Thursday, December 21, 2006
Actually, I just wondered why this article on the death of one of the men us 60s kids probably spent most of our childhood TV viewing hours with, doesn't mention that most wonderful of TV series Top Cat. Although T.C. of course was the main star, I had a wee soft spot for the ever-cuddly Benny the Ball. I loved the other Hanna-Barbera stuff too of course - I particularly liked the Flintstones - probably because I genuinely believed my dad was Fred Flintstone for a while when I was wee - they kind of looked alike! I loved all the modern gadgets in it, I remember a dinosaur tin opener in one episode. It's great all this stuff is still running today, just a shame though that kids seem to prefer to watch all that Japanese shite on TV - Yu-gi-oh and the likes - Nothing really happens in them and they all shout at each other. Give me Fred and Wilma, Benny and Brain, and Tom and Jerry any day.
Southern England seems to be in meltdown all because of some fog - Heathrow has ground to a standstill and several hundred thousand people are facing Christmas asleep on the floor of terminal 4, apparently. But I was thinking how pretty fog can be from a photographer's perspective, many apologies to those stranded passengers who probably are struggling to see its beauty today. I found these pretty photos on the BBC today and they reminded me of this photo I took in Rouken Glen park a couple fo winters ago - I really like the tranquility of it.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Marcel's been playing on my computer all evening. At first I assumed he was playing online games on miniclip as usual but it turns out he'd opened a Word document, gone onto the Internet and got the lyrics to Away in manger and was trying with Charlotte to rewrite a more modern version for his school pals. Once he finished it, he then asked to start up his own blog and uploaded it. If this (and his second posting) are going to be the standard of things to come, I await his next offering trembling with fear, though it could give me some insight into the world of a 9 year old boy, which, given I have never been one, could be useful!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
He's at that funny age between childhood and adolescence when some things little kids do or like, such as going to the office Xmas party, are still cool, whereas others, such as attending the school pantomime, are worse than unmentionable. There doesn't seem to be any obvious logic, so as a parent I am currently trying to wing it! When he seemed to be boycotting Xmas cards, I saw no point in nagging him.
Suddenly, last night he launched himself on a multi-box of cards, picking out all the snowmen cards. Charlotte has always loved Snowmen but Marcel has never shown any particular interest in all things Snowmen-shaped. He made a list of 12 or 13 male friends, picked out that many Snowmen cards and got down to work. As you can see from the card attached, it took him over an hour to complete his Xmas card list this year and he was extremely proud of the finished article! Somewhere between the devil, Darth Vader, a flasher and a grenade-tossing terrorist! And I can just imagine all his little mates grinning in an evil manner when they opened their card and then rushing off to do their own!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
However, maybe the Christmas fairylight eccentrics should bear in mind what it might do to the price of their house!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Anyway, why am I on about Euler? Well Euler was the answer to a question on a quiz show Marcel was watching the other night and I actually remembered it - it is amazing what rubbish the mind pigeonholes for 2 decades only to bring to the surface, uselessly many years later. Also I didn't want my blog to be pigeonholed as complete inane drivel.
