Me versus 5×50 Challenge: Part 2

After the intial post where I described what I am doing and the likes (click the link if its not ringing any bells) here is the continued adventures of me running around Killie for a vague reason. From day 3 till day 10.

Day 3

Well it turns out I might not actually be registered for this challenge thing. I found this out by chance when I was scooting about the 5×50 Twitter account with the idea being when I tweet that this blog is ready to read I @ them and they retweet it. Becuase as nice as it is that this gets read 20 times or whatever, by 15 people (i furiously refresh the stats page (yes, there is a stats page) post publish button press) it would be quite nice to maybe get a wee rub from the challenges over 2000 followers and get some more readers. A wee ego massage you see. They might even be reading this right now. If you are, hello! This is actually my second part of my running oddessy the first part I linked in the first paragraph. Ta.

Anyway, what happened is that on Monday night I clicked and registered but never paid my money due to a concern about how long ago I had used PayPal so I though I would do it when on the laptop and had time. On the Twitter feed it mentioned registration closing and out of curiousity I go on the site and log in and try to pay my fee. Not being able to do it I try sending a private message through twitter but they dont follow me (shame on them) so this option isnt available. Instead i search out a Facebook account and get in touch that way, explain my stupidity and hope that I am accepted and somehow get it sorted. Provided there is a problem, I might be fine.

Run wise, I leave my house and run into Crosshouse past the hospital, i dodge down past the school, round past my Dads pals work and then past the Spar and back into Kilmarnock. Without doing any of the dodging and diving in and out cul de sacs and down back roads and the likes the run lasts just over 5k. This makes me happy and could become a bit of a regular route. I also done it in less than 25 minutes. One of my initial goals. That was nice.

Later that night i got a message back from the 5×50 fb page giving me a email address to contact, so i guess I have fucked up but it can get fixed.

Day 4

Decided to run home from work but apparently they lock the gates to the car park now. Not a problem, in fact it actually solves one as I can strategically place my motor in a parking spot that near Rugby Park so that after the football at night i can collect the car and drive home and save myself a walk. This running thing is helping in ways i never imagined. So i park up at my wifes Aunts and start making my way up to Morrisons (to pick up my wifes car, the reason its in the Morrisons car park isnt important but it is there nonetheless) however the distance between the a of Natalies aunts and the b of Morrison’s isn’t as far as it seems and after a detour around the Howard Park and zig zagging around all the streets it seemed in the area of Killie where the garage and the Brass and Granite is I end up actually having to run around the edge of Morrison’s car park to get the 5k in. I mean no one would have noticed or if they did, cared, but it was mortifying. Also I was a quite a bit slower which I’m putting down to running straight after a day at work, but its still disappointing after improving my times day on day for the first 3.

Day 5

Another day another car journey to a remote location and ran from, only to be picked up later. Tonight it was Tesco as the wife wants us to go a walk with the pram once I have been out my run. Ha. Resting is not an option it would appear. My knees are a bit sore and so are my ankles.

Day 6

I play 7 a side football on a Friday night. Day 6 falls on a Friday. So to get my run in and not completely compromise my night I get a lift down to the powerleague to play football with the intention of running back. It is probably the warmest night of the year so far and when I get there its been changed from 7s to 5s and only 9 folk showed up. Good stuff. Long story short, fitba was shite and I still had to run home. I decided to head up past my old schools and the library and into the Kay Park (just the Dean Park now for the trifecta) where as I come under the railway bridge entrance at the Killie College I am met by the sight of some daft alkie enjoying the last remnants of sunshine lying on the pavement in at the wall cuddling his bottle of Becks. We used to run around the Kay Park for cross country at P.E. when I was at the Killie Academy, in tribute I ran down the oval hill at the Burns Monument, but instead of running back up I ran out the park past the tennis club up through the town and home.

Day 7

My times have been pish as the week has gone on, I put that down to working and then running and generally being tired. My thoughts are that a good sleep and a run on Saturday morning followed by a run on Sunday night will see me go faster with more recovery and sleep and less manual labour. So i head out this morning again from Natalies aunts house but instead of going the same way I decide to try going out the road that runs from the old abbatoir up to the Crosshouse roundabout past the Premier Inn and also past the Heron Bros site across the road and up a bit which i have no idea what is going on in and its driving me up the bloody wall. I saw a few guys making a road into it on the 3rd of January in the dark on my first day back at work this morning and since then its got bigger and bigger with all sorts of diggers and that in there. Bugging that i dont know what it is.

Anyway, the run is pretty much uphill which is bugging, still i do it fairly quickly (certainly quicker than my crap runs in previous three days) so i am thinking my plan is going to work.

Day 8

FUUUUUUUCK! Twenty three and a half minutes (ish)! My fastest time yet but I am disappointed because after a facebook conversation with my fellow 5x50er who said last year he tried for a sub 23 by day ten (sub 20 by day 50 also which is my dream) I had hoped i would have cracked it on day 8. Especially as the running app on my phone which gives time splits every km gave me hope that i was in with a chance as it was looking good at each split. To be beaten by seconds is annoying, especially as i waited off till late on on Sunday to do so and in doing so be well rested. I am taking this serious I have to say. Too serious my wife says.

On this run i went on a old favourite of mine. Out Fardle hill to Knockintiber, turn right and head for Kilmaurs and nip down onto the cycle path and run back to Kilmarnock along the old railway line (or current, im not sure) to the town dump and in home. its about 5 and a half km, a decent run and up and down hills. Do you know i never saw one bike on the cylce path. Or a dog, its usually louping with dogs. I did see a big bird in the sky, a perigrin falcon or a buzzard maybe scouting out a rabbit or some other animal no doubt, it did cross my mind what i would do if it swooped for me, i realised i dont know what i would do, i am trying not to worry about that.

Day 9

After yesterdays strong run I wasn’t expecting much and ultimately it didn’t deliver much. I do however think that the 25 minute plus days are behind me, as I was under that time easily. Also when Victoria Pendelton’s automated voice on my MiCoach adidas running app thing chimed in with the announcement that “distance (beat) three (beat) kilometres” in the fashion she does I distinctly remember feeling that I had a fair amount left in the tank which made my heart soar.

