Tag Archives: love

In The Heart Of The Book (1000 word flash fiction)

bookshop 2

As she opened the latest delivery, she thought again about how lucky she was to be living her dream. In this technology filled world, running and owning her own bookshop had been a dream since childhood. The smell and the feel of actual books had held her captivated for decades. Now, in her late thirties, the books fitted perfectly around family life.

Working in the shop, the tiniest shop in the street, gave her an insight into other peoples’ family lives through the books they brought to her. In exchange for a minimal sum, she welcomed in boxes and bags of literary memories. Sometimes the bags came with a funny story about their previous owner; parents passing on children’s books told tales of babies long grown up; wives told tales on husband’s as they brought in books relating to pastimes that has been a passing phase; widowers brought in their late wife’s romance libraries, wondering how they could have read such “rubbish”. Every book in the shop came with a story.

The box in front of her was a curious mix. It had been handed in late the afternoon before by a young man a few years her junior. There had been something vaguely familiar about him but she hadn’t been able to place him. He had commented that the books had been his father’s and had long since been consigned to a shelf at the back of the garage. Something, a sixth sense perhaps, made her ask if he was sure they were all to be donated. His answer had been, “I guess so. He told me to clear out the garage.  Everything. The house has been sold and there’s no room in the new flat for everything as it is.”

The contents of the box proved to be an eclectic mix. She lifted out  sports biographies, a few books about classic cars and car maintenance, a handful of John Grisham paperbacks and a couple of Dan Brown’s. In among them she spotted a copy of a book that been one of her own mother’s favourites, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

With a wistful smile, she ran her hands over the familiar cover noting that, like the copy she had that had been her mother’s, this one was well-read. As she reached to put it on the shelf, a folded piece of paper fell out and drifted to the floor, landing at her feet.

Lifting the pale blue sheet of paper, she unfolded it. Finding notes inside books was one of the sneaky pleasures of the job. Over the years, she had found countless shopping lists, Christmas lists, addresses, postcards, bus and train tickets, boarding passes and the occasional more personal letter. This was one of the latter. The blue page had previously been crumpled and parts of it torn off but someone had taken the time to smooth it out and fold it carefully, stowing it safely inside the book.

Her heart skipped a beat at the distinctive flourishes to the handwriting.

The first part of the letter was missing.

My head knows I shouldn’t feel like this but my heart begs to differ and is leading it astray. The countless unspoken thoughts and conversations in my mind are safest left there…..perhaps.

Who am I kidding here? You know me inside out and well enough to know how I feel without me having to say it out loud.

We both know the risks of that…..

Resting my head against your chest, hearing your heart beat, feeling your arms around me, feeling safe, feeling wanted, feeling loved….”

The rest of the letter was lost. The bottom section of the page torn off.

Shaking the book, she hoped the missing fragments might appear but nothing. Hurriedly, she searched through the box, vainly hoping that one or both of the missing pieces might be there. Nothing.

Opening the book, she prayed she might find another clue. What she found was the possible remains of one. The top corner of the title page had been roughly ripped off but the tails of the letters from the inscription remained. Whatever it had said, it had been written by the same person who had penned the love letter. She would know that handwriting anywhere, even after all this time.

It was her mother’s.

Deciding to err on the side of caution for a while, she re-folded the letter, placed it back in between the pages of the book and put the slim volume safely on the shelf beneath the counter.

A little voice in her soul told her the rightful owner would be back for it as soon as they realised it was missing.

 

A month went by and the well-loved copy of The Alchemist lay under the counter, gradually being buried by letters and receipts. Occasionally, she would bring it out and read the letter over again, trying to work out who her  mother had been writing to.  She never mentioned the book to a  soul. It was her secret. A final connection to her mother.

 

Two more weeks passed by.

 

Late on the Monday afternoon, she was absorbed in the task of re-organising the shelves, perched precariously on the top step of the rickety, wooden stepladders she had brought from home, when the bell above the shop door tinkled. Balancing on one foot and leaning on the shelf, she half turned to see who had entered the shop.

She recognised him immediately, despite the changes caused by the passage of time.

“Hello. Be careful up there,” he said warmly. “I was hoping you’d be able to help me.”

He paused while she climbed down the ladder.

