Monday, March 29, 2010

Birthday Boy time .,., again :-(

Soon I'll be yet one more year older ,, Arghhhhhhhh
It seems to have been happening for weeks this bloody birthday and it's not even a "special" one !!
I first discovered my beloved had bought me a brilliant new camera when the confirmation letter / bill flew through the letterbox a few weeks ago. I've been reading about all it's features & functions since but trying not to use it too much before the actual birthday day ,,,,
Yesterday I was sitting quietly reading when all hell broke loose and ALL my grandchildren and their mothers & fathers arrived out of the blue ! That's all 10- of them !! Oor wee living room just isnae big enough, but I made sure of retaining my seat by simply not moving !
It's very funny actually watching them all vieing for a place to park their bums .,., every time someone moved, another bum was promptly parked in the vacated seat ,, I eventually became quite confused though .,., trying to hold a conversation with any one of them became a case of following them around the room .,., first they're on the couch, then an easy chair, next a dining room chair,, then the floor ,,, phew ,, it's tiring this game of birthday musical chairs !

Anyway, the big kids ,,, #'s 1, 2 & 3 on my daughter's side, came to give me an early card & presents since they will be away in France with their dad next week on my actual birthday day !
So it was lovely ,, they even bought me stuff with their own money so I guess they really do love their old Pumpa ! Thanks guys ,, your pressies were great .,., and just a wee word to each of you,
Pumpa loves y'all too :-)

The son and his family had just dropped in for a coffee and a blether so I guess I have another birthday day to look forward to next week ? :-)
This birthday is turning into the longest one ever ,,, total time celebrating this is now looking like some 5- weeks !
Now I know how Queenie must feel with all her different birthday days !
Come to think of it, haven't seen her card yet ?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

That "F" word raises its ugly head again.

One of the worst disasters in Glasgow's history was the fire that broke out in Cheapside Street in the Anderston area of the city on March 28, 1960.
Fire and smoke billowed up into the night sky and was visible for miles around.
A total of 14 members of the Glasgow Fire Service and five men from the Glasgow Salvage Corps lost their lives fighting the blaze.
The fire started in a bonded warehouse that contained over a million gallons of whisky and rum. Within minutes of the firefighters arriving at the scene there was a massive explosion literally blowing the building apart.
The firemen and three appliances were buried in masonry.
As the fire spread it engulfed the tobacco warehouse, an ice cream factory and the Harland and Wolff engine works.
Fed by a huge lake of whisky, the fire took a week to extinguish completely.
Apart from the volatile nature of the liquid what made the fire dangerous to fight was the location of the building itself. The streets around the warehouse were very narrow and made it difficult for the emergency teams to get close enough to tackle the fire effectively.
Much criticism was later laid on the siting of the whisky warehouse in such a built-up area.
But nobody who remembers that night will ever forget one of Glasgow's most harrowing tragedies of the 20th century.

I was 17 in 1960. I had almost forgotten, until I saw it on TV last night, but one of my mother's older brothers ( Jim Crosbie ) was the Salvage Corps Fire Chief in Glasgow's Albion Street and was in attendance at that infamous night in Cheapside Street.
The loss of life suffered by the brave men of the Fire service that night was a nightmare. Uncle Jim survived this trauma but who knows what horrors he witnessed in Cheapside Street ?
Perhaps significantly, not long after, he upped sticks & took the family off to a new life in Australia ?

Those of you who read my blog from time to time will know, or may remember, that I also lost my old Dad to the after effects of a house fire. ( See October 21, 2009 OMG ,, not again ! )
He and his lady friend ( mum had died many years previously ) were overcome whilst trying to make their escape and died horrendous deaths from the effects of "smoke inhalation" some long weeks later.
This was the same Dad who made a heroic effort many years previously to save our little female child next door neighbour when she was caught in the middle of an inferno of her night clothes & long hair .,., Throwing her onto a carpet runner he ripped from our lobby floor, he wrapped her in it and beat the flames with his bare hands, but alas to no avail .,., this poor little soul too died some weeks later.
What an awful way to go ,,,

This past week my little grandson was suddenly inconsolable when out of the blue and sobbing he asked his mum ,, " Who'll hug me mummy when you die !"
This set me too thinking about death, hence the above memories surfacing yet again.

Are we, as a family I wonder, susceptable or prone to fire hazards ?
Oh God I hope not ,, if ever there was a way I DON'T want to die ....
Surely this can't be the case ?
I know that mastering the ability to make a fire is what separates us from the animals, but, I do worry, we've had more than our fair share of run-ins with this dreaded foe.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Socks & me