Day 10

When I almost broke 23 mins on day 8 there were a few factors which hindered my progress, one of which was the dog at one of the farmhouse type places on the road to Knockintiber which although didn’t actually make any move in my general direction did hamper my time by a few seconds due to me trying to keep my distance and also trying to keep my cool and not let on I was feart it was going to savage me (which it wouldn’t). I also had to tie my laces which takes a bit longer than you would think and of course the problem with the big bird that wasn’t interested in me. All these variables can be reduced, mainly by tying my laces better before leaving and also, with luck the dog won’t be there on the road since its a weekday and not the weekend (dogs on the cycle path are unaccountable for).

So I head back out on the same route, its a good route because there are no red lights to cross or any real traffic, the only problems seem to be the ones i have already highlighted.

Anyway, long story short, I done it. 22 and a half minutes. I knew i was in with a chance with the splits at each km but when i did do it, when Vicky said the time i was up on the Western Road, just past the dump and i raised my hands in the air in triumph. What a dick i am. I also ended my run on the app and walked home proud of myself.

TIMES

Day 3: 5k-25.34mins, Total run 5.23km-25.54. Day 4: 5k-27.37, Total run 5.05km-28.00. Day 5: 5k-27.09, Total run 5.04km-27.27. Day 6: 5k-27.22, Total run 5.25km-28.57. Day 7: 5k-26.0,1 Total run 5.22km-27.15. Day 8: 5k-23.28, Total run 5.58km-26.27. Day 9: 5k-24.19, Total run 5.4km-26.28. Day 10: 5k-22.30, Total run 5.12km-23.09.

Me versus the 50×5 Challenge

Inspired by an friend of mines Herculean effort last year at this event I have decided to undertake it myself this year. I will update my progress every wee while on here. Hopefully I will be getting quicker as the days go on, maybe I will see some strange things on my travels when out running (I once saw a Hoover under a bridge in the middle of the countryside) and when I do I can report it here as a wee record of my effort. Some stuff will surely happen in the next fifty days you would think.

In that thrilling intro I neglected to actually explain what the event actually is. Of course its name is the name of the post 5×50 challenge and it is a running challenge to run 5 kilometres every day for 50 consecutive days. You can do more in a day of you want but the minimum is 5k. I like running, I ran a half marathon last year, so as a different type of challenge I have decided to give this one a bash. I have even set myself a target of a sub 20 minute 5k. Dunno if that possible for a guy like me but we will find out. I also have no idea why such a target is important to me and why I want to achieve it but its a goal nonetheless.

Ordinarily you do things like this for charity and get sponsorship along the way, I won’t be doing that, I will pay my registration out my own pocket (which goes to comic relief I think) and that will do. If you do want to contribute in some way as a mark of recognition of what I am doing then if you don’t mind donate to the Dylan Duff appeal. Thanks.

So without further ado, here we go:

Day 1

Having said i was going to give this a shot it was only in the evening i actually decided to go though with it. By this time on Easter Sunday I had ate two huge courses at my mother in laws and had three bottles of beer so not exactly the best condition to be going for a run. But you either start on the start or you dont bother so i went and flung on my running gear and headed out assuring myself that i wouldnt spew my ring on the route. Its been a long long time since i have been out running at night, I think the last time i misjudged the road back into Kilmarnock and ended up running along the bypass to Irvine (which is hilarous if you know the roads in and around Killie but completely redundant if you dont) and that was about five years ago. I prefer to run in the early evening in the light or preferably in the total daylight of the day oddly enough. I tried to keep out of the way of cars and such by going around the Grange estate but it turns out 5k is further than you think so i had to run into the main part of the town a bit past some pubs (which it seemed were mobbed since it was Easter Sunday (the new Christmas)) which could have been embarrasing if someone shouted or tried to scant me or something.

Why i think that that would ever happen is quite worrying.

I get back up the road and have to ring around the streets surrounding to get it up over the 5k and no more. My belly is aching and i have brought up a little sick in my mouth but mostly my chicken balmoral, profitoroles and budweiser stay in the tummy where they belong. The challenge has begun and John Speirs has booted it in the baws with his first run. Well done me. In total i did 5.09 km in 28.17, but did 5k in 27.47 because i had my old phone with the wee running app that i use as a mp3 player (not ipod, gadz) in my hand counting down the 0.01s of a km out of curiousity. Time isnt important tonight though, its about getting started.

Day 2

Told a lot of people that i have taken up this challenge today. No one seems to give a fuck. Jokes on them though as i will talk about it quite a lot and like or not they will have to listen. Got sent home early from work so went to get my wife and kid at my parents house and left my shitey old VW Polo there so i could run back later to get it. Went and saw my old granny with Cody then up the road, fed Cody and we played under his rainforest type toy thing, i dont really know what it is, he doesnt have a clue whats going on, we had fun though. I then ran down and it turns out the distance from my house to my mums isnt anywhere near as far as what i thought and doesnt come close to 5k, improvising but not nearly as well as i did on day 1 i eek it out by running up and down their cul de sac and through someones drying area. I did do a lap of the Howard Park though, that was quite nice and exited through an exit i dont ever remember seeing in the 25 years i have memory of being in and around the Howard Park. I also went up a lane to come back down seconds later, that was embarrassing, hope noone was looking out their window and wondered what the big guy who runs weird was doing.

It all worked though because i clocked in 5.07km in a much faster time of 25.26 with the 5k being done in 25.07. Faster than day one but without so much food or bevvy sloshing about that was a gimme. Gona try and get under 25 mins on a regular basis first off, see how that goes, before getting my times shaved further. Getting rid of my chins would be a nice byproduct too with the summer months coming in. Bikini body and all that. Need to have a wee think about my routes i think.

I will be back in a few days, or a lot of days depending on if i have much to say, with more thoughts on the challenge. Cheers for reading down to this full stop.

