Christmas Roadkill #2

Posted on 11:57
This is going to be a really funny story.. .Years from now.
Not now
Years from now this is going to be a really funny story about the year I FORGOT THE PRESENTS.
I'll be able to relate how I got all the way through to Glasgow, took the food for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, packed enough clothes and  remembered walking stuff for the hike we're going on, remembered best dress, remembered drugs, remembered pots and pans and even remembered the wii so we could set the Aged Mother up with the BBC iPlayer.
Then I woke up on Christmas Day, sat down with a coffee ready to open presents.
And noticed....
Big Oops

Then I'll tell how I drove all the way back over to Edinburgh .......

The Proclaimers seem strangely appropriate now...and no.  I have no idea what the video's just make up your own storyline now whiles I drive another 70 miles BACK through to North of Glasgow....

It's Behind You!

Posted on 11:20
It's Christmas! It's bloody Christmas already! How did that happen?
If Christmas was a giant juggernaut, forget about it coming towards me - it'd be there, there already; numberplate pressing down on my forehead There Already.

Carrying on this metaphorical cul de sac - I'm Christmas Roadkill.

There's a box of Christmas decorations that aren't going to get put up this side of Summer2012. The list of Christmas cards unsent is longer that list of cards signed, sealed and posted.
I have already resorted to wrapping presents in paper, any paper, whatever I can find under the stairs paper.
I have no idea what I'm wearing tomorrow, tomorrow night, or even, if  whatever it is is clean. Which is a problem, because I need to pack it in another ten minutes.

I could blame work; there's always too much of it for accountants at Year End. Yadda yadda yadda.
If you want it straight though, some years it just seems to get harder.
You know you're in trouble when the last verse of the Pogues gets you.

Hell, it'll be better next year.  I'll be better next year! Roll on 2012!
Meanwhiles here's the Pogues.
And here's to you too - Merry Christmas 2011!

 Tissues at the ready now....

We heard it first from wee Sean Batty on the STV news. There was going to be a storm.  In particular there was a storm warning over the whole of Scotland, but Code Red over central Scotland. Code Red means that there will be winds of over 80mph, and that there is a very clear danger of structural damage to buildings - not to mention any people around them.

Cheesetown is in Central Scotland.

Throughout Tuesday the Met Office and Metcheck and the real weather forecaster, the one with the English accent on the BBC confirmed that Sean was not winding us up; central Scotland was in for a storm of epic proportions on Thursday.
Sigh... why haven't I emigrated yet?

Trouble is, although our weather forecasters could agree what code red meant, no one in charge could seem to agree what this meant we should do.

Half of Cheesetown assumed that police warnings to stay off the roads after 3pm, meant they should stay at home all day.  The schools announced they were closing at noon.  Network Rail was cancelling trains faster than the information boards could signal the news. But my office was OPEN. 

The Institutes's adverse weather policy can be summed up as "Go home in the full knowledge that we disapprove and might not pay you later".This policy was self evidently not working. The Institute might have had a full house of staff, but no one was workingThe Great Snow Disaster of last year is still fresh in our collective memory.  We all know people who spent the night in cars in the snow, or six hours getting home in snowstorms (me).

Fool me once.... We were keeping an eye on updates from the Met Office and Scot Rail, we were texting friends and family to check they were OK and could pick the kids up from school, we were complaining about our uncaring employer; one thing the staff at the EERIE were definitely not doing was working.
At 11am Senior Management gave up.
We could go home as long as we took work with us and worked from home.

And so it was that Code Red for me meant I got to sit for two hours in a bus out of Edinburgh and reflect that any severe weather seems to result in me sitting for hours in a traffic jamout through Corstorphine. This is not how Code Red storms are shown in movies.

Oh yeah.. and today it snowed!

Schools Part 2

Posted on 19:51 In:
hogwarts winter snow harry potter
We live in exciting times. We live in times when Pandas are moving into Edinburgh. We live in times when man has finally figured out how to stop painting the Forth Bridge.
And we live in times when, simply through losing his father to cancer, the Cherub will find himself eligible to attend Hogwarts Academy.
Or at least a Hogwarts lookalike academy - if he wants to.

Did you spot the catch there? Yes. I've promised him that he doesn't have to go if he doesn't want to.

And to decide if he wants to go or not, he was to attend for one day.

For one day he was to get to sit in on classes and mix with his future class mates and enjoy some of the finest education money can (allegedly) buy.

And so it was that this morning I left him in the cloisters outside the school office with two of his potential classmates.  The snow swirling around the quadrangle, his future schoolmaster greeting him by name.
Cheesetown High School it was not.
Cheesetown High School does not have a quadrangle or gargoyles or paving stones.
Cheesetown High School does not have a view of the Castle
Cheesetown High School  does what it does, but it doesn't lay claim to producing well rounded invididuals to the highest posible standards.

Ah had ma hopes

And so it was this afternoon that I collected the cherub. And we have a verdict. We have a verdict on a day of public school education in one of Edinburgh's oldest academies.


I'm working on a translation of this...

For the record

Posted on 11:16
For the record, I am  travelling through to Glasgow on a daily basis; headed for either the Western Infirmary or my mother's house - and on high days and special holidays from work I do both!

You know how folk talk about getting out more or how they'd love to travel?

Yeah.  Be careful what you wish for....

Normal service as soon as.  Because I can't keep on like this.

I'll need to get the manager.

My first mistake was buying the dress off the rail in a hurry without trying it on.  Because it was on sale. Because I've always been a size ten... because I can always bring it back if it doesn't fit.

Apparently not.

