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The old white goods are awaiting their replacement – a lovely new frost-free fridge-freezer. If only the one that came today hadn’t been scratched and dented, they be off to the recycling plant by now. Oh well. Tomorrow’s delivery might be better !

J & I saw this when we went to see Wall-E a few weeks back. As Spongebob fans who regularly sing over the Pearl & Dean music, this new ad really ticked us pink !

Spongebob Pearl & Dean.

BBC NEWS | Health | Singles ‘face Alzheimer’s risk’.

Look this smug to stay sane

Look this smug to stay sane

Oh bugger. As a divorced man, happily living alone, I’m worried.

This might explain why I talk to the cat and often find myself taking all night to hang the washing up to dry because I keep getting distracted and leaving the room – and then going back an hour later and thinking, “THE WASHING !!! That’s what I was doing !”. And then getting distracted again. And going back again. Repeat this for the whole night and you can understand my fears.

Now, where do I work again ?

There’s really nothing like the first cycle commute after recovering from a heavy cold. I really must urge you (if you’re suffering from congested sinuses) to get the old bike out, make sure the tyres are inflated and the chain’s not rusted solid if it’s been a few years since your arse was planted atop a saddle, and ride like the clappers. The combination of the cold morning air, the body heating up and the resultant dilation of the nasal passages is a sure fire way to loosen the snot and enable you to blow snot-rockets and howk up sizeable pavement oysters with reckless abandon.

But one quick tip – always check there’s no-one sitting on your tail as you fire one off to the side. The unexpected gift of an ’emerald necklace’ isn’t always appreciated by your followers.

I like my bike. I think it looks good. But this is just going too far

If only he’d been “two tyred” to give it a good pumping, or had taken a ‘brake’.


This is apparently genuine email correspondence between a disgruntled citizen of Leith and the local police. Whether it’s true or not, it’s still very funny indeed and – from personal experience – true to life when dealing with the local constabulary:

Dear Sir/madam/automated telephone answering service

Having spent the past twenty minutes waiting for someone at Leith police station to pick up a telephone I have decided to abandon the idea and try e-mailing you instead. Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass this message on to your colleagues in Leith by means of smoke signal, carrier pigeon or ouji board.
As I’m writing this e-mail there are eleven failed medical experiments(I think you call them youths) in West Cromwell Street which is just off Commercial Street in Leith. Six of them seem happy enough to play a game which involves kicking a football against an iron gate with the force of a meteorite. This causes an earth shattering CLANG! which rings throughout the entire building. This game is now in it’s third week and as I am unsure how the scoring system works, I have no idea if it will end any time soon.

The remaining five walking abortions are happily rummaging through
several bags of rubbish and items of furniture that someone has so
thoughtfully dumped beside the wheelie bins. One of them has found a saw and is setting about a discarded chair like a beaver on speed. I fear that it’s only a matter of time before they turn their limited attention to the bottle of calor gas that is lying on it’s side between the two bins. If they could be relied on to only blow their own arms and legs off then I would happily leave them to it. I would even go so far as to lend them the matches. Unfortunately they are far more likely to blow up half the street with them and I’ve just finished decorating the kitchen.

What I suggest is this. after replying to this e-mail with worthless
assurances that the matter is being looked into and will be dealt with, why not leave it until the one night of the year (probably bath night) when there are no mutants around then drive up the street in a panda car before doing a three point turn and disappearing again. This will of course serve no other purpose than to remind us what policemen actually look like.

I trust that when I take a clawhammer to the skull of one of these
throwbacks you’ll do me the same courtesy of giving me a four month head start before coming to arrest me.

I remain sir, your obedient servant

Mr ??????,

I have read your e-mail and understand you frustration at the problems caused by youth playing in the area and the problems you have encountered in trying to contact the police.
As the Community Beat Officer for your street I would like to extend an offer of discussing the matter fully with you.
Should you wish to discuss the matter, please provide contact details
address / telephone number) and when may be suitable.

PC ???
Community Beat Officer

Dear PC ?????

First of all I would like to thank you for the speedy response to my
original e-mail. 16 hours and 38 minutes must be a personal record for Leith Police station and rest assured that I will forward these details to Norris McWhirter for inclusion in his next book.

Secondly I was delighted to hear that our street has it’s own community beat officer. May I be the first to congratulate you on your covert skills. In the five or so years I have lived in West Cromwell Street, I have never seen you. Do you hide up a tree or have you gone deep undercover and infiltrated the gang itself? Are you the one with the acne and the moustache on his forehead or the one with a chin like a wash hand basin? It’s surely only a matter of time before you are headhunted by MI5.

Whilst I realise that there may be far more serious crimes taking place in Leith such as smoking in a public place or being Muslim without due care and attention, is it too much to ask for a policeman to explain (using words of no more than two syllables at a time) to these t***s that they might want to play their strange football game elsewhere. The pitch behind the Citadel or the one at DKs are both within spitting distance as is the bottom of the Leith Dock.
Should you wish to discuss these matters further you should feel free to contact me on ??? ????. If after 25 minutes I have still failed to answer, I’ll buy you a large one in the Compass Bar.


P.S If you think that this is sarcasm, think yourself lucky that you
don’t work for the cleansing department.

It’s been far too long. Despite a few gentle nags from Croila, I never quite managed to get around to posting anything; until now, that is. I read this posting by a musician I know called Roy Henderson, and it really does give a flavour of the atmosphere you can get in some of the more ‘local’ bars in Leith. My guess is that this is a well-known bar at the bottom of Leith Walk, which still attracts the good citizens of Leith who wouldn’t seem out of place in a sequel to Trainspotting. Anyway, it made me smile as I’ve seen these types stagger from the doors of the establishment many a time. Take it away, Roy:

Being a gigging musician is never dull. On Friday night I was delighted to play the Mercat with a number of myspace chums. There was some very fine music, an appreciative and supportive audience, friendly banter and much laughter. Ok, there was also a quantity of alcohol involved, and while some of us (me especially) slightly overdid the falling-down water, there was not a hint of malice, jealousy or danger. I came home a very drunk but satisfied, content and thankful guy.

On Saturday I played at my regular “songs for cash” gig. There was also some very fine music but there was also beer glasses being hurled across the bar smashing off walls showering the place (and me) in glass, pissed up women approaching in a “Leith version of sexy way”, grabbing me and saying “Hi doll” then demanding I play “Layla”, toothless junkies off their faces standing 4 feet from my microphone shouting for “Wish you were here” or “somethin’ fae Boab Marley”, and several threatening, heavy looking guys with number 1 crops staring malevolently, offering me a litre bottle of Vodka for a fiver, then frowning when I declined. Then they starting talking about “square go’s” outside.

When the gig was over (our last song was, appropriately, by Crowded House) a member of the “audience” stood up, walked to the door and promptly fell face down and the loud crack which we heard is still resonating in my head today. Cue copious amounts of blood, me trying to put the unconscious guy into the recovery position while trying to avoid coming into contact with his life-juice, and calls to 999. To make matters worse, a local gentleman grabs me and screams in my face, “Did you fucking do this? Did Ye? Did Ye?” “No, mate”, I replied, “He fell down”. “Naw he didny. You fucking did this, or it was one o’ they junkies – fuckin’ tell me NOW”

“No, mate he really did just fall down, he’s a bit pissed” I replied.

And with that he starts shaking the barely conscious guy (causing blood to fly everywhere) “Haw man….tell me who did this tae ye” while glaring at me threatengly,

I decide that, with a paramedic arriving on the scene, I should exit the situation when a guy taps me on the shoulder and says, “Cheers man you played some fucking great music tonight”

Enough. I got my blood money, accepted a free double Jack on ice from the nice bar lady, and a taxi home.

It’s not just junk food, fizzy drinks and expensive toys that we need to worry about them targetting kids with in TV adverts.

Just last week I was explaining to J that I was always skint because I was paying off debts, but that hopefully by April this year I’ll have paid them all off. “Have you ever considered consolidating all of your existing debts into one easy monthly payment ?” came the sage advice from this savvy six year-old. My jaw dropped. “Or you could get a One Card and reduce the payments on your mortgage,” she continued.

I dropped her bedtime storybook and nearly fell off her bed. “Where”, I sputtered, “did you hear THAT ?”

“It’s on Nick Jr all the time when I watch it at Mum’s”.

For once I’m glad I only have terrestrial telly ; if they’re manipulating the minds of kids so that they grow up believing that debts are nothing to worry about , then the future generations are going to be in hock forever.

Pity your poor kids in their middle-age.

