Monday, December 31, 2007

Royal Museum

Royal Museum
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

In the National Museum of Scotland, the attraction being a ceilidh, which wife and daughter enjoyed while son and I explored the museum ...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A recuperative day

We even managed an afternoon stroll ...
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Saturday, December 29, 2007

A long time in the making

Our daughter's main Christmas present last year was a doll's house, or, to be more accurate, a doll's house kit. So far, we've put most of the structure together, and have been fitting a light in each of the rooms. To-day, we went back to the shop (a year later) to ask their advice - how to fit lights in the uppermost rooms without disfiguring the roof; the answer - wall-mounted lights, but they didn't have anything suitable in stock. Never mind, we bought some roofing paper - it looks like slates. We'll go back in a few weeks' time to see about these lights. This house will be complete - eventually.

But I think that we're OK. Even if progress is slow, it's reasonably steady; we didn't manage to do much during the summer, when there was work to be done in the garden. I think that what is good about this project is that every forward step is genuinely progress, and there isn't a deadline, so we can do good work as we go along.

Friday, December 28, 2007


We enjoyed the film; it seemed to be making fun of Shrek, which in turn made fun of the traditional fairy story. It was a clever story, and (to me) a satisfying denouement. But our daughter lost her teddy bear on the way. Grrrrr.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I struggle to find hope, at any time, especially this time of year, which we are told is a time of hope. There was the Boxing Day tsunami, and to-day we hear of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. I do not claim to understand politics, but I am always shocked to think that people have plotted to kill someone. To hate someone so much that you are prepared to kill someone; that I find unthinkable. But what do I know of real suffering? And if I blamed an individual for my plight, what would I do?

There is a cat who visits our house. I am uncomfortable about letting him in - surely he has a home to go to. The other day, our son tried to stroke the cat, and the cat scratched him. Not long after, our son had taken his revenge - some complicated action involving giving the cat a fright by arranging for his sister to shout into one toy radio while he, presumably, held the other close to the cat. I guess that it is too soon to try to teach him about loving his enemies, especially as on the whole he is fond of the cat. Perhaps you have to learn 'an eye for an eye' before you can appreciate 'love your enemies'.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I am not complaining

But it would be nice to spend some time not anticipating the next crisis (how many times do you think that I've been interrupted already while trying to write this blog?). But, at least, to-day we did manage out of the house and to the top of Traprain Law.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thanks to Dr Who

Not so much for becoming essential Christmas viewing, but for giving me an hour's peace while everybody else watches it. I was going to be sociable and join the rest of the family, but with a couple of minutes to go, I decided that I just couldn't. I don't really know why I don't like Dr Who, but I don't, except for the 'wibbly wobbly timey wimey' episode, which wasn't really about him. So I've spent an hour flying (Microsoft Flight Simulator), and here I am, updating my blog.

On the whole, Christmas has been a success. The younger members of the family seem to be happy with their presents; Christmas dinner was enjoyed. I, to be honest, found it hard going. Still, I'm enjoying these few moments of quiet reflection, while the doctor, presumably, saves the world (again).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

Not a great photo, but perhaps captures something of the atmosphere of this day, Christmas yet to arrive ...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Get me to the church on time

This morning in church, the Sunday School read a poem and sang a song. Each verse of the poem was read by a different child; each of our children read a verse. It was touch and go whether our son would be there. He was feeling better, but a few crises had to be resolved before we could leave the house. So, I suppose, it was with special satisfaction that I listened to him read.

And, another piece of good news: the slide rule has been found!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How to spend the first day of the holiday

Our son isn't well. A virus, I guess. And I'm tired. But our daughter and I did get out this morning, and we did meet Santa Claus outside the local supermarket. So that's nice.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's over

Until 2008, that is. Last day at work in 2007. An odd mixture of feelings - now overlaid with too much wine. I've phoned the pizza place; they're busy, not surprisingly; our pizzas should arrive in about half an hour. Too early to wish everyone a Merry Christmas; I expect to blog a few times before the big day. But, in case I don't see you again before the 25th, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

The ice had made weird patterns on the car windscreen this morning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good guys or bad guys?

A year ago, I renewed my subscription for the internet security suite sold by a leading antivirus company. In the weeks before renewal, I was bombarded with emails reminding me that my current subscription was 'about to' expire. The only problem with responding to these emails, which I did the year before, was that if, say, you renewed with a month to go, your new year's subscription would start from the day you renewed. Clever, eh? Eleven months for the price of twelve!

