Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ban the bland

Proud to live in a land where abject and spectacular failure is rewarded with a generous pension. It's still worth fighting for.

Fags will soon be banned from display in shops, hidden under the counter like proper drugs or the British Rubber Co.'s contraceptives were in the 70s. Shop assistants will develop back trouble due to excessive bending but no more hacking coughs, they might have talk a little more as addicts try to describe their chosen pack of the poison paper and weed. Meanwhile in the brave new world of high banking finance and low forecasting skills rugby balls and racing cars may lose the dreaded RBS logo along with the colourful cigarette sponsors they no longer have. In this ciggy crunching, crooked time everybody benefits in some (very) small way.

The sailor on the pack fascinated me as a child, for one thing he looked like my dad (in a wartime navy photo) and my dad smoked this brand and my dad was a bit of a mystery to me. I liked the two ships in the background, they reminded me on Navy Days in Rosyth, my one big day out during the year other than the (always scary) Dunfermline Schools Gala. Tobacco always had a grown up and homely smell that still stirs me and haunts me and is strangely evocative of my early childhood, like frost on the inside of windows, cold floorboards, coal fires, Bob Hope movies and boiled eggs with toast.

I'm not sorry cigarettes are going, they belong in the dim and unhealthy past, like carrying LPs to school for a swop, loon pants, Bazooka Joe comics, bikes with no brakes and hose pipe inner tubes, the tawse and the Black and White Minstrels. Time is time is time for your time and I do think that Coldplay's lyrics make even less sense than Yes's. God bless Jon Anderson.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The very essence

Damn, a finger mark!

Split by the Groundhogs - and stuff.

Getting stuff is generally better than not getting stuff but stuff and it's resultant baggage adds complexity to life and unexpected pressure, but better to have than not. So I have decided to enjoy my stuff even though and this is main problem, I never seem to maximise it's use and take full advantage of what I have. This results in piles of not completely used or appreciated stuff in corners, on tables and on shelves. It's like a small corner of Japan round here in many ways.

Bank Bashing

What is the point in bashing banks, bankers or anything to do with RBS or HBOS? I hate to be mean spirited but they are sorry for what went wrong and not for what they did or the plight of their staff and customers. I do like this little vignette from RP however:

"We had chapter and verse on the(RBS) plane: its make (a Falcon 900 EX with a list price of £17.4m); its registration number (G-RBSG); and its flight log. But for several days before we published, RBS denied to us that it owned the plane and, finally, it only conceded its existence when I pointed out to a senior executive that the bank was in danger of looking a bit silly if we published everything we knew about the jet alongside RBS's on-the-record statement that the thing was a mirage (no pun intended).I was reminded of the incident a couple of days ago, when I learned that the plane which didn't exist is now up for sale, by a new management team at RBS that wants to prove its penny-pinching credentials (there are rather a lot of used private jets on the market right now, so it's moot whether RBS will get a decent price)."

Nice new former private sector office complex but now a public asset up for sale, a replacement for the St James? Serious offers only please.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Casting your fate to the wind as you do

These good guys deserve a little more exposure.

Today's been one of those empty days when not much has happened, time is loose and untied and despite it also being pancake day I've no inclination to produce, procure or eat any pancakes.

I came home to find a message on the phone to say that Parcel Line or Parcel Magic or the Magic Parcel Company couldn't find our house. Fortunately they could find a phone and left me a kind and polite message to call them back on some 0800 number so that I can tell them where I am and in the same conversation where the house is. I sense a certain complicated situation about to arise where once again my skills in communication will be put to the test and it'll all end in tears and a trip to their depot on Shetland so that I can collect my jiffy bag of blank CDs or whatever crap I've ordered whilst drunk in charge of a computer and a non-shredded credit card. It seems some these commercial chaps might be interested in biding for our dear PO with it's sweet red vans, chatty postmen and 10:00 delivery. I'm not happy with this, at least the current public sector version manages to recognise and find prominent houses, most days anyway. Don't do it Gordy!
It's never fun, big or clever to poke fun at minority groups like motorists or MTV TV programme makers. Shouldn't it say Amish Edition?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Irish prison breakfast

Missie leaves the safety of couch-land to check out the fire bucket.

