Wednesday, 23 February 2011

In Memory Of…. Alec “The Producer” Cooper

Just a quick post tonight.  Earlier on today, a good (I’m not going to say “old” because he’s 18 months younger than me) friend posted a message on Facebook inviting people to join him for a drink this evening and mark the day 11 years ago when a friend passed away.

In all honesty, my first reaction was one of disbelief at the length of time involved, although when I sat for a second and thought about where I was living and working at the time, I realised that it was 11 years right enough.  Shit.

I came to know Alec Cooper through my friendship with Alan.  Alec was a part-time DJ who used to love mixing music for his friends and revelling in their enjoyment of his sometimes really eclectic and random mixes.  He wasn’t much for going out clubbing but when we could persuade him to, he’d be the life and soul.  My memory of him is as a really funny guy.  Not a comedian per se, but just someone who could deliver a dry one-liner and have everyone in stitches. 

I will never forget the night eleven years ago when Alan phoned me to say that Cooper was dead.  He’d committed suicide and none of us had seen it coming.  He was clearly burdened and didn’t feel that he could turn to anyone, so took what he felt was the only way out.

Whatever it was that troubled Cooper, he will undoubtedly have ended up in a better place as a result of his death.  I like to think that wherever he is, there’s an amazing party in progress, and he’s smiling his enormous smile.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Tuesday 22nd February 2011

Don’t worry dear reader, you haven’t lost a day somewhere along the lines.  I didn’t write anything yesterday for a variety of reasons, primary of which was that I couldn’t motivate myself to do it.  I’ve decided to rethink my approach to this blog a little bit: if I can’t be motivated to write then I won’t.  That may seem lazy, but I’m concerned that if I force myself to post something, I’ll end up posting something dull.

Besides, other than the fact that it was Monday (always a drag in my head) there wasn’t a lot going on.  Cat was working until later because she teaches on a Monday night so I was only in the house about 40 minutes when she phoned to tell me which train she’d be on.

Off on a quick tangent here: when I woke up on Sunday I had a ringing in my ears.  This isn’t terribly unusual: we’ve all had raucous Saturday nights out in a club and woken up on a Sunday to discover that our eardrums haven’t forgiven us yet.  The thing is though, although I was out on Saturday night, I wouldn’t have described the pub as particularly noisy.  Anyway, Cat was in the kitchen last night whistling, and the noise hurt my ears so I decided to make an appointment to see my local GP.  I’m not generally one for running to the doctor’s: in fact, I used to joke about seeing the doctor once a year whether I needed to or not.  Maybe that’s a guy thing, I don’t know.  Anyway, I rang my GP this morning and got an appointment for tonight (got lucky there – registered with a practice that runs early and late appointments once a week for those of us that work.  Didn’t know THAT when I joined them).  According to my GP, I have slightly swollen eardrums (possibly due to a mild infection) and the potential for fluid build-up in the auditory canals.  I’m not on antibiotics for it, so hopefully the ringing will stop and my hearing will improve. 

Something interesting (and I think funny) just occurred to me.  When you’re a smoker, everyone who either has never smoked or who has quit will queue up to point out the damage that you’re doing to yourself.  And they are of course right (he says, staking his claim for the moral high-ground).  I’ve now been a reformed smoker for more than five years and wouldn’t go back to it for all the money in the world.  Actually, given what they charge now for a 20-deck, you’d need all the money in the world to support that habit.  Here’s the kicker though: when I was a smoker I was horribly prone to catching colds.  Usually by the time I got to the end of March, I would have had 3 or 4 colds since the previous Christmas.  I’d wake up, spend 3 or 4 days walking around like a human snot-ball and then it would clear up.  These days, I get one cold a year but the downside is that I spent about 3 months “building up” to getting a cold, then I get a bit blocked up and think I’ve got away with it, and then it hits me like an express train when I’m not looking.  Last year, I felt a bit crap about a week before my birthday, recovered in time for my birthday and then spent about 3 days on the couch (during my time off work of course) unable to function properly.

I’ve heard it said that most men are lousy patients.  I try not to agree with such (normally feminist) sentiment but on this occasion it’s right.  Because I don’t get ill very often, it tends to hit me hard when I do and yes, I’m a whinger. 

