Friday, September 25, 2009

If we'd had Facebook ...

Thinking about possible status updates if we'd had Facebook circa 1980.

Lesley :
  • is listening to the new Thin Lizzy LP - it's beezer.
  • is eating a walnut whip.
  • is typing this on an electric typewriter - isn't new technology great?
  • has a perfect flick in her hair today à la Farrah Fawcett Majors.
  • just finished "Jonathan Livingstone Seagull". Deep.
  • is going to the Scout Disco tonight. Hope they play A Whiter Shade of Pale for the last slow dance.
  • feels sick - had a few too many Martini bianco and lemonades last night at the Mexican Bar in Roslin.

Saint Andrews

I almost forgot to tell you about my weekend in Saint Andrews a fortnight ago. For some reason the only photographs I took over the four days I spent there were all of whisky glasses - which perhaps explains why I almost forgot to tell you about it. Saint Andrews is a fabulous place - all town and no gown at the moment because the students are still on vacation, and we had warm, sunny summer weather on all four days.

I was there for a conference - a great success with plenty of familiar faces and interesting papers. My own paper wasn't booed off the stage so I'm counting it as a success too. Highlights of the conference social programme were a wine tasting with Billy Kay (the author of Knee Deep in Claret, a book I still find fascinating) and that whisky tasting - 5 malts. I also enjoyed a fruitful half-hour rummage through the shelves of a second-hand book store.

We were all accommodated in Halls of Residence which made me feel as if I was eighteen again - those halcyon days when all of my worldly possessions fitted comfortably into one small room; when I could eat what I liked without getting fat. In memory of those days, I partook heartily of the black pudding and eggs and hash browns and bacon, and lorne sausage on offer in halls every morning. Continental breakfasts could do with a bit of beefing up really, couldn't they?

It just so happens that a couple of my old flatmates live in Saint Andrews so I stayed on for an extra day to spend some time and drink some wine with them. Although we've kept up over the past years, and met up for lunch quite often, I hadn't seen their children for a very long time - turns out they're fully grown adults with responsible jobs and cars and deep voices, which was a little disorienting because I half-remembered them in pushchairs. Good job I didn't take them any presents because they've obviously passed the tube of smarties stage.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bouncing along in my Skecher Shape Ups

This is my first foray into the area of reviews for free stuff, so forgive me if you think I've gone over to the dark side - but hey, free stuff!

Anyway, I got a pair of Skecher Shape Ups in August, just in time for all that walking through the pleasant Scottish countryside we had planned to do. It turned out that the countryside was mostly under three feet of water so I can exclusively reveal that Skecher Shape Ups do not help you walk on water, but they do keep your feet dry as you wade through puddles.

The shoes are described as "stylish". This, it seems, is a matter of opinion and age. My Mum thought they were very "Californian", P. thought they looked comfortable, the children thought they were hilarious and my 15-year-old nephew just shook his head in embarrassed disbelief.

When you first put the shoes on, the initial sensation is one of added height - a bit like wearing platform shoes in the seventies but without the accompanying Bay City Rollers soundtrack. You really do feel as if you're walking on spongy ground.

Off I went to try them out and nobody laughed in the street at my ginormous trainers, proving if proof were needed that 15-year-olds know nothing about style for the elegant aunt about town. They come with a booklet and a DVD which explains that you shouldn't wear them for any more than 45 mins the first time you go out with them. So I bounced along country lanes with the recommended rolling movement from heel to toe for exactly three-quarters of an hour. And I have to say that by the time I got home, I really did feel as if my calves and buttocks had had a really good work-out.

As the days went by, I got more and more used to walking on several layers of sole, and whenever I wasn't wearing them, I felt somewhat diminished and frankly flat-footed.

I'm not sure if Bordeaux city centre is ready yet for Skechers Shape Ups, but I'm ready to try them out on dry land.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Have you flown with BmiBaby lately? Did you by any chance read the destination guide at the back of the in-flight magazine? Did you notice the name of the "The Insider" for Bordeaux? (scroll down, way down).

Admire my self-control as I resist regaling you with tales the extra money I had to shell out to BmiBaby at Manchester airport twice this summer, despite having provided them with that highly confidential and precious info for free.

I'm hoping to develop an alternative career as an "amateur photographer" (?) and tourist tipster.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Scotland Summer '09

We're back. It was the wettest August on record in south-west Scotland. Really. Flooding, torrential unrelenting rain, lochs turning into seas.

Och well, we had a good time anyway. And it was 35°C here in Bordeaux yesterday, which in my opinion is just as unpleasant as a bit of rain.


Being confined indoors most of the day, just the four of us, is reminding me of the days when my children were wee and most of our weekends ...