Last night's tea was really the remains of Saturday's tea - redux, a cosmopolitan mix of leftovers with an emphasis on fish based products and potatoes. A passing wag with a jaunty quiff (we get a lot of them here in the Bohemian sticks) described it as an "Irish Prison Breakfast". No it wasn't the classic fish-finger sandwich or two fried eggs on a roll either, much more sophisticated, in fact you could have eaten it with a fork. The cats ignored it anyway and we slept away the rest of the evening right up until the start of Lost.

In a flurry of multi-coloured daydreams I came up with the hair brained idea of taking Mr Cougar (and various family members) on an expedition to the Arctic Circle, mostly via the North Sea and Norway. Two snags reared up to bite right away: the first being information given on the Big Mac Index for Norway and the second being a maximum speed limit of 59 mph all across the country, they are both a hard burden to live with and something of a hindrance to a 2000 mile road trip. Time to think again but not about elk collisions, lager, heavy metal and ice hotels, perhaps Canada would be a better place to avoid the curse of the Krone and Euro, I must research the possibilities and then decide between France again or a West Highland wigwam.

The cats are settling in mainly by accidentally avoiding one another, that will work well.

Clint remains alert, aloof and a little alone wondering if that new cat could be a relative of some kind.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tesco weekly photo

The light that glows brightly in the unfathomable darkness belongs to Tesco.

Following from last week's shock news that Tesco had redeveloped valuable car parking space for some so-called "environmental" works I give you the new recycling centre after dark. It looks even more strange by night, lo! a glow in the West (or East depending where you park) that guides you to a place where old clothes, bottles of various colours and cardboard boxes that once held new flat screen TVs can be dumped painlessly. Go to the neon garbage god and deposit your offerings for the recycling fairy to deal with and then feel that warm, guilt free touch you get when, against all the odds you do the right thing but possibly in the wrong hopper.

I nearly put my back out taking this pic.

This is Missie in her new home, sandwiched between the couch, the wall, the floor and the radiator. This place suits her fine at the moment though we have offered her the full use of the house and it's extensive grounds, roughly ranging from Galashiels beach to the far end of the Kinross mountain range. The radiator spot is however winning hands down at the moment for undisclosed reasons. Cats are strange, solitary, deep, marvelous and oddly beautiful creatures and when I die, if I get the chance to come back in some other living form (not sure about any of this) I hope it's as a senior member of the Cuban Communist Party and not a cat.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Welcome to our room(s)

Thanks to CS for this image, apparently from Surgeon's Hall.

Cat related

There's a new cat in town, we welcomed home a rather reluctant Missie, cajoled and basketed over from Fife as an adoption and kind of replacement for the departed Smudge. Missie is of course Smudge's mum (and Clint's) so there are lots of eerie resemblances and little nuances we are picking up. Cats generally are not wholly easy in accepting one another so there was a bit of spitting and growling this morning, that was followed by some hiding and sniffing around but thankfully no territorial urination ceremonies. Anyway enough of Ali's and my behaviour (ching!), the process of cat acclimatization will run on for a few days, doors closed, movements controlled, food intake observed; then we can let them get on with the more meaningful business of culling the spring crop of mice, hiding in the bushes and waiting to invade.


In a vain attempt to make a vain attempt at gardening I spent a couple of hours raking leaves between passing showers and low clouds. I ended up with a binful of highly compressed dead leaves and bits of moss and stick but the garden hardly looks a lot better. In the brain dead and automatic state of raking I wondered if any creative or revolutionary thoughts would enter my head - none did, not even a chink of watered down day light. The brain seems to switch off at a higher level and only concentrates on not picking up worms, dog shit or those little thorny things (thorns) that hurt like hell when they prick your fingertips. Back to nature.

