Archive for December, 2017

2017 as seen by the Robertsons

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Where did that year go?! It can’t be December again already?! Well I hope 2017 has been good to you, it’s not been bad here!

Posted by Maria Robertson on Mittwoch, 23. August 2017

I’m pretty sure Bryan and I’s highlight was our trip to Rome. I won 3 nights in the amazing 5 star Hotel Eden, with flights, transfers and tickets to the Sistine Chapel included through our fabulous Travel Counsellor, Kate Milton. Obviously we felt bad as it didn’t include Owen but we went the week the school’s went back after the summer holidays so he had maths and Grandda to keep him happy in our absence! Rome was amazing, Bryan still occasionally mentions how massive the Colosseum is. It was super hot but luckily we were there the week after their heat wave, I was definitely walking on the shady side of the streets! The hotel spoilt us rotten, after tweeting about missing Owen we came back that evening to find a framed photo of him on the dressing table! We also spoilt ourselves by going to the Michelin Star restaurant D’Imago one night for a most amazing experience. We thought as the holiday was free we could afford a treat and it was just outstanding. The Vatican was totally breath-taking and I got quite emotional in the Sistine chapel, most overwhelming!

Owen did get a wee holiday with us too, my parents gave us tickets for Belladrum Music Festival last Christmas so we went to that in August and it was Owen’s first time camping. We saw various bands and other entertainment – and found a mobile library with a Gaelic speaking Librarian, think Owen was back in there each day! Luckily we found his school chums setting up their camp and were able to get tips from them as they go every year, we also managed to catch up with my cousin Claire and her family.

Belladrum 2017 - library book in the tent

Work is going well for both of us, busy but good. Unfortunately Bryan’s had more trips to Manchester than previously, so Owen’s had to survive my cooking/reheating! I’ve done 43 external hires at the library including ITV filming a bit of The Investigator series two, which should be on in the New Year! There was also a scene shot for a zombie movie by a local company so I’m looking forward to that DVD in the summer – Dark Within.

Talking of filming, Owen is now used to being followed round by a camera as Midas Media produced a program called “Gaelic in Aberdeen” in May which he was in several times at school, Feis and Sradagan.

My son on TV, with his own subtitles!

They are now making a documentary of a year in the life of kids in Gaelic Medium Education so we look forward to seeing that! We didn’t need to question if we could film their Christmas Concert this year as the camera team were there and some of it should be televised! He’s doing great at school, still loves his maths and literacy – in both languages. This year he also performed a poem recital in the Inverness Mod.

Ben Portsmouth aka Elvis at AECC

As you can see above we met Elvis this year…well Ben Portsmouth anyway! Seeing him in concert is probably the nearest we could ever get to seeing the King, and it was certainly a special night. I’d managed to get us front row seats so when he was giving away a scarf from round his neck at the end of a song I was able to pounce on it – and when he sang Teddy Bear and gave out toy teddies Owen managed to get a wee monkey. He is now called Elvis and goes everywhere with him! We also had a weekend in Glasgow to see Ed Sheeran, went to a gig in my library with the Fair Mothers and Rick Redbeard, and Owen and I went to Glasgow to see The Shires and then took Daddy to Fyvie Live a month later to see them again! Bryan and I went to Country2Country music festival in Glasgow again this March and our Christmas present to each other again is tickets for next year! Such a lovely weekend going for nice lunches and then seeing fantastic musicians all evening! I’ve also been on my own, or with chums, to see Busted (twice!), X Factor, Kathryn Joseph, Lewis Capaldi, The Shires, Natives, Enjoy Music (worked at this festival), Emile Sande, Newton Faulkner, Skippinish and my beloved Kasabian. I also went to the theatre for Funny Girl, Lady Boys, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and took Owen to see Wonderland, all with free tickets through my work. I got review passes for an author event with Liz Pichon at the Tivoli which Owen thoroughly enjoyed, the band from the books played and Liz taught us to do her style of doodling. I’m supposed to be reviewing for a new events newspaper, the first issue came out in August with 5 pieces by me but not been another one yet, so fingers crossed for the new year! I was at the press night for the panto which was fab, and we’re going as a family, with Ray’s family on Friday night. Bryan and I went to a comedy night with Fred Macaulay, and I managed to get a photo with him!

Breakneck Comedy night at Bettridge Centre, Newtonhill

Owen’s birthday treat/present was a trip to Manchester to watch Manchester United Legends versus Barcelona Legends. We took his Grandda too as the three Robertson chaps are dedicated Man U fans, and it was a fab day out! Instead of a party he had a couple of sleepovers – one with Lucas and Maya, the other with 4 chums from school, they certainly had fun but not so sure about how much sleep occurred!

