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Alison's diary.

Byline: Hear Alison


Culture! Went to see The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams at the Lyceum in Edinburgh. In the bar at half-time, pal Fiona spots a familiar face. "Oh, I know her," she pipes up, crinkling her otherwise wrinkle-free brow. "Where from?" I ask. "I think we were at school together," she says as she's about to march over for an impromptu reunion.

"Stop!" shouts Callum, her long-suffering husband. "Why?"

"That's Lorraine McIntosh."

"Oh," she says, eyebrows ahoy. "She's in River City," I add and Callum says, "She's in Deacon Blue."

"Well, which is it?" she asks, unconvinced. We answer together: "Both!" She resumes snorkelling her gin.


Silence in the Fiona Duff household as wee Ellen gets hold of her sister's digital camera. Due to losing the lead months ago, not one photo has been downloaded. This sounds horribly familiar.

The camera is left on the kitchen table as everyone goes about their day to day. At tea time, big sister Betty picks up the camera for a lazy trawl through the contents of the memory card only to discover there are no photographs there.

What! No New Year, no Christmas, no teen ball with boyfriend, no newborn child of auntie, no Daniel the Spaniel as a silky eared young pup?

Ellen skulks off to her bedroom. The culprit has been spotted. Several hours later wee Ellen emerges from her bedroom having cut her hair. She has been admiring Posh Spice. Her fringe is now no more than an inch long and her mother tells me she looks rather like Richard the Second. The hysterical laughter soothes the photo debacle.


Sammy the doughball labrador is trying to hatch eggs. We are not sure if she has been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new programme about the horrors of battery farming and has taken pity on the unhatched critters but for the past few mornings she has had a box of six eggs in her basket.

She takes them all out and is nesting on them, rather like a big fat hen. If I come downstairs one day and find Foghorn Leghorn and a few other chicks scratching about, I may go into business.


The plunge is taken. With the imminent start of Dynamite's new breakfast programme on Kingdom FM, she has purchased a car - in fact, a Ka.

What's it like? Blue. The only detail she has managed to retain. Can I wait to see it ? No. Can I wait to get into it? You bet. She has been recommended a driving instructor called Mohammed, who is patient, understanding and clearly not easily shocked. We are clubbing together to get him long-term psychiatric help. If he doesn't need it, she will.

My dad tells a story of a bunch of his pals who were on a golf tour in Ireland a few year ago. They had hired cars for the week and, on the night before they came home, they were late leaving the hotel. After paying the bill, all jumped into the various cars and drove to the airport. It wasn't until they arrived they realised they had four cars.

They had only hired three!


It's a New Year clear-out at Hunter Towers, which is what my friend Anne calls her flat. There is a bunfight. Anne travels a lot and collects "stuff" wherever she goes.

We arrive and are told there is one bottle of wine in the flat and that is all that is being opened.

January is the month of control. We do as we are told, mooning over our soon empty glasses, having arrived at 7pm, we're away by 8.30, proving it can be done.

We congregate on the street outside, a bit lost, until someone says: "Shall we go for a quick drink?"

Hunter shouts from the window above: "Go home! You're just a bunch of lily-livered numpties."

Suitably chastised, we all slope home, halos intact.


Get home at night and Dave has cracked open a bottle of wine.

I look at it and very nearly say no but then my subconscious jumps out and takes over my body.

Before I know it, I hear myself say: "Yes, and a big one."

Several large ones later, I recline on the settee watching a TV programme I recorded about healthy eaters and drinkers.

They give themselves coffee enemas every morning and drink their own urine.

I lie back eating Doritos and glugging sauvignon blanc.

They claim they will live 20 years longer. I suspect it will feel a lot longer!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 20, 2008
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