Thursday, May 31, 2018

The fabric of our lives

Some things change, some stay the same. There you go. The fabric of our lives. Familiar, recognizable, solid, steady, fluid, different, damaged, cared for, washed out, washed in, comfortable, torn, lived in, loved.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Some hands are tender hands, some hands are dirty hands, some hands are soft hands, some hands are loving hands, some hands serve and soothe, some hands fix, some hands make fists, some hands aren't hands at all and end up like this. Dangerous.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Highland fence posts

OK. So I suppose you could say that these images would be best suited to a life lived on Instagram under some niche heading where they might attract attention or arouse interest. I'm too lazy for that so they are only going to have an on-line life here where everything is relatively easy. As I was exploring the lower slopes of Glen Orchy at the weekend  I was quite taken by these old fence posts. Each one differently rotten, rugged and weathered out of shape, moss covered and rusty wire, hairy splinters, decay and destruction but still somehow standing, faithfully obeying their last order to mark a line or a boundary, to keep in some sheep or to prevent chickens from running all across the yard. They are the forgotten markers of once worthwhile industry and endeavour and remain almost upright in place, stubborn and redundant, trapped out in all weathers, mutating and growing as they fade and splinter away back into the highland soil.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A bag and two kittens

Bank holiday Monday, returning from a break in the Highlands, all sun and blue skies and parade of caravans and motor homes. Stopped off for supplies on the way back and then to the cattery to collect our two incarcerated beasts, these two cute kittens were playing in their pen outside. The farm shop near Stirling is called the Smiddy, staff there are pretty PAF (posh as fuck) but nice. A few just walked around doing nothing, interns maybe. All the Doune and Bridge of Allan set probably hang out there for their artisan foods and neat and niche local produce. Nice lunch though and, despite my rude observation, nice staff and ambience, maybe I'm slowly turning over into the dark side.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sunny Bunny #2

This is completely meaningless. Like most things. Amusing for all of three seconds but completely recyclable. So that's fine.

Sunny Bunnys

Another nice day out, so I made six sunny bunnys. You're welcome. (No actual rabbits were injured or damaged during the construction of this piece of work.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Plum tree planting

Work to create the great plum harvest (and chutney brewing) festival of 2028 has just begun. It's good to invest in the future, even though it's likely to be someone else's and as I know very little of the early life of plum trees and the behaviours they might exhibit. At the moment anything seems possible. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Peace breaks out

Every other post seems to feature a cat photo these days, I'm clearly turning into the sort of person my parents warned me about.  They weren't too keen on cats and a number of other activities I've tried in my sixty odd years, they're gone now so it's ancient history. Here's Twink and Clint completely ignoring one another in the garden the other day. Normally some unheralded/unexpected cat presence around here results in fur flying, loud howls and one cat being chased up a tree by another. There's a lot of scampering, hissing and hissy fits. Nice when they actually seem to get on for a bit because that's rare with cats, they (local ones, maybe not typical) are pretty awkward socially and like their own space. As do their eccentric owners perhaps? (I know fine that you can never truly own a cat).

Monday, May 21, 2018

Non glamorous vehicles

Number 1 in an unlikely and irregular series of photos I probably wont cherish or Istagram or do anything with, ever. So here's a big red Porsche tractor I was able to stand next to yesterday. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Signs of summer

None of this anything to do with either cup finals or royal (deliberate small r) weddings.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Daily Tesco cat v existential angst

The wonders of modern life: easy to take a photo of a cat in a supermarket entrance and then just paste it all across the internet's various trading posts using slightly different filters and crops and amusing if not particularly clever captions so that you can fill up space and  so burn up your precious time. Will there be any true or meaningful interaction, any likes, useful outcomes or comments? Doubtful but you will do it anyway. The endless optimism and desire for some common and pointless expression brought home by the black, bottomless and busy void we've moved into despite the fact that it was created for a range of much more worthwhile activities which we've all now completely lost sight of. What were they again?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dunbar daily photo

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day and I happened to be in Dunbar getting my car's stereo fixed.  Took the opportunity to go for a wander down by the shore and harbour, very quiet and colourful. That's about it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Return of the cat

Twink the cat is a semi-regular visitor to our garden. He's generally rewarded with two tins of cat food when he arrives, usually for in time for the night shift at about 2300. Today he turned up early for some  breakfast, lunch and tea and took up position in the barbecue for some reason.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tiny oranges

