Ancient column – dusted down, hoovered and published on here….

MONDAY

DINNER at Howie’s with Pete Irvine, author of Scotland The Best and eventmeister of Scotland Hogmanay, Capital Christmas, Lomond Shores and general tourist guru. Talked about everything… food, TV, holidays, music and only at about midnight does it slip out that Pete was made an MBE MBE (in Britain) Member of the Order of the British Empire. Huh! Modest or what? I would have been wearing my “I’ve got an MBE” T-shirt at all times – which probably is exactly why I’ll never get anything like that. Good chat, too much wine, but it almost all came to a premature end when we realised we hadn’t taped Six Feet Under. After an emergency call to the babysitter we resumed our evening.

TUESDAY

DRY. Felt like I was 6ft under after I got up. Did two voiceovers in the morning. I was required to sound husky in one, which was my speciality today… sounded husky and coincidentally looked like a husky. Got a call from Dave who suggested lunch. A cursory look at my old black jeans, off-white t-shirt and rumpled sweatshirt made me say, “OK, but just a wee sandwich in the back of the car.” So he took me to The Bonham, a super-smart hotel in Edinburgh. I sat in a corner trying to hide. Fabulous lunch and I was just starting to relax when I heard an “Alison, is that you?” Luckily, it was Marie, a good friend who also had a hangover. She sat at a neighbouring table, shaking and drinking water . Had a lovely lunch. Normally the pressure to wear shorts keeps me on the straight and narrow but I’m still swathed in woolly jumpers cos it’s cold, so what the hell.

WEDNESDAY

TOOK about two hours to drive to my cousin’s house cos the Open golf was on and I forgot. Spotted lots of people in Slazenger V-necks. Saw Robbie Corbett again… he’ll think I’m stalking him. Got tickets for Saturday, drove home and collapsed in the bath when David answered the doorbell. It was John Whittle, from Optical Solutions, with my new glasses. He knew I had to drive to Glasgow tomorrow so delivered them personally. As I lay in the bath David plopped them on my nose. Now that’s what I call service.

THURSDAY

GUESTING on Fred MacAulay Show with Steve Irwin, the mad Aussie who wrestles crocodiles and snakes for fun, and Pete McCarthy. His new book, The Road to McCarthy, is the follow-up to his incredibly successful McCarthy’s Bar. He’s very entertaining and I know from personal experience he has a great sense of humour On Room At The Top a couple of years back a researcher asked him if he had fully recovered after being held hostage. Yes, he mixed him up with John McCarthy. Last Playing For Time this week, then off to Aberdeen to do Radio Scotland’s afternoon show for a few weeks. Cousin phoned very excited, Tiger Woods has been going to her health club to train… though she was not quite as excited as her husband Mark as Tiger was there with his gorgeous Swedish girlfriend. God, it’s enough to make you turn to drink… or at least food. Dinner out with pals when I got a call from the babysitter… the wee man Louis was ill for the first time ever so had to whizz home. He wasn’t well, poor scone. He clambered into my bed where he stayed, sweating, tossing and turning.

FRIDAY

LOUIS slept brilliantly but I was like a half-shut knife after 12 hours brow mopping. Decided not to be Snow White in panto Am I mad? Probably, but everyone says it is ten weeks, two shows a day, only Christmas day off. Thought long and hard, but it would mean no Christmas, no life, no Louis, no chance. It’s bound to be the last time he believes in Santa. I won’t miss it for anything.

SATURDAY

OPEN golf. It was like monsoon, 3ft deep in water. No way I was going to watch men hitting balls with sticks… so I just hit the hospitality. Call from friend Fiona who was to have her 40th birthday party in Queen Street Gardens in Edinburgh… rained off. Panic – where can we have it? Happily, friend Derek volunteered his pad which was duly decked out with stuff, including copious quantities of food and drink. Danced the night away. Still enjoying someone’s hospitality at 1am.

SUNDAY

GULP. Woke up fully clothed on couch. Asked long-suffering husband why he didn’t put me to bed. He said he tried but couldn’t – and besides my snoring would have kept him awake. Does Kylie have such problems? Tired. Old. Face strange shape. Yuk . Off to Aberdeen tomorrow to do Tom Morton Show on Radio Scotland for three weeks. Going on Slimfast diet as I’m becoming like a house – a two up, two down with large outside patio.

