About Me

I was born in Luton, known for hat making, Vauxhall cars, London Luton Airport and a great football team who once beat Arsenal at Wembley in a Cup Final, currently languishing in non-league football for the 4th season. I moved to Edinburgh in 1990 and now live in Leith, Edinburgh's 'waterfront'.

Married for 24 years to Louise (who is on day release from Fife), I have 4 children: Holly (aged 28) who's studying medicine at Dundee University, William (aged 26) at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, Alice (aged 23) and Maddie (aged 16).

We live in a 226 year old Georgian house which we are slowly renovating. We once had a note from an artist posted through the letterbox asking if our semi-derelict house was available to rent as studio space. Things have improved lately; the stonework has been repaired and we have shiny new railings. Just the inside to do now then.

Current CNPS score: 999

Header Image: Richard Bloomfield

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    TV stars

    Alice and I have been on TV daily since 17th January, starring in the Northlink Ferries ad which was made back in August. You did spot us, didn’t you? Yes, that’s me crossing the background in the reception scene (50 milliseconds) and Alice in the bunk in the cabin scene (0.5 seconds).

    I mention this just in case you missed us because tomorrow is your last chance. The final ad’s appear as follows:

    ITV Scottish – ITV News – 18:58
    ITV Scottish – Coronation Street – 20:45

    I’m sure I’ll get a singing part next time.

    UPDATE: OK, so the schedule they sent me wasn’t complete. The ad is still running, in fact I saw it about 5 times yesterday. I hope we don’t get overexposed, we could get typecast.

    Karaoke king

    Louise has never been slow to launch herself into karaoke with unbridled enthusiasm whenever the opportunity has arisen. She has even been known to win prizes, although I’m fairly certain that this was merely a device to cut short her participation in the event, before the bar emptied completely.

    I have a more reserved approach as I do not think it fair to hijack these occasions with such a perfect singing voice. This would undoubtedly intimidate the other participants and spoil their enjoyment, so I make the sacrifice and sit quietly in the corner with my Guinness.

    Imagine my joy when Louise brought home a PlayStation Karaoke game which she borrowed for the weekend. Now I had the opportunity to show my talents to the family in the privacy of our own home. I should add that this game is not like the simple pub or party karaoke machines: this actually listens to the singing and scores you on the quality of your effort. There are two microphones so naturally this becomes a competitive situation.

    I chose A Little Time by The Beautiful South which I sang as a duet with Holly. Unfortunately, promising though the game had seemed initially, it soon became apparent that the technology was not up to the job as it consistently failed to score my efforts correctly. It would appear that the mathematical equations used to analyse the inputs are biased towards the female voice, as all the girls and William (whose voice is yet to break) achieved record breaking scores, while I was marked “tone deaf“.

    Our PlayStation 2 is quite old now (we bought it when they first came out) so maybe it’s faulty. Yes, that must be it.

    Changing rooms

    I’ve decided to make another room in our mansion habitable as it just occurred to me that we need somewhere to put the new baby. That will leave just 3 derelict rooms to renovate.

    The process starts with the renovation of a vacant boxroom upstairs, earmarked for future use as the bathroom, which will temporarily become my office. Step two requires minor refurbishment of the basement room which was my office and the transfer of the kitchen facilities to this room. The baby is to go into the room adjacent to our bedroom which was formerly the kitchen. This room requires replastering, a new floor and decorating. Got all that?

    Did I mention that the baby arrives in about 6 weeks? What I need is a visit from one of those TV lot who could blitz the whole thing in an afternoon.

    If you see a dust cloud wander into The Port, get me a pint will you.

    Sick as a parrot

    Of course, one advantage of Louise starting a blog is that I may be able to engineer one or two extra minutes to update mine occassionaly without living in fear of being yelled at. If she’s got the time to update hers then I’ve got time to update mine.

    Incidentally, I didn’t mention that Louise asked for some proper, professional chefs knives for Christmas. I did get them for her but only after hours of deliberation, worrying about the real reason she wanted them. I’m sleeping better now, even managing to close both eyes, as her hormones appear to have settled a bit and the knives have had that clinical, surgical sharpness blunted ever so slightly.

    A couple of news items caught my eye this morning. Firstly, why was so much BBC Breakfast air time given over to that ocean liner with engine trouble? They even had a roving reporter on the dockside and filmed a passenger waving at the camera while talking to them on a mobile. Why is anyone interested in this? What about all the cars which wouldn’t start this morning, where was the coverage of that? Why don’t they do an hour long special following an AA van to Mr Jones’ flat battery? We’d all be glued. I’ll tell you why. It’s because some of the cruise tickets cost £40,000 a head and we all like a good laugh at other people’s expense. Especially rich people. By the way, how come we can build a space ship and send it a billion miles to a distant moon, land it safely and get the holiday snaps but we can’t get a cruise ship further than the Isle of Wight? It’s a funny old world.

    Closer to home, did you see the item on sickness benefit? One in twelve Scots is too ill or disabled to get a job. One in three people in Glasgow is deemed ‘economically inactive’, one in five in Edinburgh. Don’t you find this figure shocking? Obviously there are genuinely ill and disabled people out there deserving benefits, but it is also fact that it’s quite easy to get signed onto disability allowance through drinking and spend your days in the pub. All that benefit goes on fags and beer, straight back into the Chancellors pocket. And they’re going to open pubs 24 hours now? There has to be a better way.

    Go go gadget

    What a busy month (where’s it gone!), mainly sorting out the server problems, but I’m pleased to report that everything is ticking over nicely again (famous last words!). By the way, we did get a real tree in the end thanks to Frank’n’Steph who bought me a prize specimen 8 footer for Christmas. All good things come to those that moan enough.

    I have to mention the gadgets which Santa brought me – a new Wireless Broadband Router (I can see you turning green) and a Wireless Music Player (a Netgear MP101 to be precise). This is basically an MP3 player which you sit on your HiFi in the living room and it connects to the wireless network in the house. You can then search through all your music using the remote control and this is delivered over the network from your PC to the player. Time to pack away all the CD’s then. It’s a bit flaky to get started: you often need to reboot and manually find the network and music server when you first start it up, but once it’s running it’s the mutts nuts. I even think that Louise might manage to work it.

    Talking of Louise, there are ONLY 7 WEEKS TO GO! And we still haven’t decided on a name. How can it only be 7 weeks? I’m sure this has been the shortest pregnancy in history. She’s started a blog by the way, so now you can read all about the aches and pains, the piles, the constant peeing and the useless husband straight from the horse’s mouth. I bet you can’t wait for the full report on the birth.