These tiny oranges (well one example is shown here) were grown on our (tiny) indoor orange tree. You can't really eat them because you just might die, so say the experts. You can only look at them and marvel at their quite nice warm colours and juicy texture. You can also breathe in a rather pleasant orange aroma, faint, elusive but orangey. All that was yesterday, they deteriorated overnight and now they are in the compost bin. They remain a pleasant, pungent memory however...however badly you might write about them or remember them.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Skyline Chimneys

Day out by the bridges. The skyline, broken up by various designer chimneys. Pedestrians looked up. It was that kind of sunny evening. Over by the water two large bridges seem to have appeared from some early morning mist now long evaporated and there are some things we'll always agree about, others not so. Later, much later and after sleep I settled for two poached eggs on toast and surprisingly strong coffee. Being served strong coffee in weak crockery is unexpected these days. Bland and over processed is the normal, taste and tang are mostly managed out of things to create as dull and experience as possible. The softest of drugs measured by uneducated testers. Then without any warning Google once again interfered with some random photo stock and turned it all tasty and panoramic. I'm still in very mild shock.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

RIP Andrew L

This lovely tribute to an old school friend of mine came up in my Facebook feed. I've not seen him for over 40 years but we communicated somewhat clumsily via social media. He passed away very recently. Now I regret failing to meet up for a pint and a blether. I didn't know that he was ill or that he'd gone until this morning when I saw this thoughtful, heartfelt FB post from his daughter which is worthy of sharing and far better than anything I could write.

Today I visited a place which a lot of people perhaps have never heard of or maybe don’t even realise exists. But, to me it’s a place that I have forever wanted to visit...Wilmington, North Carolina. And today, especially, it lived up to its expectations, and here’s why...
I received a phone call this morning telling me that my Dad peacefully passed away in Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary in the early hours of the morning.
Getting told the worst possible news when you’re half a world away from home is devastating. In February we came to learn that my Dad had been living with cancer. Since being diagnosed he fought an incredible fight, defying all doctors odds and seeing through a couple more months to spend time and see his family again.
I wanted to visit Wilmington thanks to an American television series called One Tree Hill. Some people may find this stupid or a little extravagant (I know my dad did) but I can’t even begin to explain to you how much a simple TV programme has helped me get through some pretty hard times; a long distance relationship, heartbreak, anxiety/depression and now...loss.
When you are given such heartbreaking news it’s hard to know what the best way to react is. You instantly want to break into a thousand pieces, but you know that the person you lost wouldn’t want you to do that.
My dad was the best man in the whole world and someone I always looked up to and pestered non stop for advice. I have an emptiness inside me now which will never be filled but I know that I made him so incredibly proud and I will make sure I continue to do so.
I left a little part of my dad in Wilmington today. By writing who he was to me on a bench situated in ‘One Tree Hill’s’ most memorable locations - The River Court.
For me, this made me feel that tiny bit better and I know that’s exactly what my Dad would want.
I love you Dad, so much ❤️
“It's hard when you miss people. But you know if you miss them, that means you're lucky. It means you had someone special in your life, someone worth missing”

Saturday, May 12, 2018

"No law" T Shirt

Only available for a very short time, the exclusive impossible song's "There's no law against love" T Shirt in a fetching blue shade of blue (various styles also available). Don't delay, think too hard or hold yourself back on the grounds of fashionista dystopia or doubt. This is a once on a life time chance, unlikely to be repeated (until the next repeat), anyway hurry up and buy one here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Centre of the Universe

You can't really blame previous civilizations for thinking that our world was at the centre of the universe, it's just bad maths, poor astronomy and some over active egos. Nothing unusual there. As a self confessed follower of daft ideas I'd have bought in, seems reasonable. Here's a drawing that some such believers did back in the day. Quite nice really if somewhat inaccurate. Had they actually been right I wonder how our self perception and actual politics and exploration strategies might have changed. We could be fairly confident that, here at the centre, on the hub planet there would be no other (off-world) civilizations to top us. The consequences of that idea filtering through might be significant, it would certainly help the Hebrew-like belief systems and republicanism in general. Then there would be the warlike battles and contests (constant and bloody) to be the one true master of this universe revolving around us. Nothing new there then. Stop the world etc.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I've no idea how this works

...but I'm going ahead with it anyway. The same could also be said for this:

What is the point of anything if you can't just try out stuff once in a while? So buy this limited edition, highly experimental, teetering on the brink of oblivion T-shirt here! We have a quiet, unassuming but almost interesting sales campaign running for the next few days and all at a reasonable price (so we think).

