Monday, 30 December 2013

That Was the Year That Was

So farewell then, 2013. Two years ago I wrote on this here blog that 2012 would be a year of change for the Auld Reekie Ranter. And so it proved. 2013 has been another significant year. Here are my highlights – and some lowlights…

The Good Times:

Getting engaged to the lovely Marion at Loch Lomond in July. I know the ink on my divorce papers was barely dry when I proposed but she has given me so much support and made me a happy chappy (but don’t tell her I said so…)

Daughter Michaela announcing she is expecting her first child in April. Of course, I’m thrilled and it’s something we’re all looking forward to. Number one child for Michaela; grandchild number four for the Auld Reekie Ranter. My family is fast turning into the bloody Waltons…

Meeting the Hearts legend that is Rudi Skacel and his girlfriend in Edinburgh in August. Eva is hoping to write Rudi’s life story and I was humbled she asked me for some advice. Star struck was the phrase that sprang to mind – but Rudi got over it…

Selling the former family home in Dalkeith in March. We didn’t quite get the asking price but a quick sale was necessary. This was soon followed by my divorce in May. The end of an era.

Marion meeting daughters Laura and Michaela and grandchildren Jack, Hannah and Ava. Apprehension was understandably in the air but all the occasions went well. Marion and I spent Christmas Day at Laura’s and a great day marked a fine end to the year.

My mother moving to Leith in August. It’s good to know she’s now just a few minutes away. With my mother and I both living in Leith and Michaela’s partner Sean being of the Hibernian persuasion – meaning if the baby is a boy he’ll be dragged to Easter Road for the football – there is a school of thought which suggests I’m crossing the great divide. Fear not – I’m a Jambo for life.

My book Hearts 50 Greatest Games continuing to sell. Sadly, it might be some time until the next 50 is written about…

The Not So Good Times:

Both my mother and Ava breaking their arms in separate incidents in the second half of the year. Because she is so young, Ava recovered in no time at all. However, my mother’s break is taking some time to heal and it’s an on-going process.

Hearts losing the League Cup final to St. Mirren at Hampden in March. A driech, miserable afternoon and a long train journey back was scarcely much fun for Marion and I. Hearts went into administration in the summer meaning a 15 point deduction for this season – and almost certain relegation. A 7-0 tanking from Celtic in the Scottish Cup didn’t help either.

My Uncle Jack died in Aberdeen at the beginning of the year. Although I had not seen him in years, I still remember him with some fondness. Marion’s elderly aunt also died a month before Christmas.

Best Gig:

Eclectic is probably the best way to describe the gigs/concerts Marion and I attended this year. From Donny & Marie Osmond in Glasgow in February to The Osmond Brothers, The Selector, Billy Bragg, Colm Wilkinson and Caro Emerald, they were all pretty good. And I fulfilled a life-long wish by seeing Paul Weller perform live at Edinburgh Castle in July (I never thought I would ever see the great man sing That’s Entertainment in the flesh) However, my vote for gig of the year goes to Bad Manners in Edinburgh a few days before Christmas. Ska music as its best!

Edinburgh Fringe:

This year we saw comedians Craig Hill and Reginald D Hunter as well as the magician Paul Zerdin. They were all excellent.

Musical (not so) Youth:

Oliver, Dirty Dancing and White Christmas were enjoyable in varying degrees. I’ve never been a huge fan of musicals but Marion is slowly converting me…

The Year Ahead:

So another eventful year draws to a close. 2014 promises to be a landmark year for Scotland. The Independence Referendum; the Commonwealth Games; the Ryder Cup. The spotlight of the world will shine on our country frequently next year. For the Auld Reekie Ranter, 2014 also promises much in the way of change – mostly positive as I intend to take charge of my life. Some things simply can’t continue as they are but with the love and support of the lovely Marion, I’m confident I shall be able to make the changes which will make a real difference.

Happy New Year, folks. Here’s to a truly momentous 2014.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

A Seasonal Greet

 Gie us a cuddle, Jack - it's Christmas. No, Papa - I'm too old for this now...
 Gie us a cuddle, Hannah - it's Christmas. Here I am, Papa!