29 Dec 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. We had a nice cosy family day with our children and Janis's Mum all there for dinner. No arguments, or falling out!
It was also my Birthday so I enjoyed that too. I received "Is it just me or is everything shit?" from my son, Grant and I just love it, I guess its because I am just a Grumpy Old Man as in the BBC tv series . Bruce gave me "That's not my truck.." for a bit of humour after my Moldova trucking trip and Claire gifted me with the DVD of SPARTACUS. Janis got me a super food blender/mixer and Jamie's Italy Itallian food recipe book that I will use to help me make lovely food for us.
We also enjoyed playing a game on Grant's Sony PS2 game computer. It was a music quiz with real buzzers and Claire won every game. Well-done Claire.
We also spoke briefly to friends afar including Ferruccio who was just leaving Tripoli to work on a Tug supply boat, Kirsty (Janis's sister) and her man Dan in Toronto and Ferruccio's Mum & Dad in Italy. I never did get around to phoning Suz, one of my best mates, who had gone home to Sydney and her family for Christmas although we have been in touch by phone text.
Merry Christmas Everyone

23 Dec 2005

"Almost There" by Andy Williams

Well, it’s nearly Christmas Day. Where has the past 12 months gone?
Back to the present time and Thursday. It’s a mad house here in Aberdeen. Janis and I were carrying out our usual ritual at this time of year, that is buying lots of food and putting it in our freezer and forgetting about it until 11 months are past and then throwing the food away (as it is well past any sell/use by date) and we start all over again. So we go into Marks and Spencer to buy lots of fine food for our festive feast. As usual we had about 14 plastic bags of shopping and M&S have a service that allows you to pick up the shopping by car at the rear of their premises. We leave our shopping and head for a coffee at the John Lewis store and then get the car to go and pick up our shopping that we are to collect within the allotted time of 1 hr. Normally this works very well and we collect our shopping and head for home. BUT not this time! No. For some unknown reason everyone in Aberdeen has decided to shop at M&S today and as we head for the store we are held up in a very large traffic jam. We eventually get to where the road is for entry to the M&S pick up point when a police car flashes past, a policeman jumps out and declares to me and motorists behind me that we are blocking the traffic behind us and we are to move on straight up the road. I try and explain out predicament but there is no reasoning with him so we drive on. But what are we to do now? We have to pick up our shopping at some stage and soon as some of it needs to be kept cold and we are all just creating a bigger traffic jam by driving around in circles in Aberdeen city. So I make my merry way around the city in the car along with a lot of similar minded drivers and we eventually return to the place from where we were told not to go. This time around the police officer is distracted by something else and it is chaos anyway. Cars are now abandoned at the roadside and people are walking to the pick up point of the shop to collect their shopping. So that doesn’t help in the least. I manage to sneak around the corner and into the queue towards the pick up point before the policeman notices me. I have to say that while I have been doing a mini tour of Aberdeen many cars have entered this road so I am way behind where I would have been had the policeman not moved me on. AGGHHHH!!! Anyway, we eventually get to the pick up point and get our shopping and leave without further ado. Why does it happen to me! Is it only me?

Today, Janis was working so I agreed to go shopping (again!) for the last minute things for Christmas time. (and I suppose tomorrow too.) I bought some filet steak and haddock. The Haddock was for our meal tonight and I was making the meal, wan kai thai-style red curry. One of our favourites. I then had a phone call from Claire to say that her central heating was not working and what should she do??? Difficult when she is 20 miles away down a phone line. I organised her and then washed my two cars. The SAAB was badly in need of a wash and took quite some time to clean. My other little beastie didn’t take as long but by then it was time to pick up Janis from work and then it was what we call in Scotland, teatime or dinner if you are posh. Tonight I am meeting up in a local pub with my good friend Harry so I better get on my skates.

Catch you all later.

20 Dec 2005

"Slow Down" by the Beatles

I have just returned from my adventure to Moldova. I really enjoyed the experience. Have a look at my BLOG elsewhere on this site.