In the event, I only persevered with the software for a few weeks. The latest upgrade was just too much for my poor old computer to cope with. Not much point in being fully protected if you can't use your computer because all of its processing power is being consumed by the security suite. I started using a different antivirus program.

Imagine my horror when I received an email from the first antivirus company to say that they had automatically renewed my subscription, charging me £49.99 for the privilege. They still had my credit card details on file, and had, without warning, taken the money. Apparently their change of policy was in response to what customers wanted. A shame that they hadn't bothered to tell this particular customer.

Bottom line - the people who are supposed to be defending us against the bad guys are themselves, not to put to fine a point on it, crooks. By the way, I wouldn't be writing this if they had responded to my emails. I suspect that they deliberately make it difficult for people either to contact them or directly to change aspects of their account.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


You are waiting at the bus stop. Your bus pulls up, behind another bus which is already at the bus stop, taking on passengers. What do you do? Recently, I walked to my bus, and waved at the driver to let me on. He shook his head at me, as if to say that I had done something naughty. I know, you are supposed to wait at the bus stop for your bus to arrive.

This evening, I saw my bus approaching. Another bus was at the stop, so I waited patiently. My bus disgorged some passengers, then pulled out. Angry, frightened, cold, tired, lonely, I raced after the bus. More in desperation than hope, I kept running to the next stop. As it happened, there was another bus just behind, which would also get me home. If anything, I became more desperate - if I'd waited at the original stop I would have caught this other bus, but now it was ahead of me. God was with me, I suppose, because what followed was entirely fortuitious. The bus which I now wanted to catch switched on its hazard warning lights. Passengers were alighting, and getting on to another bus in front. I arrived, totally out of breath; the driver said, "Don't give yourself a heart attack." I explained that the bus which I'd wanted to catch hadn't waited. Thankfully, this driver was kindly, and pointed out that I would still get to my destination.

So, what should I do in future? Walk along to my bus, and risk being told off? Or wait, and risk being left at the bus stop?

Monday, December 17, 2007


It's just so lovely to have heating again!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old age

It's the only explanation I can come up with. A few weeks ago, we brought home some stuff from my parents' old house, including a rather magnificent slide rule. It must be about 4 feet long; it lay on my desk until (I think) yesterday, when I tried to find a home for it.

This evening, I was helping our daughter with her homework, when I suddenly realised that the perfect tool for doing the sums we were trying to do was - a slide rule. Not that I would expect, in the 21st century, that she should start using a slide rule to do multiplication and division, but that it would be fun to demonstrate another way to crack this particular nut. Sadly, I haven't the faintest idea where I put the treasured object. To quote a family friend, "It moost be soomwhair!" but where, Ah dinna ken! Fortunately, it wasn't the only slide rule in the house. My own slide rule, which I haven't used for 20 or more years, lives in the middle drawer of my desk, but after fishing it out, I thought that it might be nicer for us to use another of Grandad's slide rules, in fact the one I remember him using.

I always feel that there's something magic about a slide rule - the answer seems to appear out of nowhere - it's more magic than a calculator, because there's nothing hidden. Clearly, there's a wee man hiding inside the calculator, doing the sums, but everything about a slide rule is in the open. So this evening's experience was a good one, and I've encouraged our daughter to tell her teacher how she got the answers, maybe even to take Grandad's old slide rule into school (this one is a more manageable length).

But where, oh where is the other slide rule? I've even prayed, desperately - maybe you'll think that it's a silly thing to pray about, when there's so much trouble in the world - but my little faith can just about believe that God will help me to find something - after all, "It moost be soomwhair!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas movie

The Christmas holidays are an opportunity for our family to go and see a film. I guess that it must have been two years ago that we saw The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This year I've been thinking of going to see The Golden Compass, but I've just started to read the book, and suspect that I would be irritated by differences between the book and the film (and I've heard that there are some significant ones). So I was interested to watch a review this evening on BBC News 24 of Disney's Enchanted. Then we watched the trailer on, and everybody seems to be pleased with the idea.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

As much as you can eat

To-day the team I work with had our Christmas lunch. We ate in a Chinese buffet restaurant. It was the kind of place where you can eat as much as you want. Last year I ate too much, coming away uncomfortably full. This year, I displayed admirable restraint, but somehow it wasn't as much fun. Ah well, at least I'm not bursting at the seams.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What a difference!

