Saturday, February 28, 2015

Big hearted

Big hearted Amazon refunded me to the tune of £14.99, I'm not sure for what though. Some mysterious gift or glitch that will be clawed back one day probably but it's nice to see that little "c" appear on your credit card statement beside the minus figures and airport parking fees. Reeling with the shock and feeling strangely out of touch with myself I ventured out into the garage to choose some implements with which to attack the wilder areas of the place where things seem to grow all by themselves. Then after a back breaking, trug totting, rain dodging comedy gardening experience I found a dirty but clearly legal £2 coin beneath the hard to kill and harder to understand Pampas Grass clump. It remains like some stubborn relic from the 1970s, the plant world's equivalent of the avocado bathroom suite. Still we do dance around it occasionally, usually marking some solstice or other, a family birthday or the presence of a new star in the sky. It's primitive I know but it helps pass the time and confuses the neighbours and passing tourists whilst burning up excess calories. What of the dirty £2 coin you say? I spent it all and more on doughnuts, all of which I have now hidden, that is until I just give them away some fine day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Call any vegetable

An admirable display of ripe vegetables ready to go to work in city centre basement kitchen. If I hadn't been fed already I might have nipped for some stuffed tomatoes or a baked spuds but the night and the road home was calling. So at the moment it appears that we all seem to be stuck in the chilled marshland of a short but never ending February. Rumour has it that March will appear any day soon but I'm not so sure. You can't really trust calendars and as for those strange lights in the sky? They can only be the grim portents of some impending doom. Mark my badly chosen words, we are hanging by our fingernails onto the last days of civilisation, free markets and order. A great cultural abyss is about to open up once the clocks change. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Skies over Glasgow

I can now confirm (as exclusively as a single fact can be) that the starry sky that bedazzled visitors to Glasgow may see above their baffled heads on a winter's night is indeed a fake. If you don't believe me here's the shocking proof hanging up there - but only visible and revealed to those possessing a curious kind of technical persuasion.  Powered by a mixture of highly subsidised Clyde based wind farms and a few squirrel treadmills in Greenock. The truth is (almost) up there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flying Houses

I do like these flying houses (ex Dangerous Minds), wish I was this clever.

Grenade Soup

Hand grenade soup, always a winner in these dark winter days. Try some soon along with overage Italian bread lightly toasted and touched by the gentle hand and surgical knife of an infusion of slurpy, sticky Marmite. The use of this diet is one of the many reasons that I feel perpetually on top of the world regardless of circumstances and blog driven imagination.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A cat and three fat birds

There were four, possibly five fat birds but I missed out on two of them, bad camera shake ensued it seems as a result of my mis-spent youth. The birds are fat due the numerous suet based bird treats and exotic seed mixtures we distribute around the garden in mesh feeders and other complex squirrel resistant devices. Some say it's bad to feed the birds, somehow it civilises them and makes them dependant as if they were some kind of flying benefits scrounger breed. They become less wild, watch daytime Freeview through the windows, become the subject of Channel 4 documentaries  and generally act "feckless", they may well gravitate towards tattoos, piercings and second hand Kia vehicles. Eventually they will cease to fly, chirp or act like birds altogether, such is the impact of man on his environment and then the cats will simply take over the control of everything as we ask ourselves, "did that all really happen?"

Today's mystery. Where has the favourites button gone on the SKY screen?

Political observations of no real significance. The leader of the Greens, Natalie Bennet had a bad day today or so it has been reported. She does have an odd accent and an odd manner but then again she's the Green's (reluctant?) leader. Anyway somehow she seemed genuine if a little dim and inarticulate and not mouthy, truculent and a total fraud of a person like most of our other senior politicians. Her right hand woman Caroline Lucas (the sole proper Green MP) is as sharp as a recycled tack and a major threat. One to watch.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beating down

The sound of Scottish rain beating down and battering against the window is comforting. Like a slap from your mother or a cup of tea with three spoons of sugar, like a Rich Tea biscuit smeared with Robertson's jam, tatties and butter and blankets that are warm but rough as sandpaper and cat's claws. Like a bird pecking through the silver lid of a Co-op milk bottle stranded on a mid morning doorstep, like the chipped paint on the door and skirting that the previous tenant created years ago. Like the rented timber coated TV with the burnt out tube and the rotary dial that toggles lazily between the two flickering channels. Like wallpaper that's marked and dirty and appears to have been designed by a madman, like coal and crumbled yesterday's ashes, like torn linoleum and wearing hand me down trousers from your bigger cousin, like having no holidays but not really noticing, like death creeping out from the hedges and doorways around you as another old neighbour succumbs; nobody talks or says a word. The sound of Scottish rain...comforting like the past.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Life of Piety

From time to time we all feel that our lives are not really advancing  and we are all just making painfully slow progress through some primordial soup.

