Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY success of sorts

My new tiny rig and refitted guitar c/w Roland Cube. Bridge filed and lowered, nut lowered, action now a lot better. Still has an unwound G so tuning remains ropey but a big improvement.

It's back to quoting Frank Zappa; stupidity is surely the most common element in the universe. The whole Papal resignation and general atmosphere of decay and ongoing scandal that surrounds the Catholic Church makes me amazed that any sane person can believe in any of this farcical fairy tale and ritual. Bishops, priests, nuns and all the clergy...what a misguided bunch leading the poor, the needy and the worn out exactly nowhere. Religion must be the only human activity that actually demeans and reduces the worth and the value of the people it's supposed to free and when I meet the Pope's snoozing God at the suicidal end of my Martian trip I'll tell him so. As Bart Simpson said tonight in a well worn Simpson's repeat, "just go suck a Bible!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

End of the pink padlock

Just before wrestling with a large pair of bolt cutters, a pink padlock and a bike I wandered down to the shore to capture some magical light and end of day warmth as the sun sinks slowly into the Lothians. So having taken a photo and freed up a bicycle that was in terrible bondage I feel as if I've come close to almost achieving something today. I think that's a little more than can be said for the Pope, Nick Clegg and David Bowie. I wish a happy retirement to each them and to God; please just carry on sleeping, perhaps it's all just your bad dream.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A brace of bikes and unrelated cat matters

Bikes: Collected another two kids bicycles tonight courtesy of the good people at Gumtree and a willing cash machine. Other than a flat tyre and a locked padlock without a key they seem to be perfectly serviceable. My hope is that one day, if the weather ever picks up into a Springlike Spring or Summery Summer they'll be put to good blood pumping use out on the highways, byways and picturesque local pothole sites.

Cat in a locked room mystery: It turns out that if you inadvertently lock a cat in a room it will try (unsuccessfully) to claw and dig it's way out of said room. I have since discovered that this can also have an adverse effect on the carpet and floor coverings resulting in some battle damage. Once released from the cruel twelve hour prison the cat of course acts as if nothing whatsoever had happened.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arrows mark the spot

Found in the woods out back; a substantial stone marker that shows the old Admiralty boundary at the edges of our garden. For some kind of clarity the arrows point south and west to illustrate the lines of ownership, where you can be and where you can't. All very relevant till the rights-of-way legislation was brought in. It's been there for over 100 years and was covered in ivy and growth, I gave it a quick trim and clean up and invigorating scrape with a Swiss Army knife. I felt it deserved that at least, after being lost, buried and ignored for so long. By the look of it it'll last another 100 years easily enough, I'll let it slowly be smothered once again by the undergrowth, like a character in a Japanese Manga cartoon, absorbed and spirited away by the great green, slow moving carpet that, if left unchecked would cover everything. That's a nice thought. Now to locate numbers 1 and 3 and so on.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The world...

...according to those under three years of age, with a little added parental help just to complete the works.

Here's a crab based collage with natural materials, all possibly presented upside down. Banksy eat out your non-revolutionary, money grabbing, over exposed and now cliched heart out. Art is a tough master and a strict mistress and it's never really about artwork and abstraction is about working out abstract and absurd values and finally the end user/customer stumping up. The rest get ignored.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

L913 PSR

Still life with hats and peep hole.
I spent a large part of today searching for and reading Kevin Ayers' obituaries and catch up articles. Not just another dumb rock n' roll passing but an affecting and engaging one for some reason. Somewhere in those 68 years there must have been a great album made with a clutch of brilliant songs...I just can't quite get to it right now. Kevin lived his life in a mixed up haze of wine, women, heroin and scuba diving whilst residing in exotic and attractive places next to convents and vineyards. Occasionally an album would emerge from the muddled musical haze, OK not quite the lifestyle and model I'm following but...

