Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

It’s Cold Outside

Sledging, Glasgow style. Don't know how they'll explain that to their landlord...

Brrrrrrrr, it’s freezing. It was so cold in the flat yesterday afternoon, that the spouse and I went to the Queen’s Park Glasshouse to thaw out. The deserted cactus greenhouse was deliciously hot and humid, and stuffed full of an interesting array of spiny green tropical curiosities. It was rather tempting to just stay there for the next couple of months with my feet on the hot pipes, but I was keen to get on and see my old friend, the scary albino Koi Carp, in the ornamental fishpond by the Poinsettia display.

As we headed for the pond, there were no usual children’s shouts of “Mummy, Mummy, what’s that thing in the water?” and I feared the worst. A glance at the surface of the pond from a distance revealed no trace of my favourite fish’s distinctive silhouette. A closer inspection sadly told me that he must have finally succumbed to whatever fatal fishy affliction had caused him to look like a bloated roast chicken floating half out of the water. I was disappointed not to see Mr Carp one last time, but happy that he had gone to a better place.

With circulation to our extremities now fully restored, the spouse and I headed back out into the chill, despite an unseen Mynah Bird with a Glasgow accent trying to strike up a one-sided conversation with us, from behind some tropical foliage.

Beat This

A gift for the person who has everything, including a wayward bunch of keys and a cookie bite hearing loss. Now that’s what I call a Christmas present, thanks Elise!

These Boots Weren’t Made For Walking

A normally extremely busy Victoria Road junction in the snow

Snow and freezing weather conditions have brought travel chaos to the central belt of Scotland this week. Before leaving the house this morning, I eagerly scoured my work email in the hope of finding a notice saying that the Institute of Artistic Endeavour was shut due to the lack of public transport and the 4 inches of bone shattering ice on all the ungritted pavements. Sadly I was to be disappointed.

Realising that I would have to walk for over an hour in -8ºC temperatures, I decided to wheel out the big guns of my footwear selection, the heavy duty mountain climbing boots that I haven’t worn since I bought them back in 1994. I enthusiastically blew the dust off the pristine leather and carefully emptied out 16 years’ worth of dead spiders, and a couple of live ones.

“Can’t believe I’ve never thought of wearing these before,” I said smugly to the spouse, as I imagined all the envious stares I would get from the people who had beaten me to the last of the wellies in the shops and were now slithering around on sheet ice with dry, but frozen, feet.

Within seconds of putting my long-lost boots on, however, I was reminded of exactly why I’d never worn them. The painful similarity to wearing a pair of badly carved wooden boots with soles made out of lead forced me to don my regular footwear instead, and slide dangerously, but comfortably, for two and a half miles in to work.

In the sunshine, everything looked very pretty indeed, and the frequent stops to hang on to railings, passing strangers, etc, allowed me to fully take in the snowy views of an unprecedentedly wintery Glasgow.

Spam Spam Wonderful Spam

When my colleague first set up this blog for me in the aftermath of the office Christmas drinks session last year, I was something of a WordPress ingenue. A few weeks later, when I remarked to him that I’d miraculously received a couple of comments, he gravely told me to watch out for spam. Being the nervous sort, I was then too terrified to hit the reply button in case a vanload of Viagra and natural vitamin supplements rolled up outside the office.

Fortunately, Akizmet does a very nice job of keeping me safe from harm, but I like to examine the spam every so often in the hope that someone offering me a million pounds has ended up in there by mistake. I also like to have a go at being a human spambot to see if I can outdo Akizmet.

The type of spam comment are obvious, as were the ones that said ‘i want it!’ and ‘give me now’ in relation to a post bearing a picture of an NHS hearing aid. A recent one, which ironically ran to half a page, advised me that whilst the commenter really enjoyed all the comments on my site, it would be better if the other commenters weren’t so lengthy in their replies. That clearly came from someone who has not visited these pages.

I really, really, wanted to believe the one that said ‘Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again, Thanks.’ but the link to an erectile dysfunction clinic burst my bubble somewhat. In a similar vein, the one that said ‘I find myself coming to your blog more and more often to the point where my visits are almost daily now!’ impressed me with its enthusiasm, but painted a slightly frightening picture of hearing loss blog addiction.

Tempus Fugit

I belatedly flipped the kitchen calendar from October to November this morning and examined the fetching black and white picture of a fit young man pumping up the tyres on his bicycle wearing only a baseball cap. Last year’s students were responsible for this visual feast, having come up with a fundraising calendar featuring naked male students tastefully photographed about the campus with a selection of strategically placed props. It had been an instant sellout.

“Ah, nearly another year gone”, I sighed to myself as I took one last look at October’s calendar boy, who was delicately positioned on a grand marble staircase in the gallery along the road, wearing only his glasses. Just as I was about to have a quick fast forward to December, the doorbell rang and I was jolted back to the present. The spouse had taken delivery of my latest consignment of contact lenses.

“Here’s another one for your collection, remember where you’ve put it this time”, he said, knowing that it would not make the blindest bit of difference to my non-existent housekeeping methods.

“Blimey, is that three months, I feel as if I only just opened the last box”, I replied, disappointed that my life was no longer being measured by naked calendars but by boxes of contact lenses, packets of hearing aid batteries and the southside podiatry clinic waiting list.

The Leg

After watching the spectacular Michael Caine B-horror movie ‘The Hand’ recently, I’m starting to wonder if my right leg is possessed and trying to kill me. A mere 48 hours after tripping me up at the restaurant, it was up to its old tricks in the studio today, as I attempted to negotiate the 50 sprawled bodies who were drawing on large sheets of paper on the floor, at my foolish instruction.

