Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
Have a great Hogmanay wherever you are, and our best for 2009.

Lee, Lorna and Kit.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Yes, it's a pumpkin.

Yes, it's a pumpkin.
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
So, Happy Hallowe'en then. We have had no guisers which suits me fine. I don't have to stand there feeling awkward in my own house while neds in "Scream" masks tell a joke then demand money, and I get to eat all the Haribo Lorna bought "just in case".
We were in North Berwick this afternoon visiting the Cambridge family who have been staying in a lovely little house overlooking the beach. It was dead windy and the waves were very impressive if you could stay outside more than 3 seconds in the cold to look at them.

Here's a funny story to finish on tonight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
Another rehearsal night tonight, and we have been told that Sunday night is to be our last with scripts...pffft, yeah, right.
Tomorrow night is the school Hallowe'en disco, where traditionally every year terrifying ghosts, demons and witches gather to eat Haribo and slide around the gym hall.
P7 went to The Risk Factory today, an Edinburgh initiative which is really good - fill a warehouse with 12 areas dedicated to different ways to die then force the children to move through each zone getting picked off by the fire / building site / stabby stranger / tractor wheels / electricity substation and so on. Think Crystal Maze but with more phrases like, "That could have been YOU , you know...."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nearly Christmas

Susan Was Here
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
In service day today, frighteningly concerning the Hallowe'en disco, nativity play and arrangements for decorating the gym hall with festive doors. Yes, festive doors.
Back to cycling tomorrow, and I'm battened down for the winter with all lights and thermals, brr. Edinburgh continues to be in the grip of tram roadworks - only the most hardened of drivers dare venture onto the roads these mornings. The end of our road is blocked off just now, and despite three huge yellow signs warning drivers not to try to use it they still drive along before making angry u-turns while waving their tiny fists at the barriers in their way.
Lorna has a cold and is off to bed with her book and a hot water bottle. Kit (Dr. NO) was using the "pooter" mouse today but still can't get in my Bookmarks to track down the Balamory sing-a-long website. Thank goodness.

It's here, incase you feel the need for a Hoolie.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where wind comes from...

Where wind comes from...
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
We have had some fantastic blow-you-off-your-feet-if-you're-two weather over the past couple of days. I spent the morning yesterday in the National Portrait Gallery looking at busts (ahem) and other such art. My favourite was Three Oncologists, creepy and funny at the same time. Respect to the subjects for agreeing to be portrayed like that. Meanwhile Lorna was at home talking loudly about shoes with one of her friends.
Off to a family gathering this afternoon as Jimmy and Jess celebrate 20 years of marriage. Congratulations to them. Then to rehearsals for me; I'm in the next Barony show and it's only 6 weeks away, gulp.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The definition of useless and helpless

When your young son brings you 3 soggy bits of burst balloon and say, "Daddy fix it......."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Worried for the visitors...

I have a little gizmo which tells me when people have been visiting this blog, and how they got here. It's purely for fun, but reveals interesting and disturbing facts about them...

The most popular post by far is this one...

Not much to look at, really, a pun and a picture. But the number of people who think the actor's name is really spelt "Christopher Walkin" means Google send them straight there...

And the worrying part?

This page is extremely popular with people using the search term "strange vagina". Start worrying about the

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Harbour sunset

Harbour sunset
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
So we made it home safe and sound. The week was a success, we both saw huge leaps with Kit as far as his vocabulary and independence go. Too hot for me, fine for Lorna. Our next trip away is to the slightly more familiar setting of the Highlands.

Lorna writes... "We arrived in Dubrovnik just in time for the opening of the summer festival. Kit was able to listen to the choir and orchestra rehearsing for that night's ceremony..."lovely music"! It turned out that Kit could be the life and soul of the party. He made friends with 8 year-old Mateus and spent most of the night chasing, or being chased, around a tree. He knows how to live it up! The following night, after throwing stones with daddy at Copacabana beach, we went for a drink in the bar and listened to 'Music Man'. He was a typical cheesy hotel bar entertainer with footballer perm and tight white t-shirt and jeans, but he could play and Kit thought that he was a 'clever man'. Kit was too shy to dance (that night) but was in for a bit of hand jiving! Most mornings were spent relaxing around the pool or trying to steal other kids toys, like the inflatable crocodile (Rhys's). One morning we had to take Kit to the toy shop to buy a ball as Kit insisted that Sam's ball was his. The usual story for a 2 year-old! Kit did fall in love....with Jessica, a 16 year-old Albanian. Her brother, Henne (12) was pretty cool too! On Sunday we took a boat trip to the 3 Elaphiti islands....too hot for Lee! Towards the end of the holiday we spent a lot of time in Dubrovnik again when we were able to climb the old city walls. We focussed on the most picturesque East side and Lee had a field day with the views, somehow managing to click away one minute and have Kit on his shoulders the next. We also had some really good photo shoots at the pier with Kit being spun round on his reins! All in all it was a perfect holiday for the wee man!"

