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.


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?


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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Kids bullied by tattooed Gran & the truth behind a fat bum.

Give this to the gym and never go. A classic move.

Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in weeks. It was hell. It was. The first bummer was I couldn’t get the car parked near enough to the door. So I drove away. Then by the time I hit the traffic lights I gave myself a rather loud talking too – much to the amusement of the guy in the car next door. So I about turned and went back.

I looked into  the pool. There was one person in so that was a no no. I am not revealing the horror legs in public even it was a 98 year old woman floating blind with goggles on. No it can’t be done. So I decided on the gym – aka the torture equipment.

The first annoyance was I couldn’t find where to put my headphones in. After clunking around for a while I found the spot. Put them in and what a load of crap was on the telly. That really doesn’t help. 2 channels showing property programs – yawn. One showing Doctors – who wrote that? A 12 year old. Actually that’s insulting to 12 year olds. Eventually I plumped (pun intended) for a cooking show. What a bloody stupid idea that was as I puffed and panted on the horrible wheezy up and down leg machine I stared into the depths of a large metal based saucepan which held about a gallon of melted chocolate. It was eye porn to the foodie. I was literally slavering as I rumbled off the machine and returned  to the changing room. 10 minutes of that shit is enough.

This was not the tattooed gran I saw. But holy shit! What is this about?

Next stop the supermarket where I bought lots of fruit and veg and a massive pack of Kitkats on special offer, crisps – baked so really not that bad – and some new Fox’s chocolate biscuits. as I stood at the check out a lardy old bat covered in tattoos started shouting at the two very young kids in her care. Say about 2 and 3 respectively.

‘WHAT ARE YOU WINGEING ABOOT?’ she squawked as the window of the supermarket threatened to shatter. Vile bullying old trout. So what do you do? I watched as she shouted at these 2 wee souls  whilst shovelling a half hundred weight of chips into her great open cavern of a face. What a bloody nightmare.  By the time I got home – 3 minutes later I had had a Foxes biscuit, a packet of crisps and an apple. Do you call Child Protection? Do you hope it was a one-off? Do you approach Jabba The Hutt and get a panelling? It’s a hard call. Answers on a post card please.

So that’s been my day so far. How’s yours?

Teenwolf is set the ultimate challenge….can he rise to it?

Afraid – truly afraid

What do you give a teenage boy to whip him into a frenzy?


Beer that cannot be detected on the breath by the sharp nosed parent?

A one on one with the cheerleaders of the national rugby team?

Fake ID?

Hmmmn - what the ???X Ray eyes?

An ability to study whilst listening to their Ipod, texting their friends and Facebooking – oh no of course, according to teenwolf they can do that.

A pizza the size of a sports stadium?

Some ‘`how to get the ladyeeeez to`LOVE you’ tips from Jayzee?

Yes to one or all of the above.

One thing that will not however get them into a frenzy, is the package I took home today.

As you can see it looks rather intriguing. It was as teenwolf undid the tags on the side and as it burst into it’s upright glory .it resembled one of those cloth tunnels he had as  a 3 year old from IKEA which he spent many hours climbing through.

‘God Mum it’s not a tunnel is it?


‘You’re joking! ‘

‘Well yes’.

A hat for unfeasibly large head?

‘Oh…well ‘, he muttered as he looked in a bemused fashion into the very belly of the cloth beast as it stood on it’s end.

‘Well what  is it?’

‘Ok sit down,’ he sat down ‘this is an alien concept, an implement  which will stun and confuse you’.

A nervous tick emerged as he watched me suspiciously.

‘It is a …’

Pause for effect

For once I had his full attention

‘….Laundry basket’

‘A what?’

‘A receptacle into which you put your dirty laundry.’

‘Oh’  instant and extreme disinterest is now displayed.

‘Anything that is dirty that does not go in here, will not be washed.’

He gave me that ‘och Mum I know how much you love me this is bound to a temporary arrangement’ grin.

I gave him the evil eye.

‘ I mean it.’

So off he went to do his homework. AKA Sit in front of the computer, facebooking his pals, strumming the guitar, texting, listening to his Ipod – oh  but only after spreading his school books on the kitchen table so when I walk in he can quick as a flash sit in front of them and look studious. I shall post an update in 24 hours…what do you think the odds are of anything being in it?

Please examine the artists (if you can call me that!) impression of the process  below. – I am the one with the big bottom on the left. Double click on it to make it bigger – but beware it is Teenwolf’s lair. Welcome to my world.