Monday, December 11, 2006
While shopping on Saturday I found something I had never seen in my life seen before named a 'pikelet'. I absolutely adore crumpets with butter and rolled up, pancakes are an acceptable second when ASDA is out of crumpets so when it was out of both on Saturday, I surely could be forgiven for assuming a pikelet belonged to the same delicious family, given how it looks. How WRONG can a person be? Pikelets are possibly the most vile little impostors you are ever likely to encounter on your supermarket shelf. Doughy, sugarless, chewy lumps of washing-up liquid to be precise.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
I am all in favour of school uniforms for many reasons. First you spot someone who shouldn't be in the playground immediately when all the others are dressed the same, secondly I don't spend hours in battles explaining to my kids why they don't need designer schoolwear, there's no bullying related to clothing - everyone is dressed the same so no one is obviously very rich or very poor etcetc. This becomes even more important at high school where they are more aware of designer clothes and where an outsider in the school area would otherwise be harder to spot. However, whereas primary uniforms have moved on from the starched shirts and ludicrous ties I had to wear even as a tiny 4 year old, high school uniforms have moved very little since I was a child. Girls still have to wear ties to high school, although they now wear trousers at least. (I wasn't allowed to despite the Scottish climate!) I think uniforms are great for the reasons above but why can't they be comfortable and functional - a tie is utterly useless and where 20% of the boys may be unlucky/stupid enough to move on to careers where they are stuck wearing stupid ties, none of the girls are ever likely to need one in their adult life. I see absolutely no reason why high school uniforms can't be a simple T-shirt with logo just as they wear until they leave primary school at 12? Come on - let's move in to the noughties, guys!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I don't think I mentioned it at the time, well maybe in the passing on one of my NY postings but I definitely didn't devote a whole posting to it. What? My damned computer's DC socket problem, of course! Basically about August my computer started acting up - every so often though the power cable was plugged in, the toolbar would tell me I was running off battery and not mains. Consequently it wouldn't always charge. Eventually in October I just couldn't get it to run off the mains at all so I took it to be repaired. It was taken apart and the internal DC socket was replaced and reattached - it worked great... for 4 weeks till the problem recurred. I took it back and didn't even offer to pay - I simply handed it to the shop and told them I would pick it up in full working order the following week. They didn't seem to want to mess with me. I returned and it was waiting - repaired. The repair worked well for 4 more weeks and then of course two days ago, I was sitting here happily blogging, plugged into the mains when my nasty little blue battery light flashed on to tell me I wasn't connected to my cable once again. So Saturday morning will no doubt see another trip to the computer repair shop, followed my much gnashing of teeth and many threats, followed once again by me sitting miserably unable to blog for three or four more days.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Oh...and while I may put up with Jeremy Vine or Steve Wright, I will certainly never be turning on radio 2 when that plonker (the politest term I could think of) Wogan is on.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I was thinking the other day about the leaps and bounds made in medical science since my Granny's day. In the 40s if you were a woman with a negative blood group and your partner had a positive one, nothing could be done. If you had a child together and its blood type was negative, life was just great. If you had a child together and its blood group was positive, the effect was worse than devastating. With less than 15% of the population in general being rhesus negative, there isn't an enormous problem, however it seems to be a recurrent problem in my family.
My dad was the first child of a negative mother and positive father, my dad's blood type is O+. The result changed his life forever. His siblings, two I think, died at birth, their red blood cells destroyed by the blood that had passed into his negative mother during his own birth.
When my parents met, once again the problem arose - mum is AB-, dad is positive. They were taken into a quiet room in the hospital during her first pregnancy and told the devastating news that because of rhesus incompatibility which had been worked on a little since the 40s, their chances of having more than nine live births were zero! Nine? Mum and dad laughed aloud and told the doctor they had been planning a football team! ;-) But seriously, in the 60s, people in that situation would have a first healthy baby followed by increasingly sickly ones until the stillbirths kicked in. Mum and dad were luckier than Granny and Granda. Their first child, me, was born with rhesus negative blood, assuring their second child would be healthy whether negative or positive and they didn't have a third.
Then history repeated itself once more. When I married André, I found out he too had O+, against my B-. Fortunately, being very aware of rhesus problems from family history I enquired straight away about the implications. In the 90s, it was treated by giving anti-D if bleeding, miscarriage or amniocentesis took place and after birth the baby's own blood group was checked and you were given a further anti-D shot within 12 hours should your baby turn out to be rhesus positive. By 2005 when I had Léon, this had been increased to offering rhesus negative women anti-D shots every 4-6 weeks through pregnancy whether or not any bleeding or fluid exchange had taken place. By the end of each of my pregnancies I was so full of anti-D I was fit to burst. And my kids: Marcel B-, Charlotte O-, Léon B-, of course!!! It is devastatingly ironic though that nowadays when we have all this knowledge and technology to combat rhesus disease, I manage to produce only rhesus negative children which would have been unaffected by the invention or not of anti-D and would have survived just as well in the 40s, while my poor grandmother had only positive children back in the days when the doctors couldn't save them. Life's a bitch at times :-(
Anyway, I thought this table was interesting:
It brings home to me just how rare I, my kids (and my mum) are and explains I guess that the chances of me having all these negative babies was very slim. It also reminded me to give blood when I can (I can't at the moment because they won't touch you when you are breast-feeding). And more than anything else it underlined to me why I should refuse if the work ever tries to send me to South Korea on business ;-) I certainly don't fancy my chances there, should I have an accident and need a transfusion!
