|The future of modern motoring.|
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
This government's speciality is the release of the monumental lie coupled with the media smokescreen moment followed by a fiery attack of the socially dysfunctional dragon of "unfairness" (or worse, attempted cornball "fairness"). As we all amble down Gasoline's potentially empty alley one more time this blog post sums it all up quite nicely.
Meanwhile I'm out in the garden planting broccoli and lettuce so that when the great salad and vegetable shortage is announced in June we'll not only survive with a healthy diet but will make a handsome profit selling good wholesome greens to the poor souls without gardens, disposable incomes or who are too lazy to dig...that's just what the Francis Maude's and David Cameron's of the world would want us to do.
I've taken advantage of the warmish weather and been out in the garden building a second trampoline and also dismantling the first one, it had been found wanting. The whole thing was a profound exercise in the art of swearing and cursing both internally and externally, I managed to shave some skin from my knuckles and thumbs for good measure and sweat just a bit more than usual. Thankfully my youngest son was around to assist and provide a stalwart support during operations as well as keeping me right by actually following the instructions. Of course now it's all over and we can relax; the old one's been recycled and turned into a Skoda and the new one sits, pristine, green and ready for the playful bouncing attack of generations to come while the summer BBQ smolders wistfully in the distance, I won't be lighting it with any precious petrol either.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Just outside of somewhere else, across from the other place and adjacent to that other part of the neighbourhood; you know the one. Checking and verification is possible via Google, snuggle, peskyhusky.co. and various other unsolicited sources. Crunchy, best served with sweet China tea.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
|Canal bridge with added people.|
|One of those found items you find when out and about.|
|Barge headed under bridge.|
|Ali & our bikes on the towpath.|
Then it was to the garden centre for some back breaking gardening stuff, plants, compost and the like. We also visited a local farm shop where a Cairngorm beer and Strawberry cider sales pitch was underway, a fatal error was thereby made and various beers and ciders tested and duly purchased. Next it was Daffodil Tea Time at Abercorn Church, we behaved ourselves very well, bought the tea and the daffs and then moved on to...hit the nearby canal via bicycle, as you do.
The canal trip involved bikes, beer, wine and sunshine. I also discovered that the air-con in my car actually works (quite disconcerting), turns out it's been the hottest March day since February as well. An Easy Riding paradise along the canal banks unfolded and so we ended up here, where we relaxed in the sunny beer garden watching at least one canal boat and numerous colourfully dressed cyclists, yummy mums, social workers, Subarus, Game of Thrones extras and ner'do wells go by. The return journey passed a lot quicker than I expected and confirmed a travel theory of mine about going there and back again; it seldom is as far as you actually think. Then it was home sweet home and a little more of the dark dark bitter bitter Cairngorm beer and pork chops, mmm.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
I've just sold my very old and very faithful Ford Cougar after four years and 80000 miles (total 138147), gone in 60 seconds via Gumtree on a very misty, moisty March evening. It just vanished into the mist as I clutched a warm mobile phone and a fat wad of Scottish notes. So I've got the cash and a Volvo S40 to run about with no proper complaints but I'll miss that big, clumsy, shockingly quick (and wet) pussycat.
In the afternoon I turned out to see how the mighty Pars would fair under the new Jim Jefferies management regime. Not an easy match against a stubborn and dirty St Mirren but we got the point, they got the needle. There's enough games left for a fix but it's going to be tight. Let's hope Jim really does hate Hibs enough.
Friday, March 23, 2012
|Out of use|
Thursday, March 22, 2012
|A stones throw from some lovely 17th Century Scottish organic buildings and round the corner from the historic town centre we have this feckin' disaster. OK we need affordable housing but...|
|Adding a new depth of meaning to the word ugly, set between two world class iconic bridge designs is this awful BT exchange, as putrid as a desiccated seagull, unloved even by the owners and badly situated and badly maintained.|
|"You have been assessed for street repairs, £20 for every house and £50 for every hotel." In the USA this piece of pavement repair work would already be the subject of a few million dollar lawsuits. Nice touch with the added Big Mac litter I thought.|
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I was thinking about the former Rosyh housing estate known as Dollytown. It was an odd, spacious and very green place, I never lived there but had lots of childhood friends there. The long primary school summers were spent playing football, hide and seek and cycling around the grassy play areas and wide and safe streets. Then in the early seventies it was flattened and replaced with bog standard and uninspired Scottish council houses. Looking back a huge opportunity was missed, nearly forty years later there is now nothing remarkable about this part of Rosyth and the unique feel of the prefabs and open spaces of Dollytown are long gone. But just imagine...
