Monday, 21 December 2009

Ask a busy person

They say the best way to get things done is to ask a busy person. I have to agree with that statement. I mean this blog is the perfect example. I have no job and little else to do and yet I seem to be neglecting it greatly. I haven’t much to say really, but I feel guilty and thought I best write before the annual festive period about that special baby’s birthday occurs.

Some moderately exciting events have happened over the last few weeks which I should have written about, but didn’t. The unemployment is really beginning to make me lazy (ier). My eldest brother for example held two consecutive Saturday night dinner parties for each side of the family’s cousins’ at the end of November/beginning of December. Niall cooked for I think the 2nd and 3rd time ever in his life and the latter occasion was a full roast turkey dinner. Both were very pleasurable and inevitably drunken occasions, but I feel rather that I have missed the boat to write about then, pity. Fortunately, my far less lazy brother has written about them on his blog so if you do wish to hear about the festivities then please click on my face and then the Nev 360 link. His last two entries concern the dinner parties.

My lovely landlady wife also held a Christmas dinner about a week ago, I can’t possible say ‘we’ as all I did was buy the table cloth. Jenny the kiddie doctor and Sarah’s brother attended as well as their two Labrador’s Megan and Katie, who I must say, are much better behaved than the Borg, but that may just be because there are 3 fewer of them. They did make a terrible hairy mess on the floor though which slightly OCDly of me, I hovered up and cleaned on Monday once my landlady wife had gone to work. On occasion, when I clean I get carried away and do odd things like hoover the window sills.

This weekend past was host to another festive party when my landlady wife and I hosted an evening of Christmas cheer which consisted of playing trivial pursuit, watching ‘Love Actually’ and eating a tremendous amount of Marks and Spencers finger food. We were joined in this by the aforementioned kiddie doc, Karen of Stirling (not Karen of the Borders, she as far as I know is still there) and running Louise. My brother also made a brief appearance so he could change into a builders outfit, but again I refer to you to his blog as I am sure he will explain that in due course in far more detail.

Talking of my eldest brother, he made his move to Edinburgh a few short weeks ago and then instantly went to Ghana. However, he did finally spend a few nights in his new flat last week and one night joined my newly married Simon (name check) and Devil Mike (so mentioned as the first time I met him he was painted red and dressed like the devil, he is personality wise, very lovely) went on a pub crawl of his new area i.e. the royal mile. This resulted in me being very very ill the next day and glad that all I had to do that day was wait in for the new TV to be delivered. And speaking of hangover, I had another after Esme’s birthday night in Glasgow a week last Saturday. It was merry affair indeed that was ended up in our exclusion from a rather peculiar night club in which they served free toast after Esme’s boyfriend ‘accidently’ stole some beer. The three of us after bidding goodnight to our comapanions had to wait for over an hour for a taxi home in the freezing cold and ended up ‘rescuing’ a rather silly young girl who had gone out wearing nothing but a pair of high heels and dress which in my opinion was barely a belt and she had no jacket or tights. We let her in our taxi and I berated her for this and also for getting into a taxi with 3 strangers- I mean we could have been serial killers (I am not, I don’t think Esme is and I’m pretty certain Stephen isn’t either, but that is not the point).

Gosh this blog is fast turning into a rambling list of drunken nights in the wrong order. I’ll do you a time line

28th November- Niall’s first Forsythian Christmas Party

5th December – Niall’s Christie Cousin Christmas Party

I spent the next few days in Aberdeen helping him pack, clean and move. We got a van down to Edinburgh and moved into his new flat which almost killed us both (4th floor flat to 3rd floor flat- you try it)

11th December- I go to Glasgow for Esme’s birthday. I get very drunk and feel very ill the next day. In the evening after my return to Edinburgh my landlady wife and I get a Christmas tree named Trevor.

13th December- fake Christmas in the Christie-Marshall household. There is no mulled wine to be found on Princes Street. Dogs attend the event and leave hair as a Christmas gift for Dyson the hoover.

17th December- the first of what I suspect to be many of pub crawls with Niall

19th December- joined by some friends, we hold another festive evening in which some mulled wine was available.

So soon it will be Christmas. My plans are changing at fast pace, I don’t know where I will be (weather dependent, don’t snow please), I hope to be attending the annual Dingwall Christmas pub quiz on Wednesday evening. If I win I have to declare my winnings to the job centre people. No, really. After that I assume the festive period will contain the usual eating of turkey and consumption of wine just as long as it doesn’t snow too much resulting in that mum and I can’t get down to her fancy man’s or her house explodes. It's something to do with too much pressure on the central heating, if she doesn’t bleed it frequently then it’ll blow the street up or something. The plumber said he come sometime between now and Thursday. No, really.

So a well planned and organised period ahead.

Oh, and did I mention, I have a job interview tomorrow?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Rejection and Recuperation

Ah, another moderate gap between entries. This can only mean one of two things, either I have been busy or I have been avoiding writing. It is the latter. The reason for this is my failure. Yes, my dreams of becoming Scotland’s next poisons expert were shattered on Friday when yet again I received another rejection letter. I have applied for 42 jobs in the last 12 weeks and while you may think that is a small number, you must realise that each job application can take from up to 1-3 hours (sometimes more) so complex are some of today’s application forms. Also you have to factor in the time searching for appropriate jobs added in the bimonthly pop into the jobcentre which takes up an entire morning due to its location far away from my flat. Plus there’s the ever important tea breaks.

