Bowery Mural

Happy Birthday Pappy

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Today is my Pappy's birthday.  I wished him happy birthday this morning and wondered if he's up there or out there somewhere looking after on me.  He would have been 95 today but he died 1996.  He was a great Pappy - my Dad's dad.  He could turn his hand to most things but in his day he was a carpenter.  He made lots of different things and that's probably where my Dad has inherited his jack of all trades skills.  He stayed in a village called Law which is not far from Wishaw and Carluke.  We used to spend about 2 weeks most summers there and then went to visit him when my Da eventually got a car.  When we were wee it was a great adventure going all the way "through to my Pappy's" but in reality it only took about an hour in his orange Austin Maxi car complete with faux leather seats.  We'd stop in Newmains at the chippy and get a packet of Tudor Gammon flavour crisps and a Texan bar each.  We thought this was great fun.

My Pappy was a great raconteur and before you knew it he'd go from one story to the next to the next with such ease that you didn't realise you'd been sitting transfixed on these stories for hours.  He loved going to the dancing too!  My Gran died when I was very young and she had both her legs amputated from her thighs down due to an illness that i don't really know exactly what it was, so he couldn't really take her dancing.  But every time he came through to our house my mum and dad would take him over to the local welfare club and he'd dance the night away with my mum and various others.  He wasn't a drinker and as far as I know he never smoked either (I'm more like him than i realised!).  He loved to go walking up the Old Road in Law with Sparky the black lab and a few of his friends.  He loved his dancing and he loved his baking.  We'd get a tupperware tub full of pancakes, soda scones and wee coconut balls every time he came through.  As well as a fiver pocket money when he left.  

When Ryan was born a few people remarked how much like my Pappy he was and I like that cos if he grows up to be half the man my Pappy was then he'll do just fine.

I remember the night we were told he'd died.  I'd been to see Seven at the cinema and came back in and my Dad told me.  We cried a little as it was unexpected but by all accounts he just fell asleep in his chair and never woke up.  Afterwards we decided to put on a video (no dvd's in 1996 - not in this house!), it was Dumb and Dumber and we sat there laughing and crying at the same time cos it's what he would have wanted.  His funeral was small but very fitting for he wasn't a showy type of person, instead quiet and kind and funny and steady.  Like a rock.  He was great my Pappy.

This is me with my Pappy at his house in Wildman Road, Law - good times!

Ange xx       


Monday, 23 November 2009

...ah dunno!

It's strange.  Peculiar even.  Funny. 

It's a cross between this....

And this...

Ange xx

It's been a while

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Doodoo dododoo, bzzzzz... text comes through.  It's from Linda who's busy sunning herself in all inclusive luxury at a resort in Egypt having arrived there yesterday safe and sound.  As I sit here and daydream what that must be like I get roused by the wind and rain battering off the window and i watch as one by one the raindrops hit the window and slowly make their way from top to bottom whilst randomly heading off in different directions, but always down....  

Today's soundtrack on iTunes is Snow Patrol.  I'm not hitting shuffle cos I've never listened to the new album yet.  They are familiar songs but in a different order.  I like that though.

I decide a new blog post is needed as it's been a while I feel.  Not that there's too much to report so I'll just fill you in with what's been happening around my life that is Project Everest.  Jees that sounds so lame now because when you think of Everest you think giant, grandness, amazing... you never really think small do you.

So alas there have been no outdoor activities apart from trying out my new wheels in a car park at the Uni last Sunday morning!!  It appears I'm in the process of buying a very cool bike courtesy of Freeflow Bikes and Flying Fox Bikes.  Why 2 bike shops you may wonder?  Well i've been thinking of getting a bike since I came back from Nepal in April.  You see I go to the gym and I like it but i'm not really a gym bunny.  I now also go yoga and to Spin Bike classes at the new leisure facility in Stirling called The Peak.  It's a brand new sports centre with state of the art gym, swimming pool, curling rink, ice rink, a few studios, a large sports hall and a few climbing walls.  It's a great place and Stirling was well overdue something like this.  Anyway back to the bike!  Work has started the Cyclescheme which entitles you to a bike and equipment up to the value of £1000 and you can get some sort of discount via tax and NI payments (or something like that!) through a salary sacrifice scheme.  Anyway when I enquired about it I was told that the University only runs the scheme in 2 months of the year - April and November.  This meant I had to wait until November before I could get the bike.  Why wait you may ask?  Well simply you end up getting a pretty good discount on a decent bike which for me equates to about 31% off a brand spanking new bike.    

