Taste Edinburgh – A triumph!


TASTE Edinburgh is over for another year.

What a great event.

In the past sponsored by Channel 4 this year Scottish Power and Stripe PR stepped up to the plate and took over the whole jing bang. A big step and one I sincerely hope pays off for them.

Bringing together Scotlands stop chefs and some fab food and drink Inverleith Park was the venue which in May can be a risk but this weekend the sun shone, the people flocked, the food was produced and the wine – oh God and I should know – was glugged.

Another one? Oh God go on then.

Hotel Missoni sponsored the opening evening with endless jugs of Prosecco which journalists from far and wide engulfed happily. At about 6.30pm the first lot slipped off to a corporate night at Space NK but Dynamite and I hung on there.
The second tranche left to go see Sex In The City 2 the Scottish Premier and yes you guessed it Dynamite and I hung on there. Eventually we declared it was time to go only to bump into an old friend who had just arrived for a wee look round. Fancy a drink girls?

Well we would just LOVE one thank you.

One more bottle later.

Karen Koren, Comedy Queen of Scotland steered our pals confused teenage son round the various food stalls to make sure he didn’t starve as the rest of us propped up the bar and put the world to rights. Home by 8.45pm – but the damage was done.

Next day was quiet. Very quiet.

We’ll see how long that lasts.

Not very comes the long suffering husbands voice from the hall. Unfortunately he adds under his breath – but I heard.

Prada Shoes for £20!

Just stroked some Prada shoes. Ms Dynamite Di bought them at the  Mary Queen of Shops, Save The Children shop in Edinburgh. Originally £220 they were only £20 she announced as she dug out a shoe bag in front of my very jealous face.

Looking in, it  was obvious why they were so cheap – there was only one! ‘No  you pillock’ she said producing another shoe bag with the  matching shoe  in it. Oh so you get two shoe bags if you buy posh shoes – well you don’t at New Look I said in my defence which is where I buy my footwear. Such a class bird. For £220 you could about 90 pairs of shoes from there or one from Prada – bring it on New Look that’s what I say.

You can take the girl out of Aberdeen……….

Twitter, tweet, twaddle.

This is what happens if you isolate yourself too long.

Twitter, facebook and the internet now isolate us. Todays news. Is it news? Having moved from printed media to the internet I can only agree. It’s true. The hours spent sitting hunched over a desk writing and posting detracts from the real life that is still, thankfully,out there. Spending time away from the technological distractions of day to day life means real life gets an opportunity to seep back in. Slowing down, spending time sitting on a wall chatting to a complete stranger about …well…nothing. Sitting completely still and staring out to sea in total peace.

Last week I was in Argyll, the wild, green, rolling mountains, watching eagles and buzzards (I am the only in Scotland that still likes them!), deer, squirrels and  seals.  Of all the  impressive animals we came across it was a  Blackbird  whose song was incredibly chipper and amusing – that turned my head. And when did I hear it?  At 3am! I did. There I lay in a B&B on Mull as the sun came up  and this bird just started. To begin with I was highly irritated ‘how dare it interfere with my sleeping’ but as I lay there listening I found myself  alone in bed laughing at the sheer joy of this twittering wee feather pot.
Sitting staring at screens, all day is a means to an end but as time goes on I believe  the original Twitterer aka the birds have more validity in this mad bad world than the short blurts of information that an increasing number of people feel compelled to share with us. That geezer who was negotiating with BA on behalf of the enployees Twittering  during the meeting made me think what a rude, distracted pillock – I mean how could he be concentrating on representing the enployees who had entrusted their future potential strike and livelihoods with the due care and attention it deserved when he was texting on Twitter. I reckon he needed a slap for that. No Twitter and I are going to fall out longterm. So whether this heralds the begining of a stupendous mid-life crisis or not remains to be seen. But if I start googling Bill Oddie, wearing  Birkenstocks and knitting my own balaclavas I have instructed  my husband permission to phone Location Location Location and Find me a Place in the Country now.

Scots + Sunshine = Carnage

Geeza straw

Popped out to the communal garden for a coffee at 11am. By 12 the clinking of glasses alerted our ears to the fact the neighbours were taking the plunge and having a glass. Fancy one ? I asked Fiona. Och go on then just the one.


