That was 2008, that was. (the year of Barack Obama)


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As I head off to enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2008 blog to an end.

Looking back on the year it was a good one overall. No-one got hurt. Nobody died. We had several achievements as a family. I continued to pay the bills. Barrack Obama got into power.

My blog has hit 340,000 views in the year. Considering I only had 31,000 in 2007 that represents reasonable progress. I hope you enjoy it. And those of you who read but never comment, come on, open up a bit in 2009.

The Hibees were a joke in 2008. Very dissapointing in many ways, in fact Scottish football, full stop, came crashing back to earth after the heady highs of season 2007/8. Our clubs in Europe were pitiful and they became unrequired viewing the more the season progressed. Celtic are unbelievably bad and yet they are easily the best team in this country. God help us.

As The Hibees set off in pusuit of the Scottish cup for the 106th time since we last succeeded we face Hearts in Round 3. That could be a momentous occassion and who’s to say we won’t do it, after all we only EVER play good football when we are up against it. Last week against Kilmarnock totally summed Hibs’ season up… 2 – 2 at half time at home against only 10 men and we lose 4 – 2. That’s unprofessional.

Work was very rewarding and I enjoyed helping out Pete and Iain at 60 Watt in particular, in tough times it has to be said. I also won fabulous projects from PoppyScotland and The Black Watch. My work with the SMA was challenging but I’m pleased with the way it has developed. I suppose the event I led at Parliament in March has to be a professional highlight, but working on behalf on the industry can be soul destroying when people back off. I also did a lot of work with Golley Slater for which I am very grateful and ended the year with a hatrick of new commissions for stv, Ampersand (a stable of Advocates – yes indeed) and Whitespace. During the year I also enjoyed projects with Corporation Pop, as a mentoring programme for nmp, and have been asked to do more work with them in 2009. Story, Spider Online and Graphic Partners also gave me work in 2008 for which I am extremely grateful

I was delighted to be made a board director of The Lyceum in September and have taken on a fundraising role for FCT as well as taking part in the FAT Christmas show and rehearsing the 2009 Easter Show which is a ‘Best of FCT’ over their first 30 years. It promises to be simply stunning. I’m also chair of the Ferry Fringe but it is proving difficult to really get this rolling for 2009 despite the commitment of a small core of volunteers. Watch this space.

However, on a sad note, the demise of 1576, the company I co-founded, in February was a real shock and a truly sad moment. I’m glad to report that all who sailed in her appear to be in gainful employment and moving on; including both David and Adrian.

I’ve already crowed about my golf in 2008 which was my best ever and I really enjoyed it. I threw far fewer clubs about but still had my moments.

Amy’s Highers Grade results were very good and she was unlucky to miss out on her English which is focussing her mind as we go into 2009. We’re all desperately hoping she’ll get into Duncan of Jordanstone to study Art and she’s taking a Portfolio Course at Telford to help in that ambition. Here’s hoping.

Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap overtook mine during the year as he went from 21 to 15. He also got a hole in one in August, something I’ve never done, and won quite a few medals – but none of Ratho’s ‘majors’. I’m hoping that when he gets to 14, as he surely will, he will play against me in the men’s medals at Dundas Park. That’ll be really exciting

If he is not an Olympic Champion at X Box 360 by now he ought to be as he has put in unstinting effort. Shame we can’t say the same about his homework.

Ria continued to improve in her gymnastics but the elusive merit continued to evade her, still, she did master the bridge kick over at last and she was brilliant in Perth in November when her first vault was amazing (we’ll overlook the second one shall we?) She works really hard does Ria and that is showing up in really great results and a huge bunch of really nice friends. She deserves them because she is such a genuine young person.

Jeana won yet another award for South Queensferry in the Summer’s Britain in bloom competition with a Highly Recommended award. The village continues to progress under the Greenferry team’s amazing dedication. She also started her own blog which you can find here and whooped with joy about two weeks ago when she got her first ever comment. She’s not far short of her 1,000th view so get reading.

I had a sloppy evening at Cath’s 80th that constituted the Bad Hair Day of the year.

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In books Cormac McCarthy’s The Road simply blew me away and was my favourite read.

In music it had to be Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave but I am growing increasingly interested in African Music and Amadou and Mariam’s new album, Welcome to Mali, is lovely. But check out Je Pense a Toi and Dimanche A Bamacko too (the latter is stunning and their best to date).

And my movie of the year? Not my busiest ever year at the movies so it’s hard to choose a best but I guess it was going to be No Country For Old Men (also based on a Cormac McCarthy book) until Hunger (by Steve McQueen) came along. A really outstanding and breathtaking movie.

