Monday, 30 April 2012

Be Afraid...

Grand-daughter Ava was described as 'the devil' by her mother at the weekend. I protested that was maybe a tad harsh for a wee girl who will be two years old in a couple of weeks. However, having seen what she did to her teddy bear, perhaps my daughter has a point...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Soul Searching

It's been a sad few weeks for the Auld Reekie Ranter. Separating from my wife of nearly 30 years has been, naturally, a painful process and the feeling of guilt lies heavily upon my shoulders. I moved out the family home three months ago and I've undergone a lot of soul-searching since.

I've caused hurt and pain and not a little bewilderment, not least to Mrs Smith who has understandably struggled to cope with the concept of us being apart. Reconciliation has been suggested, as has a marriage guidance counsellor. But, frankly, it's not going to happen.

Friends and family have been supportive. Daughters Laura and Michaela suspected all wasn't well for some time and, to their immense credit, they haven't turned their back on me as I feared they might. They both have their own problems to deal with and part of my guilt is me adding to their woes.

I haven't been adding much to the blog in recent weeks as I simply don't have much to say as I contemplate the future. I can't help but feel worthless and can't get away from the fact I have let some people down, one in particular who doesn't deserve the anguish I've caused her.

I usually feel melancholy on a Sunday evening and tonight I'm seeking solace in a bottle of brandy. The principal feeling I have is one of failure. I've hardly been the best father in the world and although I like to think I'm there for my girls, I suspect I'd be the last person in the world they'd turn to for help. Much as I know my grandchildren, Jack, Hannah and Ava love me, I feel I could and should be doing so much more for them. And my mother, bless her, has given me so much support both financially and emotionally in the last three months - I should be more of a dutiful son than I am.

Above all is my failure as a husband. 

I know - self pity will get me nowhere. And I need to find the strength to carry on. With a bit of luck I'll find it.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Those Keep Calm Posters...

                    's the Scottish version.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Big Eck 1 Flippin' Eck 0

First Minister Alex Salmond has told US businessman Donald Trump he is determined to ensure Scotland reaps the benefits of offshore wind.

His comments came in the wake of a series of attacks by the entrepreneur on the SNP's green energy drive.

From the BBC News website

Entrepreneur is a word oft-used to describe Donald Trump. There are other words used, particularly by some in the north-east of Scotland, to describe him but I can't repeat them here as I may fall foul of obscenity laws..

Mr Trump said recently Scotland was committing "financial suicide" by wanting to create a "wind farm landscape" which would kill off tourism. What's behind this rather far-fetched view is his vehement opposition to a wind farm being built off the coast of Aberdeenshire - and clearly visible from his all new, all dancing luxury golf course which he is just about to complete on the Menie Estate, just north of Aberdeen. His view that a wind farm will kill off tourism i.e. a possible threat to the numbers of big businessmen who will play at his golf course is yet another insult to those who opposed Trump's building of the course in the first place. Trump's plans to build a luxury hotel to accompany the course meant bulldozing the homes of some local residents. His view appears to be 'to hell with them, pay them big bucks, just do whatever it takes to get them out of there so I can have my own way.

One local man - Michael Forbes - has stood up to Trump from day one and refuses to budge from what has been his family home for decades. Trump's plans for his hotel have been thwarted thus far and his on-going and very public battle with Mr Forbes has seen Trump describe him as 'the village idiot'. Whatever your view on Mr Forbes, one can't but help admire him for standing up to Trump and just not letting him get his own way.

Now Trump has taken on Scotland's First Minister. Last month, he said that Alex Salmond would become known as 'Mad Alex' over his plans for the wind farms. Dignified as always, Big Eck has responded to Trump's diatribe thus:

"It is my belief that Scotland's great cities and ports are ideally placed to become a key hub for the rapidly growing multi-billion pound offshore renewables industry.

"Our waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind energy, and we are perfectly positioned to develop the technology that will power this renewables revolution.

I am determined that communities across Scotland will benefit directly from offshore wind, which is forecast to generate about £30bn of investment and lead to the creation of up to 28,000 Scottish jobs."

If Trump and his many hangers-on have difficulty understanding this, let me spell it out in direct Scots terms. The message from Alex Salmond and Michael Forbes, a hero of his time, is:

'Dinnae think ye can come here and dictate to our nation. Margaret Thatcher tried it 30 years ago - and her legacy is that Scotland is heading towards independence. So - get it right up ye, son.'

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I Don't Care What You Say...

The sublime Billy Joel singing My Life.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hearts 50 Greatest Games

My latest book - Hearts Greatest Games will be available from 1 August 2012.

Click on the link for further information.

Order your copy now for a huge to avoid disappointment!