Wheeler Dealers still obsesses me - from time to time. Tonight's repeat was an F plate BMW325 Tourer getting the once over, the E30 model of course. A marvelous machine. It brought back fond memories of my own, the mythical L913 PSR, black 318 Lux. Long gone and part of a ten year plan that lasted about 18 months. It totally sucked in the snow, the back seat was too small but it loved the Scottish corners and the high speed straights of the Autobahn.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Complex natural structures abound

Above Photos: Nature is great. It does odd, quirky marvellous things, makes complex structures, there right under your nose or perhaps as in this case right up against an old garden wall. Here they are in colour and B&W.

Politics of Ecstasy: If you despair over UK and European politics. neo-liberalism etc. and feel we're going in ever decreasing circles then this is worth a read. Trouble is a South American model like this is unlikely to get much traction here within the conflicting waves of nationalism, right-wing nonsense and the failed  new liberal/labour reinventions with all their dull non-personalities.

Joy of a Toy: Meanwhile I learned today that Kevin Ayers has gone and passed away...ok he was hardly world famous or too young to die but he was, briefly (or maybe for a bit longer) an influential figure. In a low key, lo-fi,  obscure, shuffling, easy kind of way. Quite good and almost brilliant but not really commercial. Glad I'm avoiding the Brits tonight, the other end of the spectrum.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Heaven's Gate

Enjoying whatever the opposite of an Indian Summer at the wrong end of the year might be. Calm and balmy, misty and mysterious and filled with deconstructed pizza and rich red wine at the end of the working day. A possible sair heid in the morning beckons. That and tomorrow morning's Chili Bambi sausages, reasonably priced, hot and sourced from a reputable local supplier.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bare bones and stones

The remains of the old pier, cannibalised and carried away to other places for constructions and creations. Now only the bare bones remain catching the creeping grass,  crawling green seaweed and the odd pieces of tidal debris.

Tesco emails

Food Concerns
Dear Mr Barclay,
Nothing is more important to Tesco than the trust our customers place in us. And that trust depends on the quality of the products we sell.
Since we became aware that a small number of Tesco processed meat products have been contaminated with horsemeat, we have been working flat out to get to the bottom of the issue.
While tests continue, today I want to make a clear promise 
to customers and to tell you about the rigorous processes 
we have put in place to prevent this situation happening again.
Here's my promise: we will set a new benchmark for the testing
 of products, to give you confidence that if it isn't on the label, 
it isn't in the product. And that will be backed up by an industry-leading 
commitment to enable you to find out much more about what's in the 
food we sell and how it's produced.
Let me tell you some of the things we are doing immediately:
I have asked my team to review our approach to the supply chain, 
to ensure we have visibility and transparency, and to come back 
with a plan to build a world class traceability and DNA testing system
We are building a new website, which will enable our customers
 to see the progress we are making with our testing programme, 
and which products have been tested so you can be sure of where 
we are in the process
We pledge that over the weeks and months ahead, we will open up 
our supply chain, and give you more information than any retailer 
has before to enable you to make informed choices about the food 
you buy for your family.
And I am determined that no customer will lose out as a result of the
 testing process we are going through, so from Saturday 16 February
 if a product is tested and then withdrawn from sale, we will provide you
 with a better alternative for the same cost. You can find more details at
 your local store.
This is just the beginning: I am clear that, as the UK's leading food retailer,
 it is Tesco's responsibility to lead on this issue. Our priority right now is to
 complete our testing programme as quickly and thoroughly as possible, because
 people need to have confidence in all Tesco products. In addition, we are
 looking in great detail at every aspect of how products are sold in Tesco and
 at how our relationships with our suppliers become more transparent and collaborative.
Where changes are needed, we'll make sure they are made. And let me be clear  
that this doesn't mean more expensive food - it just means doing things the right 
way, and accepting nothing less than the highest possible standards in the supply chain.
My absolute focus is on giving our customers complete confidence that every single 
product on sale in Tesco is of the highest quality and contains exactly what it says 
on the pack. It's what you expect of us, and it's what we demand of ourselves.
Yours sincerely,
Philip Clarke
Chief Executive

Dear Tesco,

You're a bit too late with this, I'm now getting meat and vegetables 
from my local farm shop, a little bit more expensive but better quality 
and (in one word) trustworthy. Please don't preach to me 
about how you're doing the right thing now. You, and the rest of 
the supermarkets and suppliers should've been doing that a 
long time ago.