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Hello! Today is the day to meet Teenwolf and the Mongrels !

Living with Teenwolf – a joy for a mother to behold. I’ve written about him so many times I felt it was time to share a peek at the reality. Put it this way Kevin the teenager is no longer a comedy it is a documentary of our life. Proof is in this pudding.
Then of course I have to fess up I am not a perfect mother. I know, I know it’s a shocking admission call the police, but it’s true.

But I do get it together to feed the beasts – and no I’m not talking about Dave and Teenwolf but the hounds of the baskervilles, our two that’s  Sam our nice but dim labrador and Flora half dog half womble who are joined on this occasion by my Mothers big hairy nelly dog called well…eh..Nelly actually. By the way I am not housewife of the year but the reason there is newspaper on the floor is because we finally had to defrost the freezer as it was frozen shut it’s not usually quite so Wayne and Waynetta Slob – honest.

Of course the combination of teenagers, animals and a typical Scottish bloke husband does mean that occasionally under duress I am forced to drink wine  the consequences of which become more dire as time goes on. Gone are the days of leaping forth in a fragrant fashion to face the day after a a wild night and a few hours sleep. No sadly the morning after the day before now means many hours of shuffling around regretting the 3rd glass and wondering how on earth to start feeling human again. After the usual suspects a banana, a berocca, a yoghurt , a vat of water, a pint of coffee, some paracetamol and a full cooked haven’t worked there is nothing left for it but to go for a lie down which is exactly what I was doing when Dave snuck up with the camera and caught me at as you can see here.

Typical he can work my new video camera but he can’t set the video when I want the latest episode of how To Look Good Naked. So from The Sunday Mail, a flat one dimensional page to a confessional box as this is turning into. Technology is a strange thing.

From day-to-day on this here blog I have been spouting lots of stuff – its great being able to be so proactive  from being restricted to just a Sunday I have been running amock – is that how you spell amock?  So if my pal Fiona finding the best buy in an antique shop  near Callander , a nitwit trying to flog utility kilts and sex education for the deranged 1950’s housewife are of interest either scroll on down this page – it goes on for ages – or click on ‘Day to Day’ tab at the top of this page and have a look. Alternatively….come back any day you have a moment. Coming up over the next few days I will introduce Matthew, a  B&B proprietor from Kilmelfort who may well steal Keith Floyds crown as he produces a delicious chocolate pud with the help of a quantity of wine oh and me, his very able (to drink) assistant in fact here’s a photo to whet yer whistle…

Matthew fabulous Kilmelfort cook at home swigging wine & handling fondants. Form an orderly queue.

Get yer pen and paper ready for next time though as the pud he creates will hit all the right spots as well as possibly giving you one or two – but hey it’s worth it!

Don’t forget to subscribe to this on the right hand side by filling inyour e mail address  yup – it’s a free bottle fo champagne every week at stake – you’d be mad to miss it. Til next time! Have fun!   Alison x

There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose!



Schools shut for a week. No tattie picking these days so we are off to Dingwall to stay with our pals the MacDonald’s.

It is a glorious sunny day. Who needs Majorca? The leaves are turning, the air is clear so we gather their three spaniels Parker, Spider and Basil along with our two scraggy mutts and head out for a good stomp. Parker is 14 and a half and almost blind so had to be watched in case he went off road never to be seen again the other rampage and we blow away the cobwebs.

We eat what is caught, shot or grown which means tonight we have grouse. The kids eat the same as the adults eat and it is delicious. Soon the kids slope off leaving us catching up and sampling some rather delicious wine. Hic.

Another sunny day we made a picnic and ate it outside. In October! Don’t tell anyone or Scotland will be full of tourists!

I spoke to Mum on the phone who was staying with her pal Aileen in Aberdeen. They came in last night only to have a mouse run across the kitchen floor. Being brave Mum leapt onto a chair and screamed as Aileen dug out her new pink Ikea brush and tried to bash it about the face and neck. It got behind the fridge and rather than do an all night vigil Mum and her had to leave it there in the hope it wouldn’t savage them in the night. It didn’t they live to tell the tale. So does the mouse we presume. Watch out it must be in the mice almanac it is happening all over Scotland.


