July 29, 2005

Have a nice weekend

Another day where I can’t manage to get the things done that I imagine are expected of me. The normal mundane things of life. I have a bathroom half finished, the vacuum is sitting in the middle of the lounge unplugged, TV on, JJJ on the radio and a pile of brochures on Glasgow spread out on the couch to be updated for Stephanie & Alexandre to choose from when they arrive next week.

Instead of the such obvious pleasures as those described above, I’ve been corresponding on the email, reading editorials on the net, and letting myself be carried along in the endless time-consuming foray of visiting other peoples ‘blogrolls’. I’ve made and eaten a lovely prawn & pesto pasta for lunch and am halfway into organising a quick trip to New York in November, and am desperately trying to get finished up so I can go and have a much deserved coffee (and perhaps piece of cake!) at a warm and cosy cafe somewhere nearby. It’s a dim, grey and wet Glasgow day, perfect for coffee, cake and newspapers.

One of the advantages of my life is that my responsibility to myself is probably the biggest responsibility I carry. I’m not made to feel guilty for not getting stuff done, I’m not bullied into succumbing to what others would consider normal employment. I have the flexibility and responsibility of making the right choices all on my own.

Well. That did it then. I’m off to finish that bathroom, and if I get time I’ll drop in to the gym to give those weights a quick lift and my body a rude shock. It will all be ok, I’m out with Julie tonight which should guarantee plenty of free flowing wine and good stories that should take me through mid next week.

filles at 3:59 pm

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July 27, 2005

Brilliant concept

A site that pulls up images and key words from news sources every hour.
HERE

filles at 9:49 pm

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2 pints of Guinness is 2 pints too much…

That’s what I woke up thinking at 6am this morning when I got up to drive Michelle to work…

I’d been up most of the night trying to back-up my photos on the hard-drive after a critical error crash yesterday on the ‘puter. Sleeping lightly, each time the DVD writer drive opened I would jump up and insert a new disk… it was a long night.

It was our netball night last night and we had someone from ‘Netball Scotland’ come out to umpire our game and to give us some pointers. It was either that or we would soon kill each other, for what is supposed to be a non-contact sport and a friendly game has lately turned into serious competition with the potential for serious injuries. It was a bit of an eye-opener. I’ve never watched our teams play before, but last night I came off at half time to watch the umpire and I have to say I was quite impressed. For a bunch of women who probably haven’t played netball for a mean of 20 years – we’re not half bad!

We followed the game with a couple of pints that went down surprisingly easily at The Halt Bar with Mad & Dave. Originally intending to meet up with a Spanish traveller (who didn’t show…) we ended up moving on to Mother India for another fab dinner and a couple of bottles of good Aussie red, before heading home to start my marathon back-up project.

All day today, every hour or so, I reach for the bottle of water and think to myself ‘two pints of Guinness is probably too much before wine and food on a quiet Tuesday evening’.

At least I didn’t have to drag myself off to work today. Instead, I was up and out early, dropped the car off for it’s MOT inspection, stopped by La Paedella for brunch, finished my back-up, did a couple of Sudoku’s and I’m just about ready for bed! Michelle left this morning for the land of duck and fine wine, she’ll be back on Friday which gives me a couple of days to finish some bits and pieces and get ready for our next guests who arrive early next week.

It’s all systems go here in Glasgow. At least, so it appears…

filles at 8:02 pm

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July 24, 2005

A hop skip and a jump

Surprises all around.

You couldn’t plan it, but yesterday was one of the 50 clear days per annum that you can actually see something from the summit of Ben Nevis. There was no excuse for it, since the weather had co-operated there was no going back, we had to attempt ‘the Ben’. Michelle left with the crazies (Dave and Rob included…). Mad and I hung back, behind all the rest of the rif-raf. We took our time, we were passed by kids, families and oldies as we admired the views around us, then we passed the same kids and oldies as they stopped to take a break 50 metres up the path. It’s a difficult walk. 5 miles up the hill, 5 miles down. No flat areas for a break. Up and down, rocks and pebbles and gravel. A nasty slog. It was hot and sticky and the path was full of thousands of people who wanted to make the trek up the highest hill in the UK on a beautiful sunny day.

Mad and I stopped for lunch at what we thought was more than half way. We studied the map, turned it around and around and worked out that we must have been close to 1000 metres high. I felt quite proud of myself.

“As high as a Munro” sounded good in my head.

The coming down was tough on your knees, feet and neck (neck because you strain to look down and watch where you tread). Almost worse than the going up, but not quite. We took an alternate route home for the last stretch, via the Ben Nevis Youth Hostel and did a little of the river walk back to the parking lot. It was there, outside the visitors information centre that we discovered that our map reading skills were slightly out of whack! In fact we had only made it up about 600 metres and had we gone for oh, about 10 minutes more, we would have come to a lovely loch where we could have sat and enjoyed our sarnies. No longer so proud, I was still happy to have given it a go.