“My son brought a box of books in here about six weeks ago. I’m trying to track down one of the books that got into the box by mistake. It’s of sentimental value.”

“I have it right here,” she replied, smiling at him with a smile so like her mother’s that his heart skipped a beat.

 

(Image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

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Spring – a Festival of Colours

It’s no secret – I hate winter. I loathe being cold, detest snow and hate the long dark days. (OK I concede that a wild winter’s night can be cosy with the heating on, candles burning and the curtains drawn tight to shut out the weather)

Spring is finally here! Winter is over for another year!

For me, one of the first signs of spring is the arrival of that first day when I am able to drive home from work without having to put the car’s headlights on. That always feels like a small moral victory.

Seeing all the spring flowers appear makes the world a more colourful place. Who can resist daffodils, crocuses and tulips?

Hearing the birds singing in the trees and bushes, bursting with buds, is a beautiful sound (Perhaps with the exception of that wee bird that sits out the back of our house going Twee Twee Twee at the top if it’s voice!)

Spring truly is something to celebrate!

Whilst I’m not a religious person Easter too signals the arrival of spring.

This year however an alternative spring festival has come to my attention.

In the salt mine, where I work in my “real world”, we work closely with colleagues based in India. This week we helped them to celebrate the Hindu festival Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours. We were all asked to come into work in colourful clothes – yes, I do actually own some clothes that aren’t black!

Curious to learn more about Holi, I did a little research that I thought I’d share with you all.

Holi is one of India’s most popular festivals and is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Phalguna in the Hindu calendar. This year that fell on 23rd March. Holi celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of spring. It also traditionally celebrates the victory of good over evil.

There are several legends associated with the Festival of Colours.

The story of Holika and Prahlad is one of the most important tales relating to the history of Holi. According to legend, there was a time when the entire world was ruled by a demon king, Hiranyakashyap. He was ruthless and expected everyone to worship him. Prahlad refused to. Instead Prahlad was devoted to Lord Naarayana, also known as Lord Vishnu. This was a huge issue for Hiranyakashyap because Prahlad was his son. On numerous occasions,  the demon king tried to murder his son, only to be thwarted every time by Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashyap enlisted some help to deal with Prahlad in the form of a demon called Holika. Holika was believed to be immune to the effects of fire. She enticed Prahlad into her clutches and, once he was within her reach, she grabbed him, sat him on her lap and sat them both in a pit of flames. Holika soon discovered to her cost that she was only immune to fire if she entered the flames alone. The fire consumed her. Prahlad emerged from the flames unharmed. He later learned the Lord Vishnu had granted him protection from the flames as a reward for his devotion.

A second legend associated with the Festival of Colours is the love story of Radha and Krishna.

When Lord Krishna was young, he was envious of the Radha’s fair skin. (Radha was a Hindu goddess). In an attempt to express his feelings of love and envy, Krishna rubbed colour onto Radha’s face. This act of “colouring” another person is now considered to be an expression of friendship and love.

So how is Holi celebrated?

On the eve of Holi, as midnight approaches, many people build large bonfires and gather round them to sing and dance and spend time with family and friends. The fire symbolises the death of Holika and the triumph of good over evil.

A tradition drink called Bhang is also prepared and enjoyed during Holi. Bhang is made from a cannabis paste…I’ll leave that thought there.

The next day, the Festival of Colours continues with the throwing of coloured powder or coloured water as people dash through the streets of the cities across India. This is a lively celebration of respect, love and devotion to the deities, friends and family.

Different areas of India celebrate in subtly different ways. There are so many diverse cultures across this vast country that many celebrate in their own unique way.

Jaipur, a popular destination for travellers, centres its festival around elephants and upbeat music.

Delhi adopts a more modern approach and hosts a vibrant festival of food and music, designed for family and friends to relax and have fun.

After the recent tragic events, carried out in the name of religion, that are dominating the world’s news, the idea of celebrating a triumph of good over evil around a bonfire, with a drink or two and in the company of family and friends sounds like a good idea to me.

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 credits to the owners of all photos – sourced form Google Images

Announcing A New Arrival – Impossible Depths

A Leap Day act of faith but Book Baby 2 aka Impossible Depths has made its debut on Amazon worldwide. EEK!

