Sunday, March 31, 2013

Feline Alerts

I don't really understand much about inter-cat relationships but they appear to be complex and full of pointless territorial moves. It's all a daft puzzle to the innocent human. Our two now seem to have been accepted into the local cat society but there still is feline friction of sorts, on most days. This boils down to:

a) Standing off - keeping a safe distance and scowling at the other cat like a cross OAP.
b) Being oblivious - that is until some space invader tipping point is reached.
c) Howling - usually a low, plaintive moan where the cat sounds genuinely disturbed.
d) Snarling - not a proper snarl really, more of an angry meow.
e) Spitting - again pretty feeble with not much spit ever coming out.
f) Sitting in the place where the other cat just peed or pooped, no idea what this is about.
g) Running madly for the home cat flap - when items a - f have run their course.

Lastly there is showing off. The cat next door jumped up into a tree to attack two Wood Pigeons innocently procreating.  Our two looked fairly puzzled by this and were I suppose pretty much intimidated by the show of speed and aggression. The pigeons didn't mind much and resumed their activity on a higher branch on another tree. No animals were injured etc. etc.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Impressions

11:05 Good Friday, on the Fife Coastal Path. 
23:05 Good Friday, about 10' away from the Fife Coastal Path. (Still life with chocolate)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Torx keys

“Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right. I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles – a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other – that kept me going.” 

Now that I've got my Torx keys none of that shit really matters.

P.S. Anything worth having is worth stealing...

Winter Easter

The new Winter that is Easter is upon us. Time once again to stock up with those religious icons, chocolate eggs and badly designed bunnies. All highly appropriate items with which to commemorate another misunderstood Christian festival and the ongoing extended ice-age. Children rejoice as the schools break up and the first big public holiday traffic jams begin to form. I'll head out into them shortly for a family bucket of miscellaneous eggs and their supporting cardboard constructions.

Later, as usual at this point in my life,  I'll spend a long time reading clever comments and views expressed and rehashed on the Guardian and Independent web sites, a pale representation of an actual ink and snot newspaper. Writers and journalists are regularly outraged and upset, it's their job to be. They question all sorts of things and offer alternatives and vent their angry spleens in order that we can understand the "issues". Each well written contribution buried by the next link, or blog post or photo montage. There is an avalanche of opinion out there collapsing on the poor average, bemused middle aged mind that cant quite take it all in. Which one should I support, care for and then worry about? Their noble arguments and musings build, turn and inform, then as quickly as they were posted they are swept away and lost forever by more words and more cyber-snow. There's always another, better, newer story to come.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Home truths

It takes an unknown number of wild birds 2.5 days to consume 1 litre of seed from an Orangina bottle.

The kind of snow we are current getting would not be considered snow at all beyond the Arctic Circle.

The last quarter of fuel in the tank goes down quicker than the first quarter.

The current Coalition Government would probably get their just reward in Hell if there was such a place.

There is no point in trying to postpone the inevitable.

The clocks may change this weekend but people won't.

Log fires require a lot of attention if they are  to stay burning.

The proper tool is at the bottom of the tool box. (If it's not it's somewhere in the garage.)

The dishwasher misses bits.

Potholes are almost always avoidable but you may stray across the white line while trying to avoid them.

Nobody notices your odd socks (unless you brag about them).

A cup of tea is appreciated and savoured more than a cup of coffee.

Recycling Coke cans can quickly get your fingertips lacerated.

A hours sleep before midnight is about the same as an hour's sleep afterwards.

The Channel 4 news on Channel 4+1 is just the same as the original. Does nothing ever happen in that hour?

Monday, March 25, 2013

When art attacks

An unexpected attack of mirror themed artworks has taken place in our humble home. I am looking into the matter and (with the appropriate amount of fake gravitas and wistful signing) reflecting on this phenomenon. More examples to follow as soon as the mirror paint is cured and fully dry.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cars & cats

World's greenest and shortest driveway. 
Note abandoned and suspicious fuel can. What's been going on?
A day of multiple jumps starts and high engine revving incidents as we scooted across the country lanes and nearby cabbage fields. At times up to four cars were moved around in sequence by a team of expert volunteers (and then there were numerous bicycles threaded across an unforgiving area of tidal dog turds). When the catering team finally got into gear it was all change and I for one had more than my fair share of wine, olive bread and anchovies. Everything else is a bit of a blur except for the super cheesecake and fresh fruit salad.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

40 years on

So it's 40 years tomorrow since Dark Side of the Moon hit the record shops? I do remember the day. My own favourite was this one, mainly the two sides that were recorded live, but that's all much more than 40 years old now. Share your memories, if you will,  here. Or at least on where ever the link may take you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Alternative photo