Léon had an ultrasound scan of his kidneys and bladder today at Yorkhill Hospital to check whether or not the kidney infection last month had caused any damage. They had this cool, but not very well thought-through idea to keep the kids still and happy while being scanned. Firstly they laid him down on his back to scan his bladder. They turned on a projector which projected cartoon images onto the ceiling. He was impressed. He watched and pointed. Then they turned him onto his front to scan his kidneys - of course he then couldn't see the ceiling but knew he was missing something. It took three of us to hold him down while he screamed and twisted to see the cartoon cows on the ceiling. Hmmmm. The consultant informed me she saw no cause for concern.
I saw on dad's blog the other day that there's a new IRN BRU ad out for Christmas. I missed its showing on TV recommended by dad so checked it out online just now. This is absolutely superb! Not only does it show you lots of well known Scottish tourist attractions, but the new words to the old song are brilliant. The sweet snowman turns into some sort of evil Glasgow ned and mugs a kid for his Irn Bru while flying over the Falkirk Wheel, Loch Ness (complete with monster), Edinburgh Castle, the Forth rail and road bridges, Eilean Donan castle, Glasgow Royal Opera House, Glasgow's George Square and the rail viaduct at Glenfinnan. This has to be the best ad I've seen in years. I, for one, will be drinking nothing but Irn Bru for the whole festive season I'm so impressed :-)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I woke up this morning to two stories that amused me. The first actually had me laugh out loud!
Derek told me on msn that having been rather sleepy when he put wee Gordy to bed last night after his bath he had cosily put on his vest, PJs and grobag, then put him down for his usual 12 hour snooze. Only this morning when he went in to waken him up did he sense something was amiss. His nose was greeted by a worse than usual odour as he entered the bedroom - Gordy is a prolific shitter you see. On further inspection, he found he had actually put the ten month old to bed last night without a nappy on. HAHAHAHA. Derek, they don't manage through the night without a nappy until they are two and a half or three! But it was definitely worth it - I haven't laughed out loud in months!
STOP PRESS: I am now actually crying with laughter having just spoken to Derek a second time on msn! Apparently to help, when he discovered his error, he ran with Gingerman's vest to the sink to steep it in some hot water, unfortunately failing to notice the adult-sized turd ensconced within which proceeded to block the utility room sink. HAHAHAHA. Ironically when I was round on Thursday, Amanda was just saying how Gordon's nappies were never very solid - she was wondering when they would start to become more adult-like. Perfect comic timing, Gordon, well done!
The other was an email from mum about her Cliffy concert last night. She wrote:
In front of us last night was a family of four [Mum, Dad, Son about 10 & Daughter about 7]
Son is waving a Danish Flag!!!
Nobody but me seemed to recognise this fact, but the woman behind the boy got fed up, not being able to see for this flag...and....asked him to stop waving it in front of her.
This was just before the interval.
At the interval, the Dad apologises and explains....."We are just excited, we have come all the way from Denmark for this concert!"
We ask, "Does Cliff not come to Denmark?" Reply......." Oh yes, but not until next March....and we have tickets for that concert too!!!!"
I'll say no more!
