Funny how conversations go. I remember when the Black Panther was at large I was staying in a Caravan with my cousin in a field beside her Mums kennels we were about 10. We got ourselves in o such a state that when my Auntie Wilma came up and banged loudly on the window for a joke and we both became completely hysterical and had to decamp with tour sleeping bags back onto the floor in the house. So as were driving south I was retelling this story when we heard on the radio that there as an escaped convict on the loose.
“He’s called headbanger” said Mum in a most authoraritive tone. “Or is it nut cracker ? Or the big stabber? What was his name? ” pause forebrain to engage again ” I know Hammerhead!”
This went on for a while until eventually Google saved the day Skull cracker!” I announced triumphantly. So we agreed we should be keeping our eyes peeled for him on our way to Yorkshire – our first night away. It was a lovely place delicious food, comfy beds and dangerously great wine.
The General Tarleton Inn in Ferrensby. A delightful, delicious, comfy, friendly, warm, open Yorkshire hospitality. Fabulous food, comfy beds and somewhere I would go back to in an instant.
As we settled in the bar I texted the long suffering husband the wine label.
“Oh God” he said “Beware first night away syndrome, I hope they don’t have a piano or a banjo ukulele”. Well we have been together 20 years he knows me too well. Luckily for them they had neither.
The food was superlative. Delicious. Brilliantly cooked and we didn’t hold back.
More details about that later for now…………..the skull cracker is back inside and all is well with the world………packed and ready to roll tomorrow …
I buy domain names thinking I will eventually buy one which will bring me riches beyond my wildest dreams. Or at least make me enough cash for a couple of bottles of wine and a packet of pork scratchings, which actually aren’t that easy to get round these parts, the pork scratchings that is not the wine.
Anyway, I digress…. I can state categorically the dozens of domain names I have snapped up over the years means I get renewal notices every couple of months. My latest renewals are for www.beautyproductadvisor.com and www.beautyproductadvisor.co.uk The renewal email arrived today. So should they stay or should they go…as Joe Strummer once asked?
Well about a year ago whilst browsing some unknown potions and creams in the high street to slap on my face to make me look 21 I realised I had no idea which one to buy. Each orange woman behind each counter cajoled me into believing their chat. But sales people are sales people and on commission so as I stood there gazing vacantly at the bottles and tubs of stuff *ping* Went my dunderhead. “I know! Why don’t I start a sort of Trip Advisor for beauty products? A sort of Zit Advisor. So I bought BeautyAproductadvisor.com and co;uk. And I did because I ignored the voice in my head saying Noooooooo stop Alison stop you fool!
Of course I buy them instantly because stupidly my credit card is registered on the site so its just a quick click of a button. So exactly 12 months later or 24 if I have been totally convinced a domain is a mega money making idea and bought it for 2 years, I get a reminder “your domain name is about to expire”. Usually I have forgotten I have bought it in the first place which may say more about the state of my diminishing IQ than anything else. So I let most of them go as I have absolutely no idea what to do with them anyway.
However, if you ever do that then this will be of interest You can put in any domain name here and have it valued. Quite interesting. Potentially lucrative Unless you’re me obviously. Anyway I will leave it with you and your .com Hope you have better luck on your quest for riches. So there’s the portal to your future windfall – I hope – …VALUE MY DOMAIN NAME
Popped out to the communal garden for a coffee at 11am. By 12 the clinking of glasses alerted our ears to the fact the neighbours were taking the plunge and having a glass. Fancy one ? I asked Fiona. Och go on then just the one.
Then another. Joined by neighbour David. Laugh? Slap on more suncream, have another? Och OK. More neighbours emerged from their respective flats and the table grew and grew. We better eat I thought as I scrabbled about in the kitchen and found a small bag of mini cheddars and a melon. That”ll do for a start I said producing the Cheddars which we wolfed. More wine. More neighbours. The kids rampaged in the sun with water pistols, footballs, rugby balls, games of rounders as friendships were forged, stories were told, clinking and guffawing adults joined more and more. Surely the whole street was now in the garden whooping it up. By 7pm all dogs had been unleashed, all kids were getting tired and the adults were swigging and telling secrets in loud voices to anyone who would listen.
Cut to this morning. A warm, fermenting melon was unleashed from my bag with one empty bag of mini Cheddars as I dug about looking for Nurofen. A strange mobile phone fell out too. It rang. I picked it up. Fiona had left it under a chair, when did you leave? I ask.
I have no idea.
The street is quiet today. A lot of shuffling, sunglasses and low key meanderings – knowing glances. Stuart – one of the whooper uppers – clocked me and just smiled. Carnage he said. I nodded sagely. Carnage. Please God don’t make it a long hot summer my liver cannae take it.
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.
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.