After asking people I knew about certain bikes it came down to a choice of a few.  I mean I just thought bikes were bikes unless you spent a fortune.  Don't ask me about hydraulic disc brakes, forks, seats, bottom brackets...  These are things I've heard my dad talk about in the past few months since he started his new job.  But it seems there are a load of different variations of bikes out there so best to ask some experts.  I set about posting a question on a forum and got a shed load of advice and recommendations.  Initially I put a price ceiling of £500 on my spending and then folk tell you if you're going £500 you may as well go a wee bit further and get a whole more of a decent bike.  A nice girl gave me good advice, she was a novice mountain bikers who'd got into it a few years ago and had just taken delivery of some carbon featherweight bike but she'd rode a Cube Access for a few years beforehand.  Her other bike was a Kona Lisa for 'running about'.  Now these bikes don't come cheap.  No siree.  I toyed with the idea of other cheaper bikes and visited a few shops locally.  In one establishment I waited for over 20 minutes pawing the bikes and stuff and no-one came near me.  This instantly put me off from giving them my custom.  Other places were trying to palm me off with pink or pastel shaded colour schemed bikes - do I look like a pink kinda girl!?  No!  I know that sounds silly but let's face it, how a bike looks has a lot to do with my purchasing it.  In fact that goes for anything I buy really.  Doesn't everyone think like that?  Function is good but how it looks is also important.

Anyway via the magic of Twitter I 'follow' a local bike shop called Flying Fox Bikes.  In fact it's local and also very, very new - the shop just opens this Saturday.  After a few exchanges I asked if they stocked Cube.  (I think there's only one other place round this way that does).  He said he did and will have more in March but all demo bikes were sold but his wife and sister have Cube's and I could have go and try them out if I wanted.  

After a few weeks exchanging emails and info on all things bikes, I met Pete from Flying Fox bikes in the car park at the University to try out this new beast!  He'd brought the two bikes.  A Cube Access WLS SL and a Cube AMS WLS Pro.  To be honest, they both looked very smart indeed but I knew the Pro would cost a fortune and was a full-sus which honestly would just be wasted on me.  I tried them both and the Access SL was instantly rideable.  WLS in the names means Woman Like Series - built for women's geometry basically.  I'd been told by men in bike shops that I could get a small size men's bike if I wanted but it's subtle things like narrower handlebars and a seat for women' 'geometry' that i thought i'd stick with a woman's bike.  Anyway after my test drive my mind was pretty much made up.  It was to be the Cube Access WLS SL.  

Now for the business...  Since Flying Fox Bikes are a fairly new business they don't have the Cyclescheme up and running yet but he pointed me in the direction of Freeflow Bikes of Glasgow.  He recommended Freeflow as a good place to buy your bikes and gear from.  So that's what I've done.  The bike is on order (hopefully) and the Cyclescheme voucher is being processed by work but I'm not sure when my maiden journey on my new bike will take place.  You might hear of it here first!!

Anyway Flying Fox Bikes opens it's doors on Saturday 21st November.  Drop by!  Details here.

Last Thursday saw me, Susan and Chris make our way to Glasgow to see Sir Chris Bonington do a lecture about how he got started and his early climbing career.  It was a great wee night once it got started - albeit a bit later than we expected.  It was great to hear him talk about his early days and still his enthusiasm for mountains and climbing and nowadays walking and trekking.  He spoke of people he climbed with such as Doug Haston, Don Whillans, Mick Burke and Hamish McIntosh.  It was great to hear the stories and see pictures of places such as Patagonia and Nepal from back in the day.  Their gear was pretty basic but was probably the best of their day and they seemed pretty fearless.     

What else?... hhmmm... Well work has been somewhat strange recently.  I don't know what's happening to the place but people seem to be... changing (?), that or going a bit daft.  I'll put their selfishness and mentalness down to the dark nights fair drawing in...  Cos nothing else can really explain the strangeness about the place.  You know, you think you're doing a good thing but it ends up being the excess water dripping off the end of an as yet uncooked chip and into the chip pan and you just end up with spitting chip fat in your face!  We've decided, in our wee oasis of calm office, just keep our heads down and get on with it.

Mountains and hills.  Yes I see some everyday but haven't ventured up them in anger for ages.  Not likely to be this weekend either - have you seen the weather?!  And KIT.  Well I cheered myself up the other day with a purchase of the kit kind.  It'll be quite useful I'm sure and I'm just waiting on delivery of it now.  Bridgedale and Smartwool PHD socks - yes they are very cosy and keep my feet warm at yoga class.  They're also useful in that the bottom of my too long trackie bottoms can be tucked into them so they don't get wet!  Genius, but can attract some strange looks as I wonder through the aisles of the supermarket on my way home.  Mountain Equipment Chamois trousers - yes they were comfy when I went for my bike test drive.  I still can't get over that wee bits of fluff (pooly wool) have gathered at the back though and can't be removed.  I didn't think the material would do that.  They're also comfy and free moving when I'm lounging about and as is sit here and type this story.  Mountain Equipment Astral softshell jacket - again kept me warm on the test drive.  Light enough to wear around the house when my mum refuses to put the heating on early and I'm freezing.  So there you go.  Not your normal kit reviews but kit's not just useful on the hills you know!  Oh aye, and I'm hoping I might have 'won' a pair of red down booties - get that competition going Bobinson!!  (mind don't tell anybody though!)  :o) 