Listening to (Fraser's compilation):

Gil Scott Heron - The revolution will not be televised.
Grateful Dead - Ripple.
John Cooper Clark - Hire Car.
Sigur Ros - Various.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Edinburgh Daily Photo

Daily detail of the soft, dark underbelly of the city formerly known as Edinburgh.

My City in ruins

Last night I had the pleasure of driving across Edinburgh after dark. It is at this time that the cones come out, the flashing lights flash and organised confusion reigns in a blitzkrieg of roadworks, barriers and uneven and hostile surfaces. Motorists and pedestrians alike are corralled or herded across great swathes of construction sites all for the greater good of a mass transit system known as the tram. I may regret saying this but at the moment it all seems like a complete mess heading for a full-on collision with a bad idea.


Once the late night shopping traffic had been negotiated we headed for the R&A or A&R or A&E (a big, curious building anyway) to view an art exhibition. The overall effect of the show was "underwhelming" though some good pieces were on display and one or two were quite provocative. I find that at these public events the people attending are often more interesting than the exhibits:

The nervous young artists, talking loudly to friends and not quite sure how or where they should be standing, they shuffle and shift their weight. Glad to be there but a little embarrassed by the setting and the amount of older people looking at their stuff as if it was a discovered stash of their hidden porn.

The old hands, the teachers in big cardigans with unkempt hair, strange glasses frames and battered loafing shoes, chewing and mulling over and wondering where it went wrong for them, hoping for a free moment to dive out for a quick cigarette.

The patrons and helpers anxious to spread the wine of hospitality and good spirit and hoping for the best for sales and attendance, higher profiles and footfall. They hold out glossy pamphlets and flyers and smile at everyone, because every one is important after all.

The cynics and hacks who've seen it all before and have lost the eye to see fresh talent but are stuck with going through the motions though they don't know why. They focus in on a few key pieces, standing guard and allowing the exhibit to crown them with wisdom by association and osmosis.

Proud parents who wanted a doctor or a lawyer in the family who now have an artist who'll swallow their assets like a hungry pac-man and squander their right to a peaceful old age with the highs of critical success and the depths of no-sales despair. Their child's art now invades their dreams of restful cruises and caravan weekends. They now feel the impact of some twisted revenge knowing their concrete-willed offspring will feel too strongly about nebulous and unresolvable social and moral issues to ever produce the grandchild they wish for.

So what did I like best? See below:

A veritable vertical tableaux of family wedding china, famous throughout Fife and the North East. An un-buried treasure and true piece of Scottish working class history expressed as a fragile city of porcelain and bone, telling of the desperation to have and display some meaningful possessions, irrespective of anything else .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Age before beauty

Me as seen by my children, locked in mortal combat with another old-timer.

"I'm traveling in some vehicle, I'm sitting in some cafe, a defector from the petty wars..."

Everything should be as good as I can be, that is my first rule of the New Universe. The journey to this place, this state, this Nirvana if you like may not be straightforward but it should be (yes) as good as it can be, so why is it so tough and disappointing getting through bits of normal life? I'm not going to even bother answering, I'm getting on with establishing the New Universe, featuring the New Universal(s) and exploring the wide boundaries of New Universal thinking. After that I'll probably have small nap because I'll be rather tired. Being a creator and a finisher can be tough though always rewarding.

Currys web site

Why sell your stuff on a web site and show photographs of things, like laptops, that have no resemblance to the ones they are selling in the bloody shop. What's the point of having three photos of a fecking laptop that you can rotate and zoom into when they are not that actual model. ARRGH!!!

Then when you go into the shop and ask for help some goofy 20 year old with an unbroken voice tells you, "those pictures are only there as a guide, they don't represent the actual product".

I suppose it's no worse than the Spanish Tourist Board using beach footage from the Caribbean to advertise the Costa Brava - buyer, member of the public, mug or punter - beware, nothing out there matters to big brother.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Refuge of the rose

Grown in Kenya I suppose, for our pleasure here.