Unbelievably whilst retelling the story and laughing loud in the MacDonald’s kitchen a moose meanders forth and makes it’s way towards the bin. Eeek a moose shouts Joanna as Flora half dog half womble casually turns round and gets it in her virtually toothless jaws. .I am not sure who was most surprised her or the mouse. She dropped it, picked it up and then dropped it again with a look of deep confusion in her eyes as the mouse with cricked neck went shuffling off behind a unit. 5 dogs in the place and Flora the gummy sausage was the only one who moved. She is now only responding to the name Mouser and has a haughty air of arrogance about her. It’s taken her 10 years to do something vaguely useful. Mind you it took me a darn sight longer.


As a thanks you to the lovely Macdonalds we take them out for lunch. We hear there is a place in Inverness Rockpool Hotel to which Albert Roux has given his name. Off we go. We sit and are offered the lunch menu. There are 8 of us. 4 adults and 4 children ranging from 8 to 14. We eat an exotic meal of rabbit terrine and fish and it is not until I am paying the bill that I see a children’s menu sitting right beside the till. We weren’t offered it so I asked why? There wasn’t a good reason just a shuffle of feet. Not amused about that to be honest. Digesting lunch took hours so we went walkabout and fanned Flora the Mouser as Joanna lobbed a huge leg of lamb into the oven. Pals Trish and Hamish arrived and as soon as the mouse stories started Trish took to a chair. Another farmers wife who cannae stand the wee beasties am considering renting Flora out on an hourly basis.


Shaun shows us round the farm. There are lots of lovely coos. I am going to stop eating beef as I love cows. I think I was one in my past life. – no jokes about this life too thank you. They are magnificent brown eyed, long eye lashed things. We see a lorry load getting led into a large new paddock. They are only one year old and have just been separated from their Mums for the first time. That night as we eat another wonderful meal accompanied by Shaun’s magnificent Yorkshire pud I can hear the cows as they cry loud and balefully. After a couple of glasses of wine I am enquiring as to whether or not there is a guitar in the house as I feel a wee serenade might cheer them up. Luckily there is no guitar so I have to suffice by wishing them goodnight from a distance.


Cheek! I find a guitar this morning in the lounge. Dave says it was the cow protection league that begged him not to hand it over. The thought of a few dozen suicidal cows was too much for him. Shaun takes us to see the father of all coos in the shape of this bull Now I am at one with the bovine world I ask how old he is. He is an impressive 12 years of age. How long does he have left as a productive bull I ask. Well this is about it really. Oh. He must be like an old friend having served you well (well not you so much as the coos ) I sigh. So will you let him live out his days meandering round fields eating grass and gently snoozing in the sun until he passes away. Without missing a beat Shaun simply says ‘Nope. Burgers’ and walks on.

My son thinks I’m a pillock – of course he’s a good judge of character


I can recommend a packet of these toasted. NICE.

Can’t believe it is so close to Christmas already. The last time I looked at a clock it was August. Letters to Santa, family invitations, wrangling, whose going where, whose cooking, whose staying where, how many mince pies, should we order a turkey now or like last year put it off until the last 3 hours of Xmas Eve to queue for the only one left – in the butcher –  inevitably a 25lb monster or so small it is officially a nugget.

Rather than  continue these fraught discussions I go and watch Louis playing rugby. Oh dear not good for heart. They may only  be 9 and 10 years old but they tackle hard. I repeatedly  put my fist in my mouth to save from screeching ‘ don’t hurt yourself !’  and fight hard to resist tackling some of the other kids to the ground and ordering them to stay away from my precious one. Rugby and maternal hormones don’t mix.

When I say ‘my precious one’ obviously it is not to his face as my latest instruction when I drop him off at school is not to look at him. I did as instructed. Dropped him off and then, as I knew he would check with a sly peek into the car, I rolled my polo neck up  over my eyeballs and  just sat there until he had disappeared into the playground. I got a row at 4pm when I picked him up  for being silly.


So this morning as I dropped him off and then called him back and as turned I shouted ‘ I LOVE YOU!’ he was horrified and went scuttling into the playground puce.

Och.In desperate need of a haircut and my delightful hairdresser Derek is back in town so off I go for a rebuild. It feels so great to have a good haircut. You get the wash, the head massage and then I’m woken up and made to look 5 years younger thanks to the snippings of Mr Preston. Pick  Louis at 4 and he tells me I look like a supermodel. ‘I thought you’d be ignoring me for shouting out of the car this morning’–of course I shouldn’t of jogged his memory as he forgot to ignore me until I reminded him. Eejit I am. The puce ones parents night tonight and everything is just fine with the exception of his organisation skills.. I am not in a particularly strong position here as it took me 5 minutes to find the keyboard of my computer before writing this. I can’t really imagine where he gets that from


Got a crick in my neck and a hump slumping in front of the computer all day.