Tea breaks are important to me. Apart from my last job in the hospice in which I would say, in 50% of days there would be a communal staff tea break, regular tea breaks were unknown to me. In my first job in the hideous GI ward I barely had time to take my coat off let alone leisurely drink a cup of tea. My second job in the Belford was a strange beast in which I always managed to get myself busy (Andi who works there presently seems to do nothing but have tea breaks, I can’t decided whether this is due to a recent lack of patients or my inability to manage time). My 3rd job in Sick kids was variable beast in which my role rotated round the various areas. Whilst on the ward it was tea a-plenty, but on the acute unit or day case- the insanely busy centre where you see what seems like hundreds of patients all with minor ailments all demanding far too much attention in my opinion- you never even got the whiff of a biscuit. I then move onto my FY2 year which heralded a new kind of frantic activity first in A&E then the surgical ward. A&E was supposed to have regular breaks, but all I managed was a lunch stop and tea is not a speedy lunch beverage. Also I sweated so much in my shiny plastic suit that adding a steaming hot cup to tea to the mix would have only have increased my malodour. We then come to ward 33, surgical ward from hell. If hadn’t already decided to quit before this job, I definitely would have stormed out in a triumphant and spectacularly melodramatic style whilst working in this post. I did at one stage actually stamp my foot on the ground with sheer anger and frustration (then promptly burst into tears with one of the lovely secretaries), but worst of all in this job if there was a tea break, well, there was no tea. Instead a monstrous coffee machine that demanded feeding and not a tea bag in sight. It was quite horrific. And now full circle back to the afore mentioned hospice and now my current state of affairs- unemployment.

It has now been 3 months since I moved to Edinburgh and tried to get a job. In my head, I had predicted I would have a job by Christmas. That predication seems unlikely to be fulfilled. I have had interviews for 3 separate jobs (and 3 interviews for one of them) with 3 rejections and countless rejection letters from positions that I never even got interviewed for. There have also been the non-informers- the jobs to which you apply for and you hear nothing, not even a letter to say ‘NO WAY YOU UNDER-EXPERIENCED PILLOCK’ which I personally feel is the least they could do. Even a wee email, not even the cost of a postage stamp. I despise them most of all.

I was in the jobcentre today in fact and sitting, waiting for the man to sign me off and I looked around me at all the other people sitting and waiting for the same thing. Literally dozens of people all looking and applying for the same jobs as me and I thought ‘dear lord what chance do I have?’. Now I know many of them won’t have degrees, but scarily a lot of them looked perfectly respectable. I wondered what had brought them to this ghastly place and were they thinking the same about me? If they knew what I had given up, would they beat me over the head with their sign-in clip boards?

But then I remind myself that my flatmate who is meant to finish at 5 never gets home til nearer or past 7. My recently married friend isn’t getting have Christmas with her husband because someone screwed him over in the rota. My friend in the Borders has been forced to be rota master and having to work her holidays to cover for 2 absent colleagues. Another friend in Perth is working 2 jobs and is about to eat her juniors they are so incompetent. And Andi, well, he lives on friggin’ Fort William for crying out loud.

And then I remember, at least now I can have as much tea as I want.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

We Need To Talk About Morag

Yes, it’s finally time. After all when I started this blog I promised it to follow the trials and tribulations of a job seeker and all I’ve really discussed on these pages has been my rather pleasant social life. Well, despite appearances, I have actually been trying to get a job, quite ardently in fact and so I will describe an average in the life of a dead beat job seeker.

830am The buzzer goes off. I get up in the vain hope it’s the postman with a surprise parcel, but its always the junk mail man pretending to be the postman. I go back to bed disappointed.

9-930am I wake up properly, have shower and make myself presentable.

10am I watch ‘Homes under the Hammer’ onn BBC1 and have my breakfast .

11am I switch on the computer and start my search. This consists of searching some pre-selected websites. I write down any possible jobs, BUT I do not apply for them yet. Instead I complete my search so I have a nice list.

12pm Go down the list and decided which ones I want to apply for and read the job description in more detail.

1230pm Stop for lunch. It is hungry work. This usually consists of some sort of beans/cheese combination. However, if I’ve had to run any errands earlier in the day, I often treat myself to Gregg’s pastry. Oh the fatty delight! I watch Scrubs and wonder why being a doctor wasn’t like that and wonder why anyone would stay with Carla- I mean she is the most annoying, unpredictable, self-obsessed twit. Plus she’s a nurse.

130pm Back to work. Of the fated list of jobs that I have got more information on, I apply for the ones that seem suitable and that I am qualified for.

330pm I furiously scream at the computer when after spending 2 hours filling in an application form, it inexplicably presses the back button and I lose all my work/an error message comes up on the last page not allowing me to send my application.

430pm I think about what to make my good wife for tea and if I have nothing, I nip out to the Tesco metro and curse it’s lack of range and high prices.

445pm on return from Tesco metro I have a well deserved cup of tea and a sly biscuit (my current biscuit of choice are the delightful Christmas cookies from the firm of IKEA).

530pm I start making tea even though I know Sarah won’t be home for another hour and instead I’ll have to keep turning down the oven/stirring whatever I have cooked to ensure it doesn’t burn.

630-7pm Sarah arrives home and tells me about her day. On asking what I did, I tell her about an amusing story I heard on the radio like it was my own life.

730-10pm Sarah and I watch TV whilst playing on our laptops. Occasionally we go out and see the world. Last night we went to her ex’s house (ex-flatmate that is) to play Cranium. FYI we won very convincingly- we destroyed the opposition and just because most of the other teams had a non-English speaker on each one, it in no way diminishes our superiority.

10-11pm Sarah says she has to go to bed, I agree but take some time doing so.

1130pm I write my diary and scrape the day off my face with some apparently non-toxic chemicals from Clearasil (but it’s blue so that can’t be natural- right?)

12- 830am I sleep until awoken by the fake postman. The day begins a-new.

So that’s about it. Obviously there is some variation. I mean very 2nd Wednesday I have to go sign on at 11 and I miss ‘Homes under the Hammer’. Also, I mentioned last time I had an interview that went badly. I was right it did. I remain unemployed. I have another interview tomorrow which I’m convinced I won’t get either. I mean I got a rejection from Boots the chemist last week. I mean come on, I’ve got a friggin' MD. Yes, so anyway I’m not bitter that a certain charity with their offices a 5-minute walk from my flat didn’t decided to employ me after giving me 3 interviews and raising my fragile hopes. I’m completely over it and in no way hope that every one of their 19 employees and associates get the hideous ailment that they are campaigning about. In no way.

So that’s my life laid bare, a whirly gig of excitement isn’t it? I think it would make for a scintillating docu-drama. It could be shown on channel 4 at 8pm between the news and Embarrassing Illnesses. It could be called

Morag: The Perils of the Over-Educated Unemployed (a waste of her time and your money).

