Blimey the French put us to shame…..


Get all road designers or engineers or Robert MacAdam fans to France now.

The roads are fabulous!

Its so easy to get from A to B ( – as long as you ignore you Satnav – “please prepare to continue straight ahead”) the old days of being told the drivers in this neck of the woods are wild is nonsense. Everyone cruises along quite the thing.

The motorway service stations are great too. Edible food by God and drinkable coffee.

Yes there are toll roads but honestly the non-toll ones are fabulous too.

I am a confused traveller.

Is this another country or another planet.


Sorry Scotland but we are years behind. Pockmarked, one lane each way on our main road to England in the East it is a  piece of nonsense and frankly I’d rather we sorted this out rather than fiddle about with the damn useless empty ghost like trams of Edinburgh….

The A1 is a travesty.

A dangerous life risking horror show.

So how about putting this on the agenda for the big vote on September 18th?

Yes a ranting post but hey ho – better out than in.



High Visibility Pillock Spotted In Mirror. Me.


So the road trip plan is going on – and on – and on. I am the culprit. I could organise I piss up in a brewery but other than that organising anything confuses my brain completely.

I need to drive from Edinburgh to Barcelona by car.

I can’t fly. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t so I have no choice.

So I look at the map.

I can see where I am and where I want to go but how do you plan it?
How do you know where to stop?

When to stop?
How many miles you can realistically drive on a day to day in a right hand drive car in France or Spain?

A pal told me I need a breathalyser – thanks I said – no he meant legally in France you must have two in the car. Oh. OK


Also on the list are two high viz jackets.
Where do you get those? I said arriving to buy some tea lights from IKEA and instantly stumbling into a huge pile of high viz jackets for about 90p each. Weird.


But as it’s IKEA not only is it weird – its a bargain.

Though I do get distracted with why one earth do IKEa sell high viz jackets?

Is it  for people who fall asleep half way through building a flat pack so their family don’t trip over their  prone exhausted  bodies as they go about their business. Anyway it was a happy coincidence whatever the reason.

So I bought 2 for me and 2 for him and so he got the breathalysers so all we need now is the route.

Even the drive to Dover is confusing.

Drive all the way in a day or stop over somewhere and if so where?

Or get a ferry from Newcastle?

And so it goes on so prevarication wins out as usual.

Speaking of which it’s Good Friday – Happy Easter – I am off to stuff my chops with chocolate eggs in the hope the rush of sugar to the brain will effect a shift in my capacity to plan…

On the Road Again – soon…….GULP

The polar opposite to us low slung dark varied, short legged Aberdonians.

I can’t fly. No that is not a comment about my personal feathered wing situation. Fact is I am not permitted to fly on a plane due to an ongoing health condition – yeh I know – yawn yawn. Don’t worry I wasn’t going to splurge out all that stuff – I was just telling you all about it cos I am in the process of planning a road trip with my dear Mum.

Road trip consists of

Her – passenger seat.

Me  – driving seat.

Her – old crumpled map. See below.

Me – GPS

I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh when I saw this map proving my suspicion that she is no Christopher Columbus.

ImageHer – finely tuned destinations decided and confirmed.

Me – fly by the seat of the pants. Oh I do fly!  By the seat of my pants I forgot about that.

My Dad once navigated his wee sailing boat round the coast of the north of Scotland with an AA Road Map. It didn’t end well.  So I do understand why she is pushing for some definitive answers as to where we are going. She thinks I take after him. I do too.

In May we are off to Spain.

So I am reinvigorating this blog  to tell the tale of a road trip  with me and her.

Or as she would say “You and I,  Alison! Not Me and her”.  Yes the travails and travels of this middle aged daughter and my octogenarian Mum  on the road.

Jack Kerouac style?
Well that remains to be seen.

Back Lung & 81 Part 4. Mum finds God in hospital…

photoAt the hospital in denial.

Well Denia actually but the predictive text on my phone sent a sinister message by mistake.

Mum’s leg had swollen up over night – ‘Don’t panic but I seem to have a lump at the back of my knee’.  A quick google and DVT behind the knee came up time and time again. She had one years ago so we weren’t going to hang about. Except we didn’t know where we were going or how to get there.