I still can’t quite believe it’s real. Can’t get me head round the fact that its done and out there for the world to see.

Like it’s predecessor, Impossible Depths was written long hand over many months. (I began writing it towards the end of 2013) It began “life” as four A4 notepads that have grown increasingly tatty over the months.

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Painstakingly it was typed up – all 142 299 words of it -and re-drafted and tweaked and grammar checked and tweaked…..yes the OCD began to kick in big time!

Throughout this phase of its development I couldn’t have kept going without the love and support and encouragement of my “Infamous Five”. Seriously, I can’t thank those guys enough for putting up with me and for giving me so many hours of their own precious time.

 Then came the next challenge. I had my Book Baby 2 almost formed but it was naked! The cover went through several incarnations before I finally settled on the stock photography image that became the cover. The next hurdle to be overcome was Photoshop (it hates me) but under the patient guidance of my “fairy godmother”, I designed the cover and eventually pulled it together in both Kindle format and Create Space paperback format. Now that was a fiddly job!

 By this stage, I was in the final throes of preparation for Book Baby 2’s arrival into the world and it was passed to “the cavalry” to read through. My two beta readers who prefer the story as a whole instead of per “chunk”. Huge thanks to you both for your feedback and support.

Cue more tweaking!

 Then came the day to upload the files onto Create Space and to order the first “real” proof copy. (Having an actual physical copy is so much easier to proof than using the online previewer. Invaluable advice given to me by my “fairy godmother”)

Cue more tweaking and a pile of post it corrections! And an alteration to the resolution of the front cover. A fuzzy cover just wouldn’t do!

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  And now, many, many months down the line, my Book Baby 2 has flown the nest and is making its way in the world of rock romance fiction.

Like any proud mother, I am now sitting back and watching my baby continue on its journey. (Well, to be honest, I’m fretting about how it will do in the big bad world just like any new mother would do.) Some of you may love it; some of you may loathe it. It’s a fiction genre that’s not for everyone but to me these characters are a huge part of my life and very close to my heart.

So I guess it’s time to crack open the champagne and wet the baby’s head.

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If you want to check it out, here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01C0GS30K?keywords=impossible%20depths&qid=1456764709&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

The Final UK Carnival of Madness show- memorable to say the least!

 

 

My Carnival of Madness adventure part two began with trains, buses, trains and eventually a taxi to our hotel for the night, handily situated right beside the arena.

Girl Child and I were off on a mother/daughter trip to Manchester!

The first train to Glasgow was uneventful. It was the slow train so it stopped at every lamppost but we got there. Girl Child decided she REALLY needed something from Burger King for second breakfast so by 9.30am she was happily scoffing a Chicken Royale burger …BLEURGH!

Stage two of the journey was a two-hour bus ride to Carlisle. I don’t normally travel well on buses and turn fifty shades of green within a short period of time however I survived this trip intact. We found ourselves in a very cold Carlisle station. Us and the rest of the population of Carlisle! Some steam train (I think it was the Flying Scotsman – I’m no train spotter) was due to pass through and stop at the station. In all the confusion we missed our train.

I’m too polite to repeat what my Girl Child had to say about that!

If in doubt, find some caffeine! We parked ourselves at a small platform-side café that was equally cold for lunch.

Our second attempt at catching the Trans-pennine Express was more successful and we were soon on our way, albeit an hour behind schedule.

I had booked first class seats so the journey was quite calm and pleasant and included free coffee! Never a bad thing.

We arrived at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station around 3.30pm. It was a zoo!! Eventually we found the correct exit and a taxi rank.  The late afternoon traffic was bedlam and it was just after 4pm before we finally arrived at our hotel.

Our fifth floor room was nothing fancy. It was clean. You know what to expect from a Travel Lodge room. Girl Child promptly claimed the double bed as hers….guess the single would have to do me.

We snacked on the juice, popcorn and biscuits that I had in my bag while we got ready to head out to the show.

The arena was only a short walk from the hotel but finding the way was like walking through a labyrinth. First time I’ve entered a gig via a railway station!

We made our usual pilgrimage to the merchandise stall (yes, Four, I was a naughty girl and bought more shirts and, no, I’m not telling you how many), had a quick comfort stop then made our way into the standing arena.