One of my colleagues, who works on another campus, took the trouble to-day to come to my office so that we could work together on a project. We are both attending a meeting to-morrow at which we'll have to make some sort of report. It's been so constructive to talk about things - so often I find myself having to try to make my point in a big meeting in front of senior people, and once I've opened my mouth I wonder if I really have any idea what to say. This time, hopefully, we can back each other up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just checking in

These few minutes - the rest of the family in bed - are so precious. I'm tired myself, but just want to close this day; then when to-morrow arrives, it will be a new day - a fresh start.

Monday, December 10, 2007


On my way home from work this evening, I called into Toys R Us, trying to meet my children's expectations. It was, you may say, a successful visit, though I wonder if I should rather be challenging the underlying philosophy of 'getting things for Christmas'. But then, we, as children, looked forward to unwrapping what Santa had brought (long after we'd ceased to believe in the bearded man from the North Pole).

And then there was a disappointment; a car racing game which our son was given at yesterday's party is no longer working properly - and I don't think that it can be repaired.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Special guest

They're about to sing "Jingle Bells" - I wonder who's expected ...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's Christmas time, again

I'm just trying to find the energy to go out into the (possibly) drizzle; I need to cut the bottom off the tree (apparently, they paint the bottom (can't think of a better word) of the tree with something so that it doesn't dry out, but it means that the tree can't drink); then, we can bring the tree inside, and put it up (but we have to wait until this evening before we're allowed to start decorating (it)).

We collected our Christmas tree this morning; just one stage of the operation which is Saturday morning; I was glad that Musselburgh wasn't too busy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Why are children so reluctant to go to bed?

Our children are up early - they have to be - so when it's bedtime, aren't they tired?

I don't remember ever before being so affected by the dark mornings and dark evenings. Maybe because I'm doing the 365 days project on flickr, I'm more conscious of how little daylight we get at this time of year.

Anyway - nearly there, for to-day ...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Does this still work?

My daughter has just vomited; it's just after one o'clock in the morning; I've set up an email client on my PDA; I can't afford an Eee; can you hear me?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Free advice

Toys R Us (UK): don't entrust your delivery to DHL; according to their own website, they collected an item from you on the 22nd of October, and they still haven't got around to delivering it to your customer. As your customer, I emailed you, but you told me to phone DHL, which I have done.

Next time (although I strongly suspect that there isn't going to be a next time), I suggest that you post it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The nights are fair drawing in

Didn't see much daylight to-day; seemed to lead a sort of nomadic existence, attending a seminar and a meeting without ever getting to my office.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Just to say that son is now able to ride his bike (except that now it is dark, so he's inside with his sister watching Shrek the Third). He was upset earlier at the thought that he will now have to wait five days before he gets another chance to ride his bike. I think that I understand.

Maybe I should get myself a bike ... currently, I don't own one.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Shopping is a social skill

To-day, I bought a BMX bike for my son - think of it as an early Christmas present. I wonder if my poor conversational skills (possibly Asperger related) affect my shopping. On this occasion we entered the shop, within a minute had seen the bike we wanted, and within 10 minutes were leaving the shop with the bike in our possession. I suspect that someone more adept would have taken longer, but in the course of doing so would have said and heard things that would have made buyer and seller happier with the process. I have always known, I guess, that I would be a useless haggler. But I'm happy - it's a gorgeous bicycle.

Friday, November 30, 2007

St Andrews Day

This evening we are going to the panto (yes, we are!), so I'm not going to risk failing to blog on this, the last day of NoBloPoMo. Not much has happened yet to-day, but on St Andrews Day I don't think that I can do better than to link to this excellent poster.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It nearly fell apart

Just as we were about to leave the house this morning, my son announced that his foot was sore; indeed he was rolling on the floor, apparently unable to walk. After a day at home yesterday, I really wanted to get to work this morning, but if he had somehow injured his foot I would have to stay at home. Getting an appointment to-day to see the doctor at our local surgery would be difficult, to say the least. After losing it for a few moments (mainly because every course of action I could think of would be criticised by somebody), I decided to take him to Accident and Emergency at the children's hospital in Edinburgh.

As we pulled out of the town (on the outskirts of Edinburgh) where we live, he announced that his foot was feeling better. Relieved, I turned around, and was able to get him to school on time.

On this occasion, a satisfactory resolution was achieved, but it is sad that I find myself balancing the requirements of my job against the welfare of my son.