The assistant has noticed a stain on the dress.
Now she's pointed it out, I can see a stain too.  However this is not my problem because it is not my stain.
Just for the record, I do not do stains.... well not in a long time, and certainly not in dresses that are too small.
I've refused to accept responsibility for aforesaid stain.
I'd still like my money back please.

The manager fetched from elsewhere, has however her own opinion on the matter.
Firmly and clearly, she points out that the dress is not in a saleable condition and obviously they cannot take it back.
Obviously?? Obviously???  Why is it that anytime anyone uses the word obviously, there's nothing obvious at all?
In my best calm, Voice of Reason, I slowly explain that I cannot see why they cannot take the dress back, since obviously they sold it to me in that condition. Obviously the stain is not mine, and obviously it would add insult to injury if I were to have to take a dress which is not only too small, but now apparently with added stains.

For those not in the know, I do a good line in self-assertion.
For those not in the know, I do a good line in silent waiting.

It took a possible full minute of silent stand off before I was offered a credit note.

A credit note which had to be used today.
For those not in the know, I do a good line in mental arithmetic.

Even so, it took me a good twenty minutes to put together items which came to no more and no less than the value of the credit note - because they're not getting any more of my money.  Pfffttt.
And yes. I checked for stains before I bought them....


Posted on 13:15 In:
In the coming weeks, we will be looking at schools. 
Well not you and I obviously.... The Cherub and I will be looking at schools.

Not a sentence I ever thought I'd be typing you know.

As a bit of background I have believed a my life that a fair society works better for everyone. That we're all in this together - and separating priveleged kids  or catholics and Muslims and Gaelic speaking from the rest at the age of five is in no one's interests. For every results league table showing the achievements of the private sector, I'll point out the achievements of the state schools given the raw material they have to work with.
And, hell, it worked for me.

And yet, and yet, and yet the Cherub is not flourishing.
Take any indicator of school progress you like, and the omens are not good. And I'm not just talking about the academic scores. Something needs to be done, and I can't make up this difference myself.

Dorrenfromwork it was who mentioned that the larger private schools in Edinburgh operate subsidised places for (Suitable) Children in Need.  One school in fact was established purely with the aim of helping "puire faitherless bairns".
This school, for her kids go there too, has so many puire faitherless weans that they have a commemoration day each year in the school.  And a school psychologist.  Along with a very tony looking library and science facilities.

A phone call has established that The Cherub is entitled to significant amounts of help in the private sector at this and other schools.

So I'll be visiting schools and talking to headmasters and guidance teachers, and comparing them to the Good Guys we already know in Cheesetown High.

And I'm not saying we're changing schools - but looking is free.

And his father will be rolling in the grave he doesn't have.  To which , all I can say is - Wayne you copped out. You died.  You left me with this.

It's been a hard week, and it's been a long week, and at some point I'll get round to writing about it.
There have been lies, and nastiness and a long running deception was uncovered.

One blog pal has already been upset enough to give up her blog.
Whilst those others who have found out are feeling out of love with blogging right now.

For once, I'm not joking.

To answer one "commentator" on another blog post: No Jane I am not having a laugh.

So it's good to leave that behind and refocus.

I found Haricot's blog a while back, and I've been enjoying the calm. I love the detail of Japanese life. I love the poetry.

Haricot's agreed that I can link to her blog. And I'm going to be heading over to Haricot's  anytime I need calm reflection.
I hope you'll join me there.

Design from Haricot's blog.

20th October

Posted on 08:45 In: ,
It's the 20th October!
I repeat - it's the 20th October!

Lying in bed this morning, hit me.
 It's the 20th....

This is the day that Wayne died two years ago .

And I'd forgotten.
Jesus H.

Two years ago today, he was under heavy sedation. He was dying here, on a hospital bed, in the downstairs front room.
Reassured by doctors that he could still hear, I held the phone while the NZ relatives spoke to him.

Not fully understanding what was happening, because he still believed it would be alright in the end, the Cherub sat in with his dad, joked about him sounding like Darth Vadar and talked to him about x box, and walking the dog, and pasta for dinner again.

Our Macmillan night nurse came in at 9. This was Marie's second night, and I liked Marie.  She read to him through the night. She talked to him too.

At twenty past ten,  Marie came through to ask me to see Wayne.
Who had stopped sounding like Darth Vadar.

Because he was dead, "Peaceful at last..."

Wayne died at twenty past ten on the 20th of October, 2009.

A year ago I couldn't even think about this day without crying.
Today I forgot this was the day of his anniversary.

And I think this is a good thing.

Sometimes you get sick of the view

Posted on 20:37 In:

Every Sunday now sees me hurling along the M8, crossing the Erskine Bridge, cutting round Dumbarton and driving along the shores of Loch Lomond.

Because my aged mother is fading.
 Not without a fight, and generally not without at least one argument with me daily. But she is fading, and You Do What You Can.
Which is, frankly, and let's not get too sentimental here, a lot more than she's done for me since the mid 1980's. But hey You Do What You Can and etc.

The stretch of road alongside Loch Lomond is one of the few highlights of the trip.
Scenic non?
And famous. One of the more famous lochs, if only because of some really trite songs pedalled about it and it featuring on shortbread tins and all.

Trust me though.  When it's been on your itinerary as part of a three hour round trip every bloody Sunday the novelty doesn't half pale.

Oh Maa-a-acy! Yi there hen?

It's  Bob, one of the Good People of Cheesetown, and he's calling round to check out this blog.  Because Things Have Gone Quiet Again. Hell, Macy might be a manic Glaswegian drama queen, but she's still Cheesetown's manic Glaswegian drama queen. And Cheesetown cares.