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Wedding Days and Dancing Frenzies

I’m going to veer away from my usual mild cynicism to tell you about the joyful occasion at the weekend. Despite being unemployed, my old friends from uni haven’t disowned me (yet) and I had cordially been invited to my dear friend Lori's wedding to another Aberdeen medical school 2006 alumni, Dave. The happy event was held firstly at Lori’s home town church followed by a rather decadent reception at the splendiferous Dunblane hydro hotel.

My seemly constant companion Andi picked me in Edinburgh and we travelled upward to Stirling to our B&B where we changed in a frenzy and got to the church in (plenty of) time. There was a reunion with a vast majority of my uni friends with the notable presence of Katy May and Laura Armstrong who are doctoring it down in England-shire and Suzie, a halls friend unfortunately seldom seen. Unfortunately, there were a few notable absences including Anthony and Cat both gadding about in Oz (‘working’ is their excuse). The church was a grand affair and I could barely contain my excitement waiting for the bride arrive. Typically when she did, I was so overwhelmed my photography suffered, however my vision was not and what a vision she was. Lori looked absolutely wonderful, I can’t gush enough about her delightful strapless dress with a lovely splash of diamantes and she also had a really wonderful veil which sparkled like frost on a spring morning! Yes, I was slightly overcome with emotion, but I did not cry, go me!

The reception followed afterwards, as is the custom and despite a bizarre sat-nav incident where it tried to take us on to the railway track, we successfully got there. Suzie had a room and kindly allowed to check my hair and make-up where I discovered my hair was still perfectly in place (in fact I put so much hairspray into my improvised ‘up-do’ that it remained that way overnight and for a large part of the next day). However my tights had ripped in the most spectacularly bizarre fashion, where the leg on the left side had met the crotch there was a massive hole! What to do? My dress was long and it could not be seen, but what if the ladders spread?! Fortunately Suzie had clear nail varnish and I generously applied it to the hole and the underlying leg. This would become a problem later on that I will return to.

The reception was lovely. Gush gush gush. I was a table with my two wives (as they became to be known that night), Andi and Sarah and several other delightful friends. We laughed, we ate, we drank and we whoop whooped at the speeches (or was that just me). I’m not saying we had the funnest table, but on discovering we had two surname place settings with ‘cock’ in them and with Andi surname of Ma, we did arrange them in rather amusing fashion- hohoho. You can see the rather hilarious outcome of this high jinks on my facebook photos album cunningly labelled ‘Lori’s wedding’.

And then the best part of the wedding began- the ceilidh. Just like Nicole Kidman says in her rather sickening advert for Chanel no5 ‘I love to dance!’ and I do, especially ceilidh dancing. On moving through to the hall area, a few uni friends gathered at a small table were instantly, seemly with powerful psychic powers of observation, inundated by the waiters bringing through all the left over wine from the meal and placed it on our table- the joy. In fact by the end of the evening, our small take contained about 8 bottles of rather fine vino that kept us all in merry spirits. There is something to be said about being a layman at a Christian wedding....

Anyway soon the band started, my shoes came off and the dancing began. And it went on. And on. Even when the band took a break and put a cd on, me and my two wives could not be persuaded from the dance floor and some rather amusing dancing with small children occurred. In retrospect, Sarah and I grabbing the ankles and wrists on Lori’s cousin, Amy the flower girl and hurling her around, whilst amusing, was perhaps not the safest procedure for any involved. Fortunately, no serious injuries were incurred. After a very vigorous Arcadian Strip the Willow followed by a enthusiastic Old Lang Syne, the wedding was finally over. Andi and I had opted to stay at B&B as mentioned and had to get on the free bus to get to our beds. We were joined on this by several of the guests including Karen (currently in Dumfries) and her rather delightful boyfriend Michael whom I had just that night for the first time. Karen and Michael were both enthusiastic ceilidhers during the wedding and the four of us sat on the bus rather loudly discussing what fun we had and singing various songs. Curiously their destination was the first the bus stopped at, followed by our own and I have to suspect that the bus driver in fear for his ear drums ensured our abodes were the first arrived at. Or perhaps I’m just being paranoid. On retiring to our room, it was then I discovered the error of using half a bottle of nail varnish to affix your tights- it sticks to the skin. I near gave myself a free wax getting my hosiery off.

Lots more happened at the wedding than I was aware of. The down side of dancing near every dance at a ceilidh is that you lose the opportunity to talk to people, so I send my apologises to all my friends that I barely spoke to during the happy occasion. But you should all know, I just do love to dance! A major thing that was missed during my dancing frenzy was the presence of some of the Celtic football team in the adjacent bar. To be honest if I had seen them, I wouldn’t have been aware of it, such is my lack of interest in football. However by all accounts, many of my fellow guests were greatly excited by this. One of those similarly unclued up by footballers was my landlady wife Sarah, who on looking for her jacket in the cloakroom inadvertently asked one of the Celtic players to fetch her coat only to be informed the man she had asked assistance was not on staff. One thinks the Celtic strip he was wearing was a clue, but may I just remind you there were 8 bottles of free wine on our table.

The next day I felt surprisingly clear headed, but my body ached. My legs, my calves epically told me in no uncertain terms that in future I should stretch before embarking on a 5 hour ceilidh dance marathon. But it was worth it.

The rest of this week has been fairly standard. Looking for jobs, an interview (which I did not feel went well, but I’m yet to hear), eating crisps with Sarah and watching Buffy. I did go see a Eddie Izzard gig in Glasgow with my landlady wife and her brother last night which was funny and makes a change from the usual. However, despite this respite from the norm, the seemly unending days of unemployment are beginning to take their toll. Mainly on my shoulders as hours hunched over my laptop scouring for jobs is playing havoc with my upper back and that combined with the uncomfortable seating at the Eddie Izzard gig and the mad dancing of the weekend, I’m beginning to feel rather stiff and crippled.

Perhaps its time for a holiday?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Witching Hour

Now not to give you a false idea of unemployment, but I find myself continually writing about going to parties on this blog. Being on the dole isn’t all fun and games you know; it can be quite hard work.

