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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    Fat Boy Slim

    Weight Loss

    Almost there!

    After nearly 3 months I’ve managed to shed over 2 and a half stones (38 lbs). The strange thing is that hardly anyone has actually noticed, so I don’t know where I was carrying those extra pounds. The key for me was using Fitday.com and logging down every single item I eat. And I mean everything. Not even a nibble or a sip of anything gets past my lips without being catalogued. I log it down straight away so that I can always see how many calories I’ve got left in any given day. That way I can make an instant decision about whether I can eat something without going over the daily allowance.

    I haven’t been doing any more exercise I’m ashamed to say; that will get corrected in the new year. But I do feel a lot fitter. I was reaching the point where it was difficult to put my socks on in the morning or tie my shoelaces without getting a bit breathless. Last Sunday we visited a friend in the Borders and went for a bit of a hike in the woods. I took Maddie in the back pack carrier thingy and it occurred to me half way round that with her on my back I was about the weight of 3 months ago. Quite startling.

    If anyone is reading this, I need new clothes for Christmas. Everything is way too big now. The belt has tightened by 3 holes, or about 3 inches.

    In-flight Entertainment

    I’ve jumped on the ‘You Tube’ bandwagon and uploaded some of our family videos. I’ve embedded one in this post as a test and started a new category of links in the left hand sidebar called ‘In-Flight Movies’ which links to the individual movies.

    Click to continue reading “In-flight Entertainment”

    House Warming

    Some time ago I wrote about the installation of our gas meter in preparation for the arrival of central heating. That was over 2 years ago and I have to admit that the meter hasn’t clocked up a single unit since then. On the upside, we’ve managed to avoid the recent hikes in gas prices; on the downside, there’s not much furniture left to burn.

    In spite of global warming, temperatures are finally starting to fall, so, after 211 years, it’s time to drag this house into the 21st Century: I’m installing central heating. I’ve had the last week off work and have managed to install a few radiators and some pipework. Tomorrow, I’m tackling the boiler. These days DIY gas fitting is frowned upon (you have to be a Corgi) so I’m doing everything except connecting the gas pipe. I suppose it’ll cost me a months wages to get a registered Corgi to do it but that’s the law.

    I’ve become quite aclimatised to living without central heating and it doesn’t bother me in the least.  To be honest, I hate being too hot; on the other hand Louise simply cannot survive in temperatures under 100 degrees.  There is going to be conflict, watch this space.

    Lighten Up!

    A few weeks ago I noticed a change in the spam arriving in my Inbox. Instead of the usual ‘Vi*gR4’, ‘v1A6rA’, ‘vi4Gra’, every other one seemed to mention my weight. The spammers had started targeting me personally (which they weren’t doing before, obviously). Or maybe I just realised I was becoming a little too large.

    Nothing for it, a diet was the only answer. And, with typical scientific precision (being the nerdy type that I am), it’s working! You can see my progress (along with the contents of my bowels) here on Fitday.

    Film Noir

    We’re getting filmed on Monday!

    Well, actually, the house is getting filmed. A small boy is going to walk up our steps, chap the door and walk into the house. In 1930. Or thereabouts. They chose our house because it’s the dirtiest, oldest looking building around which “hasn’t been done up yet“.

    The last film made in our street, Jude starring Kate Winslet and Christopher Ecclestone, featured the church next door. Alas, no Kate this time, just a grubby wee boy in a cloth cap.

    I’ll post some photos.

    6 months later

    6 months have flown by.

    My father-in-law, Bill, passed away on 22nd November, so Louise and her mother faced a difficult Christmas. Louise misses him like mad of course. As does Alice. But, inevitably, life moves on.

    I’m now working full-time (as in PAYE, not on a contract). The company I was contracting for made me an offer I couldn’t refuse so that was that. The end of working for myself after 25 years. I have to say, it’s nice to know exactly what money is coming in and on what day and I don’t really miss the freedom as much as I thought I would. There is something quite reassuring to human beings about routine.

    I’m off to Frank’n’Stephs now to help with their wiring, then they’re coming here to help me plaster. And, no, before you ask, Maddie’s bedroom still isn’t finished.

    Maddie update

    Maddie 30/10/05It’s OK, I changed the dressing last night and it’s not that bad. I don’t think she’ll have a Harry Potter scar after all.

    I bought a new digital camera yesterday (Pentax Optio S45) which was a bit of a bargain in Makro. It’s just a budget compact so I’m not expecting fantastic results but it’s small enough to slip in your pocket. My ‘other’ digital camera is an Olympus bought second hand from Scott in the pub and it’s a 1 Mega-pixel brick. It’s also so fussy about exposure and focussing that Louise has never managed to take a decent photo with it. Hopefully this new one is a bit more ‘point and click’ so I’ll be putting a lot more on Flickr in future.

    By the way, this is the first post from work.


    Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

    It’s not that I can’t blog from work (their internet use policy is pretty sketchy), it’s just that I’ve been that busy I couldn’t even think about it. I’ve been thrown on to one crisis project after another. And the good news is: I’m back Monday for another 2 months at least.

    Maddie is progressing in leaps and bounds. She’s crawling about at great speed and starting to pull herself up to a standing position. I don’t think she’s going to equal her sister’s record of walking at 8 months but she won’t be far behind. Oh, and she’s come out with her first word: ‘La la’. Yes, she’s a Tellytubby fan just like her sister before her, so much so that ‘La la’ has preceded ‘Mumma’ or ‘Dadda’. Tonight she added ‘Bla bla’ to her vocabulary, much to our amusement, despite her earlier mishap.

    Today Louise took Maddie and Alice to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall for a concert of scary children’s music. During the course of this event, Maddie decided to have a crawl about on the carpeted floor. Unfortunately, she also decided to try and stand up and then proceeded to headbutt the back of the seats in front, splitting her head open in the process. Like her sister, she will now be sporting a ‘Harry Potter’ scar on her forehead. She did set a record though – the first aiders in the Usher Hall said she’s the youngest casualty they’ve ever had to deal with.