Life is too short

I need to stop making excuses. Life is too short. I need to stop over-thinking things. Life passes too quickly. A recent and very sudden death has plunged my life into contrast. The sister of my ex-wife passed away unexpectedly, she was 49. She was a loving, fun, smart woman. She brought up four kids on her own, went back to college once they’d grown up and earned a BSc in Nutritional Science, ohhh and she needed at least one coffee in the morning before you could speak to her. She would’ve done anything for you as she valued people over possessions. She was quick to laugh at herself, had little common sense, and for the years I knew her …

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Man Up

#InternationalMensDay has been the rightful target of ridicule. A firmly established, if wobbling, patriarchy makes the notion of a day specifically for men an utter irrelevance. Isn’t every day is International Mens Day? But whilst Yes, All Men is the cry, some people have taken this hashtag to point out that the very idea of masculinity still needs to be challenged, to make the very valid statement that many men still feel trapped by the notions of what it is to be ‘a man’ that are pushed at us day after day after day. Man up Sit down Chin up Pipe down Socks up Don’t cry Drink up Just lie Grow some balls, he said Grow some balls. ~ Samaritans …

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Buying better

As those of you who have met me in ACTUAL REAL LIFE (cos hey, us Bloggers also exist in the real world) can no doubt attest, I am not the most fashion conscious person. I’m aware of high street trends but my exposure to that is largely what I see out and about, I don’t read about fashion, I don’t get exposed to many adverts about fashion, I am not fashionable. I’m comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, sometimes a shirt, and whilst I don’t mind dressing for the occasion I tend to view clothes as a necessity rather than a delight. And no, that doesn’t mean I would rather be naked all the time, no-one needs to see that… …

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Six by Nico: Middle East

Back to Six by Nico for their latest menu – MIDDLE EAST – and I’ll admit upfront that of all the world cuisines this area is my least favourite (it’s all those olives) but as ever I entered the restaurant with a quiet optimism that my opinion would be swayed. MEZE PLATTER – Falafel, Caper & Raisin puree / Ewes Curd Kibbeh, Coriander Emulsion / Duck Leg Dolma, Preserved lemon KEBAB – Lamb Belly, Red Cabbage Slaw, Ras El Hanout Yoghurt, Pickled Cucumber SPICED CAULIFLOWER – Rose Harissa, Barrel Aged Feta, Kamalata Olives, Toasted Almond SEA BASS – Baba Ganoush, Pomegranate, Freekah, Walnut GLAZED CHICKEN – Orange Blossom, Medajool Date, Sumac Carrot, Chicken Skin Dukkah BAKLAVA – Hazelnut & Chocolate …

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IDLES

If you’ve not heard of them, then sod off and give them a listen as a lot of what I’m about to write won’t make much sense if you haven’t heard their music and ideologies. Done? OK good. When you tell people you are off to a gig at the weekend, people always ask you to describe the band, ‘what are they like?’ they ask.It’s almost always something I answer with a series of comparisons; they are bit like x with a hint of Y and the attitude of Z. That kind of thing… Yet the best description I can come up with to describe Idles isn’t based on comparing them to anyone as that would be selling them short. …

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Fit and fat

I stepped out of the shower the other morning, dried myself off, wrapped the towel round my waist and turned to face the sink. I reached up to retrieve my electric toothbrush from it’s charging point and caught my reflection in the mirror. I don’t really look at myself all that often, I’m not exactly my greatest fan in that respect; I’m all too aware and disapproving of my shape so I don’t tend to dwell on my appearance as all I ever really see is a fat man staring back at me. I know I’m not as fat as I think I am, but there’s one part of my body that I struggle with, all the more now that …

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Reading to escape

There were two routes I used to walk to my primary school, both of them down main roads that spanned the top half of the town. One took me down Townhead Road and offered the chance to nip in to a corner shop for some illicit sweeties, the other took me off Bonhill Road and into the lane that ran behind some off the houses, passing a piece of long (and still) neglected waste ground before arriving at the gates. It wasn’t a long walk, 10 mins if you were in a rush and hurried, not that I ever did. Depending on the time of year I’d change my route on the way home, but most days I simply retraced …

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45 miles

My first bike was a Boxer. It was royal blue, with chunky tyres and these days would probably be called a mountain bike (for kids, it was tiny). It was the smaller version of the Grifter, which itself was a BMX/off-road kinda thing with the most totally awesomest twist-handle gear shift just like an actual motorbike! My best mate’s big brother had a Grifter and ohhh how I would covet that bike. Not that I’d ever have touched it, he was a bit scary… I can’t remember learning to ride my bike beyond vague memories of my Dad running along behind me telling me to pedal faster, nor can I recall when the stabilisers first came off and I flew …

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Gigs for the soul

“Fry your onions in garlic!”, he shouted. It was another evening in the Barrowlands, the ageless dance hall turned gig venue. It was late December, 1991, and I was there to see the Silencers, ably supported by the wonderful Humpff Family (wonderful in both name and in their rock/ceilidh stylings). As we were waiting for the Silencers to come on stage, the audience was starting to gear up and the noise was steadily increasing as more and more people came in and jostled their way into the crowd. It’s the same at every gig. A guitar tech wanders on to the stage to plug in a guitar and is given a rousing cheer, every gap between playlisted ‘intermission’ songs is …

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An ode to the slow cooker

It looks like summer is fading away and, as we head into my favourite season, it’s time to look out the blankets and (far more importantly) my old friend the slow cooker. Ohhhh wonderous maker of stews and soups! I know you can do more – I have the books that tell me this – so I apologise that I don’t make better use of you but, let’s be honest, your convenience is your strength and I am little more than a chopper of foods, ready for your welcoming pot. I tend to stick to simple recipes, brown some meat here, chop some veg there, add some stock and herbs, and we are ready to rock. I’ve done pulled pork, …

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