In fact just yesterday I ripped my favourite jeans and had to go out and buy new ones. As most girls know, finding the perfect fitting pair of jeans can be an troublesome and lengthy process, but I had set myself to task and was not to be thwarted. I even had to face the terror of shopping on Princes Street as, as much as I enjoy adventuring to the small boutiques of Cockburn Street and the like, affordable denim is not really their forte. So I bravely marched up and down the ghastly congested hell and tried on about every pair of jeans in the city.

I find it odd when in one shop leg length 32 is too short, then the next too long. Same goes for the waist. In New Look I tried on a size eight that was too big and in H&M a size 12 that I couldn’t do up. Now I know a little variation is to be expected, but this seems like madness to me. I thought the whole idea of standardisation of sizes was for the that very idea- to be standard. When buying jeans are you meant to to take three sizes of waists along with three sizes of leg length? This would result in approximately (to get all the waist and leg combinations) 9 pairs of jeans per shop multiplied by each shop say 10, meaning that to buy one pair of jeans, you have to try on 90 pairs. Pure madness. I didn’t quite try on that many pairs, however it did begin to feel that way. You’ll be glad to know, that yes I was indeed eventually successful in my quest and yes, I did go back and buy the first pair I tried on. I now have the unenviable task of wearing them in- it is a hard life!

Anyway back to parties! It was Halloween on Saturday- what a fortunate day for this holiday to occur. It’s always rather disappointing (unless you are a lazy student) when this occasion falls on a Tuesday or the like as often the opportunity of having a party to attend is reduced or the length of time/effort of the costume is reduced by work/time/getting the blasted make-up off in time for work constraints. Not that these things currently affect me.

So the lovely kiddie doc Jenny and I attended a party of one of her colleagues which unsurprisingly was me and a bunch of doctors and curiously a stop motion animation producer. Her friend who had thrown the party had put a terrific amount of effort in to the affair. Her entire (rather spacious and delightful Morningside abode) flat was transformed into a terrible cocoughany of fake blood oozing from the walls, famous art work given a Halloween make-over and an array of ghoulish sweets and nibbles including punch with eyeballs floating in it. I was very impressed.

Also impressive were the costumes of her attendees. I was concerned, it being a house party that people wouldn’t make the same effort. I was wrong. There was some real blood and sweat put in to these costumes, of particular note were the Ghostbusters who came complete with Slimer and Janine the secretary. Their ghostbuster backpacks were spectacular. On the other hand while some people put effort into their physical costuming, others put their effort into the idea behind their outfits. Without question the two men who came dressed as Joseph and Elizabeth Fritzl certainly made the biggest impact on me for inventiveness, but that is not to say I shared their taste in this rather interestingly themed costume.

Personally, I use Halloween to dress like I never normally would- a harlot. This year I dressed as the iconic Sally Bowels from Cabaret (I just love Liza) and enthusiastically attempted to recreate her costume from the show stopper Mein Heir. I thought I’d done a pretty good job, when my mother and fancy man came to visit the night before Halloween and suggested I should get a cheap wig as my hair is brown and long whilst Sally’s was short and black. I wasn’t sure I would be very successful in this mission, but I found one I thought looked appropriate and on Halloween I brought it round to Jenny’s to ask for her help in affixing it.

On looking in the mirror, I got quite a shock. Below I have put some photos (I’m getting the hang of it now, well almost). You can decide whom I looked more like- Sally Bowles or my mother.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Parties and Progress (attempt 3)

Oh my dear, I just wrote the most amusing and entertaining blog of my career to date and it somehow deleted itself without reason or explanation. I feel so dismayed. And then as if to add insult to injury, I then re-wrote it and it again deleted itself. I feel as if the universe is trying to thwart me at every turn.

As such this blog entry will be a mere mockery of the splendour that was the lost two blogs, a shadow, a hollow imprint. But we must not bend to the trickery of the computerised era, we must never give up!

So again, I will begin. Apologises dear reader for the gap in my blogging. My reasons are many, my excuses few. I would blame the postal strike if I could. I hate a postal strike, it unnerves me to the very core. Perhaps this has been exacerbated by the fact I have recently won the complete set of Buffy DVDs from eBay and I am anxious to its safe arrival. Perhaps.

Anyway let’s move on from Buffy, though it’s hard I know. The hen night was the next big thing in my social calendar and it began with a road trip. Jenny, the kiddie doc , Sarah the splendid landlady and I embarked upon this great task two Saturdays ago. It was piloted by the fair Jenny in her rather nice new corsa and on our trip we made a brief sojourn to Perth to her see equally fair sister for lunch. The last time I was Perth was many years ago and for a funeral, a sad affair by definition. This visit to Perth was by far mush more cheery and I was surprised and delighted by the town. Jenny’s sister lives in a delightful little flat with curiously, two windows in her rather oddly, but sweetly shaped living room fully furnished with a very cute little fabric upholstered chair. I was also pleasantly surprised by the main shopping district of Perth, a compact and functional street populated with the high street worthies and a few independent boutiques. As a country girl (ish) at heart, I often find larger towns and cities a bit daunting. I’m finding in particular that Princes Street in Edinburgh is a rather monstrous place not helped by the streamlining of pedestrians to only one side of the road due to the never ending tramworks. Whenever I find myself on Princes Street, it enrages me to no end the length of time it takes you to go from one end to the other partly due to its length, but also the unremitting amount of incredibly slow window shoppers who go about their business in an alarmingly foot dragging fashion. Not only do they seem to walk slower than humanly possible, they also seem to expand and completely disallow passage past them. It fills me with great frustration to the point I avoid it all costs and instead, if shopping I frequent the St James shopping centre. This slightly drab centre is medium sized with medium sized shops and medium sized people. They neither walk slowly nor fast, neither fat nor thin. Nothing exciting will ever happen there, but conversely nothing truly awful will occur either. A bearable shopping experience can be had by all. They also employ the youngest shop assistant ever in the history of the world in the home section of the John Lewis. He looked about 10, I almost called the CPA, but then like all uninvolved Britons, I thought it wasn’t my problem and it was somebody else’s responsibility. It’s nothing to do with me.

