Sunday, 30 December 2012


Generally speaking, I don't reflect. Insight is lost on me. Push on regardless - that's my plan. Imagine David Brent filling in his self-appraisal form. An inebriated Deirdrie Barlow writing her memoir. That's like me. Well I'm going to do some reflection and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop me. It's been a busy year what with the caravan adventure (unfortunate ending), the Olympic Training Plan (abandoned in first week) and the misunderstanding with the Italian police (court case pending). And the low points? Many and varied. Incidents with cakes, hair, winter driving, planking, tossing the caber.  All existentially driven, all catastrophic. Notes from Rural Perthshire will continue, nonetheless. It may be pointless and irritating in your estimation, but it's my life.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


Progress Report: giant slab of turkey (for two) gorn orf. Now in bin. Sprouts just slightly soggy and parsnips congealed unpleasantly in roasting dish. Vegetarian cutlets all round. Ten pound Christmas pudding exploded in microwave. Unable to move due to unfeasibly large slice of compensatory yule log. Random inebriated relatives have arrived bringing further assorted torments including excessive flatulence, flashing ear-rings and buckets of cold turkey. Lucky I brought two bottles of Amaretto. It's going to be a long night.

Monday, 24 December 2012


So, Christmas Eve, and you're knackered. You've lost 50 kilos of sprouts somewhere between the supermarket and the car; your creepy neighbour's just brought you an expensive gift and Auntie Doreen (recently returned from two years in a Mongolian yurt) just called to say she's waiting to be collected from the bus station. Already you're thinking of an Alternative Christmas next year. I'm ahead of you. Here's what's on my list so far:
  • a week's all-inclusive break with an Amish family in Minnesota
  • two days work experience with a local pig farm
  • an  overnight retreat in a small cave on the North York Moors
  • twenty-four hours in a cupboard with a case of pinot grigio 
Let these ideas spark your imagination. By midnight tonight you'll have your own extensive list of appealing Christmas adventures. Ding Dong Merrily on a Shepherd's Donkey.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


In the film of your life, who would play you and why?
Someone I know said Arnold Schwarzenegger - six foot four and built like a brick outhouse - would play him. I had two comments. 'Firstly,' I said, 'you bear no resemblance AT ALL to Arnold Shwarzenegger. Secondly, I can see you've subverted the question to pander to your own narcissistic needs.' In reply to these observations he said: 'Up your kilt. Now leave me alone while I study the legislative precepts of California.'
Who would play me, and why, in the film of my life? I've pondered this question over twenty-four hours, and it's been challenging. Valerie Singleton? Carol Vordeman? Sue Barker? None of these. Three people (combined), I feel, would give a reasonably accurate portrayal of the chaos and confusion that is my life. Bill Bailey (Whimsical Minstrel); Jack Dee (Miserable Git) and Ross Noble (Borderline Insane).
The title of the film would be: I'll Call You When I Know Where I Am.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


A planking youth somewhere in Cheshire

Have you ever tried planking? I've been doing a bit myself recently around the house and found it quite therapeutic. The idea of going large with it, however, out in the environs of Rural Perthshire is daunting. I've been using visualisation of some Outdoor Easy Grade Planks by way of preparation. Park bench. Side of swimming pool. Top of  low wall. All Easy Grade. The risk that my photograph may appear in the local press with the caption: PLANKING WOMAN RUINS SWIMMING GALA is probably great enough for me to limit myself to indoor planks. The benefit of course is that I can practise Indoor Medium Grade Planks (and eventually Advanced Grade) in the safety of my own home. Just for your interest, an example of Medium Grade is Top of Fridge, and an Advanced Grade, Top of 32 inch Flat Screen Television.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


December 19th: cupboards stuffed with cake and chocolates. Have eaten four mince pies, half a yule log and a bucket of maltesers since breakfast. Considering opening presents under the tree (not for me) which definitely contain more confectionary. Clearly I am experiencing Seasonal Highly Intensive Tension and need to take action. But what level of action is required? Banning myself from the supermarket until 2013 seems too little intervention. Selling everything I own and joining a nomadic tribe in Central Africa seems - arguably - too severe. Whilst my loss of self-control is considerably disturbing, I must say I wasn't involved in the recent brawl on the floor of our local M & S for their final frozen turkey. (A seventy year old woman got it - apparently her flying rugby tackle was sensational). And I did replace the chocolates for my neighbours which I had - let's say - mislaid. So, I've made my decision. (Dramatic pause of 30 seconds).
I plan to sit in a wardrobe with a bag over my head. I'm going in tomorrow. Someone get me out after Christmas.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


                                          Mrs Taggart goes understated this Christmas

Traditionally, I've gone for tasteful festive decorations. You know the sort of thing. Red and gold baubles on a real tree; a small selection of subtlely fragranced candles; an understated holly and mistletoe wreath (possibly with a notion of glitter). You'd never see any plastic tat in my house. As for Christmas inflatables, I'd rather slum it in Tesco in my pyjamas (it only happened once) than put a giant gormless Santa on the  roof. I have to tell you - things have changed. My friend Mrs Taggart has finally worn me down with her feckless Liverpudlian ways. This is a woman who can never have enough Christmas tinsel, particularly if it's pink and shaped like a six foot Christmas tree. More is always more in her chaotic world. "Loosen up." she said. "You're house looks like a fracking ad for Country Living." I took the point. As I write, I 'm experiencing a warm, seasonal glow as I enjoy the flashing lights of the sleigh on the front lawn, and the dancing Santa on the table is surprisingly entertaining. I never could do moderation. Someone get me more sherry.

Monday, 10 December 2012


Apparently, the cossack-style hat is the must have item for the discerning woman's winter wardrobe. Now I've never knowingly used a discerning approach at any point in my life. Expecting me to comment on the relative stylishness of different hats is like asking me to choose between dressing as a penguin or volunteering to be the back end of a pantomime horse.
Style, however, is a matter of opinion, if you're asking me. The middle-aged chap I noticed today walking about in Rural Perthshire with blue hair and matching beard clearly had his own style. Or did he. Top style award of the day, of course, goes to the monkey in a sheepskin coat.Why the little fella was shopping in Ikea is anybody's guess, but his choice of winter outerwear will always make him a winner for me. A cossack hat would have been sensational.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