Then another. Joined by neighbour David. Laugh? Slap on more suncream, have another? Och OK. More neighbours emerged from their respective flats and the table grew and grew. We better eat I thought as I scrabbled about in the kitchen and found a small bag of mini cheddars and a melon. That”ll do for a start I said producing the Cheddars which we wolfed. More wine. More neighbours. The kids rampaged in the sun with water pistols, footballs, rugby balls, games of rounders as friendships were forged, stories were told, clinking and guffawing adults joined more and more. Surely the whole street was now in the garden whooping it up. By 7pm all dogs had been unleashed, all kids were getting tired and the adults were swigging and telling secrets in loud voices to anyone who would listen.

A good impression of the light tanning my chops got

Cut to this morning. A warm, fermenting melon was unleashed from my bag with one empty bag of mini Cheddars as I dug about looking for Nurofen.  A strange mobile phone fell out too. It rang. I picked it up. Fiona had left it under a chair, when did you leave? I ask.

I have no idea.

The street is quiet today. A lot of shuffling, sunglasses and low key meanderings – knowing glances.  Stuart – one of the whooper uppers – clocked me and just smiled. Carnage he said. I nodded sagely. Carnage. Please God don’t make it a long hot summer my liver cannae take it.

Ode to Ronan the Rat – Boyzone.

Ronan Keating  – you great balloon.

Caught with your breeks nae up but doon                                       

Yer poor wife Yvonne is afa’ pit oot.      

Ye gormless shaggin’ hairy galoot.

Yer fans right now will think you’re a nit,  

A thoughtless, two-faced, over-sexed s**t.

But the sad and hard truth is of all of these folk  

You’re the poor sod who’ll be lonely (not broke)

But ye can’t cuddle money, you’ve blown it daft lad

 The chance to remain as a husband and dad                                                                                                     

It’s too late already to turn back the clock  

 You shouldn’t have listened to your best friend – your c***

You’re still in the Boyzone  as the mark of a man

Is to cherish his family not flush’em down the pan.

Less of the smiling please.

Ronan – you rat. You dirty rat. How could you? Why did you? Was that gentle smiling Irish lad a myth then? So it seems the twinkly eyed man who  lounged on couches playing Nintendo Brain Training games with his gorgeous wife  with their lovely wee kiddies gamboling around them was a hoodwinker. Now we know he’s a shagger we suspect him of keeping a glad eye on the Production Assistant or texting a slapper during the break in filming as his wife rushed off to feed the babbies. Aye. Ronan you rat.

 Young Ronan wedged himself into the consciousness of the masses with gentle love songs, written from the heart. His public displays of affection and devotion to his wife and kids were things that dreams were made of. And it was all horses***. Ah well. Ronan wasn’t built in a day but he could be destroyed in one.

Got that off my chest then.

Hot weather – not so hot body.

This time last week we were wrapped in thermals – 2 deep. This week it’s 22.5 degrees and the Pilsbury Dough body has just been dug out and revealed. I would like to say a big thank you to those who didn’t scream, vomit and run away screaming as the pasty bingo wings made their annual foray into the light.

Pretty much the same shape as me

Lying flat out on the grass today, tentatively I rolled up the trouser legs .What lurked beneath was too horrific to continue so I  just rolled them down again and collapsed back to horizontal to regret the lapsed body beautiful campaign. This sumo suit was somethinig I ordered for Christmas a couple of years ago for a laugh. It now seems like a realistic sartorial choice to hide the reality of the hibernated Scottish body.

I like to believe if I lived in a hot country permanently I would be a honed beach bum as opposed to a bum with a face.  Sadly the reality of this Scot in summer 2010 is less  Elle MacPherson and more Archie MacPherson. Ach well. Off for a pint.

Mulling over invasion of the accent snatchers.

Now I love islands. I especially like Scottish islands but I have to say I have returned from Mull with two lasting impressions.

We found less kilts and more this sort of thing

1. Calmac ferries are brilliant – they did not take the mickey out of me for booking my ferry the wrong way round. The staff were smiley, helpful and as a Scots firm I want to say a huge THANKS  to  them for being flexible and making life easy.

