Thursday, 27 September 2007

What's that coming over the hill?

In a desperate bid to get some more blog readers, or to at least entertain the few that we've got, I resorted to mind control and managed to implant the idea in Calum's mind that he should not in fact go quietly to bed as he had been told, but would instead dress up as Sully from Monsters Inc. and fall asleep on Lachlan's bed. If you want to see the results.....

Friday, 21 September 2007

Oh, the Irony of it.

Yesterday evening, I had a couple of glasses of wine because:
Possibly because of the wine, I neglected to push the little lever that allows the hammer on my alarm clock to strike the bells, thus creating enough noise to wake me up in the morning. As a result, I woke up about an hour later than usual and had already missed my normal train and would have been really struggling to get the later train, so Vikki suggested I take the car to work. Having the car also made it a bit easier to get to football at lunchtime so I drove there as well.

I was on my way home (in my car) when I heard on the radio that this week has apparently been European Mobility Week, and that commuters were being encouraged to leave their cars at home.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

SCAREd yet?

Well, you probably should be if you were going to take part in the Stonehaven Carties Annual Race Event. We went along last weekend to watch the thrills and spills at Mineralwell Park and enjoyed the sight of a bunch of idiots hurtling down the slope. Unfortunately one of the contestants was injured as described here which is giving me second thoughts about entering at some point in the future, although the blogging opportunities (the build, the events, "cartie-cam") may keep the dream alive. And then of course, there's the chance to take part in such fantastic surroundings as Catterline and Monymusk.

I took a few photos (below) but search for "stonehaven carties" on youtube for some decent videos from last year's event.

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Who does this remind you of?

This morning, I noticed a remarkable similarity between my wife and a particular children's literary character. Surprisingly, perhaps, she let me take this photo to see if anyone else can spot the resemblance. Answers in the comments section please.

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Sunday, 9 September 2007

An affa fine birthday

As a special birthday treat, Vikki got to look after the kids while I went running in the woods. Earlier on, she'd been to the hairdressers to get a nice hairdo to go with her new glasses, and I took her dancing in the evening, but a full hour looking after Lachlan and Calum was clearly the highlight.
The running and the dancing were part of the "affa fine Stoney Stomp", run and ceilidh. It was a tough 7 mile run in hot sun which I managed in about 64 mins. The last 1/2 mile or so was all downhill and turned into an almost uncontrolled gallop past the finish line. Well done to everybody who took part and a big thanks to the organisers and marshalls, and also to Christine who ran with me for a bit and kept me going when the legs felt like quitting. The ceilidh was good fun and we even managed to win some mugs in the raffle.
Click below to see the pictures...
2007-09-08 Stoney Stomp and Vikki's Birthday

Friday, 7 September 2007

Shanks #3 at 20 week scan

Look at that leg - do you think he'll play for Aberdeen?!

This photo shows the baby face-on with his hands beside his head.

Today was the 20 week scan and we were very excited to see the baby again and play 'spot the willy' while the midwife avoided saying he or she! (they won't tell you the gender anymore in case you sue them). We couldn't work out if it was a boy or a girl so I'm still saying he and Iain is saying she just to wind me up. The baby was kicking away and opening and closing his mouth which was so cute to watch. The scans have improved so much in 5 years! Everything was fine so that's a relief. We are now half-way through the pregnancy and my bump is getting a lot bigger. The midwife said it was normal for a 20 week bump so everyone that's been saying it's a small bump can get lost! So far Iain and I have agreed on a boys name (which amazingly for us we've managed to keep secret, even from my Mum) but he's not agreed to any of the three girls names I've suggested. Or come up with anything decent himself. Still, we've got time I suppose!
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Thursday, 6 September 2007

"We wanna be free to do what we wanna do"