I was in Asda today. As I tried to negotiate my way through the crowds whilst maintaining an air of calm maturity, I heard a random woman behind me in the Christmas baubles aisle say quietly: "I think I'm losing the will to live." I had a brief but overwhelming urge to shout FIGHT!, and watch the ensuing carnage as the repressed rage of the shopping masses exploded in an enormous rugby scrum of a brawl on Asda's shop floor. Believe me, we were that close. I saw numerous incidents of trolley rage as I charged round at breakneck speed to pick up a few groceries. Let me rephrase that. I caused numerous incidents of trolley rage...etcetera. It was all me me me. I'm not proud.
I had to go back in to get one of those Christmas trees in netting and already in a bucket. You have no idea what that thing will look like until you release it from its captivity. A group of bemused shoppers watched me as I lifted out several trees  to select one that (a) wasn't squint and (b) had more than four branches. I chose the best of the bunch. Forty-five minutes later, I lobbed that mother into the back of the car. When I got home, I discovered under the netting a sad little runt of a tree: stunted, squint and bald. Season's Felicitations.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Fracking is back in the news, I notice. There was a time earlier this year when you couldn't get through the day without someone commenting on the relative benefits of fracking in a broken society. It was fracking this, and fracking that. I got totally obsessed with the word and spent weeks experimenting with it in social circles. "A fracking good concert, I thought." "Andy Murray looks fracked off again." "What the frack were you thinking?" After three weeks of this sort of carry on, my 'friend' suggested that I should really add the word to my list of Alternative Expletives. I was thinking that it had a rather whimsical sound when I dropped it randomly into conversation. Apparently not. Well, frack it. It's going on the list, and I'm in the process of bedding it in. Note to self: do your research, and find out what the fracking word means.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Today I drove up to Kinloch Rannoch. Round trip of a hundred miles. Rural Perthshire is a sprawling great county, in case you didn't know. By the time I'd loaded my car with supplies (snow shovel, flask of coffee, torch, blanket, extra clothes, winter boots, small stove, premium bonds), I was twenty minutes behind schedule. The journey featured the following elements: scone and jam, tractor, snow, wrong turn, total loss of visibility, ditch and irate co-traveller. I can't possibly relate the whole unfortunate narrative here. You would probably lose all interest in the trivia of anonymous lives and, I dare say, the will to live. There are lessons I learned today, however, which may be worth passing on. Here they are:
  1. Never carry on driving down a winding country road with your windscreen caked in mud.
  2. Don't keep pressing the windscreen washer lever when you know fine well the bottle is empty.
  3. If you lose control of your vehicle on ice (and on a tight bend), don't brake like hell, you total numpty.
  4. Packing premiun bonds for a hazardous winter drive is worse than pointless. It's COMPLETELY INSANE.

Monday, 3 December 2012


So, I'd been feeling so good about my creative output in this blog. Must be around 10,000 words by now. That's got to be impressive, hasn't it? Well, not necessarily. I can see now that my initial confidence has ballooned into some monstrously distorted perception of my literary skills. How hard could it be, I thought, to write a short story for radio. 2,000 words? I'm so unfazed, slap me.
What a painful and humiliating process to realise what you, the reader, have known all along. 10,000 words, yes. But 10,000 words of UNREMITTING, ALL-ENCOMPASSING GARBAGE.  A content-free blog, you moron (I'm talking to myself here), suggests that the emergence from my brain of a short story written with flair and imagination is as likely as a budgie on a snowboard.
In future, I'll be constantly mindful that quality aways outshines quantity. Will this insight now  inform  Notes From Rural Perthshire? I don't think so.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


I've just read articles on (a) behavioural guidelines for 'middle-aged' women and (b) one woman's experience of turning fifty. Me, I'm too old for clubbing and too young for residential care. I'm in the right demographic one day and in the wrong one the next. The solution to this unsettling lack of clarity in social grouping is to carve out your own niche. Be it Walking like an Egyptian, getting Lost in France or wearing Baggy Trousers, take a stance. Make your own rules. My own behavioural guidelines are fairly loose. I'll not see fifty again, but if I want to challenge perceptions with my unusual dress codes or the use of Klingon greetings when I'm out and about in Rural Perthshire, well, what? Already I'm picturing myself at eighty dancing to Brown Sugar at my nephew's wedding (no sign of that happening this side of a total eclipse of the sun) and looking completely normal. Sorry, I mean paranormal.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Christmas shopping was so easy when there was Woolworths. I could do a trolley dash in forty-five minutes and get all the presents, gift wrap and six inch nails I needed for £19.95. The deals on chocolate selections in Woolworths were legendary. Buy two boxes of Maltesers, get one free. Buy a giant size Toblerone and get sixteen mini ones to give out to passing children. Shell out for two tins of Quality Street and the Manager would leap out of the stock room and throw Pick 'n' Mix randomly around the store.
I met some neighbours in Woolworths one time (somewhere in urban Cheshire) who had a novel approach to Christmas shopping. The trolley was loaded with children's games and toys, but there were no children on their present list. Eddy said: "Uncle Brian's getting this chemistry set. Let' see if he really did get that degree." This year, I'll be buying useful gifts for all my friends. Argos: The Book of Dreams. That's all I'm saying.

Monday, 26 November 2012


Today I have changed the title of this blog. Notes From Rural Perthshire has a more mature ring to it, I think. Living Large? Who was I trying to convince? I no more 'live large' than Enid Blyton's Famous Five in a really exciting adventure. It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines of any one of my previous posts. You'll know already that I struggle on a daily basis to understand the world and regularly lurch from confusion to despair to hysteria. Sometimes I do all three in the space of a morning. So it's time to face facts. I don't Live Large. I'm sure of this, and I would solidly maintain this position even if I knew what Living Large meant. Yes, I will continue to air my thoughts in this forum. Yes, I do understand that I possibly reveal myself as a person of severely limited insight. Notes From Rural Perthshire. One woman's journey.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Have you ever met a person like this. You open the conversation with a small piece of interesting information about yourself. Perhaps a tantalising reference to your trek in Nepal, or a modest statement about your facility with African languages. Your new acquaintance says: "How fascinating."  S/he then drones on in a mindless monologue about qualifications / experiences / achievements without any reference to your existence. (I step on you, you worm.) I used to listen attentively to these fatheads. Now I have a different strategy. I listen, politely, for exactly three minutes. Then I say: "Look. You really have no interest in me at all. Do you. I'm leaving now, and I hope you and your Ego-The-Size-Of-Wales find happiness in a cruel world. By the way, if you even own a dictionary, get someone to help you look up dialogue."

