July 29, 2004

Picasa

I keep meaning to post this. This is a link to the free download for the digital imaging software Picasa that manages photos for you. It is very good, simple to use, and more importantly FREE…

filles at 10:02 am

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We’re off!

Leaving early this afternoon for our drive south. Spending the night in a little village called Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales before continuing on to Castleton tomorrow morning. Barry & Michelle’s WEDDING tomorrow in Chapel en le Frith (that’s the name of the village) before a reception at the Castle Pub in Castleton. I am really looking forward to it! I don’t think we know many of the other guests, and if I have met them it would have been 15 years ago when I lived in London – so I probably wouldn’t recognise them anyway. This should be a hoot!

I really like weddings – I don’t how come cause I haven’t been to many in my life, at least not that I can remember. Family weddings, Helen & Karls, Kerry & Pete’s, my own – then skip forward 9 years, and Milene & Gabriels wedding last year, and then Barry & Michelle’s tomorrow… no huge big Lady Di numbers in that lot!

Anyway. I shall be off to pack now! Have a nice weekend… I should have lots of pretty pictures for you next week.

filles at 9:55 am

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July 28, 2004

snoozers are loosers

This is the blurb on the back of the pack:
“zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz to A. we only want you for your body
yes, that’s A for more awake, more alive and far more alert. say ‘asta la vista siesta! with our unique new patches. pop one on your arm and you’ll find yourself with tons more energy to do things. even it it’s merely to run (rather than crawl) up those stairs to bed.”

I had to buy them. You know I try and keep healthy, organic everything, no processed food (unless its take out after a big night out), blah blah blah. But really… 100mg of caffeine in a patch for your arm? How could you pass them up? In such lovely packaging too! I found some at Frasers the other day, and immediately thought of a couple of sleep deprived friends in London who might get some use out of them.. although I suspect sleep would be far better option!

They have a store full of products, with brilliant, in-your-face marketing blurbs. Sadly, I can relate to most of it….

Store
About anatomicals

filles at 12:18 pm

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Catchy!

Everyone loves Magical Trevor
cause the tricks that he does are ever so clever
look at him now disappearing a cow
where is the cow
hidden right now….

WARNING: this will stick in your head indefinitely

filles at 3:00 am

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July 27, 2004

Glasgow International Piping Festival

Piping Hot“. Doesn’t this make you want to rush out right now and get a program? Can you believe there was even a 24 page supplement in The Herald last week? A day by day guide to piping events at the festival, culminating with the World Championships on the Saturday, described as “the pipe band equivalent of the Olympics”.

Unfortunately, we will be in Edinburgh on this momentous occasion, at the Fringe Festival. Here I predict we will see a range of funny, some brilliant, some pathetic, series of plays, stand-ups and street theatre.

And perhaps, if we’re lucky, a little bit of piping on the side. This IS after all, Scotland…

filles at 7:24 am

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Shopping spree

Well we have just had an entire years worth of weather this past weekend. Saturday started off wet, and just seemed to get wetter. Michelle went off up a hill, another Munroe. She came back drenched to her underwear, everything soaked through, but proud. I declined the hillwalking activity in favour of a morning at the cinema, Spiderman 2, and then an afternoon shopping in the summer sales.

Shopping has not been high in my list of priorities since we got here. Because I don’t work as much as I used to (!) and therefore don’t earn nearly as much as I used to, I just can’t spend as much as I used to. Now that’s been fine. No complaints. I’ve just pretty well stayed away from the shops, except to buy things that we need, when we need them… and yet, it seems that all I need is a very depressing wet, cold Saturday alone and all that theory goes up in smoke. It was one of the days that everything works. You know girls, a day when everything fits, everything makes you look slimmer than you are (nothing to do with skinny mirrors in the dressing room) and to top it all off – everything you ever thought you MIGHT need or want is at 50% off! How could I resist?

Then Sunday was completely opposite. It started out beautiful and sunny and warm. Not hot, but hotter than the rest of the summer so far. A nice fair 20 degrees C. We bought the papers then went out for brunch in a new coffee shop at the end of the street. This was followed by a quick spin at the driving range to whack a few balls, then down to Kelvingrove Park where they were holding the annual ‘Glasgow Mela’. This was billed as a “multicultural event where different communities within Glasgow come together to share their culture, whilst embracing that of others… all in a fun festival atmosphere”. Well, I’m not sure about that, but we did eat some very good samosas and pakora – and got a squiz at Cameron (last years BB winner) in the distance….

Then back to shopping. We wandered into town to do a few chores and to search for some specific things that we figured we could take advantage of the sales for… but as is want to happen, we ended up somewhere completely different, frantically trying things, and coming away at closing with more stuff we MIGHT need or want.