And Something has Happened

Tis boding not well and all that....

Macy??? Helloo-oo-o

The silence sits heavy over the blog whilst metaphorical cobwebs blow sideways and dust drifts...


She's no here.{ It's Bill Fromaccrosstheroad}

No here?
Naw, she'd a blog meet. Did yi no hear?
A blog meet? Macy?
Aye a blog meet. Like folks do these days an'a.

Didnae go well then?
Slow exhaling of breath whilst shaking head slowly.
More slow exhaling of breath whilst shaking head slowly. She's saying nuthin. Nuthin ken.  Just laying low. Ah think that blog meet finished here.  Scared she comes accross him again, yi see?

Oh, aye. She might be gone awhile then?

Nah, this is Macy, mind.  And from what she tells me this other guy disnae even know her real name.

How to Clear Out a Dead Man's Flat

Posted on 07:00 In: ,
A Foreword
Well I put it to the vote, and it turns out that the "binned" post the majority wanted to read was this one. I was surprised, and, checking on my statcounter, the vote seems to have been swung by some last minute voting from those who have not in a way the Silent Majority has spoken.

When I finished this originally I thought, first of all, that there was too much scope for offence being taken locally here in Cheesetown. I also worried that it was maudlin.  I've  since decided that the Cheesetown Mafia aren't too nippy around blog sites, and I can probably risk it. Plus, the Silent Majority has spoken, hey?

Looking back over this blog, I was struck by how few entries I have giving useful advice.  This latest is an attempt to rectify this. And, yes it's a bit on the specialist side, but then 18 months ago I didn't expect to be clearing out  a dead man's flat either.
Here goes. Ten hints for clearing out after the dead.

Hint1 There's no rush. Don't expect that you'll have to clear out household and personal goods immediately. Wayne had his own flat when he died. It took over a year before the lawyers were finished.

Don't bother asking the lawyers what's taking the time.  They'll only look at you like you farted, mutter about The Pension Provider, and charge more.

Hint 2 Mind you, having said there's no rush, don't leave clearing out till the last minute, when anyone who could and would help is on holiday. This will mean you end up doing it alone.

Hint 3 Gumtree, Freecycle and house clearing agencies are only going to get you so far. Turns out they're all choosy about what they take. And nobody's going to want a five year old telly. At the end of the day it's going to be you, the bin bags and boxes making trips to charity shops and the tip.

Hint 4 Take more boxes and bin bags than you think you could ever need. And don't forget the newspapers to wrap the dishes and glasses in.  If you do, you'll end up like me; wrapping it all up in Christmas wrapping paper you found in the cupboard. This looks strange when you drop it off at the charity shop.

Hint 5 Bear in mind that the dead can always surprise you. Who'd have thought Wayne  of all people would have kept all his clothes folded so bloody neatly? They are nearly all clothes you remember well.  And this was the  man who considered money spent on clothes money wasted.  There's going to be the shirts and jackets yoU bought him, the T shirts from holidays in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, the sweatshirts he's wearing in photos left around you. And there will still be the smell of him, soap and talcum and tobacco  from the clothes in the wardrobe.

Hint 6 It starts to get really tough when you come to binning the stuff that was important to him that no one wants anymore. Postcards, his books on Maori history, CAMRA membership card,  his list of Monro climbing guide carefully  annotated.

Hint 7 Don't rule out that in between the birth certificates, and CVs, and old travel diaries and photos, you won't find a love letter.

Which is not written to you (see hint 6).

A love letter written to a mutual friend who has kept unsurprisingly quiet about all this for years.

Hint 8 Use the anger. Old love letters to other people are actually one fantastic way of fuelling you through this. Bastard. Who cares about the music (couple of hundred CDs and counting), the tapes (all those hundreds of D90s dating back to London 1990), binned. Bastard. The books, the mementos of the Springbok tour protests 1981, boxed. Going. Bastard. The real ales guides, the travel guides, the dominoes, the Sheffield Wednesday and All Blacks scarves. Bastard.  See how you like it when all your shit is boxed and gone.

Hint 9 The living never fail to surprise either. The van man from Bethany Trust was round to collect the sofas and bed.  Turns out his partner committed suicide three years ago. Hung herself on the back of a door. He misunderstood the tears. What I'm saying is, always remember to bring tissues. It might not be just you that needs them.

Hint 10 You can surprise yourself. You can rise above it. I took a couple of pictures round to Her House,because she'd said she wanted a memento.

She'd always liked the photo he had hanging in the bedroom.

Last Chance to Decide the Next Post

Posted on 12:57 In:
Am I the only one in blog land who starts blogs, hell, even finishes blogs, but then decides not to post them?
Am I?
Is this a stupid question??

Look, I've got an ever growing list of unpublished blog entries... updates doomed to wilt unseen on my Blogger dashboard. Entries that I re-read and thought, nah..too gloomy, or half cooked, or (hivvins!) derivative... blog entries I might want to save for later...

Entries that my sensible self has decided shouldn't get published...

Sensible self - I see where this is going Macy, and I think it shouldn't

But, ignoring my better (sensible) self, I had the brilliant wheeze of putting it to the readers

Sensible Self - Both of them??

Yes.  We will have a vote.  I've listed out four of my  as yet unpublished missives. The deal is, you can only vote once.  All votes are anonymous, and the one that gets the most votes will get published!

Sensible Self.  And if you get no votes you will desist???

Nah.  I'll choose...

Here we go, what should get published?


Sensible Self - (Sighs) I think it's a good thing you didn't offer the option of None of Them

That's me (me!!), sitting crosslegged in the back row.

