My Mum and technology – get me a gin – not a glass – a bottle now!

Smelling salts for Alison. My Mother  phoned me on her mobile ( for the first time ever as she hates it) I assumed something was wrong. It was. The conversation went something like this.

“I’m on my mobile. That other walkabout phone thing you bought me doesn’t work”

Oh dear I said whats the problem?

“Well when I pick it up it just makes a noise…one long noise.”

You mean the dialling tone?

“No it’s definately not the dialling tone”

Adamant she was so I decided not to argue but go with the flow.

“OK Mum… Well why don’t you stay on the mobile and I will try and phone your walkabout phone from my landline to see if its working with incoming calls?”

“Oh OK”.

So I rang her new walkabout, as she stayed on her mobile. It  rang. ‘Oh ” she said  as she picked it up. “Hello…you’re there”.

Yes. I am.

So we agreed it was working.

“OK” I said “now you press the red button which will cut this call off. Then press the green button so you can try phoning me back”


I repeated it.

“Oh right” she said

“OK” muffled shuffling “I have hit the green button” and as she did she shouted “yes! yes! I told you  that’s the funny noise now. Can you hear it ? I am holding the walkabout phone up to my mobile for you to hear “.  Which I couldn’t

“No Mum I can’t hear it but just put this number in…”

“Oh OK “she said as I listed off my mobile number and heard her poke each number into her phone sighing in that resigne-d there is now way this is going to work -sort of way.

“OK that’s it done” she said as my landline started to ring.

“Its working.” I said and  picked it up . “Hello” I said.

“Hello” said a confused woman on the other end. My Mother.

“Its me Mum don’t blow the whistle”

So she now had her mobile phone in one ear and her landline in the other.

45 minutes drive away, so did I.

“We are now talking on four phones” I said.

“Oh”. She said.

Teenwolf by now was rocking back an forward with tears rolling down his face.

“Shall we put them all down now?” I asked sounding a bit Fluella Benjamin

“Yes” . She said.

“Right When I count to 3 hang up your mobile AND the walkabout phone.”


“I said whenI count to 3 hang up you mobile and your walkabout phone OK?”


“She’s already hung up. Get me a whisky please” I asked the hysterical teenwolf

My hot flush raised itself another few degrees.

To heck with technology.  Next time it’s a pigeon with a leg for a message to be tied round it.


Furious mother may strangle Teenwolf son.



I can’t you how angry I am having just come home from a full days work to a smell that just about knocked me out when I opened the door.
Oh God the aged dogs have combusted I thought uncharitably but one look at them proved they were as horrified as I was as they pushed past me to get out the door.


A cursory sniff as they scattered took me to the source – Teenwolf  had decided to whip up a snack for his pal – smoked mackerel.  He’d manfully opened the package, sliced it on a chopping board all left there with fishy knife . The pan is also in evidence as are the plates they ate from with the leftovers, a few further fishy wee shards.


All of this has been sitting in the warm house left to emanate fishy fishy smells all day long. Ggggggrrr.

Our pals are coming round in an hour so I have to decide whether to open the windows and freeze them to death or invite them into fishy hell.

I am off to dig out jumpers, rugs, hats and gloves – they will thank me for it if and when they ever thaw out.

My mood will take longer to thaw out when the Teenwolf slopes in. I guarantee it.

Teenwolf & the pack return alive.

images-2Yeah they are back from Zante.


That is all.

That is enough.

The cigarette burns.

Bags under the eyes.

Look of rickets round the legs will all pass.

The strangely neon daubed shoes,

Gnarly sandy things in the bottom of the case.

Untouched bar of soap and empty Kitkat packets

are my only clues. But who cares.

They are here. Fit. Healthy. Upright. And



Teenwolf is in Zante – NOW

UnknownHe packed his case 6 hours before he left. He was leaving at 4am so it was just before he fell into a slump.

After he had put in 3 vests, 2 pairs of shorts and some aftershave ( vital obviously)  I stuffed in half a loo roll, some dried apricots, white kit kats, and a medical supply box that would impress  Dr Quinn Medicine Woman.

imagesWipes, bits, stuff for allergies, rehydrators, paracetamol, plasters, mosquito spray.