Anyway after the adventure in Perth we sallied forth to Aberdeen where the festivities were to take place, depositing Sarah at her sister’s and collecting Karen (sadly stuck in Dumfries) and heading to my brother’s. In fact it seems siblings were the theme to the weekend providing food and shelter for all. After making ourselves appropriately attired for the evening - shiny shoes check, shiny hair check, unshinied face check, we were on our way. To her great surprise, Sarah the splendid landlady found herself arriving first at the pub, a fact she and we all found rather surprising and to be honest I’m still not sure any of us are over the shock. Fortunately the troops were not far away for Sarah and soon the pub was filled with the hen, old uni friends and about 72 of the hen’s aunts. I was introduced to every one of the hen’s aunts, but by the time I was told their names, I instantly forgot them due to the sheer volume of information coming my way. It was very kind of them to travel north for the occasion and made the party more buoyant and interesting for their presence. Also in the party were Lori’s sister and mother whom I was most pleased to see again and it occurred on me after the fact the last I had met Jeanette (the hen mum) was at graduation. How time flies when you abandon your responsibilities and go swanning off around the world. Once we were so gathered, we moved on the restaurant where fortunately for the other diners, we had a our own room. It was then the hen’s mum handed out some rather splendid head attire for all, Lori’s being a top hat with veil and the rest of the party having a rather nice headband adorned with a feather and plastic flower. I was most taken with mine and it provided useful for keeping my hair out of my food.

After foolishly ordering a bottle of house red for the table, I then discovered that me and one other were the only ones wanting red so I forced myself to drink this as well as some white I had already ordered. This led me to believe I was a truly talented photographer and designated myself the evening’s official paparazzi. If I can work out to do so I will post some of the photos for your delectation and judgement. After the meal was over some of the 72 aunts retired whilst the rest of the party continued on to a pub. After this however, the majority voted that bed was the next option. This included the hen. Despite the general lack of enthusiasm for drunken dancing I would not be thwarted and I was joined by Sarah (the splendid flatmate) and Karen (currently in Dumfries). We decided to relive our youth and go ‘the Nage’ or Espionage as it is properly known. Espionage is a free club that sits at the end of Belmont street and is known for its cheesy music, crowded dance floor and broken glass. The management in their wisdom made the floor an incredibly hard stone and made the dance floor adored with pillars with ledges just ever so slightly too small to accommodate the glasses they provide the various alcoholic drinks in. This results in an inevitable shattering of many receptacles and glass in many the poor innocent toes of young ladies- and I am no exception. After one particularly fateful night, rarely have I worn open toes shoes again.

Anyway we brave three, we merry three, we band of bladdered, made our way to the mecca of our past and danced the night away. Or at least we tried. The Nage has a peculiar habit of being perfectly fine and pleasant to dance in and then suddenly without warning becomes full beyond capacity and causes major crushing upon the dance floor. However this did not stop us and we danced very compactly until the music became too unbearable and we left. Karen and I waved Sarah off in a taxi – all of us still wearing our lovely hen bands and then decided despite the mountains of food we had earlier that evening that we needed more food. Fortunately, my brother’s flat is situated upon a 24-hour shop and there we purchased seemingly unending mountain of crisps. Now I mentioned earlier that Jenny was also staying at my brother’s but there was only one set of keys so when she had retired earlier we were left with only option but to ring her to be let in. Now, as she been in bed for some time of course we were gentle and quiet when we rang her demanding the gatekeeper release the drawbridge. Or as quiet as we could be until once arriving in the flat and deciding to eat our crisps enthusiastically in the other room. Fortunately, Jenny informed me the next day she been so sleepy that she barely remembered our squawking and to my further relief my brother himself had been gadding about until a good while after our return and as such was not disturbed.

The next day I was surprisingly fresh and Jenny and I met Lori for lunch before we all went our separate ways. I being the unemployed waster that I am had decided to stay on a while in Aberdeen before going north to see my mother. This gave my brother and me a chance to take my grandfather out for lunch which is always a pleasurable affair. I may have mentioned that he recently turned ninety and had a huge party not too long ago. I had not seen him since then, but it appears that since that event he has gone from strength to strength. It’s like the party filled him with a new lease of life and our lunch soon turned into coffee and a chat around the fire for some hours as he told us some fantastic stories about how our great grandparents forbade him to marry their daughter (later to became our grandmother) and the like. It was a most pleasant afternoon.

Because I stayed on in the 'deen this meant I also had the opportunity to play poker with my brother and his friends the following evening. When I lived in Aberdeen I would infrequently attend my brother’s poker nights whenever my rota allowed. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I never improved at all during my multiple attendances and that I am a terrible bluffer. Every week Niall records the players’ rankings and whenever I play I am almost without an exception last or 2nd last. However , that night was to be my night. In some freak of nature and in defiance of god’s law not only did I win poker, but actually won so convincingly there was almost no doubt of the outcome at any stage . I consistently bet and bluffed well and drew good cards. It was quite astonishing and I don’t truly know how I accomplished it. It was just a shame that it wasn’t for money.

After my triumph at the card hall, I then went north to see my mum and to inspect the progress of her house. I am happy to report that the bathroom is finished and the kitchen is underway. The cat is surviving despite having a rivalry with one of my aunt’s cat and is getting fatter by the minute and the Borg, sorry I mean the dogs, are as troublesome as ever. I was informed on my arrival that Tom (three of five is his Borg name) had not only eaten Richard’s breakfast that morning, but also my mother’s hard back library book. He was quite literally in the dog house (or the van which is standing in it's place).

The next few days mostly consisted of eating and being amused by the Borg. The Wednesday was mum’s birthday and in the evening joined by two brothers, one fiancĂ©, one aunt and partner and of course mum and Richard, we went through to Fortrose to a very nice hotel/bar and had a most delightful meal. In an unusual bout of generosity I offered to drive for some reason and as a result got the pleasure of watching my family get more progressively drunk and most amusingly see my mother after 2 glasses of champagne. For most, 2 glasses of champagne would be nothing, but in my mother’s case this resulted in her near stupefaction and some rather school girl antics around the dinner table.

After all that excitement, more was to be had when I checked my email to discover that I had not one, but two job interviews. This turn of events came at just the right moment as I was beginning to lament that I would never find a job and become a productive part of society again. I don’t want to say too much about the jobs, not because I’m superstitious, but mostly because as this is the third time writing this blasted blog, I am now tired.

