Sunday, 26 September 2010


I love Edinburgh. It has been my home now for just over a year and despite spending 7 years in Aberdeen, I already feel more at home here than I ever did there. This is not to say that I disliked Aberdeen (unlike many of my counterparts who the mere mention of the Granit City causes a violent reaction) it’s just I feel the ’burgh feels more like home with it’s little coffee shops, mountains of book shops and green open spaces. Oh yeah and all the culture. However this is not to say my new home city does not have it faults. The main one being the traffic.

Driving in Edinburgh is like riding a panicky ridden horse being chased by snakes. It is nigh impossible to circumnavigate the streets due to high volume of one way streets, buses, omni-present cyclists and kamikaze taxi drivers tooting furiously at you if you even think about hesitating before launching onto a round about. However you’d think after living here for over a year, being both a driver and a regular public bus user, I would have become accustomed to the labyrinith of the city.

But no. Because of the beast know as the Tram Works. For over 2 years the tram works have like a plague upon the city. The idea of the trams pleases me. Two tram lines running from Morningside across the city centre and another from the airport to Leith, little quiet tin boxes ferrying people to and fro with large windows so to gaze upon the beauty of the surroundings. What a great way to link the parts of the city especially when driving and parking is such a bitch. Except the works were meant to be finished January past and still what do we have to show for it? Tram lines on Princes Street. Where do they go? Nowhere because there are no more tracks anywhere else! Instead there is ever present and ever changing road works and road restrictions. The changed with such speed that once quite laterally as my old landlady wife was driving round a-round-about, the lanes on the roundabout changed and she ended up in the wrong lane despite starting in the correct one! Quite recently my new wife became lost driving back from the West side of town and phoned for directions. With trepidation I gave them but with the road alternations happening so fast and furiously I was not confident in my advice and it took the poor girl almost 2 hours to get home being stuck in a loop of right only turns.

Now they say it’ll be 2015 until the single tram line is finished as now the 2nd line to Morningside is scrapped due to financial restrictions. What the hell are they doing?! There is side street just up the road from me that I have only seen open for about a week in the year I’ve lived here. Why? Because the gas company had to dig up the road and change the pipes. They then filled in the road and re-laid the tarmac. A week later the water company had to change some pipes so dug up said brand new tarmac to lay their new piping and in the midst of re-laying it. What a waste of money in these difficult times.

The air some days due all the drilling and concrete laying is thick and opaque like the mist in some Sherlock Holmes style novel except instead of a fearsome hound coming through the fog, overweight men in fluoresce end jackets plague the streets of Edinburgh.

Grumble, grumble, and grumble.

See I really am sounding like a local now. I dislike Glasgow as the roads there are far too wide and confusing (I mean a motorway running through the city?!), not to mention the exceptionally high population of Neds. I complained bitterly about the amount of tourists during the festival causing an increase in my daily commute and the parking here is just ghastly! Added to that the new students have just descended upon the city and much like the festival tourists don’t seem to realise what pavements are for (FYI they are for walking NOT for standing in large groups on).

Ah, there’s no place like home.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Creation of Man

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not written in a while, blah, blah, blah, excuse, excuse. Still love me? Hell yes you do or otherwise why do you keep coming back? You are all my biatches, fo’ sure.

Anyway, life the last couple of weeks continued on much like the few weeks before it. Busy, busy, seeing folk, having tremendous fun and being achingly cosmopolitan at the festival. In amongst this I managed a weekend up north to see my mum’s new house with her fancy man, five large dogs and one small cat. Despite the kitchen only having 2 walls and the guest room rendered uninhabitable by a surfeit of boxes, the place was lovely. The garden is so massive it’s like a municipal park complete with babbling brook and wildlife (well, dogs and the odd worm). They even got me gardening. Come spring time next year there will a fabulous array of daffodils cursory of moi.