I recall his first trip away when he was 7 he came back with his toilet bag unopened. Perfect clean folded facecloth, pristine unused soap, toothbrush missing. All clothes folded, and clean – he hadn’t changed his clothes at all.

Yup he left for Zante on Thursday. What I didn’t realise was they were leaving from Glasgow at  6am so had to get there for 4. Herding cats is an over used expression but 16  x 17 & 18 year old boys going off to Zante for the 1st  time free of guidance, nagging, money and bossing of parents is a real cat herding exercise. No shit.


Taking a deep breath and determined to give him his space. I have resisted texting. In return every 2 days I get a two work text from Zante boy.
I am happy. This proves many things.


  1. He realises I am a neurotic old bat
  2. He is coherent enough to text
  3. He has the foresight to charge his mobile
  4. He notices he is not here.

The brief  communications have been as follows.
Day 1. Arrived safe.


Day 3 Apartment dodgy

Day 4 Nothing

Day 5 Need decent food.


Of course I have tried cajoling him. What are you eating? How hot is it? And just before I press send I think. Woah. Stop. Being the stalking woman it is not a good look. So I have refrained.

As I sat tucked up on the couch getting over the 2 week stay of our pals from Australia I flicked through the TV idly. And what did I find?

Inbetweeners Movie.
3 minutes in in I recalled the strict instructions from those who know

‘DO NOT under any cicrcumstances watch the Inbetweeners Movie.’

Too late.


More insomnia – if you wonder if you  can actually have more insomnia and less sleep. I am (zombie like) living proof you can.

The joys of parenthood.

Oh and take it from me. If you are a parent. Do not watch the Inbetweeners Movie. Ever.

If you’re not though do it’s funny as hell.

Zante trip imminent. Smelling salts for the parents please.

This time next week the boy who has turned into a teenwolf and teeters on manhood is off to Zante. Yes the island that has featured on Sex, Sea and Suspicious Parents in which platoons of teenagers maraude the nightclubs and bars speed drinking, fighting and lying in pools of suspicious substances after thrusting their tongues down available throats. I feel sick.


It’s a right of passage I am told.

Yes. I understand.

I understand but it makes no odds. The lump of concrete in my belly is intact. So I have a few choices to make.

Shall I

  1. Drink for 7 days thus displaying the ‘if you cant beat them join them’ ethos?
  2. Find a crooked Dr and arrange an intravenous tranquiliser for the week?
  3. Check myself into a chanting retreat to be calmed in a Zen like fashion?
  4. Go too?


No. None of the above. I will have to display the mature adult persona. Being helpful, concerned yet happy to let him go to the land of the lamping, flashing and guzzling. AAAARRRGGHH. I may have to practice this technique as at the moment barricading the door so he cant get out of his room is still rather appealing.


Mature Adult impression
Mature Adult impression

Genuinely it’s not his lot I am worried about it’s the lunatic heavily tattooed, drunken casual spoiling for a fight and taking a dislike to a bunch of Scottish lads. Just for the hell of it.

Oh and the mopeds.

And the drink spiking.

And of course  the balconies.

There there’s alcohol poisoning.


Drowning if swimming and gulping beer.


So what stage does parenting become a relaxing experience I asked my Mum who was 82 last week.

She smiled back ‘Never’.

Thanks for that Mum.



Anyway….just in case you’re interested


How to avoid drink spiking

If your drink has been spiked it’s unlikely that you will be able see, smell or taste any difference.

The following steps may help prevent someone from spiking your drink:

  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know.
  • Keep an eye on your friends’ drinks.
  • Stay away from situations that you don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Let someone know where you are and what time you expect to be home, especially if you’re going on a date with someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t give out too much information to someone you’ve just met, such as your address.
  • It’s important to remember that if you’ve already been drinking, it may make you less aware of any danger.

It isn’t just women who are targeted. The most common reasons for drink spiking are:

  • for amusement
  • to be malicious
  • to carry out a sexual assault or rape
  • to carry out a theft

Parents of teenagers prepare yourself – pant wettingly accurate.

