Train Stories – Make Up Girl?

She’s sitting across from me now, the beautiful young woman with the long blonde hair and gorgeous features and fabulous figure.

It’s an hour long train journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts and it’s difficult not to make occasional eye-contact when someone is sitting directly across from you.

Maybe that’s why so many people stare at their phones?

She is a particularly good looking girl with her tight silver fitted jumper highlighting that she has all the right curves in all the right places.

If I was 20 years younger …

She probably still be too young for me! 😀

Yeah I know, I’ve got daughters her age, so believe me that although I’m admiring her beauty there nothing untoward in my thought process.

What has caught my attention is her need to sit in a public place and plaster her face with make-up, thick foundation, blusher, ruby red lips.

Firstly is she so insecure that she has to cover her face in fake colour when she’s already a beautiful girl?

Secondly, call me old fashioned but how inappropriate is it to be doing your make up for 20 minutes on a packed train?

I’m all for personal freedom and letting people do what they like as long as it doesn’t impact anyone else, so no one is questioning that entitlement.

What I am questioning is the need and the appropriateness.


I’m somewhere between Glasgow and Edinburgh, hurtling cross country through a cold winter morning.

Early March and the sun is now appearing low on the horizon scaring away the darkness.

Spring is on its way.

Drop The Baggage Butterfly!

This new job is going well, Much better than I expected.

All is well, the people, the money, the challenge which is a step but from my previous roles but I’m embracing it and putting the effort in and overcoming.

All is week apart from the travel east every day to Edinburgh which is a pain in the derrière.

Time is money and it’s still worth it, not just for the cash but for the new skills which are more transferable going towards my next role.

That’s how it works.

You can’t go from junior doctor to principal consultant overnight. It’s taking the right steps to take you in the direction you want.

In my case it has been from apprentice engineer in shipbuilding, engineer, draughtsman, cad draughtsman, cad developer, database developer, DBA, database designer, solution designer, solution architect.

In most of those changes, I was at the same company.

For example an engineer in the yards to being a draughtsman was a different skill set is a significant jump.

Similarly at different company, I changed from cad developer to database developer.

Do you know what happens when that occurs?

Continue reading “Drop The Baggage Butterfly!”

Did he jump .. Or was he pushed?

The year has barely started and I’m out of one job and starting another already.

But did he jump or was he pushed?

Did he quit or resign?

A bit of both really. But when push cane to shove I got in first!

Well I was already on the look and had today’s fresh start lined up. A 6 month contract as a Solution Architect at a major financial institution in Edinburgh at a day rate that’s hard to refuse.

Yes I can be bought! 😀

Truth be told though, that last job was a nightmare.

I was bored rigid. Yet somehow squeezed between a rock and a hard place based at a demanding customer site with lack of support from the consultancy down south.

No moans, no slagging off, that’s below me and the job served a purpose of knowing what I don’t want to do but enjoying the easy commute of being back in Glasgow for 6 months.

My probation period is up this Friday coming. My manager made a point of coming up to see me last week.

I knew what was coming. So I got in first.

Now I’m on “garden leave” and they’re paying me for the month.


Shame they don’t know I already had this contract lined up.

Now I find myself heading east towards Edinburgh and looking back in time to the many occasions that I’ve worked there and did this commute before.

The train is much less stressful than the car. A breeze by comparison and gives one time to relax, a bit of browsing, reading or writing.

Looking forward to today, a little bit anxious like any new start, but I’ve did this many times before.

I’m tempted to say .. wish me luck .. but in this life you make your own.

Happy New Year!

Work Stories – A Beggars Dilemma?


Do you hate working for a living?

I don’t,   I’m not over keen on forcing myself to get up and out every day,  dragging my sorry ass into an office to do something that even if it is creative and pays well, isn’t what I’d really be doing

i.e. lying on a beach

I’m back in Glasgow after 2.5 years out at a Global Communications company in Livingston,   it’s good to be close to home,  an easy commute and back home for 5:30pm allows you to have a bit of a life .. or put your feet up in front of tv if you so desire.

