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.