On a more positive note - when I had a minute to myself, I prayed to God for help - that prayer was answered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Statistically likely

Blogging every day in November, I shouldn't be surprised that on one of those days I'm feeling less than 100%. Pass the tissues, please ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shuttle service

Unusually, I drove to work to-day; then I came home to pick up our daughter who had to be taken to the hospital for an injection. The hospital isn't far from where I work, so it was strange to be making more or less the same journey twice in each direction. It went OK - she's a real trouper!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poachers and gamekeepers

My day job requires me to spend at least some time each week on a helpdesk, so I have some idea of how it feels to be the person whom people get angry with when things don't work. But as a customer, I am still frustrated, and, yes, angry, when I am looking for assistance, and for some reason the answer isn't particularly helpful. I try not to be angry with the person on the other end of the phone, however ...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Too much information

To tell to-day's story properly, I would have to tell you too much. So I shall be vague.

But first, thanks for the comment. I am rather conscious that it can be difficult to make and keep friends. Son and I will just have to do our best to negotiate the minefield ...

It was my wife's turn to go to church to-day (I'm sure that I've referred somewhere to the fact that on Sunday mornings one of us goes with our daughter to church while the other stays at home with our son), but when we were told last week the name of to-day's preacher I thought that it might be someone I met years ago, so I went for the second week in a row. It wasn't; it was someone else of the same name - which isn't entirely surprising, especially when there are a disproportionate number of people with this surname in the ministry of the Church of Scotland - and I believe that many of them are related. I'm sure it was for the best - I particularly enjoyed singing "Mine eyes have seen the glory", which was the closing hymn.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

An adventure

I've felt for a while that our son gets a raw deal on Saturdays. Our daughter goes to a ballet class in the morning, and a drama class at lunchtime, and the day tends to be structured around getting her to her classes. Our son generally elects to be at home when he can, and when I'm at home I'm generally trying to catch up on stuff that's on my desk. I feel that I should be spending time with my boy, but it really isn't happening.

So when one of his friends wanted to come round, I was inclined to be sympathetic. But my wife doesn't want visiting children in the house, so it seemed that it just wasn't going to happen. Then I thought of taking the two of them (our son and his friend) out for lunch at Luca's, which is what we did to-day. I think that it went reasonably well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm getting better

A diagnosis may be a long way off - indeed may never happen - but as a working hypothesis, the idea that I could be further along the spectrum towards Asperger's Syndrome than most people has helped me enormously. I can allow myself to be meticulous - I can be patient with myself - I can allow myself to worry at a problem until I've solved it - recognising that in some circumstances it can be a strength.

And not blame myself for my weaknesses ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hidden treasure

The events of to-day haven't been particularly bloggable, although I did have the privilege of talking to a Professor of Algebraic Surgery, so instead I offer you a crop of a picture I took on Sunday, of a stained glass window.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How naive!

I thought that having paid Scottish Gas for plumbing and drains cover I could ask them to come and fix a dripping tap, but no, I was wrong, and have been advised by the lady who answered the phone that I should fix it myself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two doctors for the price of one

Not actually, of course - I realise that we in this country are incredibly fortunate that we can go to see the doctor without having to think how much it will cost. But in the course of to-day, I have seen two doctors.

The first doctor was a community health practitioner; our daughter has a yearly appointment. I suspect that the person doing the job stays in post for just one year, because we have never seen the same doctor two years running. I was surprised on this occasion that the lady was not as young (shall we say) as those we are accustomed to. I have always assumed that this role tends to be filled by a junior doctor on his or her way to better things. We had a reasonably constructive time. At one point we were asked whether our daughter sees any hospital doctors, and took great pleasure in reeling off a list of the consultants she sees regularly.

This afternoon, I saw a doctor about me. I've been particularly anxious about this consultation, as I am hoping that it could be the start of finding some much needed help. As the doctor this afternoon repeatedly reminded me, I have a history of what would probably be classed as mental illness. Indeed, on one occasion I was 'admitted under section', which means, basically, that I was locked up in a psychiatric hospital whether I liked it or not. Recently, I have begun to wonder if the root cause of my problems could be something called Asperger's Syndrome, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder which, to be fair on those treating me in the seventies and eighties has, I gather, only been widely known about for the past twenty years.

The outcome of the session was that I have been referred to a psychiatrist. My GP told me to be patient, by which I guess that he was letting me know that I might have a while to wait.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I nearly forgot

To write an entry for to-day. To-morrow will be a significant day, one way or another. I'm seeing my GP (general practitioner - i.e. doctor) about something which I've been thinking a lot about over the past week or so.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A blank sheet of paper

A grey day, but not a bad one ... a rainy Sunday afternoon (only it wasn't all that rainy) ... a chance to make some progress on a doll's house which my daughter and I are putting together ...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How (not) to say 'no'

Why do supermarkets sell DVDs? It's a kind of modern minefield. You go out, the kids tagging along, to do the weekly grocery shop, and your child asks - since we're going to Tesco, can we buy 'Fantastic Four - the Rise of the Silver Surfer'? (I thought that I was a silver surfer ...) You say - no, not this time - and, lo, you have an extremely distressed child.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three cheers for Pudsey!

