Thursday, August 31, 2017

Last rays of August

A Laurie Lee or a Lewis Grassic Gibbon would have the language and the vocabulary to properly sum up and describe the last few rays of the sun on the final evening in August, leaving the door unlocked and ready for the arrival of September in a twinkling of hours. I don't however. Photo by Ali Graham.

Slow internet day due to porridge on the line

One of those days when I'm time poor and Internet poor, apparently it's running at the speed of low lying porridge today as is my conscious mind. Perhaps I've become too enthralled with Game of Thrones and am in some kind of cold turkey phase, maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, no that's no true. There is no adequate explanation (note spoof album covers, lot's of GOT revisionist twaddle out there). We did watch Logan last night, the TV was calling in some far away way. It was a bit of a disappointment, formulaic and without any real points to like. It could have been so good, "superhero mutants get old and infirm, a bit cranky and lose the plot", lots of potential, none of it realised and way too violent in stupid ways. I'm using the word way a lot, I blame the internet and the BBC and other things that gum up life with their gum and porridge.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Unexpected and disturbing

Well this is unexpectedly disturbing and sinister, a strange eye graphic that I've downloaded and then uploaded quite intentionally but under duress. It's as if my fingers and some (dull) part of my brain were briefly  taken over and controlled by an unworldly force of some kind. The good news is that these actions have neutralized the awful curse that came as part of the original eye package. However for those of you viewing this for the first time right now, I'm afraid the curse still retains it's full and unpredictable power, all set aside for you. Just of those things I guess.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Kits, Kats and Ants

Actual ants photographed by me yesterday in East Kilbride (or EK for short).
Ants: If you look closely at this photo you'll see lots of tiny Leaf Carrying Ants carrying pre-cut leaves along a piece of rope to some ant friendly destination or other. It's hardly dangerous tight rope artistry, in fact it's a bit like you or me carrying a large leaf across the Forth Bridge but fair play to the ants, they just get on with it without any obvious complaints.  It does illustrate a certain amount of commitment, team work and dedication by the ants which I roundly applaud. I do wonder however about the actual ant political system that runs silently in the background and the methods by which this repetitive labour is organised.

Actual Kit-Kats photographed by me today in the kitchen of our house.
Kit-Kats: Loved the world o'er and particularly in Japan, the humble Kit-Kat is defying (for the mean time) the universal shrinking ray of progress that other sweet treats have succumbed to. You still can get four reasonably sized CHUNKY Kit-Kats for £1 in reputable stores, maybe even in Poundland. This bucking of trends will probably spell economic disaster for the brand eventually but I for one am happy to be indulged by their maverick style and marketing recklessness. Of course they may just be there as loss leaders or perhaps they're just taking the piss out of skinny Mars Bars and puny Snickers which are now so small they'd pass convincingly as Celebration sweeties. I suppose smaller sweets are no bad thing, assuming you only scoff one and stop there. Greedy bastards who eat two where they'd have eaten one need to hang their heads in shame and look out for the great grinning diabetes monster  and likely dental chaos lurking in the dark shadows ahead of them.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Festival Best

There's some kind of big arts festival on in Edinburgh at the moment, quite busy really with all sorts of people attending. Multicultural you might say. Zany in places and generally expensive as well as expansive. A nice day though out for those of us from the sticks used to fences and fields. Just too many things to see and do so I missed a load of photo ops, easily dazzled by everything going on really. I even had to drink water to cool down at one point. People and footfall generate heat. Perhaps that's why the world is hotting up with the warmth of misty global warming coming up from our shoes and armpits rising to the bright heavens where even God himself or herself cannot shield us. There may be other reasons also but don't tell Dee-Dee Trump.