Driving across Fife yesterday (well being driven by Ali) and over to Glasgow today (mostly by myself though the car was an automatic) I realised I was in the process of viewing exhibits in a long, linear collection of road signs and street furniture. Each piece is (almost) unique as it counts down the miles, points to places mostly unknown, shows brown signs to named attractions and the miscellany that are cones and lights and the gathering trash that surrounds them. How kind of the Highways Agency and the various local authorities to put this show together for free, apart from the small cost of road tax or a bus ticket or something. Travel is all the more a Zen experience now thanks to this illumination but on the whole still fairly dull. I do quite like the signs that tease, those part hidden by overhanging branches or foliage or simply faded and covered in road film. These dirty signs hide their true message like Burlesque dancers or comedians joking in some dark partly shielded code. They provoke the innocent driver into the danger of a wrong turning or failing to reduce speed, sometimes anyway.

Glasgow was almost fun, a business presentation and a meeting and for lunch the interesting marriage of salami and scrambled egg in a baguette. A combination I'd not experienced before but one that worked, I may experiment with a toasted version at some point if I ever get round to eating actual warmed up food again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I don't really care for music do I?

Now that I've found Spotify and a wealth of free music I find that ubuntu (Linux) won't support it and I'm not geek enough to figure out the unix codes needed to bridge the unbridgeable gap. I say this despite spending two years as a systems guy working on a unix system in the early nineties. I did drink Coke straight from the can, read newspapers and had an actual Walkman in those un-networked and dark days. I have forgotten more than I can remember or is it the other way around or have things just changed beyond my grasp and recognition anyway.

Sometimes it's good to just see yourself sitting on this globe and allowing it to spin you around apparently slowly while you suck a nice stalk of dry grass. Meanwhile the ever present threat of a new laptop, huge unmanageable debt and a diet of Pot Noodles and Loch Fyne oysters looms large.

The dilemma of whether or not to Twitter or Facebook or ping or pong or micro-blog whilst snowboarding and drinking a latte remains also hard to resolve. At least we're back to writing songs and rediscovering a few that missed the boat and a few more that are stuck as rough but recoverable mixes.Progress.

Monday, February 16, 2009

3.14 Deja Vu

The Simple Maths of Food Porn

Life remains a bundle of confusing things fused together by words beginning with con and ending in fuse and the pies just keep rolling by. The latest count between fridge, freezer and hell itself is around seven (approximately). A perfect number, oh! and one half eaten but shown 100% uneaten in the lovely pie-tastic photo above.

Pie ceremonies come and go and our diet tends to be erratic in a famine or feast kind of way punctuated by episodes of Lost, strong drink and random Twitters from Lance Armstrong or H G Wells. The construction of the pie is a de-construction, ultimately.

Lovely fresh food prepared with only primates in mind.

Mud on the road

I can't get this lovely plate of chopped and diced fruit to the local chimpanzee colony between here and the 'Ferry due the unusually high mud levels we are experiencing at the moment. The last mud forecast I saw on the Beeb (presented by a young lady in a very low cut blouse, as is the fashion) suggested seasonally normal mud levels would abound. That is not the case, we are all in grave danger of being cut off from the outside world (as some would have it) as roads and bankings and badger burrows collapse mirroring scenes from the Dambusters.

Normal vehicles are rendered useless and all our shoes are in a right state thank you. Don't get me started on the cat's paws either. If you are thinking of coming down here then don't, head for the hills and that way you'll get here anyway by late Spring. The good news is that we should safely make it through to April on pie stocks alone but as for those wayward and pesky chimps, they'll stay hungry and cheeky. When in West Lothian it pays to look up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tesco Daily Photo

I was blind, but now I see things as if through the windscreen of a dirty vehcle of some sort.

Green Wall for the 'Ferry

At last the folks at Tesco South Queensferry have revealed the purpose of their random car park closure that has been bugging tourists and locals alike for a few weeks. I can exclusively report that a vital and vibrant recycling centre has now been erected in the grounds of their stately home. In one simple and swift motion you can buy a wide range of their products. consume them as you cross their tarmac shag-pile and then post the remains through some special waste stream labeled letter boxes as you stagger back to your car. Brilliant. The local community is enraptured by this advanced thinking, life for all of us is suddenly simpler and full of new meaning.