By the way, I’ve always liked the phrase “reformed smoker”.  Back when I started driving taxis in late-1998, I generally only drove for one person and she was militantly anti-smoking.  She would never miss an opportunity to give someone grief about smoking and of course, she would NEVER allow someone to smoke in her car.  Anyway, I did a couple of shifts for someone else and one night I was sitting on the rank when a girl I knew approached the car from the back and climbed in.  She asked me if she could smoke and when I hesitated, unsure about how to answer this, she told me that Roger (the owner of the car) would normally let her.  So I decided to let her smoke but made a mental note to check this with the man himself when I took the car back.  Besides, it meant that I could have one with her.

When I took the car home to Roger, I asked him what his position was on passengers smoking in his car.  His response was that he’d been a reformed smoker for 20 years and that smokers are basically like alcoholics: a man that drinks a bottle of scotch a day would be considered an alcoholic.  If that man then got clean and never touched a drop for the rest of his life he would still be considered to be an alcoholic, albeit a reformed one.  According to Roger, although he’d been off the fags for 20 years he was still a smoker, it had just been a long time since his last one!

Good night.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sunday 20th February 2011

Ok, so in my blog entitled “Friday 18th February 2011” I said I was in a bit of a downer but couldn’t put my finger on why?  Cat and I had a full scale blow-up this afternoon, mainly because I was being an arse.  I’m not going to get into the details of it but the upshot of it was that I ended up in floods of tears for what I thought was no good reason.

As we were sitting in the living room in the aftermath of my explosion, Cat and I talked through the possibilities for why I was so pissed off.  We ruled out the house, the cats and Cat herself, but then she put forward a suggestion.  Was I missing dad?  Did I want to be able to talk to him, and have him see our new flat and so forth?  It might sound strange, given that this year marks the fifth anniversary of his death but she was so spot-on it hurts.

About 10 days ago I was going through an old expanding file that I had, and throwing out some of my really out-of-date paperwork.  I’m a horrendous hoarder and there was stuff in there from at least 10 years ago, stuff that had no sentimental or other value so I was merrily binning it.  Then I found two letters, both written to me by each of my parents. 

This is a bit hard for me, so bear with it.  I’m not sure if I’ve told this stuff before so if I have then please forgive me.  When I was married, there was a lot of bad blood between my then-wife and my parents.  Most of it was a clash of personalities but there were a lot of nasty things said on both sides.  I was torn between retaining a healthy relationship with my parents, and defending my wife.  I also tried my best to make sure that both of my parents saw my baby son, despite my wife’s efforts to make sure that didn’t happen.  Long story short, I was spineless.  I should have been a lot more forceful in defending the relationship that I had with my parents, and in making sure that they had as much access to my son (their first grandchild after all) as his other grandparents had.  Anyway, I don’t remember the exact details that prompted my parents to write these letters (one from each of them incidentally) but as I read them the other day I wished, perhaps for the thousandth time, that I had some sort of time machine so that I could go back to when that stuff all started and either stop it from happening or at least be more of a man about the whole thing.  As I read dad’s letter to me, I could hear his voice narrating it and I could picture him sitting in the dining room with his word processor as he typed it. 

This afternoon, Cat suggested that I talk to dad.  I think the suggestion from her was that I could do that out loud and probably fill in the blanks in the conversation.  Probably good therapy, but the trouble is that I wouldn’t hear his voice.  The only time I’ve heard his voice in my head was last week when I read back that letter.  By rights, the letters should all be destroyed because they point to an episode in my life that I’m not in the slightest bit proud of.  The thing is though, I’ll keep them so that I can hear dad’s voice.

In case you’re wondering, when my now ex-wife and I split up, I went back to my parents’ house with my tail between my legs and was welcomed with open arms.  I was never judged or criticised, although there were times when dad and I would have heated discussions about what had happened.  I said “sorry” on more than one occasion, but always wish I could do more to express my regrets. 

I’m not really a religious person, but if there is some sort of afterlife to look forward to, I hope dad can see the life that I’ve made for myself with Cat, and the home that we’ve bought and be glad that I’ve finally got something right.  If the afterlife involves reincarnation, perhaps this time he’ll have a better son.

Sorry dad.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saturday 19th February 2011

I love Saturday.  I think it must be absolutely my favourite day of the week for a number of reasons.  Unless I’ve had some sort of mental episode and arranged to be doing something very early, there’s never an alarm going off while it’s still dark outside.  I don’t need to rush around the house and get ready, even if the kids are coming for the weekend.

My Saturday started properly at about midday.  For those of you that think that’s lazy, you’re right but I would refer you back to my opening paragraph.  Cat was going out shopping with her mum this morning and had arranged to meet her at half nine.  When she told me that, I think my response was something like “well, go out quietly then”.  So I got up, faffed around for a little while and then made some coffee.

