Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

Alien Wally and Mags have a new addition to their family. Her name is Ruby and she’s a week old. She lives outside, but she doesn’t mind, especially since Alien Wally and Mags bought an ice-scraper for when she gets a bit frosty.

Yes, folks, Ruby is a Ruby Red Seat Ibiza. Seat as in "say it”, not “see it”, and definitely not “seat” as in something you sit on, because one does not sit on Ruby - one sits very comfortably in Ruby. And Ibiza as in "Ibeetha", like you have a lithp. Despite never in their wildest dreams ever thinking that they would buy a red car, Alien Wally and Mags fell in love with Ruby as soon as they saw her. So much so that the Saturday morning shopping trip, ostensibly just to look at cars, ended up with them signing on the dotted line.

Here she is. Ain’t she cute?

PS: Full marks if the title of this post had you singing along to Kaiser Chiefs in your head. Or out loud (with consequent scaring of your colleagues). Alien Wally and Mags played "Ruby" as the inaugural track on Ruby's sound system. And yes, before you can make the comment - they are that corny....

Monday, 21 January 2008

The Effects of GCH* on the MacNoodle Brain

[*GCH = Gas Central Heating]

This is the MacNoodle brain without GCH:

This is the MacNoodle brain on GCH:

Monday, 14 January 2008

Another note to Alien Wally…

Thank you for the new vacuum cleaner.

After Mags’ outright refusal to use the upright Stepford-style beastie that dared masquerade as a vacuum cleaner, she and Alien Wally cycled through bouts of sweeping the flat (Mags) and stoic vacuuming (Alien Wally) in an effort to stem the tide of MacNoodle hair that threatened to engulf them. They finally gave in and went to see what the January sales could offer in terms of new vacuum cleaners. As expected, this was a Very Exciting Shopping Trip. Not.

But, at the end of the day, Alien Wally and Mags returned home with a tiny wee thing. So small, yet so much more powerful than that other sucky thing. After years of “hoovering” with every model of vacuum cleaner but an actual Hoover, Mags can now, a la Google, finally use the company name as a verb. Well, she could if she’d actually used the Hoover yet. See, Alien Wally, bless his dear soul, is such a fantastic husband that he’s still been doing the vacuuming. Mags is a very lucky woman!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

That’s Captain James Blunt to you…

The concert started with military precision. After that, James Blunt was anything but a staid soldier as he beguiled the audience with his voice and jokes about only singing miserable songs. No, James, no. Miserable your songs are not. Beautiful and expressive they are. The only things that are miserable are the tone-deaf idiots who seem to have an irrational hatred for you and your music. All Mags has to say to these people is: jealousy makes you nasty.

Monday, 7 January 2008


Last week, on the day Alien Wally returned to work, he and Mags opened the flat door to let him and his bike out, only to be greeted by strange things falling from the sky. It took a second or two for it to sink in that they were witnessing snow. Actual snow! From the sky! Out they went, Mags still in dressing gown and slippers, and kind of danced around in it. It was like being inside a giant snow-globe!

The flurries came and went during the day. By mid-afternoon there was a good sprinkling of snow on the ground at the Wally Abode, and even more on Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat. The former had all melted away by the end of the day, but the latter survived into the next.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Some More Holiday Snippets

Let’s try this again…. Let us reassure you that some very sober, yet very fun, activities did actually take place during The Holidays. Here are some of the highlights:

The Royal Yacht Britannia
Despite Mags’ apparent attempts to seize the throne, visiting the Queen’s now-decommissioned floating palace was in fact actually not her idea. Not that Mags didn’t enjoy it, of course. Because she did. Even though there were no actual thrones.

All in all, Mags is glad she’s not royalty though. All that whist-playing and to-the-millimeter measured table-laying would get to her eventually, and she’d probably run amok on the decks, yelling “God Save the Queen” in a very Sex Pistols kind of way, and get thrown in the brig for treason to herself. Nope, Mags is satisfied with brief glimpses into the sumptuous royal lifestyle. And sumptuous it is… here’s a peek (remember, this is all on a ship. It’s not a house. Not a palace. ‘Tis a ship!):


Ooh, Mags likes Jenners. There’s always some interesting department tucked away down a little staircase that leads to another dimension. One can quite literally get lost in the maze that is Jenners for hours, until one finds one’s way back to the central bit, which, with its Christmas tree and lights, was worth showing to Maw and Paw Wally during an exploration of Princes Street.

The Torch Parade
The Vikings came. They saw. They burned a longboat. Behind them came about 20 000 people all with torches, creating a river of light down The Mound and along Princes Street.

Go, Go, Go, Joseph
Cheesy, very cheesy. Out of all the Wallys, Mags was the only one who hadn’t been to this cheese-fest. She knew Joseph wasn’t a serious documentary on the Biblical story, but she hadn’t quite expected so much cheese. It’s a good thing all the Wallys like cheese.

Slightly more seriously, it was good. Cheese is fun, and this touring production of Joseph was loads of fun. Very cool to see Scots Craig Chalmers and Keith Jack, from Any Dream Will Do (the Reality TV Show to choose the new Joseph), on stage doing their thang and doing it really well.

