Monday, July 31, 2017

Ulster Fry

Back home after a week or so in Ireland, north and south but mostly west. The final breakfast of the trip was an Ulster Fry, the legendary breakfast that sets you up not just for the day but the weekend and possibly the coming week. A pleasant trip and of course the tricky wee blue car was a whole lot of fun. Now snoozing in the garage.

Friday, July 28, 2017


What do you think of that? 
I'm sleeping down at the laundromat, 
If you should pass by, 
Be sure to drop right in. 
Well I don't have no clothes to clean, 
To put inside the machine, 
It was the craziest place, 
I have ever been.

Lyrics (and tune) by Rory Gallagher (who else?).
Laundromat by Killarney.

A hotel's soft underbelly

Hotel innards when nobody else is around, those quiet spaces just around the corner from where people are being busy seen from various angles. Nothing unusual here but it's probably all kicking off somewhere else. There's a wedding in the new complex, sandwiches are being handed out with bubbly and disdain. Welcome to Fred and Jenny's big Thursday afternoon wedding, it may last till the weekend if they can keep their heads. 

There's wet floors around and there's swimming lessons in the steamy pool, the gym has a few die-hards dying, where there may be some worked up sweat or injuries later. Butterflies broken on the cruel healing machines that promise new bodies, not for the likes of me. No sneaking and peeing on the showers and even bald people wear bathing caps. The towels are just that little bit too small and regularly dropped on the changing room floor. Socks still refuse to fit feet.

Over in the bar there are meals and jumping children, survivors from funerals and training days, people pretending to do business, golfers badly dressed as golfers checking each other's sporting goods, guests counting down the hours, staff hover and clear up other people's mess and phones silently charge. Food floats by on silver trays, every choice looking better then your own until your platter arrives, hot and saucy and coloured with sauces and unplanned vegetables. Kick back afterwards and sup slow beer.

In the open foyer a coach load of confused travellers has arrived and then spews out luggage and more brightly coloured anorak shaped people, set free from the confines of the bus, now they can roam new corridors like buffalo herds. Everybody has way too much luggage and each fresh move is a struggle and the lift remains well hidden and best avoided. Taxi drivers stand guard outside, ready to pounce with offers and advice and thank the weather gods for the advancing rain clouds. Too wet to walk. Nobody wants to get wet on holiday and so we stay dry, back in the busy wee bar.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gap of Dunloe

You can walk or cycle or drive or take a pony and trap. That's how you cross the Gap of Dunloe, Kerry. The Irish horsemen are full of mischief and stories, wild and unlikely tales, things to please the tourist and stoke up the memory. Fistfuls of banknotes change hand as they grin and take the fare, bargaining with each other and deciding who will go in whatever buggy. Horses are everywhere, some loose, some standing, some resting. Then you're off, cantering and walking, stopping as the horse needs a drink from a stream and of course more banter from your driver. The clattering of the hooves as you turn each corner and climb each gradient. The roads are covered in dung, wild iris grows by the stoney side, holly and myrtle too and the warmth of the mysterious Gulf Stream never seems far away. Somewhere across the greenery hides Ireland's highest mountain, beyond the crags and boulder fields but nobody seems too interested in that today, the road is more important here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Below and above

We were in a cave, underground, deep, walls dripping, dark, damp, structures forming over thousands of years, no sense of day or time or weather, just constant chilly cold and solid air. Strange passages led to gloomy ends. Then we returned to wide open spaces, beaches and skies big as the universe, people and activity and the warm wind from across the Atlantic. Far away hills looking down on us, heads in the clouds. As the surf crashed I thought of those below, the cold and the dead, the gone and forgotten. We play above, they are lost to us, merged with the stones. You see whatever you may think or believe or wish for, the dead go nowhere.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Web Design

I saw this overloaded and unkempt spider's web and thought a bit about insect control and facilities management (or FM for short). Then I realised that these things were of little significance and that somewhere a bemused spider was probably fairly happy and well fed albeit his/her front room and general living space is a bit untidy and less functional than it should be. Beware of making snap judgements. 

"When all the passwords are lost and forgotten and the electronic memory fades and flickers how will we ever find our way home across that tangled and now hostile web country?"

