Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thoughts and musings

This week has been an interesting one on the social media front, on twitter I was accused of being a fascist and a nazi, I was also been told that I cannot be a 'real' Celtic fan because I believe that Scotland is better within the union and indirectly advised that I am not really Scottish because I don't agree with independence.  

Mostly twitter Facebook I tend to only add those who I know and like, so if we start a conversation on the nature of independence and what is best for Scotland we all know that we are speaking from a place of conviction and belief, no nasty comments or calling each other stupid or nazis which happens all too often on twitter. 

I should probably explain the background a bit to the above, firstly being called a fascist this was because I rather foolishly entered into debate with a guy from UKIP about the death penalty.  His stance that it should be brought back, mine that it shouldn't, these topics can get a little heated especially when you are discussing it with people you do not know but it took a strange direction where two or three people started to turn it into a discussion about race.  Comments such as 'we are being bred out by these minorities' and 'us British' when discussing rights, I asked for clarification in case it was misunderstood seems I wasn't misunderstanding their meaning so I then advised that I did not associate with racists and summarily blocked them.  

They then went on to call me a leftie do gooder (among other things which I cannot bring myself to repeat) because I was against their tirade on race and against the death penalty, not realising that I could still see what they were saying it was just they couldn't see what I was saying? Either that or they were trying To upset me but for me the more pressing point was that the aforementioned conversation had a dangerous and odious under tone and I simply ask a question without no accusation but did these people believe that the two topics were linked?  Were they simply high jacking the topic to try and get others to agree with them?  I don't know I do know that I was contacted by another of their cronies who said he was blocking me for being fascist so I thanked him blocked him and went on with my day. 

Re the Celtic fan nonsense this is something that has been ongoing for quite sometime now and it is time it was put to bed, you can be Nationalist, Labour Christ even Tory and be a TRUE Celtic fan, it does not come down to politics, religion, race or sex as Celtic FC have released a video this week against racism I know I am right because this is exactly the message in the video.  However there is still a faction of the Celtic support (only some of whom call them selves ultras the rest do not describe themselves this way which is important as it is not about groups it is individuals) who continue to suggest that if you are not voting for Independence then you are not a true Celtic fan, to those people I say to support another club or learn the history of Celtic because you are giving all the rest of the fans a bad name! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Progress Report

This week has been a difficult one, I have been on the mid shift at work so I am having to get up early round about 6am in order to get myself prepared and awake enough to go to go for the two mile walk detailed on the training plan.  So far this week I have walked 11 miles this week and I am encouraged by how quickly I am getting into the swing of things. 

I have planned the route and this week I have included a walk down the St James playing fields and have watched the arrival and progress of the Moscow State Circus, I am now going to try and go see the show as I think it will be fantastic.  I have walked all in 11 miles since Sunday and I must admit I am feeling better for it. 

Any suggestions of two mile routes for the next couple of weeks will be appreciated all so get yer thinking caps on.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Training Begins

The Training program is supposed to start tomorrow but to try and get a jump start on it I did a short one mile walk this evening around my home area.  

I co-incidentally went out this afternoon to get proper trainers for the event as well, the ones that I currently have are a pair of £10 no support and hurt your feet type jobs.  I went to a great wee shop on Great Western Road in Glasgow and they really look after you.  

The sales advisor (although he looked about 12) was excellent he assessed my feet and asked me to walk up and down so that he could see whether or not I would need support or minimal support, they had a treadmill at the back of the shop and you get the feeling this shop is for serious sports people but at the same time they did not make you feel unwelcome or strange if you are not sporty like myself, they put you right at ease.  I came away with a rather expensive pair of shoes (around the £60 - £70 mark) and have already had them on, cant quite believe that I didn't get them before as they are excellent!!

So tomorrow is the real start to the training a two mile walk a day, this should also help with the weight loss as well.  I will update how I am getting on here and on my facebook so you will all be sick of the updates and descriptions of what I am doing and seeing on my travels.  Once I get into it properly I will also be taking out the camera to document my progress as well.

Taking this seriously so if you want to sponsor me either use the widget to the right hand side of the page with the donate button or click on the title of this post, I am doing this in memory of my younger brother who we lost 15 years ago this year I think he would get a kick out of it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Glasgow Shines

So it has been a while since I have been active on this Blog and I thought it would be an idea to get this back up and running.  Talking about running (or I should say walking) I have this evening added a new widget to the blog on the right hand side of the page to help raise money for Cancer Research UK.  Fifteen years ago this November my family lost my youngest brother to Leukemia after almost two years of struggle, it was a horrific and traumatising experience and one that I would not wish on ANYONE in this world. 

