Farewell to a gentleman

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On the last day of the season I was working the room at the Gorgie Suite as I normally do on a match day and I happened across Jimmy Murray. Jimmy was the first Scotsman to score for Scotland in the World Cup finals. He did so in Sweden in 1958 and whenever Jimmy was an “official” guest in the Gorgie Suite on match days I used to love using that statistic in my intro. The phrase “a true gentleman” much like “legend” is an overused phrase IMHO but fitted Jimmy like a glove.
Anyhow, after the Rangers match that we came back to draw 2-2, I had a conversation with Jimmy along the lines of “you don’t look well would you like me to call the Club doctor?”

Being the quiet man that he was he said “no” that he’d be fine. Despite my remonstration he agreed to call the doc on Monday and I said to make sure he did as I’d call the same day to ensure he did.
I was as good as my word and so was he. I was en route to Edinburgh Airport when I called and he confirmed that he’d made an appointment for Wednesday. I offered a lift if he needed it but commensurate with his demeanour he declined.
I called later that week to establish that the doc wanted him to go for tests and he’d let me know the outcome. I was still concerned but comforted to know that he’d made the effort to consult the experts.
My workload saw me in and out of the country for the next few weeks and then, just as as I was about to call him, I received an email from former Hearts Chairman Pilmar Smith telling me he was in hospital. He gave me the ward number and I sent a card the same day wishing him well and that I’d visit on my return from holiday.
Needless to say work took precedence on my return but Jim was never far from my thoughts with me promising myself that I’d make that visit as soon as I had space in my diary.
Sadly that space didn’t manifest itself before I got the call today to say that Jimmy had died.
In the space of a few minutes I was sad at his passing, angry that I hadn’t found time in my schedule to see him but also probably glad that I’d remember him the way that I do; as a happy, smiling, ebullient, gracious and humble man who genuinely couldn’t believe the fuss Hearts fans made of him. The word “gentleman” isn’t sufficient to do him justice but sums him up perfectly.
He reminded me greatly of my own father that I lost when I was just 15 years old.
I’ll really miss him on match day as he was as big a part of the experience as the team itself.
Rest in peace Jim, my world was all the better for having him you in it.

Firhill for a fright

Whilst scanning the myriad of TV channels available here in the UAE, it’s interesting to see so much coverage of Partick Thistle’s new mascot Kingsley. If the intention was to expose the club to people who may not have heard of them then it’s a result. If however it was simply a soft launch of a new mascot then #fail Although I can’t understand the language I get the gist that our foreign friends aren’t exactly impressed with Kingsley. And no wonder. What a hideous incarnation it is.

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What exactly is it? Is it an angry sun, a yellow thistle or an avant grade interpretation of Lisa Simpson? Whatever it is, it’s certainly raised Partick Thistle’s profile worldwide.

Oh incidentally Thistle; please don’t bring it to Tynecastle as it scares the bejesus out of me let alone the kids.

Dying for your faith

Whilst I’d rarely criticise anyone for their faith, it’s theirs after all, I do question the wisdom of Muslims fasting during Ramadan and continuing to work. Last night en route to dinner at my niece’s home in Dubai, our taxi driver was really struggling to stay awake. I questioned why he was so tired and discovered that he’d been awake since 3:30am in order to eat (Suhur) before sunrise. It was now after 5pm and despite temperatures around 45* C he’d had no food or water for over 13 hours, and he was driving my wife and me in a taxi….

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His primary focus was making it to Iftar the post sunset meal in one piece.

Meanwhile the Khaleej Times ( an essential daily read if only to chuckle at the bad grammar) reports an increase in road deaths since the start of Ramadan last Thursday.

Fasting is fine if you’re sitting around in the shade doing hee haw all day (although it’s still tough) but to expect someone to survive all day driving a taxi on roads that scare the s**t out of you when you’re fully compos mentis can’t be right can it?

 

No longer the Apple of my eye

Back in 2006 I took the plunge and dumped my PC to become an Apple Fan Boy. Much to the chagrin of friends and family I took the not inexpensive jump to the colourful side. To be fair it was all really easy. Things “just worked”. Slowly I migrated everything I did and had done over the preceeding years to a shiny new universe. All was well and when the time came to upgrade my iPhone I duly did. Always an early adopter; when iPad appeared so did I at the Apple store. I’m now on MacBook Pro number 2 and iPad number 2 and iPhone number 4 (actually it’s a 5 but let’s not confuse things).

I use the MBP for everything from email, surfing, image manipulation and creation, music editing, voiceovers, music playback at gigs and much more. It’s all religiously backed up to a Time Capsule and on the Cloud so all should be good. And all was until….

Mavericks

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I had no problem with Mountain Lion but as an early adopter it seemed the right thing to do to upgrade immediately it became available. It downloaded and installed fine but then the trouble started. It was slow, like really slow. I assumed it was indexing and left it for a couple of hours. Then another. Then another. 3 days later it stopped indexing and I was impressed with the new features. Then bummer. Time Capsule complained that it couldn’t back up over the old backups and had to create a new backup. OK then, do it. So it did. For 6 days…… Yes, 6 days.

For a day or so it was great, everything performed as expected then the l a g g i n g started. Boy was it

s    l   o   w

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I checked the Apple forums. People were screaming blue murder, the Apple universe was slowing down for lots of folks. Of course not all, the smarmy gits were flying faster than they had ever done. Swines.

As I had Apple Care I called and a nice lady helped me clear my cache and reboot my PRAM. I didn’t even know I had a pram so that was a nice surprise. Anyhow all seemed to be good for a wee while then a day or so later it

s  l  o  w  e  d         d  o  w  n         a  g  a  i  n.