TV show of the year? I loved Gavin and Stacey, but my most anticipated show each week was Later with Jools Holland which seemed to find a much more interesting mix this year than of late.

Best theatrical experience, amongst many, was my cousin Susan’s show at The Traverse; Nobody Will ever Forgive Us, which was a stunner.

My gadget of the year was unquestionably the sublime Canon G9, what a wonderful wee camera this is. I also got myself a much more muscular beast – a Canon EOS 400D which is fab too and this has been reflected in my continued devotion to Flickr. I love Flickr. Undoubtedly my find of the year on Flickr was Snailbooty. I mean, look what he just posted today. How good is that?

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My man of 2008, was unquestionably Barrack Obama.

Best day out was Alton Towers in the pissing rain in July. It rocked.

Result of the year? Terry got the all clear from his cancer and joined me at the School BBQ in June.

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. Again.

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.

And so to 2009.

My hopes?

Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (LOL. That is so stupid.)

Tom gets down to a 10 handicap.

Tiger Woods comes back and kicks ass. It wasn’t the same without him.

I win something, anything, at Dundas Park

Amy gets into D of J. (And enjoys it.)

I am healthy throughout.

The FCT 30th Anniversary show is as good as I hope it will be.

The credit crunch doesn’t ruin everything for everyone.

you wouldn’t believe it


Add a t shirt and that's me that is.

Add a t shirt and that’s me that is.

So, it’s Hogmanay.  I’m slobbed out in bed at 9.45 when the phone rings.  It’s my verticallty challenged chum, Derrick Reid; “Fancy a game of badminton at the David Lloyd Centre Mark?” He asks.

“No”.  I thought.

“Yes, that would be lovely.”  I reply.

I haven’t played badders for 15 years and it was a killer then and Wee Deek is like a walking fitness studio.  So I’m knackered.  My end of year sporting prowess (on the golf course) all for naught as I’m certain to end the year on a losing note.

So I take Derrick to the David Lloyd Centre.

“I’ll bring the racquets.” he chirps.

He’s got a whole box of shuttlecocks and professional racquets.  I am a gonner.

So off we go.

He wins the first 5 points in about a nanosecond and I’m feeling despondent, but I knuckle down and gradually ease into the game finally winning a point and then going on a bit of a run until I find myself 10 -8 in front.  My heart is in palpitations but I press on and close out the first game 15 – 10.  Result!

The second game doesn’t go according to plan.  Despite my taking an 8 – 5 lead Derrick steps up a gear and wins 15 – 10.  By now I’m reaching for my moby to call 999.  But he’s showing signs of tiring too.

The last game is nip and tuck throughout.  Eventually I get to match point, 14 – 13, only to lose the crucial point and slip to 15 – 14; match point to Derrick.  However one final push and I draw level and close out the match with a 17 – 15 win.

Unbelievable!

Bring on 2009.

A grand end to my golfing year


Like a Farquar to the slaughter.

Fat chance you thought I'd do so well this year....

Today I had my last competitive match of the year and won it.  My Arran chums (plus Tom) met at Wee Boab’s course, Ravelston, and I shot 35 stableford points and as a result shared the spoils with Derek.  Tom had a mare.

So, my year looked like this…Runner up in our Arran Tourney in May, for the second year in a row; my best ever finish with my SQ chums at St Andrews, despite a crippled back; an 83 on the Queens Course at Gleneagles in November; a number of top 20 medal finishes in the summer (including my three best ever medal scores – one of which saw my handicap cut for the first time ever) and a 10 -1 record against Tom this year.  Undoubtedly my best year ever.

OK, It’s not Major winning form, but it was a considerable step in the right direction.  And whatever you think I’m well chuffed.

Mum and dad


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You sometimes wonder what commissioning editors are thinking of. This stinking movie was released simultaneously in cinema, on DVD and on Sky Box office today and I thought it might be a wry take on the genre of bad taste horror.

Nope.

It was just bad taste and very badly conceived. Supposedly it was a “take” on the life of the Wests. It was a “take” we could manage without quite frankly because it gave no insight whatsoever into the criminal mind.

The fact that the BBC commissioned it, but gave it to Sky to air it, says everything. I very much doubt it will ever be seen on a BBC channel.

It’s shit. It’s nasty and if its makers claim that it is ironic or post modern; or something…they’re wrong; it’s not. It’s just substandard claptrap taking the Hostel/Saw genre (which used to be called video nasties) and adding nothing to it.

The Daily Mail would probably call it pornography.

For once I might agree with them.