Oor Cody and What I Have Learnt about Parenting and Stuff Like That

4 weeks and one day ago, one whole month considering that month was February (plsus a day) after I bemoaned the fact that my baby seemed not to want to make an appearance and simply wished to stay in his mums belly a bit longer, I decide to write this in the time I have between now and Cody, which is the name we gave our son, waking up for his night feed. My wee boy Cody was born on the Sunday afternoon, the day after I wrote that last entry. What a day that was, what an experience it has been.

having been up since 2am I was starting to look a bit tired
having been up since 2am I was starting to look a bit tired

Yes, I am now a dad, and this is a big night as this is the first time I am flying solo in the baby looking after stakes as my wife has went out for dinner. I have the PJ’s set out, along with all the other stuff I am told i will need. Fair to say i am shiting it. So I decided to try pass some time till his mum comes back, as he lies sleeping in his swing like a ticking timebomb ready to go off at any point and start screaming for something by giving my, (disclaimer: views are both pathetic and probably factually wrong) view on a few things that have stood out in the last month.

Labour

Labour wasnt nearly as traumatic as i thought it would have been, it also is nothing like what i have seen on TV and in films, there was very little (if any) lying on beds, and no doctor or midwife checked and told you how dialated you were before leaving you to watch tv and eat grapes and such. Its all very intense but totally hands on from the midwives who i thought were all bloody great. But thats at the hospital, before we even got there was quite an experience. for about four hours we were the baths, on the couch, in the hall, in the kitchen, on the phone, back in the bath. I watched a fair amount of tv in this time, Stewart Lee live at the stand from about 6 years ago, was quite good. Also Cheers comes on itv4 quite early on a Sunday, i enjoyed an episode and a half of that, love Cheers so i do, it took an hour to get from the moment the phone call to the maternity unit said we should come out to us actually getting out (a five minute drive) due to the unexpected struggle to get socks and jeans onto a pregnant woman in labour. Such things you dont really think about and certainly dont get told in the anti natal classes.

Anyway, when it comes labour, and i mean labour labour we were in the pool which was actually great. I used the edge of the pool from my position behind Natalie on a seat

outside to obscure my view of what was going on in the water, i could see the other side and natalies head but couldnt see the water down below. Natalie’s way of describing it has been a “scene from Jaws” bearing that in mind i feel my decision to choose what i could or couldnt see seems justified. If i needed to stand up, or say leave the room to go to the bathroom when i was given permission (its a long time not to go for a pee) i tried to stand up and take a step back at the same time thus keeping the same view of the pool. Of course it wasnt foolproof and i did see some things that i wish i didnt but the ability of the human brain to instantly assess and delete such images or simply lock them away in some deep dark recess of the memory has astounded me. Well chuffed with that, I had feared mental scarring for most of the 9 months prior, as well as about ten years before that. Full thing was a happy exerperience in the cabable hands of professionals.

Oh and i tried “gas and air”, it was crap.

Object in the rear view mirror may seen like their jacket doesnt fit
Object in the rear view mirror may seem like their jacket doesnt fit

Bibs

Now I’m not in any position to hand out parenting advice what with Cody a month old but if I was in a position to do so and any expectant mums or dads, or recently married couples planning families or even reckless youths having weans unexpected are reading this, I would advise to buy in excess of 1000 bibs and put them in every room in every drawer on every flat surface and every wee nook n cranny in your house. We have what we thought was plenty, but its not enough. Black bin bags full of them everywhere is plenty, having 40 under the couch just in case is plenty, being ale to lay your hand on one regardless of where you are in your house is plenty a wee drawer upstairs and a couple in the changing bag and box (maybe 30 in total) is not, we will be buying more but please take heed future mums and dads, for me, this shit is important.

Newest Killie fan
Newest Killie fan

Colic

Colic is a strange thing, noone can really tell you what it is, and to be honest my knowledge of the subject was the passing statement of people i wasnt ever really paying full attention to saying something about a baby being a colicy baby. I think, (bearing in mind we think (thats think) that Cody has colic)  that its something to do with wind and finding farting sore but really its still a bit of a mystery. Apparently they grow out of it after about six months, I am taking this as the gospel truth and count down the days of the next five months and rue the fact that not all months are the same length as February. There is a bottle brand called Dr Browns who specialise in bottles for colicy babies. Dont know how that works though, the bottles look complicated.

Bottles

Talking of bottles, we are using Avent ones made by Phillips of all people. I just thought they made tellys and hifis but aparently they are now in the lucrative business of babies. Smart move, there isnt a lot of competition, not like telly, so plenty of opportunities to make dosh. Dont know exactly how this affects dutch fitba team PSV Eindhoven mind you as their name means Phillips Sound and Vision which may well change since they are taking their business in a different route. Phillips bottles and steralisers? PBS Eindhoven maybe? I think i might get Cody a strip.

Taking his Photo

I like most people have a camera on my phone. I now exclusively use this to take photos of my child. Thats a lot of photos of someone who doesnt really get out the house much and visit different places. To combat this i take them in both colour and black and white to give the impression of diversity.

More Robust Than You Would Think.

Its all about dressing your kids properly
Its all about dressing your kids properly

My headings are getting a bit more descriptive and and as such the explanation seems pointless. This one is just such a self explanatory effort. Turns out wee babies while hot potatoes you are feart you snap with your bare hands when they are other peoples are actually fairly robust wee units when they are your own. there isnt a big time gap between being handed him not long after being delivered and being able to move him from arm to arm and up over your shoulder or even the weird choking out motion of holding his body straight to get a wee bit o wind up during feeding.

Pushing Prams

I am right into this, I push the pram everywhere, earphones in and stomp about for a fair bit, the wean loves it, all the bumping about and is sleeping pretty much instantly and i get a bit of exercise and the chance to catch up on podcasts and that. Win Win.

Paternity Leave

Is truely bizarre and I was glad to be back at work. Its so fake. Every activity was all hands to the pump, like a nappy change for instance would see us both running around barking orders at each other about who is doing what, feeding was a military operation and the notion of heading out had to be planned days in advance. Better me back at work and real life can resume.

Tasting the Milk

Only the formula stuff, not breast milk, couldnt bring myself to do that. Though in hindsight, it surely couldnt be any worse than formula which is like ready brek made from cabbage.

And thats about it, wish i had ended on a more interesting thought though. Its been a strange old month. I have enjoyed it. We have enjoyed it actually, the three of us. Well I think Cody has enjoyed it. I dont really know.

Look at that wee face
Look at that wee face

Wait, I just asked him there, he didnt cry, i am taking that as a yes he has enjoyed it. I am happy with that, feel like a success as a parent now. Well, Natalie wont be long now, I will just press publish and see whats on the telly.