Walking on the beaches lookin' at peeled peaches.

Food Porn.

Blog snobbery dictates that it is distasteful and inappropriate to blog in detail about diet and sleeping habits. Well we're not above either here in what I hope remains an un-snobby and generally rambling and hard to categorise blog. So in a bid to define "food-porn" we have a candid shot of three young peaches, peeled and ready for the pot. The pot in this case being an apple pie, this made it a peach and apple pie, a tasty little combination of foods that qualifies due to it's sensual and exciting nature as true food-porn. I'm bored with this already (the porn not the pie).

More Food-Porn.

CS "the Architect" visited yesterday and kindly deposited with us a lovely pot of homemade (in London) Seville Marmalade. "Not quite set yet and possibly a little unsettled by the flight north, man," he warned sternly. A bloke who knows all about the mystique and breeding of the marm. Once it has set we intend to add some of the golden contents to a punnet of the finest cocktail sausages and bake them in an earthenware pot for at least forty of your European minutes. The delicious results will then be consumed slowly over time in both hot and cold settings, possibly using fingers and forks. Food-porn is perhaps less boring than I thought as these new opportunities to label and disguise emerge.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Still quite fond of this artwork.

The Ballad of A

The sportsmen in the woods say that it's only birds they shoot

They flash to bang each weekend but you just cant bare to look

With a thousand channels popping up there's nothing on TV

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

There's a wedding in the church and so we will have to move our cars

They park the Hondas and the Rovers but can't do a clean reverse

Just a quarter mile for the bridal smile and verse of poetry

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

The west wind blew so hard that it tipped up the trampoline

The earthworks grew and flourished but the weeds still intervened

On summer nights through northern lights the stillness set you free

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

If you have a need to break up then sub-primes could leave you burned

The little cat walked down the road but then she never did return

The rain poured down on the muddy ground and you came to comfort me

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

The venues and the hotels chase all the cash they can

For good clear guides to fix your life social networks understand

Where the money goes I just don't know everybody wants their fee

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

Some fine day soon we'll wear raccoon and share a welcome meal

Family dialogue Kylie Minogue and the happy way you feel

Till then you'll work I'll wish you luck and we'll build some inventory

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

I get a little older and the plumbing goes on strike

There are cobwebs in the garage and flat tyres on your bike

At a hundred and four you'll still explore and I hope you'll think of me

You believe in breakfast but you only sip a little tea.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ways of seeing

Great Pultney Street, a former home at No 26.

So I came back, from outer space to find you here with that puzzled look upon your face I should've developed ... a better way of seeing perhaps. I was in Bath breakfasting in a snooty hotel, eating pineapples finely sliced accompanied by a blob of yogurt. I was sitting alone and the waitress put down the coffee pot and milk, white and silver against the red tablecloth. The coffee pot, metal finished and angular sat like the Chrysler Building amongst the lowly crockery and condiments. A merry go round of jam and marmalade played at a safe distance and the round toast cracked in a shiny rack. It all looked so nice and was accidentally composed so well it was a shame to pick up or disturb anything, but I did eventually. I skipped the cooked offerings however and allowed simplicity, cold fruit and warm toast to set me up for the rest of the day.

It's about 25 years since I stayed in Bath, it was when I was at college for a short while, the Bath Stone buildings don't change but the traffic has gone from being bad to being in constant grid lock. Recycling efforts take the curious form of Waitrose bags filled with bottles and tat being hung from black iron railings like offerings to crow-gods or pirates. Eventually some truck with flashing amber eyes will pick them from their hangers like an over ripe and dirty harvest of fruit.