I have done some fundraising in the past where I have raised almost £900 for Leukaemia Research by holding my 30th Birthday party as a fundraising event and this time it is going to be a little bigger in scale at least for me.  This time I am raising money for Cancer Research UK to beat Leukaemia and in order to do that I am asking you to sponsor me as I prepare and walk The Shine in Glasgow.  I have detailed below the Shine website and a brief description of what it is we will be doing, I have a friend who is also doing this with me so for our sins we will be training and I am hoping to be able to keep this blog going with updates on how that is going etc. 

I have been lucky in my life to have a strong family and friends network who support me in everything I do and I know that we all stand together against this horrible disease, give what you can and be safe in the knowledge that your pound could be the extra pound that makes the difference and finds the cure for this horrible disease.

The Shine is either a half Marathon or a full marathon and this takes place at night men and women from all walks of life and at varying levels of fitness (some people run this believe it or not) take part to raise funds to rid the world of cancer.

Check out the website and see if you want to take part...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Venice here we come!

So it is coming up to the Easter holidays again and that means another holiday.  Feels like this is becoming a travel blog at the moment as when I am on holiday I have more time to update. 

So our next adventure will be back to Venice and this time we have hired a flat in the centre, we are looking forward to the sun terrace on the roof and will be hoping to post the pictures on here as soon as I can.

Finally linked to my Hero

So I have finally managed through a lot of working a way round to getting my phone and Google account linked to my blog so I will be able to keep this up to date more often.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Five Minutes Walk from the Colosseum

This is where I found myself at this time last week, in fact at this time last week I was sitting in my favourite Italian Restaurant L'Orso 80, on the Via Dell' Orso in Rome, my lovely big sister Clare took me there for my birthday, the restaurant not Rome. We stayed in an apartment and have decided that this is the way to go, the apartment was five minutes literally from the Colosseum which is so central and it was beautifully dressed and decorated and even had it's own private terrace which was well used for lunch and an evening's glass of Prosecco before heading out to dinner.

Having been to Rome a couple of times now I am getting the hang of the public transport (Bus if you want to see the sites and have time on your hands; the metro if like us you are there for four days and time is of the essence), the site seeing (even got to see the Sistine chapel this time) and the food (try and stray off the beaten track for the best deals).

The first time I went to Rome was with the church for World Youth Day 2000 and I remember thinking what a beautiful city that Rome is and how clean etc. The city has never lost it's attraction to me and I find myself every so often wanting to return. When we entered the flat late on Saturday night the girl Francesca (who could not have been nicer) asked us if we had been to Rome before the usual chit chat and we advised that we have been a couple of times, when she asked why I quipped 'Because we keep throwing money in the Trevi' Francesca giggled as did my sister and I but it is one of the reasons I return to keep throwing that money in so that I guarantee that I come back.

I have included some of my photos below of the Vatican museums (although not the Sistine chapel as no talking or photos are allowed in the chapel itself), the gardens and the general surroundings of Rome, I have also detailed below a couple of my top tips for travelling in Rome.

Top travel tips in Rome

Queues are not a big thing in Europe so if like me this annoys you and you are flying with a budget airline get speedy boarding or priority boarding as this will allow you to not have to queue and get on the plane first.

If you have limited time get the Metro it does not show you the sites of the city but if you get the three day pass you can get on and off busses and all public transport in Rome so if you want to take in the long road to the Vatican (the number 62 bus from Termini goes down this road and stops just around the corner) then just jump on the bus instead.

Always get lost! Half the fun in places like Rome and Venice is the getting lost, stick to the streets around the main tourist sites and you should be able to find a nice reasonably priced restaurant with great food (just remember and visit the tourist information office and pick up a free booklet with a map as it has the bus routes in it and is really helpful)

If you can, go to a football game, we went to watch Roma versus FC Basel and although Roma got beat it was an excellent experience and I would definitely do it again especially since a ticket to see the Champions league game only cost 10 euro's from the club shop, despite being quoted 80 euro's online. Add to this we got a discount because we were female?!?


If you are going to see the Sistine chapel get your ticket online before you go that way you beat the crowd, the queue every time I have been to Rome the queue is consistently down the road round the corner, down the road again and round another corner it is really busy so book first online at

Just outside Termini on the Terravision bus side of the building (at the platform one side) across the road there is a small shop that sells wine, food etc and this is open quite late (we got two bottles of prosecco and some food at the back of 11 at night) it is reasonably priced and a real wee find.