Another first here- the standing arena is accessed from the top level of the hall and down through all the seats. Following the queue, we zig-zagged our way down to the arena floor. The event staff were collecting in the tickets. I queried if we could keep them as souvenirs (I have every ticket from every show I’ve been to) The guy assured me we would get a ticket back on the way out at the end…oh….ok….

It was decision time- right or left hand side of the stage? We went right.

Manchester Arena is huge in comparison to others I’ve been in. (I believe it can hold around 21000) and the standing arena was sold out. By some small miracle we found ourselves a spot three or four rows off the barrier among reasonably short people and with a good view of the stage. Happy days!

Highly Suspect came on stage at 6.15, launching straight into a raucous set. There was a different energy about them compared with the Glasgow show and the Manchester crowd appeared to be enjoying them more than the Scottish rock fans had. I guess I enjoyed their performance a lot more too as I was finally getting to hear the entire short set…..that was until their front man “gobbed” on stage again Twice! Bleurgh! Would I still like to see them play a smaller show? Hmmm…the jury is currently out on that thought.

Next up were Halestorm who were in storming form! Lzzy was most definitely commanding this crowd. Mid-set Black Stone Cherry appeared on stage to do a meet and greet (was that Zach Myers in the midst of it?) then John Fred Young and the drummer from Highly Suspect stayed on stage to “assist” Arejay with his drum solo. Good hearted end of UK tour antics that the fans were loving. The set hadn’t altered much from Monday night’s show. Mayhem, Freak Like Me and I Miss The Misery rounded things off in raucous RnFnR style.

One of the best Halestorm performances that I’ve seen.

I had warned Girl Child about the tape that would play in between Halestorm and Shinedown’s sets. Yes, Manchester too was treated to the fifteen minute meditation tape. What the hell was all that about, boys?

The energy in the room evaporated rapidly.

Girl Child loves Shinedown so they were to be the highlight of her evening as it was her first experience of seeing them play live. They didn’t disappoint. Yes, Brent Smith wasted time talking too much and by going for a saunter through the arena but, in general, he seemed back on his game. I was enjoying seeing more of Zach Myers this time round. Love him to bits!

My heart swelled as I watched Girl Child sing and cheer, horns up, with a wide grin on her pretty wee face. I love to see her happy and enjoying herself.

Shinedown’s set was identical to Monday night’s with one addition. Brent Smith declared that as they were in Manchester they had better play something to keep the locals happy. They did just that by playing Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger before moving on to play Simple Man. Have I said how much I love that song?

Set closer Sound Of Madness nearly lifted the roof off the arena.

Manchester loves Shinedown!

Our long day of travel and rock music was starting to take it’s toll. Both Girl Child and I were wilting a little. Our backs were in agony and she was complaining her feet were sore from standing. My shoulders were aching. Cue the entry of the “rock’n’roll polo mints” and a Dextro tablet each. Gig survival kit!

We were both very thirsty by this point though.  We’d been there for about four hours by this time.

Manchester, you could learn a lot about passing back water to thirsty fans from your colleagues at the SSE Hydro!!!!

Not a drop of water was to be had. (Once, the security staff passed a large sports bottle along the very front row but nothing was offered beyond that) Very poor show, Manchester.

The curtain had again been raised to hide the stage changeover but from our vantage point we could see the stage crew working hard. Although why they were burning an incense stick in the machine heads on one of the guitars is beyond me….

Shortly before show time, the tape being played to keep the crowd amused played Slipknot’s Psychosocial. The crowd around us went wild and were in fine voice! We were revved up and ready to rock once more!

A few moments later than scheduled the lights went out, Black Stone Cherry began Me And Mary Jane. The curtain fell and the front of the stage exploded with jets from a row of air cannons blasting skywards. Rain Wizard and Blind Man followed. Explosive start to the show!

Like Halestorm and Shinedown before them, the boys from Kentucky were on fire tonight!

 

(I had started to write this on the train journey home on Sunday – my train of thought was de-railed by more unexpected travel issues – but more of that shortly)

 

Now where was i?

 

Holding On To Letting Go almost raised the roof! Awesome!

I loved the snatch of Roadhouse Blues in Yeah Man…..and then the evening took a downward spiral.