As I strolled around (not having been there for about five years) I became the anxious recorder and chronicler of change. What pubs had shut, or changed into bistros or cafes? No too many though they seemed quieter and more subdued, no smoke, fewer people and less laughter but a decent steak for £7.00 in the Huntsman in Orange Grove. High living indeed.

Thinking of how things are seen and recorded and catalogued, whether in the mind or physically by some system reminded me of points made in "The Delirious Museum", a book written a couple of years ago by an old friend, Calum Storrie. His dry eye for detail and the ironic juxtapositioning of world wide exhibitions and collections are well worth a scan.

Hotel with extensive gardens, ungritted roads and a strange smell of chips in the ground floor corriders or so I thought. Bath Spa by MacDonalds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Greggs have a word for it

I'm not obsessed with sandwiches really. Just grabbing one as I rush out into the early Narnia landscape that West Lothian has now become, quite nice, quite white. The bread not the snow.

We have a new kind of coal to burn, it turns into lava like lumps, it oozes together and forms new, hot, sticky shapes as it burns. It produces a bit extra smoke (?) and it seems to burn more intensely than the other stuff, hard to poke and air but then it needs less help in the combustion process. Then it cools and sets as brittle and hard as toffee and I chuck it into potholes in the road. That's just some of things I now know about coal, oh and the coal men deliver it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bill Gates had a word for it

I've been heavily pregnant with a new laptop for so long now that when the birth finally comes it'll be the size of an elephant and I'll fall into a huge pit of post-natal depression and refuse to feed it (apart from odd Linux snacks). I have to go out into the jungle and sweat a bit more, mid February would maybe do, it's worse than buying a car or the right muffin from Costa. Decisions and indecision, where can I get a fuzzy laptop?

Feeling a little toxed up and needing a detox? Try blueberry juice, lemon pie, cream and a half bottle of red wine. That's all about food for today, next is laundry.

Lisa Simpson had a word for it

The disciple picks some narrow way on a broad path

Some where, possibly everywhere and probably everyday it's the Lord's day or a holy day or a festival day depending on your chosen or imposed set of beliefs. The ceremony, trappings, assumptions and duties may be bringing you down when you only want to be lifted up or at the very least listened to and understood. So even if you have no belief system you still have something because nothing is something. Your belief may be a tad indistinct, that doesn't make it irrelevant or unimportant and so in contrast to the warmth and comfort of having a Pope, a priest, a pastor, persecution or a polite politician to yourself we have the "fuzzy". No buildings, books, TV channels, platforms and sacrifices, just the rolling questions and the constant exploration. Genuine, earnest and good humoured observation welcome.

Avoid the mistake of wanting what the others think they have

Best not to get hung up about certainty. The need to pin things down and hold them in place with concrete works well in engineering but it's not so good an approach to life and the greater unknown, and that's the problem - it all is pretty much unknown. There's snake oil, smoke, mirrors and tales handed down, there's history and ruins that can be picked through. You make some conclusions, you may well hope for the best or believe the best but the edges are undeniably fuzzy. The things we don't know aren't worth strapping on a bomb bag for, going to war for or turning your back on friends for. Embrace the uncertainty and follow a fuzzy path.

Respect the shape of things


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson had a word for it

Top Gear Chaps!

On behalf of all the one-eyed Scottish idiots I know (including myself - I'm assuming here that the one-eye is in fact the "Jap's eye" kind of one-eye) I'd like to thank JC for getting us back up into the headlines along with Carol Thatcher, Golliwogs, teddy bears and boys and Robertson's jam - the ex-jewel of Dundee. As for Father Gee Broom he's not an idiot, after all he is the PM and as such demands a little more respect, or maybe not as he's from Kirkcaldy. At least freedom of speech is being raised as an issue, the trouble being that no-one has anything remotely sensible to say about it or would know quite what to do with it if they did have it.

Divine Bigotry

Meanwhile back in Scotland, the main cause of all of England's problems for the last 1000 years (apart from the French and the Germans) bigotry and ignorance reign as we reserve the right to dislike and suspect everyone from our nearest neighbours to those out there at the ends of the colonial empire. A balanced and consistent point of view in my humble opinion and one that has led us to having one of the finest banking systems in the world, though maybe not quite a sustainable one.