So with all my socialising, running up and down the country and actually going to work, I must say I found myself happy but quite exhausted. So imagine my surprise when I realised this weekend I had no plans. No even just no plans, but Cat the put-upon-wife and Andi were both away meaning I had the flat to myself (no, Andi’s not moved in, but foolishly he has been given the spare key and now I never know when he might burst through the door). I did something quite out of character for me and made no plans. I consciously avoided texting folk incase they suggested meeting up. So when it came, this weekend I found myself quite foot loose and fancy free.

I did what one can only do when finding themselves alone. I bought some naughty food, a couple of beers and a crappy movie. That was Saturday. However, today I decided to be a domestic goddess. When I was unemployed, yes those dark days, I found myself baking a lot to fill the time and despite not being a natural chef, I did enjoy baking. However once I started working and the festival exploded upon the city, I found this past time fell by the way side. So today I resurrected it. Not only that, I decided to make gingerbread men which was my speciality as a teenager (the only thing I would bake, I have no idea why).

I called mum and got the recipe and realised I had most things I the cupboard, but just needed a few bits and bobs so nipped along to the supermarket. Half way around the shop I realised I had forgotten to get the most important piece of equipment required for making gingerbread men; that is the man cutter. I thought, never fear Morag you are in a large supermarket chain they will have one. Nope they didn’t. I was in a retail park so I didn’t panic. But then Poundstretchers, Tkmaxx and some random cheap shop called BHS (not the one we all know and love, another one with the same name -is that allowed? I thought there were copyright laws about that sort of thing) all came up with nothing. Well, that’s not strictly true in Tkmaxx I could have got a train, a star or an elephant and while these were nice, I was wanting the archetypal gingerbread figure. So I drove off to yet another large chain supermarket and it too failed me (neither of these were the evil Tesco, just putting that out there. I spit in your general direct Tesco).

What to do? I wracked my brain then suddenly a light bulb went off and not an energy saving one. John Lewis. They would have what I required. I mean have you seen that advert? That chick clothes her entire family, furnishes her house and does all the baking just from that one shop against montage sad/happy music so I surely could get a pastry cutter in the shape of a male homosapien there?!

NOPE. John Lewis failed me. Hear that ex-wife: Sarah was addicted to JL, although she never bought 2 of anything just because it was red (yes Andi I am talking about you and your predilection for M&S). By this stage I was panicking as I am sure you would have been. I mean I’d bought all the ingredients; they were in car waiting to be mixed. The shopping centre was getting busier and busier and it was almost lunchtime and I was hungry. Hungry and no pastry cutter. In a last ditch attempt I went to the one last place I could think. Poundland.

Poundland is a source of great joy and great sorrow to me. Everything is a pound- joy. People there- sorrow. They are poor- I have nothing against that, I am poor now, but the people in Poundland can’t seem to walk and move like the rest of us. Instead they just hover like midges in little clusters around the store, their mouths usually hanging open and grunting to one another. On Sunday lunchtime, the place was packed it was almost unbearable. However, needs must and went in. Unfortunately the kitchen stuff is in the middle aisle at the back, no way of avoiding maximal exposure. So I stop-started my way to the section filled trepidation. I mean if John Lewis didn’t have pastry cutters then what was hope Poundland would? I got to the section and to great dismay I saw a packet of pastry cutter shapes- stars and the like, but no men. My heart filled with sorrow. It was the end. There was nowhere else I could think of to get a gingerbread man cutter. It was over.

But then I glanced down, at the end of the aisle, separate from the rest of the baking kitchenalia, next to the Tupperware- a small cardboard box. Unassuming, almost hidden amongst the brightly coloured lids. Could it be? I edged closer- not in fear; I was just stuck behind an obese granny who could only shuffle. Then at last I saw it. Not only a gingerbread man cutter, but a gingerbread woman cutter and two smaller gingerbreadchildren cutters! And all for a pound!!!! Joy, joy!!!!

On my return home, I was quite overcome by emotion and was forced to have a cup of tea and some crackers. And then I began. I began to create my men, women and children. I mixed, I kneaded and I baked. And they were complete, ready for the world. I hadn’t made this recipe years and I was cautious – what if they were horrible? What if I’d lost my touch what if they tasted bland and floury? I picked up my first little man and bit......

I had created man and he was good.

What did you do with your Sunday?