So, that was the weekend. Not a good one budget wise, but thoroughly enjoyable. Yesterday things went back to normal. Breakfast, gym, then back downtown to find those specific things we actually NEEDED. Lunch in George Square in the sun and then a catch up session on the email (I shouldn’t be behind anymore – if you are still waiting for a reply, please resend because I think I am now up-to-date!).

Michelle is in Birmingham today. She has left already which is why I’m up at this ridiculous time of the morning… I’m going to get some more chores done and then start preparing for the upcoming weekend in the Peak District. I’m hearing wedding bells…..

filles at 6:39 am

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July 24, 2004

Big kids. Little kids.


I might be biased, but aren’t these the most adorable kids? Introducing Moselle & Jonathan (and the big kid in the middle is Michelle!). From our recent trip to London…. more photos under NEW Photos (on the right bar)

filles at 4:03 pm

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July 22, 2004

Back again

More technical problems with the blog have not let me update for a couple of days. Sorry. It seems to be back up now, hopefully all is sorted and it won’t happen again.

In the meantime, I wanted to give a plug for some t.shirts and duct tape goods. If you’re *NOT* a Bush supporter you should go check them out…

if you *ARE* a Bush supporter, then it’s probably not your cup of tea….

Other news. Michelle is back in France this week, she is staying on the route of the Tour de France – enjoying every minute of it, so I hear! Working? nah, don’t think so…

I’ve been working on the itinerary for my mum’s 6 week stay. Its going to be a an awesome trip. We will be spending each weekend, making it a 3 day weekend and going somewhere throughout Scotland. We have the fringe festival one weekend in Edinburgh, the small islands Muck, Rum and Eigg another. A trip on the Steam railway (you know the one in Harry Potter?) from Fort William to Mallaig and back – as well as a trip to Stonehaven for the last midnight swim of the season, another in St Andrews – and that’s only been 2 days efforts…. we’ll try and fit in a trip along the southern west coast and perhaps to Stirling or the Falkirk Wheel. Hopefully the weather will pick up, it hasn’t been much of a summer so far. We had lovely weather the first 3 weeks of June but since then it’s been pretty cold and grim.

I’m going to have to spend a bit more time working out this backup stuff. I thought I managed it, but today I tried to upload my backup into another host and it seems I mustn’t have understood what I was supposed to do, because it didn’t work. I’m not all that good with this kind of stuff. It’s all smoke and mirrors really….

filles at 11:24 pm

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July 20, 2004

buzzzzz

this is kind of fun to play with… click

but be careful, it might get annoying after awhile…

filles at 5:17 pm

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Bye bye Joe

Joe left this morning. We had a nice evening last night, despite the heated discussion on Guns and the right to own them… I think we did quite well. 10 days and the subject never got so much as a raised eyebrow and a quick change of subject tactic. Last night however it went further. I guess both sides will never understand the other. One says it is a “right to own guns and your freedom is infringed if that right is not respected”, the other says “who would want to own guns?”. There was even a statistical discussion led by Michelle, but hotly rejected by Joe….

Anyway. Suffice to say we survived the discussion. Our friend Julie who joined us for dinner (a spur of the minute invite when she ran into Michelle outside) was probably a little overwhelmed by it all – not having known Joe for more than 20 minutes before this all started, but she seemed to take it all in her stride.

So today the house is quiet. The washing machine repair man has been and gone – £58 later. I’ve been working on my Amazon.co.uk Wish List and generally just doing a bit of reading of other peoples blogs. It’s quite fun. I’ve found a few that I’ll keep an eye on over the next few weeks, they are:

It’s always nice to have time to just float around the net for awhile. I never had time to do this when I was working full time…

Anyway, I’m off to pick up some groceries for tonight’s supper. Home-made pizza I think – some arugula, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and maybe some tomatoes or pesto… yum!

filles at 12:32 pm

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July 19, 2004

A weekly update

We arrived late Thursday night in London at Milene and Gabriels. It’s always fun when we go. While Michelle and I hung out with our friends and the kids Joe was off visiting London – doing the bus tour thing, getting to know the locals, the customs, and I’m sure – the drinking culture. Saturday we all bussed down to Portobello Rd markets. Just as we arrived it poured with rain so it was a mad scramble to keep kids, clothes and cameras dry. It stopped a few minutes after it started thankfully and we had a lovely morning in and out of shops and market stalls. We had a good (albeit expensive) lunch at The Cow near Westbourne Park. The specialty is seafood which looked very good, even the Razor clams which are quite unusual – me, I took the bangers and mash, probably not the best option considering the specialty is seafood, but tasty anyway….