Friday, August 25, 2017

High hopes, rhythm and jam

I also find spelling tricky, words with no vowels are particularly hard, rhythm is probably the worst. How can that first h be correct and why isn't it just rithem or rythm if you want to lock out the vowels? Anyway I always find cheeky chappy guitar god  Jeff Beck  amusing as well as being stunningly brilliant and hypnotically watchable. He seems to be the late bloomer of the famous Yardbirds (or Yyrdbyrds) three pluckers and the most consistent and arguably original player still going. Clapton had a long and purple phase, mellowing out as he aged and got bored. Page burned super brightly but never, ever matched the quality of his early work from 69 to 74 and seems only to be  interested in remastering old tapes and recordings these days. Beck emerges as a plucky and stoical workhorse of a guitar player who has plugged away and grown in style and technique to his current masterful place. He has a quirky, fluid and explosive style that the other two can't really match. OK the tunes are mostly covers and rehashed classics but his take on them is wonderful to watch and better to listen to. The tortoise beats the hare ever time, if it takes a life time. Over indulgent use of coke and heroin doesn't help either. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Four whole days

So, this evening marks the end of a spell of work that has lasted a whole four days. It's a fine, quiet, tired kind of pleasant feeling. Like settling down for the evening on a forgiving couch with a grey goose, a Marmite toasted sandwich and flagon of Choco milk, the one you love and various singing birds and mammals crooning in a pleasant Walt Disney style as the end of day's shadows lengthen and the promise of always more is always more than you might have expected. You fall asleep and dream of great clouds of common sense and brevity floating by but tethered by fishing line that's almost invisible and there are no fish to speak of. Then you play a joke on  the Hebrew God by pretending to create an alternative universe of your own  just to test his sense of humour. Oh how we laughed and how he out smarted us with his new and very serious  version of Hell.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Knitted Bunny

Just a simple, knitted rabbit sitting on a barrel in the Biscuit Cafe in Culross. We were there the other day, Ali had wholesome warming soup and I had a scone with jam and cream. Speaks volumes I guess.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sympathy for Easy Rider

I still have a very soft spot for the old movie Easy Rider, the second X-Rated film I ever saw at the cinema and one that formed up some of my most immature and rebellious attitudes creating a simple world view in my tiny mind. I still have the tiny mind. The first X I ever saw was Midnight Cowboy, it was titillating and funny but I didn't understand much of it. The bridge between age fifteen and sixteen seemed to be a huge gulf in those days, permissions were hard won. At sixteen you could smoke, see Xs, marry an actual woman, get a motorcycle licence and join the Army (well you could do that at fifteen), apart from marriage all these things were hot on my radar once I'd turned fourteen. The demon drink wasn't really tempting me either, how strange.

Everything then was about being old enough or being smart enough or brazen enough to sneak in or around whatever adult managed barrier there might be. It was an age based war of attrition and time would always be on my side or so I thought. I've gotten over all that now, though I was quite excited when I first graduated towards my free travel bus pass.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Herbal remedies from the 17th Century

In the old days painting the ceiling involved a bit more than a can of white emulsion and roller.

Strange views from tiny houses with tiny windows.

A stall of ancient remedies, thankfully I've no 17th century illnesses at the moment.

Quite impressed at the way this Smart has been adapted to act as a mobile coffee stall. Maybe the adaption isn't really permanent but it's an eye catching way to vend coffee.

Culross in Fife is mad about the TV show Outlander, I'm not but I get the importance of it for fans and locals. Crowds gathered yesterday to view the sights and locations and obviously get a little 17th century medicine in the process. We settled for soup and scones from more recent times. Anyway Culross is actually pretty cool, twas a grand day out and we arrived and departed with our haul from the farmer's market and craft staffs on bicycles.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Another fabulous epiphany

Hell's own fiery gateway, designed to draw you into your doom.
It's been a while since I last bought something on Amazon, maybe a month. It was a book about photography that was intended as a gift and was duly given. I'm slowly slowing down in some reverse gear of entropy for browsing buying. I do have a few items languishing in the basket, that tatty receptacle for all double minded and doubtful potential purchases. Those stillborn goods that were never such a good idea or were explored and then shelved following an encounter with a bottle of red or two. The thrill of Amazon has gone (song title anyone?).

Right now eBay is also less of a magnet for uncontrolled shopping, it's still my go to for guitar parts or (?) bargains but some of the thrill of the chase has headed over the hill, auctions are just frustrating really and the sense of criminal competition takes the shine of any "won" item. So maybe, after all these years two things are coming together unexpectedly: (a) that I'm needing less stuff (b) and when I do need stuff I'm less likely to purchase it on line as my default position. 