I noticed that Girl Child had gone kind of quiet. I asked her if she was ok and got a mumbled response. I put my arm around her waist and she didn’t immediately protest. She was on the point of collapse.

With my arm securely round her, I half dragged her to the side and signalled to one of the security staff, indicating that we needed water quick. She was given a few squirts from the communal sports bottle.

It didn’t help.

A few feet to our left Arejay Hale and Josh Hottinger from Halestorm stood watching the show – Girl Child never even saw them.

The security girl let us through the barrier and a supervisor directed us up the entire length of the arena to a corridor where there were toilets and a “bar hatch”. Manchester Arena isn’t the most modern or luxurious. I sat Girl Child down on the floor, propping her up against the wall and ran to fetch her a Coke in an attempt to get some sweet liquid into her.

It had a little effect but she was still not really with me.

An annoying little drunk came over to chat. Instantly the security supervisor was at my side chasing him. With the drunk duly despatched, the supervisor suggested we head to the first aid station.

In the background, I could hear Black Stone Cherry playing The Rambler – I could’ve cared less! My baby girl was my focus.

The first aid room was on the opposite side of the arena. I half carried her across the back of the hall as Black Stone Cherry belted out Peace Is Free (or was that Pizzas Free) accompanied by Lzzy Hale and other members of Halestorm.

The first aid room was basic beyond belief. The first aiders, although very pleasant, had basic knowledge and little in the way of help to offer me. I explained what had happened etc etc then asked if Girl Child could lie down for a few minutes with her legs raised. After about ten minutes (it felt like forever) she began to feel a little better and began to talk to us again.

I then began to fret about how I was going to get her back to the hotel. Was I going to have to drag her up all those stairs through the seating area again?

The first aider put my fears at ease and said, as we were staying at the Travel Lodge, he would bend the rules and let us leave by the “back door.”

To the strains of White Trash Millionaire, I helped Girl Child along the corridor and out into the secure yard where the tour buses were parked.

When we exited the gate I discovered the hotel was only about 100 yards away.

Once safely back in the hotel I ordered some food and drinks from the bar and eventually we took them up to the room with us. A combination of Irn Bru, Coke and fresh air had revived Girl Child and she managed to eat her meal.

My nerves were shot!

While she slept all night, I lay awake worrying about her.

Next morning, she was more or less back to normal. I was shattered!

When we went down for breakfast, the dining room was a sea of exhausted, hungover rock fans all wearing new band merch. I’d had one beer and about three hours sleep at best and I felt as rough as they looked!

Bags packed, we checked out and headed out into the sunshine in search of some retail therapy at the Arndale Centre.

After a medicinal stop at Starbucks for caffeine and a whirlwind shopping trip, it was time to head back for the train to Carlisle.

I’d spoken to the Big Green Gummi Bear earlier on and he’d very kindly offered to meet us in Carlisle and save us the two hour bus trip and forty minute train ride.

The train left on time. We had the entire first class carriage to ourselves. Bliss!

A bout an hour and three quarters later the train stopped at Penrith. The service was terminating there. Some poor individual had jumped under the train that had been in front of ours. Icy shivers ran down my spine.

A quick call to the Big Green Gummi Bear caught him before he turned off for Carlisle and he agreed to drive the extra few miles to fetch us at Penrith.

I don’t know when I was last so glad to see him!

As he drove us home, Girl Child chattered away. In the passenger seat, I finally relaxed.

We’d survived. From listening to Girl Child, I gathered that despite everything, she’d enjoyed her trip. Despite all the dramas, we’d both enjoyed a memorable weekend.

Perhaps not the mother/daughter weekend I’d envisaged in my head but most definitely one to remember.

Wonder where we can go next?

Man CofMManchester

The Family Clock

The last few weeks have seen a few subtle changes to the daily routine around here.

New school year for Girl Child. No major dramas….so far.

Start of university life for Boy Child. No major dramas ….so far.

It’s also a gradual move into the next phase of parenthood. A further step towards their independence. A further loosening of the reins.

Now they may beg to differ here but I think The Big Green Gummi Bear and I are reasonably relaxed with both of them. Yes, we like to know where they are, how they are getting home and when we can expect them back. Not unreasonable requests.

