The dreaded teenwolfs holiday

A 45 year old woman after her child has been on holiday to Zante

Despite sporting the chunky thermal and embarrassing bobble hat thoughts in our house are already turning to summer holidays 2013. The reason? Teenwolf came sloping and mentioned casually as he scoffed a vast trough of cereal ‘Oh yeh by the way we’re going on a lads holiday’.
My eye balls bulged and voice squeaked, palpitations setting in ‘When?’
‘Where?’ I managed to blurt out in a strangled squeak
‘Zante, Greece’
‘Great’ I said through clenched teeth whilst sporting clenched hair and a fast loosening bowel.
Fixed grin in place I clung to the kitchen unit until the long suffering husband came in
‘What’s wrong with you?’ he asked as he attempted to prize my finger nails from the granite work top where they were firmly embedded,
‘Lads holiday’ I whimpered.
The blood drained from his face.
A right of passage these days I know that and is easy to say in the cold light of day quite calmly until I remember this time it’s my son. The shape shifter.

Do you remember your first holiday without your parents? How could you forget? That feeling of freedom, independence that feeling the world is your oyster. At the tender age of 18 if my folks had realised they would have chained me to my bed and not let me leave Aberdeen but they drove us to the airport waved us off with our over large cases and whap there we were independent holiday girls on tour.

What unfolded over those 2 weeks was a series of wild nights, moped rides, we met an Argentinian drug dealer, saw a German being stabbed in the foot, got into cars to go to clubs with complete strangers and had no thought whatsoever for our personal safety and no thought about any consequences of our behaviour. Our promise to one another is we would stick together all day and all be home together at night which we stuck to rigidly but within that criteria when I think now about what could have happened it gives me the chills.

But boys are different aren’t they? My pal Gordon went on his lads holiday with two of his chums Fred and Jeff. Jeff got mugged, Gordon had his clothes stolen and Fred broke his leg. There were three of them Teenwolf is going with the entire rugby team – and a few others.
So 18 giant, rumbustious, rugby players heading to Greece in August – when it can hit 40 degrees in the shade doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

This is the boy that just a few years ago declared loud and proud that he would be a teetotaller. As a mum I was over the moon. Great I thought we will for have a designated driver in the house. Sadly it didn’t last.
Don’t get my wrong he’s no Oliver Reed but it’s the whole group mentality that does give me the heebie jeebies. I will worry for the whole lot of them.
When we travelled it was a long time ago and the world was a less scary place. It was. Since then the drinking culture that plagues the young Brits is seldom out of the press. It was recently underlined that this is not just when the go on a sunny holiday as Theme park managers down south announced things were so bad they would be breath testing students, after too many have vomited on rollercoasters while drunk or hungover during the first week of university. And that’s a day out – what about 7 days out in the sunshine with ‘the lads’. The consequences are reported in the paper every summer of balcony plunges, sunstroke, alcohol poisoning, unprotected sex. Yes I am talking about the worst excesses thanks to Emergency Ward Magaluf or whatever the latest reality show to be broadcast to scare the living daylights out of parents is. I know I have to rise above it and believe I have done my job as a parent as well as I can for precisely this reason. To let him go with my blessing. So using this logic I should be able to drive him to the airport and wave him off with a genuine smile before heading home and getting on with my life. In theory. So I have 6 months to practice that part meanwhile I am googling transcendental meditation, yoga and valium.

Sock it to me baby.

Moving house is a pain in the neck. We have moved more times than I can count. It used to be bin liners and a bashed suitcase. Then we graduated to cardboard boxes  and a pal with a car. Then a van and this week it involves a great steaming long heavy weight lorry type thing. Nightmare. A very tiring nightmare . Not that I will be doing the heavy lifting. Just the bossing. Or pointing.  And eating the chocolate biscuits. Or all three.


Yup we are downsizing, from a place with walls to an altogether more open plan sort of affair. Wall free.This sounds lovely and New York apartmentish until you realise we are possibly the most untidy family in Europe or possibly even the world.

As the walls disappear the feeling of openess is wonderful –of course this is because we haven’t moved in yet.  The minute we get there with our clumps of keys, papers, laptops, odd socks, geriatric dogs, coat hangers, puffy winter jackets and embarrassing hats that feeling of open plan spaciousness will be gone and quickly forgotten. Once the boxes of stuff arrive we  may well disappear under it for days, weeks or even months. Honestly I feel like running to the hills until it’s all done.