Man U v Barcelona Legends at Old Trafford

His football obsession continues, he’s been to a few matches this year – including his first Scotland match as they actually played at our local stadium. He loves FIFA and physically playing football, his after school club now has a football club on a Monday which he enjoys.

Posted by Bryan Robertson on Samstag, 22. Juli 2017

This picture was from a charity event that Owen won a competition to name a “cocktail” for the little girl it was in aid of. His prize was to help AC Eventbars mix some mocktails and to get a rickshaw ride around Stonehaven. It was a lovely afternoon, he got spoilt rotten, and as usual his Dad got some fabulous photos.

All year we’ve been “saving up” to replace the wee Suzuki I’ve had for 10 years, obviously we keep spending our money on having far too much fun instead – but life is short and not a rehearsal so I doubt that will change anytime soon! My wee car limped through its MOT, then the alternator went one cold morning as we got to school, so the pressure is on to be sensible for a while and get that replaced!

As for my parents, they accepted an offer on Creagan in August, retired in October…and are still waiting for the sale to complete. Fingers crossed they can move closer to us in the New Year!

Hope 2017 has been kind to you, and wishing us all a fabulous festive period and wonderful 2018.

Review: Aladdin at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The pantomime is a Christmas essential, and in Aberdeen and the Shire we have a good choice in various venues. This year His Majesty’s Theatre is running Aladdin starring Jimmy Osmond, as the “baddie” Abanazar! This was quite a change from Elaine C Smith who has starred in our local panto for some years, so traditionalists would be relieved to hear she’s not completely gone…

The costumes and staging are well done and impressive, as are the numerous special effects including pyrotechnics (trying to resist spoilers!). The cast are all talented from the very happy children from Aberdeen Academy of Dance, to the fabulous choreography of the dancers, to our local gem of Widow Twankey (Alan McHugh, who was also the writer) and Aladdin himself (Jordan Young). Princess Jasmine (Lisa-Anne Wood) is just the right level of poise and prettiness, with an amazing voice.

Jimmy Osmond gets the chance to sing a couple of his well-known hits (and it was rude not to sing along!) in between the carefully reworked panto appropriate songs. Obviously playing the baddie we booed and hissed every time he appeared, but it did feel rather rude to “welcome” the Long Haired Lover from Liverpool to our city in such a way!

The usual ingredients are all there too – the local references, the corny jokes, the “oh yes you will” / “on no we won’t”, the singalong, the innuendo that makes the parents giggle and leave the kids blissfully unaware, and of course, the lasting feeling that it’s Christmas!!

Further information 
Thank you to Aberdeen Performing Arts for the tickets, and Richard Frew for the photography.

HMT. Aladdin Panto.

Review: GATES BRILLIANT BANDS AND DOODLE LIVE TOUR

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

…with Liz Pichon at Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen. Sunday 15th October 2017.

Quite an unusual way to spend a Sunday afternoon, in a theatre with an author and a band based on the fictional band she made up for her books. Liz Pichon has written, and illustrated/doodled, a series of books based on a character called Tom Gates who is a school boy. Tom Gates is in a band called DogZombies and his favourite band is DUDE3, who are joining us for the afternoon apparently.

Along I went, with my 7 year old avid reader who had managed to get through Top Of The Class in 48 hours after hearing we were going. Really not sure what to expect we were excited to find that Liz herself was walking round the theatre making sure everyone had paper and a pencil ready to learn how to do her style of doodles. She even stopped for a photo with my son.

The show itself was an hour long, during which we were introduced to Liz Pichon, DUDE3, and the other characters in the book. It included a book reading from Family Friends and Furry Creatures – with the pages projected on the screen so we could read along, and see the relevant doodles. There was live music, although the musicians didn’t look quite like their doodled counterparts they were rather talented and so enjoyable to listen to. We were treated to a doodle lesson, with Liz being live streamed onto the projector screen as she doodled on a flipchart at the front of the stage. This method was also used so we could design a monster with various audience members making demands for imaginative things like “pizza feet” and “spaghetti arms”. We were also allowed to ask questions – brave in a room full of children – but they asked some sensible questions like who she read as a child – Roald Dahl, and how she got into writing books.

Afterwards we were invited row by row to show Liz our doodles and get our copies of books, which were on sale at the front of the theatre, signed. My son was happy sitting doodling for some of our 75 minute wait but declared she was well worth it! On the way home he changed the lyrics of the School Dinner Blues song from “we want chips” to “we want books, and they have to be Liz Pichon”. Think that says it all really, tour is ongoing and well recommended.

Further information