Thursday, 22 November 2012


I went to a writing group once. Everyone read out original work and eagerly awaited critical comment. Brenda (let's call her) read a poem called Autumn's Lost Perpsective. I got in early with my insights. "I like the way you weave evocative memories of summer seamlessly with the beautiful sadness of dying leaves," I offered with measured reflection. Brenda said: "The poem's about my dead cat, Roger." This threw me. I'd planned to follow Brenda with my poem: Stars Beyond Comprehension. It's about how you look up at the stars, and have no comprehension. You see where I'm going with this. I declined to read, and left the group early claiming I needed "space to deconstruct the metaphorical images which had arisen unexpectedly for me." I drank a few glasses of wine that night. Then the Muse came, and I wrote another poem: Roger Roams in Starlight. I think Brenda would like it.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Whilst hacking down some sprawling great plant in the front garden earlier today, a man walked by and said "You're doing a good job!" I smiled inanely at him, inwardly marvelling at how easy it is to impress people with a bit of focus and commitment. I was demolishing that mother like there was no tomorrow without the faintest whiff of gardening knowledge. Will it come back next year? I've no idea. Perhaps it will grow ugly great mutant tentacles and suffocate the neighbouring rose bush.
Dissembling has its uses in a variety of circumstances, I find. Ambitious for promotion? Simple. Wear a suit and clicky heels.Walk down corridors with a brisk and purposeful step. But above these strategies, always carry a number (4 to 7) of A4 files under your arm. The impact of these combined behaviours will be instant and enduring. You'll be zooming up that corporate ladder before you can say Bullshit Detector. So, to sum up. Exaggerate your abilities. Exude an air of supreme confidence at all times. Never forget your guiding principles: Style Over Substance; Self Before Others; It's Not My Fault.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


                                                                         Some cars

Apparently, a woman returned to her car recently to find a bag of sliced ham pinned under her windscreen wiper. Preferable to a parking ticket, some would say. As a vegetarian myself, I wouldn't have been ecstatic about this bizarre act of kindness. Or was it? For a moment, feel yourself into the role of the ham-giver. What's your back story? What's your motivation? Do you have an established routine of attaching assorted cold meats to random objects? Is it corned beef on your neighbour's doorstep on a Friday and pork sausages on the church gates on a Sunday? Are you still Googling meat therapists in your area? Perhaps you're a pig farmer with a massively fat pig (deceased) and an over-developed altruistic streaky. I'm thinking of running with this sort of behaviour. I leave something under your windscreen wiper - say, a pair of hand-knitted socks. Be vigilant. I get about in Rural Perthshire. All I ask is that you graciously accept this anonymous gift and pay it forward. Already you're making a list of appropriately sized objects. Let's be careful out there.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Before I moved to Rural Perthshire, I lived somewhere in Cheshire. I wrote a song once about Ladies-Who-Lunch in that county. I sang it in countless dodgy venues across the North West with this woman I met called Mrs Taggart.  Of  Irish-Lithuanian-Liverpudlian extraction, she never considered using tact when low-level verbal abuse would do. We'd sing....'my social life is dazzling, I have influential friends. I'm connected to high-profile charities. My clothes are all designer, blah di blah di blah.' The number of times some woman would come up to us when we'd finished and say: "I know someone who lives near me who's just like that." Mrs Taggart would say: "Get over yourself love we all know it's you."
Mrs Taggart and I spent years visiting dilapidated pubs and charmless folk sessions, giving the unsuspecting punters a big fat dose of our marginal personalities and combined lack of musical talent. Nevertheless, we earned a few quid back in those days. We were particularly big in Birkenhead. Artistic differences and Mrs Taggart's constant run-ins with the law led, eventually, to my moving to Rural Perthshire. Cheshire wasn't big enough for both of us.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Do I need an ipad? I have an ipod. Do I need an ipad? Do I need a mobile phone upgrade? I know people (only tangentially) who interact with their phones in a disturbingly affective manner. There's a difference, you know, between talking into your phone and talking to your phone. Do you find yourself asking your phone for employment advice? Prefer a night in with your phone over a night out with the lads? Planning a holiday in Southern Spain for you and your phone? Take a step back. It's not normal behaviour, is it. You think your Smart Phone makes you look cutting edge. No. It makes you look like you're one brick short of a full load. Jealous? I think not. I'm far too busy (a)deciphering the operating instructions for my new desk vacuum cleaner and (b) trying to find intrinsic meaning in an increasingly chaotic world.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


This whole interweb thing is very handy. You can get pretty much anything you want. Grocery shopping, Christmas presents, directions to your local Social Phobia Support Group. You can also log on to find you've got two hundred flaky new friends, a colossal gambling debt and an estimated delivery date for an outdoor trampoline that you didn't actually order. The key word here, I think, is discretion. Always use the interweb with conscious awareness, or you may find your life spiralling out of control. Did you know that you can get a life-like inflatable partner, a quarter share in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan and an M.Sc. in Therapeutic Farming Practices on the click of that button? Outcomes for me have been mixed. I've had several invitations (accepted) to present academic papers at agricultural conferences. Feedback overwhelmingly noted shambolic presentation and massive gaps in knowledge and understanding. The inflatable partner thing never was a good idea in hindsight. Onwards and upwards. I'm after a Doctorate in the Social Sciences. This time I'll conduct my searches with focus. Discretion, remember.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


'Oh Crikey' is one of my favourite expressions. I use it all the time. It's the kind of phrase that fits so many occasions. The mechanic phones to tell me the big end's gone on my car when I only put it in the shop for a tyre inspection. 'Oh Crikey,' I say. A work colleague forgets to pass on an urgent message with disastrous consequences for my professional reputation. 'Oh, Crikey,' I say. A friend of mine used to have serious issues with....there's no other way to put this. A foul mouth. I took her to one side recently (as her only remaining friend) and gave her some practical advice which, to her credit, she is following. Here's a sample of the Alternative Expletives I have passed on to her: Chuffing Heck, Drongo Head, You Numpty, and of course, my personal favourite, Oh Crikey. She was dubious initially. She said: "What the ******* **** would I ******* want with that load of **** and ****?" She's now using the Alternative Expletives on a regular basis. The repressed rage and deeply-ingrained hostility remain. But Oh Crikey, I only do superficial!

Thursday, 8 November 2012


One day you're getting to grip with your mortgage arrears, the next you're standing at the edge of the Fiscal Cliff. How do I know this? Because the Fiscal Cliff has been on my radar for years. I don't need Robert Peston to bring me up to speed with the latest socio-economic  agenda and psycho-political concepts. I manage my own fiscal cliff issues without drawing attention to the fact that I'm in financial and emotional meltdown. I may be on the edge (not in a good way), but if I go over, I'm taking those lousy Bankers down with me.


