you would expect to hear from a four year old. 'What did you say? I asked, in case my hearing was failing me like everything else seems to be these days.

'Got any kids?' she asked once more.

'Well,' I replied, a little bit warily, 'That's my kid sitting over there' as I nodded in the direction of her mother.

Hannah wasn't convinced. 'No, Papa - don't be silly - that's mummy'.

'Yes, little one' I went on, 'but your mummy is my kid, just as you are mummy's kid'

Hannah considered this for a moment. 'So, did mummy come out of your tummy?'

I tried desperately to give this conversation some meaning to one so young. 'No, my wee angel, your mummy came out of her mummy's tummy'. She thought about this. 'What? Granny?'

'Yes, pet'

She jumped off my lap and headed to her bedroom to join Jack and Ava in demolishing the play area.

I expect further inquisition this weekend as she tries to make sense of it all.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Woman Contacts Technical Support...

Dear Technical Support...

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0 .

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NEWS 5.0, MONEY 3.0 and CRICKET 4.1 .

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2. 6 simply crashes the system.

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?




DEAR Madam,

First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Silence 2.5 , Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1 .Please note that Beer 6. 1 is a very bad program that will download the Farting and Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0 .

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance.

We recommend: Cooking 3.0 and Hot Looks 7.7.

Good Luck Madam!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Choosing Happiness

My good friend and blogger supreme, Peggy, published a wonderful post, the link to which is below. She really is an inspiration. Please visit her blog - you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Joan Armatrading

                  Love and Affection. One of the greatest songs ever...

Children 1st

On 11 September 2011, my good friend Claire will be cycling 51 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh to raise money for Children 1st. Claire had the extremely good fortune to have me as a work colleague but, for reasons known only to her, chose to leave the organisation I work for last year. Perhaps it was when she asked me to do something and I told her to get on her bike...

If you would like to help her raise money for this very worthy cause and would care to donate, please go to the link below. If you would also be kind enough to send the link to this page to friends and relatives, both Claire and I would be extremely grateful. Thank you.