Thursday, 24 July 2014

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

I've just finished watch the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and found it very touching. There is always some anxiety in wondering how your city will present itself to the world but this was a really lovely ceremony. I was not completely taken with the initial stages which seemed very 'bitty' but, as the athletes filed in, the ceremony seemed to develop its stride and purpose by capturing the welcoming spirit. Even the speeches were succinct, dignified and underlined the message of welcome. It will be interesting to see how much the event raises for UNICEF as this will be another strand of the commitment to creating a legacy of common good.

It was fabulous to see each and every team being cheered into the stadium and watching the excitement on the faces of the athletes. It was particularly heartening to hear the roared cheers for our nearest neighbours, England, particularly after all the nonsense which suggested they would be treated in any less than an hospitable manner. I cannot abide malicious mischief-making. As for Team Scotland the delight on the faces of the athletes rendered the strange kit meaningless as they all shone with pride as the stadium erupted. Well done too to the wee Scottie dogs leading the teams out.

As with all events there is always a little hiccup and Prince Imran and Sir Chris Hoy wrestling to liberate the Queen's message from the baton got funnier as it went along. It looked like the Prince was just not getting it even after Chris Hoy loosened it and showed him what to do. I did wonder if they were going to have to resort to upending it and giving it a wallop on the rail to get the message out. However, the best bit was Chris Hoy's spontaneous 'good grief' eye roll at the caper. It was just so natural and seemed to say "Help ma boab...!".

I have taken some local pictures over the last few of weeks that I'll aim to get written into posts. I am not a fan of spectator sports so I can only offer some local flavour. Sadly, I have absolutely no competitive tendencies so will probably only snatch glances of the action on the news. I'm also not sure how this insanely hot weather will affect the local athletes as we are much more used to being kept cool and damp so they might have to pop them in the fridge for half and hour before their events.

I do hope that all the teams get a chance to enjoy the sights and culture of the city and may the best athletes win and enjoy their moments of glory.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Message from The Sponsor...

Now this is more like it. This is much more like the Glasgow humour that I know and love. On the way to the supermarket I saw this sign right beside the Squinty Bridge over the Clyde and nearly wet myself laughing. I have absolutely no idea if this advert refers to the deeply unfortunate Scottish Commonwealth Games Parade Outfits, or to some earlier campaign, but either way it could not be more apt.
 What made it even funnier was when I got to the supermarket at the entrance I saw this display proudly asserting Irn-Bru's sponsorship of the Games....
 Irn-Bru are known for their wickedly funny adverts and, whether this was intentional or not, it might just be one of their best!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Emperor's New Commonwealth Games Outfits

Do you remember the 70's with naff patterned fabric and men's foray into colour? Well lucky you as it's obviously back to have another go at trying to be fashionable. Bonus points too if you remember the dancers from STV's Thingummyjig.

I'm not into the Games themselves but as it is showcasing my city and country then it is reasonable to have an opinion on how we present ourselves to the world. These outfits are dreadful and the tailoring and fit is woeful. There is nothing innovative, stylish or inspirational about them that shows pride in Scottish athletes at the pinnacle of their prowess.
Rethink and change the official Scottish uniform for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

The Men's 'blouses' are in a hideous turquoise pattern and don't even fit the models properly. The mustard socks are pretty vile but on the positive side Scots don't generally tan well so this is probably the nearest thing to a tan we'll see on legs!

The poor ladies are the recipients of a tie front gown in a pattern and style which is more commonly seen in the waiting rooms of the mammogram or ECG clinic. In true hospital style the 'goonie' is accessorised with a blanket in case they get cold while waiting. I wonder if the handbag contains a parade invitation or an appointment card?

I love seeing men in a kilt as it usually denotes a special occasion and I actually rather like stylish modern twists. This tartan is not great but I can appreciate it is hard to create a totally new colourway with all the variants already available. However, navy, purple and white would have been a much better starting point rather than colours made to appeal to your nana for her new riser-recliner chair.

Initially the online Evening Times reported that the designer was proudly asserting that she didn't expect everyone would like it. Yesterday she claimed she was now a victim of 'bullying'

On the news tonight the Sports Minister praised the outfits for being very visual and easy to see on camera (yer not joking there, Missus!) and urged people to set aside their views and get behind Team Scotland. What she didn't make clear was how far exactly one would have to be for the nightmarish vision to recede.....?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Rollercoaster report of the week

I have lots of nascent blogposts I would like to write but simply don't have enough time to write them, or more accurately wait for blogger to load the pictures. So instead of not posting I am just going to do a sweep of the week then do the others with pictures when I've got more time. Sorry if this is only vaguely coherent and swings from plus to minus but it matches my week!

My chest infection and sinusitis is not yet gone and probably needs a trip to the GP tomorrow and another week's blast of antibiotics. I am miles better than I was which is a huge relief. I'm still not able to sleep flat but I think in another few days that will sort itself out. I am fairly certain, in retrospect, that the infections got hold partly due to medication that I am on but mainly due to the calamitous amount of stress and concern that has been around me for these past few weeks.