Best regards and fuck off.


Saturday, February 16, 2013


Farewell Fraser Drummond. Today was all about you and I feel very proud to have known you. That's it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Anxious cupboard

Therapy: One of our cupboards is suffering from occasional anxiety attacks. It's really not pleasant to see or be close up to. "The path to a clear and stable head and a bright future begins here." Every day I repeat this to the cupboard, I light candles, strum moody minor chords and read uplifting books aloud. I'm sure it will all make a difference one fine day.

Tiger Balm: Yes that's me in the corner, back on Tiger Balm. I have a sore finger, perhaps age induced wear and tear arthritis, perhaps a bad case of Shredder's Finger, perhaps it's all imagined. Anyway the recommended treatment is lashings of room temperature Tiger Balm applied to the troubled area. Does it work? Not sure but it seems like the cats are both finding the exotic odour emanating from my middle digit area quite attractive. My main concern is; will I ever boogie up and down the silver fretboard of  the Great Gretsch White Falcon ever again? Only Tiger Balm knows the answer.

Twitter: In the dead of night last night as the world either slept or was skelped by Soviet meteorites my Twitter account was hacked and burgled by Wikileaks, Anonymous or some other less notorious data burglar or deep seeker of the truth. Not sure why anybody would want to get into my lowly and dull Twitter trousers, unless they are a "Bagger". Yes, somebody who goes somewhere just to say they've been there. Sad really.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Warmly Positive

Pagan Picture of the day: A hairy head of fiery fire as the Warm Witch comes along, rises through the murky sunlit tide and clutches the cold shore, pulling herself inboard into a naked winter wind coastal black out.
February brings the chill: One of those days when every part of the elements seem against us, snow and sleet and flooded roads and ice and really all rather wintery and unpleasant. Shovelling slush is not much fun, it's just ugly snow that's morphed into a dead alien frozen jelly. I should stay away from the keyboard on days like this, unable to find a warmly positive position until I'm home.

Economics: Funny but no matter how much I spend in Tesco (and I spend less than than I did before and will spend even less now that the great Donkey and Equine food scandal is playing out) I always get £5.50 in bonus ball vouchers.

Boys from the Black Stuff: The pot-hole fairy has visited our fine two mile single track Z Class road and deposited deposits of solid road repairing matter into the numerous holes and chasms that opened up in the last few weeks. These spring wrecking, coil bursting, car crashing pits are gone no more to bother and damage us...and will last at least until the next great flood, due this Friday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Through the cat flap

Affected by the damp, damaged by stray H2O, then removed with a screwdriver (+head type), open to the elements, available for any dumb stray cat to abuse, ready for a newly enhanced silicone sealed and resilient alternative i.e. the same old model gunged up and waterproofed with fresh white gunk from B&Q. It still leads to the same old garden however.

Saturday, February 09, 2013


Sweets procured and gifted from the rare and spectacular world of Harry Potter, this is the kind of tasty, sugary thing you get when you exit via the gift shop. Please note that this post is in fact a week late and overdue. I apologise most sincerely to my numerous avid and disparate readers scattered as you are across space, time and the Lothians.

The future

As a distraction from the world's present troubles it's always nice to tune into  a little Sci-fi to check out the future. There's always trouble there. Sure enough in the film Looper time travel and the associated paradoxes and problems occur in that dirty, techy way I quite like. Meanwhile people are still driving around in MX5s and pickup trucks, urban decay abounds, searchlights and helicopters check on everybody, dustbins are always on fire and drugs and violence are commonplace; criminals rule all it seems. I wonder if politicians and businessmen today realise what they're bringing on us? Anyway this is a good film with a good cast and a decent, twisted story. Emily Blunt is surprisingly convincing as a 2040 American.