'Bout sums it up.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quick Hi from Dubrovnik

Please forgive anz spelling mistakes, itćs a funnz Croat kezboard and Ićm not going to waste hired internet time searching for kezs....

So, itćs hot. Reallz hot in a waz which makes Lorna happz and me grumpz. We have enjozed ourselves round the pool and Kit now runs and jumps in the water whether we are looking or not. I have saved his life manz, manz times alreadz which he will be reminded of forever.

Dubrovnik is not the most child friendlz place we could have come. That would be BUtlins, but wećre not going there for other reasons. No, our minor issues come from the fact that thez do not recognise a need for kidsć chairs, half portions or childrenćs menus. Apart from that itćs great, though I have sunburn on mz shoulders where mz factor 50 got rubbed off bz too manz of Kitćs swimming pool cuddles...

Itćs nice to plaz spot the Scot, searching for the doughz people amongst the tanned bodies of the real Europeans. Home soon to moan about the rain instead of the heat.

And where is that Z kez anzwaz?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
On Sunday 13th July this picture is set to appear in the Sunday Mail's "20 Things Every Scot must see" pull out poster...

Part of me thinks it's a shamefully cheap way to produce a newspaper, and that I am doing a professional photographer out of a commission.

The rest of me is quite chuffed...

Monday, June 09, 2008

The League of Barely Perceptible Salutations

It's another cycling post I'm afraid. It has been very interesting (to me) watching the numbers of cyclists increase as the year has gone one. The better weather helps for certain, and on good days there are easily 5 times more bikes on the cycle paths than on wet ones. But I reckon there's a cost implication too, as the ludicrous price of petrol continues its slow bite and people actually begin to experiment with having some money at the end of the month again.
Of course, there is a clear divide between "real" cyclists, the ones with the 1000 yard stare who talk bravely about their experiences cycling in "January", and the new wave of Johnny-come-lately fair-weather lightweight...well, you know. This leads to a kind of sneering bike-snobbery, mainly from people like me, which is unfortunately demonstrating that "road rage", the name given to the act of hitting someone over the head with your wheel brace until they stop moving, is badly named. It's simply "human rage", because it's beginning to infect the formerly friendly, tranquil lanes wending their gentle way through Granton and Drylaw.
It's caused by exactly the same issues as car-human-rage... bad indicating, refusing to give way and all the other petty but actually-very-serious-at-7-in-the-morning trangressions which make you want to...well...hit someone over the head with your bicycle pump until they stop moving. And that would take a while, pumps are not heavy. And you'd have to chase them, sort of like jousting.
Anyway, the in-crowd of the cycle ways can identify each other by the way they refuse to actually ever say hello, and seem to dread being seen to be friendly. But there is also the fear of being seen to be unfriendly, leading to a greeting which falls somewhere between a shrug, a twitch and something in your eye. Hill walkers will be familiar with the concept that the only two people for miles can pass each other in the middle of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula with only a grunt and a wry look to the rain clouds. Any more than that is simply being over familiar. Well, it's the same kind of thing. Heaven help the loser who actually tries to form the word "hello" or dare to identify the time of day with a mumbled "Morning" or "Afternoon". But conversely the regulars expect some sort of greeting which is where the Barely Perceptible Salutation comes in. You can't be taught it, you have to earn it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Forth's on Fire

The Forth's on Fire
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
We got quite the sunset last night. On my way home from collecting scenery for our school show I stopped off in South Queensferry for a snap or two.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Snails thinking

Snails thinking
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
These guys caught up with me and suggested it was time for an update. Yes, ok, it is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Budapest - The Thursday

Ok, let's get the incredulous looks and eye-rolling over with first: yes, I left Lorna in Scotland on Valentine's Day to spend a couple of nights with "the lads" in Budapest. Right. Let's say no more about it.

Unfortunately when I booked my bargain Ryanair £70 return tickets (including "priority boarding"...) I foolishly thought that a 9.05am flight from Prestwick would be easy to make on time, only travelling from Edinburgh and Scotland's travel infrastructure being so good. So, cut to 3am on the 14th of February to see me catching the night bus into Waverly to make the 3.30am bus to Prestwick, arriving at 5.30am. Any other way would have got me there after check-in had closed. I was vindicated when the bus passengers were more Hungarian than Scot. Still, plenty of time to check in and bask in the early morning light. Of WHSmith's fridge.

Priority boarding worked a treat. It was worth the £3 just to see the poor people being shunted out of my queue. See ya, suckers!

A difficult languageCalum was due to pick me up at 1.30pm in Budapest, so when Ryanair announced with a trumpet fanfare (really) that they were 25 minutes early and Calum's text revealed he would be a half hour late, this left me an extra hour in the airport to...well, hide. It was only once on Hungarian soil that I realised my complete lack of any knowledge of the language or culture, a combination which in many places can get you shot. Apparently blowing your nose then checking the hankie can get you kneecapped in Turkey, and wars have started in Eastern Asia over the "pull my finger" joke. I thought it safer to sit clutching my bag and avoiding eye contact for the time being. I guess international sign language was always available to me but hungry as I was, I just couldn't bring myself to point at a piece of pizza while rubbing my tummy and offering my wallet. Not only would that require three hands, what if he asked me whether I wanted a bag? It was unlikely he would reciprocate by rubbing the bag seductively while winking at me.

