Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hedgehog eating catfood

Here's an injured hedgehog that I rescued chomping away at some catfood (nice chomping noises included so turn up the sound). Now he's on the road to recovery and being cared for by the SSPCA.

Nuclear Option

Another precise piece of social commentary from the artist known as ColdWarSteve.
The toxic Westminster shit show is now even more dangerously out of control. Europe is quite rightly fed up and frustrated with Britain's failure to either agree or even understand any workable Brexit solution. Of course there isn't one, it's a man made disaster that doesn't need to happen but now, thanks to poor leadership and high level corruption and manipulation a No-deal Brexit looks very likely (to me anyway). Most informed opinion tells us that this would be a disaster for the country and the economy. What are we to do?

So after thinking long and hard for at least two minutes on a drive home from St Andrews last night I came up with this idea. It may well already be out there but if so no one's dared to mention it publicly so far.

So the idea is that the SNP do a deal with Theresa May (and the rest of them) to grant her what may be crucial voting numbers to finalize her stupid Brexit deal. They will add their votes for the "deal" but only on condition that they get the following:

1. Clear approval to hold an independence referendum soon after Brexit. 

2. Assuming there is a YES result then Scotland gains independence and the freedom to rejoin the EU shortly thereafter.*

3. Scotland negotiates cast iron guarantees (?) regarding our new independence/divorce deal on finance, industry, farming, oil and fishing rights, trade, defence etc.

The deal is to be 100% transparent, the EU will be fully aware and hopefully quickly approve of Scotland rejoining as an independent nation. Would such an idea ever be taken seriously by Westminster as a means to an end for both the Government and the SNP equally?

After that we can leave the remains of the UK to stew in their own Brexit-based juices or maybe even prosper without us, who knows?

*If the referendum vote goes ahead and returns a big fat NO then at least we've tried. It's either Bannockburn or Flodden so surely worth a pop.

What could possibly go wrong?


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Telly this week

Watching TV isn't a regular pastime anymore, there are only about three or four shows I'm likely to be watching these days (on any regular basis). That's not really to do with taste or quality, it's more that my appetite for TV and (doing) other things has changed for whatever reason. Anyway, what's on the box that's actually worth taking in?

This Time with Alan Partridge is both a hoot and downright awkward. This week's CPR with a sex toy and Alan's Irish Republican doppelganger were comedic gems. Both equally hilarious and excruciating, two words used by everybody to describe most of  Steve Coogan's Frankenstein creation's misadventures. If I say much more I'll likely descend into some form of Partridge speak so that's it.

Shetland: God this is awful but compulsive. So bad in every department that it's nearly good. Filmed occasionally in Shetland but mostly in Ayrshire it's BBC's crime drama output at it's most ridiculous and economical. It's penny pinching art of a kind and it's a hymn to the power of CCTV clue gathering, Volvos and the 1000 yard stare set in the strangely small and incestuous world of a fictional Shetland. Islanders and locals must be embarrassed by this.

Fleabag: Strictly speaking Fleabag is not actual Cooncil TV as it's roots are in BBC3, a barren telly dumping ground where few viewers seem to stray, shame. It's very funny and irritating in a posh way, maybe too smug and too irreverent with the fourth wall collapsing with every one of Fleabag's  winks and side eye glances. Now it's released out onto a  wider network to the chattering classes to make what they will of it. The Gogglebox guys should feature it, lots of potential strong reactions. Funny how the best TV straddles the contradictions of the unbearable duplicity of a public and a private life where laughs are not enough nowadays, you need the added depths of tragedy and pathos to stretch comedy drama into a wider universe.

University Challenge: The older I get the more incomprehensible the questions become, the students become more annoying and stereotypical and Paxman more careless and impatient. I sit there hoping for the music and picture rounds knowing I've a half chance of landing on an answer with a wild, pathetic guess. Everything else, every other topic is just me waiting.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Spooky gate

Out in the Scottish countryside I came across this spooky gate on my travels. It does look like there's a kind of skull shaped demon peeking over the top bar, or is it just my over active and under fed imagination?

Close up of the actual "skull". That's correct it definitely is one. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. You have been warned. (Close up totally spoiled things).

Monday, March 18, 2019

There's the conflict

The department of "shows how much I actually know about anything": Veganism is an ism that is not so much a dietism but a philosophical ism that leads to a lifestyle ism. It's not just about food and vegetables and respecting animals it's about a whole (holistic) approach to living. I thought leather seats on cars, industrial farming methods and fur coats were the nadir.  A quick Google might have saved me from ignorance some time ago but you know how hard it is to work Google these days. So one thing I now know is that some (maybe not all) vegans are against the keeping of pets ... for our pleasure and self gratification, pets = playthings. Now I know that the genie is out of the bottle on this one, there's no quick fix ... but pets. When I think of pets (other than crazy dog breeders, spider nuts and reptile keepers) I'm thinking of animal friends, companions, helping the lonely, illuminating childhoods and transfixing young minds as they learn and respect how animals are up close. That's not exploitation, that's a two way street. So I'm cool with pets. I'm also cool with protection from cruelty, securing wildlife habitat, the greater green issues and generally not fucking about with animals in a bad way. Trouble is some of them taste quite nice (just not the pets) but I'm open to persuasion. There's the conflict.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Still life with cat

Captured: Cat even more reluctant than usual to venture out into the somewhat dodgy March weather. So he just sits still and looks out at it. Sometimes he's almost human, sometimes I'm almost cat, (apart from the diet, the litter tray use, the "self" cleaning, clawing at carpets, the outdoor life and various other cat peculiar things and actions).

