Saturday, February 18, 2017

Watch out Dunoon.



Kids who don't want to go to bed will spin out any story or excuse to lengthen the goodnight chit-chat. Tonight Tess was asking to go on holiday and I reminded her of the time we went to Dunoon. 

The weather could not have been more face-slapping-ly horrible (bitter wind and rain - it was February; I was deluded). At the time, aged 3, she declared that she never wanted to go to Dunoon again.

As I tucked her in tonight (aged nearly 7) to stall me, she rambled on that she had a very important job to do:  shutting down Dunoon forever. (Sorry Dunoon, it's not personal). Right Mummy, she said - these are the things I will need to do this job. Can you write them down?

A motorbike that shoots out fire
A gorilla and two monkeys
Chopsticks (for poking people)...and
Donald Trump.

Dunoon, I will defend you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Tour Bus, Homework and People Going to Aviemore

I tell the kids that Daddy has to sleep on the tour bus. Naturally there are queries.




Tess: I know this sounds silly, (coy giggle) but how can the driver drive if daddy is snoring in the night? 

(Probably a disingenuous question to work her way in. I explain that the bus engine is usually louder than any random snorer within said bus).

Tess: (sudden righteousness) But what about the other people? Like the people going to Aviemore?! 


(I see a clutch of outdoor fanatics in North Face jackets and woolly hats sitting bolt upright on the Teenage Fanclub tour bus as the band snore peacefully in trademark harmonies. The bus hurtles on through various European cities where the band wake and can't escape the desire to apologise for Brexit, either verbally or with resigned shrugs).

Me: (attempting the parental 'kind' laugh) It's in Europe...

Tess: Well, maybe the people going to Russia?!

I explain further about the bunk beds with curtains. I'm glad I'm not in the bunk beds with curtains.

Tess: So is the bus, like, the size of this room?

Me: No, it's....bus-shaped.  A cuboid. 

(I'm pleased I have crow-barred in the word cuboid, as homework this week is the difference between a cube and a cuboid).

Ah well, back to the ol' poetry lark. The metaphorical bus tour of the mind. Where to next?



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Scottish Book Trust, I praise ye!

What a fantastic day I had last week, visiting the Scottish Book Trust and receiving one of their annual New Writers Awards. 

I loved meeting the other New Writers and getting our photos taken in Edinburgh - which never fails to dazzle with architectural splendour. You can read all about it here

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

So this is 49



It's my 49th birthday and it's good to know I still look youthful (see accurate portrait above) and, allegedly, I am the best mummy 'in the holl intiyer wold' and I am 'more pretty than the gold on the crab in Moana.' I am not boastful...thank God.

Glorious. You have to swallow these things whole when they are offered with such love. I feel lucky.

It's a funny old age, 49. I feel like I'm looking backwards through a door on a whole decade.  'It's all good,' as my pal, Stuart used to say, when summing things up randomly. Well, it is for the moment, so I won't push it. 

The Puddle, the Deckchair and the Glass of Water...

I love it when the kids ask questions that show evidence of reasoning or leaps of imagination. Tess has been learning about the water cycle in Primary 2 and tonight she announced that she had a science question.



I like how she set the scene - Mummy, if you were in a deck chair, on a hot day, in a pretty dress, in the garden, blah blah.... (she often adds blah blah for dramatic effect)...

...and if you had a puddle on one side of you and a glass of water on a wee table at the other side, why would the puddle....you, know (holds hands in the air)....be GONE at the end of the day, but not the glass of water?

I asked her if the teacher gave them that question, or  if she thought of it herself and she said 'myself.'

Well, I don't mind admitting, it took me until age 15 and a light bulb moment in 'O Grade' Physics  to understand the rudiments of heat transference. 

The exam questions asked what would happen if you put a hot saucepan on a metal surface. For the first time, I realised the heat would actually move, radiating outwards from one metal to the next. I almost shouted Eureka.

So tonight, with enthusiasm, I explained to Tess about surface to volume ratio and warm patios, wide puddles and deep glasses. She went off to sleep quite pleased with herself.