Since no pictures were allowed of the actual show, here’s a gratuitous shot of the Edinburgh Playhouse for you:

The Sizzling
Following on from The Sozzling Incident, came The Sizzling. Let this be a lesson to you all on how not to invite your parents to dinner:
  1. Book a table at The Sizzling Scot, a traditional Scottish restaurant, for your parents’ last night in Scotland.
  2. Realise two minutes before leaving to catch the bus that you don’t have bus fare.
  3. Make your parents pay for your bus fare to the restaurant.
  4. Get to the restaurant, only to be told that they have no idea who you are and no record of your booking.
  5. After some confusion, because you know you’re where you’re meant to be, sheepishly use the restaurant’s phone to phone the other Sizzling Scot restaurant on the other side of town to cancel the booking.
  6. Accept one of the tables that the restaurant that you meant to book at but actually didn’t, has available.
  7. Eat heartily, and then make your parents pay for the meal.
  8. Still have no bus fare, so make your parents pay for the bus back home too.
Thanks, Maw and Paw Wally!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

In Which Everyone Needs A Holiday To Recover From The Holidays

They nearly got themselves arrested a mere six hours after arriving in London (tip: do not take pictures of “sensitive” buildings in the nation’s capital or official Stop and Search procedures will be carried out upon your person). They nearly got lost in Edinburgh trying to find the Wally Abode (tip: Alien Wally and Mags do not live in Leith. Near to Leith, in the sense that Edinburgh is a small city and many places are near to other places. But they do not live in Leith itself, per se). But Maw and Paw Wally (aka The GrandHumans to the MacNoodle) eventually arrived for The Holidays.

A Meepy Catmas To Everyone!

What a day! The MacNoodle tried to eat the Christmas tree. The pink blobs ate more than an elegant sufficiency of vegetarian victuals (a decision having been made to forego the (un)usual practice of celebrating the season of love and peace by chopping off a turkey’s head). Many drams were consumed, single malts as well as some blended (Jingle) Bells. There was bubbly and there was non-bubbly. Crackers were cracked, hats were hatted, presents were presented. The Christmas pudding was set on fire (uh, deliberately, that is). The Christmas pudding was consumed (uh, after the fire was out, that is). Eventually, copious amounts of coffee were drunk. Wait, that’s not quite right – it was the pink blobs who were drunk… the coffee would like you to know that it was completely sober and maintained decorum throughout. What a day!

The Sozzling
If Alien Wally and Mags hadn’t been right there and heard it with their own two ears (or should that be four ears if there are two of them?), they would never have believed it. But it happened. She said it, she really did. It went something like this…:

Paw Wally (to the room in general): “Maybe we should catch a taxi sometime, see what it’s like.”
Maw Wally (with completely serious demeanour): “Yes, that’s a good idea. Maybe we should go and get sozzled on Saturday night so that we have to take a taxi home.”

Ah, the UK’s binge-drinking culture is insidious it seems, dragging down poor innocent tourists, none of whom are more innocent than Maw Wally. At least, she was innocent before the sozzling incident. Because it happened. They did it, they really did. It went something like this:

Pre-pre-prandials: The Wally Abode, near Leith.
Pre-prandials: The Auld Hundred Pub, Rose Street.
Dinner and prandials: The Auld Hundred Pub, Rose Street.
Post-prandials: Dirty Dicks Pub, Rose Street.
Post-post-prandials: The Wally Abode, still near Leith.

Yip, Maw Wally did a pub crawl of sorts up Rose Street. Although she is to be commended that she did not actually ever have to crawl at any point in the evening. Not even into the taxi. Because, yes, there was one at the end of the evening. That was the whole point of the sozzling, after all.

Arthur’s Seat
Lest ye all think that the Wallys did nothing but empty bottles for recycling purposes these holidays, they would like you to know that they did other activities inbetween, such as walking up Arthur’s Seat.

Then they walked back down the other side. Where Duddingston’s Sheep Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Scotland (since 1360), provides a handy stop for weary walkers…. Oh dear, Mags can see where this is going. Again.


Despite being cancelled twice in the last four years as a result of inclement weather (read: gale force winds and horizontal rain), Edinburgh’s Hogmanay remains a popular event on the city’s social calendar. Although the MacNoodle elected to stay at home for Hogmanay, the rest of the Wallys ensured that they had tickets for this esteemed event. Having lived in Cape Town for many years, however, Alien Wally and Mags have learned a thing or two about fashionable lateness, and so planned a pre-party party at Hamiltons, one of their favourite restaurants.

Hamiltons lived up to its excellent reputation, and provided a fantastic start to the evening. So fantastic that by the time the meal was over, the Wallys were a tad reluctant to leave. But leave they did, as they had decided to experience the street party on Princes Street at least once in their lives.

In the streets outside, there was a very definite directional trend. All roads lead to Princes Street, it seems. The Wallys joined the throngs, and made it into the party just before “doors” were closed at 11pm. They pushed their way through the 100 000 strong crowd to get into Princes Street itself, but then beat a hasty retreat as the crush of the crowds became too much.

They managed to find a wee spot in Frederick Street with a good clear view of the castle, the launching pad of the fireworks which were to be let off at the bells. And what fireworks these were! According to the Scotsman newspaper, there were £1.3 million worth of fireworks set off at midnight. What do £1.3 million worth of fireworks look like? Big, bold, and beautiful, for one. Very smoky, for another…. After a while, the castle disappeared behind the smoke cloud generated from said fireworks, and the sky was as bright as day.

Everyone was entranced, heads angled upwards, taking in the display. Once it had finished, people started looking around with dazed and glazed looks on their faces until they figured out why they had just witnessed such a spectacular thing. Oh yes, New Year! And then the hugs and kisses and greetings started rolling through the crowds as everyone welcomed in 2008.

The Wallys then began the trek homewards, fully expecting to have to walk all the way (about 40 minutes from city centre to the Wally Abode by foot) on an evening of few taxis and even fewer buses. But then, lo, a taxi did appear. And, lo again, Alien Wally made a magical hand gesture and it stopped. Feeling very privileged (even though one has to pay for this privilege, of course), the Wallys were whisked quickly and efficiently back to the Wally Abode, where they continued the party with the MacNoodle until the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, they woke up very late the next later that same morning.