I shouldn’t have listened to all those naysayers out there who sprout stuff like “it’s boring”, “it’s easy”, “it’s a waste of time!” It’s not any of that. It’s a tough walk, yes there is a path – but it doesn’t make it easy, it only ensures you don’t get lost; yes there is not much area for interpretation – you can’t just cut through the farms and make your own path, it’s too steep and too much scree in most areas. Really, for most of us psuedo hillwalkers – a path is quite nice! As far as ‘boring’ goes, I’ll never understand it. The views, the views the views. What more could you want? Anyway, for most of us, a hill is a hill is a hill. And this sure is a mother of a hill.

All of our group made it down alright with just about everyone getting to the top. It was a sorry sight in the pub at 6.15pm though, a lot of exhausted, sore bodies desperate for beer. Absolutely no-one thought they would bother coming back to try it again!

Just another successful hillwalking excursion. And then…..

On the way home, the bus blew a tyre. Inside rear. About 10 miles from the nearest pub. We hobbled along at 20mp/h until Tyndrum where we had to wait for a new bus to come from Glasgow… back to the pub, the chippy, the bus surrounded by midges – we finally got home at around 12.30am. It was a long day to Fort William and back.

Not something I want to repeat in a hurry. Next hillwalk is August 28th – I think we’re planning to decline due to schedule conflicts, but we’ll be back in there September 9th when we’re off for a hillwalking weekend to Skye….

filles at 4:59 pm

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July 22, 2005

Another hill or two

I’m getting ‘psyched’ for the big hillwalk tomorrow. Ben Nevis. Highest mountain in the United Kingdom. Supposed to be a very boring walk with heaps of people trudging up and down daily. Statistically speaking, you need to go up the hill six times before you’ll have weather good enough to see further than 3 feet in front of you. With those odds, I might just walk along the Glen instead…. that, or as I said to Madeline, we could take the chairlift up the hill that stands next to Ben Nevis, take a few pictures, and then go for a tour of the Ben Nevis Whisky Distillery which sits at the foot of the hill…

Depends on the weather I guess. I’ll let you know what we managed tomorrow night.

Without a doubt, Michelle will get to the top in record time, and, she’ll probably manage a few other hills whilst she’s up there. No suspense really…

filles at 9:47 pm

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July 21, 2005

Life, death and pictures

I’ve spent the last 3 hours in a local coffee shop with a friend and his mate, shooting the breeze about life, death and pictures. Again I’m reminded how precious time is. If I was superstitious I would start to wonder what all these reminders are preparing me for. What is the universe getting ready to launch at me?

My friend lost his closest mate on Monday to a bicycle accident. It was a terrifying, torturous accident. The details are horrific and hearing them for the first time brought tears to my eyes. What can you do though? I can’t even imagine how painful it must be or how he must feel coming to terms with the loss. At best I can wish for him some peace and hope that through the pain comes some new understanding or appreciation of life. I wish that he can go on with renewed vigour to bring up his kids and live each moment to the fullest.

It’s what I wish for all my friends.

The sun has come out today. While we hear of new attacks on London, us here in Glasgow are just silently thinking how lucky we are to live in such a tolerant, multicultural part of Britain. My neighbourhood is predominantly Asian. The local shops and restaurants offer Pakistani, Halal and Asian produce. We smile and nod our head as we pass, it’s a community feeling, and despite the strain over the past few weeks it seems to be holding up quite strongly.

In my world, I’ve finished shooting Inspector Rebus and I’m back in the house to concentrate on the simple things before we receive our next visitors from Montreal. A lamb shank stew, the monotony of laundry and the setting up of my new black & white printer. Albeit no ground thumping artistic genius in that lot, a certain sense of order and simplicity that keeps my heart beating in a regular comforting way.

filles at 3:23 pm

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July 19, 2005

Freezing Summer

It seems the summer has finished. At least for this week anyway. One decision taken, who knows if it was right or wrong. I stood outside in the freezing weather today, all day, on the set of Rebus. Freezing, but fun.

Ben Nevis this weekend coming….

filles at 9:52 pm

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July 18, 2005

Decisions

photography class VS work on Rebus
Amalfi coast VS Malta
Complete Stone Roses VS Michael Nyman
Glasgow VS Paris
Montreal VS Peak District

Sometimes every decision becomes a difficult decision….

filles at 9:53 pm

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July 17, 2005

Make every moment count.

Once in awhile, you have to stop and let the world race on without you so you can sit back and catch up on the important things in life. Friends, family, good health and happiness. They all deserve a lot more time and attention than we allow for in our busy day-to-day lives. Life is not forever, don’t waste it on doing things you don’t enjoy doing.

Sometimes I need a reminder to do just that.

Today we received such a reminder, contained in a beautiful letter from some friends in Montreal. Thank you, your kind words mean a great deal.

filles at 7:34 pm

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Moselle

filles at 11:41 am

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July 15, 2005

Lidl

Can someone explain Lidl to me?

Yesterday I overheard a conversation about a cheap – plug in to your car cigarette lighter, directory gps system available at Lidl. I was curious, so I stopped into Lidl this morning to have a look. Now, I’ve tried two stores over the last 2 years and I’m just amazed where they pick up their brands from. Johnstone cigarettes? Aimtree Shampoo? Who’s ever heard of them before?