A family flew from Denmark to Glasgow to see Cliff Richard in concert? Is that possible? Thomas is in shock.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Tonight is a thrilling night in Glasgow's entertainment calendar...not many people know that ;-)
It all started last November when mum and dad were sunning themselves on the beach in Florida while the rest of us froze our backsides off back here in Glasgow. They didn't have a care in the world, well once the hurricane had blown over and they could come back out the fall-out shelter and inspect the damage (which seemed to be a lack of electricity), they didn't. I, on the other hand was having a hard time. You see, despite being ex-directory, mum's old primary school friend, Margaret, had got a hold of my phone number and was inundating me with phone calls, inquiring whether or not I thought my mum would like her (Margaret) to buy her (mum) a ticket for a Cliff Richard concert which was to take place 13 months later. Margaret was worried that if mum returned from America in December and found the concert had sold out she would be beside herself with grief so implored me to ring mum in America and let her know about this great opportunity. I rang mum in Florida and asked if she wanted a ticket. Her reply was something along the lines: "What? Why? He hasn't made a decent record in years! Well if it is cheap I'll go to keep her company but I don't fancy it. How much are the tickets anyway?" I checked online there and then and informed her tickets seemed to start around fifty quid, she choked in shock, muttered "no way!" and hung up. I rang Margaret and told her mum would not be devastated if she missed out on tickets and thought nothing more about it, until the following day when Margaret rang again asking if I was sure mum really didn't want to go, and the next day, and the next day... I recontacted mum who was adamant she wasn't going to pay £50 to see a past-his-sell-by-date pensioner sing. Margaret sounded disappointed but let it rest.
In the run up to Xmas mum felt guilty that Margaret was missing out on the concert because she knew she was unlikely to go alone, so bought her a full set of Cliffy DVDs as her Xmas present. Xmas day came and mum duly gave Margaret her DVDs, Margaret handed mum her present, a smaller package than usual, definitely not pyjamas, make-up or jewellery, intrigued mum opened it to find - yes a concert ticket for tonight's Cliff Richard concert in the SECC! Tee hee hee.
Mum, Maggie and Cliff go way back you see. It had started in the late 50s, when all young girls were fans and Cliff was a sexy young lad! ;-) In the 70s mum, Margaret, Heather (Margaret's daughter) and I used to go to a concert annually at the famous old Glasgow Apollo and have a whale of a time dancing in the aisles. Even Derek came once (sorry to attack your street cred Derek ;-) ) My excuse was that I was about 8, it was ok to like Cliff if you were 8! I even remember coming home from school one day in 76 to find my granny in residence at our house. "Where's mum?" I asked. Mum was out all day, unheard of when I was a child. It turned out she'd won a competition on the radio and had got to spend the afternoon having lunch with Cliff and was worried I might die of a broken heart because she hadn't stopped by the school and taken me with her! I probably refused to speak to her for a week in disgust!
So tonight mum and Margaret are away dancing in the aisles, maybe? And I decided to take a wee trip down memory lane. Googling Cliff to see his achievements, I read that in May 2006 the video for his song Wired For Sound (1981) was appointed as "worst video ever" at VH1. The video features Cliff surrounded by rollerskaters with colourful skin-tight garments skating around the shopping centre at Milton Keynes :-) I bet even mum and Margaret don't know that fact!
Anyway it was fun at 7 or 8 to go out on the town with mum and Margaret. Going to a concert was such an exotic thing to do, but 30 years on, I for one, am glad they left Heather, (Derek) and I at home this time round! If your not squeamish by nature, may I recommend this page of photos - they are truly barf-worthy! What is he doing with that tennis racket and guitar? Why is he posing in the gym wearing silver slippers????
Flicking throught the BBC's entertainment pages today when I found this. Hahahaha. I'll definitiely need to keep an eye on Ryanair's special offers so I can nip over to Stockholm next time they're doing free flights. I truly believe it is every true fan's duty ;-)
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Since the day it closed in March 2003 I have been at a loose end. My very favourite place in all of Glasgow was dismantled, not before time of course as it was falling to pieces and had become a sorry sight, but still I suddenly had nowhere to sit on a rainy Saturday afternoon, or on a cold winter's day. When I lived in my beloved West End I spent most of my spare time in there. I'd read a book, take the kids for walks, stand and watch the fish and the ferns. I'd go to the breezy café and sit alone. Maternity leaves were fondly spent breastfeeding tiny babies in there away from the harsh Glasgow wind. I missed taking Léon there during my last maternity leave. In fact it is odd to think I have a child who has never been inside the Kibble palace. It will be interesting to see if Charlotte remembers it, having only been 3 when it closed its doors, though of course she had spent forever inside it before then. Happily, today, St Andrew's day saw it reopen to the public. At last :-) I for one will be through its doors before the week is out breathing a huge sigh of relief, with my camera round my neck and my kids in tow.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
When Derek rang us on 18 January last year to tell us Gordon had been born, he described him as a ginger, as in /ˈgɪŋər/ . Amanda and Derek now both claim Gordy, like Pudge is a blond. Personally though, dad and I think Gordy is definitely gingerer /ˈgɪŋərər/ than his big cous!