Cheers.

Our Baby is Late, Just Like its Dad

Well, looks like there wasn’t a 90th minute winner in this game of pregnancy. We are now past the due date and with no sign of the kiddo yesterday a golden goal in extra time will be needed to finish the match. At this point in time we won’t even consider the end of the two week extra time and the midwifes inducing Natalie to bring on the labour which for the sake of extending this painful cup final analogy we will call penalty kicks.

It would seem we are playing the old waiting game.

But the bags are packed, the nursery decorated, cot built, baby monitor set up, moses baskets (one in the living room and one in the bedroom) are set for action, pram is in its space under the stairs and its tyres blown up to the advised pressure, isofix base thing fitted in the back seat of the car, clothes are all washed, even the coming out of the hospital clothes for Natalie and the baby are hanging in the new wardrope ready for me to take in with me so i dont fuck that up. Its all taken care of.

But we wait.

I guess i could shine up the metal work of the pram, so it looks nice. Or i could get the steraliser out in the kitchen and have a wee trial run with that and the bottles for feeding. I could even read one of the parenting books i have so far dodged for 9 and a half months (and now a day ontop of that). We could decide on a name, or rather names since we dont know what we are having.

We could do all these things as we wait but we arent.

We are just waiting, we have tried all the things they tell you but so far no joy, it will come when its ready. I am quite enjoying it actually, Natalie not so much. Its not too much pressure on me, mostly i am doing the things i usually do, working and watching the telly, Natalie is off her work on maternity which initially i was fairly jealous about but she is mostly knackered from carrying around the bump and needs a pee every twenty minutes so i suppose the novelty will wear off soon. I will get my paternity fortnight soon, the two of us working out how to look after a wee toaty baby.

I am looking forward to it.

But I am not excited, I rarely get excited. Not a very excitable person really, I can appear quite dour. Wonder if my kid will be like that. If it is Natalie will be demented. Thats away in the future though, now as I try to remember the advice given at the anti natal classes we attended about how to deal with labour (there isnt a lot of info about a fathers perspective at those incidentally, certainly not the ones i was at, so you have to improvise a bit from the mothers perspective info) and put it in practice when the waters break (if they do) and mop up the gallons of stuff that comes out (imagination getting away from me, hopefully) before packing us all up in the car and heading out to the maternity unit at the hospital. Surely its within the week?

Not sure where i am going with this now, think i will just press publish, go see what Natalie is doing. Its Saturday night, T plus one day (is that how it is described?) and since its after 11 its unlikely we will see a wee mucky baby arrive before due date plus two so the wait isnt near to being over. This is frustrating writing this, more frustrating than just sitting about waiting.

Waiting….hmmmmm.

Space Time Continuum

The butterfly effect is a plot device commonly used in Hollywood to drive the narrative of some of its biggest films. Its when characters travel back in time and change a moment in the past and it subsequently has a knock on effect on the future. Marty McFly rectifies a butterfly effect by having to engineer his parents getting together (after having arsed up their original moment) as that particular effect would have resulted in him ceasing, in the reality he left in 1985, to exist in Back to the Future. Similar stuff probably happens in the Ashton Kutcher and Richard Gere film actually called Butterfly Effect too, but I haven’t seen it.

This all seems a bit long winded and ultimately shite start to an article about football. Sorry for that. What I am trying to get at, by setting up that premise, is the what if of going back in time in football and changing an event which could in turn upset events that have happened since. Like……..

What if Alex Totten had actually signed Paul Scholes for Killie. Not everyone reading may be aware of this urban myth/absolute fact but its my understanding that back in the mid 90s when Totten went down to watch Colin McKee and subsequently spot Neil Whitworth and sign both in a double switch from Manchester United he actually had his eye caught by a wee ginger guy at Man United’s training ground. “who is the wee ginger fella, wouldn’t mind him” is how the story goes (in my head) of Totten’s conversation with Alex Ferguson while they watch the first team train and discuss the transfer of McKee and Whitworth. “he is yours for a million” Fergie replies. Totten declines because Killie don’t have a million to sign on a player and finalises the half millionish deal for the other two and heads back up the road, two Man United starlets in his back pocket from the “cant win anything with kids” era and the expected plaudits of the Killie fans and media at such a coup. You must have heard that story, it was from a bygone time where Scottish teams actually went down to the Premiership and paid money for some young reserve players rather than taking a wee lend of them for shop window purchases before they head back down to get booted about Walsall’s ground in another move to get them ready for the “greatest league in the world”

However, there isn’t a great deal any fan could have done about this really, no flap of the butterfly’s wings to generate this fork in history, not unless at one of the fan rallies when Bobby Fleeting was describing a brave new future a fan with incredible foresight piped up with the pertinent point that a eighteen thousand seat stadium probably would be a bit big all things considered, maybe just over ten would suffice. Now as a sound bite its not exactly awe inspiring but nonetheless those words stuck in the mind of Mr Fleeting and when it came to the stadium roughly about half a million pounds was saved and put past for players.  Then on that fated day in Manchester when SAF (or AF as he was known then) offered up Oldham’s most famous fan, Alex Totten would say “yes thanks, a million quid is doable” and Killie would have a new number 18.

Eventually 18, most likely an 8 or 10 in the old 1 to 11 system we had then.

97
Scholes (cheek injury swelled his head to 1 and a half times normal) celebrates with his Killie team mates after beating Falkirk 1 nil

So history is changed forever and in the books it read that Paul Scholes signed for Killie and not McKee and Whitworth. Whitworth wouldn’t have scored that 30 yarder at Tanadice and McKee wouldn’t have been utter utter mince in the semi final v Dundee United and subsequently replaced with Gary Holt in the replay. An outcome Scholes wouldn’t have had any effect on due to him being out injured (a broken cheekbone from training, a common Killie training ground injury back then) and missed out on the final which went the exact same way incidentally although Holt played both semis. So Scholes or Scholesy as we would have known him as, by now he would probably be coaching a lower league English club or starring in a Scottish independent film in a non speaking role or driving a taxi or something, I don’t know. At this point you might be thinking that the move ended in a bit of a disaster for him given how his life could have (actually did) turn out.