The biggest and most annoying thing is the great moaning groaning mountain of socks that will come with us. Every few years I purge my life of the multiple single sock phenomenon and  day by day it creeps up on me again.  I have a few pairs – obviously girlie size 6 ones and as I am the only human woman in the place it is not difficult to focus on the source of my anguish – yes the two socked males I share my world with. Both size 11 feet, both with an allergy to washing machines and both with a high probability of being wapped on the side of the head with the laundry basket if they don’t get a grip of them soon. I can feel a bonfire coming on.



Black socks.  Winter socks. Sports socks. Old gnarly holey socks. Individual stripey socks who have long lost their partner. Threadbare favourite sock who sits perched behind the tap optimistically waiting as each load of washing is spat out forlornly looking for his doppelganger.  The bane of my life. I tried to putting them in a huge  laundry basket so they can just live there but within this black hole of sock disappears things like – my socks, time, patience, life.  So at the end of my rope I call a hormonal overbearing summit during which the male inhabitants  remain seated, exchange glances and roll their eyes at me and I warn then I am not joking and  shall move to Borneo if they don’t sort the sock mountain  out once and for all.

‘How can you move to Borneo if you don’t like flying?’  asks the fruit of my loins.

‘I will walk’. I state calmly through gritted teeth as I mince past clenched to run a bath.

Count to ten.
Cut to 7.45am  the following morning. I hear the teenwolf loping past  my bedroom door closely followed by a  yowl

‘M….u…….m   I can’t find any socks’


Don’t mess with the evil eyeball.

Bulgy eyed, red faced and hair on end I leap up, stomp through to the sock black hole,  swing my head round the door ready  to vent my spleen and give him the evil eye but before I can blurt a word out his face snaps into a vast cheesy grin. ‘Ha Mum –  got ya!’.


You live a long time after you’re laughed at.

I should make 132.


West Lothian Council awards…

Great night was had by all. At the Howden Centre which is a lovely theatre in the heart of Livingston, 300 red velt seats in an intimate auditorium great atmosphere.
They have a Primark opening soon – and over 150 shops – a good idea for the Xmas shopping if you can’t face city traffic and throngs of folks puffing and panting in and out of the busy central shops.
Horse playing tonight….may just go bck.

Rosting, fun, lots of chat, saw this sign in the dressing room. Was a little worried my mum Pat knows nothing about electrics. Gawd help us.

The ghost of Christmas hangovers past.

I love Christmas and New Year. But how things change.

It used to be about getting plastered on Xmas Eve with my pals.

To the extent I would have to be kicked out of bed to sit at the table for lunch, and between courses often my head would droop until my red hungover face slumped onto the table.  How mum and dad resisted giving me a good cuffing is a miracle.

Then became more about family when the wee sausage arrived in my life.

Now the wee sausage is 16 and well you can imagine we are living in the set from Kevin the teenager.Tonight will be fraught with clenching as he heads to the street party in Edinburgh and I remain calm – on the surface – knowing what I was like at that age I am happy in the knowledge he is far better behaved but still it seems like only yesterday and so I shall drink to forget.

So how have I changed over the years?

Well obviously I look the same – except more wrinkly, puffy and drooptastic.

I am mostly sober on Xmas Eve – sort of, but the real sea change is the type of gifts I used to hate I now crave.

My top gifts in the past would include a bottle of gin, another bottle of gin, some tonic, crisps, make-up, music, music, music, Donny Osmond and a voucher for a taxi to drive me round my favourite pubs.

This year I got a pair of slippers from Fatface and Keith Richards autobiography.

Never been bloody happier frankly.


Edinburgh babies go green!

New Mums!

A great place to head with your delightful bouncing babies and toddlers.

The Jack & Jill Market (Baby & Children’s Markets)
The Jack & Jill Market comes to The Edinburgh Academy to provide local
mums with an ongoing opportunity to recycle and make money selling
quality items they no longer use, and to save money buying quality-brand,
nearly-new items at less than retail price. Every nearly-new item bought
and sold reduces landfill and helps the important fight against climate
A series of Jack & Jill Markets will be held at the Edinburgh Academy
throughout the year, the first one being held on Saturday, 5th February,
10.30am-1.30pm, in the Dining Hall. There will be over 20 stalls of
quality, nearly-new maternity, baby, and children’s items for 0-9 years –
clothes, toys, games, buggies, bikes, cots, high chairs, and much more.
For more details or to book a stall, phone Nicole Diamond on: 01721 725
879 or visit

Supermoon will occur Saturday night -especially if Scotland win the rugby!

