CATCHING UP

Wow! I find it rather bewildering to note that my last entry was four months ago. Life has been such a whirlwind of events and emotions, so here goes with my first post of 2013.

2012 certainly ended with a bang and not a whimper, so much has happened in the last couple of weeks of it.
23rd December saw us driving to visit my parents in Stirling; around seven miles north of our house I was ‘flashed’ by a local truck driver – at first I simply thought that it must have been an acknowledgement from a driver that I knew, but very shortly after we were facing an oncoming police car with flashing blues and the driver waving us to stop. Once the following trail of cars had passed we did a u-turn and took an alternative route north. The diversion saw us passing parallel to and within about a mile of our original route and we soon saw a sea of flashing blue lights. I reckoned there to be almost ten with lights on alongside others, including perhaps two fire engines. Shortly after we were passed by another two vehicles racing to the scene with flashing blues which confirmed my fears that the accident had been particularly severe. When we were returning home around four hours later and the road was still closed, I expected to hear the worst, and news reports the following morning reported that a local married couple had been killed. Shortly after. Further news reports brought details of another fatal road traffic accident about ten miles further north on our usual route to Edinburgh. Three Buddhist monks had been killed, meaning that a total of five people had lost their lives on the short thirty mile section of road between our house and Edinburgh in less than twenty four hours.
Shortly after hearing about the second fatal accident we received a phone call to inform us about the birth of our first grandchild – Grace had been born just after one in the morning. Oh how happy we were to hear this news – half an hour later that was tempered with news that a sister-in-law had been hospitalised. The initial thoughts were that a diabetes complication had set in but a subsequent MRI scan revealed something more ominous. Later in the day we received the first news reports of the shootings of fire-fighters in Rochester, New York State – one of the victims turned out to have been a guest at a friend’s wedding a number of years earlier.
Since that Christmas Eve we have been so pleased to see that our grand-daughter is doing well, but sister-in-law died, followed a couple of months later by a brother-in-law.
Tragic stories continue to appear from around the world with a victim of gang rape in India dying and another Indian rapist having been killed with most women from the locality all claiming to be responsible for the killing – echoes of ‘I am Spartacus’!
Regarding my ongoing radio work I had the great pleasure of recording a show with wonderful co-host Colleen. The great feeling of being back in the studio and recording ‘as live’ spurred me on to seek a way back to live presenting. I have since recorded a second ‘girlie gatecrasher’ with Colleen and have presented two live ‘Lunchtime Reviews’ with local community station TD1 Radio who were brave enough to risk their reputation by letting me loose in their studio. The lunchtime show allows me to react to stories in that day’s papers and live news feeds on line. With the sentencing of Mick and Mairead Philpott, the bombastic rhetoric from North Korea and the death of Baroness Thatcher have certainly provided some emotive issues to discuss, I wonder how long before I feel moved to volunteer to take on a second lunchtime show?
Gig wise the year has been rather slow but I had an excellent trip to King Tut’s to catch the wonderful Scosha live, and I also got to interview her face to face for the first time after a number of telephone and Skype chats.
On another full day I left home around 4.15am to take Colleen to the airport, as the weather was quite severe following overnight snow I opted for the safer option of driving via the A1 to avoid the high ground. That was fine and we arrived on time having had numerous Traffic Announcements cutting in reporting blizzard conditions and a couple of road closures around the route that I would normally have taken. I decided to risk that route on my way back home as it seemed that I would be able to avoid one short closure, so I headed off along the route that included the locations of the two fatal accidents mentioned earlier. The snow on the hill got worse with altitude and I was certainly glad that I hadn’t been trying to get to the airport by that route. Having skipped the road closure, the same bit as I had been diverted from back in December which was blocked following a seven vehicle accident (thankfully no fatalities this time), I was getting closer to home – every mile the road conditions were worse with only a single track available through the unploughed snow. I did begin to think that it was quite ominous that nothing was coming in the opposite direction. Then, with just over two miles to go I had to stop as there were two vehicles stuck in the drift ahead. Had I not been so close to home I’m sure that I would have reversed and turned to seek an alternative route; as it was I foolishly tried to get past and for the very first time got myself completely stuck too. Luckily I didn’t have too long to wait and the Police and a tractor were on the scene in less than an hour. After being towed out we were escorted eight miles back north – in total I must have driven about twenty five miles instead of that final two. With my own car being off the road I was driving a courtesy car, not that it would have made much difference as I had taken the snow chains and spade out a few weeks previously when it got warmer at the start of March. I still had the courtesy car at the end of that week when somebody decided that it would be a good idea to ‘key’ most of the vehicles parked at the side of our house – at least I didn’t have the hassle of a respray for my own car.
Winnie continues develop her jewellery and absolutely stunned me when she showed me a recent creation. She had been asked to make a bridal bouquet for a bride with an allergy to fresh flowers – the fantastic detail of the her hand made flowers and wire leaves is simply stunning yet she was so blasé about it saying that it hadn’t taken much to make. That she managed to make it in such a short space of time is simply down to the fact that she has been steadily developing her skills and does find it relatively easy to do but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t something wonderful.
Amongst other things on my ‘to do’ list – more regular updates here, plus I still intend to add my gig and album reviews if I can master the ability to have more than one page!

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