But he did get a shot at the Champions league, as in 98/99 he came into his own after Christmas when everything seemed to fall apart and his part in the midfield trio of Durrant, Holt and himself took the first SPL title away from Glasgow since Dundee United done so when Jim Mclean managed it with Hamish MacAlpine and a squad of six players or whatever the ridiculous stat is. What a Euro campaign that was, qualifiers then group stages.  100 years of Rugby Park celebrated in the Champions league, Wooft. But that’s a story for another day. Then in 2004 he celebrated his testimonial year with a sell out v Oldham.

Another lovely by product of the move was that in the Scotland England playoff he wasn’t there to score a double at Hampden and as such Scotland went through to the finals of the back of Don Hutchison’s Wembley header. We never got out the group stages though, some things never change.

This never happened. Well it did and it didn’t, read on…

You might be wondering what happened to the other people involved in this transfer back in 94. Well, Man United’s history didn’t change too much, without his goal in the 99 Champions League quarter final the still went through to the semi and then the final in which he missed due to suspension.  In 2005 Quinton Fortune took the second penalty of the FA Cup final and scored meaning the spot kicks went to sudden death but Wes Brown hit one into orbit and the trophy was Arsenals like normal. Also without Scholes in the midfield Juan Veron was a stand out for Man United with Roy Keane and Argentina won the world cup off the back it. I won 50 quid from the sweep I had the Argies in that year on the back of a great tourney from the man the United fans called Little Witch so it was good news all round. England managers also caught a break as they didn’t have to go into every tournament begging Scholes to come out of retirement and as such leaving their actual midfielders feeling undervalued. They still won nothing though which is nice.

Finally, Colin McKee and Neil Whitworth stayed in England and had reasonable careers, I think, I mean I don’t really know because they never appeared on my radar having never actually signed for Killie. Funny how that happens.

So there we have it, one mere flap of the butterfly’s wings back then results pretty much the same for everyone except we get a league win, the Champions League tune played in front of a packed 12000 capacity Rugby Park a trip to the Euros for Scotland. Well everyone bar Scholes himself who didn’t have the career he could have had, but hey, cant keep everyone happy.

Now what would need to happen to make sure that Killie never signed Andy Smith?

2012 in as few a words as I can

Last year i started writing a diary of sorts on here which was very cathartic and good fun, sadly it fell by the wayside after a few months, to be expected but a decent effort none the less if i dont say so myself. In fact i think i will include it in this, a rundown of all the good things that happened to me the Olympic year just past.

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  • Got my wife pregnant! Kid is due early February, its touch and go if this will be finished before the baby is born, mind you, will update that particular piece of ongoing news at the end before i press publish.
  • Bought a cantilever arm to stick the television on the wall with. its the only thing i wanted when we moved in two years ago and now i have the necessary thing to make it happen. (it has now actually happened, its brilliant)
  • Did 9, count em, 9 gigs taking em to 14 lifetime, im on the cusp of cracking this shit! Of course im not and this tally isnt all that impressive really but take into consideration it was only 6 lifetime in July and i did 8 from August onward so things are picking up.
  • Kept an online diary till March.
  • Gigged at the Edinburgh fringe Festival. or at least i think i did, it was the free fringe and it was one five to ten minute gig but i done it. felt good, should have been two gigs but was ill the next day and couldnt make it. what i learned most about the Edinburgh festival is that its probably fairly easy to get a ton of gigs just by being there and seeing if folk (like me on day 2) dont turn up and you can get a wee spot. Always assumed it would be ver near impossible to get gigs and it was all locked down months in advance. Quite surprised really. Was so proud i even uploaded it on youtube.
  • imageTook in some English Premiership football for the first time. Everton v Spurs, just as brilliant/shite (delete where apropriate) as Scottish fitba, there was just more people there. Guys who cant hit 50 yard passes attempting 50 yard passes and putting them in the stands, fickle fans berating their team only for then to score two in the last minute to overturn a one nil defecit and leave praising their team to the hilt. Beer in the ground though was good and the Everton players ran to our wee corner when they scored the equaliser and the winner Goodison, home from home.
  • Ran the Glasgow half marathon. Which was 1 hour and 53 minutes of looking at people’s backs or my own feet. Though I did take in the views when running across the Kingston Bridge, that was cool.
  • Went to a civil partnership. I am horrendously akward when dealing with how to kiss the bride (one cheek? Both Cheeks? I now do a strange cheek to cheek rub thing which seems to work) so a brideless wedding was a weight off for me. Two firm handshakes and words of congratulations suffice. Terrific.
  • Gigged in front of just four people one night in Paisley. Well, 3 people and a barman. Plus compere and 3 comics. 7 really, gigged in front of 7 people. Lowest so far. Was still a decent night though.
  • Gigged twice when there were burlesque dancers on the bill.
  • Nearly got a new job. But didn’t.
  • Went for a Turkish shave. Which was an exhilirating experience from the red hot imagetowels to the open blade shave (twice) to the setting your ear fluff on fire and leaving them smoother than anything else on your body. I was the only person in that Friday morning and while i had a razor blade at my throat by one Turkish fella, another one was taking my photo. Thats weird, right?
  • Took our new car up to Loch Lomond and managed to drive right past it and ended up lost. Found Loch Katrine instead. Drove that far past it it took over an hour to finally find Loch Lomond. Got lost coming home too.
  • Watched Kilmarnock lift their first ever league cup on an amazing day in March.
  • wpid-IMAG0201.jpgPlayed doubles at darts with Andy “The Pieman” Smith versus Terry “The Bull” Jenkins and a guy called Hoggy on the stage at a darts exhibition night in Park Hotel. We won but I was fucking woeful.
  • Passed my fork lift truck drivers licence on a two day course over a weekend. The videos you have to watch are magic.
  • Walked around York’s city walls one weekend in May. Lovely place. Went to York races on the Saturday and stood in a suit all day on the warmest weekend of the year, facebook was full of folk out their backdoors in Ayrshire and beyond with their shirts off drinking lager and eating hot dogs off the barbecue, i had a tie on and my sleeves rolled up. Was good though. At York races they dont let you drink outside in the dear bit but on the other side of the course (the inside) you pay the lowest amount for tickets and get to take your own booze with you and watch and bet and get fu’ cheaply. Something far wrong there i think.
  • Changed the back tyre on my Polo. Add this to the “knocking up” of my good lady wife and i feel i made some genuine steps into manhood this year. To be fair, i only put it back on and let the jack down, i didnt put it up or get the wheel off, there is always next year.
  • Became an uncle again. Nephew this time. Hope he likes fitba. And Batman. And wrestling. Few years before all that mind you.
  • Appeared in a play. One stand up gig i managed to get was as part of a play in Irvine, driving down to do it i was aprehensive and hardly had any information about it and had asked to get my night changed from Sunday to Saturday but it was bloody brilliant. It was a play about a comedy club that fell on hard times and in between scenes a comic would come out and do five or so minutes. Great experience.
  • Celebrated our first year married.
  •  wpid-IMAG0113.jpgWandered around the comedy carpet in front of the Blackpool tower. Absolutely minted. Didnt set aside enough time for it, thought it would be a bit shite to be honest. How wrong could I have been, lines from tv and stand up over the years, the Python stuff is great, Peter Kay too and this genius from Spitting image.
  • Appeared on the telly on Scottish Football: The Debate. I covered it all here though so no need to go on about it again.
  • And while i am plugging older posts from my blog, i wrote a thing about playing Ayr the night before the semi final and it got retweeted and thrown around facebook that Friday night which was geekily quite exciting. Sat and refreshed the stats page on here and watched the number go up like a egomaniac prick.
  • Saw Spamalot! at the Kings Theatre the day before the League Cup final. It was very good. Saw Chicago later on in the year as well, it was alright too.
  • Got papped out in round 1 of the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition. Which was a audience vote format and took place in my own town. Not too impressive. Was on first though. Excuses excuses. Always next year. Or, you know, this year as it is.

So thats about it i think, and yay, I managed to get it all typed and posted before the baby has made its entrance. Could be any time now…….but this has been nice. Thanks for reading, thanks for waiting in fact for something to actually read, please accept my apologies and half hearted promise to post more in 2013.

Happy new year.

Hullo

Been a wee while since was last on here writing. Done a fair bit of everything since last posted. Like, eh, like, got my wife pregnant for one.

Also done some other stuff and if i get the finger out i will write some stuff up here. Got a recap of a thing i did 3 years ago started, probably finish that and post it and them i might  try catch up on some more up to date stuff. Like, you know, the upcoming parenting stuff and a few gigs i have done in past wee while.

In the meantime, here is a picture of some great graffiti i saw in Gatehouse of Fleet. On one brick it says “I ❤ SMACK” (embarrassed a wee bit i used the arrow and the three to make a love heart there) and on another brick it says PHALLUS. A great word. Took me back to university where Andy Walker and I discussed its power as a putdown. Surely better and withering than calling someone a dick? Maybe not.

A Diary in 53 Parts: Part 12: Week 11

Where i got a gig and went to the theatre.

Sunday 11th March 2012

Went into work at half past 7 to tell them i couldnt do the overtime i signed up for becuase i had furniture being delivered. Gaffer seemed a bit taken aback that i showed up to say i couldnt make it but the reason was i couldnt find the phone number. The furniture arrived pretty early and i set about building it. Couch was bloody heavy and akward, the bookcase on its side sideboard unit type thing was less heavy and akward but more hard work to put together. Done it though and celebrated with a bowl of porridge. This was the first time i have ever made porridge, real porridge with salt and water not the girly sugar and milk rubbish. Did a good job, cooking seems to come naturally to me, i can add it to my repertiore now, baked potatoes, porridge and of course, cheesy beanos.

Monday 12th.

Got offered a stand up gig in Paisley later this month to go with the one in May in Killie, good stuff, i said yes. Its a charity gig put on by a student, or a bunch of students, im not quite sure. My big mate Alan Provan (his blog) got me involved as he is doing a set at it and suggested me for it too. Decision now is whether to write a whole new bit or just a wee new bit to replace the out of date Scheme stuff and add it to my seagull stuff which i did last year.

Tuesday 13th.

For my lunch today i took the new Jamaican Jerk pot noodle. Big fan of pot noodles so i am, often thought about setting myself a wee task to see how many o could eat in one sitting (it would be chicken and mushroom one i would use in such an event as they are easiest on the belly even though i am partial to a Bombay Badboy) but as yet havent got round to it. I think i could do 4 pretty easy but might hit the wall at 5. Not sue if thats impressive or pathetic, guess there is only one way to find out….

Later on i wrote up the blog post about me being on the telly, not going to link it again but this will be the last wee plug, if you want to read it i am sure you have the necessary skills to navigate away from this to it, do it, i believe in you.

Wednesday 14th.

Watched Chelseas champions league game tonight. Football players have tiny wee shinguards nowadays. John Terry plucked a pair out his socks when he got subbed which looked to me to be about the saze of a smart phone. What exactly is that protecting? I remember when it was big sondico things with ankle supports and bones down the front which pretty much protected your full leg and before that i remember reading or seeing a shinnys advert where they just stuck old newspapers down there for protection. Totey wee things now though. I think they all wear them now, seems pointless.

Thursday 15th.

Not much going on today, got quite excited about the cup final on Sunday after reading some of the stuff in the Daily Record, plenty to be positive about.

Friday 16th.

Got ridiculous cramp in both my legs after playing football while lying watching tv on the couch with the wife. felt it coming on in one leg and tried to shift my weight to put it off, straighten my leg out a bit, didnt work and the cramp set in my hamstring like a lightning bolt. As i wriggled to get off the couch the other one cramped up too and i screamed in my own living room. Down on the ground writhing in pain i got zero sympathy. Warm down essential from now on, getting too old.

Saturday 17th.

A good few years ago now, when Berti Vogts was Scotland manager and James MacFadden was the cheeky boy, Scotland made the playoffs to reach the major championship at that season end. We drew Holland and ultimately didnt make due to a 6 nil second leg defeat that left us narrowly squeezed out on a 6-1 aggregate. The one came in a 1 nil home first leg at Hampden which i was at.