To the forums and it became apparent that 4Mb was SO last year, it had to be 8Mb. Ordered, arrived, installed and up and running again at speed. Phew.

2 days later – grinding halt again

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Now anyone who knows me knows it take a LOT to get my back up but by this point I’m well pissed off. So onto the Applecare folks I go again and instead of calling I opt for the chat facility, less opportunity to sully my reputation by using inappropriate language on a call. Much better to type then reflect on what i’ve said, right? Hmmm

“OK we’ll soon have you up and running” says Genius in far off land. “Oh will we” thinks cynic in Scotland. Do this, do that, do this and what’s it doing. “Hee haw” says I. “Oh” says Genius. Genius consults fellow Genius. I now have 2 Genuii (cos that’s the plural of genius) on my case. “It shouldn’t be doing that” says Genius number 2. “No shit” says I. “Oh, I’m not sure where we go from here” says Genuis number 1. I can think of a few places it could go at this moment in time….

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Meantime my Permissions have now been Verified and Repaired as has the Disk so Genius 1 or 2 (I’m now past caring) tells me to restart the computer. I do so and everything is as slow as it was in the first place.

I’ve now lost the will to live

To be continued when I emerge from my coma

I’m not a morning person

Despite many years presenting breakfast radio I was never a fan of early mornings. This was emphasised on Tuesday during my journey to Belfast; a trip I make on business at least once a month.

So the alarm was set for 5am but I awoke at 4:50 and decided to get up then rather than dozing. I arrive therefore earlier than normal at the long stay car park. On a normal trip I park the car and the shuttle bus arrives. This week I’m waiting for 15 minutes before it shows. The weather was beautiful with a fine mist covering the fields so it wasn’t too unpleasant.

Grump number one comes when on the bus and holidaymakers board with what seemed like 20 cases but was really only 3. Instead of putting them on the luggage rack they stick them in the area in front of my seat which is reserved for wheelchair bound peeps. Needless to say the bus twists and turns and the “world’s heaviest case” naturally falls onto my foot. Aye no problem.

Then fighting through hundreds of travellers, I battle into the terminal to check in. Normally EasyJet are really competent and quick. Today there’s a pair of giggling women in front of me at Speedy Boarding check in. The girl behind the desk is on the phone and the walkie talkie and I’m waiting for 5 minutes before she speaks to the giggling duo only to discover that they DON’T actually have Speedy Boarding and are in the wrong queue. Maybe they missed the 6 foot high signs at the entrance to the queue and the massive monitors above check in that make it clear. Grump number 2.

Upstairs to Security and there are more giggling women in front of me in Fastrack. Fair do’s; they’ve paid the supplement so no worries. BUT, see when you go through security, you’re not supposed to be carrying litres of hand cream, moisturiser and shampoo so when you’re asked to dump it don’t be surprised and cause a scene. Oh, and next time you travel don’t wear more jewellery than Mr T and get pissed when you have to remove it before going through the metal detector. Grump number 3.

Off to WH Smith to buy my paper. Decided against the self service machines as I don’t need to be entering my name, rank and serial number and asked if I want a big bar of chocolate or a Daily Telegraph. If I wanted a Telegraph I wouldn’t be buying the Scotsman. And does my belly look like I NEED a big bar of chocolate? Maybe best not to answer that one. So queued for the lady on the cash desk. When asked for my Boarding Card I asked if I could decline on the grounds that it’s absolute nonsense and I’m now a “conscientious objector”. “Whatever you want sir, have a nice day”. Grump number 4.

So now wound up I head towards The Gathering for my usual breakfast of Porridge and Coffee. In front are a selection of German tourists. I like German tourists. But not ones that can’t decide between a Caramel Log and a pack of Walker’s Shortbread and have a debate over the merits of each. They did everything but call Angela Merkel for advice. I wanted to suggest they “kaufen sie sie beide” but wasn’t sure of my German grammar so decided just to sigh loudly. The normally efficient Diane behind the counter then indulged me in a conversation as to how much water she should add to my instant porridge. Did I want it runny or thick. Just medium I responded. Is that runny or thick she asked? Just add some bloody water I opined silently before saying “whatever”. Meantime at the other end of the counter where you collect your drinks, a crowd of French tourists decided to set up a commune. It’s a collection point where you “collect” your drink before moving somewhere to consume them I wanted to say but instead just sighed loudly rather than cause an international incident. Grump number 5.

Things improved considerably when I arrived in Belfast. After collecting my luggage I made my way to the Hertz desk where naturally there was a queue. Rather than walk to the front to the section where the Hertz Gold Card customers are supposed to queue, I queued with the other folks. I then challenged my social conscience by arguing with myself that, as a regular traveller and a Hertz Gold Card holder, I should use that part of the queue. Whilst conversing with my inner self the very helpful lady behind the counter clocked my fizzog half way up the queue and shouted “ah Mr Wilson, I’ve been expecting you” and brandished my car key and documents and motioned me forward. Good work Hertz lady fella. The day was brightening up at last.

 

Ryder Cup 2012

So here we are on the threshold of the singles matches and the USA only need 4 1/2 points to win the trophy back. Based on their play over the last 2 days it’s hard not to see them doing just that, and relatively easily too. They’ve simply played the most supremely consistent golf I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s because of the pairings, the rookies have all been paired with vets, and/or the crowd which has lifted them on a tide of enthusiasm and support. Whatever it is let’s hope that Europe can make a match of it and we see what the Europeans really can do.