Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not animated

I'm not animated (anymore), I'm busy. In a new (to you) house it's tough to start knocking holes into walls, it seems one brave and crazy step too far. Plunging into the unknown, not sure what materials, pipework or electrical cables lurk behind the wall, so it's a bit of a rough baptism once you start making the holes and naturally once you do, finding that it's just the same as any other house. Solid in some places, hollow in others.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The community of isolated societies

The tank before we moved it.
And so it came to pass that the old oil tank moved from West to East Fife. Having never tried to move an empty oil tank before I was unsure as to how easy it would be. It turned out not to be easy at all and I was glad I'd warned the buyer by text to "bring a mate". He did but it was bigger than a simple three man task, indeed getting the tank from the garden turned out to be much more of a Laurel and Hardy slapstick experience than I had imagined. There were slips, trips, not so comic quips, minor injuries, puffing and blowing, bad ideas and better ideas. I was for a time reminded of Herzog's epic film Fitzcarraldo where a steamship is pulled through the Peruvian rain forest for some bizarre reason to do with growing rubber trees. So (despite the rain and a nearby forest) we clawed our slippery way across the lawn, across a stone wall, through the woods till we reached a track where the pickup truck could pick it all up. By the not so romantic light of wind up torches the task took an hour. As I waved a fond farewell to the injured and exhausted new owners there were tears in my eyes, yes I was in that much pain. Now to hose down the spilled kerosene and repair the various bits of minor environmental damage. Another happy day here in isolation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The isolated society of communities

The simple and useful utilitarian bathroom shower, easy to install and easy to use...most of the time. Here in the isolated society of not so isolated and wanna be isolated communities the affixing of a new shower bracket is always a fun activity. The critical part being drilling into stubborn bathroom tiles. Ours appear to be in their second career, their first one clearly was as armour plating on a Tiger Tank. And so it was that after much drilling, swearing, more drilling, a lost chuck key and more swearing the auxiliary shower bracket and associated packaging conundrum puzzle was finally solved. Naturally I celebrated with a peach/banana and yogurt smoothie...Italian style. Now I'm away to the fair city of Glasgow to rescue my brood from the clutches of those cheeky and noisy Canadians the ever lovin' Crystal Castles.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The society of isolated communities

The Mutual Aid Society for Isolated Communities held it's first pizza and salad meeting today. Thanks to a generous imaginary grant from the Scottish Government we hope to be able to fund a few essential services sorted around here:

Road surface repairs, extended parking, regular bin collection, a "confuse the Groc programme", retaining wall building works, the digging of field drains, climate change (in the right direction), a Chinese lug worm farming project and a beer and venison based BBQ event (monthly).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pimp my X Wing

Star Bores: We got my grandson a birthday Lego X-Wing (8 years + and he's just turned 8). Not sure how long building it will take but we're looking at an hour and half construction time at least , maybe more. I'm posting this just to prove I'm big hearted enough to forgive the mandarins and bean counters at Disney, Lucasfilm, Lego and even the Flying Burrito Brothers for whatever offence was taken at my Darth Vader Red Bubble photo earlier this month. Lego is still fun and small boys still like Star Wars so I'll suck it up.

No Steak Bake: Today's main mercy mission (apart from delivering the X-Wing) was to drop in a vital, life saving consignment of some Stephen's Steak Bridies for the eager and hungry in the far away land of Aberdeen. I hope they were appreciated and that the parachute wasn't too entangled in the tree.

File under food related: As if determined to play havoc with my cholesterol and monk like healthy diet those entrepreneurs in our local M&S have installed a fresh bakery that's full of fresh bakery products and wonderful smells and aromas. So much so that you don't just want to buy the bread, you want to buy the whole shop and anything else for sale in the surrounding area. Curse you, you capitalist and nice smelling bakers.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

London - more daily photos

Under London's Guildhall there's a Roman ruin, an amphitheatre with the bones and stones preserved below the streets above. A wooden sewage pipe ran through the middle but the wooden sewage has gone,  nowadays Tron like figures pose and the great British public ponder the past.
Close up of the virtual Roman Trons punching each other out and celebrating. Strange days.
South of the river, the Shard shines brightly at 2300hrs.
North of the river, St Pauls is warmly lit up for  the  cold November night. 
Breakfast by the Tate Modern building site at Fratelli's coffee shop.  Outside street incidents and accidents abound, a fascinating place to sit and slurp perfect coffee and expensive but tasty yogurt.
Just back from a highly enjoyable 36 hours in the Smoke. Celebrating EH's graduation at the royal ans ancient Guildhall with pomp and circumstance, eating twice cooked chips, swilling and swallowing wine and water, transporting giant umbrellas, using ceramic speech balloons, experiencing a 7am hotel fire alarm, queasy noisy flights and marvelling at the scope and convenience of the Oyster Card. Back home in Scotland and the rain water is running from the fields, down the hill and past the front door. Inside we clear windowsills and prepare for more improvements. Mudslide slim and the blue horizon indeed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A new and more optimistic era