Late afternoon Anne Hunter turns up to help me with the curtains in the house. I am so bad at these sort of things I inevitably buy the wrong, size, colour, shape, etc so she has been drafted in to help. She looks as though she has had a stressful day – she is not alone. So I offer her a glass of wine at 6pm she accepts. By the time lucky Dave comes back at 8 there are a couple of empties and we are on a roll. We end the evening lying on the couch watching I’m A Celebrity Get me Out of Here whilst eating a tube of Revels I had bought in anticipation of Xmas and I break the news to her that Fran Cosgrove is not in fact the lead singer of Travis –


Feeling a bit dry – must have been the revels – again locked in office trying not to lose sanity until off to Blue Bar for a meeting .Grab Louis and his pal and head up to Princes Street Gardens to see the lights being switched on and feel very Christmassy with the ice rink, the mulled wine and the sparkly funfair. Drop Louis home and head up   to the Point Hotel for a Christmas preview of the Ah Choo Shoes and Accessories. Anne is standing there looking great but, like me, feeling horrific and thanking the lord for make-up. There are so many people there I slip away for a hot bath and a lie down.


Off to stay at The Lodge on Loch  Lomond for the week with my pal Tracy. The sun is shining as we get to our room which is right on the lochside.It  is a very romantic spot with lots of loving couples –  and Tracy and I! The food is fabulous – we eat 3 courses and with waistbands groaning head off to watch I’m A Caleb. We bemoan being so sad and pathetic that we must watch it but watch it we do! Natalie Appleton – aaaaarghg!! Why did she go in? Did she think  it was a 5star hotel ? She has refused to do anything at all since she got there and far from being the rock chick we thought she was she is officially the woos of the year.


Horrible wet misty day. Tracy neglected to mention she snores like a horse – do horses snore? – so the first stop is get in the car and find some ear plugs for the lobes of love. Once they are safely tucked into my bag we head back to the hotel spa, Heavenly on Loch Lomond  where we spend 2 hours being pampered. We have hot stone therapy, aromatherapy, a facial and I get a fake tan on my face. It takes hours to settle so I am instructed to buff my face with an old sock to bring the colour down to normal. It works!

At 1pm the spa is officially opened  and we have a glass of champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate. Morag  who runs it is a great lass and we all raise our glasses to her success. I insert my earplugs at 11pm and get set for a good nights kip! Night night.

Salmon enchanted evening – I will be thin and look 15 again.


Salmon diet commences. For breakfast – salmon.

May have to give up as am not fighting this big boy for the salmon

Meeting with a publisher about a variety of ideas. It looks as though one of my life long ambitions is about to be realised – I am going to have a book published at Christmas. Even Santa can’t beat that! Very excited and rush off to tell my friend Dynamite who is limping and sweating as I pick her up from the gym. I remind her exercise is bad for you as we head off for a coffee an a stare at a donut – we resist the temptation to eat them surprisingly. Dynamite is going off on this fabulous free trip to Tobago which I had had to turn down as I am working. It is too depressing for words but she is swanning off for 4 days next week – hence the mad gym attendance. Anyway we are walking along Abercromby Place in Central Edinburgh when there are at least 3 peeps from 3 separate people. Not fooling ourselves for a moment it’s because we are young and gorgeous  I  explain The first van was the guy from the Nobel Grape who recognised us – yes an off license. The second was the guy who runs The World – a bar and the third the guy who owns the fishmongers where I bought my salmon! Salmon for tea.


Dropping Dynamite off at work when she runs straight into a throng of young girls. She’s been mobbed again I think and then I see a very red aced and harassed David Sneddon pushing his way through the crowds signing autographs as he goes. Dynamite is being turned round and round by the guddle of  fans and inadvertently he grabs a bit of paper from her hand and signs it! Much amusement as she pointed out later she’ old enough to be his mother and was mortified!

In the shops. Realise I have a gym membership which is now officially redundant. I can’t seem to get there at all so I peruse the exercise videos. I eventually plump – no pun intended-  for the

Kylie Minogue Hotpants video. I know I know but it’s worth a try. As I am stuffing it in my trolley and heading to the checkout I spot Fish doing his shopping too. Celeb spotting in supermarkets what an exciting life I lead! Get the Video home and decide not to do it till tomorrow as doing it on a full stomach can’t be good for you I’, sure.

