Monday 31 March
I felt bad enough this morning (back, throat, stomach, mental) without a stand up argument with the driver on the X57 adding to my misery. I’d cross swords with him before. Basically, he’d failed to stop at a stop that other drivers of the same bus had stopped at. What annoyed me even more was that I was arguing that he should stop there only to realise when I got off the bus that it was the other drivers who were wrong and, as a result, that made me wrong. This gets me even more worked up as I stomped back along the Dean Bridge towards work. It really is no wonder people don’t want to use public transport. I’m sick and tired of drivers who don’t know where they’re going; don’t know what ticket to sell you and a local council who pays lip service to any notion of promoting public transport use.
One of the problems I have is that I’m a 45-minute walk, even with my long legs, from the nearest train station. If I wanted to go the train station with the GLW in the morning, I would have to change my working hours so as to get a lift to the train station. Even if I walked to Rosyth or Dunfermline Press train station I would then have to walk from Haymarket Station because there isn’t a direct bus service to Fettes. Which means I would have to go to Waverley and then get a Lothian Buses pass. I shouldn’t have to do that though, should I?
I’ve resisted the temptation to go home at lunchtime, even though I probably should. Thankfully, I’m getting a lift home so I can have a shower before I go to the radio station tonight. Maybe that’ll put some life in me.
Sunday 30 March
Most of the day was spent doing the crosswords and competitions from Thursday’s Dunfermline (De)Press, Friday’s Express, Saturday’s Telegraph and Daily Record and Sunday’s News of the World, Express and Mail on Sundays. You’ve got to be in it to win it.
Also had a good neb at our new neighbours. They may have a dog, they may smoke and they may come from West Lothian (WL van hire company) but at the movement this is purely guesswork. One thing I do know, they have the same lawnmower. The chances of them being into indie pop and board games are probably slim though. I’m just glad the other family has gone. It used to wind me up when they used to park outside our house when they had access to a total of four spaces of their own (two on their drive, one in front of the drive and one in front of the lawn). The kids are ill disciplined with parents who have no concept of common courtesy or childcare. I won’t miss the kids constantly kicking balls into our garden or the youngest one doing the toilet wherever he felt like it; whether it be pissing behind the bins at number 7 or taking a dump in their own back garden. They won’t be missed.
Saturday 29 March
The GLW and the Flickster had a birthday party to go to at lunchtime so I did a couple of CDs for Gaz of Jackie Leven and John Martyn, as well as some general pottering about. My mother-in-law came over to baby-sit as we had tickets for “Black Watch” at the Rothes Hall, Glenrothes.
What can I say about “Black Watch” that hasn’t already been said? Simply stunning, would do for a start. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it was the most amazing piece of theatre I have ever seen. After the standing ovation we left in stunned silence. The GLW and I were nearly in tears. The Glenrothes shows were all sold out but it goes on to the SECC in Glasgow for a week in mid April. Go and see it because you won’t be disappointed.
Friday 28 March
Back to work. Five of us went to Pizza Express for Nikki’s leaving do (technically she’s only gone up the corridor to cover for maternity leave but since when did that stop us having a “do”?) and then to the Police Club for a few drinks, which is handy for the bus station. Unfortunately the way the buses connect in the evening I can either wait 30 minutes for a D7 home from the Ferrytoll, or 5 minutes. Obviously the 5-minute transfer is a bit tight and somewhat risky if there are any delays. I took the safe option, got the 2200 bus from Edinburgh Bus Station and sat with my mp3 player for company at the Ferrytoll for half an hour. I was thoroughly depressed by the time I got home.
Thursday 27 March
Today we all had a day off for the GLW’s cousin’s wedding at Dalhousie Castle. The venue is near where I used to go to school so I know the area very well but even I couldn’t believe some of the changes. If there were any more houses in the Sherwood/Cockpen area, Bonnyrigg and Newtongrange would merge as one.