We all feel that from time to time our lives are not really advancing  and we are all just making painfully slow progress through some primordial soup.

We all feel that  we are all just making painfully slow progress through some primordial soup and from time to time our lives are not really advancing.

We all feel that  are not really advancing we are all just making painfully slow progress through some primordial soup and from time to time our lives.

We all feel that  we are some primordial soup and not really advancing we are all just making painfully slow progress through from time to time our lives.

We all feel that  we are some and not really advancing we are all just making  primordial soup painfully slow progress through from time to time our lives.

Ever type words in the wrong order? Ever get the letters all mixed up? Ever repeat the same set of words twice in a sentence? Ever forget the point of what you're saying? Ever get confused by colon use? Ever feel that words don't really make any sense at all? Ever wonder what "ever" actually means? If these observations and any others that may be resonating around in your head right now make sense or strike a chord then congratulations, you're human and not a robot.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Simple stuff

Maybe it's an over 50, approaching 60 thing, the unnecessary  complexity of appliances and devices. Just think about what you've got in your home, in your car or in your pockets. Phones, radios, smart TVs, cookers, driers, hoovers, microwaves and everything else. Each one it seems perversely and uneconomically much more complicated than it needs to be. Who ever uses oven timers? All those "roast a suckling pig" or "toast a fresh partridge" programmes on a microwave, the trips and mpg reports on a car, the numerous options on a tumble drier and don't start me on phones and so called hand held devices. Nobody ( I know) ever uses all that stuff, these things are criminally over specified to the point of being useless and ridiculous. What we need is simple stuff that just works without spending six months studying the instructions in eighteen European languages. What we also need is an Amazon filter site that sorts out devices into simple v complex categories so we  are able to stop buying things with built in extra functionality that we don't need. Get it sorted!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Glasgow Jersey

The Glasgow Jersey is a mixed drink invented around about 1974 in honour of the impromptu cultural tie in between those two great locations. Consumption of this (near fatal) beverage cost me a year of my life. Just in case you'd like to try it the recipe is quite simple:

1 part Gin
1 part Southern Comfort
1 part Grapefruit Juice.

Mix, drink and watch your precious little world fall apart, your dreams and aspirations die, your musical skills stall and the conversations around you become increasingly animated.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


The Greek Finance Minister has sussed you out.
Come to think of it I don't recall ever voting for austerity, agreeing to it, supporting it or in any way, shape or form buying (?) into it. Not sure how you buy into austerity anyway. So I like the new Greek government despite the fact that it's set on a disastrous course, maybe. History is pretty much full of people telling other people what to do, what to believe and what they must accept. That somewhat clumsy approach  been proven not to work too well but disappointingly we seem to refuse to learn. 

So when it comes to that most abstract but real, honest but fiendishly criminal and transparent but decidedly muddy subject; currency. Who knows where the truth lies and who to believe? I don't but I cant help but admire those brave, hopeful, deluded but brilliant souls who try to challenge the establishment with it's twisted truths and corrupt and self serving ways of working. Go Greece. 

The ever colourful Malcolm Tucker may well have summed it all up rather well. Caution, this video is a bit sweary so I wouldn't share it in "delicate" company. You have been warned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Far far away

Every once and a while you encounter something that causes you to take a slightly different view of your world, the universe and how you may or may not fit into it. The natural default position being (and this is for all us; Man Jacks and Ladies and whatever) to feel that you don't actually fit in, you are a misfit and eternally lost inside some baffling piece of hostile space positioning.  But in those times when you just stop and look up at a twinkling star, feel cold fresh rain on your nose or cheeks, taste maple syrup and pancakes, listen to the wild sounds of the sea or the rustle of the woodland or defy all conventions and normal behaviour by just looking into the eyes of a loved one...those times really count and maybe, just maybe you think, there is a superior being out there, hugely removed and distracted, dislocated from us but not completely lost and for the moment, for this moment shared, completely caught up in the simple pleasure of blowing bubbles across some worm hole, meteor shower or dwarf and darken star far, far away...