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Mother Russia

To all the many Russian bots and readers out there, I know you're up to something but I'll let that pass. It was a slog at times but we made it through series one of Ekaterina, a clunky Russian biopic of Catherine the Great's rise and rise (I presume). With stilted dialogue, odd production values, feeble sub titles and strange transitional scenes (to move the story along I guess, hand written notes were also a favourite device to progress the tedium). It was a guilty pleasure of an experience. In dramatic terms it could have been covered easily in two one hour episodes, Russia managed to stretch it out to ten. But in those ten there was little or no sex and violence (only by implication) and no dramatic battle footage, it was a 50s BBC drama but shot in colour and with a 50s budget. It's there, residing in Amazon Prime like a strange Soviet ruin, a relic of a golden age that never existed and you can explore it at your leisure, don't blame me.

Crazy technicolor dream cat

Is this the real life or is it fantasy or just some dumb robot filter effect? No escape from reality.

Cats don't really understand much about the world or how grass is cut and collected. The sound of lawnmowers and strimmers, their presence in the garden, their sound and mechanical movement send cats either to self imposed hidden sleep or to slide under low slung furniture seeking refuge. They have no stomach for this seasonal attack. It makes no sense to them. Animals have a low threshold of normality, one that's easy to disturb. A sneeze, a cough, standing up too quickly all create grounds for panic. There is always some threat lurking nearby. I seem to have lost this natural awareness and succumbed to a much more dopey and quietly restrained lifestyle. Violent attack and major disturbance in the home or garden doesn't cross my mind too many times a day but that's not how it is for the scary and wary cats. Bless them.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018


The grass is growing, waving and pointing, circulating like some crazy ocean we can leave footsteps on the surface despite the constant threat of wet feet and sinking. Life support system. It's a green machine, it's a carpet and another world. It has a magnificence about it, a depth but it will be cropped back and into order today (I suspect). Humiliation for the grass.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Cat on a roof

Too busy with other things today to do any other things, so here's our neighbour's cat on our roof. Not stranded and not in distress.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Pull up a chair

Forget about the TSB's troubles, Brexit, baby boxes, Big Ben's renovation and Donald Trumps day of prayer fiasco...just pull up a nice garden chair, relax and enjoy the weather (not the weather today) but the weather to come. There are always sunny days, blue skies and warm breezes waiting someplace out there in the future.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

TSB - a saga of sorts

The computer glitch that led to quite a muddle: Just parked this ex-BBC material here without any silly comments from me so that come the day I can recall what was reported / said.
Mr Pester argued that the migration of billions of customer records was successful "to the penny".
The underlying engine of the bank was working well, he said, and most customers could log in normally, although there was an immediate angry reaction from those customers who could not make payments or get into the system.
He said that he could be trusted to carry on the work of the bank, and MPs heard that he would not be quitting.
"They should trust me because I will ensure I will bring TSB out of the problems we're in. I have promised customers they will not be out of pocket," he said.
"[The buck] stops with me. Of course I take absolute responsibility for what has happened to TSB customers."
Mr Pester gave evidence alongside TSB chairman Richard Meddings, and Miquel Montes, chief operating officer at TSB's Spanish owner, Sabadell, who also sits on the TSB board.
During evidence, the TSB bosses said:
  • The IT work was not rushed through owing to financial incentives
  • Tests before the switch were "misleading" as they did not foresee the problems with the system's capacity
  • A law firm has been called in to carry out an independent review of the saga
  • Waiting times on phones was "very, very poor"
Mr Pester said that the "accessibility" problems for customers would "not be simple to fix". He admitted that only just over half of complaints had been "acknowledged".
Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee, said: "What we are hearing is the most staggering example of a chief executive who seems unwilling to realise the scale of the problems that are being faced."

Image copyright

What the IT issue is all about

TSB shut down services for two days from the evening of Friday 20 April to move customer data from former owner Lloyds to a new IT system managed by Sabadell.
As soon as the new system was switched on during Sunday evening, customers reported seeing other people's account details alongside a range of other difficulties.
Access to accounts via online banking and the bank's app was patchy in the following days, while those who did manage to get into their accounts encountered some extraordinary errors.
In a letter to MPs, Mr Pester also revealed the extent of "widespread" failures of technology in the branch network. Problems were still experienced in 40% of branches by last Friday.
Frustrated customers also faced average waits of up to an hour for those telephoning the bank.
Last Thursday, experts from computing giant IBM were called in to try to help solve the crisis.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018