Léon has learned to walk! :-) He has been a few weeks slower than my other kids because he was so unwell for part of October and November but finally over then last few days he has been trying over and over to take a step or two. Right up till yesterday when we cracked it. When placed standing on Granny's rug he managed 2 or 3 steps, but when Granny opened a packet of Cadbury's Chocolate Buttons and sat at the far end of her living room, Pudge suddenly found the coordination to walk the full length of the room in her direction! ...like a tiny man on a mission!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Don't you just love the effects you can achieve by stitching photos together? I felt that Manhattan lent itself particularly well to this method of creating breath-taking panoramas, although of course I have used the technique back here in Glasgow too on occasion. I must try to use it for cloning too.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I heard this on radio Scotland on the way home tonight. Now I am no raving green looney. I do see the sense of saving the planet for future generations, and I recycle when I can but I have been known to throw the odd tin or newspaper in the normal bin if it is raining too heavily to reach the recycling bin. And I don't feel the slightest guilt at hopping on and off 12 planes a year, after all you only live once so you have so see the planet! However even I think this is utter madness. They catch them here, they sell them here, we eat them here but they are sending them on a world tour just to save on the peeling charges - stupid, stupid world! And moreover, half of Poland has moved to Scotland to take up these jobs, does that mean we're going to be knee-deep in unemployed Poles, too? Poor buggers!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I was having a mid-life crisis the other week so decided to go on a trip down memory lane by watching one of my favourite movies: Grease! It brought back wonderful memories of singing, dancing and drinking all night with my uni friends as a 20 year old! I must dig out the Rocky Horror Picture Show too some time!
I remember when I first saw Grease in 1978 (when I was 10) thinking how old the actors looked for supposedly being schoolkids - but when you are 10, an 18 year old does seem like an adult. At 20 I still thought they looked pretty old compared to myself but I did look young for my age and google wasn't around in those days to check. I even remember my old Gramps shuffling through the livingroom one day as I watched the video, muttering in his own inimitable fashion: 'they're gey hairy-arsed teenagers, thaem!' However, I was surprised last week when I watched it again to still find the actors looked ages with me, given I am now pushing 40! It wasn't so much John Travolta who was narrow and therefore youngish but the women, come on! So onto google I went. Olivia was 30, playing a teenager and Stockard Channing was an astounding 34 playing an 18 year old! Who the hell cast this movie? (John was 24 btw, if you are interested). Maybe if they are doing a remake in the near future, I could audition for Olivia's role - I mean I do know all the words of the songs and at 38, I am definitely in the right age-bracket for playing an 18 year old ;-)
Monday, November 13, 2006
Have a look at this picture, bearing in mind that the Latvian Lat is worth almost to the penny exactly the same as the pound sterling! Isn't this incredible? Things are cheaper in Latvia: public transport is amazingly cheap (20p for a half hour bus trip to the airport) but food and drink aren't wildly cheap - I mean a coffee you pay £2 in the UK would cost maybe £1-30 or you might pay £3 for a pasta dish that would cost £5 here. So the cigarette price is astonishing. As far as I know a pack is about a fiver in the UK, maybe more, I will check later when I am at the supermarket, but there you get them for 30 odd pence! Strangely restaurants, shopping malls and stations seem to be smokefree, though you practically have to swim through the group of smokers standing at the door in the freezing cold! It seems strange the Latvian government hasn't sussed quite how much tax they could make on the product - does this date back to the Soviet era, maybe? Anyway with the entire population of Latvia potentially 20 years away from extinction from lung cancer, maybe it is a good place to buy shares in anti-cancer drugs?