People that know me think I drink too much coffee.  For the record, I disagree.  When I’m at work, I will generally drink my way through 2 cafetiere loads each day which equates to about six mugs.  I also have a cafetiere in the house but I got sick of drinking cold coffee so I invested in a coffee machine just before Christmas.  I say “invested”: Cat and I used to do all our shopping in Sainsbury’s and had managed to amass about 18,000 nectar points, so I used some of those.  Now I’ve got a coffee machine that will keep the coffee hot for 2 hours, which is plenty of time for me to drink the contents of the jug!  Even if the machine does go off, the jug holds the heat for quite a while so it’s all good.  The point is though, I don’t have trouble sleeping (sometimes have trouble waking up though) and I don’t get the shakes, so am I really drinking too much?  Ironically, I can’t abide espresso – it’s way too strong for me, in fact to me it seems like consuming those 3 mugs of coffee in a single small cup.  One thing I will say is this: if I go a full day without a single cup of coffee, I risk a full-on migraine.  Last Friday I was off work, so I got up early and went to the gym after dropping Cat at work.  By the time I got home it was gone two, so I sat down to watch TV.  Next thing I knew it was 7 o’clock.  I’d caffeine crashed, and lost the afternoon on the couch.  So maybe I am an addict.  There’re worse things to be addicted to in my opinion.

So, I drank my first cup of coffee and was about half way through the second when Cat came in with her mum, and a box from IKEA.  I knew she was going to buy a chest of drawers, but the bedside cabinet I didn’t know about.  Anyway, Tina stayed for about an hour and then we took her to the station.

Once we got back up to the house, I lifted the chest of drawers out of the car and set about building it.  If you’ve never built IKEA furniture before, it can be a nuisance to do.  If you’re over 25, you might remember what a nuisance MFI furniture way.  If you’re not, ask your parents.  To me, IKEA is just MFI for the 21st century, the only difference being that instead of giving you instructions in very poorly-written English, they give you diagrams that don’t really help.

Halfway through building the chest of drawers, I broke one of the struts.  Not badly, but enough to render it useless so I had to jump in the car and get a replacement.  Little did I know that the replacement she gave me wasn’t exactly the same.  Bugger going back there though.

In the event, we now have a chest of drawers and a bedside cabinet.  Next  month, we’ll buy another one of each so we’ve got one each.

This evening I’ve found a pub.  Being fair, it’s not difficult.  Not sure if I’ll make it my regular but if I want to go out for a pint in Airdrie, I now have a location.  The staff and regulars seem nice, as did the girl hosting the karaoke.  I mean really, how long did you think it would be before I found a karaoke place in Airdrie eh?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday18th February 2011


I had a better day today.  Maybe part of that was because it’s Friday: even though I’m on-call this weekend and can’t therefore get up to any sort of mischief (not that I could afford to anyway), there’s a lot to be said for the knowledge that no alarm is going off at 5:45 tomorrow morning.  Unless I get called that is!

I managed to sort out one of the things that pissed me off yesterday.  I’m still not going to bore you with the details of why I was having such a bad day – all of the things that annoyed me were trivial, not to say petty.  Some of them were also my fault which actually makes them worse – I could have avoided spilling coffee down my new silk tie on the train yesterday morning by being more careful, or just not taking the damned coffee on the train in the first place. 

Some of the things that pissed me off yesterday were people, some of them based in the building I work in, some of them not.  Oddly, the guy in my building that pissed me off is easier to avoid than the girl that works 400+ miles away.  The girl that annoyed me yesterday did it again today but this time I had a word with someone who had a word with someone else and just after lunch I received an email apology from her.  So it’s over, at least for now.

I still can’t put my finger on why I’m in such a downer right now: we’ve got a new flat that we’re really pleased with, two new cats that are just adorable (see yesterday’s post for pictures) and I’m engaged to an amazing girl who’s completely managed to u-turn my idea of marriage.  We don’t have any reason to go anywhere or be with anyone this weekend so there’s no pressure and I’ve also got a boss who’s adamant that despite my horrendous workload, I shouldn’t be working any longer than absolutely necessary in order to get a job done.

To say I can be a moody bastard would be an understatement, although I’ve been known to deny it when other folk have said it.  It’s true though: I inherited a lot of genetic similarities from my late father and as I get older, I can spot more and more of them.  The biggest ones that I seem to have picked up are moodiness and a ridiculously short temper.  Not violent, just noisy.  I always knew dad and I were temperamentally very similar, but it frightens me sometimes just how much. 