Picture the scenario: you're a D-list celebrity and your profile's in the toilet. There's only one way to rectify the situation. Go into the jungle with a bunch of losers and make damn sure you come across as an intellectual. Hard to pull off, I'll admit, when you're sitting in a rat-infested pit with a bucket of maggots on your head.You could be stuck in the swamp for years. Perhaps you're not a D-list celebrity. Perhaps YOU'RE A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, LOVE. (Well you were).Get the hell back to your constituency and prepare for obscurity.What happened to supporting your local sewage pipe replacement group? Or  trying to get on Question Time to display your astonishingly poor grasp of day-to-day life for ordinary people? Here's my top tip. Eat the maggots. We're not interested.

Friday, 2 November 2012


There's this thing called The Cloud. Someone told me that when you download a book on to your Kindle, you can just leave it in The Cloud when you've finished it. I said to this person: "Where Is The Cloud And What Does It Mean?" She said The Cloud was the thing that enabled her to manage her reading material. I said again, "But What Is The Cloud?" It was too late. She was already synching her Kindle with other conceptual Cloud things. Now I think that if we all go round saying things like "It's in The Cloud", without having a notion of what we're talking about, we're heading for trouble. What if someone connects to The Cloud and looks at your stuff? What happens if you want some stuff back and you don't know how to get it? Can you inadvertently send all your Facebook friends into The Cloud? (Like This, People. You're in The Cloud. Now deal with it.)
I'm going to get to grips with this thing. I don't want to be ordering Christmas presents online and find that I've sent the whole damn lot up into some virtual sorting office.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


I don't know about you, but I'm embracing the 'Slow' movement. Slow food, slow motion, slow holidays. Slow everything. Reducing the blood pressure; making space to think in a frenetic world; choosing substance over style. I've read a book about it. I'm only on my third day of Slow, so I'm still trying things out. Let's take today's experiment.
Location: Supermarket queue.
Scenario: Waiting behind gormless-woman-with-monthly-shop-for-the-world-and-its-dog. Challenge: (remember - I'm embracing Slow) Relax and breathe. Smile serenely.
Sequential Outcomes:
(a) Breathing relaxed for two minutes.
(b) Smile maintained for three minutes.
(c) Autonomic nervous system in meltdown.
(d) Mentally sticking pins into voodoo doll of gormless woman.
(e) Ripping open gormless woman's box of Shreddies and throwing them at her.  
(f) Escorted from store by security.
Clearly there's still work to do.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


If I say: The Budgie is out of the Cage, it's unlikely that you will know what I'm talking about. This is because I'm using coded communication. Oh yes, what an interesting day I've had. Here's a summary of  what I've learned: coded communication can be strategically useful whilst providing a lot of laughs. Let me give you an example. You come in from an appointment, sidle up to an office colleague dressed (not unusually) in a kaftan and fez. You nonchalantly say to him (or her) in muffled tones: "The Ferret is in the Microwave." Without a second's hesitation, you withdraw to your desk and open your lunchbox. You casually assess your colleague's reaction to the communication. S/he may (a) check the microwave (b) Google the statement (c) look vacant or (d) respond to your message. Option (d), I find, is by far the most entertaining. Your colleague saunters over to you and says: "I have found my Trousers." You say: "What in the name of James Bond are you talking about? I'm not the least bit interested in the whereabouts of your trousers. Now go away in your kaftan and play your juvenile tricks on someone else."
What does The Ferret is in the Microwave actually mean in this context? That I can't tell you. It's classified information. Even I don't know.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


So the northern icecap is melting big time. The ice sheet covering Greenland will be the size of a tablecloth by the end of 2014. Should you be worried? Well I'm not saying much, but here in Rural Perthshire we're piling sandbags high and deep in a shambolic act of pointlessness. A couple of metres rise in sea level and the great flood will be on us. Yes, the volume of water will be be beyond comprehension. Yes, the destruction unimaginable.This may sound smug, but we're ready for it. We've got focus, we've got locally made wine, we've got sandbags.

Monday, 29 October 2012


Can you manage your inner chimp? Apparently, Sir Chris Hoy won all those gold medals at the Olympics because he is thoroughly at home with his inner chimp. In fact, he can access the explosive energy and creative passion of that little monkey in an instant and then get him back in the box before you can say Get me a banana. This is the essence of optimum inner chimp management, as I understand it. There's no use in giving free rein to your inner chimp then find that you've been apprehended by the Old Bill for trashing the entire stock of your local Tesco. Or, you think your little guy is under control when suddenly he leaps on to the boardroom table in a business meeting and you're smacking the MD across the face with a warm ciabatta. Get that inner chimp under control and come 2014, you could be on the bike behind Sir Chris at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Clocks go back this weekend. Back to what? Who knows. Maybe we'll get an hour more light in the morning. Maybe we won't. Maybe you'll get up at 7am, thinking it's eight, get to work at nine and discover it's still seven. And that it's still Sunday. How does that work. No-one knows. Or, you might forget to put your clock back at all. You'll get up at a random time on the Sunday morning (thinking it's probably around a leisurely 10ish), then look at a clock and realise it's only 8am. Or is it? You charge round the house checking all the clocks. Your mind goes into freefall as you discover that no two clocks show the same time. Which clock did you put back? Where did all these clocks come from? Who are you?

Thursday, 25 October 2012


I'm sick and tired of living in a money-grabbing, go-getting, self-promoting society and I'm going to do something about it. First of all, before I give you the details of my transformative action plan, let me set some parameters here. I'm not going to (a) give all my money away to charity (b) attempt self-sufficiency in the fruit and vegetable department or (c) join the Monster Raving Loony Party. I'll admit I did consider (c), but on closer inspection I realised that their manifesto was completely incoherent, even by my shambolic standards. So, my Transformative Action Plan. What is its substance? How will I implement and evaluate it? When will I stop making big dramatic statements without thinking them through? I'm like a sparkly, inviting gift box with nothing inside. I'm like a fascinating book cover filled with blank pages. I'm a bit of an *rse. But I've recognised this. Perhaps I can become a person of integrity; a person of principles.

Monday, 22 October 2012


A lot of people hate sprouts but force a couple down at Christmas lunch - I have no idea why. Now I'm very fond of sprouts. This fact, as it stands, is not problematic. The thing is, if I see a mountain of leftover sprouts, I have this overpowering urge to eat them. I certainly don't want my sprout obsession (as some might call it) spiralling out of control as it did last Christmas. I'm talking fifty or sixty sprouts, not seven or eight, which might be considered a normal portion. I know that my sprout consumption is neither appropriate nor advisable, but once I start (experience shows) I can't stop. I could - unless I discipline myself - find myself in a very embarrassing situation. Last year, I was physically removed from the after lunch convivialities and isolated in a small broom cupboard for three hours. It's not funny.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Having spent two hours in the garden, clearing dead summer flowers and planting spring bulbs, I'm in a mellow sort of mood. There'll be no shouting here today. No cynical comments or provocative questions. I can do acquiescent. I can do collaborative. Later on I might do a spot of knitting, or perhaps bake some brownies. (No I won't.) Actually, I've just purchased a book called 'Knitlympics' and I'm so wishing now I could knit. You can knit Sebastian Coe! Or Paula Radcliffe! It's brilliant.  There are pictures and everything. Who am I kidding? I'm already struggling to sustain my Italian lessons, front crawl practice drills and preparation for my Satirical Songs One Woman Show at next year's Edinburgh Fringe. When am I going to learn elementary knitting?

