Sometimes it’s just not worth getting up

We’ve wanted to go to the Traquair Fair for quite a while but something else always cropped up. This year though I thought we’d cracked it, we got tickets well in advance, we had a new (second hand) car, and were all set to go. Then on the day we planned to leave the car developed a coolant leak, so that was that, even if I managed to fix it it would be too late to get to the fair. So the day wasn’t a complete loss I decided to fit a new aerial on our roof so we could pick up Freeview digital TV. The ladder was a bit short; the angle was a bit steep so I knew I was taking a risk. Standing at the very top of the ladder I tried to throw a rope around the chimney breast for safety, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to go round. So I somehow got onto the roof without knocking over the ladder and managed to secure the rope. It was then I lost my footing and almost came right off, luckily I managed to grab the rope I’d just tied and suffered no more than a few grazes. If I’d slipped a few seconds earlier I reckon I’d have gone through the garage roof about 40 feet below, I don’t think it would have killed me but it would certainly have hurt…a lot. Anyway, after a couple more trips up and down the ladder I eventually hooked up the aerial and we now have digital TV…..I’m going to have a drink.

Walking in the rain…with a bike

I regularly cycle the 8 miles to and from work and enjoy it immensely. The views of the Ochil hills along the A91 more than compensate for the numerous car drivers who appear to think that passing within a couple of feet at 60 mph is OK. Over the last few years I have been using kevlar ‘puncture proof’ tyres and have suffered only one puncture, until today that is. The last time I had a puncture I knew the tyre walls were in poor condition, I’d been meaning to buy new ones for ages but never seemed to get round to it, so it was really my own fault that time. However, I had grown so used to not getting punctures that today took me by complete surprise. I don’t carry tools, patches, spare tube or even a pump, and I was sure that hissing sound had to be coming from the car behind me, right? No, my front tyre was flat. This, after I’d done so well to catch up and overtake another cyclist, who then stopped to ask if I needed help. We found a tear in the wall of the tyre, so how this happened is anyone’s guess. I now faced a 2.5 mile walk home, it had just started raining, I was wearing cycling shoes and very fetching Lycra shorts and shirt. It’s odd but when your on your bike with this gear on it feels fine, but as soon as you get off to walk suddenly your acutely aware of how ridiculous you look. Even pushing a bike you feel odd, it’s amplified ten-fold when you don’t have one. And as for the shoes, they’re OK for cycling but that’s it. It wasn’t an altogether unpleasant experience walking home, at a slower pace you have more time to take in the scenery and as your on the pavement you don’t have to worry about the high speed vehicles who’s drivers regard you as an obstacle rather than a legitimate road user. So I arrived home a bit later than usual, rather wet and resolving to carry a repair kit in future.

Our daughter is missing!

It was one of those times you hear about on the news, but you never really think it’ll happen to you. Our daughter, who is 13 missed the school bus this morning and had to catch the regular bus from our village to her school in the next village along, a journey of about 2.5 miles. I was cycling to work along the same road and was overtaken by the bus she should have been on, but she wasn’t so I phone home and we agreed she’d probably be on the next bus and I continued on to work. As soon as I arrived my wife was on the phone really distressed that our daughter still hadn’t shown up at school. It would have taken me too long to cycle back home so a colleague kindly drove me there. At this point we were both very worried as our daughter doesn’t bunk off school or anything like that so we knew something had happened. I phoned 999 for the police and reported her missing, as soon as I’d hung up the school rang, she’d finally arrived having taken the wrong bus. We jumped in the car and picked her up, relieved that she was OK. Although she was only missing for a short time nevertheless the panic that hits you is horrible and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We listened to her story and at least we can now laugh about it since she’ OK. She got on the bus and realised after a while it was going the wrong way, but assumed she must have taken the circular route bus. She eventually plucked up the nerve to ask the driver who confirmed she was on the wrong bus. He let her off and told her where to get the bus back, but some how she ended up on the wrong side of the road and the next bus she stopped was also going the wrong way. She walked to the next stop, sat down to read her book and waited, but as the shelter had been vandalised and the windows were no longer see through when the bus came the driver didn’t see her and didn’t stop, now she had to wait again for the next bus, which finally took her to school. To cap it all this had to be one of the few days when she didn’t have her mobile, so couldn’t call and let us know. Needless to say she feels a bit silly for getting on the wrong bus in the first place but everyone is relieved that nothing really bad happened.


oronsay skye causwaySpent a week on the Isle of Skye and as always the island gave us everything from beautiful stunning landscapes in glorious sunshine to non stop torrential rain and mist as thick as soup. We were based on the Ullinish peninsula with fantastic views of MacLeod’s tables across Loch Bracadale. We were able to explore the west of Skye from this location on daytrips, weather permitting…… On the good days we managed to get to Neist point, coral beach, Dunvegan, Portree and via causway to Oronsay.


We’re off on holiday to the Isle of Skye on Saturday. We decided to go in our old beat up Peugeot 405, although it is getting a bit ‘ify’ these days. It developed a leek in the cooling system the other day, but I think I managed to fix it (I hope). We discussed hiring a car for the week but it was really too expensive for us. Any way I hope the old car makes it there and back without too many problems.

Really looking forward to going back to Skye, we love it there, If I could we’d live there.

Live8 : G8 : Particip8

Just finished watching the Live8 concert here in the UK. Whilst events of this kind in themselves don’t change anything they can however help to raise awareness. As far as we know humans evolved in Africa so it’s about time we recognised the the importance of the birthplace of humanity and did everything in our power to halt the grotesque suffering that goes on their daily. We’ve all read the statistics and seen the reports 30, 40, 50% of some countries populations with HIV-AIDS whilst we in the west have the drugs and the technology to help, the 21st century, and people still dying of starvation. We all know this should not be, but what can we do? we may be on the brink of something quite momentus, that is politicians actually doing what we elect them for…..listening to the people and acting on our behalf. It remains to be seen if Tony Blair and Gordon Brown can deliver and persuade the others to do the right thing, but I think, if people keep up the pressure on our politicians we may actually start to see a difference in our world.

march past Gleneagles hotel
Live8 from BBC news
march in Edinburgh