Definition of a bad hangover – when even your moisturiser makes you feel sick.

MONDAY

SCHOOL holidays are here – seven weeks of… well, quite. Have to get organised as I’m off to Aberdeen on July 22 for three weeks to do the Tom Morton Show on Radio Scotland while he’s on holiday. The holidays are a finely- tuned military operation of school clubs, activity days, friends, childminders, grandparents, videos, computer games and generally praying for the sun to shine. Soon. Please. PLEASE.

TUESDAY R

OFF to get my eyes checked. Decided to get the full test as I reckon I could do with a thorough MOT. Very pleased that I don’t need to get any stronger glasses than I had last time. Brilliant eye test, though. The chap who does it is an opthalmic surgeon and with his equipment (ooh er missus


he can see right into your brain. I was pleased to have the fact I have one confirmed after all these years – although there was no mention of size. But I am a woman and I know size is not important.
WEDNESDAY

IN Glasgow to do Playing For Time. This week we have Tony Higgins, boss of the Scottish Professional Footballers’ Association, who has played with some of the finest players in the world, including George Best during his spell with Hibs. Enjoyed lots of football legend stories and handed over the prize of a packet of Brazil nuts to celebrate Brazil’s World Cup victory then whizzed back to Edinburgh. Out to dinner with two of Dave’s chums. When we got home I said to Dave: “You were quiet tonight.” “Yes,” he said. “None of us could get a word in edge ways.” Oops.

THURSDAY

FRIEND Fiona back from her holiday in Santorini. She arrived to say hello and just have a quick coffee, which predictably turned into loads of wine and about half a hundredweight of Doritos. She looks brown, healthy and relaxed whereas I sat hunched up, pot bellied and pale faced listening to her tales of fun in the sun. No wonder I drink.

FRIDAY

DAVE’S 40th birthday. What do you get for the man who has everything? Well, I have to say I was stumped until my pal suggested a membership of the Classic Car Club. As Dave is a car fanatic it is the perfect gift as it allows you to drive a different car from their collection about 12 times a year. He was super chuffed – and so was I when I realised it’s a joint membership so I can drive them, too. Most of the cars, including the Ferrari and the E-type, were already booked out so we went for the Honda S2000 – the engine is based on a Formula 1 car. We pick it up tomorrow for the weekend. Normal birthday behaviour would be a wild night, but instead Dave is more tired and emotional. Is this the onset of an early middle- life crisis? We had an early night so he could be fresh as a daisy for picking up the car tomorrow to head north to see Bryan Ferry live. Dave thought he was Bryan Ferry when he was about 14 so we will get a chance to do a direct comparison tomorrow.

SATURDAY

UP early and down to the classic car club where David picked up the Honda. It’s a soft- top, two-seater which goes like the wind. Obviously we only drove it at 69mph – with the roof up as it was pouring. But as we approached Banchory the skies cleared so we wheeched the roof down, put Sheryl Crow on the CD at 5000 decibels and by the time we arrived at my pal Tracy’s house we truly believed we were 18 again. Off to see Bryan Ferry at Crathes Castle There were only a few hundred people there so it was like a private party. Horse supported and Bryan was magnificent. We were right up at the front, shouting, dancing and singing. Yes, drink had been taken. After he finished the set we met some pals and rather than stop there – because we’d only been at it for nine hours – we got a taxi back to Tracy’s house and spotted the local hotel was still open. “Stop the cab,” we screeched and went in for more. Why?

SUNDAY

I KNEW it was a spectacularly bad hangover when even the smell of my moisturiser made me feel sick. Padding round Tracy’s cottage hunting for water in my bare feet when I stood on something. At first glance I thought it was a tomato until closer inspection proved it was actually a severed bird’s foot and half a leg. The cat had had a midnight feast. Hopped into the kitchen and dangled my fat leg over the bucket and shook my foot until it fell off – the birds foot, not mine that is. Yuk

Graeme, Tracy’s boyfriend, couldn’t speak at all so he cooked a massive breakfast to send us on our way home in our groovy only this time the stereo was off, the roof was up and we had to stop intermittently as I needed fresh air. Apologies to the farmer in Edzell whose field I had to rather unexpectedly inhabit for 15 minutes. I hope I didn’t ruin his crop. Sophisticated woman of the millennium where are you?

