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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    Back on the DIY

    OK, time to resurrect this blog! It’s going to get a new title and a redesign to use a lot more Wordpress plugins and widgets. I want to use Wordpress for a number of upcoming projects and I need to get up to speed with it so this is the place.

    Alice is one week away from the summer holidays and in August she joins Holly at George Watson’s so I’m making a concerted effort to get this flat finished and sold so we can pay the school fees and still eat, get a holiday somewhere and get the house in Constitution Street finished.

    Right now it’s time for lunch and Joseph Pearce’s beckons. I’m taking the laptop to do some research into how to fix this bloody leaking drainage pipe. I need to find a supplier of 60mm/50mm rubber couplers with big jubilee clips.

    Film Premiere

    Back in May I mentioned that our house was being used in a short film. Well, finally, tonight is the premiere at the Cameo and we’re invited!

    It’s only a 15 minute short based on a true story but nonetheless it’s a professional production. Incidentally, as well as using our front door, they also filmed in the pend across the road, the same pend which was used in Jude. I wonder if our front door made the cut.

    There’s a trailer which you can see on YouTube here.

    Update: We did make the cut: our front door was in the opening minute of the film! And we appeared in the credits! The film was excellent and very moving. Poor Alice was reduced to tears, but she recovered at the party afterwards mixing it with the actors.

    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.

    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.

    Make poverty history

    Here we are, almost a month on from the great march against poverty, and it simply hasn’t worked. We are still broke. In fact we are worse than broke: we have more debt than a small African nation. I have finally conceded that we are never going to win the lottery so the inevitable has happened. Tomorrow morning I take my packed lunch and slide gently back into the strange ritual of 9 to 5. I’ve got a job.

    It all happened rather quickly. Louise used to work in IT recruitment and last week she e-mailed the words “You’re a big jobbie” to several of her former work mates. Unknown to me, this is a secret cry for help in recruitment consultant circles and there was a swift response from one of her ex-colleagues: “Is Tony looking for a job?” Before I knew it I was suited, interviewed, tested and contracted, stitched up like a kipper by the recruitment mafia.

    I must admit that the part-time builder, part-time web developer, part-time house husband routine was not proving to be the most efficient way of tackling things. And, much as I love spending so much time with Maddie, she is starting on solid food now and this is usually a defining moment in the development of nappy content. I am probably stepping back from this one at just about the right moment. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen Holly and William for a few days this summer and there won’t now be an opportunity to do anything else with them before they start back at school in two weeks. Hopefully there will be enough money in the pot by October for a long overdue family holiday at half term.

    Today I am spending my last day of freedom with my builder’s hat on. Maddie’s bedroom still isn’t finished and Louise has warned me that she wants Maddie out of our bedroom before she starts bringing boyfriends home. I think she meant Maddie not herself.

    Can of worms

    Welcome to anyone dropping in from Diamond Geezer, especially as you must have clicked your way though all those links from A to N before choosing to come here. Or maybe you were just looking to book some tickets with EasyJet.

    DG must be the most productive blogger on the planet. Are we expected to believe that any single individual could research, write, publish, collate, index & archive such a volume of interesting information? Personally, I was convinced a long time ago that Diamond Geezer is in fact a team of Geezers, roving daily around East London on fact finding missions. Anyway DG, thanks for the mention. Even if Technorati did all the leg work for you on this occassion :-)

    Unfortunately you’ll not find much to entertain you round here at the moment apart from dirty nappies and baby photos. Yes, there’s been a recent addition to this family and she takes up more time than two Diamond Geezer blog posts. I know it’s self-centered, gushy, isn’t-she-a-beautiful baby mush but, hey, give us a break. It’s the last time I’ll experience this (I hope !), at least until the granddad stage.

    This week I have my ‘Bob the Builder’ hat on again as I try and complete the baby’s bedroom after failing miserably to meet the original deadline. The ceiling is down, the floor is up, the can of worms is exposed. Woodworms actually. Next job is to spray the little buggers then get everything put back together. I want to get this done by next week so I can resume proper, paid work before the debt collectors are at the door again. We’re also trying to get the wee back garden sorted out as we seem to be living out there quite a bit at the moment. I think we’ve set a new record for consecutive barbeque evenings in Scotland. It really is quite dry in Leith. Rainwise, of course, not alcohol.