The reason i tell you this is that the night previous to that great day (when Scotland scored, shamefully i took that as a cue to glug down the bottle of Bud i had smuggled in as the crowd were all on their feet, post patch i flashed a bus of dutch supporters and also had the last bottle of Buckfast to pass my lips that night on the bus back into the city from Hampden) Natalie and i took in a show at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow. Oh What a Night it was and starred Kid Creole i think, maybe Sonia too though that would seem like something i would remember. It might or might not be an omen but today, the day before the big League Cup final, i found myself taking Natalie back to The Kings, this time to see Spamalot! It was really good.

A Diary in 53 Parts: Part 11: Week 10

Where I went viral and was spotted everywhere.

Sunday 4th March.

Up early on a Sunday to clear some space in the conservatory to let young Craig in to wallpaper the “feature” wall in there. I say feature, its effectively the only wall considering the rest of it is just glass. I would like to say i was instrumental in the whole decorating process, I wasnt though. I sat through the front room dicking around on the laptop. Got told that our wedding features in the Ayrshire Wedding Directory by someone who picked it up at the Ayrshre wedding fair at Rugby Park. Did know about it becuase i wrote the article that goes with it but was nice to be spotted.

Monday 5th.

Made myself a baked potato for dinner tonight but wasnt entirely sure how to do this. I wanted to make a real baked potato in an oven with tin foil and everything, not as i have been doing for the last few years, microwaving it and passing that off as a baked tattie. To fix the problem i had with not knowing how to do it i did what anyone does when they wan to know something. I googled it. There is a fair amount of chefs and cooks and the likes out there who can fair spina yarn about baked tatties i will tell you. To my surprise the majority tell you not to use tin foil otherwise you just steam your potato, you could know me over with a feather at that, instead they tell you to rub it with olive oil and some salt before bunging it onto the shelf for an hour and a bit. Dead easy, should have done this ages ago.

While it cooked i flung some tuna mayo and chillies together and when it was ready i ate it. This however isnt a cook book or recipe blog so i will tell you what else i did this fine monday. I went to a Killie Trust meeting then came home and watched the Scottish Fitba documentary Game for Europe while writing snarky things on facebook and drinking a bottle of March of the Penguins beer which was quite nice.

Tuesday 6th.

I have went over in fine detail what happened when i appeared on tv on this Tuesday here so no point rehashing it again. Just click away if you want a read. When i got home from my big night out at the BBC i had the other Christmas dinner pot noodle which was absolutely horrendous when you knew what to expect, i doused it in soy sauce though which made it taste like nothing and therefore edible. Watched myself back on the TV debate thing at night and watched as my phone lit up with the pish getting quite literally ripped out me for my appearance on tv. You have got to laugh.

Wednesday 7th.

The ribbing didnt stop last night, it continued at work where i was called brokeback killie for a bit on account of my check shirt. After work i took my wedding album down to my grans house to let her see it. My gran is 92 years old now and is looking well. She is one of the most remarkable people i have ever known, she has a thousand stories, sometimes she tells you ones you have heard before and sometimes you get one you havent. tonight i got both, I had heard a few times about how my grampa never actually left the mainalnd during the war, however he was on the boat to Normandy but it was called back, but she also told Natalie and I about how her dad died in 1940 and told it like it was yesterday. What a memory. Sensational woman.

Thursday 8th.

Quiet day apart from the fact our wedding picture appeared in the Standard that came out today. Well last night it came out. You can get it loads of places on a Wednesday night now, i remember when it was the shop in Knockintiber you could get it first on a Wednesday, or so my dad told me….dont know if thats even true.

Friday 9th.

Went to work then headed up to Glasgow to Jongleurs for a comedy night we had booked. A wee spot of dinner and a show then entry into the nightclub in mansion house after that. After a dodgy start where the ten of us were put on table with 6 older folk who had lined themselves up along one side of the long table while we had to line ourselves up on the other (hardly good for a big company) and the table cloth was wet and minging to touch. Words were had and we got a move to a different table which was smaller and just us so better, we then got fed and turns out there was a free drink involved too. All good. Comedians were cracking, mentions to Kai Humphreys and Andrew Longmonth who were outstanding, especially Longmonth who had our table pishing ourselves and other tables wanting to harm him. His set was a bit weird. Out of the nightclubs we could have chose we picked the 80s and the dj refused to play any Wet Wet Wet.

I slept the whole journey back on the night bus which runs every hour by the way from Glasgow to Killie, last time i was out it was 1am and half 3 or something but now its more regular. Stagecoach buses or whoever are resposible should take a bow.

Saturday 10th.

After dodging Ikea to go star on the telly on Tuesday we went today. Bought a couch and a bookcase type of unit and a mirror. We took the mirror home and the rest are getting delivered tomorrow. Good stuff. Also at ikea i completely dodged the hot dogs for the first time in maybe 4 years. Instead we went to MacDonalds.

Being on the Telly and the Subsequent Attempt to Master the Art of Self Deprication

The following is in no way the view of The Killie Trust as a board more the opinions and feelings of a guy who happens to be on the board.

This time last week i was sat squeezed inbetween two gentlemen, on my right as i look out, a representative of Hutchy Vale B.C. whom i am assured have produced many Scottish professional footballers over the years and on my left, Barry Richmond, chairman of the Killie Trust and who will be for the rest of this blog post be called Baz. In front of me was DUFC and national team coach Peter Houston, SPL man Neil Doncaster, SFL man David Longmuir as well as Mark Wotte the new chief of youth development and other such people making up a kind of whos who of Scottish football. We were sitting waiting on the panel of Steven Pressley, Rod Petrie, Craig Levein, Stuart Regan and Jim Traynor taking their seats in front of us so Rob Maclean could kick off the taping of Scottish Football: The Debate.

Rob Maclean, the tv just doesnt do him justice. A very handsome man in real life. Cut from stone he is.

Why i was in such illustrious company? Why i was dressed so casually? I will try and explain now.

At work that afternoon i had a voicemail from Baz asking me to call him back when i got the chance, Baz is quite downbeat on an answering machine, i thought i had ballsed something up in my role as press officer/communications/social media type thing i try and do. I hadnt though, its just his telephone manner, he was calling to see if i wanted to go to this debate thing which was a follow up to Traynors documentary Match for Europe shown the night previous. Having watched the doco and commented to friends and colleagues that it was half an hour of stating the obvious, we’re rubbish, germany and holland have the right idea, grass roots football is way forward, i still decided to go.

