Sunday, April 26, 2015

Football Fans in Training let me Celebrate You All

Have I told you lately that I love you? No, I mean sorry, have I told you how I am enjoying my new part-time job with Glasgow University's Medical Research Council?

I told you that it's called Fieldwork and it's all about data and how data rules, and it's our job to collect it, honour it and protect it.

This week I had my first overnight field trip.  Ladies and Gents, we hunted that data down. We boarded our fancy mini bus with seats facing each other (with a table in the middle like they have on Scotrail), tinted windows, and a toilet (maybe not). We criss-crossed Scotland, passing farm after idyllic farm, rolling fields and forests on our way to interview our Football Fans in Training. 

FFIT is a great scheme that offers a support program for (mostly) middle-aged men who want to lose a bit of weight and get fit at their local and beloved football club.

It's MRC's job to do follow-up interviews and see how they are getting on. It's great meeting the men and hearing their stories, their frustrations and enthusiasms.

After the data collection sessions, our team went to eat in an Italian restaurant and then stayed over at a Premier Inn.  Eating late gave me insomnia so I was watching repeats of Double Your House for Half the Money at 4.00 am, as I marveled at the sheer novelty of spending a night in my own hotel room. 

I love working as a team and enjoyed the banter with the younger ones.  I hadn't got myself organised enough to download music on my phone yet, but wee Shelley let me borrow her spare i-pod (the youth, you see?) on the drive back.

As we hurtled home through the rainy Scottish night, past dark mountains, our bus glowed faintly on the inside with strips of blue light along the floor. I listened to ebullient Noughties pop and thought of our precious boxes of heartfelt data and I was happy and sleepy and high-fiving them all in my mind. In a sappy way, yes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In the All Night Cafe by Stuart David

I am half way through this book and loving it. I never really knew Stuart David but his like-able personality comes through the pages of his warm, witty memoir of the forming of Belle and Sebastian. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Snapshot actually killed Chaos... I'm told. Our son, Hugh has an obsession with Skylanders. It's a computer game that he has only played once - at a friend's house - but he talks about it all the time, rattling on, weighing up the goodies and the baddies in his head. Asking when he can get it. Sixty seven times a day.

When they are babies, they eat, sleep (or not) and dribble and you wait patiently to find out who they are and what their passions will be. I hadn't really expected this one. Well, I hadn't expected him to bake a cake on a few crumbs alone.

Of course there are all these sage warnings about the addictive nature of these games and I'm an old hippy at heart, wanting them to play on rope swings or with stones/sticks/whatever.

Added to that, Skylanders seems to be some kind of capitalist marketing genius where adults buy the kids a Starter Pack with a few 'free' characters, only to be plagued for the next ten years when the kids want to buy 'another' character, just because their pal did. (I hear rumours of £6? £10?)

And yet, his enthusiasm is somehow touching. Seeing his wee brain tick over, plotting, planning, rehearsing every imagined scenario on the When-I-get-Skylanders spectrum. 

My mum says I am too soft on them, and she is probably right. I am still holding off, King Canute in front of the waves. Is anyone else with me?

Meanwhile, Tess, is happy with her furry monkey. She too makes up scenarios all the time - Monkey didn't have a tutu for her ballet class, so she ate a hole in the middle of a pancake and used that. Well, of course she did.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fairy Impressive

I can honestly say I can't remember anything I made out of Plasticine as a child.  I can safely say that I never made anything as self-possessed and impressive as this wee fairy thrown together on a whim by my 11 year old niece, Maddy. She has lots of other talents that she doesn't seem aware of. That's the beauty of being 11.