At the moment the evidence for this is a bit sketchy as if emerging from a sketch. I'm easily led though,  I may lapse and binge at any moment instead of exploring the mean streets and shopping arcades of today's brave new world in all it's shabby and exploited finery, I don't know. The lure of bright shiny things is a hypnotic and insidious brain leveller that can overcome the strongest instinct. I can resist anything except temptation as Oscar Wilde once said, that day in an empty, smoky drawing room  when no one at all was listening.

Those groovy purple pickup covers and control knobs did not buy themselves you know, nor were they gifts from Santa. Twas eBay that found me them via some industrious people in China.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunday Post on a Saturday

Sometime back in the day, in the early sixties, my old mum used to bundle up three or four weeks worth of Sunday Post papers (that's about 3 or 4 papers I guess) and wrap them in brown paper and take them to the Post Office where they'd be sent off to Tasmania. My mum had an old friend in Tasmania she said, but they never wrote to each other, never visited nor telephoned. It struck me as a strange relationship and one I couldn't understand and still don't. It was as if my mum had taken on some obligation, possibly after the war when folks were moving all over the place, to provide these papers to somebody who maybe wasn't really much of a friend or all that interesting, anyway she did it faithfully just the same. 

By return we'd get a single Christmas Card type "Tasmanian Photo" calendar every year, hardly fair exchange in my view, one calendar featuring numerous photos of the Hobart Bridge for fifty two used Sunday Posts. Not a good deal. Still the Sunday Post was my first proper paper to read, filled will prim, parochial and superficial stories and opinions, some news, some kirk propaganda, some sport and of course the Broons and Oor Wullie. It was a strange old fashioned beast in those days, it may be still, I've hardly seen one in years. It almost smelt of a care home or an old lady's sitting room.

Anyway the practice of sending the Post ceased one fine day. A cousin of the lady recipient wrote to say she'd passed away a few months ago, no need to send copies anymore, the dead don't read. And that was that. No hording the papers, no brown paper, no calendar at Christmas. I imagined a huge pile of papers sitting there by her cold fireside in Tasmania, who would claim them now? 

A subtle change had taken place, that paper, with all it's tittle tattle and homespun wisdom suddenly seemed less meaningful. It still came into the house but now it was bundled with the other papers, the Daily Express and the Sunday People, they were rough and shouty, hardly appropriate bin fellows. I just read the centre page comics now, I seldom laughed at them but I studied the characters and the way the strip moved along. I liked the black and white inking and the brutal little Scottish world they exposed. Dudley D Watkins became a kind of quiet hero, one you wouldn't ever brag about. But as for the copies of paper itself, no more international travel across the wide world, sending it's news and sports results to Tasmania a month or two late for some ex-Pat to snooze over. No more backwards time travel or over a blue ocean in a mail sack to an upside down island, no secondhand news, it was over. 

The Sunday Post, as right on as ever.

Friday, August 18, 2017


The informal commemorative plaque reminding us that a cash machine once operated here adjacent to the Post Office that also no longer resides within these fine stones. All built and put together with good intentions but obsolete now.

Dunfermline and the structural decay of the Scottish town, a brief non-history and shallow critique lacking both depth and vision: 

Scottish town centres are headed the way of the dinosaur, they are quickly becoming irrelevant and will soon become extinct. The slow death rattle of the phone shop, charity shop, pound shop, too many competing cafes and paid parking spaces is deafening and the social decay has  become a sad cancer in these once busy and bustling centres. Reinvention is required, space needs to be reclaimed for public use and the zoning policies and blood sucking of rates and values require some kind of amnesty. 