Disappointing alternative photo.
Today's photo extravaganza should really feature a cat perched precariously on a branch at the top of a spindly tree whilst another (possibly hostile) cat circles the bottom of the same tree looking up occasionally. This is happening in a light snow storm at 7AM on a grey Friday morning in our back garden. Of course the moment I tried to sneak out in order to capture this daft natural occurrence on camera both cats bolted across the garden and away into the distance to pursue their other secret adventures. You will  just have to use your imagination I guess.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Take me back to the Stone Age

Useful things not properly used: So who says what it and what isn't their proper use? Who defines useful and rewards it and sentences that not so useful to be useless? Who measures the boundaries between those two nebulous points? That is if such a boundary exists in the first place. Meanwhile small groups of people develop more and more useful things. A larger group of people then make and build those useful things and ship them out all across the world. A huge group of people are told that they should want these useful things. At first they are a little puzzled but intrigued, then they take the bright shiny bait and suddenly want those useful things. They purchase the useful things thanks to the wages they earn making other useful things.   Once they have the useful things and use the useful things  they quickly get bored with them. It seldom occurs to them that they don't really use up much of the capability or power within the useful things.  Then, one day the useful thing is superseded by another more useful thing. The people decide they want that thing, then they think think that they must have that thing. The old useful things are discarded, thrown away, scrapped or lost somewhere. They are in a big pile nobody ever sees. The people have bought into the idea of the next more useful thing by now anyway and go and get it. Meanwhile a very very small group of people are making a very large amount of money from the design, manufacture and sale of the useful things. They recognise that these things are useful but they know that the larger process and cycle that they operate is much more useful than the useful things ever could be. And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Everything between

Sorted and plagiarised potential album cover.
Despite having various hi-tech tools at my disposal and reasonable brain I tend to fill my pockets with crumpled little yellow stickies upon which are scribbled various instructions, reminders, shopping lists, lyrics, PINs and passwords, all for my attention. Today's pocketed batch read like some random nonsense poem from an alien place and of course which one is which? Not much makes sense to me, here they are:

Torx screwdriver or allan keys
Link Calum Storrie F1 website
Picture Frames?
Put them on Gumtree tonight
Sitting on the stair
Staring into space
Thinking on your words
Picturing your face
Coffee for work
Card or voucher?
Porsche archive 986 FAQ
Do the Gelaskins thing
Birdseed for the juice bottle

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Boxster S

A busy night of ironing and bird feeder filling led me eventually to watch the latest Wheeler Dealers' Boxster S episode. It's already generating comment and gathering shit on various petrolhead forums and as I've got a keen interest in this affordable but problematical Porsche (?) it had to be worth a gander. The first deal, buying it for £1000 took some believing even with a dodgy Tiptronic gearbox; what was the owner thinking? Presumably nothing more than "I'll be on be telly looking a complete dickhead selling my Porsche for a grand". The car hadn't run properly for four years but took off like a rocket on a single key turn and sounded sweet as a nut except from the clunky gear change and some worn brakes. Never. Of course the faulty gearbox only needed a £200 oil and filter change and lo and behold it ran again like a Swiss watch straight from the German factory. Next the seats got  recovered and the brake discs skimmed (while on the car) using a five grand special tool (don't try this at home). The biggest job was honking off the two cats and cementing on a stainless steel exhaust. Meanwhile nobody, well perhaps Ed China off camera, seemed to look at the engine at all. A tough omission to believe and that was the one bit I really wanted to see opened up. Unbelievable. Then some shifty bald bloke (looking a bit like me) handed over £5400 cash and drove away with the most strangely restored high miler motor I've seen yet. The worn out seats suggested 100k anyway. View more photos here if you're a tyre kicker of any kind. TV format? Getting tired I'm afraid.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Starfield Simulation

I spent twelve hours driving north/south/north/south at times into various trance inducing starfield blizzards this weekend and as a result I'm happy but bombed out (and low on fuel). The journey will be remembered also for too much tea and the awkward act of urinating in the dark somewhere on the A90 in gale force Arctic conditions. You see visiting the lands of my dead and exiled impoverished fathers and taxi driving the electronically aware sprogs is always a heady mix of the dangerous and the delightful. In the end it was worth all the rain and locally produced steak mince, sausage and time spent labouring at a hot stove. The fishcake based aphrodisiac was a departure and especially delightful. But now it's a snowy Monday night and we'll be breaking out the wolf skins and shovels come the frosty morning should we decide to rejoin the ranks of our hungry and civilised co-workers. The weather forecaster pipes up that a gloomy but meaningless Amber Warning Situation is imminent and about to do a precision pattern of white carpet bombing in this area. All that and me without a stock of the basic soup building vegetables and emergency candles. I did have a sudden urge to rush out to the nearest Co-op and purchase all the bread and milk I could carry but WTF. I might just download another 20p book from Amazingzon and bury my head under the covers.

