Monday, 31 October 2011


Take care - there are some scary sights out there...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Oh No It's Not...

I emerged from my daughter Laura's Halloween party earlier tonight, battered and bruised but delighted to see grandchildren Jack, Hannah and Ava maintain the Scots tradition of 'dooking for apples'. Along with what appeared to be half the child population of Dalkeith. The more alert among you will realise that, strictly speaking, Halloween isn't until Monday but with Jack at school and Hannah at nursery, Sunday afternoon seemed a good time to have the Halloween festivities.

On the way home from Laura's, the still of the night was shattered by a firework display a few streets away. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Guy Fawkes Night isn't until Saturday 5 November. Yet, the brainless neds all too prevalent in our society see fit to inflict fireworks on neighbourhoods across Edinburgh, Dalkeith, the Lothians and doubtless every other town and city in Scotland days and sometimes weeks before the event.

I was in a shop in Dalkeith three weeks ago and was somewhat taken aback to see giant posters all over the store declaring 'It's Christmas'. When I ventured to the disinterested teenager behind the counter that it was only early October she said nothing but shot me a stare that intimated she didn't care two figs what I thought.

On the way home from witnessing another Hearts defeat at Tynecastle yesterday, my gloom was deepened by the sight of Christmas lights already up on the lampposts of Gorgie and Dalry in Scotland's capital city. This was a few hours before the official end of British Summer Time.

Commercial gluttony seems to be behind the reasons for such events starting unseasonably early. Fireworks have been on sale for weeks now, as have Christmas Cards. I saw an advert the other day urging people to book now for a Burns Night evening - held at the end of January. I couldn't help but feel the need to plea to let us get Christmas and New Year out of the way first.

Is it me? Am I the only one who wants to stop the world and get off? It's 1 November on Tuesday. Time to start thinking about what size of Easter Eggs to get the kids....

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Saturday, 22 October 2011

School Daze

My good friend from Aberdeen, Colleen, sent me the above photograph which, initially, induced a fair degree of sadness in my heart. Colleen and I attended Linksfield Academy in Aberdeen in the mid 1970s. The school was built in 1974 but, typically of the council, it wasn't fully ready for the influx of unruly pupils until the summer of 1975. This meant spending my first year at secondary school travelling to a much older building, the now long since departed Middle School - so called because it was situated in the heart of the Granite City.

When we eventually headed to the newly built Linksfield in 1975 it still wasn't finished, meaning we had to trek about half a mile to Old Aberdeen school for certain activities such as physical education. The swimming pool still hadn't been completed by the time I left school altogether in 1978.

Despite the shambolic organisation of Grampian Regional Council (as it was at the time), I spent some happy days at Linksfield - as well as some not so happy ones but I won't dwell on those. However, the only school chums I still keep in touch with are Graham Baxter, who I still share a few beers with on the  occasions I'm in Aberdeen to watch the famous Heart of Midlothian, Gary Adams, who was best man at my wedding but who I haven't seen in over 20 years (but Facebook has meant we are still in touch) and the lovely Colleen. Oh, and someone called Patricia Williamson who still gives me grief on a regular basis. Mind you, she's been doing that since we got married in 1982...

It's nearly 22 years since I left Aberdeen for the magnificence that is Edinburgh and I had no idea my old school was being pulled down. Some people say your schooldays are the happiest of your life. I don't particularly subscribe to that theory but nevertheless it's still sad to see part of my childhood disappear for good. All that is left is memories. Of the maths teacher throwing chalk at me as I gazed out the window; of the French teacher not particularly bothered if I learnt a foreign language; of a physical education teacher who looked at me in a strange and quite unnerving way; of dancing to dreadful cheesy 70s music at the infamous school discos; of falling in love for the first time...

...aye, go on then, flatten the place!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Me and My Girls

Stunning good looks; charm; talent; ambition - words that all spring to mind when looking at this photo taken at a wedding reception in Musselburgh last night.

And daughters Laura and Michaela don't look too bad either...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011

Set Fire to the Rain

The fabulous Adele.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Aberdeen Trams

This is a fascinating look back at Aberdeen when Corporation trams and buses ran in the city in the 1950s. I hasten to add this was way before my time there...