Bowery Mural

Manic Monday with Mark

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lunch was arranged with Mark (@markofrespect) a few weeks ago when I changed my holidays to two consecutive weeks instead of two separate weeks - I'm weird like that.  Anyway, Monday was to be a much needed catch up with a wonderful person who has become a good friend in such a short space of time.  To say that I regard him is as a dear friend would not be an understatement.  Anyway through normal chitter chatter with various Twitter friends we decided to include a trip to the cinema to see Inception after lunch.  I was so looking forward to our catch up.

After comms via Twitter I got the train and arrived in Glasgow a good half hour before we were due to meet so I headed to George Square then up the Lakeland to buy some egg poacher pods.  I know what you're thinking, but i haven't had poached eggs for years.
George Square

Anyway we met in Buchanan Street half an hour later in the rain.  It was decided we'd head to the West end for lunch, that wasn't to be in a burger joint!  We headed on the subway and got off at Kelvin bridge then I witnessed some excellent navigational skills!  We wandered our way along the street passing some fabulous examples of street graffiti.  I'm only sorry I never got the iPhone out to take some pictures but it was pissing with rain and I was trying to avoid the puddles.  The bottom of my jeans already soaked through.  But the art was brilliant.  I'm sure some of you may well have seen it before.

We arrived at our destination a bit soggy but in good spirits nonetheless.  It was a nice place and we headed upstairs and to a free table in the corner.  There were a few other people in but it wasn't busy.  This was nice though as we chatted and chatted about all manner of things.  Maps, Grandads, food, Mums, Dads, friends, family histories, Twitter and loads more.  Well when I say we chatted he did most of it (as you may well know) but I like that too because I like to hear people's stories and I can chip in with my own bits and pieces too.  It was good.  I could listen to him talk all day, there was so many things I forgot to ask and tell him about.  But that's for another day.

Our food arrived and it was very tasty indeed.  There was more chatter, a pot of tea and an Americano/Latte.  I can't remember which was delivered.  Sitting at another table were a couple who looked kind of awkward.  It could've been one of two things... a first date OR a couple who don't really get on.  This amused us for a wee while until we decided it was time to leave as we had only about 30 minutes to get from Kelvinbridge back to the City Centre in time for the cinema.  On the way back to the subway station i noticed more of that amazing graffiti painted on the walls but time was short, there was no stopping or sauntering.

What was left of our lunch...

Once in the City Centre I was under strict instruction not to talk to the charity collectors in the street, there was no time.  "If they come near us we'll clothesline them, right?"  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Talking of which i do find them a tad gimmicky, persistent and quite frankly I think it's sending out the wrong message about the charity they are working for this month - which is UNICEF.  As a side note I was in Glasgow a few weeks ago with my cousin Brian and he commented that they were acting like the people you get in Magaluf or Ibiza that try to lure you into the nightclubs.  But I digress...

We made our way to Cineworld but it was absolutely mobbed.  The queues were out the door and along the block, i reckon it would have taken a good 35-40 minutes to get to the front of it but alas, there were self serve ticket machines with only a few people in the queue so we joined that and were self-serving within 10 minutes.  Interestingly Mark wrote a post about this type of behaviour on his blog.  Anyway after running from the train, waiting in a relatively short queue the film we wanted to see was sold out.  So he searched for another cinema and found the Odeon at Springfield Quay so I booked the tickets whilst still standing next to the now very empty ticket machine in Cineworld.  We had approximately 30 minutes to walk from Cineworld all the way down Buchanan Street (still using our by now stealth tactical avoidance skills from the charity sellers), then still further down to a car park to pick up the wheels.  Safely in the car we had now 13 minutes to get to the Odeon before the film started.  Of course we knew the film wouldn't actually begin then but still... It's not nice walking in late.  Mark drove at speed along the riverside and we came to a set of lights where we were advised to turn left by Tom Tom but on getting there there were 'no left turn' signs up.  I won't say what happened next but we were soon headed along the road and into the car park at Odeon.  A space was spotted and there was a near run in with an old guy who wasn't looking in his mirrors properly.  Horns were beeped then we got out and I vowed to write a blog post about the day i nearly died driving to the cinema!  Ha ha I'm kidding Mark.  Inside this cinema there were queues too but none at the ticket machines, which is strange because you can actually buy your ticket there too!!  Why do people queue unnecessarily?  Anyway we finally made it into the screen number 11 and I think the adverts had only just started.  Phew...

Did I mention what the film was?  No?  It was Inception and I'm no film critic but I thought it was fantastic.  It was intense and you had to concentrate to get the storyline but I found that fine.  It was only after we came out I realised it was nearly two and a half hours of holding my breath and I actually felt a bit exhausted afterwards.  It was like you were in a 90 degree wash cycle which then spun you at 1300rpms and spat you out at the end...  F**k sake!!  I'm deliberately not mentioning anything relating to the storyline as I don't want to spoil it for you folks out there.  All I'll say is that Leo was as usual engaging but there's new eye candy on the block in the shape of Tom Hardy.  Oh yes!  He's loverlee and a recent discovery after having seen him being interviewed on Jonathan Ross a few weeks ago.  He's usually the baddie in films or TV programmes.  But he's good at it.