Saturday, 20 October 2012


I prefer to settle disagreements or clarify confusion by measured and reasoned dialogue. An assertive style, in my opinion, is always the wise choice. So, here are my top tips in the event of an interpersonal sticky situation. Listen to what the other person is saying. Demonstrate this by paraphrasing the message. State your position in a clear and succinct manner. Wait for a response. Proceed thus.
If you've read some of my posts, you may well be asking yourself: Who is the real person here? Is it the mature and reflective individual described above, or is it the cognitively-challenged yet opinionated idiot who writes the blog? The thing is, it's definitely me who writes this blog. It's an original document. If I lose grip and my barely concealed volcanic anger bursts through well that's tough monkey nuts. If something (or someone) bugs me and I raise my voice LIKE THIS AND CONTAMINATE THE CYBER-ENVIRONMENT WITH MY TOXIC RANTINGS well, just be grateful that  you don't actually have to interact with me in the real world.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Some dude has a four figure overdraft and buys a wallet for £95. Is that ironic, or moronic? Top secret, classified U.S. military and political files are protected by the password: password. Is that (a)moronic (b) insane (c) WHAT IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY WERE YOU AIRHEADS THINKING? Some bloke is looking online for an extra-terrestrial Facebook buddy. He stumbles upon the Guidelines for the Protection of the American People in the Event of the Worst Catastrophic Emergency Possible, and the Pentagon says: THIS IS THE BIGGEST AND MOST GRAVE HACKING OFFENCE SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. Really. Look, the man just typed in password. Is it perhaps time for you Pentagon people to get your heads together over breakfast and think up a new password? Then, get some-one with an I.Q. above 40 to write it down, put it in a sealed container and blast that sucker into space.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


                                              Art and Culture also available in Glasgow

Next week I'm leaving Rural Perthshire for a day and heading out West  on the Megabus. Yes friends, I'm going to Glasgow. It's my annual shopping trip for various commodities. I get off at the bus station and, in sixty seconds - really - I'll be through three floors of John Lewis frantically buying up useless objects and outrageously expensive clothes. Those shop assistants (retail consultants to you) see us folk from Rural Perthshire coming. They practically throw the goods at us. Oh look at the country folk, they say. Let's give them some retail therapy Glasgow style, they say. By the time I get out of there, I'll need a couple of strong coffees before I take on Sauchiehall Street. So many shops, so few hours. The list gets trashed. I buy on impulse, and I buy in bulk. When I get back on the Megabus (six hours later), I swear I'll have filled both rucsacs and have sent the rest of my booty back to Rural Perthshire by freight train.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Rural Perthshire covers a very large area. We're talking miles and miles. Huge great tracts of land. Lots of massive trees. Rivers, lochs and waterfalls. People drive around Rural Perthshire for days just to marvel at the trees. Some people simply drive to count all the trees. This takes lifelong commitment, as you'll appreciate. I joined a local tree-counting group once. I got to 24,387 then lost interest. I said to the group: "Beautiful as Rural Perthshire is, I don't care if I never see another tree before hell freezes over." The group continues without me. My subsequent involvement with a waterfall jumping group ended prematurely when I missed the bank by a couple of feet, fell into the raging torrent and got fished out by the fire service somewhere in Angus.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Even here in Rural Perthshire, we can get the disturbing T.V. show that is Made in Chelsea. Now I watch this only in the interest of research. The paper I am writing, by the way, is called Emotionally Retarded and Morally Bankrupt Social Interaction in a Post Post-Modern Framework. The characters in Made in Chelsea are apparently real people. Look, Malteser, or whatever the hell your name is. QUIT WHINING AND GET A JOB.
To be a member of this dazzling social group, these are the criteria:
  • have a stupid name (e.g. Minky, Flunky or Donkey)
  • display a pathological inability to have a direct conversation
  • throw spontaneous and extravagant parties (e.g. you get new hair extensions)
  • stare intensely at people without communicating anything
If you find yourself meeting these criteria, congratulations. Get on the phone to the producer. Do it now. I'll get back to my research. There are so many upmarket bistros to sample in Chelsea.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


So, you wake up one morning and think: "Today's the day I go minimalist." This means that you go through each room in your house, you look around with a critical eye and say "Who put all this sh*t in here?"  You sit down with a cup of coffee and write a list. This is the crucial part of the whole down-sizing process. Only seriously essential items go on that list. Don't mess about. The Bear collection, the occasional tables, the 24-piece dinner service - ditch these now if you want to impress your friends with your cutting edge extreme minimalism. I know what I'm talking about. I took the leap from the cliff of rampant consumerism some time ago. I'll admit there was a short period of adjustment. Soup on a plate was challenging, as was sleeping on the floor. But the feel-good factor has been worth waiting for. I sit on a small rug in the living room and marvel at the space all around. I'm actually living the minimalist dream. The downside is that I have no furniture, no fruit bowl and no friends.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


How would you feel about a Fancy Dress Monday at work? I know someone who turns up at the office every Monday wearing some bizarre outfit. One of his favourites is a full length blue kaftan and a red fez. I am reliably informed that he sits at his desk in a confident and breezy manner, answers the phone with a professional tone, and gives not the slightest clue that he is completely deranged. His Manager has apparently offered him a bunch of therapy sessions plus a special clothing allowance to get the hell to Marks & Spencer for a striped shirt and some slacks. He has refused this support, and continues actively to encourage colleagues to join him in Fancy Dress Monday. Now I'm not saying I wouldn't cross the street to avoid this wingnut, but I do admit that his free spirited approach to work attire is challenging. For me, Lieutenant Uhura's uniform (combining  sensational elegance with reserved formality) might be the way forward.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


                                                     Summer fun in Rural Perthshire
Back in Rural Perthshire, the locals continue to stock up for Winter. If you haven't got 300 toilet rolls, an assortment of fleece jackets and a shedful of seasoned logs, then basically you're lacking intellectual rigour and are possibly a Southern Jessie. I myself am currently wearing two layers of thermal underwear whilst eating thick, hearty vegetable soup by way of training for the onset of the chilly season. You won't hear me complaining about current low temperatures and the price of de-icer. I know that these are the salad days; the days of fluffy kittens and cocktails with little umbrellas. By this time next week, let me tell you, we'll all be sleeping in balaclavas with hot water bottles up our pyjamas. Bring it on. Where I live, the girls have got hairs up their nostrils and arm muscles the size of small rodents. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Monday, 8 October 2012


                                           Before everything went pear-shaped.....