I’m skating around the D word, because as soon as you start talking about being depressed, people start substituting depressed for depression which in turn means you should be taking some sort of medication.  I am depressed, but I do not have and never have I had depression, even in the darkest periods of my life.  So there! Smile

I can’t even claim to be badly off, although I CAN claim to being rather strapped for cash this month.  Yet again I’ve managed to get through the horribly long month of January without being too bad for money, and yet the shortest year of the month saw me skint by the 10th.  How does that work exactly?

Companies on my List

The Permanent List

I’ve decided to start a new feature.  Every time I write this column I’m going to “out” any companies that have annoyed me enough to make it onto my List.  There isn’t an actual List you understand, but believe me you don’t want to end up on it.  Just to get the ball rolling, be aware that certain companies retain honorary lifetime membership of the List.  They are:

  • BT – anyone who’s ever found themselves trying to get money back from these people when they’ve been overcharged will understand how frustrating it is;
  • TalkTalk: I got a phone call from one of their call-centres one Saturday afternoon about a year ago.  On my landline which is unusual because I never give that number out.  When I explained that I wasn’t interested, the guy told me that I should listen because (and I quote) “I know where you live buddy!”.  I’ve never dealt with TalkTalk but I did make the mistake of giving my landline number to their parent company (The Carphone Warehouse) when purchasing a mobile phone contract.  Last time I’ll do that!

The Temporary List

I went out in Glasgow two weeks ago for a night of fairly heavy drinking with friends, believing that I could get a bus back home to Airdrie at closing time (midnight).  I believed this because the website of the largest bus operator in the city told me this.  What it didn’t tell me was that I’d have to wait for two hours for a bus to turn up, only for the bastard driving it not to stop to pick anyone up.  Even when I ran down the street after him (always a clever trick in Caterpillar boots) he wouldn’t stop.  So, First Bus, welcome to my List.  You’ll need to do something really special to avoid being promoted to the Permanent List.  Bankruptcy should about do it!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

New Beginnings

I’m sitting here at my desk (at home, not at work) at 10.30 on a Thursday night in February.  I’ve had a properly crappy day today.  If you’ve ever had the kind of day where by 8AM you’re wondering why the hell you got out of bed, that’s been my day today.  I’ll not bore you with the details.  Just take my word for it that today has been shit.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, time to explain tonight’s title.

I decided to start this blog about 8 months ago for a number of reasons.  When I was a teenager I harboured ambitions about becoming a journalist.  There used to be a drama series on television called Lytton’s Diary starring Peter Bowles.  I don’t remember a whole lot about the series other than that Peter Bowles was a Fleet Street-based journalist who seemed to hold himself accountable to a greater moral standard than other journalists of his day.  I’m not saying that this drama series was the reason for wanting to become a journalist but at the age of 14, it seemed like a good idea.  My father was trying to steer me towards a job with the Customs Service which didn’t really appeal to me and I knew from my teachers that I was pretty handy with the English language.  So, I made my subject selections based on advice that I was given and dug in.  By the time I was 16, I had qualifications in English, French, History, Office Studies, Maths and General Science.  I failed Technical Drawing, mainly because I found it terminally dull and boring.  However, by the time I was 16, I had also lost all interest in becoming a journalist having found that I liked computers far more instead.

Before anyone asks me, no it didn’t occur to me to combine computers and journalism.  Hey, I’ve never claimed to be clever!

Anyway, to get back to my reasons for starting this blog, I’ve always felt that I had more to say.  I’m very strongly opinionated (not always an endearing quality) and I have something of a tendency to rant about stuff that pisses me off.  Looking at other people’s blogs made me realise that perhaps everything that I want to say can be said here: people don’t have to listen to me banging on about stuff – they can dip in, read what they want and then leave.  The trouble that I have at the moment is that, in the words of the masterful Pink Floyd, I thought I’d something more to say….

The reason for tonight’s title is very simple: I’m at a time in my life when I’m experiencing a lot of new beginnings.  I want to share some of those with you, but I also want to add a new one to the list.  I DO have more to say, I just need to get my finger out and get it said, right?

Anyway, here are some of the new things that are happening with me right now.  Some you’ll know about, some you won’t.  Before I go into that though, let me give you a little bit of my more recent history.