Friday, November 10, 2006
Oh and the reason for this rant by the way, of course, is that my hair really needs cutting at the moment :-(
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I guess this has to be the final New York topic, there is no avoiding it. I had known from I touched down in New Jersey that whatever else I did I would pass Ground Zero at some point, not because I wanted to go like some vulture and see it but because I knew that wherever I went in downtown Manhattan there would be no way to avoid it because it is such a huge scar on its face.
I deliberately got off the tourist bus a few stops before it, not only because I didn't know how I would react to it, and I didn't want to be together with a group of tourists, but also because I needed to be alone with my only post-2001 baby when I came face to face with the scene that would forever make him different from my other kids. He was the only one born into that new world, the one that changed forever that day.
I looked at a rough map I had in my pocket to see where exactly it was, which street I should turn up to get to it, as everything is such a maze. I wasn't where I had thought. I was still in Greenwich village, so I walked and that was when I found myself at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. That was nice. I had expected to visit Ground Zero and instead I had this euphoric Brooklyn and back experience that probably took me over an hour.
When I left the Brooklyn Bridge, I didn't reconsult my map, I just walked aimlessly, figuring I would find it if I headed for the Battery Park. I turned a corner and came face to face with a huge silver station sign. It didn't register at first. I read it: World Trade Center Path Station. As the last word passed from my eyes to my brain, I became instantly as cold as ice, my heart seemed to be trying some how to escape from my throat. Tears started to roll involuntarily down my face. I looked around. I was the only single tourist. I was the only person crying. Others in groups of 3 or 4 were posing in front of the sign and smiling. I felt that was so wrong. For half and hour Léon and I quietly walked right round the site, just alone with our thoughts. One of the four sides had a wall, blocks in length just covered in the names of those people. I read the first 2 or 3 but it was too much to contemplate, so I thought of them as a group and not as individuals, just for that one day. It was the only way to walk on. From my skipping euphoria on the Brooklyn Bridge I suddenly felt a cold despair. I needed to get away from there. I walked slowly thinking: Why?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I'll take the camera along. I have always found fireworks notoriously difficult to photograph well. I am sure there is a technique to it but unfortunately I have not found it. I did once get a firework photo published on the BBC. It was, however, of the people watching the fireworks and not of the fireworks themselves! I will upload it to this post next time I am on my own computer. Today, unfortunately, mine is in having its DC socket repaired for the 2nd time in 3 weeks (grrrr)so I don't have access to my photos :-(
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I'd better not buy that car just yet as I may yet lose my job given how much time I seem to be spending in the hospital instead of the office these days!
This time not one I dreamt while asleep but more what I hope I will have enough money to buy one day! For the past year since I had my third kid I have been thinking how much more practical a 7 seater car is than a 5. Even going to the shops and taking my parents with me always meant borrowing André's VW Sharan instead of driving my own Citroën Picasso. So I have been looking at the Vauxhall/Opel Zafira or the Renault Grand Scénic while cursing Citroën for making the only small MPV with just 5 seats. Until yesterday when I stumbled upon this ad! Yes the new model of my car has just come out and it has 7 seats! And they even make it in a nice shade of metallic red - cool - now I just need a decent enough income to buy it :-\
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Today is Halloween. That is why baby Pudge is wearing a spider suit for his nursery Halloween party where he apparently enjoyed dooking for apples, a popular Scottish Halloween game, though the mind boggles as to how you make babies play it (and stay alive)! And Charlotte has been dressed as the ever-girlie Darth Vader all day, though, much to her disgust, the helmet wasn't allowed for school in case it frightened the younger kids (of which, of course, she is one!) - she even wanted to take along her voice changer! Marcel however isn't wearing a Halloween costume because apparently Halloween is 'for kids'. :-( So he turned up at school wearing only a T-shirt sporting a skeleton design.