I returned to Edinburgh after my mother’s party and since then have been preparing for these interviews whilst of course finding the time to visit the chocolate shop, buy Buffy from eBay and start selling my old DVDs eBay myself. You see I am becoming very enterprising in my unemployment. First winning poker, now an eBay seller. The status.

Right I’m off to see if I can get some of these photos on the page. If they do not appear below, well then, I’ve not managed and as such won’t be adding photo-shop extraordinaire to my CV.

Oh, I seem to have manged it, but they have become before the blog and are sequentially backwards. And I could only seem to download 5. Ah well, you can't have everything. Oh and sorry Sarah, but I couldn't resist putting your alternative hen band positon pic up.


I have twice written my blog today and it has twice inexplicably deleted itself. I feel dismayed and blogged out. I will prevail eventually and you shall have your pound of flesh soon, I just need a cup of tea first.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Since my last entry, I have descended rapidly into a downward spiral of acute alcohol intoxication. However, may I just say (as most alcoholics do) that it is not entirely all my fault, but that of society and some enablers posing as friends.

I left you last with a tantalizing tit-bit about a curry stained woman so now I’ll regale you with the true details of that fateful night.

My dear friend Andi came to visit last week as he was holiday from the joyess (optional l) Belford Hospital in Fort William. On the Tuesday night we decided to go to a pub quiz to flex our general knowledge know how. Many of you know I am keen pub quizzer and on several occasions have actually done quite well. However, our feeble attempt in the Regent pub in Edinburgh was so shaming that I feel I may finally have to accept the fact that on the occasions I did perform well in quizzes, my eldest brother was there and it was in fact his general knowledge genius that got us through. Andi and I scored a dismal 23% questions right , but I must also inform you this was a gay pub quiz and the vast majority of the questions were homosexually inclined. No, not a round on cock rings, but several questions of ‘name that tune’ for Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. Now, despite being a gay man, Andi was useless at this round apart from the one song from Evita that he knew form the opening two notes. For the rest of the questions we put 'Cats’. We knew one of the answers must have been ‘Cats’ and we were right, one was. However, after that round we did descend in to mild silliness and whenever we didn’t know the answer the then put ‘Cats’.

Question: What won the Nobel Prize in 1901?
Our Answer: Cats
Real Answer: The Red Cross

Question: Who hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998?
Our Answer: Cats
Real Answer: Japan

And so on. The team next to us who marked our answers were literally falling about laughing at our utter stupidity. Oh well.
After the quiz was over, we decided to drown our sorrows with one more cider and moved to a delightful little table with wing back chairs. We were just finishing off when a woman in late fifties, pulled a chair up next to us. This in itself would have been slightly unusual, but the lady was also hideously inebriated and covered in what I can only guess was curry. I mean covered. This peculiar textured yellowish material was covering her entire white t-shirt and black trousers, it was very off-putting. She was so intoxicated that after sitting down next to us, she didn’t speak, instead she gently picked up my hand, kissed it, and then did the same to Andi. It was all rather disturbing. We looked around to see who this lady could have possibly been frequenting the bar with, but we couldn’t see anyone desperately trying to locate a drunken curry stained woman. She then began to ‘sing’ along with the background music and we were at a loss about what to do. Andi in a brave and masculine move, went to the toilet and left me alone with her, just because he found it amusing. I did not. I tried a basic conversation with the lady ‘are you here yourself’ and ‘yes, it’s a nice song isn’t it’, but to no end. When Andi returned from his fake errand to the loo, I stood up and we left, leaving the curry stained pensioner to her beautiful rendition of Sex is on Fire by the Kings of Leon.

To conclude my alcohol miss-judgements, I went out for dinner last night with Gordon and Laura who were visiting for the night. In usual Gordon style, we had copious amounts of wine with a rather splendid meal. On my return, I got a phone call from a friend and decided it would be a marvellous idea to cook dinner for him on Thursday. I can’t cook. I’m most concerned it could be end of a promising friendship.

I should swear off booze I think for a while, but alas it’s Lori’s hen party on Saturday and I feel it’s my duty to indulge. So you see its society and my friends and families fault.
It’s absolutely nothing to do with me.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Easy Money

After last week’s lamentation of the fruitless job search things have taken a decidedly upward turn. Not because I have a job- oh no! But because I am now officially on job seekers allowance! Yes, I had to brave the Leith Jobcentre to be assessed and assisted. It was a curious experience that had me quite nervous. I dressed up in smart clothing and tentatively made my way there. Initial impressions were good, a barrage of ‘welcomers’ met me at the door and directed me where to sit and what to do. I was quickly seen by a very enthusiastic chap who went over the job seekers allowance form and processed my request. He was very chatty and proceeded to give me his entire life story about how he had 2 degrees and was living in Canada on some big oil job when his father and brother died and being the eldest son, he returned to tend to the family ad had never returned. It was sorrowful tale full of regret and lost potential.

Anyway, after that I was taken upstairs for my motivational job seeking advice and guidance thingy. The chap there was not nearly so warm and helpful. In fact had the distinct impression was he had clinical depression. But then who can blame him as undoubtedly most of the people he had to advise are not, let’s say, motivated like me. For an example, as I walked up the stairs, following the directions of ‘go through that door, go upstairs’; directions I felt were pretty self explanatory. However a fellow jobseeker did not obviously feel this way. As he barged past ne he screamed in my face 'IS THIS LEFT’ and once entering the room full of chairs he again bellowed ‘ WHERE DO I SIT DOWN?’ I felt the rows of chairs were a clue.

Anyway, back to the job advisor chap. Well, his attempts of advice where immediately limited by the fact his response to my request to seek a career as an Allied Health Professional was a blank empty stare. I repeated myself and after a second blank stare I explained it as ‘not a doctor or a nurse but health related’. Then when I said I would also look at other jobs as well he got ever more confused and said ’but you are a doctor?’ despite me already explaining about the whole quitting thing. Eventually he stopped talking to me and started fiddling with his computer and brought up a list of recent jobs listed on the jobcentre website. I explained to him that I had already looked at all the relevant jobs and applied for them, but he didn’t seem to understand that and insisted on printing off a couple of jobs that I had already applied for. Then he said ‘you’re better at doing this on your own, aren’t you?’. I nodded.