In July of last year all four tyres on my car were slashed at some point between me parking outside my flat at about 7.30 at night and going back out to the car at 5.30 the following morning.  As per usual, nobody saw anything and I was left with no option but to spend nearly £200 putting four brand new tyres on my not-yet 3-year old Vauxhall Corsa.  I didn’t know who had done the damage to my tyres but I’ve always been of the opinion that if you have a problem with someone, take it up with that person – don’t take the coward’s way out and damage his property.

Time passes and at the end of August we start toying with the idea of trading the car in.  She’s nearly 3 years old and there are some great deals going on brand new cars, mainly because the economy’s in the tank and the dealerships are panicking.  So we settle on a beautiful little Citroen C3 – a slightly bigger engine than we had in the Corsa but still small enough that the road tax isn’t a big expense.  Of course the insurance hurts a bit because I stupidly decided to claim for the Corsa’s tyres on my insurance.  Won’t do that again…

For a week or so we’re decadently running a two-car household.  I had decided not to use the Corsa as a down-payment on the Citroen, believing that I could get a better deal if I sold it myself.  Cat’s driving licence was out of date so I couldn’t insure her to drive the Citroen on the 7 days’ complimentary cover anyway so I drove the Citroen and she drove the Corsa.

On the 19th of September, we heard a hissing noise coming from outside.  Given that we’re 3 storeys up and even allowing for the fact that the living room window was cracked open, it was quite impressive that we heard anything.  Imagine my horror when I look out of the window and a guy with a hoodie on is walking away from my car.  Yes, we’d been done again only this time, I know who he is and where he lives because my living room looks into his, and my girlfriend had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing him assaulting his girlfriend one Saturday night.  Suddenly, things start to make sense.

I’ve never been physically violent but If I could have got my hands on him that night, I’d probably have killed him.  I’ve never in my life thrown a punch at anything more solid than a training bag – not for any particular reason other than that I tend to try and avoid trouble and also because in my mind’s eye I look vaguely ridiculous when I punch things.  Regardless, if I’d got my hands on him, he’d have gone down.  While I was running down 3 flights of stairs to confront the guy that did my tyres, Cat was on the phone to the police to report the incident as she had done the first time.  When the two officers arrived, they already knew about the first tyre-slashing incident and expressed a high degree of sympathy with us.  However, they were at pains to point out that they couldn’t go and arrest the guy on the basis of my say-so.  They were also keen to request that I not go and try to confront the guy in the street, although they did agree that they’d probably have done much the same in their position.  Anyway that’s another £200 up in smoke and this time it’s out of pocket, not on the insurance.  When the mobile unit turned up the following day to replace my tyres he commented on what a shame it was to be taking away four ruined 3-week old tyres.

By now we’re fed up.  Clearly it’s a bad move leaving the car outside my own (albeit rented) home so we start looking for places within range of the flat that we could safely park the car overnight.  Luckily the area we lived in had quite a lot of security cameras around so we became pretty adept at parking the car where it would be seen on-camera.  The thing was though, it was now the end of summer and after about a week of sneaking around like that, I was starting to get pretty fed up with it, particularly because the girl across the road had provided her boyfriend with an alibi for the night when I watched him walk away from my car.  So we decided it was time to move.

New Home

Cat and I spent quite a bit of time looking at the possibility of renting a place in  Glasgow or even buying something affordable.  The problem is that when the higher salary earner has quite high monthly outgoings (child maintenance etc) and the other salary earner is effectively classed as a student, and you’re living through a recession, you’re options tend to be a bit more limited than they might otherwise be.  To make matters worse our flat in Govan was a Housing Association property.  Such so-called “Social Housing” needs to be affordable because it has to be available to some of the more vulnerable members of society.  Whilst this was great when we were starting out in 2006 because it meant we were paying around £200 in rent, it meant that if we were going to make the jump from Housing Association to private landlord we would see quite a hefty jump in rent.  If we bought a place, it would be even worse.

First things first then: we decided to investigate the property market, which meant a visit to a mortgage advisor.  We had decided that because Cat is classed as a student, we’d be better to get the mortgage amount calculated on my salary and outgoings.  After about a fortnight’s wait, the mortgage advisor came back with the maximum amount that we could expect to borrow from the bank.  In the meantime we’d seen a 3-bedroom property in a former Housing Association block that was going for a very low amount, probably as a result of the mortgage lender having repossessed it.  If you’re not already aware of this, repossessed properties are sold by means of a ballot – all interested parties submit sealed bids, and the property goes to the highest bidder.  The problem there is that you have to do all the legal stuff (and therefore pay the solicitor) without having any guarantee of a set of keys at the end of it.

