Can’t comment?

I have had a couple of people tell me that they couldn’t comment on my blog. I contacted WordPress and they’ve asked anyone who can’t leave a comment to write to them at:

The same thing has happened to me when I’ve tried to leave a comment on someone’s blog a few times. It’s frustrating when you’ve taken the time to write a comment and then it just disappears. So, if that’s happened to you while trying to comment here, please accept my apologies.

And just to make you laugh/shake your head: a couple of weeks ago, on responding to a comment on my blog, my comment ended up in spam. ON MY OWN BLOG?!?

Do you agree with the death penalty?

WordPress asked:

Do you agree with the death penalty? Is it ever right to kill? And under what circumstances? Is it worth the risks of being wrong?

Yes, actually, I do.

And my circumstances are extremely specific. I agree with the death penalty for someone who has murdered more than one person.

You may now wonder, but why not for someone who has been proven to have committed murder once? A fair question. I think that there can be a lot of reasons for a one-off killing. A constantly abused wife. Self-preservation. Jealousy. Financial hardship (a gun going off in a robbery, for example). Snapping over because of psychological problems.

I believe these people should be punished if deemed necessary but also be helped so they have the possibility to one day be a valuable member of the community again.

But a person who repeatedly takes the life of another, in my mind does not deserve to have life themselves. They have forfeited that right by their own actions.

To allow them to live puts the public and also other prisoners and prison workers at risk.

Keeping them in prison, at the tax-payers expense, for the rest of their lives, for me, is not the correct answer.

I also think that the families of the murder victims deserve closure.

They deserve to know that what they have to live with, no one else will go through at that perpetrators hands.

A friend of mine was murdered. He went to a concert, happy, free. He left his friends to nip to the loo. He did not return.

He was stabbed by a ‘high’ teenager in an unprovoked attack.

The perpetrator got life imprisonment, which in Scotland means that he could already be out on parole.

I hope that he’s had therapy and has turned his life around. That he’s suffered the consequences of his actions and now wants to make a go of his life.

But were he to kill again, I would want him quite simply, deleted.

*Wherever you are Colin, I hope you have found peace. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten.*

Birthdays, weddings and challenges

According to Tilly Bud we’re on week 16 of our challenge and I can’t quite believe how large a part of my life my 101 challenges have become. I’m also pleased to announce that as of this week, I have completed twelve tasks in total!!

The last fortnight has been particularly busy: we’ve thrown a rather large joint birthday party (my eldest daughter and I) and I’ve also been to Scotland to attend a wedding, with my youngest daughter.

Through visiting various restaurants in Scotland (four to be precise) and numerous invites from friends, (and the fact that I’m specifically enjoying this task :-D) I have decided to up my restaurant challenge: from 10 to 30.



I hope.

An ecstatic me also received two whole cookery books as birthday presents.

And a floatation voucher.

And while in Scotland I rampaged through carefully selected a few choice items from a discount Le Creuset shop which my bewildered extremely lovely friend introduced me to.

The choice items included a new cooking apron.

I kept having problems with the tie on my old one landing in the toilet.

Don’t ask.

And a small Le Creuset pan. 🙂

To make up for those lovely restaurant visits I have finally been back to gym.


Plus, after trying erm… several, I have found a wine I like. However, I can’t decide whether to put it on my ‘would buy again’ list as I suspect that I cannot afford it. (A generous friend bought it.)


Check out the other 101ers. They’re all listed on the side of my page.

Flying off

I’m off to Scotland tomorrow for a few days. Akasha and I are going to a wedding. So I will be somewhat unresponsive but if I have time, I will finish a post to appear later in the week.

If you’re bored in the meantime, you might like to check out a few favourites:

Santa came during the night but I think he forgot something

Happily living with Mr Fix-It

How to embarrass yourself at the gynaecologist

I am the only one at home

And for the poetry lovers:

It’s not all butterflies


Partied out

Wake Up!!!

The first person who broke my heart

The WordPress prompter asked:

Describe the first person who broke your heart. And if you could take revenge on them now, would you? Did you ever think about it? What would you say to them now if you met them on the street?