More salmon.  God you can’t eat a lot of that stuff can you. It’s so rich and cloying I can’t face it again.


My Mum comes round and we weigh ourselves. This sounds like an easy non stressful event / It is not. It is horrible I can’t believe I weigh that much. She can’t believe I weigh that much. We have decided against the weight watchers thing as all you do is pay them £3 to weigh you so we’re going to do it ourselves. Mmn. After Mum leaves a heave my huge body from the scene of the weighing to the bedroom and  change into my tracksuit for the Video. I start it. Happily Kylie is not in the video I couldn’t face looking at her elfin form as I lumber about threatening to go through the floorboards. It takes a lot of concentration but by the end I am red faced and sweating so it must have done something. Have a shower, feel better, resist food and pin a picture of myself on the fridge. This may deter me from ever eating again. Force down more salmon makes me feel sick now..


David on a golf outing at 9am. I’ll be back by 6 . Mmn. He trundles in with a wide smile and a red eye about 8 the finished golf at 1.

David tries to convince me his drink must have been spiked. I point out Luffness Golf Club a male dominated emporium of buff is not the sort of place anyone slips you a Mickey Finn. Nice try though. I  attempt to teach him the word ‘No’ but it just can’t be done I swear.



A golf lesson with Jane Connachan. She’s a great teacher and makes me laugh heartily as I duff a few more over the golf range.by the end of it though I seem to be hitting the ball and it is going somewhere Hallelujah. Very elated about that so head round to see Cousin with B&B as she is waiting for her guests to arrive. Due to be at Davy Grubbs 40th birthday party but I sit chatting with cousin and sipping wine Her first batch of guest arrive and are given a very formal greeting as she shows them to their room. The second batch arrive and they are also given the formal landlady by the sea approach . By the time the third lot arrive we are having a whale of a time and she shouts down the stairs ‘ come on up my little darlings I’ll point you in the direction of your room. Now would you like a wee drink!’.

I left as her husband was giving her the evil eye.


Missed the 40th. Missed my tea last night and as a result I suspect I am missing a liver. Travelling up to see friends in Perthshire in the country . 10 minutes out of town Louis pipes up ‘ I need the loo’ so we stop at the side of the road. Another 30 minutes later we stop in Cowdenbeath -it’s my turn and it’s an emergency. I find the public loos which are spotless. 10 minutes after that we stop again. This time for David who walks about 500 yards into the depths of the forest ! quite who is going to get their binoculars out and focus on his nether regions is a mystery to Louis and I who peep the horn and flash the lights at him.

Arrive with pal John King who has Activity travel but due to an overwhelming passion for wine has now begun Wine Routes. Oh happy day.    Straight in to the wine cellar. Oh now I know what I want for my birthday. We sip a lovely wine and eat sausiccon which was a giftt from one of his suppliers. After a few glasses and lovely lunch we head off to a loch to do some fishing. As David , John and The Kids mess around in the boat. Nicky and I wander round and suddenly there is a huge bird above us ‘ it was an osprey!.I’d never seen one before they are magnificent beasts so as the boys wheeched trout of the loch and we lay on the grass watching the osprey.

Back to the house for more food and drink. What food, what wine what a carry on. It was then announced a friend of Johns was celebrating his 50th birthday in Blairgowrie so it was off to that. The guy, Linsay   who wrote You were Always On My Mind, You Drove All night,    etc.. Was singing at it. So there was a wild night of drinking and dancing.


Quiet start. Fiona was having her leg pulled for not dancing last night by her boyfriend Iain. When he was reminded that it was because he had thrust a long orange balloon between his knees and was wiggling round the dance floor on his own singing ‘come one baby light my fire’ he  recalled why she chose not to be Olivia Newton John to his John Revolting!The Lowe brothes, two of last nights casualties, turned up with a hungry look in their eye.

Magnificent breakfast homemade pancakes , maple syrip , bacon. Then the trout from yesterday , porridge,, kidneys and eggs. Can’t walk. Can’t speak. Can’t believe my 2 day diet and 2 days Kylie video must now be irrelevant I have gorged and am happy and round.

The Castle? The brewery?


Typical tosser

What a laugh yesterday. Met up with an 8ft deer called Miles. He was doing the Edinburgh Marathon in a deer suit. He reckons he lost about a stone running in the thing. Fantastic! A fool proof way to lose weight. Mind you by the time I got this picture taken the entire suit was drenched and when Miles took th head off – so to speak – he looked a bit pale &* wan to say the least.