After that sojourn into the joyful and pleasant land of the poor (despite having no money myself I am not one of the poor as I have fond memories of having money that enriches me) the weekend came to pass and with brought much fun and excitement. Andi came across from Fort William and I duly showed him the sites of Edinburgh- the pork roll stand at the Saturday market and the vintage clothing store- before descending into an alcohol fuelled afternoon having cocktails with my old flatmate and his friend who also happened to be visiting the fair city. Things proceeded on that same vein that evening when more revellers joined our little party and we ended up dancing in a rather sweaty club with poor music.
If you would like to see how I was dancing on the dance floor that night and want a laugh, look up Shakira’s She-Wolf video on Youtube and imagine me in very tight jeans, a bad back and slightly alcohol fuelled, attempting to imitate the bendy Columbian’s moves. Not a pretty sight.

The beginning of the week began quite productive again with a brief journey back north to attend an education forum thingy my aunt Moira organised. During that time I also saw my mother and her house which now excitingly has a toilet! On my return to Edinburgh, my descent into being a slovenly unemployed alcoholic continued as I attended a pub quiz and was chatted up by a 60 year old drunk woman covered in curry stains. However, I think I’ll leave that tale for another time and keep you in suspense, because who can resist tuning in next time to hear how that story panned out.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Bored to the Bone

59 weeks, 414 days, 9936 hours, 596160 seconds (give a take a few). That’s how long I have been unemployed for. And for 59 weeks, 413 days, 9912 hours and 594720 seconds I have been content, delighted in fact, by this. Last week in my new Edinburgh excitemen,t I enthusiastically searched and applied for several jobs. At the weekend, my eldest brother came to stay and we painted the town red by searching for house coats in all the charity shops (for more information on housecoats see his blog at and see the posting entitled ‘Updates’). We met a variety of cousins and their partners (well 2 cousins and 2 partners) for a drink and generally frivolity. I educated my youngest cousin on the delights of Tanqueray gin, my own personal favourite. I also met up with an old school friend, Laura the Artist and felt very liberal and sophisticated.

Yes, perfectly happy until yesterday when I spent yet another Monday (okay a 2nd Monday) glued to my laptop scrolling through countless jobs and applying for things I don’t particular want to do. But worse than that, after completing my fill of that for the day, I then realised I have nothing to do. I’m trying to save money so I can’t purchase books or DVDs, go to the cinema. All my friends here have jobs so I can’t play with them until the weekend. My room for the first time in my life is actually already tidy, the dishes were already done and there was nothing good on TV. So I went food shopping. Not that exciting and came home. Unpacked, rearranged a shelf. Sarah the flatmate is on nights and thus untalkable to as she is either out or sleeping.

Yes for the first time since my unemployment began, I am bored. Bored, bored, bored! Mind numbingly, finger strummingly, eye-ball grindingly bored. I mean how can there be joy in watching 3 episodes back to back of a TV series recently purchased if you could do that all day and in fact watch 4 or 5 or 6! How can there be joy in reading a book in the evening when in theory you can read all day? How can there be joy in going for a walk in the afternoon if you can walk all you bloody like to because you can’t afford a car.

Yes, dear readers, boredom and for the first ever, a true desire to get a job.

Unfortunately, job seeking is also very boring. At first I was intrigued. How do these websites work? How do I fill in an application form? Yes, the first time is interesting, but subsequent times is quite, quite dull, I assure you. Constantly re-editing and sending off your CV and having to continually remember and articulate how wonderful you are is quite tedious. So to allieve the unremitting repetition, I went to the Careers Scotland website and filled out this achingly long questionnaire to try and match me up to the prefect profession. It consists of a series of monotonous questions about whether or not you like kittens, children and fluffy bunnies. Whether or not you like filing or photocopying and laminating (I mean who doesn’t enjoy laminating, that should be a given). Questions, questions, questions. And you’ll never guess what my prefect job was?

Yep, you got it. A doctor.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Moving in, on and up.

Yes, I have finally made it. After 18 years in Dingwall, 7 in Aberdeen and 1 generally galavanting, I have finally moved to Edinburgh. And then instantly went to Glasgow. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

My last few days at home (or more accurately living with my aunt like a refugee) were spent much like the last few weeks. Getting up, going to mum's new house, standing on and occasionally hammering nails into bits of wood. What did bring a little excitement into proceedings was the socialisation of Edgar.

Edgar is my mother's cat. He a surprisingly short legged 10-year-old black and white rescue cat with the slightly unusual feature of being unable to jump. He has lived with my mother for about 2 years and during this time he has been indulged. Prior to Edgar's arrival, in my family home there were a myriad of cats and children of various ages and behaviour. However, as time goes by, children left, cats die until Nellie the final family cat died of old age. On this day, my mother swore she would wait until she got another cat and in fact prehaps not even get one. After three days she became so unbearable, my brother Ian drove her to the cat rescue centre where she acquired 'Minstrel'. Yes, that was Edgar's name before she renamed him and I can't quite decide if the previous family were stupid or racist, but prehaps both as they gave up the family pet after 8 years for no apparent reason (unless of course they were trying to train him to jump and finally became exasperated).

A curious thing then happened. My mother is quite relaxed woman who has occasional episodes of hysteria, but in the whole is relatively sensible. When I travelled around the world, a lone defenceless female- no problem. When my eldest brother (oil engineer) goes to far flung places with kidnap warnings- no worries. However, Edgar seems have stirred up some primal emotions in her and from the instant she got him she has been wildly over protective and paranoid. When I met the cat for the first time, I had come for my grandfather's funeral. We said hello and I felt a general sense of animosity from him. I went out one evening only to return to find my small floral suitcase missing from my room and a strange odour replacing it. It was then my mother appeared, quite distressed, to tell me the cat had had profuse diarrhoea in my suitcase and that 'it wasn't his fault', 'he didn't mean it' and 'oh he's not well'. I was displeased, but understanding. The cat by was all accounts, not well. Then I saw the cat. He was fine. He gave me a look of great satisfaction and I realised the intent of his action. Profuse diarrhoea in my suitcase. On my funeral clothes. On my season 7 Buffy boxset. And all done the malice afore-thought.