This evening, we have the charityfest known as Children in Need

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scraping the barrel

It's nearly bedtime, and I have nothing to write.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I really can't think of anything interesting to write about to-day. Unless you want to know how I surfed the buses to work and home again; or how I dealt with work to-day.

My wife is out seeing our children's teachers. Hopefully, the feedback will be good; although our son has recently sent me a couple of text messages to say that he doesn't like school. He's just 7 years old. I'm at home with the children; they're watching a video of Toy Story 2.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A do-it-yourself breakfast

This morning, I had breakfast in Asda Walmart. I continue to be amused at what they do if you want a sausage roll and a coffee. They ask you to pick up a roll, still wrapped in cellophane. They give you two sausages on a plate. At the checkout, you pick up two packets of butter, and an empty mug. Having paid, you take the mug to the coffee machine, and pour yourself a coffee. It's just that in other places, what you get at the checkout is a sausage roll and a coffee.

I can only guess that they have calculated the saving in making the customer do the work, and have decided that it is worth their while.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A possible diagnosis

To-day, I made a discovery - or it could be my imagination. Unfortunately, until I am a bit clearer in my own mind, I can't say very much.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confronting the darkness

To-day, of course, was Remembrance Day. Our girl is in the Girl Guides, and our boy is in the Beavers. Both were parading this day - a day which, thankfully, was bright and clear, made bitterly cold by a north wind. There was a short service to accompany the laying of wreaths at the war memorial, and then we proceeded to the parish church, which is the church that we normally go to (except that normally our son doesn't want to go, so one of us stays at home with him while the other goes with our daughter to church).

I observed the words on the lectern fall as we waited for people to file out of church. It was something like 'light in the darkness', and there was a bible reference, possibly 1 John 1:6. I feel that there is a lot of darkness surrounding us these days, so much darkness that the light struggles to survive. Perhaps I should take heart, though, from this morning's self portrait, taken as I faced the morning light. And remember, from the bible, John 1:5 (ESV):
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Not enough hours in the day

I did get more sleep than I would normally have done; but to-day I have worn myself out just trying to catch up with stuff on my desk. I've felt that I'm not doing the right thing by my son, who has been at home with me for most of the day, but this stuff - bills, accounts, correspondence - has to be dealt with.

And I've just found out that our mobile phone provider has been overcharging my wife - at least that's how it looks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

No, I really am tired

And I'm going to bed; whether I get any peace remains to be seen ...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm so tired

I'm losing it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Somehow it all worked

I was at work for 9:00 this morning - everybody pulled together, and I managed to catch an earlier bus; then my colleague for whom I'd covered this morning gave me a lift home - sadly, we saw the aftermath of an accident, which had occurred on the road he would have taken if he'd been going straight home, instead of giving me a lift.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sorry to harp on

I'm desperately tired - I would go to bed now (20:10 GMT), but our daughter is still out at her club, won't be back until nearer 21:00 - and then we have to persuade those who don't want to go straight to bed that they should.

Monday, November 05, 2007

It seems never ending

Work was hard, mainly because of the after effects of yet another tiring week-end; and I've just spent some time helping my daughter with her homework - which I'm happy to do, but I just wish I wasn't so tired.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More driving

To-day, I drove to my mum's and back - a round trip of around 80 miles. My mother has just moved house - from a medium-sized house to which she and my father moved when he retired, to a smaller house, more suited to one, elderly person. So there is sadness, but I think that what my mother wanted to make to-day was a positive statement, as she and my brother and I had lunch in a local restaurant, that she is making a fresh start. The house is one of a group of sheltered houses - it's peaceful; there is a community; there is the support of a warden. And it's right next to the river, with a pleasing view out the back.

I should say that it is nearly 10 years now since my father died. For those 10 years my mother has lived in the old house, and maintained it. But she has felt over the past months that the time has come to move on; to simplify her life. So to-day has been a particularly significant day in the story of our family.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't blog when drunk

So I'm blogging now, before I drink any more.

To-day, I've driven 60 miles. I took my daughter to her ballet class; later, collected her and brought her home. This afternoon I drove my son to the next town, met my wife and daughter there, and we bought shoes for each of our children, before 'doing a shop' in the supermarket. Then I drove everyone home.