A bit of shopping to prepare dinner, then a stop at the Spaniards Inn on Hampstead Heath for some Pimms and Bombardier Beer (apparently quite difficult to source) in the garden. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The evening was a seafood risotto on the back balcony, lots of wine, Bryan Ferry playing in the distance at an open air concert, and later, an in-house DJ and floor show. We didn’t even need to go out!

Yesterday we managed to get down to the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Award exhibition which was excellent, as well as the Sam Taylor-Wood commissioned piece of David Beckham sleeping. There is a little plaque explaining WHO David is – as if anyone doesn’t know – and then the video. He moves a lot in his sleep and his eyes flutter consistently, I don’t know if that’s because he is dreaming or not, but really it’s quite intimate. So much so it’s almost uncomfortable to watch, almost like you’re a voyeur or something…

A so-so dim sum in Chinatown, a walk through Soho, a drink at the tiny Dog & Duck pub, and then back to Hampstead where we came face to face with Jamie Oliver again in his new Porsche (Cayenne?). He didn’t look too happy trying to get his family organised in the car, so Michelle – for the second time, didn’t take the chance to express her admiration. Nevermind. A beer at the Holly Bush and then we were back to the family and getting ready for an evening departure back to Glasgow.

Another lovely trip to London. I don’t mind telling you if I was to live in London, and could afford a big enough backyard to house a swimming pool, I would definitely live in Hampstead. As well as being close to the Solomons/Vachons it’s just a beautiful, villagy place to live in London…

We had to leave in a rush so I didn’t have time to wait for a CD of the pictures Gabriel took on his digital camera. Whenever I’m there, I only ever take B&W photos of the kids (of which a few should soon be hanging up in pride of place in the house – my very first exhibition!) so Gabriel kindly makes a copy of the latest photos for me. When I receive it by post, hopefully later in the week, I’ll try and post some for you to see.

Today we are back in Glasgow for Glasgow Fair Day – a public holiday which no-one can explain – a bank holiday, where most shops are closed but the banks remain open??!!? Tonight is Joe’s last night and so we’re going to celebrate by eating a big Aberdeen Angus steak (he IS from Arizona!), and then possibly go for a last dram at the Wee Pub on Ashton Lane.

I’ll have one for you if you like?

filles at 5:08 pm

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We’re back!

Server problems last week…. sorry about that. I was starting to get a bit worried after it continued past 1-2 days. But there you go! Seems to be resolved. I’m going to spend the next 2-3 hours backing up everything, in case it ever happens again! I have to thank weblogs.us for hosting me for free, for setting me up for free, and for continuing to do so for free and for managing the server crisis even when on holiday! Thanks J.D.

Once the backup is finished I’ll give you an update on the weekend in London.

filles at 11:52 am

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July 12, 2004

T for Tenants. S for Speedie.

Yesterday was spent outside in the cold but thankfully dry, Scottish weather surrounded by 60,000 other music fans at T in the Park. There was beer, music, queues, more beer, rubbish, food, music, more beer, more beer and even more beer. This was the first music festival I’ve been to since 1994, although back then I always managed to get a backstage pass, free entry, a place to pee without queuing, and access to the bands rider…. certainly the experience was a bit different, not just for the fact that I never worried about anything back then, at least nothing worth worrying about, but also because I was 10 years younger, with all that that implies.

So here I was planning to go to one day of a two day festival in the Scottish countryside. In 1994 and prior, I would decide on the day if I was going, organise an access pass, hitch a lift with the roadies, and just arrive. No plans, no hassles, no effort (it probably wasn’t quite as easy as that, but that’s what I remember). In 2004, I had organised tickets for the event and the transportation at the beginning of April (it sold out in May). We arrived at the bus station for our transport out to the site, about 1.5 hours from Glasgow, at the appointed time only to find a queue that snaked its way around Buchanan Bus Station – and which took about 55 minutes to make it onto a bus. After a frightening ride on a double decker bus on the freeway, we got to Balado only to have to queue again to enter the site. Queuing was actually a large part of the day. To get beer tokens, to get beer, to buy food, to go to the toilet, to get into some tents. Queue, queue, queue and just in case you forget how, more queuing.

By far the best part was the music. One of the hardest things to do when you go with a few people to a music festival is to decide where to go, whether to separate, where to meet etc. I managed to get to see the ‘Scissor Sisters’, ‘The Complete Stone Roses’ tribute band, ‘Franz Ferdinand’, ‘PJ Harvey’, ‘Mull Historical Society’, ‘Kings of Leon’, ‘The Pixies’ and ‘N.E.R.D’. It was a very full day. What I regret missing was Orbital (tent too full), Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers (both too late), but then again, you can’t do everything!