Yes I've been away from Rural Perthshire. Italy, if you must know. 29 degrees C in October. IT JUST ISN'T RIGHT. The locals were wearing knitted twin sets and overcoats. So it was a great week. It would be ethically questionable and legally inadvisable for me to publish details here, but let me say that my flair for Italian opened quite a few doors. Ordering food, buying clothes, booking trips - I made a big impression simply by being a Brit speaking the local language. I was stunned when the police accosted me at a ristorante on my second night and escorted me to a small cell for what they called 'very big insulting talking'. On that particular occasion I admit that the door closed quite firmly and aggressively and didn't open for two days. C'est la viande, as I said to the Officer on my release. I immediately went to a cafe where a young woman came to take my order. 'Signor,' I said, 'a double espresso avec some cream, and make it fasto.'

Friday, 28 September 2012


The buffet breakfast is a mighty beast, is it not. You may eat a piece of dry toast normally, but see the buffet and you just can't stop. Or is it me. On one occasion, I managed orange juice, cereal, toast, yogurt, cheese, assorted fruit, coffee and a range of small pastries in the space of 45 minutes. I could barely make it back to my hotel room. When I did, I fell on the bed where I lay for the next three hours like a beached whale. I missed the coach trip, the karaoke, the hypnotist and the bingo, so there was an up side. I know someone who, when on holiday, scoffs a similar gigantic breakfast and manages to smuggle out - on his person - four bread rolls, half a pound of cheese, six pains aux chocolat and a bowl of fruit for lunch. Impressive.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


I told my friend about this blog. I said don't expect too much - it's not highbrow or anything. She came back to me with some feedback. I can't possibly go into details, but her summary said (and I quote): "Thought-provoking, perceptive and meaty. Essential reading." The feedback was unsettling, to say the least. I got back to her immediately and said I think you've read someone else's blog. If I've provoked any thought here, then there's a problem. This thing is what it is, and I've no idea what it is. How could it be thought-provoking when it isn't even thought-directed? Oh yes, I've got a mind, and I'll give you a piece of it. Just don't go assuming that it's a mind worth exploring. I've been exploring my own mind for years and it hasn't been a picnic in the park. Mind + Exploration = Fast Track to Early Psychiatric Intervention. End of.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


I've read Harry Potter. I've imagined myself wearing the Sorting Hat. I know the rules of Quidditch and the whereabouts of the Goblet of Fire. What's not to like.
That J.K.Rowling had a brainwave on a train. She got home, and before she even got a cup of tea she'd written the whole damn saga on three rolls of toilet paper. Six publishers later and voila! She's the richest woman this side of the asteroid belt. Now I admire that kind of kick-ass self-belief. I've had a few rejection letters myself, but I'm not about to be disheartened by the narrow-minded views of eighty-five publishers. My socio-psychopolitical novels for young adults are relevant and original. I made my niece read three of them. She said she could find not a shred of literary flair nor the remotest trace of a plot in any of my work. I said thanks for nothing. Don't be expecting a Christmas present.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


You look up at billions of stars, consider the expanding universe until your brain hurts, eat some more chocolate. What's it all about? Existential anxiety. You put three pairs of socks in the washing machine, five socks come out. You start dressing like white trailer trash and drinking martinis randomly. Existential anxiety. Here's my top tip. Don't fight it. Go to some remote spot (lots in Rural Perthshire), adopt a confident stance and address the Massive Great Muppet of Eternity thus: I GET THE JOKE, DUDE. NOW GET ME OUT OF THIS GOD-AWFUL LOOP OF MADNESS AND GIVE ME SOME ANSWERS. BY FRIDAY.
I come back from these (weekly) trips a more centred, calm and compassionate person. I can't say the deep-rooted distress ever goes away. It just gets more intense, more troubling and frankly more  overwhelming by the week. I'm thinking of starting a support group: Coping with Seriously Debilitating Existential Threat. Friday evenings at my place. Bring your social worker.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Car boot sales in Rural Perthshire are legendary. You can't live in Rural Perthshire without slipping 'car boot sale' into your  conversation at least once a day. I loaded my car this morning with sixteen boxes of stuff, confident that my quality products would entice even the most cautious buyer to part with a shedload of cash. Though I say it myself, the artistic flair with which I displayed my goods was staggering. Punters swarmed round my table within minutes of setting up. Business was frenetic. Here's a taste of the banter:
Punter:  'How much for this completely knackered alarm clock?'
Me: 'Five quid. And I'll throw in these rusty tent pegs as well.'
Punter: '50p.'
Me: 'Done.'
And so the morning went. Hours flew by in a blur of high energy trading and weak tea. It was somewhat worrying to discover that I had eighteen boxes of stuff when I packed up. Still, I couldn't wait to get home and check out my earnings. I admit that £11.75 was disappointing, but hell, you don't do a car boot sale in Rural Perthshire for the money. Or the weak tea.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


I'm reviewing my summer. The high points, the surprises, the disappointments. I had visitors from Devon in June. It was their first time in Rural Perthshire. It was fortunate that they came by car and had the foresight to pack three emergency suitcases of winter clothing. This was mid-June, and the temperature peaked at around 8 degrees celsius. How we laughed. They couldn't wait to hit the road south, and I reckon that's the last time I'll see them this side of hell freezing over. Then there was my garden party in July. The rain held off, and my pots of flowers looked gorgeous. Of the 63 people invited, however, 19 made it (if you include the dodgy new neighbours). If I'd suspected I was Billy-No-Mates before, it hit me that day like a hard slap with a wet fish.
So those were the high points. The surprises? Finding £2.70 down the side of the sofa; realising that I can yodel; painting garden furniture is addictive. (I've done benches for several neighbours. None of these people gave a word of thanks.)
                                                                      A blue bench                         

And the disappointments. You'll have read about some. Incidents with the caber, the caravan, the cake. Others are in the hands of my legal team, and I can't talk about them here.