OK, so they've substituted horses for cows in various food products. We can add the food industry to the long list of bankers, politicians etc. etc. that we can now officially distrust and so in the process all get back on the Fife diet, makes sense to me. Meanwhile, just to get ahead of things I'd like to know what are they using now instead of horse. Beware!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Fraser Drummond

For Fraser Drummond who died today; a wonderful, intelligent, articulate man. A brilliant musician, songwriter, gardener, wildlife enthusiast and guru. One of Edinburgh's finest. He leaves his loving wife Karen and a whole host  of friends who were fortunate enough to know him during his all too short lifetime.
(Photo by Malcolm McLean).

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Plasticine tyres

I seem to have made the almost fatal mistake of fitting plasticine tyres to the peerless family grandad-mobile Volvo. Poor quality boots make an erroneous purchase if ever there was one. These mighty chunks of flawed rubber, installed two Venusian years ago have now sadly expired after a mere 14000 miles, mostly spent in orbit around the planet Fife. That's about the distance from here to somewhere else and that's not far enough and to prove it I have a failed MoT certificate to treasure and possibly frame. In dawn's early light, or at least by tomorrow evening I'll be up at the local Farmer's Auto to get proper replacements. This time I'm going to ensure they're made of the finest quality Pakistani plasticine, hand made from holy-cow dung, vulcanised and baked to sun dried road burning perfection. No more of that British or Eastern European rubbish either, I'm out for the best black circles money (up to at least £54 per tyre) can buy. Long may you run.

Monday, February 04, 2013

More pretentious photos

Saturday past was one of those bright, still and frozen days that used to make up most of winter, typically crisp and almost exhilerating. Those were the old days before endless grey, overcast skies, biting rain and the Coalition Government. Petrol was 74p a gallon, we smoked hot fags, ate square sausage and music was some live and alive thing that it can no longer ever quite be. Anyway as I carried out some outside chores, hauling logs, harassing badgers and shoveling the river-bed gravel I took the photos displayed above. I then shoved them through a battered Fender Twin Reverb, a Coloursound Cry-Baby and a wonky Fuzz Face. The results are my low-toned homage to forgotten winters, the search for warmth and the cold hardness of our neighbourhood elements. All pretty much pretentious enough for sharing on a Monday.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

We need a lot more logs

The log store has now been safely fastened to the wall and so houses  our small but perfectly formed winter fuel exhibit. Clearly we need more rotting, dead timber to complete the piece.
Reflections in an icy water butt #1.
Reflections in a watery butt of ice  #2. 
Reflections in a buttery ice water  #3.
Watery reflections in an icy butt  #4.

It's hard for me to remember a more memorable weekend than this but that's probably more to do with me and my constant battle with age and biology than the weekend itself. It may also be due to the demon drink, the demon vegetable soup, the demon chicken pie, the demon Lego and last but not least the demon Harry Potter Jelly Bean Collection. We have a lot of demons round here but they'll get their comeuppance one fine day. So on watery reflection it's true to say that sometimes things just conspire against you and sometimes they fall into your lap; all warm, lovely and wet.

Weekend Count:

47 wild birds well and truly fed.
1 butcher conversation.
1 farm shop conversation.
2 sleeps.
7 family members catered for.
1 foot dirty with sticky mud (left).
22 Harry Potter Chocolate toads scoffed.
1 squirrel running across the garden.
1 sock lost.
1 dead tumble drier.
1 stray cat assaulted with slipper (left).
1 MoT expired.
2 glasses of Orangina drunk.
12 text messages sent.
43 potholes dodged.
3 potholes driven into.
1 flat barrow lost in B&Q.
4 eggs, 4 sausages, 2 haggis slices and 6 bits of bacon (rashers) fried.
I could go on...

Friday, February 01, 2013

All is quiet

Cats are highly therapeutic creatures for their human companions with their purring and preening and sleeping and doing not much more. Well every so often they fight or jump around but mostly they are oddly serene - and they pass that serenity onto us...a few cats, a bottle of wine...peace in our time.