Monthly Archives: February 2014

MUM!!!!!!! – the modern teenage call

I never thought I’d hear myself say this but I miss the days when my munchkins would shout “Mummy” or “Mum”.

Now don’t get me wrong they do still yell “MUM!!!!!” loudly on a regular basis, their tone filled with hormonal teenage menace, and they are invariably requesting the same thing as they called for in days gone by- sustenance( snacks, juice).

Recently however they have both changed tactics- one more so than the other. Boy Child, being the elder and slightly saner than his sister, will Facebook message me from his room requesting snacks – usually a tortilla wrap and Nutella. (He must have eaten his weight in those by now)His messages are short and to the point. “Wrap please” is the norm. His sister on the other hand varies her “attacks” – sorry request strategies. Sometimes she will text my mobile, at others she will Facebook message me but this week she has also been emailing me. The texts and Facebook messages are littered with smiley faces or stickers in an attempt to convince me to comply with her requests. Her emails though are being sent with “eye catching” subject headings.

The first one arrived as I was leaving work the other day. Subject- “I have sacrificed the cat”. That got my attention! Content –” Darling Mummy can you buy me a Subway on your way home because you love me so much.”  I drove straight home.

The last so far – Subject –“You son’s corpse is smelly”. Content- “Juice please.”

I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Where did I get that child from?

You May See Me Crying

Stirs memories of less happy times.

That elusive hour – have you seen it?

How hard is it to take an hour or two out of the day just for yourself?

I’m not necessarily meaning an hour to do nothing. In this case it was time to write the next blog and to begin work on the third part of The Imp (which is still in the pen.)

This week it has been nigh on impossible and I even had two days holiday from work which in theory should have made it easier.

Someone is definitely stealing hours out of my day when I’m not in the office.

Let’s start at last weekend- it was more or less a creative write off. A sleepover for seven hormonal screaming teenage girls put paid to the majority of it. You couldn’t hear yourself think in here at times! The remainder of Sunday and Monday disappeared under a huge mountain of laundry – the washing machine had died the previous Wednesday and its replacement arrived to a warm welcome on Saturday afternoon. Cue several days of washing and the house smelling like “the steamie” as I tried to get it all dried and ironed.

For a short while Monday night was looking hopeful but, no, it was interrupted by having to chauffeur Girl Child home from a friend’s house at the opposite side of town.

Tuesday  had already been pre-planned and I spent a lovely few hours catching up with a friend over coffee and lunch. On the drive home (I only got lost once) the weather closed in and, by the time I reached home, there was a pleading message from Girl Child looking for a lift home. Cue another fourteen mile round trip to collect her.

I had just settled down thinking that finally I had found the elusive hour when Boy Child messaged me looking for a lift home from the station. Cue another five mile round trip in sleet and snow to rescue him.

Wednesday saw me back at work. Thursday was Girl Child’s birthday so that obviously took priority for the evening. It was worth it to see the look on her face when she received her gifts.

Valentine’s Day, Friday, dawned and, after a busy day at the salt mine, I headed home to cook dinner and to do more laundry- where does it all come from? After a “romantic family meal for four plus cat” the Big Green Gummi Bear and Boy Child retired to the living room to watch a DVD (Planet of the Apes in case you were wondering). Girl Child slipped back into her bat cave.

I’d finally found my elusive hour!

I poured glass of wine, fetched my notebook and pen and settled myself in the warmth of the kitchen with my iPod. Bliss for a whole fifteen minutes then the cat came and sat on my notebook, purring pleadingly for attention.

I surrendered.

If any of you ever find my elusive “hour to myself without interruption” can you please wrap it up carefully and mail it to me. It’s a very precious thing.

The Perfect Present

Sometimes…just sometimes… in life you are lucky enough to be given the perfect present.

This happened to me on my last birthday thanks to the Big Green Gummi Bear.

In a way the present was twofold and if I’m totally honest I’m not sure which part I was more excited about.

So what was this wondrous gift? Diamonds? Gold? Designer shoes? A holiday?

None of these luxuries.

He bought me a record player.

The second part of the surprise was that he liberated my treasured vinyl collection from its exile in the loft. After more than ten years cowering in cardboard boxes up there those beautiful black discs had survived! They were still perfect!

Opening the boxes again after all these years was like opening a door back to my teenage years. (I did complain the albums were out of order and the Big Green Gummi Bear confessed the box had been too heavy to lift so he’d moved it in stages). In front of me, in two beautiful tatty cardboard boxes, lay my personal musical road map with all its twists and turns of genre.