Doggone – the dog’s gone!

MONDAY

WENT to a Callanetics class and was told by the teacher that soon my bum would look like a peach – aye, I’m sure she meant James and the Giant Peach. Legs seizing up as I drove through to Glasgow for a couple of meetings. My personal trainer Pauline phoned as I was stuck in traffic on the way back to Edinburgh. “Clench your buttocks at the lights,” she instructed. “I’ve been here for ages,” I protested. “Exactly,” she said, “Clench one, two, clench one, two.” Hobbled in with a sore bum when I got home and still not a peach in sight.

TUESDAY

PANCAKE Tuesday. Dave, who is not used to cooking for under 40 people, whipped up some pancakes for Louis and his pal. He then left the rest of the batter lying around before he went out. Managed to ignore it when my niece Sarah came round for tea – I had hit Marks & Sparks earlier in the day to buy a low-fat extravaganza of chicken and not much else. Ate that and felt very thin. Then after a few glasses of high-alcohol wine I remembered the batter and got that out. I had vaguely watched Dave earlier in the evening, so I gave it my best shot. As it turns out this pancake malarky is not as easy as it looks. I seemed to produce something more akin to thermal vests than pancakes, but if you pour enough syrup on them they are edible. So we stuffed our faces and then lay down in front of the telly feeling really sick. I don’t think they were cooked properly, if the truth be told. God knows what’s in batter, but I can’t say I’d recommend it nearly raw. When Dave arrived home I quizzed him, but he just smirked. I detected a distinct lack of sympathy.

WEDNESDAY

OFF to London for the day. Whoopeee. What a place. People ask, “Why don’t you go to London and try your luck there?” Occasionally, I think: “Why not?” Then about 25 seconds after arriving in the great, grimy hole from hell, I remember… that’s right, I HATE IT! Happy to be back on the GNER train and relaxing all the way north, or at least until York, when man with verbal diarrhoea climbed aboard and selected me as his victim. Got his entire life history, with photographic accompaniment. Lovely. He gave me his address as he got off in Newcastle and I waved goodbye, smiling through gritted teeth, then opened my Hello! magazine for a bit of mental stimulation for the remainder of the journey.

THURSDAY

LOUIS on half term and we’ve a full programme of events planned. Packed our stuff and ran to my folks’ place for a few days. Idea was to have lungs full of fresh air and walk the fat dogs around so we all return looking and feeling better at the end of our break. God, the thing with being away from home is the desire to pig out. Indian carry out? Och yes, why not? Maybe a wee bag of crisps to keep you going, too. Decide to turn my mobile off as my personal trainer keeps calling. Even seeing her phone number gives me the guilt pangs, as I sling another chocolate biscuit in my gob.

FRIDAY

TOO cold for the exercise thing today. So stoke up a big fire, light it and watch rubbish on telly. Sit through a really bad film starring George Hamilton – why is he famous? Surely he must have been something other than actor, mainly because he really can’t act at all. Was he a sex symbol? I doubt that, too… maybe he bent spoons or something, like Uri Geller. Enjoy a day of fatness and slobbery. If fatness and slobbery were ways to aspire to lead your life I would be a guru.

SATURDAY

LOSE the dog. Panic. My wee Flora! This is the hairy wee mongrel I got last year in the cat and dog home and it has taken this long for her to really settle and be happy – and now she is gone. Run round the streets sobbing and calling her name. Several women turn around and look at me – I suspect they may be called Flora, but not the one I want. Don’t know what to do, as it is now dark. So I sit with a glass of wine, exhausted and sad, mourning the loss of my dog – and the fact Pop Idol is finished – when there is a great kerfuffle at the door. Louis opens it to find a very wet, very waggy and revoltingly muddy Flora there. Despite the mud, she is welcomed back into the bosom of the family and we all lie around feeding her our tea.