Fine for me

As an example I am referring to the letter I received today from the trustees at the TSB telling me they'll charge me £15 a day as well £15.99 as a standing fine for bouncing a cheque for about the same piddling amount a few days ago. Well bugger, I thought that some one-trick idiot Fifer had bought up this bank so that the likes of me could share in it's ownership and rescue the free world from Hell's spinning pit of financial gloom and doom. Apparently not, so I must continue to embrace the uncertainty and believe in the BBC and pay up.

Friday, February 06, 2009

David Reilly had a word for it

Golden goodness pours from the heart of our farmhouse kitchen.

The entrepreneurs behind Cloudland Blue Enterprises seem to enjoy food, dietary and kitchen based blogging material which is all perfectly understandable. In order to satisfy demand I thought the above Ali + pie picture deserved a blogging outing (though it has appeared on the rival channel known as Facebook). This was taken a few weeks ago during one of our impromptu and unscheduled pie preparation evenings. Bored with no Jonathan Ross, Stramash or Stingray on the telly, Ali set about doing some apple pie creation (in fact there were two) and these magnificent fruit pies fed us and various passers-by for at least a week.

No new wild cat burglary to report last night, no strange noises or midnight disasters, just some forward planning and inward reflection, one eye on the dropping thermometer and another of the glowing coals. Quite a painful Yoga position actually, you may not wish to try it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Schroeder had a word for it

Once we'd consumed the trout last night we resorted to couch life in order to avoid the bad weather that never came. Instead sleep came only to be dramatically ended by what seemed like a cat suspended above the bed screaming and fighting with another invisible cat, Ninja style. The stramash (as Arthur Momford would have said, also a 60s pop show fronted by Lulu as I recall) lasted no time at all but left Ali and I wide awake and shocked and Clint hiding under the bed.

Forensic investigation revealed that a cat of unknown origin had entered the house via the conveniently open cat flap, scooped up the remaining cat food and explored upstairs until he she or it encountered Clint, the stalwart and brave ginger cat. I believe that in true cartoon apple pie fashion this wild cat sniffed the trout on the frosty night breeze and decided to call in for a possible feast. At 2.30 in the morning this isn't a good test of quantum physics, nerves or levels of consciousness. No trout for a while I think.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Patsy Kensit had a word for it

Have you ever come home at night and decided you'd like to listen to a little Trout Mask Replica and then discovered that you can't find your copy? Then to make matters worse you become unsure as to whether or not you actually have a copy. Such is my dilemma tonight. I'm sure it's some where or am I sure I ever had it or is it perhaps in the car? Too cold to venture out to check, I'll settle for Planet Rock and leave CDs well alone. You never had this problem with vinyl and Mp3s are silly abstract things at best.

This a common enough problem for me, confusing reality, daydreams and memory and therefore not being quite sure what objects are where at times or actually owned by me. It also happens with onions, you think they are there in the vegetable basket, a handy supply, ready to peel and fry or whatever and then you discover there are none. Recipes at this point have to be abandoned (most likely in favour of toasted cheese) or altered in some radical and not always pleasing or satisfying way.

Carrying on with the fish theme I purchased two fish (trout in fact but nothing to do with Captain Beefheart) for 35p each in a rare and strangely successful piece of guerrilla food shopping. FD would be proud. My real mission was to get suitable biscuits inboard for an important visitor about whom no more can be said. Said fish will now be grilled with various added extras, fresh veg and frozen chips. Shame about the onions.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jamie Oliver had a word for it

There is no pasta recipe that isn't improved by adding in hot dogs - we've all heard that one before.

Back to back episodes of Lost. Things on that island just aren't right, where will the time bandits crash next and how come the physics displayed are counter to Dr Emmet's Back to the Future basics? Talk about being lost.

Dangerous cup cakes.

Spiders in the shower that cannot be dislodged.

