Thursday, October 22, 2020

Not by me

When kids ruled the streets . Leeds, July 1970. Photo Nick Hedges

Another fine photo in the series of "Great photos I did not take".
This piece of work has everything.

A Great Tribulation

So the Lord will shortly accomplish two parts of his plan; sort out Israel (?) and judge the many billions that don't actually believe in him. That's a tough seven years. On the same theme here's some nicely batshit crazy stuff, lifted from the HuffPost:

TV preacher Pat Robertson says God told him that President Donald Trump will win reelection. Oh, and the world’s going to end, probably via an asteroid strike.

“Without question, Trump is going to win the election,” Robertson declared on “The 700 Club” on Tuesday, citing his conversation with the deity. “He’s going to win, that I think’s a given.”

Despite God telling Robertson the election was in the bag, he urged his followers to vote anyway. However, Robertson didn’t exactly give them a great incentive for choosing Trump considering what supposedly happens during his second term.

Robertson said the inauguration would be followed by global strife, widespread “civic disobedience that will be mind-boggling” in the U.S. and at least two assassination attempts.

“The country will be torn apart,” Robertson said, then he went off on some biblical prophecy stuff, claiming there would be a period of war involving Israel, followed by at least five years of “extraordinary peace.”

After that, better book the next flight off the planet because that’s when it all goes kaboom.

“There’s going to be a great tribulation,” Robertson said, predicting an asteroid strike right down to the size of the space rock:

God has an iffy history with presidential predictions, at least in terms of the ones He reportedly shared with Robertson. In 2004, the televangelist said God told him then-President George W. Bush would be reelected, yet claimed God said Mitt Romney would beat then-President Barack Obama in 2012 and serve two terms.

Robertson also famously predicted “a judgment on the world” in the fall of 1982, followed years later by a highly specific ending date of April 29, 2007. By all accounts both predictions were incorrect. 

A final few words from the Lord: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. I'll also provide ongoing guilt, a sense of persecution and inadequacy, you'll be subject to control measures, mental abuse and emotional blackmail but in the end everything will be fine, once you recover from the various kinds of tribulation I plan to unleash upon you and your family. So have a nice day and don't forget to a) worship me b) obey my commands and c) tithe your income to the church so the Pastor can get a nice house and drive an executive model car." 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

After Birthday

"After Birthday". A gold leaf, ceramic, candle wax and driftwood piece complete with authentic cake crumb effect, wax shards and splinters. The work of an emerging local artist now entering the more commercial phase of his career with some topical, understated, low key and unpretentious works all in a contemporary and traditional style, worked up in homage to Scottish colourism and post colonial normal tone settings with a pastel glazed settling potion and Au Jus. 

Available to purchase *today for £9.99. Free high quality cardboard tube and luxury drawing pin included with every approved sale, simply enter the code:


*Other special offers and full contact details are sometimes found at the bottom of the bottom of the leading edge of your device's screen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Built in 1955

I woke up this morning only to find myself the same age (or thereabouts) as this fine but distorted machine. I suspect that it has a few less miles on the clock and is regularly inspected, scoped and probed for faults and wear and tear. I'm hoping to get a flu jab next week and that's about it. So I've no intention of getting philosophical at this time or getting into a state of panic. I think I'm in a pretty good place, well fed, well exercised, well looked after and able to keep warm. Life goes on in all it's forms and (ignoring the various world class idiots out there trying to make it all difficult) so it will continue.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Ultimate Brownie

Here it is, the cut cross section of a home made chocolate brownie. Made by my eldest daughter it may well be "peak brownie". Sweet, crisp on top, moist in the middle, a good chunky bite sized portion, it ticks every brownie box that I can imagine. Brownies like this have been on my mind since Bake Off was all about them a couple of weeks ago. Nice to try a home baked one that was so much better than anything you'd buy in a shop.

In other unrelated food news, sourdough bread certainly gives your gut something to do. Also if you add French mustard as a topping to sourdough bread the mustard starts to taste (as strong as) like English mustard. Tuna was also involved ... and mayo ... and tomato.