Now my heart has been broken several times over the years, by friends, family and of course, the inevitable boyfriend or two.

I think the question probably refers to ‘partners’.

So I’ll go with that.

Sitting in a history classroom (aged a mere 17) I chatted and giggled with my best friend Faye, who had some extra special news for me that day. She’d met a guy that according to her, was perfect for me. She wanted to set me up with him on a blind date.

Shocked and indignant, I retorted that I did not want to be ‘set up’ with anyone. Despite her protestations, her descriptions of how he was the yin to my yang and all that jazz, I stuck to my guns and refused to meet him.

I can’t really remember how much time passed. Maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. But one day I bumped into Faye as she left and I entered our local shopping centre. We chatted briefly and then right after I left her, I spotted a boy.

Tall. So skinny, his clothes almost fell off him. With long, wild, curly, black hair and eyes that looked right into my soul…

And I was dumbstruck.

I excitedly told my friend Faye, in our next history class (as you do when you’re 17), all about my amazing encounter. I detailed how my heart had fluttered and my mouth had gone dry.

She asked me to describe the boy and then grinning (smug as you like) all over her face she told me:

It was him.


The yin to my yang.

I did, of course, suitably chastise her for not having introduced us. As is correct for a 17-year-old girl who’s wishing to embark on the fullness of life.

And at some point after that we met again. Properly this time. At a rock disco. And somewhat spurred on by a few drinks, I threw myself at him caught the attention of my man.

He was funny. Kind. Passionate. Always philosophising. Clever. Artistic. Loved his ‘sounds’. Chatty. Argumentative. Liked his pint. He lived in a second-hand army jacket. And fan t-shirts. And jeans. He liked to provoke. He was romantic. Sweet. Troubled. Caring. Good.

We spent the first months of our relationship pretty much in each others pockets. But then things got in the way. Family. He went through the awful loss of losing both his father and his grandfather to cancer. Understandably, he spent a lot of time at home but then he had an opportunity to go away for three weeks. He asked me to go with him. We’d hardly seen each other in the previous weeks, but I had to decline. I had exams to sit. And so he left. Alone.

Meanwhile, my relationship with my parents went from bad to worse and at some point I walked out. Aged 17.

I had my issues and he had his, and when he didn’t turn up to my 18th birthday celebration, I went to look for him and we had an almighty row.

And we split.

There and then in the middle of the street. In front of friends and passers-by.

I could not accept the split. For me it was unnatural. Neither of us had met someone else, or even stopped liking the other one. We just had so much heartache in our own lives that it had spilled over and we were too young and too inexperienced to pull together and deal with it side by side.

For the next year and a half I catapulted around from pillar to post to wall to doorway.

And then, we were both in the same place, at the same time and our eyes met and suddenly, we were together again. I felt so happy.

But we had changed.

He had changed. He was sad. Torn. Battered and bruised. He warned me that he was not the same person that I had once known.

I had changed. I lived my life on the edge and I ached with loss and rage. I assured him that we could go back.

One evening he declined to come out. Said he didn’t feel so well and wanted a night in. I went out with friends, but while I was dancing I had an image enter my head of him kissing another girl that we both knew. It was the strangest thing and it really shook me up. I told myself I was being ridiculous. He’d never shown any interest in that girl and besides, he was at home, feeling sick.

At the end of the night my friends and I headed off to the taxi rank and there he was. And there she was. They denied any wrongdoing, and I had only an image in my head to go by. But soon after, one of his friends confirmed my suspicions and I flipped…

Years later, I bumped into him again. I was married at that point, to my first husband. It was good to see him, we talked and hugged and cleared the air. He apologised, I apologised and he was more like his old self. And me, I guess, like mine. He told me where to head with my life and I listened. The same old passionate philosopher…

I will be honest with you and tell you that in all those years not a single day had gone by, that I hadn’t thought about him.

In June 2002, a mutual friend called me and told me that Euan had died in his tenement after falling down the stairs. Aged just 30 years old.

To this day, despite attending his huge funeral, I still find it difficult to believe that there will be no little Euan’s in the world, no wife for him to be sweet and kind and romantic with and no world to hear his philosophising.