If you have a teenager. Or a child that will one day turn into one. This will hit the spot. No not that kind of spot the sort of relevant, been there done that, guffaw we are not alone spot as this illustrates the hormonal fluctuation of the teenager is not unique it is a universal joy. That was sarcasm. Mind you it made me laugh like a drain as it does feel good to know we are not alone.
And here’s the good news. I have heard it on very good authority once their brain synapsses join up again they do resemble the delicious delightful people they were when they submerged into the hormone tunnel – they just have more facial hair and better enunciated verbs.


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

Travelling with Teenwolf is a mixed blessing.

Blessing. I know where he is.

Mixed blessing. Usually asleep


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

‘Oh I’m having a barbeque’

‘A barbeque? Where’

‘In the communal garden.’

‘Oh. When’




What with .

Ryans taking sausages.

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

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

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

How many of you then?

A few

What’s a few?
Bout 10

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


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


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

Things ready?

Ryans taking the sausages what is there to get ready?

Oh you know

No not really.

Well.. anyway see you later k.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Melfort House – B&B? Bloomin’ luxury!


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

This of course is my idea of heaven.

Her idea of hell.

I organised a surprise birthday party for her 70th.

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

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


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

So this time it was her call.

What would you like to do?

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

My baby is behind the wheel of a car ,

Bring on the vapours.

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

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


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

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

As I wemnt over the basics.

This is a car he rolled his eyes

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

That is the accelorator and the brake isin the middle.

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

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

After a few steering grabs and screams

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

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

‘Dad won’t be like this’;

“You’re right he will be worse’

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


His first official lesson was the following day.

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

2 hours!

He drove from Crammond to Letih..

I was in shock when he told me

‘On the road?’ I asked

‘Yes where else ?’  the indignant response.


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

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

My options I outline below.

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

Sell  it.

Burn  it.

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

Buy a bicycle ? Nope worse than a car.

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

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




Take up smoking, get me a pint of Absinthe – it’s the bleedin’ exams.

This time of year I am tempted to start smoking again – heavily. Up the drinking to make Oliver Reed look like King of The Temperance Society and empty the bucket that farmers put aside for pigs full of out of date chocolate eclairs into my open gob. To hell with it.

The reason?  The dreaded exams.  Once again it is  Clash of The Titans. Parents V Teenwolf. Parents V Turning Into their own parents and going on and on and on and on about working for exams. The strained atmosphere in our house is like a guitar string tightened to breaking point. Twang!

The theory on the run up to it.

Teenwolf: Yeh I will work for a few hours a night.

The practice

Back from school, slumping around, downloading music, playing the guitar,running about outside with a ball round or oval, intermittent face stuffing and then back in for a look at the telly.

With everything clenched, including my hair, I wait, I bide my time and then I have to ask

‘You doing any work tonight?’

I plug my ears  as the expected reaction ensures




Huffing, puffing, exhaling, stomping, eye rolling, grunting, screeching, door slamming,  undulating hormones but enough about me. Teenwolf is calm. He is under control. He knows how to wind me up. My achilles heel. My bete noire – whatever that means.

And it is this.

‘So how did you get on at school Mum?’

‘Oooh look what the hell is that?’ I squawk

He saw it too! The thing! He did!

He gives me the look.

‘I’m serious. Look! That thing out there. Out the window that big blue thing I just saw flying up there look. Wow’



‘I know what you are doing. How did you get on at school mum?’

Cough cough splutter splutter collapse onto the floor. Weak breathless voice ‘ Help help I am choking. Help!’

‘For Gods sake Mum.Get up.  I know you are just doing that’

Cough cough splutter, less movement now, lying face down on the kitchen floor ignoring the half wit labrador now licking my ear.  ‘Water’ I drag out in a deathly whisper ‘Water’.

He steps over me and leaves the room.

‘Yeh I thought so’ he states calmly.

I am up on my feet in a second.

‘What do you mean?   You thought what?’ I do disappoint myself sometimes.

‘You were useless.’

Fake faint.  Bollocks. I’m staying here til it’s all over. it seems I still am.