Places that get into your bones

Well it’s now confirmed, by the first of April I shall be moving back to Glasgow making my excursion to Newcastle exactly one year long.

When I was first gearing up to leave Glasgow it was amongst the furore of the end of my previous job (I’m sure some of you will remember the saga of Kevin The Bastard and his succesful attempt to use our money to sort out the problems with his company leading to a mass walk out) and a few other reasons for why I needed to get the hell out of Glasgow for some perspective. I’d been living in the same place for ten years. The prospects of a better job in Glasgow were only slightly slimmer than getting one at all. I was overloaded with commitments both with work and socially. I didn’t feel I was developing any more, just sort of ambling along.

So what has a year in Newcastle done for me? Well it’s made me able to compartmentalise and prioritise a good deal better. I’ve got a much clearer sense of developing and being on a path and, although I’m not quite clear what the path exactly is, finding it is proving more than half the fun. I’ve got a good job that is well paid, it’s major downside being the amount of driving I have to do which is largely because I have not been as well located as they had hoped and, in fact, I’d be better off from that perspective back in Glasgow.

Finally I realised the other night, as I was wandering down to a shop, that I am happy here and indeed could be happy very nearly anywhere; Newcastle is in many ways, I thought, like a small version of Glasgow – hell the Tuxedo Princess (a hive of scum and villainy that used to be moored on the Clyde) is even here! Newcastle has a motorway slicing through the middle of it which then tries to take all of the traffic over a woefully inadequate bridge. Newcastle has a massive and devisive football rivallry between Newcastle United and Sunderland. The people have difficult to understand accents and a dialect that is so similar to East Lothian scots it’s uncanny. It of course lacks a lot of things; night clubs better than the aforementioned Tuxedo Princess, 24 hour shops and pubs that stay open later than 11pm.

And then I thought – I am comparing everything here to Glasgow, and why? Glasgow is in my bones, I was born there, I lived most of my adult life there. I think perhaps I would have benefited more from a year somewhere that is not quite so like Glasgow. I might, in fact, feel more inclined to stay there longer. Next time I need to leave for a while I’ll go a lot further and to somewhere a lot different.

Leaving Newcastle will not be without some regret, I have made many fine and firm friends here who I expect to stay in touch with. Going back to Glasgow shall not be without some trepidation, I don’t want to fall back into all the old habits, just one or two of the nicer ones.

A friend once said to me “Glasgow is the sort of place you get your braces stuck in the door of when you leave, you always get pulled back.” He was right.

Stranded in Scotland

What a week.

The preceeding weekend was obviously too much fun for the Laws of Karma to leave me be. Last Friday evening was a night out at the casino here in Newcastle in celebration of my birthday, the Saturday was spent gently recovering and enjoying the wonderful Love All the People, an anthology of Bill Hicks material. Sunday I rolled on up to Ayr to see the family and late on Monday afternoon I headed across Scotland for my one and only site visit of the day.

There the Good Karma ends.

I’m waiting in the car park for ten pm to roll around there in Rosyth (the change required some equipment being turned off and so had to be done out of hours) when the snow began to fall. By the time I had finished at ten thirty a full scale blizzard was on the go. I decided to head back to Glasgow and hole up there in a hotel rather than make the journey south to Newcastle. That was one scary drive – I have never seen the M8 quite like that, it took two and a half hours to get across.

Tuesday I rearrange a couple of jobs that need doing in Glasgow and got them done. Bought a new pair of shoes because the old ones are leaking and prepared, once more, to head south to Newcastle.

I hadn’t even passed Hamilton when the Funny Noise starts and the steering on my little car goes All Wiggly.

To cut the rest of the story short, I have just arrived back in Newcastle five days later than planned and 380 poorer. The car also needed new shoes, brake shoes, and a bunch of other stuff too.

Sometimes I regret naming that car “Emelda”, I have gone through an awful lot of brake shoes…

Fixed it!

As it turns out, the problem was that some evil spammer had used a script to insert a bunch of comments all at once into the database before the spam protection was added. These are comments associated with postIDs that did not yet exist, so when a post was created that happened to have the same postID a nice fresh comment from the spammer was waiting for it (as detailed at

So I’ve hacked all of the offending entries out of the database and added some code to prevent such a thing happening again.

Annoying. Very annoying.

There is a special place in hell reserved for spammers.