Friday, April 23, 2010

If it is all about style and PR

Debate Round-up

Having not watched the first leaders debate last week (I have it recorded just have not gotten round to watching it yet) I was surprised by the second in the series.  A few things jumped immediately to mind, it was too long, this could have been an hour comfortably and the last half hour dragged on.  Secondly the set up was a little strange, I don't mind that the audience are not allowed to contribute except for asking questions as this tends to stop the party hacks populating the audience so that their guys can boo at the others, a tactic regularly employed by the SNP, however, the leaders were very cramped on the stage and I would have liked to have seen a little more attention and pushing for substance in the answers.  I would also have liked to have seen a little more introduction and the Leaders being able to answer the question instead of the moderator summing up what the questions actually were as he then changed it into a sound-bite format for the ticker writer. 


There were a few different issues discussed that David Cameron misled people on and I thought that I would point out a couple here.  How can he claim that he has a new team when the people the Conservatives put on the TV for the pre debate hype were Malcolm Rifkind and Ken Clarke?  Old policies coming through and old heads pulling relatively young strings.  Further to this the election leaflets that Mr. Cameron is so synthetically angry about were based on a election promise that the Conservatives refused to make until last night when Mr. Cameron decided to make up the policy on the hoof.  

Most importantly for me is the question of defence and Europe, there are a number of really important things that Cameron and EVERY Conservative candidate needs to answer....

1. Do you agree with the political ties that the Conservatives have in the European parliament.

2. Moving to immigration, if -as the Conservatives have advised on many previous occasions have admitted that they would- we moved out of Europe how would the Conservatives immigration policy work?  They seem to be tied to the EU for this?

3. Do you agree with the Conservative candidate in Scotland lying to the public about local business leaders being against the NI raise and using their names without authorisation on the election leaflets?  If not what action will you take against them?


Again Nick Clegg has misled people on many occasions now and seems not to know basic history of the political system in the UK. The Liberals as a party are much older than the Labour party so when he talks about the two old parties he is really referring to his own and the Tory's.  He 'forgot' to mention his ties to big business and his lobbying jobs ad doesn't seem to want to answer the questions asked of him re funding, which rings alarm bells, I am sure there was no wrong doing but why not publish the details now rather than later?  

Questions for Clegg and EVERY Liberal candidate

1.  Religion and politics how do you feel about a Liberal candidate describing themselves in a Catholic newspaper as 'the closest thing to a pro life candidate' in  an election?  (Eileen McCartlin in the last election Scottish Catholic Observer)

2.  What will you replace Trident with and when would that decision be made?


From this mornings press conference Gordon Brown is right it is not a game show it is an election and all voters should be taking their vote seriously, today is a more important moment the recovery is under way and this campaign has already made clear that the Tories are a risk to the recovery.  Voters should not be expected to put their cross against a question mark and the questions regarding their policies are growing day by day.  We need to ensure that we are not making the mistakes of the 1980's and 90's.  We need to make sure that we are talking up Britain and that we are showing the positive side of the Labour Policies that we have, but it would be irresponsible NOT to point out the flaws and dangers in the other parties policies, ask yourself this if we don't who will?

On a personal note I used to live downstairs from a real live suffragette, someone ho was denied the vote simply based on her sex, someone who struggled to ensure that we lived in a fairer and safer society and someone who inspired me to join the Labour Party and remember that as a party we know we are better together than we are apart and we know that we are moving towards a fairer, stronger and safer society.

Vote Labour on May 6th

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Take them to Court

Have a listen to the Ryanair stance on refunding their customers for their food and accommodation.  Keep in mind that Ryanair were one of the last companies to restore full service to their passengers (only tomorrow will it be fully back up to speed) and one of the companies who have been complaining to the EU about the regulations.  According to the Irish 'Rich List' for 2010 Mr. O'Leary is worth over £182,000,000, and yet Ryanair 'cannot afford' to re-inburse their customers under the EU legislation that as a European Airline they operate under.  This is Mr O'Leary's company deciding that they will pick and choose which laws apply to them and as such they should be taken to court and not only due compensation but damages rewarded to EVERY customer who has had to suffer because of this, personally I think that it should come out of his personal fortune.  They are suggesting that they will only compensate to the price of the ticket, my response to this is that they operate under European Law and are duty bound to compensate their customers they are not above the law.

The thing that really annoys me about this is that Mr. O'Leary is playing with emotions during an election period watch this space for him or a spokesperson (if he doesn't have the guts to do it himself) coming out and saying that if they were to compensate to the EU regulations that they would either go bust or have to lay off masses of people, this is his way of trying to bully ALL parties into supporting him and I for one hope that it fails miserably, call out to Ryanair and Mr. O'Leary - you knew the legislation when you started operating time to suck it up, think about your customers and their suffering and pay what is due to them.