When we went back for the second viewing of that property, we discovered that the block was scheduled for demolition within a few years, so it would only be a temporary home for us at best.  We ran away screaming!

Slightly dispirited, we started casting the property net a bit wider.  Cat and I both loved living in the city, not least because we could have a night out and be able to get home quite easily.  We both grew up in Helensburgh, where a night in Glasgow either means the last train home or a painful taxi fare.  However, we realised that we could move a bit further out and get more property for our money.

I have to tell you, some of the properties we saw were hilarious, and not in a good way.  We lined up a bunch of viewings in Cumbernauld, which is just outside Glasgow.  It’s a post-war New Town and one which has (deservedly in my opinion) been voted the worst place to live on a number of occasions.  We saw one place that appeared to have been vacated in a hurry and would have seen a second were it not for the fact that it was in the process of being burgled at the time.  Again, away we ran!

Against my better judgement, Cat persuaded me to look at properties in Airdrie.  Airdrie is set in the heart of Lanarkshire and used to be part of a thriving coal mining community which has long since shut down.  Nowadays its a commuter town, being only 30 minutes on the train from Glasgow.  I say “against my better judgement” because deep down, I wanted to stay in Glasgow.  Regardless, Cat set up some viewings.

One of the viewings that we attended in Airdrie was of a top-floor three-bedroom place.  It was owned by an elderly couple who had lived in the block for about 30 years but now needed to move because the husband had some form of illness that meant he couldn’t breathe properly and was therefore largely housebound.  We left, telling the estate agent that we were interested but would need to think it through.  That was a lie: we fell in love with the place.

To try and cut this very long story a bit shorter, Cat and I moved out of the flat in Govan on 26th November and into that 3-bedroom property during the worst snow seen by Airdrie in a long time.  So, we’ve now lived here for nearly three months, we’ve met some of the neighbours and we can park the car outside the house without any fear of damage being done.  Much as I hate the guy that slashed what I now believe was both sets of tyres, I think that the bastard did me a favour by galvanising us into action.

New Relationship Status

As you may be aware, I’ve been married before.  When Cat and I got together I was pretty adamant that I wasn’t doing that again – in a drunken moment at my sister’s wedding I may have made the mistake of telling someone this in front of Cat, which wasn’t really my finest hour.  Anyway, since Cat and I got together we’ve attended four weddings and eventually I’ve come around to the idea.  So much so in fact that when we were in the USA just before New Year, we decided to get engaged.  Not a formal proposal, not down on one knee, no asking her dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage, just a conversation had over a couple of beers at the end of 3 days’ of hectic travelling from Glasgow to New York via London, Chicago and Washington DC.  Last of the romantics me!

New Animals

Cat and I always wanted to get a kitten.  However the problem with the flat in Govan was that it was just too small.  And I’d seen some of the cats living in our street – no way I was having a kitten going outside and becoming a home to as many fleas as that!

Four weeks ago, Cat was in Helensburgh visiting her parents.  Because I was on-call that weekend I opted to stay at home, rather than risk being called.  On the Saturday, Cat called me to say that she’d called into the local SSPCA shelter in Dumbarton and had seen a couple of gorgeous cats.  So, I agreed to take a look at them, on the understanding that nothing was being decided there and then.  Yeah, right!  I fell in love with the two of them, and we collected them two days later.  The house now has two litter trays, scratching posts and umpteen cat toys, as well as two of the cutest cats you’ve never seen.  They’re sisters, and are about 12 months old each.  They were handed in to the SSPCA because their elderly owner was going to into a care home and couldn’t take them with her.  Because of this, they seem to be happier with Cat than they are with me, although they do let me stroke and play with them sometimes.  They even let the kids play with them, although they’ll accept Laura more than they will Tony.



Rosie (at the top) will do absolutely anything if you wave a ball of wool in front of her.  To a certain extent Minnie (below) is the same although she prefers it when I get the laser pointer out – she goes nuts for that little red dot!

The Future

In the next six months or so, Cat and I are going to be completely re-decorating the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the place is in good shape and doesn’t need decorating.  The problem is though: it’s not our taste and style.  It’s decorated after the taste of the elderly couple that we bought it from.  No doubt there’ll be updates on here as the work progresses.

That brings me onto the other thing I wanted to say, which is really more of a promise.  I’ve been pretty hopeless at keeping this blog going: I’m certainly not as devoted to it as other people I know who blog every week.  The thing is though, I want to try and get better at it, so be prepared for the over the coming weeks.