We bought a DVD for our son in the supermarket. When we got home, the DVD wouldn't play in his DVD player, so I drove back to the supermarket, and exchanged the DVD. The second DVD also didn't play in his DVD player, but it does play in the DVD player in the lounge (so I guess that the first one would have played in the lounge also - I tried to phone the supermarket to impart to them this gem of information, but the only number I could get for the supermarket was an 0845 number, which didn't seem to be taking me to the actual store, so I abandoned that attempt).

I do try to minimise our carbon footprint, but not one of the trips I made to-day was because I wanted to ...

Friday, November 02, 2007


An early, municipal celebration of Guy Fawkes' Night. Daughter was in the lantern parade; son, to get a better view, spent the duration of the display sitting on my shoulders - I spent the duration of the display wishing that I could think of a way to persuade him to come down.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Why do people feel the need to criticise? Are they just trying to underline how good they are? Of course, at times we do go wrong, and somebody who puts us right is doing us a favour, but so much criticism just seems thoughtless, at best, and cruel, at worst.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


At the last moment, went out with the children - trick-or-treat-ing. People were kind. The funny thing was - there is a cat which has got into the habit of visiting us - it turned up, and tagged along ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Suddenly, it's dark

The clocks went back on Sunday (reminds me - the central heating is still in summer time), bringing a welcome lightening to the mornings. But my journey home now takes place in darkness.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Loaded performance

I put the radio on in the kitchen; I recognised (eventually) the music - it was Britten's "Cello Symphony". I can't listen to this music without thinking of two things - that the theme of the last movement sounds suspiciously like part of "Three Blind Mice" - and that the piece was introduced to me by a lad who died of an aneurism when he was just 18.

I waited until the end, and was interested to learn that the cellist on this occasion was Alban Gerhardt, whose career I have followed since he was a BBC New Generation Artist, and that the conductor was John Adams, one of the few contemporary composers who can actually write music that I can listen to.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Like a teenager

As my son (who is not yet a teenager) said to me on Friday, "You don't understand my life!"

I've been, with my family, to a ceilidh. Other people appear to enjoy ceilidhs; in fact, to the other people there it probably appeared that I was enjoying myself. But at this point I feel so utterly drained that ... well, you probably don't want to hear the rest. I'm not sick; I'm not ill. It's just that these events work differently for me - I have to put so much effort in that by the end I have nothing left.

I'll be OK; this'll pass. I don't mind enduring something that is recognised as being horrible - like going to the dentist. But it seems so unfair to have to endure something that, I assume, is meant to be fun.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sometimes Web 2.0 just baffles me

I've just come across picnik, which offers online editing of photos. It looks really nice, and does a good job.

One of my cameras, recently purchased, is an Olympus mu 760 (I believe that in the States it is called a Stylus). On the whole, I'm impressed, but I notice (and this appears to be a 'feature' of Olympus cameras) that the blues are somewhat intense. Until now, and I want to retain the policy, my 365 photos have been unedited, but this makes me wonder ...



Friday, October 26, 2007


I took this picture several days ago, in a riverside garden in Perth, Scotland.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another time related question

How are we to start the 'getting to bed' process at 8 o'clock if daughter finishes Guides at 9 o'clock?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A long day

I leave the house at about a quarter to eight in the morning, and get back at around a quarter to seven in the evening - why?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What about

... a stress free evening? (meaning, of course, that this one wasn't - although the whisky helped)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to questioning the sustainability of it all

Just about got through the day, though not feeling great, possibly due to a virus, then home to a son who seems determined to be disobedient in every circumstance.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Autumn sunshine

Back to work to-morrow - difficult to think about anything else ...

Posted by ShoZu

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On the spur of the moment

A letter from our local theatre arrived in the post this morning, encouraging us to come out this evening to a dance performance. At the insistence of our children, we did, and, on the whole, enjoyed the event, especially the second half. Our son attends a hip-hop class, so we hope that he found the experience inspiring.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The good news is ...

My mother phoned us this evening to say that her move went well. She is still living in her old house, but the furniture which is to be in the new house was transferred to-day.

We had a pretty good day, I guess. Maybe not much to show for it, but with school and work starting again next week, to-day was perhaps the last easy day before swinging back to work mode.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Spent the morning working through the pile of stuff on my desk - I actually think that we've gained control - there are things to be done, but we know what they are. In the afternoon, I helped my daughter with her school project, and then we went food shopping.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home again

A morning with the children on South Inch; a rather pleasant lunch out; and then a reasonable drive home - the car full (we have taken some stuff away from my mum's house).