Socks have always been something of a chore for me.
Choosing the correct colours, materials, thickness, plain or stripey, size etc, (and just how on earth can the same socks cover gents shoe sizes from 6 to 11 ??)
I actually much prefer summer months when I can generally go without the damned things !
Alternatively give me the Prince Charles arrangement with a brand new luxury pair every day !
This week I've had more than my fair share of socky troubles.
First it was a good heavy pair of "Get yer sports socks here, two perr fur a poun'"
I went out for a round of golf with a perfectly matching, intact pair, one on each foot ! and came back with a big toe-size hole in the right foot sock only !
Where the hell did that come from ? I mean these socks were not old ,, ,, well maybe 4 or 5 years but only used sparingly ! I binned them straight away ,, I will not wear holey, or worse still, darned socks, ever ( Oh Yuk ! )
Two days later it happened again ! A walk in town with herself and Hey-Presto, another pair of much more recently acquired sockies .,., fine dressy types ; another hole in the big toe region ! Another quick bin abandonment.
What on earth is happening ? Are the sock manufacturers neglecting their Quality Control ? Are the sheep making inferior wool ? Are man made fibres on the wane ?
I've put on a little extra weight over the winter months ( but not in the feet ! ) and all this bending down to put on fresh socks twice a day is fair doin' in my head ( or belly ? ) .,.,
However today, after the whole scenario occurred for the third time in a week I put my weary old foot up on a chair to put on a fresh pair of the offensive garments .,., and there it was ,, the culprit suddenly leapt ( poetic license ) into full & majestic view !
Oh dear, time to cut the ole toe nails again I fear .,.,
Funny how you forget stuff when you get old intit ?!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

She's only gone & done it again !

The beloved bought me a White Rhino some time ago, a magnificent speciman he was too ( and indeed still is ! ) He has pride of place in our living room and goes by the name Mukwa, after the traditional African wood from which he was made ! This guy was carved with great love and by an artist who had studied him well.
The White Rhinoceros of today is said to be descended from Ceratotherium praecox which lived around 7 million years ago, so he's no youngster, but isn't he beautiful ?
She found my Mukwa sitting all alone in a little African craft shop, in Crieff, Scotland, of all places and decided he was to be mine, no matter the cost ! I've always had this "thing" about these beautiful creatures you see ; I've even had one come at me full pelt intent on doing me severe mischief ,, fortunately I was some ten feet above him at the time and on solid ground when he crashed into the earth below me ,,, but I'll tell you this, the way the ground shook I never want to be chased on the same level !
As it happens Mukwa was fairly expensive but I'd gladly have parted with ten times as much to be his keeper, for he is magnificent, exquisite & absolutely unique ,, a one off.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered ( purely by accident ) that she'd done it to me again .,.,
It's getting near to my birthday (yeah, another one ! ) :o( ,,,, and coming downstairs early one morning I absentmindedly opened the mail, including what looked like a bit of junk mail addressed to herself.
Ooops ! I wakened up immediately on noticing the words ; " Thank you Mrs. B for your valued order ,,,, Your Camera will be delivered from Jessops Online store in two days ,,,, etc, etc" ,,, and a rather large bottom line sum of £££ detailing her purchase !!
So, not quite so unique and certainly not a one off this time, but she's just made me the proud & very happy owner of the Nikon I've been lusting after for some time but simply wouldn't buy because I already had the model just below this one and I really couldn't justify the expense of a 2nd. one to myself ! So the beloved justified it for me ! :o)
This amazing wee wuman spoils me rotten ,, has done all our married life.
Ye can keep yer José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho's .,.,
I have my very own Special One.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

MGI PhotoSuite -- the Demise !

Alas, now gone to that big Photo Manipulation project in the sky !
For some years now we, that's the entire Clan Buchanan, have used the very simple MGI PhotoSuite to do a bit of picture manipulation ,,, you know the kind of thing ,, removing a little devilish red eye, brightening up the odd darkish photo, cloning the snot from the we'an's noses ,,
nothing terribly exacting ,, just easy to do stuff ! ( for aren't we easy to do, simple folks ? )
Well we were !
This week, after yet another round of Microsoft's seemingly endless upgrades to my Vista Home edition server ( how much more upgrading can we all stand I wonder ? ) the faithful old MGI finally had enough, floated off in the mist and died !
It's apparently now so old & indeed old hat that even it's 2nd. generation owner Roxio ( sounds like some old stripper doesn't she ? ) is having no more to do with it ,,, no upgrades, no patches, so no way back .,., she's GONE now and gone for good !
So, since there was nothing else for it we ( well I ) decided .,.,
Let's look again at the two other options we have available to us .,., those we downloaded some years ago but were never able to use for lack of know-how ! Time to learn perhaps ?
First up we have Photo Shop .,., and all it's layers !! Jesus ! Have you ever tried comprehending this in any shape or form ? It's utter Gobble-de-Gook .,., was then and still is now, although to be fair they do offer an instruction manual with 24 ( yeah count them ,,, Twenty Four ! ) 1-hour tutorials !! And when you finally get to the 24th. hour, if you can remember even your bloody name never mind Tut 1, then go back and start all over again, but only if you still have the will to live !! Way too complicated, by far.
Next up we have The Gimp ! Sounds a bit Non PC to me ,, hey, am I the only one limping here ,, but apparently it's an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program.
Haha, this one is so much better .,., NOT ! .,., it comes with the obligatory manual too of course.,., some 300 odd pages this time and from the first, no let's not exaggerate, the 2nd. paragraph, is absolutely and totally incomprehensible .,.,
Now I'm not a dummy, I had a good education to higher level, and followed that with night school, etc but I'm damned if I can take in ANY of these programmes ,,,
Who writes this drivel shite ? It can only be NERDS of the computer age .,., in a language that only they and their fellows can follow .,.,
Please my followers, sign up here and let's send a New World Petition to such as these fools to compile a simple user manual ( ONE-A4 page max ! ) for all us old fogies who simply want to accomplish the simplist of photographic correction tasks ,, not send a man to the bloody moon !