This is still largely under our control with Girl Child as one of us usually has to collect her from wherever she is. (Boy Child comes in handy for this too now that he can drive.) Boy Child is pretty much free to come and go as he pleases, within reason.

This is taking a bit of getting used to. I still can’t sleep soundly at night until I know he’s home in one piece. Fresher’s Week was a parental challenge and saw a distinct lack of sleep on my part. I’m not used to Boy Child sauntering in at three in the morning!

I’ve also discovered that it takes a hell of a lot of coffee to function after less than five hours sleep!

It’s a pleasure to watch them both mature into young adults. They’ll cringe if they read this, but they are both good kids and I appreciate how fortunate we are with them.

Boy Child’s late nights reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago. It’s been a while since I shared any poetry on here.

Enjoy!

Family Clock

A mental family clock ticks inside my heart.

Conscious of each family member

Not safe at home in the family heart.

Whether child, spouse or cat

My heart can tell where they’re at.

Once home safe and sound

Their personal “tick” settles down.

Whilst still out and about

Their clock ticks aloud.

With contempt the cat stares from across the street

And pads off into the night.

My family clock ticks on and on.

written 16/3/10

Superbikes, Nostalgia and a Large Inflatable Man….

It was my birthday at the end of last month and, as is his usual want, the Big Green Gummi Bear bought tickets to an event for us. Much to my enormous surprise these tickets came inside a birthday card! I don’t think I’ve had a birthday card from him since my 21st– a long time ago! (He did confess to having to ask a work colleague where you went to buy birthday cards!)

So what event had he chosen for us to attend?

My face lit up in a huge smile when I saw the tickets. We were off to see the British Superbikes race at Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife.

I love watching motorcycling. In fact, I love almost all motorsport but bike racing is my favourite. My all-time hero is the late great Barry Sheene. This is a love that goes WAY back – even further than when the Big Green Gummi Bear last bought me a birthday card!

Visiting Knockhill was also a bit of a nostalgia trip. Pre-children we used to go there a couple of times a year to watch the likes of Formula 3 or the British Touring Car Championship. Somehow we’d never gone to a bike event before.

Both of us share fond memories of Sundays spent trying to shelter from the wind and rain at various corners round the circuit. Treasured memories of being soaked to the skin and frozen to the bone as you watched the drivers battle it out on track. One vivid memory of getting myself locked in the ladies loo – that’s another story.

Yesterday was race day. We headed off just after eight o’clock to drive through to Fife. Much to our great amazement it was warm and sunny!

We timed our arrival nicely (by design or default – who knows!) and were directed by the parking attendant to head up across the hill to park at an obscure angle on the grassy hillside above the circuit. (Cue the Big Green Gummi Bear panicking a tad about how he would get his rear wheel drive car back out if it were to rain heavily.)

With the sun on our backs we walked back down the hill to the circuit, grabbed a coffee and made it to trackside for the start of the first race.

This was the start of eight leisurely hours of wandering round the track, watching each race from a different vantage point and enjoying a fair amount of people watching as we went. You’ve never seen so much leather in one place! It was more of a family affair than I’d expected with lots of little kids around and older ones hurtling around on pushbikes. One little girl caught my eye as we walked up past the hairpin. She had to be about three with her hair neatly up in a bun with a glittery pink scrunchie round it, her little leather biker jacket and tight black leggings set off with purple glittery pumps. A little biker princess in the making! Too cute!

Knockhill is a short undulating track with many good viewing points. It was all a bit of a nostalgia trip as we reminisced about previous days at the different corners but we both agreed we preferred to watch down at the hairpin or at the dip just after the first corner.

Our tickets included access to walk the pit lane during the lunchtime break just before the first of the two scheduled Superbike races but when we saw the length of the queue we opted to give it a miss, heading instead across the bridge to watch the race from the mound in the centre of the circuit.

The sun shone down on us for most of the day. Wandering round Knockhill in t-shirt and jeans instead of being wrapped in about five woolly jumpers and a thick anorak with the hood up was a bizarre experience. There were a few short showers of rain later on in the afternoon – well it wouldn’t be Scottish racing without them!

Rain stopped the second Superbike race part way through which led to a re-start a few minutes later and a cracking 11 lap dash.