Monday, July 24, 2017

Power Saving Mode

AI will make the world like one big long acid trip inside your head. I say this because it's clear that the Google bots that shovel effects and tones across photos accidentally (so it seems), see things differently. Their need to emphasise and push the colours can be disturbing at times and unsettling but somebody has programmed them into seeing this as normal, i.e. how those dumb humans on the other side of the screen view the world, plus a layer of hot chocolate sauce on top. They're OK about changing our perceptions. Maybe life with those robot judges, designers, goggle doctors and (ultimately) rulers wont be so bad, it'll be bright at least. That is of course unless it's all some ruse to entice us in and once in out go the lights and away go all the bright shiny things. It makes no sense to have everything up to eleven if it's not productive and so we'll revert to the eternal grey and gloom of power saving mode (unless you pay). Much more sensible.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Land of eternal youth

Any land that claims to be the land of eternal youth must be worth a visit (unless it's full of grumpy and petulant adolescents), anyway they may have exaggerated the magic a bit but there is some. I've drunk a lot of coffee and eaten a lot of sugary kinds of cake and established by various means of research that the Irish are actually all reasonably happy with their lot. Despite the demise of the Celtic Tiger and the return of U2 (they played Dublin last night) things are looking good generally. True there are a few vacant lots, buskers with bad teeth and desolate housing estates but (they seem to think) they're economy is on the up and that those of us stuck over on the barren Brexit shores of the Irish Sea are a bunch of feckin' eedjits. Fair enough.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Holy Spirit

blinded by your symmetry
such a friendly fool was me
what to believe and what to see
where to draw the border

minutes later seconds flat
walking with a dog named cat
is this where it's really at?
is life just some long foreplay?

holy spirit holy spirit holy spirit

I practiced in my father's chair
blowing smoke rings in the air
for all I know they're still up there
spinning in some vortex

it ranges over all the earth
breathing hot and giving birth
then they tell you what you're worth
but you're only getting older

holy spirit holy spirit holy spirit

sometimes at night I stay awake
wondering if I've got what it takes
to point the finger at the fakes
but then I just roll over

I let it all roll over
we let it all roll over.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Always more weird art on the internet

We've all had a day like this.
I don't recall a day like this one however...
Yes, I too have grey socks but no I don't have a house for a head at the moment.

Artwork by Jolene Lai, a person who creates uncanny and disturbing worlds, these are amongst the least disturbing. Hardly a day/hour/minute/second passes without a new clutch of art appearing in my various feeds, there's no actual filter except for the delete key or a quick swipe to move things away. I just wonder how anybody ever makes a living at this anymore, there's too much of it about and a fickle mass dish eyed audience, worn down by click bate and repetition that hardly pauses to look at or understand anything. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aberdeen daily photo

"Then there was that time when we got a load of stuff delivered and the driver just dumped it and we never really did get around to using much of it anyway so now it's err...a bit of a problem."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Paint it White

There's no such thing as white, too many variations, not that it matters, the human eye cannot tell the truth from fabrication here. Painting white on white is a strange activity, like raking over desert sand or holding water in your hand. You be could anywhere in the long hypnotic process once the glare grips you. There's no sense of up nor down as only white matter fills your fixed gaze. Then the sun pops out and reflects and you're left blinded and still lost in the brutal, white landscape that you are trying to clean up, cover and obliterate. I should have worn goggles or sunglasses or waited until after dark, perhaps destroyed the wall and started again or just shrugged and said "so what!" But I painted onwards and across, the random strokes march up and down, the painted sucked into somewhere full of thirsty molecules  instantly leaving no tyre marks or footsteps or glossy brush strokes. Once started there's no stopping because there is no end, I can never run out of white wall because the white wall just goes on until it merges into the blinding light of blindness in some distant spot that I can hardly imagine. I would stand back but I fear the result will be overpowering or messy. But I need a break. Damn, I've missed a bit.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shout out

Sunday afternoon musing, where the mind will wonder given nothing to focus on, these times are precious. So for no particular reason just giving a brief shout out to John Graham Mitchell aka Mitch Mitchell of the Experience (RIP). His fabulous drum lines on "Little Wing" will live forever as will his faultless work on the numerous other Hendrix tracks he played on. "Little Wing" has always been someplace beyond perfect in my humble opinion.There, got that one off and and away from my slightly stressed out chest. I should also say I'm not interested in any "fastest gun in the west" type of competitions, who is the best drummer, bass player, axe man etc. These things surely died out with the old Melody Maker Awards of the 70s and need to stay dead.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Because I could not stop for Death -
She kindly stopped for me -
Her Feathers held but just Ourselves -
And Immortality.

Oh and a Stephens' lunch...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Not quite getting it right

Burned the cat's chicken (?), interfered with the dishwasher (??), a catalogue of poor photographic attempts, incorrect laundry settings, not reading the instructions properly, ten pence short, the blatant misuse of tools, saving an insect and then drowning it, swallowing mouthwash, pressing the wrong button on the remote, getting tar on things, ignoring a "funny" noise, head bumps, losing small objects, losing large objects, general problems with location, placing an unknown item in the bagging area, toilet roll on holder the wrong way, failing to hydrate, shaky use of computer mouse, odd socks. None of these things ever happen to me. I am only human after all.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Light reflected