It's Yoga, don't you know..
And we are starting the class with three Omms, and then we will breathe.
Yep. You read that right. Next up we're going to be Breathing.

We will breathe with each nostril in turn.  We will visualise our breath, we will focus on how each breath feels as it enters and leaves our body; the colour, the weight, the sensation.
I will not think about bogies.

We will breathe in the left nostril.... then exhale sl-ow-ly from the right.
Then we will  repeat the exercise in reverse; in the right nostril.... and out...the ... left.

We will repeat this five times.

And yes, yes, yes this yoga business is totally out of character. Totally.  I know.. This is ridiculous. Bells, chanting, energy flows, pfft. Honest to God, this is so totally not me. Through entire decades of smoke and drink and late nights, I've managed to carry on breathing just fine on my own.


Well except for the heart attack.  Since my wee cardiac event,  I've reviewed the options and decided I'd like to keep breathing a while longer thanks very much.

So I've Made Some Changes.
I'm going Back to Basics.
Starting with Relaxation and Breathing.

And I'm not sure I'll ever manage the Sun Salutation, but my breathing is coming on just fine.

No laughing at the back there.

Not smoking... just sniffing...

Posted on 20:44 In:

 Sniff sniff... yeah I thought so.  

It's here.. The great smell of .. nicotine...

Other ex smokers have promised me that at some point I will hate the smell of nicotine, that the merest whiff of blue smoke will turn my stomach.

I am a long way from this promised state.

It's been nearly four months, and look I'm still not smoking, but I sure am sniffing. I am inhaling passively every chance I get.

The front of Haymarket station is surprisingly smoke free. Tesco's megastore out on the far edges of Cheesetown is much better. There seems to be a constant stream of traumatised shoppers, needing a calming cigarette whilst they check their receipts. Stopping off at the cashpoint down wind from the front door can be a heady experience.  But best of the lot is Morrisons at the Gyle. I don't know if there are more dedicated smokers there, but the front door heating seems to ensure that there is a constant stream of blue smoke through the slide doors and down the concourse.

But now, here inside Ikea, I'm getting great deep whiffs of continental tobacco, whiffs of, is it Gauloise? Djarum? Maybe Marlborough at the outside..

The source is obvious; it's that nice young  man. The one with the long dark hair, dark sun tan, and Spanish accent.  He's checking out wine glasses.  With his girlfriend.

I'm sidling closer to carry on inhaling.
He's moving off to look at storage jars.

I'm moving off after him.

I'm still inhaling,

Does he notice? Or has he come to expect that, since moving to Britain, random strangers will inhale deeply  behind his back?

How much longer is this phase going to last? And can I follow him all the way through kitchenware to curtains and soft furnishings....?

Ma Feng Shui is F*cked

Posted on 21:36 In: ,
Stuff it.
I've had enough.
I have had enough of setting records for the longest running string of bad luck recorded on an English language blog.
(New readers please note,  there's  been three deaths, one redundancy and one heart attack within the past 18 months.)
And I'm telling you, something has to be done about this.

I've decided it's the Feng Shui. 

 Not the most obvious conclusion I know, but bear with me. I have read widely on this and stiffed shui  would explain it all.  You don't believe me, I suggest you check out some links.

Apparently your  environment needs to be arranged so that the laws of heaven and earth supply you with a positive life force.  That's all.  You just balance  the yin and the yang - the two principles of the universe no less.
You do all this, and luck follows.

Previously I would have dismissed this as just so much guff.  I might have learned my lesson now though.
Not having aligned my yin or yang lately, would explain why luck hasn't followed.   Indeed some further research has shown that not content with merely failing to attract positive flows, I have found a home which is actively repulsing them. I have, for example, read and considered the following.

*Living near a graveyard means blocked chi. I live opposite a graveyard
*A straight road leading to your door invites evil energy.  I live at the top of a straight road.
*Bathrooms have a bad energy.  I have a bathroom!

From my readings to date it seems that  Cheesetown could be the Cherobyl of all Chi. No wonder things have been going wrong hey?

Something needs to be done. In my previous existence I happily ignored the laws of Feng Shui as so much mystic guff.  Now I'm ready to give anything a go.

What thinks you? I like these voting thingummies.  Have a vote and pass on advice why don't you!

He's playing with the big kids now

Posted on 10:18 In:
That's us burling down the backroad to the CAR PARK where I needed to drop off the Cherub ten minutes ago. He has an urgent appointment with the Duke of Edinburgh Team. Not satisfied with an earlier attempt which was rained off (Scottish summers... fill in your own thoughts here...), my baby is off camping again. A bus with him and twenty of his dearest pals is off to Aberfoyle for the weekend. Last time they tried this they were flooded out and had to return home at 2 in the morning.  This time they will get that Bronze award or... or I dunno develop some kind of fungal rot in the attempt.

He's nagging me. It never works.  I'm taking revenge by SINGING to KANYE WEST.

I'm also threatening to HUG him before I let him go on the bus.  Even if I don't get to hug him, it's fun threatening, just to see him change colour at the very thought....

The bus is already there when we get to the car park.... so I have to let him off sharpish so he can catch up with his mates whilst I park. I can catch up. I have time to embarrass him.

Except when I do get to catch up I can't find him.  And I can't find any of his pals either; wee Cam and Stu are not there. Forrie I know had dropped out, but where were Mark and Malc?

And The Cherub??

The car park is just full of swarms of youth. Not all of whom have hoodies, but y'know... they're all Big Kids.  Great big hulking teenagers, with great deep voices and matching attitude.  And that's the boys.  The girls??
Frankly the girls scare me even more.  The Cherub should not be heading off with twenty or so FHM supermodels.