A poignant moment earlier this morning, when I came across a box of my father's diaries, and read his entry for the day that my youngest brother was born.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Perth has a rather splendid leisure pool; I took the children swimming this morning; this afternoon, we've been helping my mother to get ready for her flitting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Each to his or her own on Sunday morning

The silvery Tay
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

Our daughter enjoys church, but our son doesn't. So I dropped my wife and daughter at the church, then took my son on a walk to the top of Kinnoull Hill. I'm attaching an old photo to this blog post; what this photo doesn't make entirely clear is that there is a sheer drop from the hilltop to the river valley below. My son nearly gave me a heart attack as he negotiated a muddy path just inches away from the edge.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's a long story

I find myself, unexpectedly, with Internet access tonight. Simply, we found that another family was booked to occupy the caravan which we thought that we would be staying in this week. We couldn't face going back home, so here we are at my mother's. I suppose that it is for the best.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Too tired even to string a couple of sentences together; I'm going to be offline for a few days - we're off on holiday to-morrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Worn out

Helping my daughter with her homework - difficult to strike the right balance - help her, not do it for her!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another day

Sorry to harp on about tiredness, but it really has been a dominant theme to-day. I made a silly mistake at work, trying to do too many things at once, not too serious, but not something I like to do. And I decided not to attend a leaving do.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On the whole, progress

Our daughter is out this evening; I've been able to spend some time at my desk and at the computer, basically catching up on stuff which needed to be done. My boss (at work) has spoken with the lady from occupational health, and now wants to speak with me. It will be an important meeting, but I'm not looking forward to it. I don't really know where I stand with my present boss - he seems (to me) to be too detached, though I guess that that is just his style.

I feel that I'm doing better at work, but I think that I need more time just to gain some confidence before I try to make any big decisions; I hope that my boss will understand that.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Why am I updating here?

It's a fair question. I have another blog, where I'm part of a community. I'm pretty sure that if I wrote there some of what I'm writing here, it would be read sympathetically. I do know that some people do read what I write here, and I really do appreciate that, too. I suppose that when I post a wiblog, I am conscious that I am contributing. I can't quite let myself go.

What I am trying to do here is simply to write a diary which happens to be online. To-day was tough, because I was tired. But I'm here, and as far as I know I didn't make any terrible mistakes (but I did lose my temper with my son this morning). And I can hear from the living room raised voices, so I'm not the only one who's struggling.

I saw my GP this morning, and was disappointed that she seemed intent on getting me out the door as quickly as she could. I'm not clinically depressed, and she could see that, so I suppose that from her point of view I was just wasting her time.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Harvest thanksgiving

Thankfully, the embarrassment potential of not bringing anything to the harvest thanksgiving service (as happened this morning, because we weren't in church the previous week, and didn't know) is less in our church, where items are placed on the tables before the service, and not carried to the front at some point in the middle. And we enjoyed lunch out in someone's house.

I'm concerned these days, however, that I don't have time to deal with the stuff which is accumulating on my desk.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

How can we expect to remain sane?

The children have found a couple of blow-up beds, and are planning to camp tonight in the lounge. I simply don't have a strategy for getting them to sleep at a certain time. Even if I did, I'm too tired to implement it. This is one of the Catch 22s of parenting. At just the point where you really need to be strong and fresh (to get these children to go to bed, and to sleep), you yourself are tired, probably tireder than they are.

Maybe I should just take myself off to bed, and leave them to it ...

Thursday, October 04, 2007


This morning, I saw the occupational health person at work. I'm hoping that she will help me to find a sustainable answer to the work problems which have been troubling me recently.

At this afternoon's team meeting, I volunteered to apply for a team wiki - our workplace are launching a wiki service using Confluence - it makes sense for us to get some experience if our users are likely to be asking us questions - time will tell whether I should have kept my mouth shut!

Our daughter is about to move from Brownies to Guides - she was telling me that she is both excited and sad.

Why can't I?

... put a picture in the middle of a blog entry, like this:

Trying again

Yesterday, Windows Live Writer wouldn't let me upload a photo to Blogger; I've updated Live Writer, and am trying again:


Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday morning

Enjoying the autumn sunshine - not particularly enjoying being at work - there seems to be lots to do - and it's all sorts of different things which don't seem to relate much to each other - difficult to see how to make progress ...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vogrie House

Actually, the main reason for posting this is to see if I can re-position (or remove) the Picasa icon at the foot.
Posted by Picasa

Red and green

I simply loved the contrast between the colours of the trees. To-day was a classic autumn day - the morning was damp (but not so damp that I didn't manage to cut some grass) - the afternoon bright and clear - I envied the aeroplanes dodging the clouds as they approached Edinburgh Airport.