So as you can guess, our relationship since then has been strained so you can forgive me for not being particularly concerned about what effect the move would have on Edgar. Mum, however has been quite beside herself with worry about his welfare. This only increased when the house was not ready to move into and she then had to move in with her sister. Moira already has 3 cats. Asti- a 15 year old stunning looking long haired tabby and alpha male. Mika- a colossal black cat with an eating disorder and finally Jango a ginger neurotic wimp of a cat who rarely ventures inside. As you can tell, peculiar cats seem to be collected by my family.

So when mum moved in with my aunt, they were both concerned about socialising him. Would the other cats accept him? Would he get bullied? Initally it seemed to go well. Edgar gave a bit of hiss and a shaky tail to Mika and Asti, while Jango ran away at the sight of him. We thought fine, they won't be best friends, but they won't tear each other limb from limb. Especially there was a general consensus of joy at Asti's reaction to him. As the alpha male, there was concern he would be very reluctant to accept another male cat, but he completely ignored Edgar's presence. Or that was at first. As the days went by, Asti seemed to realise that this peculiar non-jumping cat wasn't going anywhere and decided enough was enough. When I left on Saturday, the battle has progressed to Asti sitting outside by the cat flap not allowing Edgar to pass resulting in another suitcase type episode. However, things have escalated since my departure and I have since learnt there was an all mightly cat rammie on Saturday night that resulted in my aunt having to place hersel in great personal danger to seperate the fighting males and end the battle. Oh, the torment and distress of war, will the suffering never cease? I'll keep you updated on how things progress and of Edgar (nee Minstral) ever makes it to mum's new house.

Anyway back to human affairs and moving. I caught the train on Saturday was met at station by Sarah, my new landlord and flatmate. I had every intention of unpacking that afternoon, but of course the best laid plans are always broken and instead we had cups of tea and chatted before another friend (but not flatmate, there can be only one) Jenny arrived and we chatted some more and had more tea. I then realised that Glasgow is actually quite far away from Edinburgh so I best start getting ready to go there as I was attending an evening to farewell a dear friend, Dominic, before he set off for Malawi to do the unthinkable- charity work. Yes, work without pay, quite unfathomable. I caught the train for the second time that day and was somewhat alarmed when it appeared to go the wrong direction , but then learned due to engineering works, we were having to go a peculiar route to reach the destination. On my arrival I was met by Elaine (another uni friend, they all seem to have migrated to the central belt, how I have conformed!) and we promptly got lost looking for Dominic's house, taking an impressive near hour to go on an apparently 15 minute journey. We did eventually arrive and were met by Dominic's mother who had laid on the most magnificant feast of food and drink that I must confess I did indulge in to quite an alarming degree. I spent the night along with some other uni friends and we were quite delighted by the weather on Sunday morning. We sat outside in the garden gently sunning ourselves and trying to drink copious amounts of tea to lessen out hangovers, thinking how lovely Scotland is. Then I bade farewell to Dominic wishing him luck and telling him to beware all Americans on public transportation (see my other blog- Morag's Year in the Sun and go to April/May to read about my adventures with a yank in New Zealand).

I then returned to Edinburgh to try and sort out my belongings and do the dreaded task of getting a job. But as you can probably guess from the lenght of this blog, that I am procrastinating somewhat. I haven't had a job in 14 months and before that it was all bascially done for me by the NHS. Striking out on my own seems terribly complicated and hard. I actually have to show initiative. It's all very distressing. Fortunately, to abate my increasing concerns, I can now after so many months of being a dirty traveller (and refugee latterly), I can lean back on my bed and look around me, seeing for a change, not a mass of bunk beds or storage boxes, but my things in the place that I put then without any conern of them getting stolen or going missing. And that is an encouraging thought.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A New Dawn

Welcome faithful bloggers and new readers alike to the beginning of a new journey. A story as old as time, but the classic tales are never grow tiresome and are worth retelling.

My tale is a simple one of girl gets good grades. Girl gets to university and becomes a doctor. Girl decides being a doctor is far too difficult and not anything like ER. Girl jacks in good job, all future financial security and respect of society and goes travelling. Girl runs out of money and has to come home. Girl now has to get a job.

This is where my tale begins.

Now some back story. For ye faithful few who followed my previous blog, you will know I returned a few weeks ago, but why I hear you ask haven't you got a job yet? Well, since my return I have been living at home with my dear mother helping her move out of the family home and into a new smaller cottage. The move sounds simple on paper- she has gone from the top of the hill to the bottom, however there have been snags. Her fancy man, who I affectionally call Roger Home for reasons not that interesting in the telling, but I assure you were hilarous at the time, is renovating the new house, but it has been dogged with delays- literally. He has 5 dogs and that combined with the appalling weather and unexpected problems have set the project back somewhat. So much in fact that when the keys were finally handed over a few days ago and the era of 25 years in the family dwelling place came to an end, mum (and myself by default) had to move in with her sister. However, delays aside the house is coming along and should be inhabitable in the next 10-15 years (if she's lucky).

So due to all this drama and seemingly unending amount of work, I kept delaying my move until I finally realised, I had to leave, house be damned! And so I am. In 4 days, I move to Edinburgh to the flat of a uni friend, Sarah, who foolishly whilst having a dinner party shortly before I left on my trip (and one suspects mildly intoxicated from a few glasses of genache) offered me a room to rent. It's all terribly exciting, the flat is very close to Princes (apostrophy or not?) Street and thus being the impoverished person that I am, my lack of car shouldn't be too much of an issue.

With the move date imminent, it occured to me that I should prehaps start thinking about getting a job. This may sound ridiculous, but I haven't a clue. I left school, went to uni, was told to fill a form out and was given a job for two years. Prior to that the only other employment I had was at the local cake shop and the applicaton process for that was a brief chat with the mangeress and hey presto at the tender age of 14 (yes, a child worker, a slave of society's growing pressure on the young to suceed) I had a job.

So the question is now, where to start? How to get a job? What to do? Why? (Well, the latter question is easy- MONEY). This is the quest, this is the challenge, this is the future. Join me friends, family, countrymen and random people who accidently click on the site. Join me in the telling of this epic tale, one that has yet to be written!
Join me for the most thrilling journey of all- the journey of life!!!!!!!

(too much?)