Friday, 21 September 2012


I'm not addicted to online shopping and there's no way you can prove it. Those boxes of self-help books; the wardrobe stuffed with belgian chocolates and catering packs of bombay mix - well they're none of your business. Yes I buy the occasional item on Amazon. Yes I've glanced at mobilehomes-online. If I want to buy a small caravan and collect it from a dodgy dealer in a car park somewhere in Glasgow - well I'm an intelligent adult and I know what I'm doing. I had three memorable weekends touring Rural Perthshire towing that cute little van. Had it not been for the rear axle collapsing on a particularly tight bend approaching Aberfeldy, I'd be on my way to Orkney by now. I dragged that caravan down a dirt track, dumped it, torched it, then got the hell out of there.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


I've seen Location Location Location hundreds of times. I'd fix those awkward house hunters up in no time at all.
Step One: What are your requirements? Three beds, large garden, village location. Fine.
Step Two: What's your budget? £250k. Fine.
Step Three: I've found just what you're looking for. Result.
Step Four: What is your problem? I quit. Find your own property. Really. Look in this Fairy Dust Delusional Property Guide.
Oh here's one:-
Three ensuite double bedrooms, solid wooden floors throughout, rural location with gorgeous cosy pub within walking distance, enormous garden incorporating small orchard, miniature waterfall and sunken outdoor jacuzzi. Small VW campervan included. Offers around £39,000, but would accept £25,000.
Sarcastic? Moi?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I can cook, and sometimes alarmingly well. There are no cookbooks in my kitchen. I create on the spur of the moment with flair and fearlessness. Guests have been amazed at the dishes I've put before them. Comments like: 'The taste is indescribable' and 'I've never tasted anything like this before' reveal just how overwhelming my food can be.
I recently entered a baking competition somewhere in Rural Perthshire. I produced a magnificent basil-infused cous cous and chocolate upside down crumble cake. Two factors set it apart from the competition. One, it was shaped like a small Scottish bothy, and two, it weighed 25 kilos. Exactly. It was one mother of a cake. The judges were speechless. I won a 'special' prize, which comprised a weekend one-to-one cookery course at a prestigious hotel and my word that I would never, ever, enter the competition again.
I got the cake home eventually. A passing farmer dragged  it (with some difficulty) on to the back of his lowloader. I put that mother outside and demolished it with a lump hammer, so deep was my humiliation.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


You'll have heard of a book called Eat, Pray, Love. I've read it. This American woman goes to Italy, India and Indonesia to sort herself out, eat herself stupid and find a man. That about sums it up. I've written a book called Search, Silence, Shoe. It reflects a memorable year of travelling in Burma, Belgium and Blairgowrie, during which time I came face to face with myself. I looked in the mirror and said: 'How did you come to this?' It was tough. I realised that my journey was no Eat, Pray, Love retail opportunity. This was a gutsy, brutally honest exploration of human frailties. (Not mine, obviously.) In Burma I began the Search; in Belgium I met Silence; in Blairgowrie I found a Shoe. That about sums it up. I'm working on a sequel. It's called Me, You, But Mainly Me.

Monday, 17 September 2012


Face blank page. Place fingers on keyboard. Engage brain. Focus on subject. Begin writing blog. Simple. Right. Fingers moving on keyboard. Brain engaged but worryingly dull. Blank page filling up. Brain becoming vacant. Where to now. Scan brain for residual cognitive activity.....nothing. Subject matter missing. Blog continues characteristically. Watching television. Who are these people? What are they saying? When will I accept responsibility for myself? Why have I consistently and abjectly failed to meet my potential? Tough questions, but they don't intimidate me.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


My guitar playing lacks polish. It also lacks technical skill, artistic merit and musical ambience. I have played the guitar for forty-five years. I hit a low plateau forty-two years ago and it's been downhill since then. If you were to hear me play, you would say: SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP. I myself wear industrial strength earplugs when I play. All this, and yet....... Playing The Guitar is one of my favourite hobbies. It's an expression of my deeply creative self. It's a statement of personal courage and self-belief in the face of overwhelmingly damning feedback that my guitar-playing is astonishingly awful. I have recently bought a violin. Can you sense my excitement as I contemplate this new and wonderful musical journey ahead of me?

Saturday, 15 September 2012


I'm thinking about walking the Fife Coastal Path. It's about 116 miles long. I'm visualising myself with my rucsac and waterproofs, striding out, taking in the sea air. It's a big commitment: I know this. I have a number of questions at this early stage of the planning process:
  • should I walk clockwise or anti-clockwise?
  • how many sandwiches will I need, and which fillings would be best?
  • is it appropriate to carry travellers' cheques?
  • will I get my picture in the PA? (Perthshire Advertiser)
Logistical planning for events of physical endurance admittedly is not one of my strengths. Astute as my questions are, I can't help feeling that I'm missing the whole central concept of this long distance walk. You may be surprised to hear that flippancy, ignorance and crass stupidity have landed me in plenty of trouble in the past. I'm going to give myself a damn good talking to. Then I'm going to get me some seriously expert advice on the details and the challenges of this thing.
Does anyone have a map of Fife?

Friday, 14 September 2012


My visit to the hairdresser today was uneventful until the stylist said: "Would you like some product?"
"Product? I said. "Fish paste? Engine oil?"
"No" she said. "Mousse, wax, spray, gel. That kind of thing." Friday afternoon. I honestly couldn't have given a dog's monkey. "Yes" I said.
"Which one?" asked the stylist.
"All of them. Let's go large."
I had no idea what I was talking about. I realised about halfway through the application process that I'd made a terrible mistake. How can hair possibly be made to resemble a partially-constructed bird's nest topped with assorted pretzels?
The stylist seemed pretty impressed with her creation.
"You've ruined my life," I said.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


An autumnal chill has descended on Rural Perthshire. It's a seasonal thing. Local conversations have  shifted from the amazing, spectacular, unbelievable Olympic Games to the most comfortable thermal underwear and the optimum grip for a snow shovel. I'm fully prepared for a repeat of the 2010 winter. Two weeks it took me to tunnel out from the front door to shout for help. The memories are still vivid. I'd lived on boiled rice and cardboard for the last few days. Phone lines were down, heating was off, water froze. I learned more about survival skills in those fourteen days than you would believe. I put a small tent up in the living room, whittled myself a canoe paddle from an old book-case and felt just like Ray Mears. Much self-reflection too, as you can imagine. I came out of the whole harrowing experience a more egotistical, angry and suspicious person. But, I have a snow shovel. I have survival skills. I have no book-case.