‘Supermoon’ Will Occur Saturday Night

CS - Full Moon Optical Illusion Gordon Gillet / ESO

On Saturday afternoon, the moon will be the closest it’s been to Earth in more than 18 years. The “supermoon,”as observers have dubbed it, will appear Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET at a distance of 221,565 miles away. It will appear 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than your average full moon, weather permitting. The reason why the moon will be so much closer is due to a fluke of orbital mechanics. But don’t be alarmed: Although the supermoon will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides—which could result in flooding problems if combined with a coastal storm at the same time—it won’t cause a natural disaster.

Teenwolf whips up the pack. In our house. Sob, snotter, palpitate.

Travelling with Teenwolf is a mixed blessing.

Blessing. I know where he is.

Mixed blessing. Usually asleep


Trailing down the road the sun is beating into the car. The dogs are snarly, too hot, panting and grumpy in the boot. We know this by intermittent wafts of halitosis and snarling as they unexpectedly stand on each others tender bits.


Teenwolf is in the back. The stuff that we have forced into the car is liable to suffocate a lesser man but he is boldly slumped in there with his bright green headphones on – imperative for any journey – a bottle of water and a shut eye.


This is why it amazes me by the time we have got where we are going he has rallied his troops and there is to be a happening in our garden.

The only way this was discovered was cos out of the silence, amongst the piles of stuff in the back came this statement out of the blue ‘Oh Hi – yeh I know it’s weird I can’t text so I am phoning’

(Weird now to phone OK take note for handbook.)

‘Yeh tonight. Yeh nine. Yeh about 8. K. C U. Bye’


Swinging my head into the back seat I ask in my fake sweet voice ‘So….what was that about?’

‘Oh I’m having a barbeque’

‘A barbeque? Where’

‘In the communal garden.’

‘Oh. When’




What with .

Ryans taking sausages.

Sausages and people – wow that will go off like a bang.  I thought but was not foolish enough to actually say.

So how many of you are there… we are interrupted by buzzing another call for Harvey Goldsmith of Edinburgh.

‘Hi yeh my text isn’t working. I know it is weird. Yeh mine. Yeh a few. Yeh cu there’

How many of you then?

A few

What’s a few?
Bout 10

Phone rings again…yeh sure  take the girls. Great.


By the time we get home the atmosphere in the car is cold. Tempted though we were to just say no. We know better than that so laid down conditions which we expect will be ignored.


6pm one of his pals turned up to get things ready.

Things ready?

Ryans taking the sausages what is there to get ready?

Oh you know

No not really.

Well.. anyway see you later k.

( I have also learnt to say OK is too strenuous so it has been shortened to K’?

So with two bags packed with rugs, sweatshirts and a few suspicious clunky noised bottles they left.

2 hours later. I get a text. ‘Ryan forgot the sausages. Have we got any crisps?’

Call me a softie or call me  horrified that heis  not taking the family lead of over egging rather than under egging the catering pudding or just call me someone who know the dangers of beer on an empty stomach but I found sausages burgers walloped them into the oven wrapped them all up and texted him –come and get the food.


Promised to be in at midnight. Leave no stour and be up early to study.

12.30 no sign
Today is not going to be a good day.

Go West to Loch Melfort and don’t spare the horses.


I stand accused and guilty of exaggerating. I do. SO what I am about to write is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me dog.

Melfort House – B&B? Bloomin’ luxury!


I wrote about my Mum’s 80th – now being a party animal myself I assumed she would want a big rip snorting whizz bang of a do. I had visions of gathering friends from all over the place, hiding them in a dark room until the unsuspecting Pat was taken in at which point they would all leap from their allotted places shouting HAPPY BIRTHDAY and the fun would begin.

This of course is my idea of heaven.

Her idea of hell.

I organised a surprise birthday party for her 70th.

The biggest surprise  that she got wind of it and went to Ireland.

Still we went ahead and had a hell of a good do. The only thing missing was the birthday girl and my dad who were in Clifden, Connemarra.