Taking the new Mini as a type of design example it could've been that Dollytown, once demolished might have been replaced with a newer version of itself, Dollytown on steroids. Wider, bigger houses, still all on one level, chunky windows and doors and trees and space and the design theme, however accidental of the original houses maintained. Awards would have been won, property would have been in demand and visitors and the media would have loved it. It could have been a model village and an inspiration, you can do things better, even on public sector budgets and best of all once completed it could have been twinned with the hometown of the Flintstones, Bedrock.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
|A tiny corner of a tiny corner of West Lothian.|
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Springs: Following a rigorous health and safety audit and technical inspection our faithful trampoline was found to be wanting in a number of departments. A prohibition notice was duly issued and all jumping, frolicking and laughter ceased, who are we to argue against the mighty power of the H&S Gods? Luckily a benefactor and sponsor has stepped in so saving and preserving our families valiant efforts to get fit for the soon to be everywhere on the telly Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Planning permission has been sought and approved and work should be started on a new trampoline once the final project plan is completed and mind-mapped. This morning the old and offending Trampy was taken down by a team of sub-contracted expert midgets who had just finished a really tough shift on the Forth Bridge. Most friction free parts will of course be recycled as part of the Edinburgh Trampoline and Panda Mating Survival Initiative (Pandamating should really be one word) and so will live on in perpetuity. The photo shows a bucket of recovered springs, all in great nick and ready to bounce again one fine day.
Rings: In an unrelated incident I managed to drop my wedding ring into a giant brown bin of last years leaves, Doh! A lengthy bin search followed which was dirty but pleasantly successful. A valuable lesson in life has now been learned.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
|A hazy view of the magic rice potion.|
|Salad and novels v stimulants.|
Rice & retirement & rats: As the great grey mist descends I make plans for the future, some are based around a massive lottery win, some based around magnificent and well deserved business success and some based around nothing in particular other than acting on some kind of stupid impulse, sadly this one is the most likely. What exactly springs to mind?
a) I did think that I should not retire until the very day the Queen of England and whatever else is left comes to a newly annexed and struggling Scotland to open the completed Forth Crossing. Then as a last act of working defiance I'll cross over and back and so end my illustrious career.
b) I could also work beyond that date until I can comfortably afford to buy and run a 10 year old Maserati Quattroporte for at least a year, in a romantic swan song gesture to life in the fast lane, the middle lane, occasionally the slow lane and some rough tracks with passing places.
c) I may decide that I should count down in haircuts, a dozen maybe. I'll stick it out for dozen haircuts, nine normal and three Turkish, all equally spaced apart, perhaps each one in a different barbers based around a simple spread sheet and rating system. Establishing what the timeline might be would perhaps be hard.
d) Another option would be to go just whenever and take up the full and fulfilling career of a barista, a word I've only just learned this week. I could be like Tom Cruise in Cocktail, throwing hot steamy Starbucks milk from cup to cup, turning the innocent cafe atmosphere into Hell itself with belching vapours and hissing sliver pipes of fiery liquid that torture the crushed beans into releasing their bitter flavour. Then calling customers by made up and abusive names and coining great wads in tips revenue by continually giving out the wrong change and overcharging for the inedible biscuits and muffins. Nice.
e) Pig and chicken farming; whatever the economic climate people will eat bacon and eggs and all the variations that follow, that even includes quiche. All you need are a decent pair of gloves and wellies and no sense of smell whatsoever.
f) There's also scope for a blindingly good career in squirrel extermination, particularly in Fife, where thanks to the efforts grumpy Queen Victoria and grumpy Andrew Carnegie the grey squirrel pox has not passed from grey to red; but it will one day. The only way to avoid a future catastrophe for the reds is to mobilise and lead the people of Fife in a massive exercise of ethnic cleansing against the dirty greys and so save the reds from the poxy pox. I understand that the River Tay Beavers may also wish to participate in the cull, of course there is a huge market for squirrel meat and fur in London's fast food and fashion industry.
g) Last but not least, walk away, buy a castle and pull up the drawbridge on creditors, bloggers, buskers and bureaucrats.
Drawing a line under all that...
Heat is remarkable, I'm particularly intrigued by the way it changes the state of things. Take for example rice pudding, that so often misunderstood and these days unpopular pudding. Cold it's the kind of thing you would only eat in a real emergency such as a shipwreck, a long running nuclear winter or an elongated Scottish power cut. So if it's nice and hot, if prepared properly it can be a real treat. Anyway I was anxious to try a new and revolutionary product that's been launched on the market, made up and created by the good people of Carnation (a subsidiary and trading name, proudly owned and operated by the giant food conglomerate Nestle who are still using the cuckoo based Bird's Custard motif ), Hot Rice Pudding Mix.