Calum arrived in time to save me from an international incident and set about showing me the city. Unexpectedly one of the highlights came a few moments later - the appropriately named (by me) "Porn Guy". Where some people were begging from the cars as they sat in traffic, and others tried with little success to sell flowers, Porn Guy had gone one further and was selling roadside dirty magazines. He was draped with them, hanging from strings round his neck, filling both hands and surrounding him in grubby piles. I would have taken a picture but traffic was flowing freely and Calum unkindly refused to reverse back up the dual carriageway.

We then spent a cultural, relaxing afternoon visiting some of the sights of central Budapest, including...

Heroes' Square, Budapest
Heroes' Square
Basilica of St.Stephen (Szent István Bazilika)
The Basilica of St.Stephen
Chain Bridge, Budapest
The Chain Bridge
The Parliament Building, Budapest
The Parliament, and also spent some time dwelling over
this Holocaust memorial on the banks of the Danube.

(I had decided to go all out on the tourist thing so clicked away with my nice new camera with carefree abandon. Then came home, deleted 80% of the guff and crowed over the ones I liked.)

Jon and Mark's journey from Toulouse to Paris to Munich to Budapest (makes me seem a little petty for moaning about the early bus, doesn't it?) had encountered fog, and after a short spell worrying they might not make it at all we learned they would actually be a couple of hours late, allowing Calum and I time to eat before picking them up. His Hungarian is very good after 4 years in the country which made me remarkably more confident, even smiling at waiters and visiting the toilet on my own.

Having collected them from the airport we headed back to Calum and Zsanett's flat, politely ignoring the bulldozer knocking down the house next door. That evening the five of us went to a very traditional little restaurant hand picked for its authenticity where we ate soup (very big in Budapest) followed by a stew with rice and roast vegetables. And pickled cucumber. Mark made the mistake of tasting his cabbage garnish first and was not allowed to forget it. Making tiny mistakes and getting hammered for it is a running theme when we get together, so much so it's a wonder anybody dares talk at all. Many beers later we returned home to sort out sleeping places, Zsanett having wisely gone to her Mum's for the duration to leave us to it.

I'll do the day 2 write up tomorrow. To rush it now would be a true injustice to a most enjoyable and surreal day. Until then you can read Jon's take on events here...>

Friday, February 08, 2008

A visit from Grandad

Kit and Grandad
Originally uploaded by tcatcarson
Lorna managed to lure her dad up to the house today with the promise of a ham sandwich...and the realisation that we hadn't actually seen him yet this year! So he caught the bus up to us and spent the afternoon playing with Kit.

He and Jess have taken a big step recently, getting passports and booking their first ever foreign holiday...and then booking their second too. They will go by coach, by way of the Superfast ferry, first to Switzerland in June and then a tour of the Rhine in October for their 20th anniversary. Really it should be China for a 20th, but one step at a time, I guess.

I am on holiday for a week now and head for Budapest on Thursday to visit Calum, conveniently the same time as Jon and Mark will be there. I'm only away for two nights but one of those is Valentine's Day. Oops, not good timing...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bad translations - thanks, Ulrike!

OUr friend in Germany, Ulrike, has a blog. I found it the other day, and decided the easy thing would be to translate it using the world famous Babelfish site.

Now, perhaps Ulrike spelled the odd word wrong. Perhaps she uses a lesser known dialect or unusual writing style. More likely though, is that Babelfish isn't all that good. Here is the translation of a recent made me laugh. Thanks Ulrike, and sorry.

"Panic attack
When I today in my car into the evening hineingondelte, radio on overhousehold-noise level, reached me the message that the album „thriller“ from Michael Jackson a round anniversary has „Raten you times, dear Hoerer“, I was requested, „wie old this album today ist?“
Well, I thought, am already ' ne olle Kamelle, this music of the Jackson. The pertinent video had Jacksons conversion into a who wolf and the following ballet of the dead ones in a road of the industrial quarter still exactly in the head -. Fuffzehn years will already have, estimated the thing on the embossment I.

When the moderator opened to me, „thriller“ commit his five-and-twentieth, I nearly into the ditch would have driven. Yes, spinn I!! Where did the time remain? How could it happen that 25 years disappeared in such a way in the nothing, or at least in the non--much? I have nevertheless no ten-year winter sleep behind me!
If it continues in this speed, which by-rush next 25 years also in this speed at me, I, if I turn next time, am SEVENTY!!! That cannot be true simply!

In the afternoon I had fallen asleep over reading a book and two wonderful easing hours in bed had spent. Immediately I have a bad conscience. I plan, the dear God never again one day not to steal times more one hour. To use my time. Carpe diem and the night still in addition! From today on I am 26 hours per day awake.

And begins finally to write the novel."