A Jazz band, barbeque and  all day frenzy ensued. We had snoggers on the lawn by 3pm, a woman left her husband after meeting someone she thought was the man of her dreams – he was as a matter of fact the stuff of nightmares she later found out –  the local hairdresser got thrown out for insulting everyone and still the band played on.

So this time it was her call.

What would you like to do?

Go to Loch Melfort. To Melfort House that lovely B&B we stayed in last year was the answer and you can’t argue with that.  So instructions issued. We were off.


20 minutes south of Oban you see a turn off for Kilmelford to the right and off you go. A wonderful wee road undulates along the loch side past a few houses but the main challenge is to keep on the road as your eye is inevitably drawn to the array of boats, yachts and sail boats bobbing in the water and the backdrop of the islands beyond. Not 5 minutes later the sign to Melfort House guides you up a tree lined drive and you get your first glimpse of  the house. Built originally in south facing overlooking the loch with wonderful  mature gardens all around. The door flew opne and out came Yvonne & Matthew Anderson, our hosts.

Ushered in and offered afternoon tea and homemade scones and jam we exhaled after our journey taking in the breathtaking views of the loch and gardens. Total peace. Shown to our rooms.They have 3.

Mum was the birthday girl so she got the loch suite a room with a bed bigger than my first flat.

Polytunnel from where all the homemade veg goodies come straight to the plate.


David and I got the hill room which was also a sumptuous delight.

After unpacking the sun was still a shining so we walked  over to the nearby Shower of Herring for supper. Which David insisted in calling the Flock of Sparrows. The chef is a real character and had put on canapés when he heard a fellow restaurateur was heading over to eat.

Scallops, duck and no room for pud we had a great time. A couple of bottles of house white and teenwolf, actually sitting at table, speaking and doing impersonations of some of his teachers at school had us in stitches. Tomorrow David’s birthday. Yup the day before the big one.  Gird your loins tomorrow is another day.

L Plates are on. Teenwolf is off. Sob. Snotter. Wail.


This wee pudding behind a wheel……get me the smelling salts.

Well it has finally happened.
Teenwolf Is learning to drive.

My baby is behind the wheel of a car ,

Bring on the vapours.

He is just 17 and it has been on his mind since he was …well…born actually.

So when he broke his arm  4 days short of his birthday in November I was very sad but confess as we waited for his plaster cast to set  part of me did think …well at least he won’t be able to drive for a while.


No sooner is the plaster off than he is badgering me to take him out.

He wore me down so off we went. to the Murrayfield Stadium car park which is a vast area with not a soul around.

As I wemnt over the basics.

This is a car he rolled his eyes

That is the clutch I pointed at th clutch he rolled his eyes

That is the accelorator and the brake isin the middle.

It was as if I was talking to a man with over 25 years experience on the road. He couldn’t wait for me to shut up so I did.

As he turned the ignition on he put his foot down  on the gas with such velocity we did a wheelie I am not sure who got more a shock, him, me, his ears  or my bowel.

After a few steering grabs and screams

‘For gods sake Mum don’t scream at me ‘ he screamed at me.

‘Well it’s hard not to when you see your life flashing before you!’

‘Dad won’t be like this’;

“You’re right he will be worse’

So after going round about 25 times he got the hang of the clutch and the fact if you go round a corner at anything other than   crawl you are likely to skid, topple or crash.


His first official lesson was the following day.

He was out there with a brave brave man called Stephen  for 2 hours.

2 hours!

He drove from Crammond to Letih..

I was in shock when he told me

‘On the road?’ I asked

‘Yes where else ?’  the indignant response.


So not only have late night clubs and wild woman become a regular reason to wake up and worry now we can add the potential passing of the test and car napping my wee rustmobile to go cruising.

But I will not be foiled. I have a plan.

My options I outline below.

Make sure there is no petrol  in the tank  after all its flammable and therefore deemed dangerous.

Sell  it.

Burn  it.

Pay someone to steal it. (a joke ofifcer a joke)

Buy a bicycle ? Nope worse than a car.

I know what ! I’ll put on an eposide of Top Gear! One look at Clarkson should put him off for life. No he quite likes him – unbelievable really.

So we have come up with the ultimate deterrant.  The long suffering husband and I are going to buy an Inspector Clouseau car to use as advertsiing for the restaurant and brand it up as a giant haggis….well maybe a raost haunch of venison – either way a teenager driving a themed tiny car around the streets of Edinburgh means he’ll be on shank’s pony for a wee while longer yet….