My Mother has been attacking her carers and the other vulnerable residents over the past few weeks in explosive outbursts of purest venom. Interestingly she never attacks anyone who might reciprocate so I struggle to believe it is 'just' her condition as she is surprisingly selective. It has been worrying as I don't know why she is doing this, sickening to see the bruising, gouges and scratches on those she has attacked and shameful that this is my mother. I have also had to go up and down to support the staff as, although they are brilliant and only call if she has gone off totally, I can still handle my Mother better. My chest infection has put paid to this since Monday as taking a rip roaring respiratory infection into a care home is dangerous and stupid. Instead of giving me a rest this has made me berate myself as being restricted to telephone calls meant I couldn't give her a present on my birthday as my thank you to her for giving birth to me which I've done since I was nine years old. She'd no idea it was my birthday but this didn't help me stop feeling guilty.

Magic, my sweet cat, went back to the vet hospital to be checked and the good news is things are improving clinically but she is still not eating which is worrying and baffling. Her vet is most supportive and has called every day to ensure any changes can be made or problems picked up promptly. This meant there were additional trips to the vet school too for additional medications to be added to see if they would improve things. A variety of cat illness supplies had to be sourced and although I am so grateful for the internet it all still adds up and the money just seems to be flowing through my fingers. I've been so grateful for practical support from a friend in helping me with the feed and care set up for Magic which has been invaluable. I'm also trying to decide which pet insurance policy would be right for the younger cat. If he became seriously ill that could tip us over the edge and I could not face making a choice over who to treat. Magic is uninsurable due to her condition and age but the little one can be covered. Advice and support from fellow cat bloggers has been a great help too.

A close friend has been the victim of a nasty financial crime by someone she trusted and there was a worrying period this week where things had to be checked to ensure that I had not been a collateral victim too. This would have been quite the worst timing but luckily, for me at least, it looks like I have not been affected. However, I am still worried for my friend who has had to disclose what happened, the impact on her and the destruction of her trust by the perpetrator.

In all the chaos, I'd even forgot my physio appointment. When I called to apologise and rebook I got one for the following day. I should probably have said no but I felt bad for missing the last one. However, I was very limited in what could be achieved especially as I was more breathless than I was prepared to admit to. I was able to walk slowly or talk briefly not both so he settled for advice instead of testing my exercise tolerance.

I am increasing my working hours now as I have used up all of last year's holidays and my phased return. I am delighted to be back at work as I enjoy my job and like my colleagues. I am also grateful to have been so well supported but I am concerned that I'll be up the mark and manage the full week.

I am also another year older-woo hoo! This year I got a long service extra day off which I used for my birthday. I am normally on holiday now but as my gammy knee wont take me anywhere it seemed kind of futile and my petted lip is threatening to suffocate me. I'm insisting this is only a postponement till I am fitter as I just cant see the point in driving all the way to the Peak District to stare at it through the car windscreen then drive home again.

A wonderful friend offered me a Grand Day Out as part of my birthday treat and another friend made me an amazing meal the evening before. At first I was going to decline both as I was breathless, exhausted, concerned about leaving the cat any longer than necessary and felt as though the week was just a series of demands and must do's and worries. However, both were able to accommodate the essential timing for cat feeds and must do's etc. So I made the decision to dial down the worry for one whole day and evening and stop pretending I was what was holding the universe together with the result that I had the most marvellous occasions. There were special perfect gifts, beautiful cards and lots of heart-warming kindness which made me feel most special. I also managed to get to a book launch and have the latest James Oswald autographed. I love having a new birthday novel and use it as a sort of diary as I note where I am and what I am doing each time I start to read it. This means if I reread it, I also get a little reminder what I was doing the first time I read it.

Every summer I usually have a big personal reflective point at the summer solstice and stay up to see the dawn. This year unintentionally I watched the dawn rise as I sat in the garden worrying and praying for news of my little cat on the night I'd had to take her to the vet hospital. By the time the Solstice rolled round my mother had turned into Arnold Schwarzenegger, one cat was still in vet ICU, the other was distraught and needing lots of support, my financial cushion was vaporising and my own health was taking a beating. I could not even bear to take a reflective glance at my life as it just seemed like everything was falling apart so I made the brave decision to stick my head under the pillows; if nothing else I needed the sleep!

One phrase seems to keep repeating in my head...'Just because you can, doesn't mean you should'. I'm not actually hearing voices, as that really would be the last straw, but this recurring thought is something I probably need to find a way of incorporating into my life. I am becoming so bogged down with doing what is right for others that I am neglecting myself. It is quite apparent this is the case but the fixing it and doing things differently is what seems insurmountable at a point where I don't have the energy to fix it and tackle my own life.

Ironically, before even more began unravelling, I'd decided I was going to make my life better and become more Zen. So I ordered the fashionable mindfulness book-de-jour by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Full Catastrophe Living. Well, I have not had time to read the book, or live in the moment, as I've been too busy firefighting imminent catastrophe. The book seems to have been a bloomin' Jonah and has brought disaster instead of contentment. So I'm still trying to decide whether to find the time to read it or call a priest to have it exorcised and cremated.....?

In the meantime, as the house looks like a bomb has landed, I am going to go out to bring the emptied bin back and smell the roses while I am there. I will even snip a couple to bring indoors to inspire me. Then I am going to try and make a dent in the housework otherwise I'll end up on one of those crazy home makeover/decluttering/forensic cleaner programmes!

I hope your week has been good and hopefully next time I'll share some better news and events. Please God...!