Those of you who know me will appreciate that I’ve never been a fan of “popular” music but boy did I buy an eclectic collection of vinyl! Yes there is every Status Quo album from the late 1960’s through to the late 1980’s (my first musical addiction) but alongside them- now restored to its strict alphabetical order- lurk Chuck Berry, Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Def Leppard, Enya, Huey Lewis  and the News and I’ll even confess to Kajagoogoo plus many more. The box of 7” singles is even more varied or worse depending on your personal taste. Amidst a plethora of Quo there’s Diana Ross, ACDC, Wham (why did I ever buy that?), the Boomtown Rats, Iron Maiden, Alvin Stardust and The Love Theme from The Thorn Birds tv series. Each and every one holding its own special place in my heart for a myriad of reasons.

Sliding the precious black grooved disc out of its sleeve and placing it carefully on the turntable for the first time in many years was a wonderful feeling. That little crackle the stylus gives as it finds the track. Ah the tiny sounds of nostalgia! I love them! The novelty of having to turn the disc over to hear the other tracks. The hilarity of explaining double albums to a 21st century teenager when I said the track being played was on side 4. Watching my children discovering the joys of vinyl- even if it did take Boy Child six months to touch it for fear of damaging something.

This re-discovery of my love of music has opened the flood gates. They were already in the process of being prised open but that’s a tale for another blog. All I can say with certainty is that they are most definitely open wide now!

So over the years have my tastes changed since I was saving up my pocket money or scrimping and saving the change from my school lunch money in order to buy the latest release in Woolworths on a Saturday? Not in the slightest! It’s still rock and metal all the way with a healthy dose of folk, country and the obscure thrown in.

And the best find in the magic box? Well it has to be “Appetite of Destruction” by Guns N Roses. Still as fresh over a quarter of a century down line. Timeless …… and the first one I played when I received the best birthday gift ever.


And we’ve survived “the Festival”for another year

If you are a parent, teacher or school pupil within the Inverclyde area then the third week in January can only mean one thing – time for the “Festival.”

This year saw the Inverclyde Music Festival celebrate its centenary year- quite an achievement. The first Festival was a two day event – 25-26 April 1914 – and was held in Greenock’s Town Hall. A century later it is a two week event and is still held in Greenock’s Town Hall. From the tiny tots in Primary 1 right through to adults, the Festival attracts competitors of all ages. It covers a vast range of talents- speech, drama, country dancing, instrumentals, ensembles, choirs, soloists, duets, Burns song and verse. Over the entire two weeks it caters for every taste.

Now I’ll be honest as a child it terrified me. I was “the child” whose mother had to write a letter to the teacher saying I was too scared to step out on that stage. I finally overcame that fear and sang – badly most likely- in the school choir when I was about thirteen. Never again!

Add a few years and I have become the parent. Taking my lunch break at 10:30am to run along to the Town Hall to support either Boy Child, Girl Child or both as they competed with their primary school class in Action Songs  or Singing Games. Add another few very short years and they ventured into the Brass category. Sitting up on the balcony in the main Town Hall or on a seat in the Saloon (a slightly smaller hall) watching your baby play solo is nerve wracking. I was sick with nerves every time. Listening to them play as part of an ensemble, band or orchestra is only slightly less nerve wracking.

Girl Child and her French horn endured a love/hate relationship for almost four years before she handed it back and bowed gracefully out of the arena. Boy Child still plays with multiple bands – he plays trumpet – and appeared three times at this year’s Festival. His school concert band even won their class and a huge silver cup this year! He may be almost six feet tall but when I’m watching him on that stage he’s still my baby boy.

The Festival is now over for another year – “Thank heavens for that!” cries every school teacher and music tutor for miles around who have practically lived in the Town Hall for a fortnight – and next year will likely be Boy Child’s last year performing.

This centenary year also marked a personal milestone. The Big Green Gummi Bear finally came to hear Boy Child perform as part of Inverclyde Schools Wind Orchestra at the Centenary Concert. It was the first time he had seen him out on stage- I hope it won’t be the last…time will tell.


The poem below was inspired by previous trips to the Town Hall for both the Festival and various concerts.


Maybe This Time

Excitement building

The audience take their seats

The lights dim

The concert band take to the stage


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – no one there


The concert band play

Music fills the hall

With parental pride the audience applaud

With a bow of thanks the band are gone


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – still no one there


Time moves on – more groups perform

The talent and confidence shared.

Soloists and duets; quartets and strings

Achievement and success abound


Next to me an empty seat

A glance to the doorway – still no one there


Finally the orchestra take to the stage

More formal and precise than before

String, woodwind and brass ring true

A standing ovation well earned


Next to me an empty seat

A final glance to the doorway –

Was that a shadow moving away?

If you are interested in learning more about the Inverclyde Music Festival Association and its hundred year history you can find the whole story on their web site –