At least half of the GLW’s cousins were in attendance and I met people whose names I couldn’t remember and who I hadn’t seen for at least a couple of years. The day dragged on a bit as the moaning photographer when through his tick list of group wedding photographs – all the men, all the women, all of the bride’s friends and family, all of the groom’s friends and family, all the kilts, you get the idea…
There was a live band, who were just okay (the guitarist fancied himself as a bit of a Hendrix) but because I wasn’t drinking I wasn’t really in the mood to dance either. I didn’t mind staying sober, to be honest. Most of the time I find drinking rather dull and pointless.
Wednesday 26 March
I really didn’t know what to expect with the Jackie Leven gig. Having only heard one album and read of Jackie’s battles with alcoholism and mental health, I half expected to see some sort of dishevelled drunkard staggering on stage with a bottle of Bourbon in one hand and a well-worn beat-up old guitar in the other. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
After an excellent support slot from Doug Johnstone* (of Northern Alliance), Jackie appeared from the crowd, opened up his guitar case, got a couple of drinks sorted (lager and a double vodka if I’m not mistaken) and off he went.
*Doug's set was a mixture of The Ossians' songs, Northern Alliance songs and new songs. The approximate set list was: St. Andrew's Day, My Evil Twin, Question Mark, Patron Saint of Sore Throats/Dry Your Eyes (The Streets), We Hit The Town Drinkin', Tomb of the Eagles, ? and A Song For The End Of The Set.
Jackie kicked off with Elegy For Johnny Cash and this was followed, between stories, by Kings of Infinite Space/Me and Mrs Jones, Classic Northern Diversions, Here Come The Urban Ravens (Homage to Kevin Coyne), Another Man's Rain/Here Comes The Sun, Olivier Blues, Exit Wound, Single Father, Farm Boy (part) and Little Voice in Space/Bobby Shafto. The songs were interspersed with all manner of stories and witticisms with topics mentioned including the Norwegian fjords, armed robbers, weirdos on trains, his favourite episode of Columbo, Johnny Cash, Tony Bennett, Niles Crane, Laurence Olivier and Kevin Coyne. This gig will live with me for a long time and I can't wait to see him again.
I had been more nervous about the drive into Edinburgh and the search for a parking space but those were unfounded. I got easily parked on Chambers Street, although I think I broke the law on at least one occasion because a misleading traffic sign saw me follow two taxis onto Princes Street. I even had the luxury of having a not-very-nice Fish Supper in the comfort of the car before the gig.
Anyway, on the way back to the car after the gig I walked past Wilkie House, where I’d first met the GLW many moons ago, and walked up the steps at Guthrie Street. I heard a lot of noise coming from Chambers Street and when I got to the top of the steps I realised what the brou-ha-ha was all about. A group of young Goths (I use the phrase “Goths” loosely because they weren’t proper Goths, not the Goths I grew up with) were arguing with a man in his 40s/50s and the man then pushed one of the female Goths over on the pavement. She hit the pavement with such force that I decided to call the police. After giving a full description and feeling proud of myself for doing my civic duty, I got in the car and tried to work out how the hell I would get out of Edinburgh.
Not surprisingly, I took a wrong lane on Queen Street (again down to piss poor street markings that were invisible in the rain and dark) and ended up going round Charlotte Square. I knew I couldn’t go down Queensferry Street so I had to do a u-turn and finally found my way back to the road home. It didn’t end there though, oh no it didn’t. Just as I got over the Dean Bridge my phone went off. Instinctively, I answered it, only to hear the police at the other end. I pulled over! They just wanted further descriptions of what had happened on Chambers Street.
There was only one more incident on the way home. As I turned into Carnegie Drive on the outskirts of Dunfermline, from the A823, I saw a red car wrapped around a lamppost on the left hand side of the road. Now I know that there’s an “adverse camber” sign on the kerbside opposite but he/she must have been going at some speed to have such an “accident”. (I say “accident” but I don’t really believe there is such a thing. Accidents are preventable. When I did my Pass Plus course they always referred to “crashes” and not “accidents”).