P.S. Game of Thrones and Mod Fam are back on next week, life may be getting better even while the weather worsens.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Road block unblocked

Well it was for a few days and, like the Elves and the Shoemaker story somebody came along whilst we either slept or worked or nodded our heads and fixed our troubled bit of roadway for us. Stealthily they reglued about 100yds of it and not a penny more. In our special quiet places we will rejoice up to a point, but as we do live in troubled and austere times we should just show a little more respect and deference to our Lords and Masters and be glad that we've got the scrapings of a road surface at all. Then, as usually happens the wind blew in from Africa and the rain did beat down upon it and it's back to square one point two five. A good place to be.

A true gem

Best I've ever seen: Got to love this Honda owner's inconsiderate parked up status in the Long Stay at Edinburgh Airport. In broad daylight too, it's a peach of a piece, traversing four bays in a truly careless fashion...or so it seems. Perhaps the guy on the right is the real culprit. Sometimes in life you just can't tell what's been going on at all. I'd blame the Monday snow.

Holiday Inn Express Yourself

Sleeping options provided by the Holiday Inn Sexpress.
 Not so-Easy Jet: The great orange airline has changed it's seating policy but nobody really knows that yet. As a result I'm sure that they can be sued under the blah blah Descriptions Act of 1314, Easy isn't the right word if it ever was. Since when was it easy to board a jet with randomly allocated seats that no sane person really wants and with all that dangerous ballooning hand baggage being ferried around in a frantic panic as the public sort themselves out? Twice this week I've seen organised chaos rule as those who "don't get it" merge with those who for reasons best known to themselves paid £3 extra so sit in an otherwise freely allocated  seat.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ending with so

Unrelated apple sliced by UFO.

Home Improvement. Nothing of universal significance really happened today although I wasn't maintaining complete attention at all times, I may have missed a bit of detail or hot action. The chicken salad worked for me and on me but that's another story. Once there were two breakfast yogurts, then none, the flavours were modern and vague. In the background a radio played and it felt cold outside but I learned a lot about Scottish Islam Week, it's on this week all across Glasgow with a series of gritty events being run. I won't be bothering attending much this year as I am without the appropriate head gear or any meaningful religious values whatsoever.

I wore a jumper straight from the hot tumble dryer and noted that it took a short but fuzzy car journey to work to uncrease the creases. Ironing is so 20th century I told myself. Later I visited the Post Office to collect two parcels. The journey was marked by the buzzing of an irritating VW Golf that seemed to latch itself onto my rear bumper. It's driver was a complete stranger.

Once there I managed to pass myself of as both myself and my wife and still got away with one electronic signature and a wink from the girl behind the counter. We've yet to open the mysterious packages and why oh why did they send me a text message to tell me a parcel was coming, then not deliver it but just leave a red and white card with scribbles on it? Then they sent me a text message to tell me they've left me a red and white card and I cannot reply to the no-reply text number they use. It happened twice (?). So that's why I have to drive 7.5 miles through road works and pot holes and traffic lights and back again to get to the Post Office pickup counter where I park badly in protest.

In general and without malice I blame the road-men and the dead weather for the general non-delivery of things and what I like to call their “happiness sabotage”. So I can't even be bothered to turn on the telly but if I did I now have a smart SKY connector to connect the stupid TV to the slow-witted wi-fi, if only I could get around to opening up the package. I think I may have left it in the boot. Tomorrow it's an airport tea for me and though you can't start a proper sentence with so you can end a badly constructed sentence with so.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Viagra Monologues

Once so young and clever...
Summer: Another age related crisis looms, more desperate measures to emulate Dexy's, copy episodes of Cuckoo, chase the Salvidor Dali Lama  and generally behave badly. Some time soon we'll book a Yurt or two (with fairy lights) at this summers Wickerman Festival out there in the rolling hills and dales of rural Dumfries and Galloway. I may have to make some alterations to my dungarees; in order to accommodate the hot summer weather.

Winter: Today's weather started at -3 and stayed there for while. A lot of car slithering and fiddling about happened early in the day. It did make me wonder why my Swedish Volvo doesn't have a design feature that prevents snow from landing on the seats any time you open the door, even when you think you've cleared the bit around the door. Why?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just another corner of the sky

That's the top left corner of it there.

Raggle Taggle Hippies

"Many young people turned to drugs and immoral lifestyles; these youth became known as hippies. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship."