But I’m bored,   there isn’t enough of a challenge and now after 4 months it all feels quite repetitive .. and the pay isn’t what I’m used to.

Still,  beggars and choosers eh?    Sometimes the lucrative contract work just isn’t around in these testing times and you just need to take what you can get and be thankful that some corporate provider helps keep the wolf away from the door.

But last week,  I did an interview with a major pensions and investments  company in Edinburgh,   a second interview on Tuesday on the phone and today I got the job.

It’s a positive doozy .. or in Glaswegian .. a Belter!!

A better day rate than I’ve ever had,  even before the economy crashes of 2001 and 2008 and we started bringing in workforce from all over the globe which provided the supply to fill demand and kill wages.

Happy daze .. I made a fortune back then .. enough to pay off the mortgage,   a wife and later a partner .. but lets not go there.

A fool and his .. yep you betcha!

But here’s the rub,   is it all about the money?

Is it ever all about the money?  or is it always about the money?

What about the quality of life?   Getting home at a decent hour and being able to .. what?   I don’t really do much in the evening anyway.

But the reality is,  working in Edinburgh will get me home at 7pm.     Do I really want to go back to that?    Not really.

Is there a balance?

I don’t think so and I’m not going to start asking about working from home before I’ve even started .. as a contractor that might be a bad sign.

I’ve told them I’ll confirm on Monday.

But next year I have a daughters wedding to pay for and you know how this is going to end.


Wolf – Last Christmas?


Of course I miss you, it would be stupid to think that I didn’t.

A couple of years together thrown away a puff of anger, hurt feelings and faux outrage.


Because we are both proud people and although we were both in the wrong, our pride doesn’t allow us to apologise and climb down from our moral high ground very easily.

I know that I upset you, you know that you upset me, but is worth throwing away a bright future for the sake of some relatively petty issues?

Probably not.

So why are we allowing this to continue to fester and the distance between us to grow?

I’ve already said sorry. I don’t think I can do anything more.

How many apologies does it take? Continue reading “Wolf – Last Christmas?”

Alone With #ThePretenders?


Chrissie Hynde surveyed the room before her,  a sell-out of 3000 souls all seated expectantly in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall.

“It’s not the Barralands,  is it?”   She quipped before bursting into her first song Alone,  the title track from her new album.

My brother Duncan and I smiled at each other and with a quick look at the mostly grey heads in front and all around us,  we had to agree. Continue reading “Alone With #ThePretenders?”

The Doors Alive?

He struts acros the stage,  posing arrogantly,  sneering then staring at the audience,  provocatively inviting them to challenge his machismo.

No-one does.

At times,  he almost whispers then roars or screams through their reportoire of classic Doors anthems,  Riders On The Storm,  Break On Through To The Other Side,  Hello I Love You.

He looks like Jim Morrison,  if thats possible,  tall,  slim,  great cheekbones and those wild flowing locks,  bedecked in black leather jeans and cheese-cloth shirt.

The man has a presence,  raw sexuality on a stage,  that I can’t honestly say that I’ve seen with any other band .. and I go to see a lot of bands

The women seems to love his strutting and I’m jealous, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

For the instrumental section of Light My Fire,  he goes off stage,  having the good grace to let the band take the credit.   The whirling organ and hynotic bass are still playing around in my head today,  much better than the bland covers by the likes of Sinatra.

The band are just as authentic,  the keyboard player even looks like Ray Manzerak and just as virtuoso on his hammond organ.   As a long term piano player,  I particularly appreciate his artistry.

My mate Ian is just as enthusiastic about the guitarist abbilities.

The band roll out all the classic and a few album tracks that I’m sure I must own including Spanish Caravan that I had forgotten.  What an an atmosphere and the enthusiastic crowd weren’t slow to show their appreciation.