It’s amazing just how much technology moves on in the space of a few short years. Just a few years back, a 1Gb microdrive for a digital SLR was hundreds of pounds and the storage capacity seemed incredible.

Move forward to a few days ago, when I received a package containing a 2Gb pen drive which cost me the quite staggeringly small sum of £10.99. That pen, which is 3cm long and 0.5cm thick, contains half of the space available on the hard drive of this antiquated laptop which I’m using to type up this entry.

How on earth did we store all of our information and data before the advent of cheap flash memory ? I remember when a box of 10 full floppies was considered excessive, and they were only 1.44Mb each. Now they’re relics consigned to the dustbin of technological history, and we’re each probably carrying gadgets in our pockets capable of holding a combined total up to 60Gb: mobile with 1 or 2Gb miniSD memory, pen drive on a keychain and an iPod or mp3 player.

Where will it all end ? How much data do we each need to keep, personally ? What happens when a format becomes obsolete – will we spend our lives accumulating terabytes of data which we need to continuously transfer onto new formats to keep the data available ? Will we need counselling and feel a sense of loss or bereavement if we lose huge chunks of our stored lives through theft or media breakdown / failure ?

I think I’ll start reverting back to using the good old pen and a pad of paper, so that hundreds of years from now whatever I write might still be available without needing the requisite antique technology to extract the data in the first place. Your eyes will do just fine, and hopefully in a few hundred years we won’t have replaced them with something electronic !

OK. It’s been a while. In fact, it’s been a very long while. There’s no excuse for it other than laziness…. well, in fact the truth is I’ve been a busy boy with lots of other things and so I’ve been neglecting poor old Waterside Tales for too long.

What’s been happening in the intervening months, then ?

  • Well, the cycling has continued throughout the winter months, except for the days when it would have been suicidal to attempt it (like the days I’d have been going sideways with the gales). I’ve clocked up another 400 miles since the last picture, even with almost four weeks off over Xmas and New Year with the festivities and the Winter Virus. The fact that the temperatures have remained on the mild rather than the brass monkey side has been an added bonus !
  • The little one has lost two front teeth and become acquainted with the Tooth Fairy and her monetary reward scheme for baby teeth. At her age I was almost yanking them out with pliers, lured by the promise of free cash, but she’s been rather reluctant to part with them. Hell, she’s not even seen that little lassie that sang ‘Grandma’ with the St Winifred’s School Choir back in the 70’s, so she can’t have been scared off with the fact that she may end up looking like an OAP who’s had a false teeth crisis.
  • Talking of teeth, Grandad lost his down the toilet after being sick with the Winter Virus. Poor old soul (who’s registered blind with his macular degenaration) didn’t even notice they were gone for a full half-hour. He’s had to make multiple visits to the dentist to have a new set made, so hopefully he’ll be smiling again on Saturday rather than sucking his cheese toastie to death with that horrendous, sunken-faced grimace that a lack of top teeth has endowed him with.
  • I was given a free laptop last week, which I am sitting with in the living room typing this as I wait for Mock The Week to start on BBC2. It’s an old brick of a Compaq, with a 4Gb hard disk and 64Mb of memory, but it does what I want it to, albeit at a more leisurely pace. I’ve managed to create a network to that I can access the files on my PC, though the laptop is cabled in rather than wireless. I’m trying to retain the ‘free’ vibe here, so buying a wireless adapter would spoil things.
  • I aim to be debt-free for the first time in over 6 years by April. I’ve cleared a large chunk with a generous January bonus, and with some share options and savings I’ll clear the rest soon. It’s like a huge, oppressive weight has been lifted and I intend to live my life from now on withing my meagre means.
  • My video died just before Xmas and I was embarrassed in the shops by an officious young man who told me that VCRs were no longer sold, as “they’re antiques now, Sir”. I ended up treating myself to a 180Gb Humax PVR with twin Freeview tuners, which is brilliant and I don’t know how I’ve managed up until now without being able to pause the TV whilst I nip to the kitchen to make a cup of tea ! Of course, it does MUCH more than that but I can’t be arsed listing it now as I’ve paused the telly and want to watch it before it gets too late.

So that’s a quick summary of what life’s been like for the last wee while. Hopefully I’ll be back again soon and thereafter on a much more regular basis. I know there’s podfade in the podcasting community, but is there such a thing as blogfade ?

Fear not though, I’ve not succumbed.

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