Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Human traffic

impossible songs

The feeling of not knowing where you are going but being aware that you are heading (led?) in a certain direction.

The loss of precious time and not being in control.

The soap suds running between your toes, along the shower bottom and down the drain.

Eating sausages, beans and fish cakes and calling it turf n' surf n' company.

The remembering of things passed and past.

Confusion caused by repeatedly mis-reading a series of signs and acting on them.

Far away rain that never falls, stays in the distance and hovers over higher places.

The last day of April and the first day of May.

Asking for the thing you really want and being surprised when you get it.

A jumble of words and ideas that travel around inside of your head and come out in the form of a song after a long period of time.


Every moment can be a tipping point moment.

Sitting for a long time in an uncomfortable chair is better than wearing tight shoes all day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My left foot switch

impossible songs

It was a nice weekend for the most part. Saturday was spent all day in all of Aberdeen mostly. Swimming with kids, bacon rolls at Brechin, a tea-party for a grandchild's birthday in the afternoon and then buzzing back down the A90 both conserving and wasting petrol by dodging the numerous speed cameras. Back on the couch with pizza and wine at 10 to watch an annoying episode of Dr Who set somewhere near the present day. I always feel short changed by these episodes, no proper time travel just another alien threat that manages to avoid any serious media exposure. I mean can you imagine how the media would react to an actual alien invasion, particularly on a slow news day. I don't much care for the regular contracted BBC cast of over exposed Londoners either, (it's better than Cardiff mind you).

Sunday allowed us a little recovery, after the regular Sunday morning football it was time for a lengthy potter in the strangely sunny garden: Cleaning the BBQ, stacking logs, hammering nails into things and rearranging the garden furniture back to where it was before we started rearranging it, though it does look a lot better where it is now. The cats chased bees which I hoped they would not catch, then gave up and disappeared into the hedge, a large and unique wildlife reserve in it's own right. No carnage was reported and we pottered some more until we grew hungry. A few drinks were consumed and by eight we were comatosed on the couch in from of a flickering TV screen. On Monday the rain began.

Also on Monday my new foot switch arrived heralding a rare outing for my flight case full of odd pedals and guitar related stuff. I fiddled for two hours and an understanding the basic layout of the fretboard is beginning to return.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Their greatest hits

impossible songs

Strange how listening to the past can be an effort. The greatest hits of Jefferson Airplane is not any kind of an easy listen. The music is often tuneless, with half baked songs, lyrics that are shouted rather than sung, harmonies that are clunky and two fingered guitar solos played through gutless amplification. Of course there is something else going on that I like (not just the nostalgia), I think it's the feeling and the anger but some of the material is hard labour on the ears. The quieter, acoustic stuff ages a little better, a lesson there for us all? Whatever nobody ever had cooler sunglasses and a better bass sound than Jack Cassidy and Grace Slick can wail with the best.

The fuel crisis has meant we've had no heating oil (so no heating) all week. The crisis was however self inflicted as we managed to run out prior to the real crisis and then had to wait for delivery and then for the plumber to bleed the system. Now we are bled (8.30 tonight) and hopefully warmer.

Favourite things this week:

Wooden Ships by Jefferson Airplane.

Bacon and eggs, toast and brown sauce.

Looking at but not using the new wheelbarrow.

Fires that stay lit.

The New York skyline.

Three days to eat an Easter egg.

A paperback.

Fixing a long time buzz on the 13th fret of my Antoria.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dr Pepper Breakfast

impossible songs

Today's breakfast of choice was a can of Dr Pepper and a Mars Bar consumed alfresco at the Pitreavie Playing Fields in Dunfermline under a pale early morning sky with a fierce East wind slapping me in the face. However the accompanying football match had a good outcome, 4 - 2 in our team's favour. Not a bad start to the day.

Soon it was time to purchase a new wheelbarrow so I headed of to the local B&Q and acquired a nice mid-range model. The great thing is that when you buy a wheelbarrow, you don't need a trolley, you just wheel it around the store, clip a few heels, then through the check out and deposit it into your car.

Home via a fast food outlet (coffee break) and straight into the garage to attempt to start up the ancient, cranky lawn mower. It has been in hibernation for a few months and was pretty reluctant to start. After much futile pulling on the starting cord, sweating, swearing and a sore shoulder I removed the spark plug, cleaned it with a Swiss Army knife , sprayed WD40 here and there and tried again. It roared into life complete with a complaining cloud of blue smoke and a shower of dust. Together we ploughed across the garden narrowly avoiding a collision with the wheelbarrow and some solar lights. The garden has at least now been attended to this year (apart from one failed bonfire) and I felt fulfilled. It also helped that yesterday the kids and I rebuilt the trampoline, straightened the battered poles (Winter gales to blame) and thanks to numerous cable ties put the safety net together (correctly this time). Never forget that it is those same cable ties that keep the space shuttle flying, Disneyland functioning and also hold together much of the USA's nuclear deterrent. Cable ties are a vital invention that should not be over looked, they might just save your life, so keep a few handy.