Posted by Picasa


My mother-in-law's house is right by the beach; wife wanted to go there yesterday, so son and I had some time on the beach. I'm not sure where the waves were coming from - the sea appeared to be otherwise calm. I thought that there had been a storm at sea, but in retrospect I guess that we may have been experiencing the wake of a fast cruise liner (if that's what it was) which we observed making its way out to sea. Son had a great time dodging the waves.

Later, we moved to the end of the beach where there is a pavilion, with concrete steps down to the sea. There, I wasn't so successful dodging the waves - I got soaked with the spray from a big one which I didn't see coming.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just to apologise

... for the drama of the two preceding posts. I have issues which I'm working through - I'm sure if you met me, you'd think that I was a well-balanced, stable fellow, just that my blog is a place for me to let some of the darker aspects of me out - and I'm going to try to balance the picture with some brighter posts, honest ...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Follow up

I am absolutely convinced that these feelings are just feelings, and will never be translated into action. They are long standing feelings - it's nothing new - just that I've decided to name and shame them.

In Breathing Space, one of the resources my counsellor pointed me to, there is quoted a statement I've seen elsewhere, and which I have found helpful:

Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

And I suppose that I am learning to translate, "I want to kill myself," into something more manageable, along the lines of, "I am in a situation which I can't cope with - I need to detach myself," or, to be honest, frequently, "I'm dealing with a person who frightens me."

So, in fact, right now, I am still feeling much better, and more in control, than I have done for a long time. I am definitely in recovery, and need to keep on taking steps that will bring me to a more open place - the next step is to speak with the GP who signed me off for a week, to say what progress has been made, and to discuss what resources might be available to help me to continue to make progress. To be honest, to say that I am still looking for help, but that I have a better understanding what help I need, and that I can see a way forward.

And thanks for the hug!

Facing reality

I'm feeling suicidal. I don't think that there is any likelihood of my carrying that feeling through to action, but the feeling is there. And of course, it shouldn't be. Or, at least, we don't want it to be.

Part of the reason, I guess, is that my counselling sessions have finished. They have made a difference. Especially it has helped knowing that I have somebody to talk to. Somebody who will listen.

I haven't implemented any of the suggestions which my counsellor made in the last couple of sessions. There is something to be said for not trying them all at once. So, one at a time. First step, go back to my GP. Bring her up-to-date with what has been happening. Ask her to find out if there are resources - e.g. support groups - locally.

And be honest. I'm still struggling. I don't know if I'm going to make it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

It's been a while

This blog seems to have got lost.

I'm tired. Desperately tired. There's correspondence two months old on my desk waiting for attention; there's dishes to be washed; there's grass to be cut; there's a hedge to be trimmed; there are children to be fed.

Better start with the dishes.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Originally uploaded by orkantw8

- beautiful ...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nimrod On Finals.

Nimrod On Finals.
Originally uploaded by stonefaction

Magnificent picture!

Too much

Too much
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

Well, I have to be allowed to blog this ...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Last night wasn't too bad

We need to get into some sort of routine, and if it works better when I'm the one putting the children to bed, then that's OK; especially during the summer, when they don't have homework!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dragging myself on

The morning was tough - trying to make even a little progress on some outstanding issues; I spent the afternoon on the desk; and now on my way home I have to fit in some shopping; eventually, at home, I'm going to have to get the children off to bed (perhaps not on my own, but if there are any problems, I'm the one who seems to have to sort them out).

Threatening storm

The sky is grey; it will soon be raining.

How do we know when a feeling of angst is justified, and when it should be brushed aside?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Not saying anything new

Just affirming that I am still here ...

Monday, January 01, 2007

A bit sad really

We have a family tradition - at the first 'bong' of midnight (31st December), we run to the back door of the house, and open it to let the old year out, then run to the front door, hopefully before the twelfth 'bong', to welcome in the new year. My thoughts concerning the old year, as it went, can be paraphrased as 'good riddance'.

I am encouraged that, as tractorgirl says - the way to heaven can sometimes be through a dung-covered field (I'm paraphrasing, again) - but, somehow, 2006 is going to be remembered as 'not being particularly happy'. Here's to 2007 (which didn't start awfully well - my son got locked in the toilet - thankfully, though, he managed to extricate himself).