Wednesday, 27 August 2008

to be admired

Congratulations Team GB! Nineteen Olympic gold medals and a shed load of others. I am please that the Olympics were such a success. The British reporters on the ground in Beijing were heaping praise on the organisation and the friendliness of the volunteers. Well done Beijing.

And come on London - you have a lot to live up to now.

Leave the girl alone

I was stunned at the weekend to hear normally egalitarian friends slagging off Madonna,

What is she like?
She should act her age
Why can’t she grow old gracefully?
She should be at home knitting


This woman is a dancer by profession, why can’t she be allowed to do her job. I have never heard anyone saying that Mike Jagger should grow old gracefully, they say of him ‘Isn’t it great he still rocks.’

I reminded these so called liberal thinkers that Dame Margot Fonteyn did not start dancing with Nureyev until she was forty three and she did not retire until she was sixty.

If fifty is the new forty then I think Madonna has a few years left before she needs to pick up her knitting needles.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Thank you for the Music

A great music experience

Life has been pretty quiet and I was struggling to find some thing to put on the blog tonight then I turned on the radio for my tea time music fix. I enjoy cooking but sometimes weekday meals become a chore; Radio Scotland’s and Bryan Burnett’s ‘Get It On’ is the best antidote for teatime blues. I have mentioned ‘Get it on’ before but to remind you the programme – now extended to a two hour slot - chooses a theme each night and listeners send in their requests. The format throws out the most unexpected selections and during the show you are constantly saying ‘Oh I haven’t heard this for years’

The programme has a definite cult following with regular contributors like ‘Jim the Jam Man’ ‘Mike from Fife’ and the ‘Inverpolly Crew’. On the Monday second hour one listener has the chance to feature their own summer mix; a play list with related stories behind the choices. These have been immensely popular and often hilarious but tonight’s offering deserved to win a platinum disc.

Maybe it’s because we Scots are a sentimental bunch but Donna’s summer mix was heart wrenching and judging from the comments read out, everyone agreed. Donna, an American pilot, came to Scotland for a holiday last year, ended up on the Isle of Skye met Bryan (not Bryan Burnett) and they fell in love, married, but live thousands of miles apart. I could hardly eat my tea for the lump in my throat. Check it out - Donna's story and her playlist are on the blog. I feel as though I am part of a big family. I hope Donna finds a job in Scotland soon.

Still On the music theme

Colin and I are currently working our way through our separate vinyl collections and converting them to digital. This is enjoyable but can often be an emotional experience. Last Saturday night I played Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna and it brought back painful memories of my first marriage.

Christmas Day 1980something I received this album from my parents, but I was forbidden to play it by my then husband. He maybe wanted to watch ‘Eastenders’ or ‘The Great Escape’ for the tenth time - I can’t remember. Once he was drunk enough and sleeping, I crept out of my marital bed in the middle of the night, poured myself a wee glass of wine and listened to my pressie. Sad eh?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Be Nice

Some B*****d has hijacked my email. I was first alerted to this yesterday by a friend and am still trying to resolve the problem with Google.

What amazes me is the various reactions to the spam blast that was sent out from my mail. Most people are concerned and let me know, while others send nasty requests for me not to send such mails to them ever again. Why oh why do people find it so easy to be nasty on email.

Come on guys; let’s be civil to each other out there in cyber space. It wasn’t my fault, honest.

TV and Newspaper reports

I was fed up with the BBC coverage of the lead up to the Olympics. They appeared to be obsessed with the pollution in Bejing, but I was appalled my Kirsty Wark’s biased discussion about the opening ceremony on Newsnight on Friday. The report stressed that there was no reference to Mao in the celebrations and that China seems to have conveniently forgotten its past. When a young Chinese guy in the studio tried to point out that London would probably not dwell on slavery, colonialism and Northern Ireland when their time came, he was dismissed and the debate was handed back to a North American journalist who rubbished the whole games. This happened several times during the debate, was blatant and embarrassing to watch.

Kirsty was not finished, she then went on deliver another bias report on the situation on Georgia, leaving the interviewee visibly bemused by her slanted attitude. I don’t know the full story of this dispute because she was too busy trying to score anti Russian points to allow the story to emerge. I only watched Newsnight becasue it followed QI and I thought it might have shown highlights of the opening ceromany. I will remember to switch off in future.

I gave up reading newspapers a long time ago because their biased views and reports are dictated by the fat cats that own them.

They say their reports are in the public interest, but the public I speak to are sick of it.

I read the Metro which gives the facts; that after all is what I am looking for, not hidden agendas. The rest I can pick off the internet.

Phew, I feel better now.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

History Lesson

Fifty First Timer No. 27
Read and adored War and Peace

The blurb on the cover says this is the greatest book ever written. I don’t know if that is true but it is certainly one of the best books I have read.

To say I was daunted reading this 1360 page novel is a lie; I have been in the past that was until I heard a great piece of advice. ‘How do you eat an elephant? Answer, in bite size pieces.’ That is how I tackled this, a chapter at a time. The hardest part was holding the book for long stretches of time, its heavy!

The story takes place over two Napoleonic Wars and gives a fantastic insight into the way the Russian class system worked at that time – no wonder they had a revolution. The aristocracy were few but owned all the land and also owned the Serfs, who were slaves. I am so ignorant, I had no idea.

I also worked out that Tchaikovsky wrote 1812 Overture about the battle of Borodino – there is a gruesome section about this battle.

As the title suggests, it isn’t all about War. There are long sections about the years between the two wars. There are over 500 characters (some historical) in War and Peace Tolstoy uses great techniques to help the reader remember who each one is. By the time I was finished the book I was intimate with them and now miss them.

I would encourage everyone to read this book, it only took me two months to read.

Age doesn’t come on its own

As a birthday present the Health Board sent me an invitation - I am now eligible for their bowel screening programme – lovely, can't wait!