Friday, November 16, 2018

Couch Potato

I was wandering through the corridors of Dundee University's Tower Building yesterday when I saw this humble, burst and expanding in all the wrong directions couch. It's seen better days. It's really a perfect illustration of Brexit Britain today; used up, worn out, bereft of decent ideas, coming apart at the seems and abandoned by anybody remotely sensible. A couch without a potato. The toxic political landscape seems full of cast off puerile comment, embarrassments and idiotic and spineless individuals who, thanks to a polarized and toffee nosed education system have no idea how anything actually works. Perhaps I'm being tough on this poor couch, all it did was sit there and over time it became the victim. Maybe the couch better illustrates the dreams of Empire that Brexiteers cherish ... a torn, bloated and corrupt idea that's just dead in the water (or the corridor).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fife in B&W

In a pleasant enough, non threatening, guerrilla way this black and white sign has been erected at the west end of Dunfermline. The way you might come if, let's say you were travelling from Falkirk. It's a mild form of territorial pissing so that arriving football fans can marvel at and also be warned at the wonders of what might be achieved not only in signage but in choices made over location and loyalty. I've not yet heard of Dunfermline being referred to as Parsland as if it were some Banksy related artistic venture but I kind of like the idea. No doubt the local fun police will remove it soon enough or it will be vandalized and roundly mocked by rival fans or those who just don't get it. The  choice of location is also interesting, a stones through away from the Carnegie funded "Glen", on waste ground adjacent to a burger van, a car dealership (Kia), a few white vans and some small and semi-permanent business units. Parsland in all it's slightly dysfunctional but proud glory sums up the Fife zeitgeist whilst sporting a custom, hand painted font that owes loyalty to nothing in particular. The artist remains anonymous. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dangerous lifeboat

Big heavy lifesaving boaty thing about to get blasted into the sea in an non-emergency situation solely for training purposes. Good people and the general public need to stay well clear, unplanned events may occur. You passers by and bemused day trippers (sucking on your flat whites and unseasonal ice-creams) have been warned.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wobbly lines


Another day spent in the East Neuk of Fife working, wandering and slurping coffee. Work was slow so I stopped off to visit my father's grave. Not a thing I do very often, I've not been there for a few years. It was Saturday the 10th so I spent a few solemn  moments standing at the spot reflecting on his and his generation's sacrifice in WW2. Moments like these help to put things into perspective. It also opened up a kind of memory valve whereby my childhood exploits and the (many) deceased members of my family were also remembered. Strange little funny stories, minor scandals, family disputes and me, standing here on a blustery November day thumbing through those back pages. I've forgotten so much, the trivia, the trauma and the toffee apples. Faces and voices that are now hard to picture and hear, funny how the evidence decays away. My emotions remained firmly in check however, the subject matter, now viewed backwards over 60 odd years seemed maybe less significant. The tone is duller, time's filter is pretty effective.  Important though it all was it's all a very long time ago and everything has moved on, so I might as well too.
Wobbly lines.

Friday, November 09, 2018

...and another thing

OK, I spilled my red wine on the new carpet, big mistake.

As a result somebody is pretty unhappy about the carpet situation. I admit I'm clumsy.

Still she gets me every time, the only way it should be. It must be love.

Guitar guitar

It's a lot easier than making furniture or running a hot coffee spot but probably a lot less profitable. The other thing is, pretty much any guitar I put together has a series of what I'd call interesting imperfections. That's the "one of a kind" excuse. It's not a proper business, to be one it would have to make actual money, recoup costs that reflect time spent or resources consumed. I know about as much about business as your average Conservative Cabinet Minister...(actually I know a lot more) but that hardly matters. I'm in it for the artistic flourishes I can achieve and technical brilliance I can narrowly miss and of course for the ruinous fun of it all. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Dog fiction

Sir David Labrador in his study in Ontario (1946)
Sad to hear of the passing of Sir David Labrador of Bath & Wells. David was a recognized expert in the invention of dogs and world renowned authority on canine genetics, breeding and anthropology. David's ground breaking work in these fields (and in the woods, along riverbanks and across random football pitches) led to numerous breakthroughs in understanding dog communications and the complex patterns of social interaction that exist within dog societies. David's big breakthrough came when he invented the Labrador in 1939 just after the outbreak of WW2. His "black on black" Lab variant proved to a highly reliable and dependable model for sitting and farting under the desks of alcoholic Army Officers for over 50 years. A commendable achievement. His other notable work was to prove the linkage between Winalot and (what he termed as) a reasonably good dietary balance and the promotion of spiffing behaviour for dogs on a limited budget. David and his family settled in Canada after the war "just see what it was all about" where he held a wooden post in the University of Ontario Kennel Club. They eventually returned to the UK in 1955 in order to reheat their noses. For a short period in the sixties he was Managing Director of Marks & Spencer's clothing division.