We took a walk down to Inveraray on Saturday morning to get a few supplies, have a nice cup of coffee in a cafe, use the phone, and find a decent toilet. After that there was a bit of time to just chill out before we set off to meet Liz and Dave and their friends Dave and Nicola and to see:
  • 1990s - excellent stuff. The best band I'd never seen before. In fact I'd never even heard any of their music but will probably buy their album at some point.
  • The Fire Engines - not a band I'd heard much of before, but enjoyed their music
  • Bat For Lashes - felt like a bit of a change from guitar bands so we made the trip down to the other stage for Bat For Lashes. Refreshingly different, but got a bit dull after a little while (I know, I'm probably a philistine). Looked like she was backed by her mum and her little sister.
  • The Only Ones - back to the main stage for more guitar music by people old enough to know better. As expected, "Another Girl, Another Planet" went down well with the crowd.
  • The Divine Comedy - enjoyed this a lot. Good sing-a-long stuff.
  • Teenage Fanclub - Dave's friend Dave's favourite band and another fave of mine from many years ago. Buy their records, go see them, they're great. But not as good as...
  • Mogwai - I love Mogwai. What they lack in clever lyrics (or just about any lyrics for that matter), they make up for with layers upon layers of music which goes from loud to quiet to very loud to even louder. Top stuff. Liz and Dave both concurred that they were excellent and they hadn't really heard of them before.
  • Primal Scream were also good despite Mani getting hit with a cup of beer and asking the thrower up for a fight. I thought the stand out tracks were "Shoot Speed/Kill Light" and "Swastika Eyes" from the XTRMNTR album. "Country Girl" sounded disappointing in comparison. They kept "Loaded" and "Movin' On Up" back until the encore, then off to the tent for another chance to listen to idiots shouting nonsense and not getting much sleep.

"C***s are Still Running the World"

By the time we'd got down to Connect, made the 15 mile (felt like) trek from the car park to the campsite (twice), and got the tent up we realised we'd missed Amy Macdonald which was a bit of a shame. However, there were plenty of bands still to see on Friday:
  • Make Model - only just caught the end of their set. Wish we'd heard more since what they played sounded really good.
  • Stephen Fretwell - bloke with guitar playing miserable songs. Really enjoyed it.
  • CSS - nothing to do with Cascading Style Sheets thankfully, they were excellent. Bizarre, energetic, and very good fun.
  • Jarvis Cocker - Vikki's highlight of the day, Jarvis was wonderfully quirky. Waffled on about dolphins a bit much for my liking but "Don't let him waste your time" and "C***s are Still Running the World" were stand out sing a long tracks.
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain - one of my favourite all time bands and a great set drawn from all over their back catalogue. All the classics were in there, finishing with Reverence which sounded great. No dolphins.
  • The Beastie Boys - sounded pretty good but my interest waned quickly when they didn't play "Fight For Your Right" in the first few songs, so we decided to go down to the other stage to see...
  • Super Furry Animals - not too shabby but not a band that I know well so difficult to really get into at the end of a long tiring day. They played one song in the style of Teenage Fanclub which merely made us want to see Teenage Fanclub sooner. Left before the end and headed back to the tent for a night of disturbed sleep.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

It's been over 10 years since Vikki and I last went to a big music festival which may seem surprising when you consider that:
  • We generally love live music
  • I like beer. A lot
  • I like camping. Waking under canvas and getting up to cook bacon on a wee stove is one of life's simple pleasures.
  • I like looking at women in short skirts or shorts and black or brightly-coloured tights.
  • I'm not a huge fan of big crowds
  • Trudging through ankle deep (and deeper) mud several times a day is not much fun
  • I hate people who become obnoxiously loud and inconsiderate when drunk
Connect 2007 featured all of the above items and a whole lot more, much of which we didn't have time to take in.
The best stuff (as far as I was concerned) was:
  • the music - will post more but generally I thought the music was very good. Highlights included Mogwai, JAMC, and Jarvis
  • the Fyne Ales beer tent - lovely beer
  • Bumble puddings - the Sticky Toffee and Ginger Spice were brilliant
  • Inveraray village - nice toilets, a phone box, good cafe, friendly locals, great scenery
  • managing to meet up with Liz and Dave on Saturday
  • free hugs
  • the kids collecting the drinks cups and making heaps of extra pocket money
  • the blokes in tweed jackets
  • our bucket
Not so good stuff included:
  • the distance from carpark to campsite - this was a killer while laden down with camping equipment
  • mud
  • drunken idiots making far too much noise when we were trying to sleep - particularly the ones who were cheering as people slipped on the muddy slope in the campsite
  • not getting a mobile phone connection and not being able to meet up with Liz and Dave on Friday
  • festival toilets - probably better than expected but still not nice
Those are my general impressions. I'll list the bands we saw in some future posts with some more comments. If anyone happens to read this who was also there, please leave a comment - it would be nice to get some more impressions of the weekend.