As soon as I was home Janis and I went to a Christmas function at Ardo House hotel. It was really good with nice company too. Not much time to draw breath and it was out again on Saturday lunch time to meet up with some old work chums for our annual get together. I then met up with Janis and our friends Dave and Jackie for a meal at the Royal Thai and then on to the Lemon Tree night Club to watch Souled Asylum. They were fantastic. Good sound system and singing. Hear them at this WEB link. Sunday and Monday came and went in a blurr and now its Tuesday already and we havn't got our Christmas Tree up yet! We are going out tonight as we have been invited to a Christmas meal with the New Hope Trust. Looking forward to that.

While I was away a letter arrived to inform me that I have got the job working on the Aberdeenshire's Childrens' Panel. So I will be getting some training over the coming months before sitting on my first panel in June.

Claire's fiance has gone back to sea for 6 weeks so Claire is a bit sad but will be with us over Christmas time. Our boys will be with us too so it looks like it will be a nice cosy Christmas here although I will be thinking of these little boys and girls many miles away in Moldova with no mummy or daddy to give them any love and cuddles on Christmas Day.

2 Dec 2005

"On the Road Again" by Canned Heat

My bags are packed ready for tomorrow. This will be my last Blog till I return from Moldova. I hope to take some pictures on the way and load them on this Blog site for everyone to view on my return.

Its my niece's 21st Birthday Party tonight in Stonehaven so Janis and I will be going along to her party. Claire and Ferruccio will also be there. I will be getting up early on Saturday so it will be home early and then into Aberdeen for my interview before getting picked up by Paul, the other driver.

"Got To Be There" by Michael Jackson

Was called upon to pick up presents and clothing for the NHT from more schools and a church today. I had to drive that slow blue slug again today but only had to go half the distance. I was in Dundee, Anstrother, Glenrothes and Dunfermline. My friend John came with me today and he is a great help. We loaded about 250 boxes and 30 bags into the minibus. Its Hard work on your own but with John there its a lot quicker and easier. Made it back home by 6PM.

I will be packing my bag tomorrow for the trip over to Moldova. I will then be taking the bag to the New Hope Trust so that it can be put into the truck in advance of picking me up in Aberdeen on the Saturday morning. As if I am not doing enough (who said retirement was relaxing?) I have an interview on Saturday morning for acceptence to the Aberdeenshire's Children's Panel before setting of on my new adventure. Wish me luck! If I get the job I will be studing for a few months in 2006 and then placed on the Children's panel by mid 2006.

Superfast ferry - Rosythe to Zeebrugge

So Saturday is going to be an eventful day and I've Got To Be There!

30 Nov 2005

“Flower Of Scotland” by the Corries

It's St Andrew's Day.

On the 30th of November Scottish people from around the World celebrate St Andrew's Day.

Here are the words from a song by the Corries that is sung as our National Anthem although is is very unofficial! This anthem commemorates the battle of Bannockburn (1314) when the Scottish army under the leadership of Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II of England.

O Flower of Scotland, When will we seeYour like again,That fought and died for,Your wee bit Hill and Glen,And stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.

The Hills are bare now,And Autumn leaves lie thick and still,O'er land that is lost now,Which those so dearly held,That stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.

Those days are past now,And in the past they must remain,But we can still rise now,And be the nation again,That stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.

O Flower of Scotland,When will we seeyour like again,That fought and died for,Your wee bit Hill and Glen,And stood against him,Proud Edward's Army,And sent him homeward,Tae think again.

28 Nov 2005

"Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney

I have been told today that I am to join the team going to Romania and Moldova.

I will be travelling and sharing the driving with Paul in the smaller of the two trucks because we will be going on to Moldova where the roads are more difficult to drive and the larger truck cannot get through. We will be leaving on Saturday morning and travelling to Rosythe to take the overnight ferry to Zeebrugge. Then it’s a 2,300 mile journey through Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and then Moldova and to the town of Leova.

Moldova is considered the poorest country in all of Europe. Orphans there often lack both physical and emotional warmth, electricity, food and clothing. It will be a great thrill for me knowing that I will help them in a very small way to give them a Christmas they will remember forever. Link to NHT information on the Forgotten Children of Mondova.

We are taking warm clothing, boots, socks and Christmas presents for single mums, families and orphaned children along with some wardrobes that are desperately needed there.