David was happily married to Bessie, a chocolate Lab/Collie from Somerset whom he often described as a complete bitch or as he preferred to describe her "an almost complete bitch and canine dictator". They had 16 puppies together, 96 great grand puppies and a whole lot more offspring too numerous to list. David credited the invention of TV and numerous Fanny Craddock cookery programs as the main reason for the curbing of his family numbers and his short spell in therapy at doggy day care. 

In his later years Sir David rested from the complexities of dog breeding and retail and retired to become the Conservative MP for Bristol South West. He served as a junior minister for "Treats and Taxation" as part of Margaret Thatcher's Government. He was outspoken over the issue of electronic chipping and voluntary lobotomies for his breed that nearly brought down the government following the Bonio Crisis. He was also credited as a major contributor to the 1985 Act that once again allowed Cock and Dog fights to be held in Victorian basements all across London provided that flaming torches were used to light the arena. He is survived by a whole breed of reasonably natured dogs and various members of the present UK Cabinet.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Regulations as seen

A real and untouched photo: This sign, of unknown age and origin has been placed high up on the wall of a building but not quite as high as the hydrant symbol and guide. It's located in the popular theme park known as Edinburgh, just outside of Scotland. Presumably the excessive height positioning is necessary to allow the sign to be viewed by all and sundry in the event of a heavy fall of snow, at least 10 feet would be required. This is how the powers that be remind us that they are the powers that are in charge of such things as regulations. I've no real objection to this other than it's small and halfway up a building so looks a bit daft. Perhaps the regulators are just quietly reminding us that they can be a bit daft from time to time. Human even. Anyway nobody passing by can say they've not been told. Including you now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Some things were vague and badly edited. There was veiled criticism and a chilly breeze from the west.
Yesterday was a day of extensive nationwide noodling. From the far reaches of Scotland to the balmy shores and lakeside temples of the rain forests of Watford. On the way wildlife was spotted and exotic food partaken. Travel was by golden chariot both in a southerly and northerly direction with odd spells of east and west thrown in. Two bananas were eaten with little or no fuss and then there was the Land-Rover coffee with a tiny biscuit. The day was not just about food and drink. There was radio, music, chatter, laughter and opinion. There were great feats of engineering and quick but key conversations with vendors and partakers. The weather was also kind if predictable, a key note in the behaviour of British weather. Truly nobody cares about any of that. When I got home I was very tired but pretended to myself that this was not the case. My relaxed attitude fooled no one and soon I was asleep. Another adventurous day in the can, firmly.

Some things were too close and detailed to really matter or be understood as they lacked depth and context.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Hi-vis in low lighting situations

A badly distorted bonfire was the centre of attraction at the Hopetoun House fireworks extravaganza yesterday. The flames could barely contain their enthusiasm and jumped across the black sky to greet us.  Nice woody / carbon smell and safety cordons everywhere, people often behave in a silly manner when confronted by fire. The fireworks, set to a modern pop soundtrack were impressive and not affected by various weather warnings. I concentrated on watching them rather than take even more poor photographs.
In the distance are the various bridges that span the Forth. The darkness reduces them to abstract pin points of light that glow and flicker out and across the water. The water is milky and solid looking, hardly moving and reflecting the cars and buses that pass us by. We trekked in and out by the waterside, very therapeutic. 

Selfies in extreme conditions of darkness seldom turn out well. This one being no exception, Ali is smiley fine, I'm more of an awkward walrus. A decent enough band name if I ever needed to use it which I wont.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Chips, cheese and gravy

Cactus in a Cafe.
Poutine is a fancy term/word/what have you for chips, cheese and gravy: in a Canadian style. The dish is of French origin and is popular in Quebec (apparently). The cheese is actually cheese curds, how different they are from actual cheese I don't know, just a bit more buttery and bland than cheese. Perhaps it's actually just natural stuff rather than the processed cheese I'm used to. Now it seems it's slowly taking Scotland by storm despite the many well established local variations on chips (with just about anything else for a topping) that currently obsess the feeble and fickle Scottish mindset. Gentrification by poutine, a social equalizer and the cheesy answer to all our polarized streets and housing schemes, who ever saw that coming?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The cat returns