Whether it was the thirties, the sixties or the eighties,  every so often people believe that "now" is their time, their moment, the best and most opportune of times. I think I've experienced that feeling, briefly, a while ago but not right now. That's not to say I feel bad about things or pessimistic, it's more the languid settling into an acceptance of things being just as they are, whatever that means and making the best of them. Like frying up leftovers and making Bubble and Squeak, again and again but with different seasonings. Drinking yesterday's wine, making do and being content in your borders. Recognising the viscosity of the cycle of things, nobody really learning from their mistakes, the stubborn and stupid denials of leaders...the stiff inevitability.  So the Israeli army are bombing the Palestinians, for the rockets, the rhetoric and reprisals. The USA still backing the diamonds of Israel's traders and the neighbouring shattered states rattling sabres and getting ready to be sucked into or capitalise on the events as a diversion. Always an opportunity in there. The trouble is that nothing will fix this primitive tribal religious friction, the squeeze will continue as Israel moves down a twisted path believing their own obscene destiny as God's one time chosen people, though they dare not confess it to a watching and muddled world. They see this as their (next big) moment and that is their biggest flaw.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Some funky shower

I rather like the photo I took the other day of the new shower unit at Creg-Ny-Baa holiday cottage situated deep in the heart of Fife. You can stay in this cottage and use the funky new shower (for a reasonable fee) if you just click on the Alison's Scottish Cottages link on the right and make a booking. Simple as that.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We live here - ish

Lunch time view from the kitchen. 
Lunch time view from the kitchen - close up. 
Yes, she's a rainbow.
Weeks later: Still busy with the last stages of the house move, we tied up, dusted down, unmopped and surrendered old Abercorn today. We walked away in the grey drizzle and failing light and that was that, five years later or something and the keys pushed through a letter box in a brown envelope. We came home and scoffed pasta and chicken and sadly a stray rainbow crashed into field just up the road. I don't think anybody was hurt in the incident but there was a fair amount of wine consumed and the colours started to blur. All that led to the question "would cheese chocolate cake be as good and socially acceptable as chocolate cheesecake?" I'll never know. Tomorrow the chimney sweep comes at the crack of noon, just before the American Grand Prix begins so I'm brushing up (?) on my Dick Van Dyke jokes and Mockney accents, easy peasy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Return of the cats

The cat's (Missy and Clint) first few moments exploring their new environment in a different and foreign  house. There was a lot of scuttling, stretching, sniffing, scratching and eventually purring as they gained confidence and their bearings. The bright starry night was a big help. So their organised incarceration will now last for a few days before we unleash them on the neighbourhood moggies who furtively sneak past the windows staking their temporary claims to paths and gardens. Much chaos and hissing is likely to ensue once released.

Banned by Disney

If offended by this image then please contact Mr M Mouse & Co.
The Empire Strikes Back: I got an email today from a web site where the above photo (taken by me in John Lewis' Edinburgh) had been on display. No much of a photo really, a Lego Darth Vader store display that has hardy created a storm of comments or interest. Anyway it turns out that the owner of the "image", presumably Disney these days, has complained to the Californian website where my picture has languished for the last couple of years. Apparently I shouldn't have put it on display belongs to them.  Well then Star Wars fans, look out for your future, Disney is eager to hold onto all parts of it's new investment and as part of a key marketing strategy my image has been quietly removed. Of course I've replied and told them where they can stick their Lego Star Wars, lumpy bits upwards or sideways. May the force of nothing in particular be with you, this doesn't auger well for the future of the franchise.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rewiring an atomic bomb

Or a TV, Sky box or DVD, it's all the same really, red to red, green to green and blue to smithereens. If you're lucky or technically competent everything will work eventually one fine day.

Out and about and shopping for mug racks and beetroot (which I forgot to buy) I saw my first Christmas trees and other appalling seasonal tat on special offer of course, defiantly on display in the spirit of oafish capitalism and ignorance and asking for the fully Molotov Cocktail treatment, another fine day. Their rough brainwashing process is failing on me, thankfully. I'm no longer angry, I'm indifferent and elsewhere.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Still life with stepladder

Flit: Uneven, empty rooms and stained floors, dark and light wood, marks on walls and the brief, fading, intense tattoos we leave as we pass through the cobweb that is our bit of history. Been here, been there, got tangled, laid down and slept and then slid into a new version of this mobile freedom that takes us across the water; elsewhere. We always cross the water, symbolic and cleansing, temporary invasion that turns into settlement and an arm stretched out to find peace and meaning. So we are not here but there and everything is falling into place as if the past never happened.