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Twenty Years On



So here's a photo from 20 years ago when Francis and I first 'stepped out.' Imagine having no grey hair! Youth was wasted on me.

Fast forward two decades - to a Saturday morning in bed with the kids. They are considering trying to send Daddy a present. On Tour. 

Hugh: Like, maybe a bar of chocolate or something?

Me: He gets free chocolate in the dressing room every night (not jealous).

Hugh: A pot of hair gel, maybe?

Tess: An electric guitar?

Hugh: An electric guitar that shoots out electric rays! Like Eaglebones in Aquabats. And it can kill people. (Fits of giggles).

Tess: Drums that shoot out bats and slugs!

Hugh: (regains composure). What about a magazine of pretty ladies?

Me: (Whit?! Where did that come from?! He's seven. Surely he means Vogue?) And what about Mummy?

Tess: We can Sellotape pictures of Mummy in and pictures of Monkey and he can kiss it all day (does demo on mummy's face, while mummy foresees an unauthorized 'Monkey-in-Swimwear' photo-shoot on her iPhone).

Me: Be careful what you wish for...

Tess: Okay, then a robot servant.

Hugh: A garbage truck? (We are beyond justification now).

Tess: I know! What about Galactic Poo? (Yes, everyone's favourite).

Hugh: (Eventually, when giggles subside) You know, I really liked the 'pot of gel' idea.


Friday, September 02, 2016

Where are you going with that Tambourine?

Hipster-Popster Readers, let me tell you 'bout the day I nearly played tambourine on a Belle and Sebastian track but got phased out for  a wee electro clap. It was today and it was unexpected lunchtime fun.

Stu, as I call him now, said I could  pop round to the studio about 1-ish. I thought he was doing lone over-dubs or some such and we'd just go out for a bagel or something, but, as an afterthought, he set me up in a booth with a tambourine and a pair of headphones.

Great, ye think - just get with the groove, hang on to the beat - with your fingernails. But it's nowhere near as easy as it looks!

The band are so good at all that twirly, jazzy, bass-guitar-y spangle. Even without speaking, they seem to know when to drop back. There are flows and surges, highs and lows in the song, with lovely isolated vocally resonances. Any room for someone missing a beat on a tambourine? Anyone want too many beats?

I kept telling myself 1) They can mute my channel or whatever they do in the mix. 2) I am not Madonna at Live Aid. Repeat : I am not Madonna.

In the end, I ran out of time, as I had to rush off to school pick up, and Stuart asked Brian (the engineer)  to, 'pull up a wee electro clap.' (Let's call it a WEC).

The WEC did me proud instead. The gel was on the snare, the high hats were on four  - whatever all that means -and the band were humble and lovely as ever. 

Och, it's Friday. Enjoy.



Thursday, September 01, 2016

Kind of like an Upgrade




Darwin would have approved of my after-school chat with Hugh today.

Son: So, mum, do Christians believe in working all week and resting on Sundays?

Mum: Eh, well, who said that?  (Religious Education this afternoon ?)

Son: And...did fish just grow legs and walk out of the sea? (Laughs disparagingly).

Mum: (Rationalist indignant) Well, that actually happened...

Son: (Bart Simpson-esque) What the....?!

Mum: Remember I told you? About Evolution?

Son: Oh, yeah, (Rummages in brain). I love Evolution. (Pauses). What's evolution again..?

Mum: (Recaps on Darwin).

Son: So, when evolution is happening it's called, 'e-volv-ing?'

Mum: Yes! Well done.

Son: So it's kind of like an upgrade?

Mum: Yes!

Son:(Starts to talk about Pokemon characters who can evolve).

Mum: (Pokemon boredom alert). So, who told you the bit about the fish walking out of the sea? Was it the teacher?

Son: It was Sylvia. She put up her hand.

Mum: And what did the teacher say?

Son: She said, 'Exactly Sylvia!'

Phew. Thank the Lord for that.