After a mysterious four months absence our once regular "stray" cat, known a Twink, decided to return to us the other day. His motives for a visit seem pretty straightforward and honest. Food. He scoffed two tins of premium cat food, a bowl of cat cereal, some chicken breast and a handful of Dreamies. Not a bad score for a regular sized cat. So where has he been all summer? The last official sighting was some time in late June, then nothing till now. That's the way of things with cats. I imagine he's been reasonably happy in his self sufficiency wandering the fields and hedgerows effectively living on whatever game he could catch. Or maybe not, perhaps he's a resident at the nearest village (at least a mile away as the crow flies), reasonably looked after and all that but just likes to explore over a wide area from time to time. We'll never really know, he comes and then...he goes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Back to business

I've returned to the honourable profession of anonymous eBay seller/salesman. I'm putting my soul on the on-line line and my heart in an electronic box. There will be bids and questions, wrapping and excessive postal charges, waiting and more waiting and maybe nothing at all. It's all part of the grim charade of maintaining status and stars in the kick-ass world of on line selling. Not for the soft hearted or the clumsy user of a Stanley knife or large awkward pieces of cardboard. It also involves taking photographs and stringing meaningful and descriptive words together. Then more waiting, clock watching. There's a lot to learn and a bit to lose. I'm hoping to receive a decent offer for the carpet.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Naked blue machine

It's like some terrible Tory advert, a campaign message or a description of Glasgow Rangers fans on the march. It's a  until they investigate the outcomes. Blue isn't really a healthy colour, except for blueberries, grapes and blue cheese. Minority foodstuffs. God made them blue so we'd all just stop and think a little before scoffing them. Our instincts warn us against such folly. Blue is a poison. Today we're blue with the cold as the clocks change  and feeling blue because it's an easy status to describe. Nobody ever feels red, they just see it. Somewhere the hastily penned lyrics of "Axis, bold as love" are calling to my subconscious but I can't quite make out the detail. Nothing modern really makes any sense, not fashion nor fashionable eating. Never did I suppose. It's all been pushed through and processed via some naked blue machine operated and promoted by a Soviet based bot. In the brave new morning we'll jog around the block and beat those winter blues.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Looking for cars

Looking for cars can get complicated, too much choice but actually very little. Web sites and apps, lists of features. Hyped up and cramped up but all black and shiny with interiors and exteriors. Statistics and performance. Things that matter. Choice and toys and the complex but straight forward payment plans where no matter what you choose to do you will lose money. Every car points down a road. Every car promises a sweet free life except for the optional running costs that aren't. The extras and the externals. Top down price up. Price down smell a rat. Everybody wants to make some money from your innocent desire to just roll out there.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Black crow in a blue sky

I saw  black crow in a blue, blue sky. Watching and waiting. Possibly for me to take out my phone and snap a couple of pics, crows are clever for birds and very clever for humans. They see everything we do (that's outside). They like fast food waste, roadkill and worms recently turned up by plows. They refuse to socialize with seagulls and other less intelligent types of bird. They are brave, a little reckless but always alert and on the look out for an opportunity. They are bandits and heart breakers but... and that's about all I know on crows.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

East Neuk Daily etc.

Still life with bird, shells and salvaged cactus plants. No significant meanings deduced so far.

The Bill O'Ness or the Billowness or even the Billy Ness. I'm not sure. The scene of much childhood exploration on my part, now more or less paved over and padded up for safety and comfort by the local golf course.

Anstruther harbour seen from a safe distance close to the site of the former "Regal" cinema. A cinema so close to the water that life belts were issued to the audience during showings of the Cruel Sea and Exodus. My mum's ashes were also scattered here a few years ago. The water has done it's job and there are no traces left.

I inadvertently walked into an unsigned black and white zone specially created for older people. Yeah that's how life appears when you're looking backwards.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lego Daily Photo

Niagara Falls - detail.

The Grand Canyon - detail.

The Hoover Dam - detail.
Pretty much anything and everything has been converted to Lego by now so these worlds are easily recognizable and familiar. Despite that they are still (for me) highly engaging and fun and I admire the skill, dexterity and imagination that creates them. Nice to get up close to these exhibits, three of many currently on display in the ancient heart of Stirling Castle oddly enough.