Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Doll-talker, Butterfly-saver and Margo-listener


To the office! Not unusual for me but a wee bit unusual for The Bairn. To help Wife-features and I do our jobs during Easter holidays and days when childcare isn’t available we use excellent facilities available at my work. This means I have to ride the bus to work and remember to talk to the little person next to me, as well as animate the toy she‘s brought for company. Normally my commutes are by bike and with only Today or GMS in my ears for company. I have to say, being forced to make one of the Bairn’s dolls talk is preferable to having to listen to regular updates about weekend football and city bypass traffic jams.


It’s the 1st of April. That’ll be why the tabloids (and the Telegraph) are full of hilarious stories about the referendum, all featuring Salmond’s face. Thank goodness they never conflate the two the rest of the time. Oh…


Wife-features ventures out for a rare evening of cinema-going. I assume it’s a documentary about knitting or a Jimmy Stewart retrospective but instead the missus comes back buzzing about Captain America and Jenny Agutter kicking “ass“. I fear she’s mixing with the wrong crowd.

Cake smashing. Now there’s a thing. No, apparently it is actually a thing. Parents are paying good money to have professional snappers take pics of their babies making a mess of a huge dessert. I don’t want to be a complete party pooper but as Green Dad I should point out a billion people in the world are starving right now while a billion are overeating themselves into an early grave. I’m sure somewhere I have a photo of the Bairn looking messy and happy while scoffing a treat at Luca’s Olympia CafĂ© but it would never occur to me to stage manage such an event. Each to their own, I suppose.


A sad day. For large chunks of it I cannot speak. Margo’s gone. QVC’s biggest fan, Margo was brilliant both in the intellectual sense but also literally thanks to her astonishing fashion and taste for bling. I spoke to her several times over the last year at work, as she helped the Greens form a parliamentary group with John Finnie and Jean Urquhart, the SNP’s Nato rebels.

I always remember her questioning the quality of some of the larger parties’ backbenches. You shouldn’t come here half-cooked, she said. You have to be ready to serve. Margo’s mix of compassion and determination was certainly a recipe to envy.


To Dundee! A city I almost worked in many years ago when approaching a junction in my journalism career. I still remember the job interview. The potential employer held court in baffies and a jogging suit. The building was a weird former factory full of stairwells, ducts and Jacques Tati-style piping. But it was not to be, and anyway the job I went for doesn’t exist any more.

Dundee’s got lots of roadworks, building sites and has a pretty hip reputation thanks to the games industry, comics and its bid for city of culture. The V&A is on the way but meantime there’s an old boat across four lanes of fast moving traffic, reminding me of that great video game Frogger.


To the Shed! What feels like the first proper sunshine of the season prompts a bit of spring cleaning. I remove the burach of boxes and play things from the spooky garden shed and put them back in an orderly manner. In the process I rescue a lovely big butterfly stuck in a web with a spider closing in. Yes, I’m a real eco warrior.

Later on, a wee blether on the phone with my mum reveals I may have Margo to thank for more than recent sparky chats about independence and assisted suicide. Margo’s forthright phone-ins on Radio Forth were apparently regular background noise when I was a nipper. If even the tiniest hint of my learned contrariness is down to her, I’m eternally grateful.

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