… And at least I can laugh at myself

The WordPress prompt asked:

What rare talent do you have that most people don’t know?

I would have to say that I’m really very musical. Honestly. If you had heard me running up and down the stairs this morning, then you would know that I provide a beautiful percussion background, with my clicks and creaks from various body parts, to accompany the usual morning chaos here.

I am my own regular one-man band. Particularly talented body parts include my knees, ankles, feet and wrists.

WordPress also asked:

Bonus: If you don’t have a rare talent, what talent do you wish you had? Why? What’s stopping you from trying to get it?

Well, as I’ve said I do have a rare talent, but I am somewhat greedy. So, there is a talent which I have wished for, my whole life long, although it is not a rare one. (Makes the fact that I haven’t ‘got it’ even harder to swallow). I have always wanted to be able to draw.

Before you say, “Just practice!” I have. As a child anyway, and now that you know that, your laughter may echo around the room even more resonantly as you read on.

If you were to ask me to, say, draw an elf, it would look exactly like this:

And honestly, I really did try!

Now, I’m thirty-eight-years-old, I doubt my skill can improve much, but my four-year-old, that’s another story, she’s starting out like this:

No, she doesn’t have three arms, the middle one is the arm, and the outside bits are her sleeve.

She’s even initialled it. Bless.
Her drawing really is improving.

Soon, she will surpass me. *Sigh*

But just to elaborate (in case you’re not convinced), I thought we’d attempt dragons. As you do on Monday mornings.

At first, I thought I’d draw mine side on (after looking in a child’s picture book) but it started out like this:

Now you know I’m honest. Because I could have tried to convince you that I was reasonably talented in drawing ducks.

*Please note any talent here is purely accidental.

So, I tried again (after even the four-year-old laughed):

That’s more like it.

Yes, that’s 38 years of experience. Right there.

What’s that?

I should give up?

You’re probably right.

So, I turned my attention back to my four-year-old who, as you might gather, used the very same picture book as me.

I also coached her somewhat.

I should probably stop coaching her now and encourage her older, wiser, much more talented twelve-year-old sister to be her art teacher instead.

Because set the same challenge, Lori impressed us all (especially me) with:


Only 12

No training

And with me as her artistic mentor!

Cats and buses do not mix

Once upon a time we had a rescue cat. Called Layla. A few weeks after she mewed into our lives, we awoke one morning to find her gasping for air on the kitchen floor.

My then husband and I raced her off to the vet, who checked her over and discovered that she had much internal damage to her organs. He pronounced that she would not live long, perhaps a few months and that we should offer her the calmest and most comfortable life possible.

She should not go outside. She should take tablets for the rest of her not-so-many days. Her life should be kept as stress free as possible as her heart could give in at any given moment. And she no longer had permission to be dressed.

I’d never had an un-dressed cat before, and I cannot recommend it.

Layla leapt from person to furniture, up curtains, down door frames with the acrobatic ability of a true master.

Despite her apparent necessity for calmness.

She also required, at a certain time of the month, affection and ‘pleasuring’ from any given surface, be it floor, table leg or human body part. And her male suitors destroyed the possibility of sleep for us and the slightly annoyed neighbours.

We visited our expensive friendly vet who gave her the cat ‘pill’.

What with tablets and check ups, our visits to the vets were regular. And the situation often arose, that I needed to transport our furry little friend by bus.

At first I placed her in a cat box, but the vet complained that she didn’t like it. That her heart was too stressed. And so I looked for another solution.

I found a cat harness at my local pet shop. You place the harness around the main body of the cat and then hold on to a lead part. That way you can take your cat for a walk. Like a dog.

In theory.

Except Layla did not want to walk. Instead she preferred to ‘ride’ on my shoulder. Like a parrot. On a pirate.

So the parrot and I set off for the bus, to visit the vet.

We arrived at the surgery and Layla sailed through her checks with flying colours. The nutty helpful vet told me that my cat’s condition was much better that day, and I should continue using the harness in order to transport her.

Deluded Delighted I took my adored pussy to the pet shop for a special cat treat and being the friendly person that I am, I got chatting to the young assistant.