But wait, one of the big tall lads is waving at me and giving me a thumbs up. It's not... wee Cam.....? But before the summer wee Cam was wee enough to be officially smaller than me. Now "Wee" Cam looks like he's not far short of six feet. So the blonde haired guy behind him is... Stuie??? Even wee Stu's filled out enough to at least look like he could carry a rucksack.
Well that's my baby - the one with the ginger blonde hair.  The one with the broad shoulders and big shy smile.  He's one of the  big kids now.

Relaxation Class

Posted on 20:59 In:
If it's Monday, it means that it's cardio rehab!

And over in St James' they take cardio rehab seriously enough that an hour of cardio exercise, is followed by half an hour of relaxation therapy.

We are learning to relax.
We are to sit in a circle
Wea re to sit comfortably with eyes closed whilst Kate our cardio nurse  talks us through a scenario which we are to imagine.
Whilst breathing deeply.

I'm good at imagining stuff.
And I'm getting better at breathing.

Today's scenario is A Walk by the Loch

This might not be a good idea.... all my walks were with....

We are to imagine the blue sky.
We are to imagine the trees around the loch
We are to imagine the sandy path

I'm trying to imagine these without the Nedster.
I'm trying really really hard not to think how much I miss walking that bloody dog.

We are to imagine the ripples on the surface of the loch.
We are to imagine the birds flying overhead.

And I'm just trying really hard not to think that any ripples on the loch would be caused by the dog drinking from it.

And I'm trying really hard not to cry.
And failing.

I think it's fair to say that I'm crap at relaxation classes.

All Change

Posted on 14:41 In:
The vigilant amongst you may have noticed a seismic decrease in my blogging activity lately. The truly perspicacious of you will have sussed that this has been the week I returned to work.

For those of us working for Eminent Institutes, work is very definitely a hindrance to blogging.

But there have been changes.
There has in fact, been a very significant change.

First thing I knew about it was when I went into work and there was an empty desk.

Let's have a recap. When I last left the office, Penny was in charge. Silent, brooding Penny. Penny who only communicated by e-mail. Which was disconcerting if you sat within three feet of her.
Penny who needed to control, and amend, and delete and correct. Endlessly. Penny who would take a ruler to measure the margins on reports, but who was unable to recognise the meaning of the content.
Penny who had seen off two of my predecessors in the previous two years.
Since she had been issued with a Blackberry, Kurt and I had got used to receiving e-mails sent at midnight or later.
From last year-end onwards I had been starting to have my own problems with Penny. Problems I may not have blogged about because, well really, how could I have fully conveyed the angst of the sales ledger reconciliation, the grief generated in the posting of deferred income, never mind the full horror of the great year end reserves reconciliation debate of 2010.
Some people may wonder if I'm not wasting my life.  Most days I would concede that some people might have a point...
Sigh. To summarise. Through the last week in April Penny and I were in the midst of yet another difference of opinion. This time it ws around whether to post member numbers on a cumulative or absolute basis.

I'll let you form your own opinions on that.

At our last meeting, Penny stormed out - whilst I went home and had a heart attack.
Which changed things.

A Lot.

Kurt had long threatened to have a nervous breakdown, two people had resigned in the past two years, but the possibility that members of the finance team would now be leaving the building on stretchers meant senior management had to act.
They held meetings with every member of the finance team.
They have listened.

Penny has been physically removed.  Responsibility for team management is now shared between Macy and Kurt.

And we have all agreed that member numbers should be posted on a cumulative basis in line with other journal postings.

It Probaby Helps If You Speak French

Posted on 21:53 In:
See what happens when you think you know it all? See what happens when you start joking about spending a night at Cheesetown Towers, emptying the gin bottle and belting out classic rock ballads?
See what happens when your blog is open to comments?
Just when you're in the mood for a great big wallow in self pity  someone, maybe someone called lx, points out that there's a different version of the tune.

Eh? Yes.  It seems that our repressed schoolteacher, Bonnie Tyler, has had another life as a lesbian dog trainer.
Yes you read that right.  Although since she is apparently a french speaking lesbian dog trainer something might have got lost in the translation so to speak.

What do we think?

Here's Bonnie as we know her, along with her school chums and assorted pet doves in the middle of a power cut. "Once upon a time she had love in her heart, now she's only falling apart....."

 Here's Bonnie rescuing lone hitchhikers and bringing them back to her doggie ranch....I have no idea what they're singing what with it being in French and all

I'm going to canvass opinions here.

Stuff they told me would happen

Posted on 00:06 In:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. They told me stuff, and I knew they were right.

I mean obviously you grow older.
Obviously things change.
Obviously at some point I was going to have to face the empty nest syndrome.

I just didn't think it was going to be like so soon. Nobody said it would be the 2nd August this year FFS!

Tonight the Cherub has gone off to stay with a pal for a couple of days.
Tonight for the first time in 17 years, (count them!) I got home to an empty house.
Check it. No dogs, no kids, nobody.


I used to quite like the idea of having a place to myself.  Things change.

Heh heh... I might have an empty nest, but I still got the photos....

Newsflash.  For anyone worried about the ongoing situation at work.  Penny has been selected for jury service. The ongoing joke at work is it could be worse.  She could be sentencing the poor bugger.

First Day Back

Posted on 09:11 In:
It couldn't last could it? Three months paid sick leave, taking it easy, watching the neighbours mow my lawn, wee  day trips out, unlimited access to the XBox. The game's up, my recovery is well under way, and on Thursday it was time for a Phased Return to work.