My honest reaction towards being in a medium sized Scottish town centre is wanting to get the feck out as quickly as possible, being there is not a pleasant experience. Buy a birthday card, get a haircut, get home, even the coffee shops are homogenized lumps of dead air and sanitised brownie you wouldn't really want to sit too long in. Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Leven, Alloa, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld once thumping, beating hearts have become dead zones. The blood and energy seeped away a long time ago as we all started to live lives that no longer matched the 1950s town plan or concept. We, the public have been let down by planners and councils who've failed to see the social change, the revised stratification of customers and the on-line retail revolution that now defines how we do things and get our stuff. So the town becomes a haunt for the poor, the disaffected and the oldies. Each group there for their own valid reasons but none being well served by the graffiti walls, crumbling structures and creaking template that holds them. So who, with the right amount of clout, has a plan?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Scenes from a relatively untroubled garden

It's the late part of summer when the fun slows down! The tranquility of the garden is something I find quite difficult to spell and that's very annoying when the Blogger spell checker goes on the fritz, a thing it does regularly. It's a perverse sort of three (or two on a bad day) strikes and you're out rule. I often have to resort to Google for tricky words or proper names or tangential references. Just as well I don't write too much, otherwise I'd be creating files in Word and cutting and pasting and generally faffing in some intense way and building up misspelled clutter. Of course the no faff solution is to type less and use more photos (or four motos if I mistype) and so fill the daily evil peril that is the huge empty white space I see before my weeping eyes that tortures me or is it just those dry and barren contents of my withered soul silently screaming as they writhe in their pit?  The great, deep and  invisible one that I still refuse to acknowledge. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sad about the USA

This cartoon from today's Guardian pretty much sums up how the White House looks to the rest of the world (well maybe not all of it) under Trump's pathetic regime. Sad.

Ways of Seeing

I saw this scary flying pig's head on a wheelie bin today (aka a Devon Pig or a Cornwall Black for those of you who know you're pigs). That's about it really (the side of an industrial bin), I snapped a photo of it and promptly forgot about until I checked my phone back home. Says a lot about digital images and their worth and my levels of concentration. Looking at the image again I'm also starting to see a Cyberman, some kind of Zulu Warrior Mask and the Man in the Iron Mask (by Alexandre Dumas) not to mention a 1920's cartoon character drawn in the style of Little Orphan Annie, not sure of the artist. There's also a bit of Fritz Lang's Metropolis...I could go on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garden like a jungle?

Is your garden like a jungle? If it is then I presume you live some where along or very near to the Equator. Good for you. I hope you've got the various creepy crawlies under control too. Bye for now!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Kingdom of Fife: Daily Photo

A hole in the heavens, seen from the foreshore at Limekilns, Fife.
There was a certain air of tranquility about the Forth Estuary (we never really call it that) last night, the water was a milky smooth creamy kind of liquid and the air was still, no biting, sharp winds from the west, no hypnotic drizzle or heavy cloud. Just floaty woolly cotton and the rays of the sun's end of day run sprayed out across the sky. Peace in our time, unlike so many other places touched by the same rays.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thin man standing

Just some self help books and articles I'm planning to write any day soon:

Why you're watering your house plants all wrong.
Why you're clipping your toe nails way too much.
Why you need to eat more French Toast and change your breakfasting life.
How to succeed in the business world of Bubble Tea.
How to detect the odour of a damaged Samsung phone in a crowded shopping mall (emergency method).
Why you're continually backsliding in your chosen religion and/or philosophical viewpoint but still getting somewhere.
Why you need to review your laundry methodology, frequency and regularity.
Why you can't eat that shit anymore.
What your hot breath and your general demeanor says about you.
Eleven things that they don't tell you about in lists of ten things they don't tell you about.
Ten reasons why you're not a lizard.
How to hold an adult conversation that'll move disputed mountains.
Why you're using Google Maps all wrong.
How to conduct a dignified exit from a room full of trouble.
Why you're second best at most things and terrible at the rest.
Why you laugh like a horse and engage in animal antics.
One hundred ways to correctly hang up a sporting  jacket.
Why you can eat fat but conduct yourself in a completely thin manner.
What your choice of cocktail colour says about you.
You and your best friend's height problem.
The history of why nobody learns anything from history except other people.
The complete works of Harpo Marx and Smirnoff explained in the language of a child.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bubble Tea

A visit to an Eastern/Asian Supermarket is always fun if slightly expensive and possibly results in filling cupboards and shelves with inedible food that will gather dust and rot away over many years...but not this time. You see Bubble Tea has been discovered, tea that has morphed from bubble cocktails (or maybe the other way round), one of them must have come first but I've no idea which. The tea is a mixture/powder that you add boiling water to like a Pot Noodle, then you add/stir in the bubbles from a sachet. Pretty simple really, all you have to do is decipher the simple Korean script. 

