Empty nester.

IMG_4462 (1)Our son left home last year to go to University.

The Empty nest syndrome is something I see all around. Sad eyed middle aged women getting up like clockwork to put out the endless boxes of cereal to feed the ones who have left. Our body clocks pinging at 4pm and the Pavlovs dogs reaction of shovelling a half hundred weight of biscuits onto plates and producing gallons of juice and milk for the hoards to drink when they descend on the house at 4.30pm on their ways home. Only there are no hoards now. All those muddy kneed rugby playing school boy/men are away. Away to begin their lives without so much as a by your leave for the entrenched routines that having given birth to and brought up a child has riven into the homes and lives which they inhabited. The silence. The tidiness. The thrum of music through the wall from his room replace by the ticking of the kitchen clock. The fridge which remains full and the milk which is still bought in gallons going off.

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Until this very moment you have had not a second to think about it as the toddling becomes totting into school turns to hormones turns to teenage battles turns to exams and then to – well this – the point. To bring up a responsible member of society who can clean his teeth, brush his hair, and be independent. This is a success. This was your job. OK its not full redundancy maybe a fairer term would be voluntary redundancy. It is a new beginning for them so why not you?

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So with that in mind I am slinging my bag over my shoulder, grabbing my sausage dog and am off.  Muffin top, hormonal rollercoaster, bouts of dieting, bouts of drinking, bouts of regret, bouts of hysteria, eruptions of spots, despair, creativity, dunderheidedness, insomnia, grumpiness all accompanied by increasing hairiness in strange places – why the inside of my nose is now tufting up is not something I am either proud of or delighted about – and that’s just the half of it, said the bearded slack jawed lady. Still look on the bright side….at least when Santa retires I might be a shoe-in for the big job.

With car, sausage dog and passport am off. Will report back.

 

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From a sweet young boy to a hairy cowboy in a moment.

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Ben Murphy

Hannibal Hayes and Kid Curry the two most wanted outlaws in the history of the west, and in all the trains and banks they robbed they never shot anyone.

God I loved Ben Murphy.

For no reason whatsoever that intro jumped into my mind this afternoon. I tweeted it and got some banter going with fellow fans of the cowboys. The Virginian, The High Chaparal and Alias Smith and Jones were the only westerns I ever watched.

It was  nothing to do with the plot, the setting or the excitement of these programs it was all to do with the early teen hormones.

Unknown-1 UnknownI fancied the Virginian James Drury and Trampass wasn’t half bad played by  Doug McClure – I forgave him that high forehead and of course I was quite partial to  Blue Boy in The High Chaparral  but of course the top cowboy in my life Kid Curry aka Ben Murphy. Swoon.

I had a life size poster of Ben on my bedroom wall in a tin bath smoking a cigar. He must have been about 35 I was 12. I’m surprised my mother didn’t get the vapours. Though maybe seeing him grinning down at her from my wall as she dug through the discarded stuff trying to find the dog and any missing dinner plates and people may have warmed the cockles of her heart too.

I  had gone from Donny Osmond – a truly girl like young man to a great hairy cigar smoking geezer in a flash.  Enjoy this trip down memory lane. I did.

“Gap Years are a waste of time” – ahem – sorry?

Steam, smoke coming out of my ears. Blood pressure risen to dangerous levels. I am not only in high dudgeon am floating well above it and grinding my rapidly diminishing teeth to boot.

The reason The Daily Telegraph. I know I know it’s called the Tory graph for a reason. It’s not the only paper I read but today I was so incensed I dumped the rest and rushed for the laptop when I read this.

“Gap Years are a waste of time, says advertising supremo” by Javier Espinoza, Education Editor.

OK the article is written about a very successful bloke – Sir Martin Sorrell. His claim that “Gap Years are a waste of time” goes on to say that kids who take a year out before continuing with their education are achieving nothing meaningful , that gap years lacked direction, they need to be more focussed and specific.

This is not Harry Enfield. This is Sir Martin Sorrell.
This is not Harry Enfield. This is Sir Martin Sorrell.

Definition of a Gap Year: a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between school and university or college education._

Definition of a break: a rest, respite, interval, breathing space, lull, recess;

The majority of kids start school 5, some as young as 4 and are relentlessly drilled to learn, to hit targets, to achieve in an ever competitive school environment. School is the official title but as the school day ends often their days continue with extra tutors, music lessons, sports, language learning until eventually these little people fall in an exhausted heap into their homes where, after a brief “break” for their fish fingers and chips, they have to settle down to deal with far too much homework. The self as a developing individual personality being given little or no time or space to emerge.