What you get when you allow the late evening sunlight to shine through a tiny distorted, west facing window and reflect upon the chrome ashtray of a Telecaster and then up onto the bedroom ceiling which may or may not require a fresh coat of paint. It all gave me quite a start. This phenomenal glimpse into a parallel universe only occurs once in a thousand Jurassic years or just after Halley's comet has been discussed somewhere in a dusty room in the hushed tones of those who treat science and it's many mysteries with the reverence that it all truly deserves. There's a photo of an equally blinding chalky equation scrawled on a blackboard that explains it all quite clearly but I've lost it now and I didn't understand it anyway.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tomato jungle

In the wild jungle of tomatoes things are starting to stir, the colours are changing, the sun is turning them red and the slow ripening has begun. I've probably not looked after them too well, not enough cutting back of unnecessary growth and careful attention but it's still looking like a good crop albeit the tomatoes are not large, but maybe that's just the variety they are. The labels on the seeds were in Dutch and long gone. The main thing is that they're edible, hopefully.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Totes London

Coming back to Scotland from London by train it's possible to suffer a kind of jet lag. A slow deflation and acclimatization that's almost painful. It's an ambience and atmosphere thing, a strange stirring, a foreign and rich but hostile place that's also magnetic and as attractive as a sweet shop or a quiet rustic pub. Get in and explore before you're found out, found wanting. But it's a million messes of people and poverty, unfairness and inequality and the constant reinvention that someone like me from the sticks finds both exhausting and intriguing. It's all too late now, back home to the muggy unpleasant heaviness of summer and the warm and familiar homestead. The cats are rescued from the cattery and the fridge and washing machines are churning full  after our break. Services are resumed, phones and posts and bacon rolls. This is home but an away sortie is fun once in while.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Colours of Summer

In London it's summer, probably is all year round. Back here we have a kind of fake thing going on, a poor man's summer if you will. We're at least ten degrees colder and a lot damper but...we still have a few colours on offer that we can enjoy and keep warm with in this hardened, harsh climate.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Non-science fiction

Self explanatory really. As the month of July draws us inwards we contemplate our stone age past and ages passed. Then we wonder about what is to come, what grey dark end times or nuclear desolation might there be? Chipping and smoothing stones, water our only lubrication, patience and energy, elbow grease and determination. We work on until an arrow head is formed. In time we'll attach it to a wooden shaft and fire it into the blue yonder. The kill? A rabbit, a bird, a fox, a deer maybe...but that's along way away and there's still proper food in the freezer. Now we're whistling old tunes by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

A bit like me

This is a bit like me this morning, looking for the cats. Or could it be a bit like everyone out there trying to make sense of life, science and religion? You know that way you never quite see the deeper significance of things in paintings, films or books until somebody else explains it or you or until you happen to watch some "ten things" listing clip on YouTube (or you actually get an education).

Thursday, July 06, 2017


The all seeing eye sees, burns the image in, rides the wave of weary headache and then reflects upon the sight. Some things have a point to them, some are pointless, some are worthwhile and some fall into a more confusing category whereby the actual value of the act or deed is unclear. For a moment the all seeing eye is confused, there is an anomaly here, a question that only leaves an empty feeling than somehow cannot be seen. So what if we just stop everything, stop doing anything, allow the grass to grow, the weeds to shoot through, the rot to run riot and to stop even caring? The all seeing eye says that the all stopping solution is unthinkable and so it is, for the time being.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


The Great Scottish Summer continues on in it's own bitter sweet way. Occasional snippets of sunshine followed by long periods of low cloud, drizzle and full blown rain. What better time for a quiet spot of fishing in one of the local fishery ponds? We lasted about two hours before the weather and the downright cold was enough and this was the fourth of July. Last year's fourth of July was spent across the pond (also at another pond) where the weather was nearly 100 degrees (F) and the flying insects were out and the hot dogs were sold out. The star spangled banner flew in the skies and the prospect of an orange and wrinkled oaf of a president being in charge seemed unlikely, almost unthinkable. Now we've moved into that strange world of increased chaos and uncertainty. None of that has changed the perpetual gloom of the Scottish summer however and of course the fish are still stubbornly refusing to bite (as they did in Florida last year). Better things are of course, just around the corner I hope.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


When a large section of wetwall meets drywall and two regular doors. This isn't at DIY project, it just seems like one. Having said that it's far better when materials arrive early rather than arriving late. In an ideal world of course they'd arrive just in time but that predictable, steady and safe world doesn't exist anymore.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Waterfall Day

Today is Fraser Drummond's birthday, Fraser's no longer with us in person but his music has never left, nor has his soulful style and unique spirit. Here's a short video of Confushion in action, shared by consummate musician John Farrell, who's also featured on guitar.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Faces in things

Puzzled young tomato says, "how come you only water us once in a while, leave us out in the chilly weather and only give us plant food once a week? Where is this all going to end?" Me, "well Mr Tomato, the truth is that it's all going to end in a salad one fine day." (Please note that I deliberately did not mention his rather obvious blemishes, I've no wish to start some kind of controversy but he may well miss the salad part but hit the soup).