Sunday 29 June 2008

East End 5K

I surprised myself today - not just by getting out of bed at 7.30am on a Sunday, but by completing the East End 5K in 37 minutes. I'd not had time to do any training whatsoever, and the last time I did anything like this was a schools cross country in sixth year (an experience I'd rather put out of my mind!). Thanks go to my co-runner David Linden, who stuck with me during the run, despite my suspicion that he could have achieved a slightly better time otherwise!

I was quite sporty at school, playing hockey and taking part in various events at the school sports, but these days I really don't have the time to do much and I really don't consider myself fit. My only exercise is running for buses in high heels! I hope that next year I'll be able to do some training and improve on my time.

There was a really diverse mix of people on the run, from people with buggies and dogs to competitive athletes. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, regardless of where they finished. There was a goody bag at the end, which featured two "export size" caramel wafers - a real treat! Runners did also get a banana, but I'm a big fan of Tunnocks and easily impressed that way.

Gossip wise, there was a bit of an animated Labour confab between a few East End Councillors and the MSP for Shettleston... I wonder if this news has anything to do with it?

Thursday 19 June 2008

The Hills Are Alive...!

I couldn't go to sleep tonight without blogging on the absolutely phenomenal performance I saw tonight at St Mungo's Academy.

As the title suggests, their school show this year is The Sound of Music. I was blown away by the quality of the performances and the professionalism of everyone involved - from the extras to the stars, the stage crew and lighting to the orchestra. The singing, even the diction, of the performers was amazing. All the hard work of the past ten months or so was completely worth it, for the whole thing was perfect.

It was an absolute pleasure, and I'm strongly contemplating going again for the last night tomorrow. If you're after a great night out, head to St Mungo's!

Friday 13 June 2008

Votes at 16 gets Scottish Government endorsement

I was on the train to the Electoral Reform Society's STV: One Year On conference in Edinburgh yesterday when I got an email from ASWAS letting me know that Bruce Crawford MSP, in his opening speech at the same conference, had given the Government's backing to Votes at 16. I was actually so excited I shouted out on the train, and was almost glad I wasn't at the conference yet as I might have jumped up and hugged the Minster for Parliamentary Business!

It's always nice to see things that you believe in carried through. As I'm sure you'll remember, the SNP backed the YSI's resolution on votes at 16 at Conference last October. Everyone knows the arguments for votes at 16 - democracy, fairness, no taxation without representation - but it's interesting to look particularly at the Local Government level. Young people are closest to many services provided by the Council, but it's often the case that they have little say in how they are run or when they operate. Youth services, for example, don't tend to provide services over the weekend, which is precisely when they're needed most. Because under-18s aren't electors, they have been overlooked. I don't believe that should be the case but it has been the reality.

When the franchise is lowered (and I'm getting more convinced it will be), parties will have to listen to young people rather than demonising them; that's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Recycling, reclaiming, reusing

Tuesday is bulk uplift day in my street, and on a Monday night, everyone start putting out their junk. Some items are more junky than others - boxes and things which have clearly broken - but other items could be re-used. I often feel like adopting some of these unloved pieces of furniture as some of them are in quite good condition, but I know I don't have the room.

In my living room, there's a prime example of what can be saved - it came from the bins near Partick Station. I was going back to the City Chambers that day after dropping off some shoes at the cobblers on Dumbarton Road, and there it was. I stopped for a minute and stared at it. Oval, sixties, with a glass top. Pretty thing. Did it belong to anyone? I was looking around, trying to decide if I could lift it and if I could how I would get it home, when a van drew up next to me. A guy jumped out and said "I just threw that out this morning hen, if you want it, take it!". It turns out he was from the second-hand furniture shop across the road, and couldn't sell it. I picked it up, and took it back to the office on the train. After a brief stay there, it is now in my home, and very lovely it is too. Cleaned up nicely, and I'll re-varnish it when I get time. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, but if I hadn't picked it up it would most likely be in a landfill site.

This morning, I saw two lovely dining chairs among a big pile of stuff outside my flat waiting for collection. Solid wood, just in need of a varnish and maybe being re-covered. I couldn't bear the thought of them being chucked, so I dragged them up the stairs to my flat. I don't know if I'll have room for them or not, but the bin lorry has just been and I feel I did the right thing.

I understand that people's tastes and needs change but there's no need for good furniture to be thrown out like this, none at all. Glasgow City Council have recently supported the Glasgow Furniture Initiative to pick up and prepare furniture for re-use. This furniture can then be sold on at reasonable prices to people on low incomes. There are lots of other such schemes in the city, such as those listed on Glasgow Greenmap. This is good for the environment and good for society; I very much hope it's a success.

Saturday 7 June 2008


Apologies for the lack of blogging. I've been very busy with Council, SNP, YSI, and wedding stuff, but I hope to get back in the habit. I still have a lot to say, but less time to say it! Everything is going along fine, but more often than not lately I end up coming home late, having tea and going to bed, getting up and doing it all again for the rest of the week.

Outside office hours so far this week:
Monday night: reception for Community Councils
Tuesday night: Calton working group
Wednesday night: surgery
Thursday night: meeting with the GHA, then preparations for future mother and auntie in law coming to stay
Friday night: dinner with said future relations
Saturday: SNP National Council
Sunday: Wedding dress fitting

Conclusion: proper, real, time to myself doesn't exist.