There was barely a square inch of floor left to walk on, but when I finally noticed a student at the back who had been unsuccessfully trying to attract my attention for quite some time, I thought I’d give it a go. I delicately tip-toed across the room in one metre strides, being very careful not to slip on a loose sheet of paper like my unfortunate cousin, who dislocated his knee when he slipped on a copy of the Sunday Times Magazine back in 1986.

My slightly ungainly traverse of the room went unnoticed by the majority of the group, until The Leg mischievously decided to insert an extra stride, causing me to lose my balance and step heavily on to a student’s box of materials. At the sound of his stuff scattering everywhere, 50 heads turned simultaneously in my direction.

I hung on to a structural pillar to steady myself, before losing my balance again and leaving a big Nike footprint on his drawing.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry…” I said, as the students nearby frantically snatched their possessions and work from my trajectory of destruction.

“It’s okay, Moira”, said the recipient of my footprint generously, no doubt glad that I had stepped on his drawing and not on him.

What Goes Around Comes Around

After three months of dieting and running round the park, I am one stone lighter and able to fasten my coat once more, just in time for winter. I was rather glad of my decreased girth last night in the pub, when I was forced to squeeze like a contortionist through a six inch gap between tables to get to the last seat. Despite getting my generous backside in their faces, the two women at the next table were totally charming, and a bit of silly chat was exchanged.

This was in total contrast to the scene 60 minutes later at the next venue, a popular West End tapas bar. As the spouse and I were shown to our table, there was another narrow gap to negotiate in order to reach the bench seating against the wall. In the darkness, I had another of my unfortunate stumbles over the cast-iron base of the table, and landed elbow first on an overstuffed Moorish-style cushion, the sheer size of which made getting upright in the limited space slightly tricky. In addition, the grain of the upholstery conspired with my woollen cardigan to hold me in a Velcro-like grip, and I struggled like a cockroach on flypaper to turn around. This shocking display of human frailty caused great offence to the two sour-faced fashionistas at the next table, who rolled their eyes disparagingly and stared daggers at me for the rest of the evening.

They nearly put me right off my over-priced Butifarra Negra.

Silly Old Bag

I once read somewhere that when men and women retrieve items from a bag, there is a fundamental difference in approach between the sexes. Men, apparently, open the bag, look inside and continue looking while they locate their target. Women, on the other hand, open the bag, stick their hand in without looking and have a good old rummage about until they locate the desired item by touch.

This was certainly the case this morning as I tried to lazily fish my i-Pod from my giant handbag whilst absently gazing at the train departure board. After inserting my arm firmly into the bag, in the manner of a vet preparing to deliver a calf, I felt for the end of the headphones and started pulling. There was a bit of resistance. God, how come it always comes out tangled after I’ve put it away neatly, I tutted noisily to myself, before giving the wires a bad tempered yank.

Just as the train pulled in, the i-Pod finally came free like a snagged fishing line, and my fellow passengers were treated to the disturbing sight of a woman holding up a knotted set of headphones, with a big green sanitary towel and a bunch of keys dangling from the end.

I shall be adopting the male approach to the task next time.

Killing with Kindness

After a bracing run round the park this morning, dodging all the nut-crazed squirrels, I stepped into the shower with not a minute to spare if I was to catch my train to work. Cue ‘Psycho’ shower scene music. Thankfully my horror wasn’t caused by the spouse wielding the breadknife, although I’m sure he’s been sorely tempted recently. No, it was worse. A teeny weeny spider was clinging to the plughole cover, and although I’m terrified of spiders, I don’t like to kill them. I usually make an escape ladder out of toilet paper (for the spider, not me) but there was no time for that this morning.

Another 50 gallons of hot water went down the drain while I decided on my strategy. Why I didn’t just turn the shower off is still a mystery, but after a while, I reached for the long-handled back brush and began fumbling about unsuccessfully in an attempt to entice Mr Spider to safety. “Go on, climb on to the bristles”, I said repeatedly as if he could hear me, but his ears were clearly full of water. Both of us got wetter and wetter until, worried that he was going to drown, I made a desperate lunge with the brush, and to my horror, accidentally crushed him to death instead.

My guilt at being an inadvertent spider murderer totally overshadowed the relief at finally being able to get into the shower, and I made a mental note to use a more delicate piece of rescue equipment next time.


Nocturnal Noises

State of the art digital imaging techniques reveal the mysterious Beast of Queen's Park

I awoke rather prematurely at 3:41 am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. The task was made even harder by some drunken eejit noisily and methodically dragging a stick back and forwards along the railings outside.

“Bloody hell, what’s that?” said the spouse eventually, sitting bolt upright in bed and pulling his earplugs out.

He leapt to the window to see if the railing percussionist was about to begin on the parked cars, but  the noise suddenly stopped, and mysteriously there was nobody in sight. As I fumbled for my glasses, the spouse said “Come and see this…”. Just as I got to the window, the noise started again and I could see a huge fox excitedly circling a neighbour’s car. Funny noise for a fox to make, I thought, but since his mouth wasn’t moving I deduced that some terrified and tasty creature of another species was hiding under the car and emitting an alarm call that bizarrely sounded like a stick on a railing.

Mr Fox circled his intended victim several times before sneakily going to hide in the bushes across the road to watch for the railing soundalike making an escape. I was impressed by his strategic thinking, but his road crossing skills were somewhat lacking and he narrowly escaped being flattened by passing cars several times as he repeated his routine.

He must have either succeeded in his plan or got fed up, because the strange noise stopped shortly after we went back to bed. I lay awake for the next three hours listening to the much more familiar noises in my head instead.


Blog Stats

  • 184,132 hits