A road gritting spree that proves futile as floods return.

Snippets of weather, news and Iggy Pop selling car insurance.

A cat that refuses to move despite veiled threats, pressure and some gentle heaving. Then it snores loudly.

I'd have an early night if I could accurately ascertain the actual time but then I'm lost as is, some may say, my mortal soul. Not sure about my immortal soul but I think the ability to express emotion is the indication of the presence of a soul of whatever type.

Pavement cracks that threaten to talk back.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Shackleton had a word for it

Snow brings hysteria and peace in equal measure, a bit like alcohol or being in love. Once steady and reliable shoes are suddenly slippy and hated, ears fail to listen as they glow red, fingers fail to grip bags and phones and dropping cold spirals of frozen water crystals are allegedly all unique but you can never see them properly without your specs.

The news bulletins cover snow as if it came in a bomb from Russia, out to destroy capitalism, public transport and the British way of life and everybody must not travel unless essential. What the hell does that mean? What's optional travel anyway?

They could put Lord Peter Mandelson in charge of giving snow clearance advice, give him a brush and shovel and send him mincing down to some oil refinery to tell the protesters that they shouldn't have traveled out in such awful weather because it's much more reasonable to let those foreign chaps do the travelling.

Driving in snow is the worst, for one thing you always get stuck behind some joker who wants to drive exactly five miles an hour slower than your car can manage in a decent gear. You don't want to run into him but you're fed up changing gear and if he drops his speed you might start to stick. Worst of all if you try to overtake (and that involves heading out into the less clear and well gritted lane and getting splattered) you look like a complete maniac. Possible duvet day alert coming up.

Want a laugh? Click here. Thanks to P. It's not a link to the £50million appeal for funds for the forgettable but "lovable" Titian, why don't they do BOGOF at art gallery sales? Just what the Scottish economy needs right now.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Chuck Berry had a word for it

The truth is we can never quite get enough of anything, good or bad; as one Mighty Bush checks out, up springs another that sets itself alight and starts talking to you about the "Promised Land".

Nice to hear Gordon Brown admit that the current worldwide financial crisis is beyond the understanding and experience of any of the key players. That might well mean we get a little less "wisdom" imparted on us from 25 year old economics graduates and fast stream bond brokers who think that they shouldn't stir from bed for less than £100k a month. Perhaps Robert Peston will also shut his trap and curtail his published works of doom laden rambles and allow the big boys to fix things (by experimental means of course)out of sight of the hysterical mass media glare.

While the world passes by I will continue to build better bowls of spicy mince dishes, fight against the cold with coal fired heating systems, plunge into pools of icy cold lyrics and sparse punctuation, tell lies on Twitter, Facebook, Bookface, Arseface, Mr Big Blog and Tweety Pie, detune untuned guitars, iron my socks, consume copious amounts of yogurt, quaff spicy vitamins and minerals, marvel at each lost episode of Lost, explore the bigger plan and curl up in a snug duvet whilst keeping an eye on the treeline.

UFO over Burntisland Shock:

It was a bloody shock, the blood almost ran back into my frozen feet. Picture if you will a Baltic football pitch in the heights of Kelty, snell (?) winds frae the east freezing oor lugs and nethers, very unforgiving on a Sunday morning. I look over to the misty green glow that is the distant, ancient conurbation of Burntisland. High above in cloud and cold hovers an eerie amber light, twirling with queer white flashes like a drunken majorette in a Fife gala parade. I watch, my jaw dropping and my blood almost curdling (too cold to change in reality). The flying beast hovers over the ex-home of aluminium looking for some innocent to abduct and study, possibly on their way back from the Coop armed only with a Sunday Mail, a pint of milk and 16 paracetamol. It dipped, it dived and it was gone in an instant. Time stood still and somewhere in Burntisland milk spills white chill into the gutter and Glaswegian newsprint twaddle flaps alone down an alley, unread. Oh yeah.

Hard to read as presented but a good example of early Broon type lateral thinking. Good man Gordy!