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Sir Martin Sorrell, putting himself up as the all seeing knowing commentator on such matters as Gap Years according to Wikipedia “is married to Cristiana Falcone. Sorrell was previously married to the American-born Sandra Finestone, with whom he has three sons, but the marriage broke down in 2003, as a result of Sir Martin’s “obsession with work”.

Obsession with work.
Living to work. Not working to live.

So it’s a choice really isn’t it? Some may choose to have balance. Have a life where you expand your horizons and experiences without feeling every moment of every day has to be accounted for in an endless round of point scoring exercises in the pursuit of the betterment of the self to impress potential employers or tart up a CV.

Sir Martin is simply out of kilter. I believe the emphasis is shifting where more value is given to a developed and happy individual as a whole, not just in terms of exams, awards, boxes ticked on an outmoded and outdated list. A list clearly still adhered to by Sir Martin Sorrell, that man in the Ivory tower .

OK steam petering out, jaw no longer clenched, spleen vented. I’m off.

 

PS I have a son. He had a gap year. He came back refreshed, independent, mature and able to settle down to his next stage in life. Best thing he ever did.

 

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Skiing sausage dog.

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We are taking the sausage skiing.?Oh yes.
Well he will be mainly sledging and stomping and I will be skiing.
I can’t wait.
What to wear???
No not me! Him.
I have a ski suit which I will squash my Christmas body into but him. The sleek red haired ginger man of love. What will I drape his sausage form in?
Suggestions welcome.
Wee cold toes. A near bare belly dragging along a snowy street, a aead revealed to the elements if he is tobogganing how do we protect the cranium?
Ah these are big questions and I am counting on you to help me answer them.
Off to google sausage slippers.
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Granny becomes fashion victim

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Have you seen these breeks with holes, slits cut right up and down the leg? It looks as if they have been in a thresher. Trendy in the extreme just now. But not for menopausal women. If I wore a pair of these each hole would be pushed to bursting as croissants of undulating flesh pressed to escape the confine of the trouser so why am I on about them???My niece who went to stay with her Granny recently who did the dutiful parental grandparental thing of putting on the ebola suit on complete with face made before unbidden, emptying her case of dirty clothes and washing them. When Jenny got up 2 and half days later from a win night her granny was rather proud to announced
“Your trousers, the ones with the God awful holes in them – don’t worry they’re not ruined I’ve fixed them for you?
Sorry
Sewn up the holes.
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Long pause, illustrated by tears rolling down cheeks, face going a dangerous deep red and hair alarmingly standing on end and it’s was length. But she rallied not wanting to upset her well meaning Gran.
“Thanks”.
“You’re welcome dear. Now what would you like for tea?”
Absinthe.

Jackanory with photos. Great new app!

 

Who needs a Playstation?
Who needs a Playstation?

Which creative genius suggested they make a TV show consisting of a person reading out of a book sitting static in a chair for 20 minutes and called it Jackanory. No sets. No special effects. No fancy costumes and yes it was a huge hit! The intimacy as a 5 year old sitting cross legged in front of the telly watching a lucid adult reading you a story was the water cooler moment for the new TV generation in the late 60’s. I can hear the theme tune now….in fact here it is …..

 

Of course things move on and they moved on a pace with Tales of the Riverbank in which Ratty Rat and Hammy Hamster undertook projects. Riveting rivering by anyones standards.

Johnny Morris is the voice of these incredibly creative rodents. I was glued to this as a kid and can’t imagine why we didn’t invite the helpful little critters into our homes and live amongst us.I suppose rat fever and the plague is likely the answer to that

But goodness me how things have come on. Now anyone can make their own wee story using a New app… Adobe Voice . It’s very simple and within seconds I had the hang of it oh – and this makes an Aberdonians heart sing – it’s freeee! Just download  Adobe Voice onto your phone and off you go. Start telling your own Jackanory/Tales of the Riverbank stories.

They clearly had a huge respect for women in those days.
They clearly had a huge respect for women in those days.

I’m sure will get better in time. It’s fun. It’s quick and it brings it all to life. Have a shotty and leave a link on the comments bit of this blog and let’s have a look at what your Ridley Scott influences can achieve.