                                          I'm inside the car

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Did I mention that my favourite film character is Donkey in Shrek? I find that he has an impressive range of acting skills and a depth to his performance rarely seen in contemporary actors. Donkey has consistently refused to tell his story to the press. It's refreshing to find an A-lister these days who actively avoids publicity. He is a man of immense stature and principled integrity. I actually do a mean impression. Listen to this: "I'm a Flying Talking Donkey!" The pace, the tone, the inflexion: all spot on, I think you'll find.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Now the Olympics and the Paralympics are over, I've decided to start a new regime in fitness training. I like to aim high, so I'll be putting myself forward for 2016. This is the schedule: select a sport by end of December 2013; buy the necessary equipment by end of June 2014; begin training by end of December 2014; reach peak of physical performance by June 2015; apply for selection on 31/7/15. So, no pressure at all.
Field events appeal, but the unfortunate incident with the javelin on the school field many years ago perhaps suggests that throwing  lethal objects is not for me. Something sitting down would be good. Competing at Dressage would be satisfying as I'm very good at choreographing dance. How hard can it be to supervise a horse. Then there's sailing. I've watched it on television. A couple of hours in a boat - I think I'd be cruising. You can see why I've set my selection-of-sport date so far ahead.

Monday, 10 September 2012


So, I should tell you something about myself. What harm could it possibly do. Politics? I'd describe myself as north, north-east, with strong leanings to the eradication of hair extensions and the development of puppetry in higher education. I support local community projects with vigour and commitment. Current examples are: turning my neighbours' front garden into a skate park for disadvantaged children (let's hope it's done before they're back from Majorca); baking and selling chocolate chip cookies to raise funds for the Society of Lost Property; knitting leg warmers for abandoned donkeys.
Let's move on to religion - always a contentious topic. I find solace in a Christian-Buddhist stance, laced with overtones of Jedi principles. Can you feel the force. I enjoy rigorous debate on a wide range of subjects, which is surprising given that I am chronically unable to follow an argument or piece together a coherent one myself. My hobbies are collecting vegetables, buying solar panels and hopping. I can say 'No, Officer, I have no idea what happened' in sixteen languages.
My favourite soup is asparagus.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Let's not mention the loss or normal service yesterday. We'll move on, because the past is past, what's done is done, and life is never a bowl of cherries even if you live in a house made of fruit.
Crucial  questions today are:
(i) are mud-smeared people in lycra shorts necessarily Scottish?
(ii) do mountain bikes and laundry baskets go together in unusual ways?
(iii) are jelly babies really fruit?
I'm tired. This is the only reason I have to explain the bizarre content of today's blog. Let's regroup tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


So I'll be leaving Rural Perthshire tomorrow for a weekend in and around Oban, on the west coast.I'll be packing food, guitar, outdoor gear, bike, canoe, paddle and survival bag. Anything can happen. There's lots to do in Oban. A spot of busking on the esplanade; jump on a ferry to the islands; check out Tesco's 2 for 1 deals. Personally I like to pretend I'm a lost eastern european tourist. I'll stop a local and say things like: 'Scoozie you, please, eez Sauchiehall Street?' It's terrible really, to see the desperation in someone's eyes as they struggle to break the news that I'm nowhere near Glasgow. This sort of anti-social behaviour passes an hour or so.
                                             Clearly not paddling types........

The open water swim across to Kerrera - part of the Craggy Island  Triathlon - will be great fun. For the spectators. If you're in an ill-fitting wet suit (another misguided ebay purchase) just trying to stay alive while some elite athlete submerges you as s/he charges for the bank with merciless aggression...well it's grim isn't it. Never mind. Maybe you can accidentally knock the fecker into a ditch as s/he laps you on the bike section.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Some men in a kilt in Rural Perthshire

Blogging is my life now. Already I can feel that I am a more rounded, more fulfilled person. I  never took the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder seriously anyway.Today, out on my travels, I noticed that Blairgowrie Highland Games were cancelled last weekend due to inclement weather. I think that's the third year in a row. It's a shame, particularly as I had registered only last week as the first female Toss The Caber competitor. I've had a couple of practices with a short log I found lying about in Rural Perthshire. Things were going really well until I overbalanced, lost all control of the log's trajectory and got a bit of concussion. Some locals found me lying face down in a small ditch and brought me round with a couple of sharp slaps to the back of the head. I think I need a slighly shorter log.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Sadly this blog has no direction. It is a series of meandering statements, a manifestation of a disfigured mind, a random collection of weightless notions. Frankly I can keep this up for years. If you're looking for profound, or informative, or challenging, you won't be detained here. Or will you? In real life, I have - on occasion - shocked acquaintances with an astute comment which evidences a complex world view. Well, no I haven't, to be honest. So, to sum up. No purpose, no message, no content. Not in my blog.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Fourteen degrees celsius in St Andrews....does it get any better. Picture late summer leisure at the beach: children splashing at the water's edge, romantic picnics for two, an elderly gent dozing in a deck chair. Visiting from south of the border? You'll be wearing a duffle coat, two pairs of gloves and a balaclava. The locals are easy to spot. They're in bermuda shorts, string vests and wellies. You don't mess with these women. It'll need to hit six degrees before they put a jumper on. Yes, I did paddle and yes I was wearing a jumper. Remember I travelled from Rural Perthshire. It makes no sense to me either.
                                      A lone open water swimmer from Rural Perthshire

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Where is the enthusiasm, the focus of yesterday? Where are the big ideas, the plans, the clarity? All gone. Like a slug on prozac, today I really couldn't give a damn about the best route down the garden path. I think I might change the font size of this blog. Impulsive and edgy I know, but that's the kind of thinker I am.
So, the week ahead looks challenging, but I smirk at the idea of challenge. I scoff in the face of adversity. Last week I had to fit new wipers on my car and new ink cartridges on my printer. That'll give you a flavour...dynamic is my middle name. Actually I don't have a middle name.Years of therapy to address that little omission were only marginally successful. Don't get me started.

Saturday, 1 September 2012


It's September 1st and I have officially written off Summer 2012 as a wet dishcloth. Autumn beckons, and with it more manic ideas of novel writing, swimming the channel and putting a show on the Edinburgh Free Fringe next year. Chances of any if these things becoming reality? Remote, at best. But aim high, or crazy, that's what I think.
So today, I have forced my mind away from the wonder of Mahjong Titans and invested my time into something far more stimulating and intellectually profitable. I've re-invented myself as a Blogger. At the moment, I have no real grasp of what that actually means, but it's all part of the online adventure. I refuse to get on to the mud-caked tractor of Facebook or associate myself with the inanity that is Twitter. You will read nothing here of  the hilarious incident with my hairdryer. You will remain clueless about the recent week of severe constipation. No. I may be a Blogger, but I have a life in real time.