It wasn't all bad. For a start I'm only in mornings for the first couple of weeks. And the first couple of mornings were spent catching up with people - the girls in finance, the boys in IT, my pals in Central Papershuffling; big hugs from Annie in legal, more big hugs from Suze in Corporate Doublespeak. In between chats I had my e-mails to delete read, including several welcome back messages from high heidyins and those in foreign offices (hello London!). They've all been supernice.

And my boss, Penny, is on holiday.
Which is a Good Thing since rumour has it that Penny caused my heart attack.
This rumour has gained some traction, since my heart attack did indeed follow an acrimonious meeting between Penny and myself.
In fact, Thursday was the first time I had returned to my desk since leaving for a meeting with Penny three months ago.

Penny was not  there on my first day back, but sent an e-mail.
Headed "Welcome Back", and excluding her signature, it runs to six words

"I'll see you on Monday".

The jury's out, but the consensus is that Penny does not do supernice.

Still Got It

Posted on 17:17 In:
Three months it's been - count them, three months since I last displayed my talent for multitaskingCheck out my ability to dry my hair, whilst eating breakfast and simultaneously checking my e-mails. It is a gift.

Watch how I have retained my ability to make a tiny ironing board out of two dishlcoths and one square foot of kitchen surface, before ironing the skirt I am currently wearing .

Marvel at my ability not only to hurtle through every shortcut in the North West Edinburgh area , but to sucessfully apply make up at every red and amber traffic light.

Yes, yes, I know.  Some people might class all this as simply the inevitable result of Bad Timekeeping.  Those of us who have had meetings with Occupational Health, however, know that these are an important part of the rehabilitation process.  My phased return aims to Reestablish Working Patterns.

Yep.  Still got it.  

The Seven Links Project

Posted on 11:35 In:
Moving on as you do, and launching into the start of a new week, I've just noticed I still have to complete the Seven Links Project bequeathed me by Wylye Girl.
I was looking forward to this one before events overtook me last week. SO, let it be this week's Occupational Therapy.
Apparently all I have to do is list out my favourite posts in seven defined categories, then pass on the baton to three other blogs.
All passing readers have to do is  get hankies ready as we go down memory lane, then duck in case I pass the baton on to them!

The first category is the most difficult - I have been asked to specify "My Most Beautiful Post". Now Cheesetown has its moments, and isn't completely unphotogenic, but I haven't been waxing lyrical about the place.  Likewise there's been some beautiful  photos of Ned and the Cherub thrown up here.  But I've been asked for a beautiful post not a beautiful photo ...So I'm going to define  beautiful post as being one with beautiful sentiments... hem...hem... well the sentiment of acceptance in "The photos are GREAT" is bittersweet if not strictly beautiful.

The second category, "My Most Popular" is sadly one of my most recent. The aftermath of Ned's death, spelled out in "The Drugs Don't Work" generated a lot of comments - which would be one way of ranking popularity.  This "popularity" is obviously due to my readers being kind people who are concerned abut me rather than than sadists keen to watch the metaphorical car crash.

Category three is "My Most Controversial Post". Again I'm stretching definitions here, but I'm going to go with "For Gods Sake Don't Do a Post About Payroll, as it's the one most likely to get me fired if anyone from work were to read it.

Moving on to category four, I have to specify "My Most Helpful Post. Now since this blog came into being as a way of my metaphorically howling whilst nursing Wayne through terminal cancer, you would think that there would be lots more help for anyone else in the same situation. There isn't.    This apology is the best example of helpful I can find.

The fifth category is "The Post Whose Success Surprised Me". After yet more lateral thinking, it was a toss up between Making Lemonade with Lemons, where I was just surprised anyone commented at all, and "I'd Rather Have an Easter Egg which I initially thought  was too maudlin. (See what I did there? I cheated)

The sixth category is "The Post That Didn't Get The Attention It Deserved". In retrospect we have a clear winner in "Don't Read This if You Are Remotely Depressed"**. At the time I understood only that Ned's fits would get worse until they possibly couldn't be contolled any more.  In the end he was done in by the ever increasing drugs he was taking to contol them. ** (Looking back, that's a good by line for this blog....)

The last category is "The Post That I'm Most Proud Of". I like  Bruce and the Badlands. For all that it's a story about me racing Wayne back to the hospice as his condition had deteriorated, it has a germ of a good memory in that I was with him and we were back to the old jokes and arguments. It still makes me cry when I think back of going back to the empty car and the song we'd been listening to was still playing although Wayne had been admitted to the hospice.

Finally, assuming anyone has waded through the misery so far, I need to pass on the baton. This is difficult. Not least because, blogwise, I don't get out much. I tend to stick within a tight bloggy circle whose members have a disconcerting habit of ceasing to blog. There's a couple who have already done this meme.  Add to this, that in a forthcoming update I will be nominating my favourite small blogs too.  At this rate I shall be tagging random blogs which now you think of it might be an idea.

I have, therefore, come up with the totally brilliant and completely impartial wheeze of  tagging the three most recent entries in my blogroll. At time of writing these are:-

Trish at Mums Gone To
Speccy at Me and Mine And Other Bits
and  Gwen at Auntie Gwen's Diary

Cheesetown's Talking

Posted on 10:11 In: ,

Aye, d'ye see wee Macy off on a run? 

Macy? On a run?? Yer kiddin me..

Aye, that was her, ken.


Aye Macy! Ye deaf or what? She was aff oot along the old back road. iPod, joggers the lot. Nearly made it to the bridge and a'.