 

A-Z of Scottish Storms. Never mind Henry.

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Life is confusing enough without names for every puff of wind coming our way. Apparently it’s so we pay more attention. So far we have suffered a series of middle class names with strange associations.

1. Abigail – a gingham clad extra in an Enid Blyton book. Irritating but not scary.
2. Barney – an irritating Purple Dinosaur who has driven many parents to hard liquor and reexamining the gun law.
3. Clodagh – Rogers, the singer of the Eurovision hit of many eons back. Long blonde hair and vintage 70’s trousers. Disturbing but again not scary.
4. Desmond – my Auntie Margarets fat dalmatian. aka a sap
5. Eva – Hitlers girlfriend
6. Frank – a boiler suited American form the 1950’s
7. Gertrude – a goose in a Disney film. And as of today
8. Henry – a tweed clad, blustering, red faced, upper class twit of the year.

Henry
Henry

I propose we ditch these no name names and go for something altogether more menacing.

We all remember Hurricane Bawbag our local vernacular for one of these great whirling twists of hell and so here are suggestions of alternatives;

Hoots mon.
Hoots mon.

The A-Z Scottish storms.

A Argie barge
B Bahookey
C  Crabbit
D  Drookit
E  Eejit/Erse
F  Fankle
G  Glasgae kiss
H  Humfie-backit
I   Into a’thing
J  Jaggy Bunnet
K  Kerry oot!
L   Laldy
M  Manky
N   Numpty
O   Oxter
P   Plooky
Q   Quench the quine
R   Radge
S   Stoater 
T   Teuchter 
U   Up shite creek
V    Voddie 
W   Watch yersel’?
X    Xactly why am off to tae Benidorm for ma holidays?
Y    Ya Bass!?
Z    Zip it or I’ll batter ye.

 

Now we’re feart!  Am heidin’ hame noo.

I love our language. It’s bloody great!

Terry Wogan. The boss. Gone.

The perfect shirt for radio.
The perfect shirt for radio.

The first time my name was on the radio was  a birthday request by Stewpot for my 6th birthday. “Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy….”.no it does exist it’s just that I am ancient. From that moment to this, my overwhelming obsession in life has been radio. A medium where you as a listener really connect to the presenter and as a presenter if your doing your job, to your listener. To me the master of them all was Terry Wogan and when I heard the chocolate voiced, cheeky, twinkly eyed Irish man had passed away today there was a tear in my eye.

images-8Sitting circa 1976 on the way to school in Mums old Morris Minor I would turn the radio onto Radio 1 and crank up the volume, the second she stopped at the lights Mum would slap my leg and turn back to the Radio 2 Breakfast program which was then hosted by Terry Wogan. It only took me a while to to realise Noel was just a pretender to the throne (with bad streaks) but at a very tender age I also became a Wogan fan. His gentle self deprecating humour won me and millions of others over to be dedicated fans.

images-8When I heard Chris Evans was taking over his Radio 2 breakfast show all those years ago I wasn’t convinced he was the man for the job. But then who could ever take over from Terry? The day Evans took over he played it very low key and respectful and quiet and there was hope but within the week his volume was up, his me me me style was back at the fore and the memory of that lovely lilting unassuming Irish brogue was lost to our grumpy early morning ears.

Hearing his voice on air on a Sunday was piecemeal indeed but better than nothing. Which is sadly where we are now.

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A huge loss. A colossus of the broadcasting world. Anyone who has ever asked me who I believe was the best radio presenter of all time I used to say listen to Terry Wogan. I always will.

 

Oh and to prove I am not insane….here’s a 1943 version of Maisie Dotes….

Light blue touch paper and retire

So throwing a party. It’s always a buttock clencher. Will anyone turn up? If they do will they enjoy it? Is there enough food? Drink? Music? Jollifications? Well in this case it seems that’s a yes.

It started at 6.30pm on the dot and went off like a rocket. Over 150 people at one point all talking, laughing, drinking, eating, singing, dancing. The local craft brewery 6 Degrees North set up a bar to let people taste their wares – which was delicious. We poured white wine, red wine, prosecco, beer and whatever else the heart desired.

There was a rumour of a soft drink being served but we don’t have proof.

Water. Rumoured to have been seen but not consumed.
Water. Rumoured to have been seen but not consumed. (from wiseGREEK)
Mmn a pint of your foaming ale young man
Mmn a pint of your foaming ale young man

The fa’s fa of Aberdeen were out in force.