James Bond- Skyfall: Quite a good movie (needs an "e" in Sky to make complete sense), takes the mind away from shelves, boxes and house moves. James is impossible, wounded, drunk and strong and unbelievably Scottish. Secrets and special effects make the action pass quickly to the tune of B&J's strawberry cheese cake ice cream and there is a good baddie to disconcert and hold in some fresh nightmare. Not a bad cinema outing for those who find loose ends useful. Take some tea with you and mind those steps on re-entry. You can also purchase your Hobbit tickets now, never thought I'd say that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hidden Souls

Farewell Abercorn: The big move and most of the clean up is over leaving the house a bit of a sterile and empty husk, dry and abandoned with it's own personal ghosts, our spirits have roamed and moved on. Some others will re-engage with the house some other time but not us.

Meanwhile I was so busy on the house clearing I forgot Remembrance Sunday's 11:00 silence, usually I observe a few moments for my Dad, a young sailor at sea from 1939 till 1945 and his best friend who went down with HMS Hood. All so long ago. I learned from him the importance of remembering I forgot.

Friday, November 09, 2012

We once lived here

Here it is, the grand old house where we lived for more than five years bathed in the watery rays of a short lived November sun. Now we've moved on and beyond and the old ranch will hopefully have new and happy inhabitants. Today's two van, two car furniture move went remarkably smoothly (but a few weeks of planning and shuttle runs of prized possessions had taken place) and we're in, The Sky and BT Broadband are both working and only umpteen cardboard boxes remain to be emptied. Tea? Prosecco and fish and chips. A hard wired cooker and other utilities to follow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Unrelated rodeo

Moving house is hard work, as is real work. Both of these things are happening right now and are unavoidable and I can't be bothered to cook. What better then than an occasional extra protein and junk booster meal, it's time to return to Burger King for the Rodeo BBQ and a cheeky wee latte.

Monday, November 05, 2012

All power is...

USA: Is the tide rushing in or rushing out? Over here in the European backwoods and mother of parliaments the USA Election looks to be a peculiar and frankly distastefully undemocratic spectacle. Hysterical supporters chant meaningless  slogans and invest disproportionate amounts of faith and belief in flesh and blood politicians who they expect to improve their common lot, someplace in the future. Like some crazy Middle Eastern funeral passionate people throw themselves at unworthy saviours and swallow media driven soundbites  as if they were divine and profound utterances. Money pours down a star spangled drain of rallies and events, buttons and banners and wall to wall TV commercials. Ugh! It's all  an ugly piece of human circus and the lowest level of distorted and disfigured politics. A broken system relying upon fickle swing States and a belligerent and hostile congress that ultimately must be wrestled with and tamed. Meanwhile the poor, the needy and the ignorant look on from hurricane shelters and housing projects. All power is tyranny...sometimes.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Birdhouse in your soul revisited

Part of the great house moving experience: Moving the bird house(s). In this Kansas blue variety (that nicely matches the Provence blue of the new house) we found this sad little abandoned egg sitting alone  in a very well constructed and cosy nest. The hard work of nest building had unfortunately come to nothing, out there in the wild it can be tough raising a family. I also suspect that one of our cats may well have had a paw in the demise of the egg's parents. We'll try again in our new location come the spring.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Movin' on up

Cheese and chocolate melted back up tapes (remember them IT Guys?), a tasty and hot snack after  the afternnoon exertions of dumping the old cooker.  Nigella eat your heart and soggy middle out.
View from a car-wash. The clean car lasted about 12 hours.
One quirky, watery moon over West Lothian, one of the last we'll see before all the fireworks and passing grocks obliterate things.
We're frantically packing, boxes and trugs are everywhere, stuff is sorted, discarded, punted, picked and slowly transported.  It seems we've gathered and  imagined numerous possessions. Things unseen since the last move appear as if by magic and remind us of what we didn't do or forgot. It's a fascinating time. Dismantling the trampoline, unbuilding beds, doing those well avoided odd jobs that take little time anyway. Then before the crunching back ache takes hold we slump back into the warmth of the remaining couches and watch the bare walls and the Saturday telly and consider turning blood to alcohol. Tomorrow we're back for more, packing and revision, relentless laundry, fiddly allen keys and bunks and melted cheese on chili...oh and wet and muddy football somewhere.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

More banana

I took a banana to Birmingham and brought it back uneaten...kicking the can down the road. Eating an apple in the airport...leaving the bath plug in when showering...warm feet on a cold day. Hot pasta with torn chicken...reading Kindle prose and packing stuff into cardboard boxes.

It's slowly occurring to me that common blogging is fading away, as if someone had thrown a cup of water on a witch, moved on to other things, other methods, other social media, other worlds.