Unrelated sports news: Family flag flying (or fixed more accurately) amongst many others in the home stand at East End Park on Saturday. Handy that the Pars won their first league game of the season 3 - 1. Flags for spectators, never thought it would come to this.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lego drone patrol

Incoming Images: Had the old/new Lego drone* out on patrol the other day, caught up on a few local locations. Firstly a home scene, nearing completion, already some furniture and appliances are in place. The designer and builder are currently on a break. Then zooming in on a fast food joint where a burger, fries and a milk shake await consumption. The ketchup is by the side, strangely enough dispensed from a bottle. Yum.

*Lego drones are as yet not readily available to the buying public. The military, the police and the secret services are busy conducting trials. There's a waiting list. It's exclusive but long. You wont be on it anytime soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Bin Bag Art


Friday, October 16, 2020

Olla Podrida


When you first hear of a new name in Spanish for something you already know: If you're going to get into a stew then why not just make it a Spanish stew. Regarding recipes, methods and ingredients; they all may vary according to your taste and what might be available to you. Stew is stew I guess, make of it what you will. What a time to be alive.

Whilst on the subject of food here's a weird rendering of our crop of possibly inedible Scottish pears. Home grown and picked from a wonky tree that's the fruit tree equivalent of Bernie Ecclestone as a new parent. Pretty sure, however we prepare them, that they will not taste as good as this picture looks.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Recurring Themes


In a medium sized font for the good of economy and to retain balance in the ecology of ecology: I like this shape, it may be a snake, it may be a probe, it may be underwater or through glass. I've used it a few times now. Here and there. I can't quite recall all the places and times. If it was a voice it might be an IT helpline, calm, in control and working to a precise script, icy but appreciated and effective. 

Also, as is the custom these days, further career advice/guidance (or at least possible suggestions) from the archives of oblivion:

After dark but bathed in artificial light. The old harbour at South Queensferry. Taken whilst everyone else is either staring into space looking for the brighter than ever Mars or fixating on the Forth Bridges.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Daily Pigeon


Above: A pigeon pointing left and below that a pigeon (the same one in fact) pointing to the right. There are a number of pigeons that seem to reside in our garden, but you never really know where they go, what they do, they're just there. The flop about and only really fly if they need to get to the top of a tree or onto the roof apex. Local chickens may have corrupted their ideas around flight and how to do it. They may also be reincarnated friends or family, making their solitary way on the long journey back to redemption, you can never tell. Fortunately they don't bother the cats and the cats don't bother them either. 

All is remaining in balance, in quite a fine balance of things in an unbalanced world. Occasionally one might fly by and bump into a window. They probably are quite dumb but have happy faces. That's about it, hardly Blue Planet standard of wildlife monitoring, photography and depth of content I know. I'm just glad that these birds like it around here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020



Series 2 is done: Without disrespecting anyone suffering from PTSD I have to say that "The Boys" (currently running on Amazon Prime) is a tough show to watch. Twists, turns, jump scares, unexpected and instant deaths and fruity language and a sprinkling of social commentary. I'm not sure how we started watching this and despite myself I'm not sure if I could have stopped. Perhaps we're being slowly desensitized by the media in advance of some awful predicted or planned event. All in the name of entertainment. A true blue version of Trump's American dream come to life with all of his integrity, self awareness and self control on display (sic). I wonder what any of Trump's supporters watching the show make of it.

Spoiler alert: "It was so beautiful how the three of us sat there, in the shade of an apple tree. Do you remember the day Frederick? Chloe's arms out of the car window. We found the perfect spot by the river, in the shade of an apple tree. It was the first time Chloe ate fresh apples." - (Translated).

Monday, October 12, 2020

Sweet Dreams

 ...and flying machines in pieces on the ground. Life is a series of birthdays, each one a milestone and a marker. A way of trying to remember people and places or a prompt as to life's slow but steady progress and the confusion created along the way. My first pandemic birthday is now on the muddled horizon despite my best attempts at denial. Pubs and restaurants are closed, travel is discouraged and gatherings are prohibited. Fun sucked up by the Covid sponge. The window of opportunity has closed as we struggle with the quirks and paradoxes of staying safe and alive and being human. An unfortunate and unavoidable state we all suffer from.