We meandered round the back end of the circuit for the final race of the day, the juniors (13-18 year olds) before being allowed access to walk the circuit in the early evening sun.

For some reason, we ended up walking round the course counter clockwise, spotting tear-offs from visors at every corner and noting the chunks of half-melted race tyres (marbles) that were scattered about. It was incredibly peaceful. No PA. No engine noise except a dull throbbing thrum from the surrounding bike parks as most of the crowd headed home. Down at the hairpin, a Blondie tribute band were playing. Least said about them the better. Suffice to say, the huge inflatable Dainese man was attracting more interest as spectators posed for photos in front of him. (Yes I did too)

Having completed our lap, we walked wearily back up the hill towards the car. As we passed the campsite some folk had their BBQs lit and the cooking smells reminded me just how hungry I was.

Finally we reached the car, sank down into its sumptuous leather seats and headed for home. As we drove home I began to notice something. It was a completely alien concept in relation to a trip to Knockhill.

I was sunburnt!

No, definitely not frost bite or wind burn as you’d usually expect. Most definitely sun burn!

Our day had been fabulous. Great racing. No serious crashes. No major injuries to the riders. Good weather. Rounded off with a huge pizza and a nicely chilled beer. Happy Days!

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The Last School Trip – Prom Night

Humour me, please, for a few moments. I’m about to engage proud mother mode aka embarrassing mum mode if you are the target child.

Last week marked a landmark event in the life of Boy Child as he signed the leaver’s form for high school. Thirteen years of school done and dusted in the blink of an eye.

His final year culminated in the final school trip – the school prom.

Trust me, it’s not just the girls who put thought into what they’ll wear to prom.

Much to my surprise Boy Child didn’t take much persuading to hire a kilt for the occasion. So a couple of weeks ago we headed off to the hire shop. Let’s just say he needs to grow into his body and is still a gangly teenager who is all arms and legs. With the measurements taken and amid much slagging off and giggling form me, he chose his outfit.

On Wednesday after work I ran into the shop to collect said outfit (and pay for its hire). As I lugged it back to the car I was quickly reminded of just how heavy a kilt is!

After dinner Boy Child was advised to try the ensemble on to ensure it all fitted. Twenty minutes later he stomped back into the kitchen half-dressed muttering and pleading for assistance Seventeen years old and over six feet tall and still needed his mummy’s help – cue more giggling and teasing from me. Confession – we did resort to You Tube for a reminder on how to tie Ghillie brogues correctly!

So Friday, Prom Night, dawned wet and windy. So much for sunny June weather! However someone was keeping an eye over those youngsters as the skies cleared and the sun was shining by the time we were all due to assemble at the school for the pre-prom reception. Pity the wind didn’t die down!

In true organised McCallum fashion we arrived separately. Boy Child had finished work early to go home and fight his way into his kilt while I had agreed to meet him at the school.

As I drove up the driveway towards the school and saw the crowd of young adults in all their finery surrounded by their proud parents, it hit me.

I was there to see my baby boy off on his final school trip!

I’ll not lie – there was a lump in my throat.

It took me a few minutes to find him in the crowd but when I saw him in all his kilted finery my heart swelled with pride. My baby boy has grown into a fine looking young man.

Cue photo shoot!

Suffice to say it was chaos as everyone was trying to get photos with their friends and family and not photo bomb each other’s shots.

I was happy enough with the end result. Got photos of Boy Child with his friends including my two “Facebook Sons” and “Bread Boy” (see a previous blog post for that story)

Where did the little boys that we watched head into primary one go? It seems like only yesterday….

They’ve all grown into handsome young men.

The girls looked stunning in a rainbow of beautiful ball gowns. Long gone were the little girls who used to play with dolls and skipping ropes!

After a blessedly brief speech from the head teacher, it was time for the senior pupils to leave the school for one last class trip.

As they all trooped off towards the waiting coaches I watch Boy Child walk off with his friends without a backwards glance.

Time for me to go.

By all accounts and judging by the flood of photos on Facebook they had a fabulous night.

I was relieved to hear the front door open then the key being turned in the lock in the small hours of Saturday morning. Boy Child was home safely. Now I could disengage “anxious mummy” mode and get some sleep. After all, he still is and probably always will be my baby boy.

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