The musty, oldish shop smell seems the only thing standard.

Another sad story.

filles at 12:03 pm

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July 14, 2005

Respect takes such little effort

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that being ‘background’ in a tv show is exciting. It’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met lots of nice people from all walks of life on set, but for every great personality I meet, I spend about 12 hours of sitting or standing about bored, in the rain, or icy wind looking like a goon in a blue paper suit. We’re tossed about, asked to wait, and considered lower than the lowest member of crew in the whole hierarchy of the tv (or even movie) set world.

It wouldn’t be all that bad, I mean I do get paid for it, and I get to visit parts of Glasgow and its surrounding areas that I’ve never been to before – but there are some crew members who seem to treat us ‘background’ with so little respect, it’s frankly embarrassing. I can only scratch my head and wonder why. It’s a shame really because as far as I can tell, most crews are great. They work together so often, for such long hours a friendly family-like atmosphere would be so much more productive not to mention so much more satisfying.

But then what do I know? I’m only an ‘extra’. Next week I’m going to get to watch Ricky Gervais’ new series called EXTRAS. I’m nervously waiting to see what, if any, impact it will have on my blossoming ‘background’ career. Maybe I’ll learn how I’m supposed to behave and feel on set, perhaps it’s me that’s got it all wrong, perhaps I should become competitive and puffed up or just resignedly accept my position as the lowest of the low in the hierarchy of all things tv…

At the end of the day though, I do have fun, and that can’t be all bad.

filles at 10:27 pm

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July 13, 2005

You’ll never believe it…

but I was accosted today on the street. I was dragged kicking and screaming into a Clarkes Shoe Store on Argyle St this afternoon, into the absolute mayhem of a 50% off sale. My very insistent masked attackers, forced me, at plastic (credit card) point, to try on as many pairs of sale shoes as were available in a size 6, and parade about the store – catwalk style. Now of course I thrashed about, tried to run free, threw shoes back in their face but they were too focused for me, and the only way I managed to break free was to purchase the 3 pairs of shoes they had forcefully selected for me. I was scared for my life, but I survived. After 55 minutes of this trauma I managed to get out of the store in 1 piece, albeit with my hands full of shoe bags & boxes….

… do you think Michelle will ever believe me?

filles at 5:10 pm

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July 12, 2005

Too hot?

Get this. Our bi-weekly netball game has been cancelled for this evening. Why?

Because it’s too hot! (stop your sniggering…)

Yes we are still in the UK, yes Glasgow, yes the normally rainy, dim, grey city in July.

Yesterday was the hottest July day in the last decade at 28.3 degrees C in Glasgow. Lovely. I’m going to prepare for a BBQ in the park tonight. There might be a few less people. Yesterday there were hundreds of people with their garage bought portable, 1 use BBQ’s – all generating plenty of smoke and delicious smells wafting up towards our place. We did sausages inside. It was still nice, all the windows wide open, sun streaming in until 11pm – althought tonight we’re going into the park amongst the rest of the revellers.

This is what summer is supposed to be like. Endlessly. Day after day after day…..

filles at 2:12 pm

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July 11, 2005

Home at last

Our EasyJet flight was delayed 3 hours leaving Luton last night, when we hit the ground in Glasgow it was obvious all the baggage handlers had already left, we stood waiting for almost an hour for our bags to hit the carousel. If you’ve ever been to Glasgow Airport, you’d know that it only takes about three & a half minutes to walk between the gates and the arrivals area, if you’re driving a baggage truck, that would take oh, about 35 seconds!

So we got home, hit the bed about 2.45am. A shame really because the rest was all good.

We went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern as planned. The Gallery itself is fantastic as always. Definitely something to go see in London. In fact, next time, I want to take the shuttle boat on the Thames that goes between the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the London Eye. On a beautiful day like yesterday, it would be glorious.

We went as an extended family – mum, dad, 2 kids, 2 god-mothers – so luckily we managed to get there just as the gallery was opening. Some of the first people in, we kept the kids interested and occupied long enough to get through the entire exhibition before stopping for coffee and a chocolate muffin in the cafe, on the floor of the cafe and even on the balcony of the cafe. It was nice. Really nice.

We got back home in time for the afternoon naps, which we all bedded down for, before Michelle and I woke up in time to catch the tail end of a garage sale in Hampstead. I’ve never seen one before, we were taking bets on whether it would have cool or posh or crap things. If the trend in Canada is standard, then we should have only seen junk (we spent a lot of time working on the finer points of garage sales in Montreal – East end = good / Westmount = bad).

It seems the rich are rich for a reason. This wasn’t so bad, I picked up a nice summer handbag for a £1 and Michelle was quickly being talked into a hot pink VESPA. If it wasn’t for the fact that she’d have to start the drivers licence circus all over again, so close to her just getting her permit for a car – we would have probably been driving it home (and we probably would have made it home quicker in fact….).

Nevermind. Everyone is well. The weather was lovely in London, is lovely in Glasgow today, I’m working on Taggart again on Thursday and we have a re-stocked fridge with a freshly made bowl of greek pasta salad to snack on….

Life is good.

filles at 5:14 pm

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