We took his mum, also a cat, to the vets today for an MoT and oil change. She's very cool and compliant with the vet's noodling and prodding and responds well to the hair drier. Before we left for the vets ginger cat however ran and hid outside and refused to come back as he though his number was up. The rattle and hum of the cat carry case is enough to bring out the terrors in him. We lured him back in with patience and time, food and treats don't really do it, nor does any form of violence. His MoT comes up in July, please nobody tell him.

At the vets I noticed (handily displayed on an information poster) that 25 Grams of cooked chicken per day is for a cat the same as a human being eating two donuts per day i.e. not really healthy (Not sure if they are heavy duty Krispy-Kreme versions or shitty Tesco types either so the data is vague). The thing is mum cat eats about 120 Grams of chicken most days and at 13 years old is still pretty healthy and not over weight. What do we believe now; the informed and scientifically based poster or our own learned and arguably robust  experience? Answers on a postcard please etc.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Serial killer's basement

I used to think that the large black obelisk in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 was a darkened cinema screen, that being the popular explanation with those in the know. Now I think it's a mobile phone, a disproportionately smooth lump of black plastic and electronic trickery that somehow controls humans and, as in the movie, steps in at the most convenient time to register and signify a change. It marks each evolutionary step, usually with a plaintive notification "ting!" sound being heard nearby. Anyway, I'm suffering from new phone syndrome today. The new one, complete with an unpronounceable Chinese name is pictured above...a large black screen and as anonymous as modern life allows. Like some threatening friend it sits there, summoning up those psychic spies, with their 24 hour malevolent observations and note taking or just listening quietly, which is the more sinister option ... like it's brooding stablemate Alexia.  Phones are the new bullies in the 'hood.

Perhaps it was boredom or desperation, I don't know but I stumbled from the rain into the phone shop yesterday, maybe in search of human contact and rather than go on line and do it with few "simple" clicks and comments, I began the phone contract renewal dialogue in real life. This was unprecedented and uncomfortable but speedy. Nothing was spectacular, all the phones look the same to the uninitiated but the shop guy knew their relative ages, capacities and weaknesses. He also knew which one he had to push this week to meet whatever sales target was looming. And so it was that my new phone and I came together, no romance, no love, just an cold sales option. Call me Mr Putty. I walked away with a 5p bag containing a gleaming phone in white box.

My old phone, two years, some minutes and few seconds since it arrived, isn't even a museum piece, nobody is interested anymore. It's been phone-cloned now by the deadly app, an empty husk, a cadaver, a still and lifeless zombie.  It'll occupy some drawer bottom, feebly dream of a new life on eBay but ultimately will become a tech fossil. Like all the others, the connectors and the cables.  Like in a forgotten serial killer's basement, the phones just keep arriving and then they die.

Other than that there was a minor flurry of snow this morning, so I leapt up to the window with Chinese phone, (it has two camera lenses set in tandem, on the front you know, to help improve depth and something else), so I took a picture.

Friday, March 15, 2019

No fried eggs

Odd and disturbing painting on display in the cafe (see below) toilet.
Breakfast in a local cafe. Poached or scrambled eggs only, no fried eggs. Apparently the neighbour upstairs complained about the smell (?), now fried eggs and frying is banned. Whilst this is a healthy solution, I guess, it's an odd and interesting situation. I wonder how badly did those fried eggs smell back in the day? Were other, smelly even unspeakable  things being fried? Is the neighbour just one of those people who complain about things because they dislike having a cafe/pub/shop/tan salon or whatever business underneath their property? They do do decent poached eggs though. Hurrah!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Washed up

On the wide and bottomless sea that is the internet many things are regularly tossed over board, washed away or set adrift with no clear plan, purpose or expected recovery. The random tides of fashion, search impulses and rogue algorithms reward and punish with no obvious pattern or concern. So I've discovered a small (?) stockpile of our music, about 90+ tracks amongst the flotsam and horrors of YouTube. Some of it is pretty good, some not so good, as you'd expect with anyone's harvested content, we were never too tight on quality control. Anyway it's out there, rudderless and probably less explored than Jamendo, iTunes or Spotify, our holy trinity of benign and distant (disinterested?) hosts. Dive in at your peril, a typical screen shot is up there as some sort of Exhibit A. M'Lud.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


There are few things in life more enjoyable that running over old blog posts and correcting spelling mistakes and typos. In other news today was a good day for grouting the floor tiles in the kitchen and pulling weeds and assorted crud from the drains and gutters. There is also the warm but scary feeling of releasing a bird that has been trapped in a chimney flue...

I don't really understand how they get themselves in there but so far at least three birds have been known to get in and thankfully get out. There may be others but we don't talk about them.

