Cross 

One of my very earliest memories dates back to Friday 4th September 1964. I was five years old and just about to start school but on that day I was sitting, helping the Mater shell peas for lunch.

And on our old black and white TV (or just “the TV” as we called it back then) we were watching HM Queen open the shiny new Forth Road Bridge – an engineering marvel which would replace the old black and white vehicle ferry to Fife (or just “the ferry” as we called it back then). We were excited and we were impressed.

So it has been very interesting to watch the new Queensferry Crossing take shape over the past few years – particularly as the Mater and Pater lived within sight of it, and the other two bridges, until quite recently.  And on 4 September 2017 it was good to see Her Maj back again to open the new route, amid much hoo-ha and sundry celebrations.

Mrs WeeKeef and I played our own part in that as we were lucky enough to be picked to walk the 1.7 miles across it before the road is handed over to traffic forever. That was genuinely quite a special experience, and I am so glad we got selected. It’s not often one gets the chance to be part of history.

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This past weekend I had a day out with the Mater.  We drove out past her old house, which she still misses terribly, joined the long queue of traffic and drove across the shiny new Queensferry Crossing (and back).  It’s an engineering marvel.  We were excited and we were impressed.

Best of all, just like in 1964, we rounded things off with lunch.  Fifty-three years later that too is cause for celebration.

 

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This bird has flown

On the tenth of August 1988, just after 3.25 in the afternoon, a nice lady in a nurse’s uniform handed me a teeny bundle which turned out to be Boy 1 (of 3). Much the same thing happened in the middle of a sunny May day in 1991, and again on a frosty early morning in February 1999. Thus began the three greatest adventures of my life, and you can’t get very far in these pages without knowing what I think about those young men.

Like all (good) parents I have tried to be around for them as much as I can,  but we always know that we will have to give them up to the world eventually. In fact that’s the whole idea, really. Sometimes it’s hard, but it is also such a joy to see them take the next step in their lives.

Well, it’s been a month for steps, and no mistake. Four weeks ago I became a van driver, helping the aforementioned Boy 1 to move across town and into his very own place for the first time.  He seems to be settling in nicely.  Three days ago Boy 2 wrote a huge cheque and is now also the proud owner of his own home. When Mrs WeeKeef and I swung by earlier today he was in full decorating mode and looking very pleased with himself indeed.

But the biggest step took place earlier in the day, when we took Boy 3 off to his new home for the foreseeable future. Once again, one of the boys is to be a student at Dundee University, this time to study Mathematics. And so we packed him up and moved him in to the very same student flats which did so well for Boy 2 eight whole years ago.

There was no sign of Percy the Clock this time round, but it was all familiar enough to be reassuring, though it will not stop me worrying about my youngest, at least for a while. Even if he is off on his on own first, great adventure.

 

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Don’t you wish your boyfriend was large like me?

Like Margaret Thatcher before me I am a big fan of Marks and Spencer when it comes to underwear. It’s especially gratifying when one finds the perfect pant and I’ve tried buying up all stocks of a particular style as they are the Goldilocks of undergarments.

Sadly, however, it seems this line has been discontinued and I was recently forced to opt for what looked like the next best thing. Well, life is full of such little setbacks but, somewhat thrown by this, I managed to pick up the wrong size.

This is where M&S comes into its own, of course. Not just in their returns policy, but in their overall approach to customer service. I find that this, like the need for comfy nether-regions, is increasingly important as one approaches 49 plus 1(0).

And so I trundle back to the store where I am greeted by a nice, smiley M&S lady, who asks if she can help. I explain my mistake and, of course, she can help. Not only that, but she offers to pop over to the shelves and get the replacement pack for me. Splendid.

“Is it just the one size smaller you need?” she asks, as she turns to depart. Goodness, no! One size larger, at least, I tell her. Whereupon nice, smiley M&S lady argues with me, telling me that there is no way I look like I need a size up.

I think I love nice, smiley M&S lady a little bit.

Anyway, I am sitting here, typing this, on National Underwear Day wearing a pair of new pants. They’re not quite right, but I fear that is more to do with the size of my arse, rather than the size of the garment.

And that’s a bit pants.

 

 

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Last post

It doesn’t seem possible that it is six-and-a-half years since I was writing about moving job and wondering what was going to happen, but here we are again.  My work is done and Scotland is, I hope, a safer place for it.

And so tomorrow morning I will get up, put on a new shirt and a brave smile, and head off to a new posting once again. Having saved the people I have been head-hunted (kind of) to save the fish.

What, you may ask, do I know about saving fish? Well, not much to be honest, but then I didn’t know much about guns, football hooliganism or pirates a few years back. I learned there and I will learn here too.

That is a good thing but it doesn’t stop the feeling of apprehension/inadequacy/panic which is currently attending my waking moments. Even at the ripe old age of 49 and some, one can get that “first day at a new school” feeling. Will I have a clue? Will the people be nice? Will I like the work?

The answers to those questions are, of course, no-then-yes; no-and-yes; and probably.

And with luck, this is the last time I have to go through this because, barring incidents or accidents (or hints or allegations), this is probably going to be my last job before I retire.

Now THAT is a scary thought.

 

 

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Can you dig it?

You will be wondering whatever happened to the tale of our phone connection and whether the repeat visits of BT OpenReach engineers ever achieved anything. Well, yes and no.

Having left you on a cliff-hanger of engineers last July you will be pleased to know that a digging crew did eventually turn up. Three times. 

The first time they failed to let us know in advance (ah, deja vu). Mrs WeeKeef got a call from them as she arrived at work and promptly sent them homeward to think again. Luckily, for them, home was only Dundee and not Latvia which was their original answer when questioned. 

A couple of days later they returned, assured us they would not need access to the house and got on with the job. Pavement and garden were promptly dug up, a cable laid and off they popped. Ok, the phone etc worked, but they had left an open pipe sticking six inches out of the drive with the cable trailing out of it in desultory fashion. 

A couple of complaints later and a man with a hacksaw turned up. He hacksawed the pipe to almost ground level – though a beaver with toothache would have made a neater job – and off he went too. 

By this time we were losing the will to live and so gave up trying to get any sort of neat job done, but planned our arguments for when it all goes wrong again and BT try to say the fault is on our land. 

Months pass ….. 

Then, yesterday morning, a couple of trucks turn up and two men start wandering up and down our environs. When challenged one gentleman – a Geordie with an apparent surfeit of saliva, judging by the number of times he saw fit to expectorate during our brief chat – assured me that the council had condemned our pavement as the most recent channel was not up to regulations. They would be digging it up and laying it again. He seemed uninterested in the identity of the  culprits and was keen to get started on some noisy, dust-laden tarmac surgery at 7.40am. 

I left him to it and, admittedly, the new channel seems much nicer – well, bigger, at least. All we have to do now is clean up after him. 

It makes you spit!
 

 

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