I did try to follow the simple instructions but was immediately put off by some key, consumer unfriendly words and phrases; whisk, oven gloves, 261 ml, caution may be hot and allow to stand for 5 minutes, to name but a few. All in all the rice manufacturing process takes about fifteen minutes and due to the mess created took a further twenty minutes to clean up; there is also the risk of an unplanned microwave explosives event that they don't mention in the small print. I persevered and eventuality got to the point where the unpleasant and gooey material was close to being edible. It turned out that it wasn't that close unfortunately, not hot, creamy or tasty or anything good. A lot of heat and effort wasted in a gunky, crunchy mess that leaves a weird aftertaste. Heat is remarkable and will remain so, Carnation Rice Mix is not.
Rats: Nothing to do with anything or pesky squirrels.
Rats: Nothing to do with anything or pesky squirrels.
Friday, March 16, 2012
|Taken from the street|
|Taken from a tall building|
|Taken from a helicopter|
I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones
I know - no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone
Thursday, March 15, 2012
"What does TPF stand for?"
"I understand what the graph shows but it strikes me that it would be better if it was set in a context that included an element that reflected the state of the infrastructure, is that possible?'
"Are we going this way because of the time of day?"
"Are they really buying a fleet of bendy-buses?"
"Where is the barbecue sauce then?"
"What makes Easy-Jet customers queue up like that when the plane's not even here?"
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
|Actual tiny daffs.|
I still carry the scars of three futile attempts at cleaning a cat's bottom over the weekend. It turned out to be a two person task, one holding the cat upside down trying hard not to stress the poor beast whilst the other attempts to remove whatever the foreign material is that is bunging up it's rear and fouling it's fur. Of course fur actually flies and blood (of the human kind is spilt). The cat eventually wriggles away and escapes like the proverbial scalded/anally probed cat. Strangely enough the cat bears no grudges and returns home for attention and the heaps of food that usually follow. The human target remains on edge eyeing the cat, left with no other option than to simply nurse his wounds whist trying to calm the ongoing nervous spasms.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Power to the steering: When it comes to power steering I'm feeling smug. It seems to be the only troublesome part of any car that can be fixed by pouring a magical liquid into the reservoir. I first did this some 50k miles ago and was cheered by the instant and fully satisfactory repair. It's held on up until this month so time to start again and administer the juicy cocktail of leak stoppers and fluid topper up. Dare I believe that I can be successful in this twice in a lifetime?
Football: A pretty bad tempered match this morning in the Fife resort and desperate sun spot known as Burntisland. The fur was flying, the wind was against us and the ref lost control as we got beat 3 - 2 in the shadow of the famous Great Bin. A draw would've been a fair result. Barclay Junior whacked in our two goals, one with the left foot and then one with the right, that was a first. He then headed a possible late equaliser just over the bar. Following an early morning radiator incident when a football boot insole became lost forever behind our kitchen radiator he opted for one of Ali's insoles as a replacement, I think it perhaps brought good luck though not quite enough. It's made me think seriously about taking up some of the good old fashioned top 100 superstitions and testing them out. It would be more fun that adopting some dreary religion and might yield unexpected results - so I started this afternoon by knocking on wood many times when fixing the gate (as above). The gate's fixed but I rendered myself nearly unconscious by hitting my head on a dangling lamp, that's one superstition down, 99 to go.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Frozen Fresh Food. I don't really understand the thinking behind this piece of advice and at what point, once purchased the clock starts ticking on the actual day. Is it by date or by 24 hour period? Is there also an issue over the speed at which it freezes, what if your freezer is a bit on the slow side and the freezing process overruns into the next day?
Guitars. The ten most expensive guitars in the world, ever. Sounds like a KTel album or some other trashy unmusical thing. Mr EC's various purchases seem to dominate the chart - funnily not many of the guitars are all that attractive.
Beer. Finally an article that supports something I've always believed but never been able to prove. Ok it's pretty pathetic and it's my taste and probably not yours.
Football. It's very hard for me to feel sorry for the current plight of Glasgow Rangers. Over the years the club, to most neutral Scottish supporters, has defined itself with an odd mixture of arrogance and ignorance. Those two rather unpleasant traits have been displayed time and time again and the noses of most provincial clubs and their support have duly been rubbed in it. Now, thanks to the exposure of a corrupt regime based around cheating, bad business and trickery they are on the verge of complete failure. No doubt many good and decent people have fallen victim to the red white and blue machine and must be wondering quite what to think...well I know what I think.
Maths and Art. They shouldn't really go together but of course they do, like baked potatoes and mackerel or Tiger toast and Stilton. Strange and unwieldy bedfellows at war with one another but complimenting one another simultaneously, some kind of twisted arranged marriage I suppose.