Afterwards Mark drive me back to Queen Street so I could get the train home.  We spoke about the film and how it was... well, great, but i think he was left a bit speechless from it.  It was time to say our goodbyes and I thanked him for a truly epic day.  I headed into the station to find my train wasn't leaving for another half hour.  I sat on a bench and with my heart still pounding from seeing the film i came over a bit emotional.  Strange.  I wondered if i was overly tired.  I went and got some water from the shop and waited a wee while longer then the train was ready for me.  On my way home I couldn't help think about things.  I sent a few tweets.  Then I phoned my sister who is currently away on holiday with my mum, dad and my two nephews.  This is the reason I'm home alone.  Anyway I thought I'd phone as I wanted a wee chat with someone.  It was nice and passed some minutes on the train.  It turned out to be a nice night, the rain had stopped and there were some nice breaks in the clouds where natures light-show was starting once again.  I'm a sucker for a nice sky.

By the time i got to Stirling I had calmed down a bit and i trip-trapped my way across the railway bridge and back to the car, but not before i took more photos.  I do love photos.  It was the perfect end to a great day.

Mark, thank you dear friend for a wonderful day out, the first of many more to come.

Ange xx

My Two Dads (Loch Humphrey part II)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A text came in and it announced "bikes, Monday night, you fancy it?" or something along those lines.  Yes but I'm away to buy body armour after my recent fall was my response.  I packed up my stuff and shoved the bike in the back of the car and set off to work on Monday 21st June - Midsummers day, the longest day of the year. I was a bit worried about my wrist by now as it hadn't got any better over the weekend, in fact it was only on Saturday that the bruising started to appear and this was worrying.  I contemplated going to hospital but frankly I didn't want to waste their time if it was only bruised.  So a little after 4.15pm I set off along the Gargunnock Road again heading towards Bowling.  It was quite quiet but again i stopped off at McDonalds in Balloch to use the rest room (I'd been guzzling down my water that day).

I arrived to meet Petesy and Phil at the usual place.  We got the stuff ready but not before I got grilled on various matters and vairous people(!) and not before we eventually found a pack to fit me (sorta).  I can't remember which pack i had this time, maybe the OMM one?  Anyway we set off along a path then headed across the road and along the canal again, nearly the same route as the last time.  Back across the main road and then headed up the track gaining height.  It was hot and the midgies were out in full force.  A few Police cars and vans passed us on their was down the track, I hoped they weren't up there findng bodies!

About haflway up the really rough gravelly section we stopped and Petesy suggested we go through a gate and head up the grass.  Oh no I thought but it was ok.  It meant we had to get off and push the bikes a lot but it was fine.  I think he feels guilty for dragging us that quicker way...

Bracken Track

The views were great so a few quick snaps were taken by me before the midges really took hold and we set off again.  Onwards and upwards.  This was turning out to be the first bit of hillwalking i'd done in quite a while.  We eventually got to a cairn where a well deserved rest was had, with some more photies being taken.

Mine, all mine


I could see the track we took the last time and was told we were heading that way but not before some tricksy manouvering down quite a steep grassy section.  By now my wrist was kinda throbbing and each time I took my glove off and could hardly get it back on.  But we were now heading onto ground that looked familiar from my last time up here with these guys.

Next we headed into the forrest area where more photies were taken.  I think Petesy kept the best ones for himself cos the ones he took on my camera are blurry!  Or maybe i was just going to fast...


Through the dark section of the forrest was really difficult for me as i didn't want to risk it and I my wrist was painful so whilst they hopped and skipped their way down through big ruts and massive tree roots i decided to get off the bike and shove it down.  Aah much safer for the moment.  The next seciton was downhill mostly on grass with a few bumps and ruts along the way.  It was good and there was a wee sectin at the bottom near the gate where i almost lost the back end of the bike but managed to recover in a expert way - yay me!!  We headed down past an old house (I will remember the names of these places instead of forrest, old house, up a track...), anyway past the old houe and down a gritty road and into Dumbarton? through some streets and down the the waters edge.  Having safely negotiated the various items that had been dumped by folks the waters edge was quiet and peaceful and the views were good.  The sun was just nearly going down in the midsummer sky casting an orangey glow on everything around.  Lovely. 

Orange Reeds

Smiles at the waterside

It was time for something to eat (I hadn't had any dinner!) so we headed back along another path and into the BP garage at Milton.  Tea and sandwiches for me, coffe and cake for those two.  Another great night out with good company.  I do enjoy these bike rides.  And they never left me once to get lost!  The midgies were really taking hold now so we headed back to the cars and packed up.