2. Speaking of Scots. There’s no’ many left on Mull?

I am not a xenophobe but everywhere we stopped on the island had been visited by invastion of the accent snatchers. It became a quest to find a Scot and there was a  collective whoop of delight and familiarity when we fell into Cafe Fish on night one. A cracking restaurant with a top team of girls rushing around serving the freshest seafood you can imagine. Crayfish and langoustine Caesar salad was the starter, huge and delicious. An instant hit.

Next I went for the scallops. I can’t help it I’m addicted. And they were top banana.  God the thought of them now makes me want to jump back on the boat and go back. The food and atmosphere was such that we booked to go back two nights later and did. And we weren’t disappointed. If the boat hasn’t caught it you won’t be eating it! Wonderful stuff. So if you get to Mull and need a fix of Scots food and accents then head here immediately you will not be disappointed.

3. Last but not least we noticed the local butcher is shut. The one on the main street at Tobermory. He had a sticker in his window saying they were sorry but they had no choice. About 3 doors along the Co-op’s bright green signage beamed out. Sob. The multi-nationals are worming in – it’s a heart breaking thing to see.

Itchy coo park. Wild Highland Coos.

Do you think this is what George Lucas saw when he imagined some of the  creatures he created for Star Wars? These little beauties are a  cross between a wooly mammoth and a bear and they are all around us. Whilst on the Island of Mull the number of these gentle hairy galoots made it impossible to get anywhere fast.  I kept stopping the car for a good stare.  

The Hairy Galoot just stared as we watched his gigantic friend.

Well that and the sheep and lambs lounging casually in the middle of the one track roads. A staunch meat eater having witnessed these lovely beasties I have to confess vegetarianism is now a realistic possibility.

Proven idiot in ferry f*** up.

The Ferry I failed to book

I am writing this from a Calmac hotspot feeling like a fool in a car park. Having been in Oban, Kilmelford and Loch Melfort for the past few days today is the day we head to the Isles. Up early and in the car, ready for action with the  print out of my booking stuffed into my handbag we arrived at Oban ferry terminal in  good time. Handing over my ticket the man smiled – this is for Craignure to Oban. Yes I smiled it is. You’re not in Craignure though are you? You’re in Oban.

The penny dropped. Eejit alert. I booked the ferry the wrong way round. So Calmac were great they changed our tickets in moments (whilst grinning) to the 6pm – the next ferry with space. So 6 hours to kill we are now in the stand-by queue. We may get on the 2pm. We may not.  We may get on the 4pm. We may not. But we will get on the 6pm.

Looks like lunch has arrived - this from seafood shack!

Every cloud. There’s  a geezer called John Ogden who runs a wee shack from Oban pier from where he sells great punnets of scallops and giant prawn sandwiches. That’s lunch sorted. Sitting here I realise Calmac have a free hotspot.  I can update my blog and let the world go by. Hell I may not even get the ferry I may just stay here, scoff seafood and wave off the intelligent ferry bookers of today and tomorrow.  Bon Appetit and if we get there an update from the Isles!

On the road to the Isles…..with a virus.

On the road for another week – round Scotland – with a boot full of wine, a laptop and an optimistic eye. I will be blogging daily if you’d like to  follow the trail of nonsense here .

Imagine getting up this nose - not very pleasant.

But before I go If alisonsdiary has sent you an e mail trying to flog viagra, lend you money or other such nonsense I can only apologise. SORRY. It’s a virus. How this happens I have no idea and who are these anoraks who abide somewhere in the ether spend their time fiddling around to hack into peoples e mail addresses and send meaningless nonsense to millions of strangers anyway? Eejits the lot of them.

As you can see it gets up my nose.

They should get out of the house, take a walk, meet a human, speak, laugh, buy a dog, phone an old pal, go to the pub, read a book, turn off their infernal PC and  in other words get a bloody life.

Hackers turn off that computer - come on you can do it!

So that’s that off my chest. And as I say sorry about the random e mails if you were unfortunate enough to get one.  Off to fill up the car and get on the road………..