Guess who?

photoSir Nick of Barcelona. I was on his doorstep at 7.45am He was at our door within 10 minutes  helping mum into the car.  Just a reminder this is a guy who we hadn’t met  3 days ago and has now, sorted out or accommodation, lent us blankets, put on our water and electricity, lent as £500 – yes and as of writing he has not had it back yet due to bank transfer hiccoughs. He was now driving us on a weekday from his home to the local Dr. having had a chat with the emergency service on the phone.  We said thank you about 500 times again – it didn’t seem enough to be honest – anyway the Dr had one prod at her and Sir Nick was driving us all off to the hospital in Denia. Or denial as we now know it.


If you are ever in Spain and something untoward happens then relax. The hospital was as shiny as a pin and populated by smiling and delightful people.

An important thing though is always carry a European Health Card E11 which you can get in the uk as this  gives you access to their health service so you don’t pay.  It worked as they said it would like a treat.  Seamless with passport and health card so anyway lets get back to the plot….


Mum was put into a state of the art wheelchair on arrival where they prodded the royal leg  and told her it wasn’t a dvd  or a dvt so  did a blood test and set us outside to wait for the results. So we did. We all sat in wheelchairs and talked for 4 hours. Yes count them in and count them out. Eventually as the sun was beating down outside we decided one person should stay inside waiting for the Dr and the others would sit in the sun. So Mum and Ellie sat outside, Sir Nick of Barcelona headed off to get coffee and a sandwich and I lurked in the waiting room inside.

Within moments a tall blonde man  approached Mum and Ellie.

He had the blue cross on this t shirt she assumed he was medical.

‘Hello are you OK’ he asked

‘Yes. Well I have a bad leg but apart from that yes’

‘Are you a Christian?’  her asked looking at the gold cross she wears round her neck which I gave her at Hogmanay in 2000 because it looked nice not because of the religious connotation.

‘No….oh well yes’ she said keen to keep him at bay and now realising he was biblical not medical.

‘Which church?’

‘Bank of Scotland – I mean Church of Scotland ‘she replied.

‘May I bless your leg?’ he asked


‘May I bless your leg?’

‘Em..yes ok.’

And he did. As Ellie took this photo which he didn’t like. But then people in hospitals probably don’t like being harangued about his beliefs whilst suffering their own personal slings and arrows. So tough luck pal.

Blessing the leg my child.
Blessing the leg my child.


So I would like to report the blessed leg is doing well. So is the rest of thebody on which it resides.


The final verdict of our Doctor as opposed to the blesser having heard how we got from Scotland to Spain was the swollen leg is ‘down to the trauma of the journey’

Ah. Here is the start of the major guilt trip at dragging your mother across hill, dale, train station, platform, bar, bus, boat etc…

The trauma of the journey.


Sorry Mum I said seriously.

Oh shut up she said I’ve loved every minute of it.
Exhale……so onward, upward and at this rate outward…..


The trauma of the journey….Oh God.


Why anyone would like to travel with the mouthy slapper on the left who knows - but lucky for me they do! We're off!
Why anyone would like to travel with the mouthy slapper on the left who knows – but lucky for me they do! We’re off!

Day one

When you get walloped with bad health you lie still looking at the ceiling thinking what will I do  if I ever get out of here? Go to Borneo to see orangutangs in the wild  was first on my mind. I have never seen them and I’ve been talking out its since I was 12. Unfortunately my particular lurgy was lung related so I can’t fly. I  confess in the aftermath of my health scare when I received this news it was with mixed feelings. Bummer I can’t fly. Closely followed by ‘Whoopee I can’t fly!’ as I have always hated it anyway.  Of course everyone I know flies everywhere they go. It’s fast, safe and cheap. So as recovery trudged on for months and months, so did my thoughts of sunshine. I have to get away. Its been over a year I need vitamin D and hot UV heat and light on my bones and my bluey white skin I am not asking much just enough to start reaching a normal Scottish pinky colour.


So with my 81 year old mum one day I spat it out.

‘I want to go somewhere hot.’

‘So do I’ piped up mum.