The bubbles of course aren't bubbles at all, they are pea sized beads of...tapioca. I've noticed that use of the word tapioca often results in a violent reaction from the listener. It seems tapioca is not cool and is viewed as a kind of school dinner poison and torture device administered by totalitarian regimes that has traumatised generations, apart from me that is. Get over your past folks it's just a weird cereal thingy in a cup. Once brewed (?) you slowly sip the tea and bubble mix through a wide and squeezy straw via a punched out hole in the lid. The taste is basically like tea made with condensed milk, very sweet and milky, the tapioca adds a strange and slightly unsettling consistency that is strangely pleasant...after a while. 

OK I'd concede it's an acquired taste but if, like me you're a little fed up of milky lattes and bitter flat whites and frothy froth that's dressed up as a volcanic Cappuccino  then perhaps it's time to experiment with the other non-bubble bubbles. The teas appear to come in a variety of flavours, none of which I can translate or properly describe but it's still worth a tasty try, particularly when topped of with a green tea filled Panda Chocy Biscuit.

I seems that there are gods who are lonely, who knew? They also make noodle pots and crisps.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday's Optical Illusion

No good day is complete without experiencing a wild and crazy (?) optical illusion of some sort; unending stairways, gravity defying elephants, faces in things etc. Here's one that contains sixteen circles, that's round things in case you're unclear on what you're going to experience. Their eventual discovery (which happens quite quickly) will not change your life in any significant way.

Generally I find the best illusions are those that we have about ourselves: looking clever by putting on spectacles, appearing witty with razor sharp one liners, freedom from underarm BO and sweat, measuring yourself as slightly successful in life because you can drive, having fresh breath an hour after brushing your teeth and being slightly taller than you actually are when in a crowd at a supermarket checkout. The list is not exhaustive. Sometimes I truly wonder where the time goes.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

One happy banana

This little fellow is really happy because today he was not eaten at the prescribed time. He was given a respite of a quite a few hours because I finished work early and so did not eat him at about 1200 as I had planned. His date with my mouth, stomach and intestines was therefore moved forward to around 1600 when he was finally eaten along with a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer and a cup of coffee containing milk that frankly was slightly on the turn but I stubbornly made it OK to drink as I couldn't be arsed cooking up another. I grimaced a little whist sipping it though but I survived (which is more than can be said for the banana) and I was distracted  by a cat. P.S. For the squeamish amongst you at least one banana was harmed quite seriously in the writing of this blog piece. 

Trees:from last evening.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

After long years of searching the lost treasure has finally arrived, in the post, from the USA. I could have used Europe or even the UK but this new imaginary trade agreement means that if you thoughtlessly click on anything on the internet and fail to think through what you're doing then surely stuff will arrive at your home before you can cancel the order or even recall making it. 

By the way when I say "lost" I mean not found easily by somebody like me and when I say "long years" I mean a few moments and when I say "finally arrived" I mean it turned up in three days thanks to the superb US Postal System. This kind of prompt service is so unexpected and peculiar that I wrote it in a song (no it was a blog) but then again #unexpected and #peculiar  are the hashtags that fit best with most of my routine thinking processes. But is it really treasure? Yes it is, of a kind, because it's a rare type of motor car medicine designed to stop the noise of virtual chalk screaming against an unreal blackboard.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Is that...?

Famous historically doubtful uses of the word "fuck" No.99. If you failed to view Game of Thrones this week then this will mean nothing to you. If you did then know exactly what happened next though you will not know the actual outcome or the consequences. That'll all be revealed eventually as it's basically and adult fantasy piece that runs on and on and (famously) contains dragons and ...