Monday, February 16, 2015

All mankind

Happy family.
Just another cynical and despairing piece or unsubstantiated observation coupled with some meaningless comment in a desperate bid to improve my monthly statistics and keep me writing at least something during my time in this creative winter wilderness. Ahem! I used to believe (as it was fairly biblical) that all mankind were like grass, it's a quotation (something to do with the temporal and ephemeral nature of things and the soothing nature of the colour green). Now I'm more inclined to think that mankind are pretty much sheep. Stupid, huddled up in groups, easily led away by silly things and probably capable of being substituted for chicken in any given spicy Eastern style dish. Yes, we are sheep, not just the dumb or lowly either, even the clever and the elite are sheep. Following blindly, believing that they are right and failing to see what they truly are and what they are worth. Out in the concrete wilderness, worshiping phones, holidays, religious insignificance, celebrity, political ineptitude and the cults of various vacuous personalities. Just like your average sheep then.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gullible on the ceiling

OK I admit I felt a little smug and superior when I posted this on Facebook. It really was thoughtless, stupid and unfunny. Then again so are most of my thoughts, out there, in space, randomly firing off in all directions. Weak, predicable and painfully flawed and human. That's just the way it is. Next month I'll do better (I say that every month), the quality will improve, I'll take time and use my imagination, I'll do a little research, explore issues more fully and damn it, I'll even go as far as to exert a little editorial control over myself. that's exactly whats needed, no more belly button gazing or lists of trifles and great fat pudding recommendations.  I'm moving on. I'll also be washing the car every week, cutting the grass, walking and exercising more and of course cutting down the alcohol and poor quality food intake. There.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A bird calls my name

Well it did, down by the Forth, at least twice, I swear. Then it was gone, the sound stopped and I was left wondering.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Three burgers

CBQ's deck plays Fripp and Eno at the correct speed. Any burger resemblance is purely  coincidental.
It's been a three burger week: one in Glasgow, one in Birmingham and one in Dundee. I ate them all. That's a lot of burgers for me and the demonstration of a whole lack of eating ambition and imagination.  I see a menu and I freeze, I may have some prawns but then I again I may not and eventually I'll slowly descend back to the land of the grey and pink landscape of the innocent burger.

Meanwhile on Sky Atlantic the series Fortitude has arrived, I've started at episode three and am not hooked but I could be; something to fill in Game of Thrones / Fargo and whatever else vacuum, or not as the case may be.

I read again "The Dead" by James Joyce. Now I know for sure I am alive but I am left with questions over the status of those who came before; their clothes, music, dancing and finery. Was it real or imagined?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Just write anything

Syd was always vague when it came to describing his competence as a driver.
Most of the world's problems stem from poor communication and misunderstandings, possibly things misheard also. It's hard to tell because I suffer from these things, on both sides and am therefore culpable and responsible in a vague way.  I suppose vague responsibility doesn't help either, there's a lot of that about. Nobody is quite sure how much because it is all a bit vague. It's good to get away from just blaming things on original sin, the royal family and incurable diseases. Whilst these things have brought a lot of misery to many people they would not have done so had communication been a bit sharper and more accurate. A few added jokes, just to hold attention would have helped. Printing the bible was also a bit of a mistake, that and Das Kapital. Just keeping these things are scary fairy stories, told with gusto but without in depth study as to what they might mean could have saved untold damage being done. Meanwhile history keeps happening all around us and there are so few sensible people around able to understand it, make sense of it or just learn lessons.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Say no

Inspirational words and advice from Werner Herzog.
I was quite surprised when my ancient log-in details were typed in and accepted, not what I expected. Then it was a simple case of navigating through about fifteen screens, each one worded in a slightly deceptive or ambiguous manner once I got there (the final screen) I was faced with the choice of clicking the faded no button or the bright green and vibrant yes button. I then realised I couldn't actually press the no button, the way to say no is to press the great green yes button and so un-yes it. I did and it worked. No more Norton renewal on a dead laptop for me. Come now you viruses, death by stealth and intrigue, pillaging, wanton destruction and poisoner's rain and dagger like stares. I don't care.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Films with ginger cats

                   There's a ginger cat that plays a small supporting role in "Gone Girl".

If I could discover the cure for coughing and administer it to myself I'd be happy. A hacking, persistent cough is the complete destroyer of all joy and there seems to be no known substance that can sort it. "Let it run it's course" they say (whoever they are) but that is the advice and possibly the device of despair. There has to be a cure and I'm willing to try voodoo, back magic or even Vick. Sad to say whisky is not effective and just tends to turn up the rasp factor in the cough department.

Spoiler Alert! No there isn't, we watched the film Gone Girl. I'd give it a few stars; tense at times, entertaining with a few shocks and twists, good couch gripping fodder. The girl in the film is indeed gone but then it all depends what you mean by gone, the cat stays around pretty much all the way.

