Sunday, 30 September 2012

So I Was in This Pub...

...enjoying a Friday off work and savouring the delights of a pint or two of Belhaven Best. When two little blighters ran over and began pestering me.

'Can I have a taste of your beer, Papa?'

'No, you can't, now go away you small children'

I dunno, children in pubs - what's the world coming to? I only popped in to celebrate my daughter Michaela's 23rd birthday. It turned out to be two for the price of one as her sister Laura was there with Jack and Hannah.

The following day didn't turn out to be the best of days. My afternoon spent at Tynecastle watching the famous Heart of Midlothian was two hours of my life I won't get back. A 3-1 defeat from Kilmarnock, Hearts 'bogey' team put something of a dampener on the day. Still, as most Hearts supporters of my generation will tell you, being a Jambo has more ups and downs than a liftman's nightmare. Hearts won 3-0 at Dundee United last week so it was inevitable they would follow up this fine performance with an abysmal showing.

In an effort to console myself, I headed to the cinema on Saturday evening to watch the latest film version of Sweeney. Growing up in the 1970s I loved watching the television version on ITV starring John Thaw and Denis Waterman. The 2012 film version stars Ray Winstone and Ben Drew (who I was reliably informed by the lovely Marion is pop star Plan B) as Jack Regan and George Carter respectively.

Now I was always going to compare the 2012 film with the 1970s television series but I have to say I was disappointed with the new film. It's clearly aimed at the American market and it seemed a tad unrealistic to me. There was a nod to the film that made Winston famous in the late 1970s - Scum - where the DI was sent briefly to prison. His march along the prison corridor carrying his clothes and the scene where he puts a couple of radio batteries in a sock with a view to assaulting a fellow inmate was a not too subtle reference to Winston's role as Carling in the borstal drama of three decades ago.

However, I left the cinema disappointed. And somewhat irritated by the cost of a hotdog - £4.50 for a small sausage in a only slightly larger finger roll.

Now it's my least favourite time of the week. Sunday night. I'm about to crack open a can or two of Belhaven Best. But first, I'll just check there are no children at the door...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

House for Sale (seriously)

Looking for a 3 bedroomed, family friendly house at a bargain price? Look no further. £93,000 will secure this very attractive property. Details below.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Some People...

...just have an unfortunate name....

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Give Me Some Space

The magnificent Edinburgh Festival may be over for another year but the crowds in Scotland’s beautiful capital city are a constant feature. Which makes travelling on public transport in Auld Reekie an ideal subject for a rant.
Long gone are the days when you could sit on the top deck of a bus and gaze wistfully in peaceful tranquillity at the world go by. The world is a much smaller place than the one I grew up in as a child of the 1970s. Scotland is now a multi-cultural country and is a much better place for being so. Moreover, there is a trait which seems to bind all nations and cultures together - that symbol of 21st century living, namely the mobile phone. Like the vast majority of the people of the western world, I have one (in the unlikely event of anyone from Orange reading this, can you please consider changing your policy of putting so many obstacles in front of customers who wish to upgrade their phones? I won’t bore you with the details but this is likely to be the subject of another rant in the very near future) but I suspect I’m not alone in thinking fondly of the time when we lived without them.
It seems no matter what nationality, language or culture people in Edinburgh are or have, the behaviour whilst using a mobile phone is the same. That is having a loud, intrusive ring tone, and speaking way too loud to the person on the other end. Local ned types tend to bawl ‘Hullo? Aye, ah’m oan the bus. Ah’m just oan ma way roond the now’ while well-dressed smartarses with laptops and handbags large enough to contain a week’s shopping for a family of four tend to spout office talk such as ‘Hey, it’s Anna, yeah, I’m just heading back to the office. Going forward, I need you to get that report finished by close of business tonight’ (going forward appears to be the new buzzwords in businesses these days, as if people feel the need to demonstrate they’re not going backwards)
Other nationalities have similar traits. It would seem the universal answering of the mobile phone is ‘Allo’ but people of Chinese, Asian and African descent all use the same behaviour as Europeans - no matter what language they use, they talk loudly with no respect for other people’s right to have a bit of peace and quiet.
And another thing - fat people. Or, to use another 21st century buzzword - obese. Now it’s easy to pigeonhole obese people and believe they all eat far too much fatty fried food and are too lazy to cook nutritional meals and take physical exercise. And, being brutally honest, I probably fall into that category myself. Some people do have medical conditions and I understand that. However, no matter the reason for some people being the size they are, they have no excuse for thinking they have the right to take up two seats on the bus. I’ve been squeezed, squashed, crushed and nearly suffocated by fat obese people on the bus as well as having people whacking me with bags, rucksacks and dozens of carrier bags crammed full of frozen pizzas, chips and crisps. In the name of the wee man why the hell don’t some people look where they’re going. Going forward has responsibilities…
At least now I’m living in Leith, I have just a short walk to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre with no need for buses. However, the crowds there still hug their mobile phones, barge past without a thought for others and generally don’t look where they’re going. If some pedestrians drove their cars the same erratic way they walk in shopping centres there would be carnage on the roads. My mood during my last visit to Ocean Terminal last weekend wasn’t helped when I popped into Waterstone’s. While pleased to see my book Hearts Greatest Games on display the note underneath the book read ‘For the few Hearts fans in Leith’. Methinks their sales pitch could be improved…
I’m heading over to see my grandchildren later today on the interminable route that is Lothian Buses number 3. I’ll have the headphones of my Ipod lodged in my lugholes in an attempt to block out the ‘hullo, I’m on the bus’ in a dozen different languages. However, there’s bound to be Mr or Mrs Obesity waddle on to the bus with twenty carrier bags from Farmfoods. And, inevitably, they’ll sit next to me.
I may be gone some time…