My Two Dads

I headed back along the road to Stirling with a wonderful light show happening in the sky.  It was awesome, so much so that I stopped a few times to take pictures. 

Midsummer Sunset

Once again thanks Petesy and Phil for taking me out, for not riding away and leaving me on my own, for the kit and the chat.  Loved it.

Ange x

Cheeky wee day off

Thursday, 8 July 2010

I'm really lacking inspiration just now to know what to write in this here little blog.  I sent out a tweet on Twitter asking for inspiration and someone (@oneandonlycarly ) suggested I write about my day because she liked reading about people's days.  So that's what i'm going to do.

Wee Bri (my big wee cousin Brian), anyway Wee Bri phoned on Sunday to tell me his iPhone had broken again.  He'd called up Apple customer services and was told to take the phone to the shop on Wednesday and he'd get it replaced.  So he asked if i wanted to come along.  I said yes and booked the day off when i went into work on Monday.

We set off at 9.30.  He drove us to Larbert where we parked the car and jumped on the train.  We chatted about stuff, you know, family, friends and that, and arrived in Glasgow just after 10.30am.   His appointment at the Apple store wasn't until 11.10 so we mosied down Buchanan Street and headed in to All Saints so I could ogle the clothes.

A quick stop at Starbucks and we headed into Apple and upstairs to the Genius Bar.  Genius!  We waited a little as all the stools were taken at the actual 'bar' and then a girl came across with her iPad and checked Brian 'in' then we were told it'd be another 5 minutes or so.  This was fine as we were to busy watching a guy lead to ladies up the glass staircase, 2 iPad boxes held firmly in the arms, and over to the accessories section where he proceeded to sell them 2 cases for the aforementioned iPads.  Then it was all the way down the back where they were asking all manner of questions and I think (but can't be sure) that he sold them a printer too!!  Next time I turned around one of the ladies was eyeing up a shiny iMac too!  Anyway whilst we were there, in the Apple store for a little over 20 minutes, I counted about 6 iPads being sold with all manner of accessories to go along with them.  Then at the Genius bar, the Geniuses (Genii ?) basically swapped old for new on about 5 iPhones.  People definitely do like Apple products.  I resisted against an iPhone for so long but I'm not one of those I HATE ALL APPLE PRODUCTS people, it was simply that I thought I couldn't afford it.  Then i started topping up my Nokia pay as you go affair with up to £40 a month as the Internet usage was costing a bomb and figured it was easier and cheaper to get an iPhone - obvious really!  Now i have to admit that i probably couldn't change and use anything else.  I just love my iPhone!  There, I said it.

Brian's turn came around and he explained to the guy what happened with the phone, it was plugged into a Macbook and after a few minutes the guy realised it just wasn't going to switch on.  so off he popped to what i can only imagine to be a treasure trove of goodies through the back somewhere down dimly lit corridors only accessed buy a secret code and sliding door, kinda like Indiana Jones, and within a minute he was back with a new iPhone.  Just like that.  Simples.  He plugged it in, activated it, inserted Brian's sim and we were cooking with gas and the new iPhone, all within a 20 minute adventure in the Apple store.

The guy who served us was really pleasant and chatty.  (Is this because he is pleasant and chatty or do they learn that in training?).  I don't know but every time I've been in i haven't felt like i used to feel when i thought i couldn't enter all the trendy shops for fear of sticking out like a sore thumb where i might as well have had a sign above my head saying 'I'm just here browsing because there's no way I can afford to buy any of your products'.  You know the kind of shops I mean?  Designer clothes stores usually.  Where the assistants are plastered in fake tan, fake hair, fake nails earn about £5k less per year than you and yet somehow they make you feel like shit because you aren't wearing the 'right' clothes.  That's how I used to feel when i was younger, when my sister shopped in Cruise [insert your own designer shop name here].  Anyway, I digress, back to Apple, lovely Apple, lovely people in the Apple store.  I did spy the nice Mr Craig Z but he was busy beavering away at the Genius Bar for the MacBooks I didn't like to disturb him.   

Everyone was happy, except me who is still trying to make the awful life-changing decision of whether or not to take the Early Upgrade Offer from O2 and upgrade to the shiny new iPhone4.  These are the decisions that matter, aren't they.

Anyway after all that excitement we headed up to The Butterfly and Pig on Bath Street for a very tasty lunch of burgers.  It was lovely in that wee place.  Quite quirky with nothing that matched and a strange but funnily written menu.  Yum yum I would definitely recommend it.  It was a choice between that or the new Jamie Oliver Italian on George Square but not being an Italian food aficionado we opted for the safer place.  Although on a walk down there to see what it was all about, i realise we should have gone in.  But that'll be for another time.  Anyone wanna come to Jamie's place with me??!!

And now I'm throwing it over to you.  What have you done on cheeky little days off work?

Ange xx