Update - Michael O'Leary of Ryanair has advised he is going to sue the EU Government for compensation for the shut down for £30M losses ... Despite the Ryanair profits being in excess of £241M last year!!!!  Again O'Leary suck it up and take the money out of your own pocket if needs be!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanic Ash

Living up to their Promises

Anyone who has flown over the past few years will no doubt have suffered some amount of disruption and delay in the flight plans and under EU law the airlines are supposed to look after their customers by providing food and shelter if needs be, I must admit that I for one have never been treated to such attention from ANY airline that I have travelled with.  We learn today that many of the airlines have now decided to abandon their passengers abroad and expect the Government to step in and fill their obligations.  I would expect to see more than a few court cases over expenses incurred and not covered by the airlines.

Pasenger Safety has to come first

I agree that passenger safety has to come first but someone should probably explain that to East Coast Rail who continued to sell tickets on the 2pm service from Lonon's Kings Cross to Aberdeen service on Friday.  Despite their being NO seats available the train company continued to sell tickets for the train and we had each carriage with passengers and their luggage littering the aisle's.  One member of staff was overheard saying that they were concerned about safety and asking why the company continued to sell tickets.  Add to this the lack of air conditioning and you have an unhealthy situation where the temperatures were soaring to almost 38 degress celcius at times - and before anyone asks I have an application on my phone that is a thermometer-.  Keeping your customers safe should apply to all methods of transport.  And to those airlines who are saying that it was safe to fly yet the airports stayed closed I would respond that the safety of passengers should always come first it only takes one plane to go down and the Government has ben neglegent in it's duty to protect the public.  Mr Walsh of BA would be best minded to remind himself of the BA near tragedy in 1982 due to the same issue and then answer why if it is so safe to fly has his airline not completely restored their services?

Who Should Pay?

This seems to be the big debate at the present time and to be honest my answer would be the airlines and the insurance companies that is why we pay for insurance and if the airlines do not have a contigency fund to cover such eventualities then they should really be looking at their business practises.  I would also go as far to suggest that the airports should be partially refunding the Taxi's some of the liscense fee that they pay in order to provide a service to the airports as they were also out of pocket at no fault of their own and many of these people are self employed and cannot afford the luxury of a contingency big enough to cover this.  

Who should not pay is the Government and by proxy the tax payer, why should we be paying to bail out a industry that bleeds its customers dry every chance it gets, example airlines like Ryanair who have now decided that they are considering bringing in charges for the airplane toilets!  They charge for using a card online and if you call the price is dearer so you pay that way anyway, they charge for baggage and weigh your hand luggage now as well to try and get more money out the unsuspecting tourist and refuse to provide onward transport if their plane breaks down leaving you out of pocket. 

Don't get me wrong Ryan Air are by no means the only airline who bleed their customers but they are one of the main perpetrators and should be paying to provide their customers the proper cover under EU legislation even if they are a low cost airline (which is a complete falicy in itself we flew to Venice cheaper on BA than on Ryanair and it was much more comfortable).

Anyway what do you think, who should pay?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some Techno-babble

New Phone

One of the things that I love is new technology and I decided last week to update my phone, and even though I only got it today I am loving it. I upgraded to the HTC Hero otherwise known as the T-Mobile G2 and it is a fantastic phone, I must admit to being slightly annoyed that even though I was staying for an extra 18 months they would not give me it for free (cheap skates!) however, I have fully charged the phone -extremely important- put the sim in and started to use it.

One of the things that I like about the phone is the 'apps' and from what I can tell in contrast with the IPhone and it's applications most of those available for this phone are free to download! I have so far used the maps feature, the weather and the email feature and the etch a sketch (just a bit of fun) and I must admit to being pleasantly surprised.

So a couple of hints and tips on this and other 3G mobile phones...

3G handsets use more power to connect to the network so this will have an impact on the length of time your battery lasts.

When a handset says this is how long you should get out of the phone in terms of battery it means if you don't connect to the network and you don't use the phone, so you can usually cut this in half and get a more accurate picture -let's be honest who only uses their mobile for calls and texts anymore?-

If you are using multiple applications on the phone make sure that the applications are closed down after use as running them in the background depletes the battery power (for the HTC Hero/ T-Mobile G2 you can download an application called 'kill apps' it is free and it will show you what is running and allow you to close those applications you no longer need to keep running).