Society: It's never been easy but now it's mostly confusing and the sense of inner conflict we all feel rises like a bad smell from each crossed out diary date. We're enduring a slow death in order to live, smiling on in the margins, standing in the cold supping coffee like amateur detectives on a tough case. Casing the joint, just waiting for a break, it's not here yet. Hoping that party hungry idiots don't blow up in our neighborhood with their lack of distancing as they skew the infected numbers and condemn us to solitary confinement for Christmas and beyond. 

Entertainment: I probably should be more bothered but I'm puzzled, do you run away from or run towards the threat? Do you simply stand still and obey as the angel of pestilence and inconvenience passes over killing our hopes for 2020? What TV show or film should we stream to dull the pain? What steps to take? There's too much shouting going on and social media is a mess. The phone line to the Chinese take away counter is permanently engaged and the apps are jammed. Try again later. We are experiencing high demand and higher volumes (regardless of the time of your call). The new contract to free up the systems will be awarded soon but not to anyone competent or with relevant experience. 

Trouble: Four Romanians in a black Audi are patrolling the streets looking for a business opportunity or to make trouble. Not all Romanians behave this way, though these guys are stealing tools from sheds and trying door handles. They're real but they're in a fictitious disguise, nocturnal, a clear and present threat, possibly not in your area yet, they may have indeed moved on, such was the fury and indignation expressed on Facebook. They're to blame for the litter, the excess revving of engines, the broken glass and the flickering of a hundred security lights ... and still they come. Their presence invades our dreams, bogey men and undesirables forcing us to pull up drawbridges and close the blinds. Eyes shut tight we sleep on. We will awake in the spring, assess the damage and submit a well put together report. It will be ignored, the courts have more pressing business to deal with and there's a high volume of calls. Sweet dreams.

Hidden in plain sight: And another thing, I'd always imagined that our leaders, as we lurch into dictatorship and downright corruption, would have been better looking and better dressed. Hmm.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Ideas used as maps

What is it about those old Bob Dylan songs covered and performed by the Byrds? There's an almost perfect pop quality in them, a lightness of touch, an innocence and a freshness in the dreamlike delivery. The simplicity and brevity of the arrangement, nobody trying too hard. It all just works. For all the styles and genres of music I've enjoyed over the years this still pleases me the most, well most of the time (?). I'm probably losing it. Don't look back, don't go back.

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
"We'll meet on edges, soon," said I
Proud 'neath heated brow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
(And so on)...

National Careers Service


Above and below: Just some of the wonderful career advice I received from the National Careers Service when I stumbled into their website. In a highly optimistic and positive manner, having analysed my answers to various questions the helpful site offers up possible careers for the bewildered and the confused. I've always felt at home in that type of category but their recommendations did surprise even me, particularly in these peculiar times when retraining and upskilling are being advised by the powers that be as a sensible course of action for those out of work. 

It seems their outlook is biased towards a kind of "anything is possible" or "be all you can be" form of thinking with all the tonal variation of an episode of Trumpton or Camberwick Green (a reference for readers of a certain age) or Blue Peter on a bad night. The harsh reality of the big bad world of work is played down and swept away in an almost narcotic and fanciful fashion. There's fake fairy dust scattered across every web-page.

I was naturally intrigued by how they assessed me now that I'm into my twilight years but it seems they don't give up on anyone and the possible variations for the things I could do are many and varied. I've only included a couple of tell tale screen shots of the outcomes, I kind of had to walk away after a few minutes browsing the results. So it's boxer, football referee (nice and specific I thought), actor, or editor for me. If these don't work out there is also stockbroker, engineer, dressmaker and leather technologist (?). 

In the end I'm a bit puzzled and quite unlikely to follow up on these suggestions. I'm reminded of the old Ian Dury song "What a waste" and left with a strange, hollow feeling of just what might have been.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Hold on to yourself

Like something from the last days of Pompeii we toddled on, on our fitness route we meandered and then we ate out yesterday, a very pleasant brunch. We failed to share it via Tweeter or FarceBook so I'm sharing it abstractly via Blowger now. No images however. I may have missed a bit here and there and my camera wasn't used. We enjoyed brunch as the sun peeped through busy windows by the waterside, on a brave new morning. There was coffee and bacon, pancakes and French toast and syrup and a kind of serene atmosphere of pretend masked up normality. We sat and chatted but not for too long. How long does a welcome last these days? Don't overdo it.