SUNDAY

TAKE Flora out for a big walk in case that’s why she ran away. Try to clench my buttocks and do Callanetics at the same time, which may explain why an elderly lady came up and asked if I was OK. Start humming, “Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking.” Yeah, right. More like, “Short, and white and old and grotty, the girl fae Aberdeen goes hobbling.” You’ve either got it or you ain’t – and I ain’t.

Ella Fitzgerald half close yer eyes I still look nothing like her.

Monday

A new kids’ film  previews at the Fountainpark Cinema. I took Louis and his pal who are off school today. Sitting in the cinema at 10.30am on a Monday feels very decadent Unfortunately, none of the shops were open so had the unique experience of watching a film without stuffing my face with a hot dog and vat of popcorn. The kids enjoyed the film once they stopped talking loudly about how big the seats were and asking why there were only two other people in the place.

Tuesday

HEAD off to the Aircraft Museum in East Lothian . Arriving we see Clarissa Dickson Wright driving off. Remember she’s in charge of the aptly named Parachute Cafe at the museum, so we treat ourselves to lunch… just snacky stuff but absolutely delicious. Go outside and play with the pounds 1.99 plastic helicopter we’d just bought. Can I just apologise to the family who were enjoying a quiet snack until the helicopter ploughed its way into the window they were sitting at. Sorry and hope the stain comes out of your trousers.

Wednesday

Had a great time at Radio Forth Help A Child Appeal Burns Supper. Hosted by Grant Stott who was hilarious. Later in the evening ended up in the piano bar
A cocktail lounge featuring entertainment by a pianist  with my old muckers Dynamite and John. I like to think we were singing but unfortunately my pregnant pal Fiona said the collective noise we were making didn’t sound like it came from a human. Funny, I thought I sounded like Ella Fitzgerald Lost my bracelet but found four new German friends. They made the mistake of checking into the hotel as I swanned past on my way to the loo. “Come into the bar you boring things. You can’t go to bed – this is Scotland,” I squawked. So bravely they joined eight of us, all largely incoherent by this point. One of them was Germany’s equivalent of Bill Gates and he joined his poor sober countrymen – under severe pressure – to sing Hey Jude, which they did remarkably well considering. Not playing the wild drunken Scots cliche card there was I? Sorry.

Thursday

NO more drink – ever. Presenting  Fred MacAulay who today at 9am . The star guest was a guy called Jack Cardiff who is an 86 year-old cameraman off to LA to get a Lifetime Achievement Oscar next month. Jack has worked with Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart… all the biggest stars in the world. He said Ingrid Bergman was the most photogenic . woman he has ever seen and that she could stay up all night and still look fabulous in the morning. Unlike Ava, who could look rough as you like after a night on the tiles. A glance in a mirror confirms my suspicions that I’m more in the Gardner school of recovery and, sadly, starting with so much less in every department. Which is a shame as straight after the show I started  filming a corporate video. Luckily, I was to play a manageress in a bank so I decided my character was 53 and didn’t put on any make-up. I looked a bit like Ava – deceased.

Friday

DINNER out with all the mums from school. Still convinced I am ailing from the Burns Supper night so swig water and generally behave impeccably. Highly amusing night hearing all the stories of what their respective six-year-olds say about the world. Someone said: “I believe you’re related to Royalty.” It transpired his father had told my son if you trace any family tree back far enough we’re all related. So he takes that to mean we are cousins of The Queen, which he has obviously told the class. The best story, though, was about the wee girl who had found a condom in mum’s chest of drawers. She opened it and put it on her Barbie’s head thinking it was a swimming cap. Tee hee. Safe Sex

Barbie.

Saturday

INSTEAD of being at my pal Sarah Spence’s 40th birthday I’m face down in bed, suffering badly from a virus. So Saturday Night Fever takes on a whole new meaning. Have to say I preferred the original.

Sunday

COMPLETE nightmare cos I lost my wallet. Cancelled all the credit cards after turning the house upside down and the car inside out which means I’m bound to find it in the next 10 minutes. Phoned the police who inquired: “Have you looked right round your house?” “No officer, what an innovative idea but I thought if I phoned you could send round a SWAT team to look for it instead! No, I didn’t say that – I thought spending a night in a cell for being cheeky to a policeman was the last thing I needed.