Wish us luck!

25 Nov 2005

"The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles

Thursday was a long day!

I was given a Ford transit minibus today to pick up yet more presents and clothing. I must say that this poor blue bus had no power and consumed fuel like it was a super tanker in the high seas. It uses more fuel than the larger 7.5 ton Mercedes truck I was driving up till now. Why? Anyway, I got going at 5 am and struck south for Ayrshire. I got to Fenwick Primary School by 08:40 and by that time the wind was getting up to storm force with the snow not far behind it. I loaded the bus (seats out) with some gifts and proceeded to Ardrossan and St. Peter's Primary School where I was greeted with a lovely hot cup of coffee. I nearly fainted when they showed me what the children had brought to the school for the poor families of Eastern Europe. I counted 60 large bin bags full of clothes and cuddly toys and then was shown to another room where there were 160 boxes of Christmas presents. The girls, boys and teachers helped me to load the bus almost to its full capacity. I still had 4 schools to visit but had nowhere to put the kind gifts! After a frantic phone call to the Logistics Manager, Matthew, He agreed that I could cancel the uplifts at Cumbernauld and attempt to pick up the other lifts at Muirkirk Primary School and Snowdon School, Stirling. So off I trundled towards Muirkirk. Does anyone know where it is? It is in the middle of nowhere with Long and Winding Roads leading to and from it. The Ford Transit minibus was just not up to it. Foot hard to the floor all the way and I could only manage about 50mph on downhill stretches. Well, I managed to pick up at both schools with presents loaded to the roof. Goodness knows what it looked like to other fellow travellers on my way home to Peterhead. A wee guy speeding towards the horizon peering through boxes of Christmas wrapped boxes and black bags. Awesome! Got to Brechin> And then the snow was upon me but that didn't stop my pushing against the wind in this underpowered blue slug. I made it to Peterhead by 5:30 pm and then back home by 6:30 pm. Then the news came from Matthew that the following day was cancelled because of the snow causing chaos on the roads and many schools were to be closed the next day so there was no point attempting to struggle on the slippery roads.

21 Nov 2005

"Thank God its Christmas" by Queen

Well here I am back from another day picking up loads of Christmas presents for all those poor children in Moldova and Romania. I picked up approx 200 boxes of presents with John G (thanks John for the help and the company!)along with many cuddly teddy bears and other similarly lovely cuddly toys. I was again in the Dundee area along with pick ups at Arbroath, Kirriemuir and nr Brechin. Thanks to all who donated these lovely gifts and clothes for these poor, poor children of Eastern Europe who will be so excited to have received them. I am excited too! I have been asked by the New Hope Trust if I can go in 2 weeks time to Moldova with the truck but I have other commitments.

I am trying to re-plan my life to allow me to go there and help with this very good charity. I will keep this blog up to date with developments. See Above for update>

19 Nov 2005

"Father and Daughter" Paul Simon

Last night we were invited to my daughter's (Claire) place to have a meal with her fiancĂ©, Ferruccio along with my sister, Anne and brother-in-law, Robert. We had a really nice Italian meal that consisted of 5 courses. Boy was I full! So full that this morning I could not eat breakfast! The Italians love to eat lots of food at one sitting on special occasions and I wasn’t about to disappoint Ferruccio or Claire. So I ate everything put in front of me. SO, it was a lovely evening and we chatted a lot and discussed their future wedding in April 2006. Today I have been shopping in our town for our dinner tonight and dinner tomorrow night. It is so cold today. Without cloud cover the temperature has fallen to -4 C and even with the sun is is only just getting above 0 C. Brrrrr.

16 Nov 2005

"Drive" by CARS

WOW, just done my first run for New Hope Trust collecting Christmas parcels for orphaned children in Romania and Moldova. Travelled down to Dundee and Creiff to collect items from very kind folk. So DRIVE was very much in my mind while I drove there and back. Reminder of those very moving pictures when Michael Buerk showed views of the human famine in Ethiopia all those years ago. It changed the rich people's perception just a little bit for a small amount of time to make a big difference to the World's needy people. But it never stops. There are always hungry, cold people in the World. Every Little Helps.