Decorating... that's what's happening in our house just now and it always seems to be that 2 weeks before Christmas our house is a tip because they're always decorating then!  this year is a major one.  The spare room has been transformed with a lick of paint, new carpet and new furniture.  It's great as I've bagged half a wardrobe and set of drawers in there for my kit.  Yay!  The stairs have had a lick of paint and are awaiting the fitting of a new carpet.  And The Boy is scared to go down them now after stepping on a carpet gripper nail that was sticking up - wee shame.  The living room will likely get started next week.  And the front door lobby is currently having tiles laid by my Dad who has been using an electric saw thing to cut the tiles all night and the noise is going through my head into my toothache!  ouch!  Can you hear it??...  Why oh why do they wait til now to decorate every year?!  Also, in thinking about this... does anyone else clean the house from top to bottom on 31st December each year? or is it just us???.. Don't know if it's a tradition to start the new year with a clean house and a huge pot of home made vegetable soup?!  Ah it's those wee quirks that I love.

Soon it will be Christmas and I can't wait.  For the holiday.  2 weeks off work - nearly.  Bliss!  Went shopping with mum today as I had a day off.  We went for stuff for the boy(s) but his Fireman Sam scooter was out of stock.  It's ok I can write this here cos he can't work the computer yet to read this, ha ha.  So we got another thing for him that he'll love.  And when he gets it and uses it I'll post some of the results on here.  It'll be interesting to see things from a kids viewpoint.  He loves photies...  So then mum asked what I wanted for Christmas and whilst i like this it also pains me too cos I end up not getting any surprises for my Christmas presents.  I mean I don't really like surprises as such but I'd prefer if she just went and got me something rather than me being there when she buys it.  So for Christmas this year I'm getting a ....  nope not telling.  I will put more on my list to Santa and hope he delivers, I've been a good girl afterall. 

Time for me to go.  This has been an epic update.  Sometime, perhaps in my next post, there will be some of the great outdoors in it.  Hopefully.

peace out
Ange xx 

mY LIttLe cItY

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Have I ever told you that I get bored easily?  No?  well I do.  And when that usually happens I like nothing better than picking up a few essentials: phone, camera and car keys and head out for a drive around my little city of Stirling and taking a few snaps.  That's what I did today.  Clear blue skies with a now definite nip in the air.  Here are some of the results.

Stirling view - Stirling Castle with Stuc a Chroin & Ochil Hills in the background 

Stirling Castle Great Hall (sandstone building at top) and various old buildings

Part of the Ochil Hills

Something funny was happening in the sky on Thursday evening.  It was also Guy Fawkes nught so that meant fireworks galore most of which i managed to miss in the sky.  See what you think...

The moon is just hiding above a blanket of cloud.  The Ochils and the lights of Alloa in the distance.

Then the moon came out..

And now for some other pictures of my city, Stirling, that i've taken over the years.  Hope you like!

Stirling Castle dusky silhouette

Wallace Monument

Snowy Dumyat

View to the hills up by Callander, Bridge of Allan in the foreground

And finally... me overlooking the dawning of a new year & Wallace Monument 1st January 2009

Ange xx

I am a one way motorway...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Do you ever have one of those days that there's just something not quite right?  I had one of those today.  And I can't fathom out for the life of me what it is / was.  And I don't like that.  Today started like any other twilighty early rainy November morning.  I'd decided to get up early, well earlier than my usual has been lately.  Had a shower, made my breakfast of Weetabix with hot milk and some orange juice, got dressed and headed off to work.  Had a meeting at 10am and not long after I started to feel what can only be described as... bleurgh!  Not sick, just bleurgh.  It hung around me all day really and nothing could shake it.  I don't like it when I get like this, perhaps a bit melancholic (?).  Who knows.  I wonder if any else ever gets like this cos I don't believe people who go about portraying they're happy happy happy all the time.  

I have things on my mind and I'm not sure whether to share them here or not.  I think it's best not to just now. 

I tell you what though.  Music can certainly chear you up.  Black Eyed Peas - I got a feeling blasting on the radio in the car on the way home.  And now...  Jay-Z, Stornoway and Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters rocking it out on Jools Holland!  Love that guy - Dave Grohl NOT Jools Holland  :o)  Taylor Hawkins is some drummer - my Dad's jealous. 

Sorry folks, I said I wouldn't vent on this blog again.  That was a lie.  This wasn't really a vent though was it, rather a wee moan ?!

Anyway in the words of mr dave grohl...

I am a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
then follows you back home
I am a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
burning off alone

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
to hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
do I stay or run away
and leave it all behind?

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

And now some words of a different kind from mr shawn carter (jay-z)...

If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one.

Peace out
Ange xx