Withoot her wee dug though?

Aye withoot the dug... Cryin her eyes out.

Bloody shame that.

Aye bloody shame.  D'ye hear any more about her mother?

Och don't ask.



That was me.  That was me, tanking it down the M9, seeing how fast the Mazda will go. I'm pushing the old rustbucket to the edge.The speedo goes to 140, I've got 110 - 114 - 120.
And that howling  in the background, that was me too.  I 'm yelling "Yeahwhatyigonnydo What yougonnaedohey? Eh? Bring it on... Bringitonyibastardfuckingbringitonbastardbastardbastard"
I may or may not have been hammering the steering wheel.

But they've put a big roundabout at the end of the M9, called the Newbridge roundabout, and there's a 50mph speed limit with speed cameras - so I had to slow down and take a deep breath, and come to my senses.  None of this was big or clever - or even a particularly good idea since there was still one critter who hadn't died on me in the past 18 months. The Cherub still needs the odd steer to do homework, eat vegetables and get to bed before dawn.

Drugs. Drugs were called for. Bugger strength and fortitude and pulling yourself together. This needs drugs.
Drugs will sort it all.
And this being Scotland, I can get free drugs; free happy drugs from my GP's drop in surgery.
There is nothing wrong with this plan.
Zip. Nadda. Go to doc, come home be happy again.
Or at least stop screaming.

Luckily I was seen by the same GP who had been called out to the house to sign Wayne's death certificate. So he knew the history.  Even better he's a dog  owner himself, so he knows
He took one look at me and prescribed Citalopram. One to be taken last thing at night.
Except  I am missing Ned now when I'm awake. So I took one immediately.

......At first nothing happened. Then it all got fluffier. Fuff..That's me lying on my bed just staring at the ceiling...Fuff  Hey... kid will need dinner..I'm not sleeping, I'm not awake I'm just floating...for hours...
Fuff I am not fully conscious, but not sleeping yet.   It's  a schleep.

If I visited anyone yesterday I hope you noticed the pacific haze...Schleep typink..

I can't remember dinner last night.  Although I do remember watching the grill for ages and ages and ages. I remember phone calls, but am not entirely sure who they were from.

Today I will be on half the dose. And  glad that I'm only half as upset as my GP expected me to be.

Dealing with it

Posted on 13:20 In: ,
Best to be tough.  Because if I started howling I wouldn't stop
So I started with the clearout as soon as we dropped him off at the vet's for the last time. Bob next door helped me carry him out. He was dead on the kitchen floor you see.

His bed and blankets were the first to go.  He liked that bed, and used to bury toys and old bones in it.  Which is why his old santa toy and a couple of old bones fell out as I was putting it in the bin. I'm tough.  I can do this.  

And while I was out in the back yard  I binned his old deflated football and mashed up tennis ball collection.  He liked to pester me with those on the rare times I was gardening. He had his own priorities. He usually won.  Because he was actually the boss.

I even remembered to dig up a chewy he'd buried just the day before.  Wally and I watched him bury it behind the tree.  We were laughing because for once he didn't want his 11am chewy, and was saving it for later. We never knew it was because his kidneys were failing.

Back in the house I was ruthless with the big cushion he slept on the hall landing.  And toys he had buried under it. He was a collie, a working dog, he was neat. He kept his toys buried or hidden or lined up ready for use. It's all in the bin. Can't face the prolonged goodbye of recycling.

 His leads. Not that we used them. Ned was a dog who always came when called. Always.  And he walked to heel.. See the dog just waiting outside the newsagents?  No lead? Not tied? That was Ned. The leads are binned.

His pills - he was on 360mg epiphen a day.  It was the drugs that did for his kidneys. Binned along with a carrier bag of pigs ears and filled bones- I'd just bought a new supply last week from our fabourite pet shop thrugh in Milngavie.

New tennis balls?  Because on his morning walk he chased balls I hit with my tennis racket. Binned along with the tennis racket.  And the dog walking shoes and the poop scoop and plastic bag collection. Because there will be no more morning walks.

So no need for the new frisbee that he loved, or my old rucksack (I'm on a roll now), or the dogwalking jacket.

I found his squeaky duck toy found behind a sofa Have I mentioned yet how each of his toys had a name? He would be able to identify and bring ducky, chicken, ball, kong, football..They are all gone. They are all in the bin. Along with-
The tinned food
The dental sticks
The dry dog food
Both the old chipped food bowl and the new jazzy water bowl
The hairbrush he hated
His old towel - it's still got the mud stains from Friday...

Binned.  Binned the lot of it.

Thought I'd done it all.  Thought it was covered and I have griefproofed my house.  Then this morning I spotted two toys I'd missed. Hidden at the bottom of the bed.  Lined up perfectly.

And no amount of Bachs Flower Remedy is going to cure this one.


Posted on 14:27 In:
Ned died this morning.
There are no words for this.


I drafted this one yesterday morning.

Pam: Hello dear! It's Pam! Pam Goldie! Your mum's friend!

Macy: Oh hi! Pam! (I'm on beta blockers now.  I should listen to see if my heart makes a different noise when it sinks....) How you doing?

Pam: Oh mustn't grumble at my age dear! Macy pet, I'm phoning about your mum! I think mum's getting a bit confused!

Macy: Oh Pam, I know, I know..(hell Pam, I was the one who phoned you a couple of months back for this very reason). What's been happening?

Pam Well she's had a fall, dear. I can't understand what's happened.  Apparently the gardener found her and brought her into the house. And now she's in bed. But she says it's only a sore arm.

My mother most definitely does not have a gardener.. she may or may not have a sore arm, but we definitely don't have the full story here.