After that we went off to Louis school fund raiser a Highland Games. There was caber tossing for all ages. Even Daves Mum had a go. Dave took to it like a duck to water oh and there were ducks being herded by sheep dogs. All in all it was a great day. As we stood by the loch looking around and loving Scotladn in the summer suddenly there was a big splahs and this wee boy about 3 fell intot he loch. His dada, who was right beside him, wheeched him out as the wee souls tood howling on the bank. His Dad gave him a cuddle but despite himself couldn’t’ stop laughing . The wee drookit boy had done exactly the same last year.


Louis is changing schools this year and today he went to his new school for the day to see how it all works. I was quite nervous about it – more than he was – hoping he would love it. I picked him up at the back of 3 and he came swaggering out like John Wayve – ‘’it’s brilliant!’ he beamed . Phew. He then went on to talk about his 3 best friends – ‘ I have 5 he said but 3 best friends’ . So relieved took him for a Chinese carry-out. Speaking of chineses carry –outs dynamite Di is due back from Bejing after 10 days tomorrow. I can’t wait to hear how she got on – if she’s not in some sort of Chineses prison for badly behaved women by now.


Computer guru man Gordon Fraser comes round to look at my computer. He asks me which anti virus software I’ve got. My response is to look blankly at him. His look of disapproval makes me want to go and stand in the corner with a Dunce hat on – something  I sent a lot of my formative years doing. 4 hours later my computer is till goosed. He tells me I am riddled with viruses – when he sees my face he clarifies it’s the computer that ‘s got the viruses not me! Well that’s OK then. By late afternoon we are back up and rnningmy computer is going like a speeding bullet and I am happy again. As hopefully my editor  will be as I think he was getting fed up of getting my  next chapter written on scrunched up napkins and beer mats.


WE have American friends arriving today. When I say friend we met them last summer in france for one night. We had a carry on swapped addresses and they’re arriving today. I have a full day of Scottish tourism planned for tomorrow. Edinburgh Castle, Mary Kings Close, the open topped bus , the royal mile. Quite looking fowrad to it myself. I picked them up off the train and I knew we were going to get on famously when Susan produced a teen idol magazine form the 70’s she had bought off E Bay for me as the night we’d met we talked extensively about Donny via David Cassidy as we were both obsessed as teenagers. Celebrations commenced and the wine was cracked open. AS the night wore on more wine was open and by midnight we wer listening to Puppy Love – the album and telling our deepest  pre-teen secrets. Again there was an amazing translatlantic connection – we all had save up our bubble gum stickers and sent away for X-Ray Spex and were all equally amazed and dispappoitned when they arrived that they didn’t actually work! Plus  the deep routed desire for sea monkeys which were advertised as lookinglike little pixie like mermaids on the box and when they were bought and hatched they were as david attractively dscreibed them like bits of dandruff floating about in dirty water. So having liaghed ourselves stupid we retired. Due to kick off our extravaganza tour at 9am


Wake at 9am So we’ll be a little late I thought as I got up and boiled the kettle. By 10.30 I was still the only one up apart from the kids who were boucing on the trampoline n their pyjama bottoms. At 11 Paul the American guy appeared when I asked how Susan was he replied ‘ she asked me what it felt like to sit upright and when I told her she just stayed where she was’. The weather waas wet, misty, & cold – playing to every Scottish cliché tourists have about our country. By 11am the executive decision was made to give the tourist trail a miss. Cancelled all activities and lit the fire instead. By mid afternoon the weather had cleared a little so we headed off to North Berwick harbour and grabbed Dougie and his boat ‘Braveheart’ who took us round the bass rock and mackerel fishing. Everyone caught a fish and we went straight back home to eat them.


Even wetter and more miserable than yesterday. Drove our pals through Edinburgh pointing out the sights from the car window –‘that’s the castle, the scott monuement’ etc before dropping them at the airport. Having been toured until they were black and blue before they arrived with us they said they had enjoyed the fishing and relaxing more than anything else since they lef thome 10 days ago. Aaah. Little to do except go off to see the Day After Tomorrow with Dennis Quaid  & Jake Gellangal a true disaster move for the millenium. Fantastic effects and when we came out of the cinema having watched a tidal wave and engulf America I half expected to see Leith had disappeared altogether. Luckily the rain was off so we  drove home and collapsed. More pals coming tomorrow and the thought of clearing the kitchen in the quest for a clean palte is enough to dirve me to drink….. Oh now there’s an idea.

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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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?


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?

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.