I am also avoiding any broadcasts from the UK Parliament. I can't stand the hooting and donkey braying that goes on as different levels of irritating and unfunny juvenile behaviours are exhibited by people who, rather than tackle the actual issues head on, insist on putting their party and career ideals first instead of considering common sense solutions and the good of the country. Whilst that seems to the default setting for most politicians it shouldn't be, not in my version of a sane world anyway.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Cat dinners

No.1 of an occasional series of looks, smirks and diving passes coupled with brave flights if fancy into what we're feeding to our cat prisoners. Mostly of course it's just cat food and the less said about that the better. From time to time they get cheap, cooked chicken that, like all pet foods, is fully fit for human consumption but doesn't look it. The cat dishes (shown above) have no name but consist of a mixture of dry, wet and that inexpensive chickeny stuff I mentioned. The portions above should feed two average house cats (ours do go outside but seldom eat what they actually kill) for about 26 hours. That's about it all really.

Angry Mob Required

A single, random photo montage that pretty much sums up a) the Daily Mail's dumb news* focus b) the general state of things. Forgive my slightly jaundiced and jaded view here, whilst I have numerous issues with the trio top left, some with the royal family (can't quite make my mind up exactly what), celeb culture (Ugh!) and I'm a long time GoT viewer (though not an authority), it's hard not to reflect on modern culture and think "this is rubbish really". We're wallowing in box sets, formulaic films and dramas, "balanced" productions of all things comedic and ongoing sanitized pop and background music that would stun a herd of lazy bulls. The irony is that in terms of health and relative wealth we (in the west) are living in the best of times despite the obvious political and economic race to the bottom going on around us. We are privileged and enabled beyond belief but seem to find it hard to do anything with it all. So doing the right thing is particularly hard, it's the lost art of the 21st century, only a few rare individuals can pull it off. They are there, out there, but are well hidden, by choice and deliberately not feature by any media provider. Here's my own angry mob, called up and chosen, it's the one I intend to set upon all non-believers.

*Nothing obviously Brexit here but it just runs along in the background like some lingering and highly unpleasant smell or an irritating and jarring piece of background music (to all our lives).

Sunday, March 10, 2019

North East Daily Photo

Abandoned couch, chair and mattress by a sunny sports pavilion in Aberdeen.

Signage from a now closed hotel in Banff. Some tenuous family connection possibly.

Macduff sea front viewed from the grandstand at Deveronvale Football Club.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Cartoon time

Thanks to Neil Slorance for this cartoon that I stole from his Twitter feed today. Sums everything up pretty nicely.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Culross Thursday Photos

Up the steps and taking good care of business. Sleeping dog being left to lie (wakes up due to my clumsy approach).

Breakfast in Culross, Royal Burgh and occasional film and TV set provider. The view from the Admiral Cafe after coffee and a bacon roll, a suitably traditional gable end complete with crow steps. Just the backdrop for any stray Outlander tourists looking for a good shot. There are always a few lurking about, anoraks, back packs, large cameras, note books and a look of bewilderment.

A far away and well weathered unicorn stands up to the elements on the top of the Mercat Cross. You get the feeling things and people were much smaller in the past, doorways, public areas, windows, street widths, all set to accommodate some other kind of historical figure, scaled down from our current overblown proportions. I blame orange juice and the excessive intake of sugar.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Emergency kittens...

...and a puppy.

Every now and then

(You say)Every now and then everybody else puts everyone through everything.

The pace is relentless, tweet after post after sharing after caring after tearing, yourself apart. Only to discover you're just like some Kardashian princess except you have a heart. 

And you want to write a lyric that includes the word Lexus. But nothing much rhymes with Lexus apart from solar plexus and reject us (maybe a few other things). 

It takes the biscuit that I took the biscuit, that takes some biscuiting.

I'm neither Bi nor am I Polar. On a scale of 1 - 10 my anxiety would be 5 but I don't know if a high score or a low score counts.

Hello my love. We belong together. Moonpig.

Fife writes. I read mostly.

Noodles in a pan. Noodles in a pan. Getting them in the bowl is tricky. They are sticky. Noodles still in a pan.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Study Artwork

Artwork studies on the the Winter trees transitioning towards Autumn. Reluctantly. It's that time of year and time is playing a waiting game. Just waiting. Time is life, everything else is just waiting.

Thumb rules

It's much easier and safer to start a conversation with "I have heard" rather than "I believe". You have an easy escape route and don't necessarily offer any obvious sign of investing too much in the actual topic or any of the risky, potential fallout. Stay safe everyone, be vague, remain uncommitted and don't rip your trousers on that nail on the fence. Your future may depend on it. This is the basic rule of thumb for broadcasters and (some) journalists but can be successfully applied to all walks of life. Also never say "I understand" that's a ticking time bomb of a remark that has the subtle effect of association, the potential to support and the dripping, crawling consequence of nagging guilt. Careless talk costs lives.

Anyway, aside from puerile tips on crucial conversations and how to avoid social embarrassment I'm reminded that this came out about 44 years ago, almost to the second. Everything else is gone but the building is still intact, in fact it may well have been spruced up.