It was a brilliant day. Everyone was happy, if not a little too drunk – the sun even came out for a few minutes or so. It was quite a cool experience. Now by far, I wouldn’t rate it up there with sitting on the side of the stage in the Hordern Pavilion when Nirvana were playing, but it was an honest day out. A lot of fun, a lot of people, dirty, mucky and cold. But fun.

And that’s what it’s all about, no?

p.s. I took some pictures but they are not ready yet, I ‘borrowed’ a picture from The Scotsman, but then felt guilty so didn’t include it – you can find it here. And I also want to mention Speedie who I’ve been thinking of continually over the weekend. If it wasn’t for Speedie, I would never have seen the things I’ve seen, met the people I’ve met, or become half the person I am today for many reasons… I just wish I had had the chance to say thank you.

filles at 2:58 pm

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July 9, 2004

Innocent

innocent.bmp

image borrowed from www.innocent.co.uk

If you live here in the UK you will certainly know about ‘innocent drinks’. They are the best smoothies, thickies and fruit juices available…

Yesterday I picked up a little booklet distributed from them called the “Innocent Company Rule Book”. With headings such as:

It makes for entertaining reading.

I’m going to give you a sample. From the last chapter “Don’t waste time…”

Don’t waste time….
… reading random bits of literature like this. Life’s too short. However, if you feel like some easy health, go for a session in our online gym; you can work that body without having to leave your seat. If you’re a bit bored you can give the banana phone a ring on 020 8600 3939, visit innocent drinks or email us on iamabitbored@innocentdrinks.co.uk – we’re always up for a chat. Maybe you can suggest a new recipe or just tell us about your holiday. Or you could even offer us your services – we’re always looking for bright young things to work with us at Fruit Towers. Whatever the reason, we’d love to hear from you.”

Cool isn’t it. I’m off to train at the innocent gym. I’m hooked! I’m getting pretty good on the treadmill too!

p.s. we have Joe arriving today so my posts may be a little sporadic, I’ll try and fit them in between weekend festivals, whisky distillery’s and trips to London…

filles at 11:52 am

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July 8, 2004

Moore on a Wednesday night

Last night we decided to go out and about and enjoy the sunshine. It stays light here in Glasgow to around 10:30 pm…

HMV were having another Summer Sale. They have no idea how very difficult it is for me to control Michelle’s CD habit when they continue to sell such gems as The Style Council for only £2.99! 10 CD’s later, we managed about 5 paces to the Waterstones sale. Another problem. Here in Glasgow, in fact in the UK, paperback books are relatively cheap (compared to anything else – not if you convert into Cdn$). I picked up an autobiographical book ‘Toast’ by my hero Nigel Slater for only £3.99!

Next stop ‘Wagamama’. A restaurant that uses the line “positive eating + positive living” as its mantra. We had a 2 for 1 voucher that was expiring, so figured we would give it a go. The food was good, nice and fresh, but not particularly substantial.

And then. After much anticipation. We wandered along to the UGC to see Fahrenheit 9/11. The cinema was packed. For once there were no ads prior to the previews, and even those were kept to a minimum. Now I’ve read all the reviews that discredit him for his cutting room antics, but I have to say, in a lot of what he put together, there is not really that much that can be taken out of context. I mean, you can’t MAKE the guy look foolish when you’re on the other side of a camera. That’s something he has to manage to do on his own. And I have to say, in at least my eyes, he manages quite well, quite a lot of the time.

I wouldn’t quite call it a ‘documentary’. It really is a look at Bush through Michael Moore’s eyes. Definitely a very interesting view and certainly a view which has provided me with a great deal more damning evidence to add to my already low opinion of the man. However the idea that popular opinion for the US presidential elections coming up in November could be swayed because of it could be a bit of wishful thinking. For that to happen, everyone in America would need to be able to sift through the content of the film, and then use their intelligence to analyse it, and their logic to grasp it, and last but not least actually turn up to vote. I’m not sure it’s going to happen. This is not an insult directed at the people of America. The same could be said about any population.

If my reaction is anything to go by, it will essentially give those who already dislike Bush additional ammunition and reason to turn against him, and for those who support him, it will close their minds and provide them with a fistful of excuses to deny any of the truths the film is trying to uncover.

The movie managed to horrify me at times by some of truths presented, both by Bush and the everyday everymans serving in armed forces, and also to make me laugh at some of the antics employed by Moore to make a point by exaggeration. Definitely entertaining. Definitely something to see. Unfortunately for Bush, one of his biggest failures is his lack of charm. Just a little bit of charm goes a long way….

What will your reaction be?

filles at 5:30 pm

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