That's all my links used up.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
|Headed south into a forest of windmills.|
|Headed north away from those threatening windmills.|
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Vince Cable, the wise old turnip of the coalition has via a top secret Tweet and also by Facebook posts called upon the Great Norse God Odin to split up the Royal Band of Scotland by means of a mighty thunderbolt. Vince hopes that an accurate strike by the supernatural deity and comic strip hero (but only in a back story manner) will enable RBS to be turned into a “new business bank”. Each lightning hewed third will function in a new and revolutionary way that will herald a brave new world of both banking, idolatry and heathenism. The three sections will operate as follows:
Domestic and local – this part will operate local banks and cash machines and do pretty normal banking type things for ordinary punters and the elderly. There will be no scripted sales patter, stupid TV commercials, baseball caps and useless community schemes or branded flying boats and buses chuntering about the countryside. People with a passion for sheep, flat caps and the sporting of smug grins will neither be employed nor allowed to be customers any more. A “no patronising zone” will be created in each branch along with a special area exclusively annexed for occasional human sacrifice and business presentations. Bank premises set in romantic looking, tree lined locations will be sold off as Youth Hostels to Polish investors and speculators. Thor, God of Thunder will be the General Manager.
Investment and speculation – this will be the (much reduced) money making part of the bank and will invest cautiously and wisely in nano-technology, emerging indie bands, healthy fast foods, time-travel and gold mines. No one under the age of 50 will be employed and bonus payments will consist of interesting used cars and classic movies on DVD. Formula 1 will still be sponsored but only at a Scalextric level. Loki, God of Mischief and Mayhem will spearhead this operation.
Virtual – this area of the bank will invent madcap money making schemes (at zero cost) and will sell them on to eager Nigerian and Kenyan businessmen and Chinese and Brazilian gamblers. The remit will we to recoup the squillions of pounds and stuff that's spread out across the developing world and the Internet that RBS either gave away or stupidly lost. The maxim being “if matter cannot be destroyed then the cash must be out there somewhere so let's just get it back.” Tyr, God of War and Vali, God of Revenge will run this as leverage partnership with technical support from Snotra, Goddess of Prudence and Nasal Congestion.
It is hoped that 82% of the 82% that is owned by 82% of British taxpayers will be repaid at 82% interest after 82% of the transformation is completed in 82 years. In a separate “rewards” scheme customers with the most creative name or signature emblazoned on their bankcard will receive a digestive biscuit dipped in a carton of mango yogurt. Yum.
Mr Cable also said that the government had only responded to crises after they happened and should really start a few themselves and give themselves a good shake in order to better keep up with what the hell was going on, the reorganisation of the mighty RBS would help in this venture. Downing Street has however said that it does not comment on leaks, comic strip heroes, Jack Kirby artwork or correspondence between Ministers and those inhabiting anti-matter areas outside of mapped space beyond the known universe or the Eurozone.
Monday, March 05, 2012
"I would say that my whole life has been one massive failure. I live with failure every day because I can't do the things I really want to do. I enjoy being here, alone, in the studio, siting at my Synclavier. I can do twelve hours and love it and I know that ultimately it doesn't mean anything, but I love it. That's OK, it makes me feel good." Francis Vincent Zappa.
Saturday, March 03, 2012
Of course they were, that's the way it is in all action movie screen plays or the plot line just wouldn't move forward.
Gardens in the City: Today the sun shone and temperature shaded 14 so we explored the inner-city ramshackle environs of Gorgie Farm. Big fat pigs, weird goats, stranded ducks and the usual old MacDonald hit-list along with struggling vegetables and various attempts at fruit cultivation - all works in progress and a reminder that though the hippies have all cut their hair the basic ideals still live on. Parking's not easy around there, I ended up in the shadows of Tynecastle Stadium, not a place I'd normally abandon a car. As the sun shone down the cafe was frantic, overpriced and crumbly but the play park was serene and small enough to be relaxing. Kids and grand kids sucked juice boxes and ate brownies, I enjoyed the coffee and a slice of Rockie Road, then along came the rain.
Friday, March 02, 2012
|Young mums and the followers of various prophets.|
Meanwhile the townspeople of Dagenham were outraged when a party of young denim clad Islamic Fundamentalists from Eton burned copies of Hello and Ok magazines in a nearly public space festooned with Banksy type murals and litter. The scene of devastation and blasphemy was just outside of a popular "Essex has the word sex in it" type shopping mall modeled on the famous TV show with a similar name. One young mother said “they did it right in front of our kids, I couldn’t believe it, some were this week's and still had the TV guide in middle.” Another young mother, near to tears stated, “I was so shocked I dropped my fag and my meatball Sub, that’s £2.99, you owe me one Allah!" Peace was eventually restored when the kindly staff at a nearby Iceland branch handed out complementary bottles of Tizer and jumbo portions of Brains deep frozen tripe to both groups. A blow by blow account has been forwarded to the Daily Mail and the UN.
Thursday, March 01, 2012