The staff were attentive and friendly but I guess by 1800 today they'll be packing up and heading off into the sunset till who knows when. This is the new reality, living and working in the moment. The cruel uncertainty of what might be around the corner. Some peace and order or some fresh eruption? I hope the promised safety net is tough enough and big enough. I hope we can do this again soon.

P.S. We have dead mouse odour circulating. You see the signs, you apply the treatment, you wait, no signs of life ... just the feeble but pungent smell of a dead mouse returning to nature in some unreachable part of your property. No need to explain but you want to know it's fate and those unbothered by mice simply don't understand.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Not going out

So for the foreseeable future (currently looking at about a fortnight) we're stuck in Lothian. Lothian is a vague kind of a concept of a thing, a mythical place and a set of boundaries that exists only in some Health Board definition of where things might be or should be put. I guess the provision of health services looms large in the thinking but not in the same way as the emptying of dustbins, allocation of parking permits or postcodes. 

It's abstract in a way that challenges spacial perception and makes a person question quite where they might be standing in the universe (or if that is even possible). So as my shoes touch the muddy earth or the damp and rotting autumn leaves on the path or the new tarmac on the road I live near to I'll wonder to myself, "Am I really here or am I really in Lothian?"

In the end I concluded, after some slow coffee and rapid chocolate, that I knew what I always knew but perhaps due to educational influence or societal programming I did not dare admit it. Like Camelot or Middle Earth, Valhalla or Narnia, Lothian is quite simply a state of mind, and for the time being nobody can leave it or enter it. Peace be unto you all on your abortive travels.

In other news the nearest Aldi store is in Borrowstone Town Ness and the nearest Greggs is in no man's land between Broxburn and Newbridge. I'll just play relaxing music during the essential journey.

Meanwhile far away across the water, Fife burns like a Big Country lyric. (Photo Tom Duffin.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Over our heads

I walked by this the other day, the steps on the left are a particularly poignant little detail in the photo. It's an empty boathouse, the flood whilst an unfortunate event didn't harm anyone.

I saw the image below yesterday having seen the message* repeated all over social media. I guess the government have truly given up on anything remotely creative now. The UK is just a royalist, delusional, colonial minded dustbin. Only drones are required in this Brave New World of continual TV repeats, no fresh ideas, lift music playing quietly in every venue, human rights eroded and all design and innovation fully snuffed out. Great work at a time when imagination and inspiration is badly required. Here we are, wriggling around under the thumbs of idiots. (I'm sure we'll still prevail in the reworked underground). So much to get outraged about, so little time.

* I understand the great man and financial mastermind has taken these remarks back or played the "taken out of context" card. Ho hum.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020



The River

As per the previous post: I was out the other day just idly standing by the river checking for the bodies of any of my fairly few remaining enemies in the torrent. Nothing to see so far and the river was flowing well above it's normal level (see the handy park bench indicator above), it'd been a wet weekend. Maybe tomorrow. I guess I don't really care enough to actually wish a watery grave on old enemies and I doubt I'd even recognize any of the bloated, discoloured bodies ballooning by after all this time. They'd probably be the enemies of other, random people hoping I'd adopt them in death because their own enemies have grown bored with the exercise and ignored them, no longer being on station on the river bank.

Monday, October 05, 2020


Suffice to say walking away from a working project generates mixed feelings. I've experienced this recently following a bit of a meeting of minds and subsequent departing of minds. It was all reasonably good natured but in the end the final straw was the final straw. I walked away a free man but one without a "title", a label or an occupation. I no longer contribute. I'm in that limbo that is, as actors might say, between jobs. I'm too gravely perhaps, too unsettled, too difficult to influence, too old ... I'm OK with that. Things come and go and usually come back again. "If you stand by the river long enough the bodies of your enemies will eventually come floating by", I've never quite seen that actually happen and I've stood on the banks of many rivers.