Check out the Internet forums and try the handset in a store before you buy it because once you have personalised the phone there are very few networks that will allow you to return it, and if it is an upgrade there is no 14 day money back guarantee once you walk out the shop with it that is it.
I hope this is helpful, really I am just trying to say I love my new phone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

American Health Care

I have been following the debate on the American health care system over the past few months and thinking about how good we have it in the UK. I know that this is not always a popular thing to say in fact one of our native Conservative MEP's disagrees with this sentiment entirely as shown through his appearances on American TV Daniel Hannan MEP.

At the moment I am sitting watching 'The Rainmaker' a film based on a book by John Grisham one of the story lines the young lawyer in the film/book follows is that of a young man called Donnie Ray Black who has Leukaemia, his insurance company refuses to pay for the life saving treatment because a bone marrow transplant is an 'experimental' procedure the case argues that this led to the death of the young man.

It does show a stark and albeit dramatised version of the American health care system in which insurance companies would decline and dismiss all claims as a first response. I understand the arguments against an NHS style system however, I cannot thank the NHS enough for the amount of money and time spent on treating members of my close family and cannot help but think had we been living in America these individuals in my family would have had a much harder time during their illness and half the treatments and drugs used would have been denied as experimental or too expensive.

I know we don't have a perfect system by any manner of means but it is clearly fairer and looks after those weakest in society where the US system does not, the elderly and poor are left behind. Surely the measure of a just society is how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves, how can we look someone in the eye and say I think it is fair and just for you to die because you dont have enough money to live?
Have your say here in the comments section and on the BBC website.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tory Fanclub

Tartan Tories Reunited

I remember from my studies in University that the SNP were the reason that the Conservatives and Thatcher got into power in 1979. They supported the Tories and were given the nick name 'The Tartan Tories' they helped bring Mrs Thatcher to Scotland and as recently as last year Mr Salmond suggested that the only reason Scotland didn't take to Mrs. Thatcher was down to her Social Policies, he was ridiculed then and deserves to be again today.

Today the SNP jumped straight back in to bed with the Tories at Holyrood, I think their side of the bed was even still warm. They voted for a symbolic motion to dissolve the UK Parliament. Personally I think those that voted for it should go back to a Standard Grade Modern Studies class and learn about the powers of the Scottish Parliament and it's scope of influence. It is almost as bad as the motion put to the Full Council in Renfrewshire by the SNP heavy weights Mylet (who had an attendance record of about 33% at Committees and Council Meetings) and McKay (now their fearful leader)...

10. Notice of Motion - Submit notice of motion from Councillors Mylet and Mackay:-

"Democracy in Renfrewshire. Discuss".

Thursday 26/06/2003 09:30

Now as much as I like helping with homework I firmly believe that the SNP should do their own instead of trying to get others to do it for them! This was grandstanding at it's worst and the motion today was the same.

I know that the scandal over expenses has blinded the public to the good that the Labour Party has done in power and I understand that not all of the work has been fruitful, there have been mistakes made but Government is made up of ordinary human beings and human beings make mistakes as a nation we are much better off for the Labour Government than we realise. As a Scottish Nation we are miles better for the Labour Government and are paying the price for the SNP in power through the slashing of Council budgets.

We need to take power back, we need to prove that we are worthy and we need to show that we can handle it, I think we are going in the right direction and am proud to admit I am a Labour Party member, come on all you hiding under the couch come out and start spreading the positive message that the Labour Government is a force for good and equality in our society.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SNP Playing Politics

Salmond Caught Out

Listening to the radio this morning while getting ready to go to work I heard a story that Alex Salmond Scotland's First Minister was making a trip to London to participate in the business of dissolving Parliament. Angus Robertson the SNP leader at Westminster rejected claims that Salmond should be in Edinburgh voting saying that they were not going to play politics.

Unfortunately for Mr Robertson and Mr Salmond I can't help but think that the ordinary public will be thinking that this is exactly what they are doing, the vote in the Scottish Parliament today was to modernise Scotland's rape laws. How the dissolution of the UK Parliament trumps the Rape laws of Scotland is beyond me and I am sure it is beyond every rape victim in Scotland.

It angered me to hear that Mr Salmond, Mr Robertson and the SNP thought that the vote on the dissolution of Parliament was more important than the bill he announced in September 2007. They were not just playing politics they were blatantly flaunting the fact in the face of every rape victim, every family member of a rape victim and the general public as a whole, it was disgusting, arrogant and self aggrandising, but then again nothing less than we expect from the SNP and Mr Salmond.


Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.