I did delay my decision to check in with the wife, only five months married and have arsed up plans before so just made sure i hadnt committed to anything prior. I had, ikea, but i brushed that aside like the alpha male i am (agreed to give up my saturday to go instead (pussy)) and called back to confirm late afternoon.

Now at this point i was completely unaware as to what we were going to, in my mind it was going to be like Question Time with a panel and a assorted audience of varying backgrounds and a fans of several clubs. I did know it was invite only at this point, though not to the extent of its exclusivity.

With the QT idea in my head i rushed to get ready post work, pre pick up. I would normally have worn a tshirt and jeans but actually consciously chose a shirt as didnt want to seem too underdressed but in a biggish crowd it woudnt make too much of a difference anyway. Oh the irony.

The drive up we spoke of how neither of us really knew what we were going to but Baz had been filmed for a segment of the doco which was left on the cutting room floor. That footage i am sure would have given some good insight into fans views and given that it was a show about improving a product to make it more attractive to fans some input from said people was sadly lacking from the broadcast. In my mind it seemed that this was why we were asked, the interview was cut but here is an invite, in fact here is two, bring someone else. Me.

Dunno if you were supposed to hand this back in, a nice little memento.

On arrival we got our visitors passes and were taken to the green room by a nice woman. Out of the car i reflected that under his overcoat Baz was dressed much like me, check shirt and jeans though he paired this classic look with shoes, im still young and trendy so i had plumped for my trainers.

We entered the green room and my heart sank, shirts, ties, blazers and brogues and nowhere near the amount of people to constitute a big QT style audience like the one in my head. We took a seat and had a quick look at the set up of where everyone would be in the studio and its at this point we realised the rarified company we were keeping.

The squad list to be submitted. Things to note: the placement of John Speirs and Barry Richmond originally compared to where we ended up being seated. And no Michael Johnston. Sole Killie reps, Baz and me.

A look at the photo above shows who was all there. It also shows that originally Baz and myself were to be behind one another over at the end as far away from panel as could be. Imagine my surprise when i got downstairs to the studio and there on the back of the seat dead centre on the back row (of two rows) John Spiers and Barry Richmond. Now i decided against pulling up the spelling error on my surname because i was excited and nervous about being in a tv studio. Plus i bottled it. Baz and i then took off our jackets to reveal the extent of our father and son style nearly matching outfits. Side by side in tablecloth glory our check shirt look seemed likely to stand out.

We were asked to say our names and how we got to the studio to test levels and our reaction to the boom mic. In hindsight given my harbouring ambitions of being a stand up i should have looked dead on down the cameras lens and told them i swam the clyde to their pacific quay building in my Calvin Klein suit and only had the attire i have on now to change into which would have both got my comedy schtick over to a new crowd as well as address the elephant in the room which was the “brokeback Killie fan” look being sported, but i never, bottled it and told them i was John Speirs and i came by car while glancing at the boom and getting a wee silent look of a telling off by the director.

The show itself came and went in a flash, there was probably as many people working behind the scenes as there was in front of it. The debate was less a debate and more a running through the ills of the game with opportunities for the panel and certain members of the audience to deliver carefully considered soundbite filled answers. Well, i presume that they were carefully considered, i also assume that they were pretold what they would be asked in order to formulate an answer, some people on our row even had notes though i guess i have no real way of knowing what those notes were. They might have been a message list for Asda (probably Sainsburys) on the way home. However one person who wasnt pretold his question, is said pretelling was done, was Baz. His came out of the blue and he did well to pull together a decent answer to the question posed.

The infamous "chin scratch". I told the wife i did that so she could see my wedding ring. Also, the shirts.

While the show is being taped there are big tv screens showing what is been filmed (effectively the edit of the show) on the studio floor. On these I was able to see when i was in shot at any given time and watched myself wriggling around a bit. The twitching and the scratching wasnt any attempt to stand out in anyway i should add, more a reaction to the heat of being between two bigger guys and only having one bum cheek on each of the two chairs i was spread out over.

When it was done and they checked to see if the show was actually there (if for some reason it hadnt taped we would have had to have tried again, in hindsight maybe this would have been better for both halfs of the Killie Trust representation, i could have shown off some rapier wit on the sound test and Baz could have retooled his earlier answer in some way and removed the use of the term leisure dollars i would expect) we were taken back upstairs for something to eat and drink. On the way up we spoke about the shock of being put on the spot like that, i mentioned the leisure dollars thing and Baz asked me who said that, when i replied it was him he burst out laughing.

The canapes, if i can be so bold as to call them that, were great and Baz and i stood on the outside of the throng of Scottish football pressing hands and chatting earnestly. They probably all knew each other already though there did look to be a bit of networking being attempted by some in search for a bit of gravitas, if there was a baby in the green room i would suspect it would have been in danger of being kissed if you know what i mean. Feeling a little left out but reluctant to join in it was nice when a representative of The Spartans FC came to talk to us. He told us about the ownership model his club uses which was very interesting and we discussed the evening we had just experienced. We left soon after so as to be home for the screening on BBC1.

During the screening itself i dont think i have ever taken as many pelters online and through text and phone calls about anything in my life before. The wardrope malfunction was a keen talking point as on the 19in tv in my bedroom our bright shirts stood out a mile. Looking back on my facebook timeline it was mostly about the shirts, the rest of the discussion was actually about Scottish football and points raised in the debate, looks like i will be giving the SFA a month to approach us to donate the shirts to the museum at Hampden or i will have to torch mine for fear of putting it on to go out without realising and someone digging me up about it when out.

All in all it was a great experience and i was chuffed to bits to be involved in something with so many important people. Personally i think we might have been a bit stitched up and put dead centre in order to give the impression of two ordinary punter fans (in the broadcast Baz had his name come up on the screen as he spoke describing him as Kilmarnock fan rather than as Killie Trust Chairman as he was invited as) maybe it was naivity on our part to underestimate the importance and exclusivity of the debate or maybe it wasnt. All in all it was a nice bit of exposure for our Trust and got people talking about Scottish football. I enjoyed it, Jim Spence said hello to me.