Pam: I mean I got her on the phone this evening, but she doesn't want any visitors. But she was saying you've been to see her dear?

Macy: Not this week Pam.  I haven't been over since I dropped you both off for your coach tour.  That was a fortnight ago.

Pam: I thought that dear! But she says she's seen you and you're getting her shopping for her! And you know she's not been to the doctor about this! And the nurse who was looking after the dressing on her leg seems to have been on holiday. I don't know what's happening but her leg's not getting any better either.

Macy Pam, she hasn't even picked up the phone messages I left. I was starting to worry...

Pam And she is confused dear! I mean she was getting up at four in the morning on holiday you know because she didn't want to be late for breakfast!

Macy Pam, I'll be over tomorrow.

Pam Oh that's good Macy.  Don't tell mum I phoned will you? She'll be so cross again.

My mother lives only an half an hour north of Glasgow.  Cheesetown is, however, an hour away from Glasgow.  Looking on the bright side, though, I'll have a good hour and a half in the car to think up a reason for my "just dropping in"....

You know I blame Dr Jacobs for my depression.  Thinking on it, I was all ready to write this post after my angiogram - except I never got round to it.
Depression, see? Dr Jacobs, all five feet four of him was the trigger.

I must be getting better because I'm writing it now...

So there I was, lying on my hospital trolley waiting to get wheeled into the theatre for my angiogram. I was chatting to Dr Jacobs,  my cardiologist.  It was Dr Jacobs who had been my consultant in hospital.

Dr Jacobs it was who first argued that yes actually I had had a heart attack, and since he was the doctor I was staying in hospital.
Dr Jacobs it was who had insisted that I stay in bed only to later catch  me coming back from the outpatients  shop.
Dr Jacobs it was, who had negotiated a deal that I am allowed out of bed but was to stay on the third floor; only to meet me at the front door inhaling next to the smokers...I wasn't Dr Jacobs easiest patient - and that's saying something seeing's how most of his other ladies were elderly and demented.
But we were still on speaking terms. Think of him as a wee man who likes a challenge.

Whilst incarcerated in St James' I'd argued strongly that I had get out asap - because there is only me for the Cherub. When I lost that battle, I then fought a further battle not to be transferred to the Royal because as his father's last hospital, this does not have good associations for the Cherub.  Dr Jacobs then knew some of the past history.

So there we were stuck in the ante room to the theatre, since the procedure scheduled before me was running late. I was musing on how it was typical that he Doctor with a grudge was the one scheduled to put a large knitting needle into my right arm. He was giving me inside gossip on the other medical staff and Nicola Sturgeon's last visit to St James'. When he said

"So Macy, how long's it been? Have you really never been out with someone else since W died?"

Eh? Try running that one past me when it's not completely out of left field....

Did I look girlishly out from under my long dewy eye lashes, before completing my Jenifer Aniston impersonation by sighing and asking sweetly if he was offering?

Did I sit straight up and as him if he thought such a question was entirely in keeping with the General Medical Council's Ethical Guidelines?
Sadly not.

Or did I collapse into an incoherent lachrymose heap? "OhnoohgodnoI'notgoingthroughallthatagain {SOB} Ohgodohnoohjustthethoughtofevenevenbotheringofeventrying tofindsmalltalkofeven ..shit... Idnon'tknow..whatyougoingtodo? Icouldn't....{SOB}Ohgodsorry{SNIFF} OgodIdon'tknowwhereallthisiscomingfrom{NOSEBLOW}

Yeah.  That'll be Dr Jacobs dealing a knockout blow in the final round then....


Posted on 07:30 In:
It's like a fog, slowly forming overhead, and steadily getting thicker until it blocks out the sun.
Until everything becomes  duller than you remember, or just harder to do.
The one constant is the voice saying "What's the point?"

And I know this isn't the most brilliantly original description of depression - but bear with me here. I'm typing on regardless of the voice telling me this is a load of crap.

It's not unexpected.  Apparently lots of bereaved people get depression (who'd have thunk it?), and the good old Heart Manual even devotes a chapter to the depression you can expect following a heart attack.

It'll pass - it'll pass because it has to.  In the meantime bear with me.  I have been visiting your blogs you know - think of me as the one sitting huddled in the corner for now.

Father's Day 2011

Posted on 18:58 In:
It's Father's Day! As if you could miss the reminders to buy a present, send a card, take him out ... For those kept safely indoors, anyone in possession of a radio is going to have heard the dedications to dads on their special day.

Except the Cherub doesn't have a dad.

Actually he did have a dad - a pretty good one.  One who played X Box for hours, always went in goal,and  taught him to swim. He had a laid back dad who was good for camping trips, and crazy golf tournaments and days at the beach.
So it's wrong to say he doesn't have a dad.

He doesn't have a living dad.

But it's a Big Difference - and the card companies and supermarkets are missing a trick here.  There is a surprising lack of Dead Dad cards. This might possibly be because you cant send dead people presents.
Or cards....

But we still need to commemorate his dad somehow.
Tonight, therefore, we will be continuing our recent tradition of Making Something Up as We Go Along.  In this year's ad hoc ceremony, we will be be lighting a Chinese lantern and hoping the rain stays off long enough that it rises over Cheesetown.
Wish us luck.

Welcome to the car crash...

I have a complicated bereavement. I was only reconciled with my ex, W, months before he died of cancer. Luckily (for him) I was made redundant and able to care for him while he died here at home - October 20th.
Currently getting through it with our son, aka the Cherub, dog Ned, and friends here in CHEESETOWN.

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