Sunday, 23 January 2011

Happy New Year

Well jerks, lovers and ice-cream fanatics, hope you are enjoying 2011.

A note to say I'm still alive, but living on my very own website now.  Here's a link.

Godspeed and good luck. is a fabulous website.

Monday, 30 August 2010


Just to say, I'll be posting more stuff more frequently over at my website, so updates will be less frequent.

Hope you can follow me.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The 5.32 to Glasgow

When I was young I used to travel down to Glasgow to stay at my grandmother’s flat in the West End.  This was when I was about ten.  It was always exciting.  We used to get the national express coach down.  As an adult, it’s an insufferable four hour journey, taking you through some of the bleakest and dullest stretches of the country.  The road is frequently dangerous, and at the Drumochter Pass, very often closed due to drifting snow.  The further south you go, the more congested and the traffic becomes.   There’s a part of the route beautifully named Rest-and-be-Thankful.  It isn’t named that without reason.   As a kid, though, it was a big trip to the city.

It would start on Friday afternoon, after school, or, if everything fell into place, the start of a long weekend.  We would store up for the trip down.  Multipacks of crisps, half kilo bars of chocolate, two litre bottles of Irn Bru.    Seats up the back of the bus.  The more litter we could cause the better.  A competition.  As the bus journey progressed, other passengers would slowly move further towards the front.  Not because of any cheek we were giving them, more because of our vile language and constant disparagement of local buildings, people and places.  I can’t remember what we talked about, really. Wasn’t the landscape.  Wasn’t the stags that you can spot on the mountain tops as you drive through the Cairngorms. I can’t really remember what we did other than pile junk on the floor.  But it seemed exciting.   Exciting in a way that the words “departure lounge” are nowadays.

As we got older, we would start pushing our luck.  At thirteen and fourteen we would regularly be served in bars.  But that was yet to come.  When we younger, we used to ask my grandmother, then in her seventies now full of these same memories, would buy us cider.  Not the inedible white stuff favoured by today’s street urchins, but the slightly classier Strongbow, a decidedly orange coloured drink of no little deliciousness to a ten year old.  We would spend the evening getting what in retrospect was mildly tipsy, staying up to three in the morning watching trash television and - continuing our infatuation with creating garbage - turning my grandmother’s living-room into what we called a “council house table”.   Piling up as many empty cans, bottles and packets as we could.  When we, little lads that we were, were all pooped out, we would go to sleep in our sleeping bags, awaking in the morning to a clutter which was the source of quite significant pride.

And then it would be Gran-made lorne sausages and tattie scones, washed down with tea and coke.  None of us really liked tea, we were just taking our first footsteps in the world of sophistication.   We’d take pride in doing the washing up.  We’d ask my grandmother about her soaps, the local crimes and the Glasgow underworld, of which she seemed, at least to us, incredibly wise.  Then we’d hop on the underground into the city centre.  We’d wander around, doing nothing of a morning, before taking in a football match at whichever of the Glasgow teams we had chosen to watch.  After the game, home to fish suppers from the local chippy.  And repeat the previous evening’s exploits, before heading back up to Inverness on the Sunday, our teeth much the worse for wear and our clothes stinking of junk food and vinegar, in no fit state for school the next day but all the more refreshed nonetheless.