‘Well it’ll have to be train, boat, bus, bike and Shanks pony’ I said pulling no punches

‘Fine’ she said not bothered at all. ‘I’m game’.

So the idea was born 2 weeks ago.

The challenge? To get to sunny Spain to have a holiday without taking off.

Eurotunnel is the obvious choice but of course…but I can’t do that either! Something to do with the pressure change. So let’s google boats. Lordy…..a grand tour.

But first let me tell you about our 3rd member of the  tour. Geordie El. She also hates the flying machine and we have talked about going on a Thelma and Louise style trip together for 22 year –(22 years!?  yes we have known each other since  before we were born).  She dramatically broke her back sledging two years ago so has also been in that prone staring at the ceiling contemplating life position. She is now up and about but cant lift stuff. I can’t lift stuff. Mum can’t lift stuff. So here we are. Three non lifting, hurpling dafties are off.

The team is complete. Step one…… train to Newcastle……. Look who’s in the same compartment when we arrive? Only our best pal Fraser on his way South to do Underbelly Business….and his constant and considerably more intelligent companion Issy. As you can see we love Issy. The most laid back dog in the known world. We love Fraser too but only because he looks after Issy or is it the other way round?


Fraser Smith and his wing dog Issy.
Fraser Smith and his wing dog Issy.

Being married to a restaurateur he does not  like to think of us on tour without food and drink so he wrapped something in a dishtowel and handed to  Ellie before we got on the train and lo and behold we started with a toast to us and our overland adventures


The eyeball
The eyeball give me a drink – NOW

…well we’re off….Excitement of the overnight ferry coming up mañana……

Izzy - the perfect travelling companion
Izzy – the perfect travelling companion

Asda make you pick your bum.

Are you trawling the shops for your Christmas party dress? Well, Asda have just announced The Wonderbum  range having decided our bums are non longer just general bums but they are to be categorised into 4 shapes.
According to these self appointed Professors of Posterior almost half of us girls have a  tomato shaped bottom “bigger, plumper, rounder and squishy to the touch”, the retailer said.
A tomato shaped bottom for heaven’s sake what is that about? A cherry tomato, a Spanish tomato, a plum tomato, a fried green tomato at the whistle stop cafe?
 What complete nonsense and just as well I mean look at these daft geezers –  tomato grapplers at large in Spain at the annual tomato festival which from this day forward will be  known as bum festival.
Next downright insult to the female form is category 2. Potato bum. Yes the powers that be say that a lot of us have bums that look like a potato.  The “less fortunate” potato shape, suffered by 30% of women, is wide, long and lumpy.Cheeky. Ahem. Personally I think this potato looks like a bum not the other way round. And when we talked to our inhouse expert Mr Potato Head he was livid.
‘Are you saying I look like an arse?’ he said before stomping off in high dudgeon – I think he has a chip on his shoulder. And who can blame him.
The third category, the familiar and yet  insulting pear shaped bum remains in vogue.
”The pear shape is narrower at the top and almost twice the size at the fullest part of the behind’ Pear shape is something I have been called and to me it is tantamount to shouting  and pointing ‘hey you! You’ve got a big bahooky I’m looking for somewhere to park 
my bike. Any chance?’
So tomatos, tatties and pears  what’s the final one?
A nectarine. A nectarine overly red, with a big stone in the middle not something I would relish.
Asda say that a nectarine bum is “close to the cartoonesque derriere perfection of two bowling balls pushed together”. Two bowling balls pushed together?!  Have you ever picked up a bowling bowl, incredibly heavy and gulp it has  3 holes. No thank you.
The Wonderbum range was launched after a survey revealed that 85% of women worried about the size and shape of their bottoms. Only 85% !Well I am sure that will be up to 99% now. Am I a tomato? A potato? A pear? or a nectarine?

Asda say  “Women should celebrate their shapes this Christmas. We’ve designed a range of gorgeous party dresses to suit every shape and size.”  But if I can add if your backside in any resembles a bowling ball  like this one  call your Dr. forthwith.

If you feel you fit the fruity profile then the Wonderbum range features four dresses in sizes 8 to 20, priced from £20 – blooming good value never mind the rest of it. See you at the bar!