Thanks to the limited West Lothian oil crisis we're heating the house using alternative fossil fuels, though the fossils all look a bit like coal to me and I know for a fact that the logs came from a petrol station so they are not fossils at all. If fossils did actually burn they'd be quite useful instead of being boring lumps of stripy rock that clever people seem to think were once rubbed on by fish or prehistoric snails. Most seem to end up as paper weights or under glass in a museum and are not used to fuel anything. It's a shame that they don't have a dual purpose. Of course in the future all that will be found to reveal our superior way of life with be the snipped ends of cable ties under a layer of Tesco bags.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pot holes v speed bumps

impossible songs

The road building, modification and repair strategy in South Queensferry (and other chunks of the blessed UK banana republic) leaves me puzzled. Understandably speed bumps have been installed close to schools, pavements, houses and the resting places of dead squirrels. These creations slow traffic down and reduce the value of your car and any life remaining in it in the same unpleasant process. So the traffic is calmed, the drivers are irate but all is almost safe (unless you ride a motorcycle). However as time passes these fine roads and their bumps deteriorate until they resemble the surface of the moon, so providing a less than soothing, undulating and mostly awful experience to road users of all types.

My suggestion to resolve this pattern of chaotic road conditions is to dig up the speed bumps and deposit the surplus material into the pot holes thereby at least getting us back to a basic position of having roads that are all on one level. I think the Romans had this idea first and it is a good one. Speedfreaks, Subaru drivers and nutters should, after 12 penalty points get their left pinkies removed with a Stanley Knife. If only everything in life was so simple.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Santa Maria

impossible songs

We're playing at Jim Igoe's Secret CD night on the 7th of May. First live anything in about three months so we may start to practice any day or weekend now. It's a 30 minute slot along with Rosie Bell, Fi Thom and David Ferrard. This (from the outside) unproductive life is possibly on the verge of being productive once again, when we get the garden right.

Today at work I avoided coffee, my coffee maker was away and I survived on a can of diet Irn-Bru, a cup of tea and two cups of chilled water. Remarkably there were no blinding headaches, sneezing fits, spots before the eyes or attacks of the spider monkey chills. I did find myself staring into space or was it the BBC website?

I know that my holiday has done me good: I do not feel the need to rant, either inwardly or outwardly, I am tired at times but in a normal way and I've not put on any weight or developed any rashes or ticks. Time to book the next holiday I think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

So long and thanks for all the dolphins

impossible songs

Not too tedious a day today as I returned to work after two weeks in the sun, snow and the strange, thundery and wet weather of Aberdeen. The Algarve is now a distant but pleasant memory, grandchildren are elsewhere clutching dinosaurs and tractors and children are back at school mining for gold. Older children are busy making their way in the world and generally doing fine. I'm eating more than my fair share of chicken, Ali's home made bread and the pecan and raisin loaf that you can buy from the M&S petrol station in South Queensferry. I have recently had some red wine also, for the benefit of my health and well being of course.

Other things:

I wish I supported Queen of the South.
Enchanted is not a bad film if you've nothing else to watch.
The Eels make interesting music but not eating.
A dead wood pigeon in the garden - killed by various cats.
Sunday newspapers on a Monday.
Little pots of fruit parfait lined up in the fridge.
The sweet mystery of life and love and staying in bed.
Sticking pins in your windscreen washer jets and seeing where they may squirt.
Odd, unscripted bits of random cookery dished up to guests.
Pop Tarts for breakfast.
A birthday party in Aberdour with Spanish salad and prawns.
Filling road potholes with ashes from the fireplace.
Cakes in dreams and dreams in cakes.
Apple pie and custard in reality.
Reality in all it's forms - pleasant and not so. It needs to be faced up to.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fish flags

impossible songs

A short list of various things done and experienced:

Saw the Spiderwick Chronicles.
Clean jeans tramped over by a muddy cat.
Realised that there is much to be done.
Couldn't get the bonfire to light in the rain.
Shopping in Livingstone.
Harry Ramsden's fish and chips.
Liverpool v Arsenal.
Grandson staying over = dinosaur youtube searches.
Moved the shed back with only minimal injuries sustained.
Pestered by cats when typing.
Frying eggs.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My favourite sardines

Skate fillet from "Julias'".

impossible songs

Sardines from "That Shack".

impossible songs

Oily fish, garlic, potatoes and a glass of wine, eaten and enjoyed on a warm Portuguese afternoon and at no time did a bone stick in my throat. That didn't happen until I ate my second plateful a few days later, the antidote to this problem was the simple application of bread and butter washed down with a bottle of red wine, some Superbock lager and nine hours sleep and "hey presto!"no fish bone, just a mild headache and the memory of a tickle. Seafood consumption is not without it's problems, try the spaghetti and clams if you don't believe me.

We rented a car that was amongst other things "sixty day blue" from a company called Thrifty. It was a Renault Megane estate. Thrifty were not the most attentive or punctual of hire companies - the first car they offered us (also in sixty day blue) was all bashed up and had a broken mirror, I thought at first they were having a laugh but they were serious. We got serious also and got another car.
("Sixty day blue" is a trade term for a certain colour of vehicle that will remain on a used car lot for approximately that amount of time before it eventually sells).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Skull City

impossible songs

impossible songs

The picture is of a roof covered in human skulls and bones in a small chapel in Faro, Portugal. They do things differently there, I can't imagine this idea catching on in Scotland as means of coating and protecting the ceiling of the kirk. It certainly would appeal to the young (Goths) and older, darker, left of centre types however. Perhaps I'm somewhere in that number?

We've just returned from a week in the Algarve so the next few posts will feature pictures of sardines, hills, beaches and holiday scapes of sorts, so today, just to get myself adjusted to normal home life I ventured outside and painted the shed, in the rain.