Layla had decided to take on her cat role once again, and had at that moment all fours on the floor, somewhere around my feet. I felt a little pull on the harness, I looked down only to realise that my de-stressed cat had discovered a large bag of bird feed. And how to open it. And at that moment bird feed spilled, spectacularly, all over the floor.

I apologised to the seemingly forgiving young assistant and hastened to the door. With my cat in harness and her 50p treat.

We stood together at the bus stop.

Well, I stood. She balanced. Cleverly making use of her claws.

It was peak time for travelling. But we found a seat on the bus. Between the grannies. And the shopping bags. The chatter and the cackle.

I sighed a sigh and massaged my bloody shoulder. And that cat sat under the chair in front of me.

The bus rolled along and I pulled on the lead. Just to check.

The harness arrived in my lap. Empty.

No cat.

Not even a hairball.

I jumped and I shrieked. Crawled along the aisle on all fours. Shoving  shopping bags out of the way. The bus pulled up at its first stop. I ran to the front. Yelled at the driver. Held the passengers hostage.

“Where’s my cat? Have you seen my cat?”

I jumped on and off the bus.

Chinese whispers played through the passengers. Loudly. Indignant moans were uttered as shopping bags were swept aside.

Grimy and near hysterical, I forced my way through on all fours, back towards where I had been seated. Then I saw her. Beneath a seat, two rows back from mine.

All stretched out and relaxed.

I dismounted the bus amidst strange looks and nods. Clicks and pointing fingers. Looking completely ridiculous with a cat upon my shoulder.

As I arrived home my ex-husband kindly inquired about the well-being of our cat.

This is the response he received:

“The cat’s fine. But I need a bloody vodka!”

I am the strange one on the bus

WordPress prompt:

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you on a bus?

Can I only tell one story?

Story one:

Aged 18, I found myself studying at Heriot-Watt University in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Or rather, on the outskirts of the city.

My favourite part of the day was the walk back and forth to the bus stop. Especially in autumn. Swishing through the ample leaves.

The walk itself, was long and lonely. Peaceful and calm. Just my friend and I.

My friend being a Sony Walkman.

Yes, I am that old.

Our relationship was something of a love affair that went inevitably like this: I had one tape. Just one. Alannah Myles. And I knew all of the words. Sony would sing tunefully to me at his loudest possible setting. I would sing along, with maximum output, but comparatively out of key.

During the long, lonely walk to the bus stop, Sony and I sang together and sometimes found ourselves breaking into a full-blown dance.

Should another lone walker, on some rare occasion, loom in the distance, we would quickly hide our passion, and proceed towards the bus stop in a composed manner.

One day however, something went wrong.

Sitting on the packed homeward-bound bus (by packed I mean there were even people standing upstairs), I had closed my eyes and sank into the heroic tones of “Black velvet” when I found myself disturbed by a noise. A terrible noise. An extremely loud noise.







That it was me singing…

And whacking my leg.

My face burned and didn’t cool down any when the woman who’d been sitting next to me, took the first available opportunity to go and sit next to someone else.

What then, keeps you up at night?

WordPress asked me:

What keeps you up at night?

And I, of course, thought of something rude.

I don’t know why that is. I mean, I’m not a teenager anymore. Rather an almost forty-year-old woman.

But I still manage to misread signs wherever I go, and not because I’m dyslexic. Although, two of my children are. They have inherited that from their father and not from me.

I know I’m not dyslexic because my misreading always shows me to be a fantasist. Or immature. Take your pick. Like I notice the swear words in wrongly broken down syllables or the other day, I read on my site the number 5 from my stats, then the word million from a post title and lobbed them together with the word views (at least also from stats) and, of course, gave myself a near heart attack from the sheer excitement of the moment.

5 million views.

See. Fantasist.

Not only because my highest hitting post so far has only 106 hits. But the million part would also be in numerical form, wouldn’t it?

What keeps me up at night (and in this context I mean actually being up, as in not having gone to bed) is the fact that my mind ping pongs awake the moment all the children are, finally, off to sleep.

And once I’m in bed, I’m kept awake both by the not-so-gentle snores of my husband and the ramblings of my incessant mind.