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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    Home and away

    The past two or three weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride, to be honest. We’ve been back from Spain for 5 days and definitely suffering from the post-holiday blues.

    Before we left for the sun, we received the rest of the amnio test results and everything seems fine. Trouble is that at almost the same time, I received a telephone call from my sister to tell me that my father had lost all feeling from the waist down while flying to Cyprus on holiday. Dad has been having a lot of back problems over the last couple of years resulting in a drastic reduction in his overall mobility and he had an operation a few months ago to try and help this. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to have happened and he ended up having an emergency operation in Cyprus to remove a disc. The good news was that it hadn’t actually severed any nerves, they were just badly crushed, however only time will tell how much permanent damage has been done. Progress has been slow since the operation.

    The whole episode has cost them an absolute fortune. Dad didn’t mention his previous operation when taking out the insurance. Result: insurance totally invalid. They wouldn’t even cover mum for the remainder of the time in Cyprus.

    I double checked our holiday insurance as a result and telephoned their hotline to disclose that I had cut my toe nails last week and one of the kids had sneezed two days ago (it’s amazing what they’ll link to a ‘pre-existing condition’). I also hot-footed it down to the post office to get an E-111 form which I completed and got stamped. An E-111 form ensures you get free medical treatment in an EC country, essential for when the insurance company lets you down (dad didn’t have one).

    Transporting a pregnant wife and three children to Spain requires military planning and I’m pleased to say that, on this occassion, the invasion went remarkably smoothly.

    The plan involved an early Leith departure and car journey to Luton, arriving in time to watch the beloved Luton Town FC play their 13th game of the season. Record to date: 2 draws & 10 wins, top of Division 1. Result: lost 2-1, first defeat of the season. As a result, I was red-carded and banned from ever showing my face at Kenilworth Road again. Jinx. Alice was, as ever, highly amusing as she shouted at the top of her voice “Daddy, is the referree that Urs-hole from the world cup?“. Not far wrong.

    The next leg required us to wake the kids at 2.30am Sunday morning in order to get to Gatwick for a 5am check-in. Those of you who have small children will know that this was not going to be easy and would be carried out to the tune of much wailing and groaning, especially from Louise. We made it to North Terminal in plenty of time and dropped off Louise, Holly & Alice, found a trolley and dispatched them to find the check-in. Meanwhile, William and I set off to find the carpark which we’d had the foresight to pre-book on the internet. I’d also printed-off the map and instructions to find the place, thank god: it was practically in the next county. They take the expression ‘off-airport parking’ into a new dimension, and only £54 for a week.

    The rest of the journey went without hitch, apart from Alice’s prolific use of the aircraft’s sick bags, and we arrived at the house in Santiago de la Ribera at one minute to noon. Military.

    We had a great week. The temperature never fell below 24 degrees and we only had five minutes of rain on one day. My Spanish was appauling and improved only slightly over the week. One highlight was asking for 5 cheeseburgers “to wash”, instead of “to take away” which the Spanish Burger King employee found particularly amusing.

    Back in Scotland now, the contrast couldn’t be greater. October holidays are great while you’re there, a late throwback to the summer just gone. But the coming home bit sucks.

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    2 comments to Home and away

    • Hey Tony, just found your blog! Hope everything is well with baby #4!
      I know what you mean about the hol blues, it’s great going away at this time of year but it’s even worse coming back!

    • Hi Gwen! Glad to see you’re at it again (blogging of course). Now you need to get Ali & Dolly back at it too. Oh, and get Chav Gav to post something on the Leither, the slacker.