The instruction was ‘keep the glasses topped up’ and that was the theme of the night.
This is gauged by the fact I was giving the band (sorry) who were fabulous – Chris Bradley and his co-hort Austin – talented buggers – some unsolicited backing vocals and beginning to whirl people round in a centrifugal force sort of way when the long suffering husband recognised the signs of imminent badness and oxtered me into a friends car.

Making a run for it after appalling unwanted accompaniment
Making a run for it after appalling unwanted accompaniment

David said it was like having a 3 year old in the back of the car as I lay flat in the backseat refusing to put on my belt ignoring his pleas to ‘wise up’. It was not until the driver Rachel said “If I slam on the brakes you will fly through to the front and kill me” which made me sit bolt upright and behave instantly. She is from Ireland and I love her voice so her wish was my command.
Back to our hotel Malmaison (sorry) – where we stayed on an amazing ITISON deal and though I had a canapé or 6 I needed something to soak up the belly of booze so room service was order of the day. Just a tip scoffing a burger lying horizontal is not advised for a 50 year old woman. Of all ages I should be more than aware of the effects of gravity as I was instantly when I awoke this morning and  was concerned I had killed the long suffering husband as all I saw was red splatters and meaty nodules. I was in the set from CSI Miami. My burger had hit the duvet and hard.

I can't tell is that burger or husband?
I can’t tell is that burger or husband?

Mortified I have written a note of apology to the hotel and am on the wagon. Forever. Ish. I blame dress stress and worrying no-one would turn up. But you know the most shame making thing of all – I was in bed juggling my burger by 10pm Hardly hard core party girl these days. However others exploits put mine in the shade the details of will eek out on this blog. But that is enough for now. I shall leave fellow attendees wondering if it is their story that will be told. Guffaw.

Sack of tatties

A mature party - unlike one we've ever had. Sadly.
A mature party – unlike one we’ve ever had. Sadly. Courtesy of www.thetelegraph.co.uk

Why is it I wait until the morning of a party to get something to wear? It’s not just any party either its our party. A party to relaunch our restaurant in Aberdeen.

As ever I have been concentrating on the night itself, the folk, the food, the drink and the music and then come the revolution I think. ‘Och I will just wear that-it’s’ fine’. Then I realise when I try it on and the poundage of Christmas still clings to my not insubstantial fleshy bits  it is not in fact fine at all unless I want to look like a mutton dressed as lamb, VPL, bulgy bodied, baggy kneed harridan. Which I don’t.

The thing is it’s a perfectly good dress, from Sandwich which my pal donated to me but it won’t cut the mustard unless I cut the calories and it’s a little late for that.   To wear a too tight bulger is just not going to do for the relaunch of the restaurant  plus let’s be honest I am seeing people I haven’t seen for 20 years and I don’t want to look well em.. 20 years older. Also I don’t want to look as though I have tried too hard so the frock that was for the offsprings 21st is not getting an airing. “She’s done up like a dogs dinner look at the state of that!” Its a rock and a hard place situation so I get up at 7am and google all the shops in Edinburgh, the majority of which don’t open till 10am ! Why? Anyway we are leaving at 10am so the only real option is John Lewis.  Concession central so I am standing at their locked grill gates at 8.59am  to find something. Anything.

Cramming 20 dresses into a changing room finally I try this one on. Thankfully this photo is not of me in it – obviously – but well I felt black was a little dull. So.images…I tried on another 25 and by now hot, sweaty and grumpy I plumped (sic) for this one from Damsel In A Dress. Bright. Cheery. Machine washable. Yes I have complete aversion to dry cleaning anything. Ever. Grippy and lazy my two watch words.I_5055344785255_01_20151216So relieved off I run to check out, pay, run home, pack car, put sausage dog in car, drive to Aberdeen. Arrive, shower, open bag, realise new dress is still in Edinburgh 120 miles away so I have no option but to wear the original sausage skin.  I blame this stress on what happened next which I can’t quite bear to write down yet. Mortified. Tomorrow when my blood pressure returns to normal I will.

Badly behaved old bat (dehydrated)

PS Googling Damsel in a Dresses website and happily found this great Blog Damsel In A Dress from California which has nothing to do with that stripy thing above and everything to do with a great blog. Its on my blogroll from when I remember how to add it.