Saturday, February 07, 2015


Out for remedial walkies today and no hangovers in sight, all still, faintly crisp, the ground dry like perma-frost, steps easy to take but hard to find. The wind was some other place and the light came directly from a huge burning orb at least eight minutes away. What warmth there was was eight minutes past it's best but it turned out alright. We saw a few folks who looked a lot like their dogs and visa-versa, that always happens but they themselves remain unaware. I missed the sunset but I believe that it came around at the usual time and being a purple pink colour was photographed by many and share all across social media. At this point I was ironing shirts and watching Pink Floyd in Pompeii, It's taken me over forty years to get to that place and fifty nine to get to this. 

Day Six of the flu and headaches: This morning we were rudely awoken by a mouse that had taken up residence in a bedside drawer. It had rifled through belongings and eaten sweets, some of which we had eaten before we realised the mouse had gotten there first. Needless to say it has escaped and is still a large. It also ate part of a guitar stand. As I'd accidentally locked one of the cats in the garage overnight I can't hold them fully responsible for this security breach but they will need to focus a little more on their core tasks.

How many black bags of rubbish can you get in the back of a Jeep with only one seat folded down? 10, there, now you know as much as me.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Ha ha ha

Surely the lamest thing ever. KPMG what were/are you thinking? It's a great strap it's not and it'll presumably figure on his tombstone. "That's how I feel about infrastructure". Any client who buys into this has a serious problem.

Thursday, February 05, 2015


Some random incoming Tweet today told me with a reassuring degree of possibly fictitious certainty that a regular glass of whisky has been proven to reduce cold and flu symptoms. There is absolutely no research or decent evidence to back this claim up but I for one am choosing to firmly believe it. Time for a slug of Glenrothes Gold then.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Now it's...

Just to be clear, let's sort out a few things regarding where we are in time.
The magical powers of paracetamol are there to be understood but are difficult to fathom. The small white capsules are swallowed with a splash of water in the hope of killing a headache or calming a fever. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't, it's just medicine, good or band. But what if there are unknown beneficial side effects and bonuses? Trials are tough, I won't be bothering but my recent bout of irritable flu syndrome and suffering and grumbling and still stumbling onwards to work has taught me one little thing. These everyday meds have overhauled, possibly by accident or cosmic intervention some of the jolly old internal plumbing and all the rusty bits...or so I think. Well even in this winter chill, when it's -5 and the car seats are frozen solid there's more glow and less annoying flow it looks that way. We shall see.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Alternate title

Guilty pleasures: it's probably awful, likely to be terrible and guaranteed to infuriate most of the great British public from the "right on righteous" to the "serious motorist" looking for meaningful reviews and sensible motoring journalism. "Ugh!" they may say but it remains a strangely, funny, stupid, self indulgent, patchy, creepy, idiotic and engaging TV show. Top Gear that is, BBC's bastard child and big earner. Of course if you stray onto the Discovery Channels there's hundreds of similar ridiculous shows that must drive those suffering from terminal sense of humour failure crazy. Yup! Step away from the remote.

Anyway, back to the Golden Rule and good advice from beyond the grave via Bob Hope.

Monday, February 02, 2015

The god of sweet sandwiches

February already? I must have missed a day with this stinking, sweat bursting cold. There probably isn't any god so if that's the case then rather than waste a whole word by applying it to something non existent and discredited then why not apply it to sandwiches thus creating a new defining measure for god and godlike things - the humble sandwich. Savoury is tricky so I'm not going there at present, too many tastes, shapes and variations and I suspect that the topmost of sandwich gods may well dwell in those cloudy, mustard smeared courts above the ether. No, we'll leave it and I'll drone for a few more lines about sweet sandwiches; smaller, more graceful, easier to digest and most importantly crammed with sugar. The true god of sweet sandwiches being: white bread, butter, a decent portion of strawberry jam and (placed squarely in the middle) a round and unbroken, pristine digestive biscuit (from a reputable supplier). There, done, dusted and crunched.

Still on the subject of god, I quite liked Stephen Fry's recent rant about the nature of god. He put it all rather well (even though he can be creepy). The last paragraph being particularly to my liking (just don't get me started on Churchill's wild historically sanitised and surgically removed summing up of Islam). I'm not sure that religious people can ever appreciate eccentric sandwich combinations either.

“It’s perfectly apparent that he (God) is monstrous. Utterly monstrous and deserves no respect whatsoever. The moment you banish him, life becomes simpler, purer, cleaner, more worth living in my opinion.”