Apparently this has been taken from the text of a Louisiana School history textbook that's currently in use along with other material all about man and dinosaurs coexisting, the unquestionable authority of the Bible and how the Klu Klux Klan are a force for good in the world. Fair enough then...of course it may all be part of a complex counter propaganda war waged by the major banks, Tesco, the Vatican  and many other reputable institutions.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Lots of frogs having sex

If you're a frog it's the breeding and tadpoling season apparently. Today I saw quite a lot of evidence of that in a damp but marvellous Edinburgh garden. Meanwhile back in Fife the wildlife also thrives, a whole family of sparrows have moved into one of our trees, blue tits are in a feeding frenzy on the kitchen window sill, the cheeky robin robs everybody and the wise but daft old squirrel watches over from the top of the SEPA approved oil tank.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Daily swan/flamingo photo

A swan or a mutant flamingo?
I was minding my own business, on my way to the local butcher shop  to cash in my ration coupons for a six pack of Lorne Sausage when I was apprehended by a passive but aggressive swan. It looked like a proper swan at the time but now I'm wondering if it simply was a rare white flamingo with stubby green legs waddling along on the grassy knoll. That's the thing about things around here in Limekilns, you see what you see but you never can really trust your own eyes because there are so many things going on below the surface.

Steampunks gather at the Black Anchor prior to attending  a Jules Verne lecture about cogs, wheels and the Earth's molten core.
Once in the butchers I purchased the usual scraggy ends and offal mixture for the gun dogs and a generous portion of tomato flavoured sausage for the wife's tea. The conversation then turned to exploring our historical past and the jolly butcher went to some length to show me a picture book containing Victorian Polaroids of our own fine house and the surrounding area.  I noted that it had been hidden under the counter for some time. "Another piece of the mystery  jigsaw" I thought as I departed. It seems that our safe haven appears  to have been recently occupied by a troop of Irish circus performers and Bolshevik potato pickers. I'm not so sure about any of that but the wheelchair does look a little familiar.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Low flying entanglements

Out in the woods the Snowdrop carpets nears the end of it's short season.

Just back from a few days in rainy Portsmouth, most of my travel time was spent reading the Kindle version of "The one hundred year old man... " an amusing and engaging Forrest Gump style  bargain at 20p from Amazulu and the Downloaded Witches.  I wonder what the film soundtrack would be like?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Long road home

The long road home is in fact quite a bit shorter at the moment. Here's how it looked earlier this evening.

Secrets in the stones #2: There should really be four of the old marker stones out here in the woods according to the old maps and drawings. So far I've only found one and the other three have avoided my capture, presumably by either hiding or not being there in the first place. I thought today I'd found number four, in it's proper mapped location down by the edge of the trees by the shore line. Unfortunately it was not to be, as I cleared the undergrowth I found it to be the right shape and size but made of concrete and unmarked. I've no idea what purpose this block ever served but it's clearly not a boundary marker. The search therefore goes on, meanwhile a great green carpet of fresh spring growth is waiting, ready to overwhelm and cover the tracks of just about everything.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Hat Tricks

"I pacifically asked for a double expresso!" there's a sentence that made my blood boil. Delivered in a right snide tone as well.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Farm Access =>

Unrelated photo No99: The oily dance of hot garlic, thyme and olive oil - in preparation for last night's highly enjoyable get together and meal.
Farm Access => : A road sign pointing towards a  road end that leads to a farm. Why? Why do we need a proper road sign stating the painfully obvious? If you go a short distance up that road you'll come to farm that can be seen from the road you are currently on. What percentage of the travelling population will find this information useful?  It's just like the Far Side cartoon where everything is daubed with paint, "door", "window" and so on. The sign sums up everything that's wrong with farm access signs and prime contracting in roads management all across the western world.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Must be tea time

Take the Poundland Challenge

Bored with your dull life, the Papal erection, the Eastleigh Bi-Sexual Election, the Jimmy Britts and the Oscars? Then take the Poundland Challenge. It's easy, simply visit any branch of your local recession beating Poundland anywhere in the depressed Central Belt, bring a good Scottish blue fiver (the old Victorian white ones are sadly no longer legal tender) and see what disconnected, eclectic crap and/or useful items you can squander your hard earned cash on. Just don't get spotted browsing the gleaming rows of fancy goods by family, friends or colleagues (that's all part of the fun really). Yesterday I managed to bag:

Three Chinese spanners (various metric sizes).
300 ml of HP Brown Sauce in a squeezy cat sphincter bottle.
A pair of 2.5+ reading glasses in tasteful black frames.
Black pepper in a self styled, self operating ready use grinder (pepper is ungrounded).
500 ml of Queen's Diamond Jubilee Fairy Liquid with a picture of a kitten on the front.

All for £5. Who can beat that then?