I first saw The Doors Alive at the O2 Academy in Glasgow about 10 years ago,  somehow they haven’t changed,  they’ve got better and seem younger .. can’t figure why!

If you’re in Edinburgh tonight,  go see them,  I guarantee a treat.




Eight From The Eighties! – Day 1


Day 1 of my favourite or meaningful music from the 80s as nominated by my friend Alan.

80s music is largely forgettable pop rubbish, but there are some real gems in there,  but I’ll get to those later.

But first and somewhat controversially as I’m a huge fan of his earlier work. David Bowie’s Lets Dance was the end of an era where he went from rock to pop and chasing commercial success. 

Shortly after the album was released, I went to see him play Murrayfield in August 1983 and it was a fantastic concert. A good mix of the new and classic Bowie songs. 

More about it here.

I’m still a fan, always will be, the Bowie tribute I regularly go to see are fantastic. They were in great form last  night at The Hard Rock Cafe, Glasgow. 

But Bowies next album Tonight released 1984 with the cringeable Loving The Alien was the end for me until the reality tour in 2003. 

The Consultancy Game ..

“That’s the thing about luck,  it always balances out in the end”

A while ago I posted a story on here about my ex boss not liking me,  typical IT geek, a bright guy but as pretentious as they come, loves having his posse of sycophants.

I wasn’t one of them.

In this previous story,  to my surprise my contract with the consultancy firm who had me farmed out to one of the UKs biggest banks was renewed when I fully expected it to elapse after it had ran its course.

Then just to surprise me further .. a month later while I was on holiday it was cancelled and I worked my notice period as contractually obliged.

A bit disappointing but life moves on.

Since then I’ve been working with a different consultancy firm who are currently farming me out to a different bank.

That’s the way the consultancy game often works,  sales guys touting for business are sharks,  often buying the favour of the hiring manager .. it would be naïve to think that it doesn’t happen,  not as overtly as it used to but its still there.

Then technical guys like me come along and do the work,  we earn pretty well, but the consultancy takes its cut for providing .. err .. what?

The difference between direct contractors and the consultancy supplied contractors or staff is significant,  on a contract that I’m working,   that difference can be a bog-standard rate of 750per day for junior staff who would be lucky to find a direct contract at 300 per day.

The consultancy game is about bums-on-seats and making the margin between what you charge the client and how much you pay the ndividual staff or contractor.   Continue reading “The Consultancy Game ..”

I Heard The News Today .. Oh Boy! #DavidBowie

I was absolutely stunned when I heard the news that David Bowie had passed away earlier this morning. 

David is part of the music of my lifetime and I’ve always been a big fan. 

He’s the first musical icon that I was aware of that was “my” music,  not my parents Sinatra or The Beatles. 

I was probably a late follower,  being just a kid playing football in the park while he had his success with Ziggy Stardust and Aladin Sane in 73/74. 

By the time he brought out Heroes in 1978 I was a commited fan.   Although if the truth be told,  I inherited him second hand from my first girlfriend. 

I wanted to look like him on that Heroes album cover, my skinny white face as pale and gaunt as his.  I even had my hair styled to match. 

We went to his 1983 Serious Moonlight gig at Murrayfield Edunburgh.   I’ve blogged about that with a set list on here somewhere.

She’s long gone,  we seen each other at a Bowie tribute a few years ago and didn’t say hello.  

But the man, his music and the way it makes me feel has stayed with me and will do forever.  
Only on Saturday night I was flicking through the Sky Arts catchup service and came across a few of his tours

1983 – Serious Moonlight

1987 – Glass Spider

2003 – The Reality Tour

Watching the reality tour marvelling at this beautiful creature who looked healthy and happy in his own skin,  I hoped that with the new album Blackstar being released last week,  we might get to see him one more time. 

RIP David Bowie,  a true legend in your own lifetime and mine. 

“I heard the news today, oh boy”.  From Bowie’s Young Americans, paraphrasing and paying homage to “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles.