Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Wobbly ferry

Today I'm posting from the middle of the Bay of Biscay, the water is wobbly and so is the wi-fi. Life afloat has it's own peculiar struggles. We seem to have left the warmth behind and a chilly and ununited UK awaits our arrival sometime tomorrow. The ferry is full of ferry passengers, many stereotypes and a few wankers (see above). The over attentive dads over explaining everything to their bored children and then challenging them to Scrabble matches, the older women (well presented and attractive) sipping wine and brooding over shopping purchases, the confused and grumpy (regardless of gender) older people, the eternal hippies of no particular age still resplendent in dread-locks and dungarees stuck in a weedy time warp, excited whale and dolphin watchers despite the obvious lack of whales and dolphins, doggy people letting their dogs piss on the deck ...then me, apparent flawed elder statesman and worldy wise man who cleverly left his book in the car (locked up 5 decks below and under the waterline(!?)), now craves peace, wine, sleep and cake in no particular order.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sardines and straws

I've scoffed a few sardines so far this month, in restaurants or handily fired up on the BBQ. This batch are safely encased in tin. I plan to eat them on my 100th birthday (or sooner depending on circumstances and how I find myself). As a child I was repulsed by sardines, too bony, silver and oily. All that has changed, they seem like tiny protein bullets, easy to eat and slow to digest with a flavour that's missing in many other fish. They may seem like a poor man's food but not to me, they're a juicy wee treat.  Below: an art installation recently completed featuring wrought iron work and drinking straws. Proof, if needed that I never did attend Glasgow School of Art or anywhere else.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Detective work

The trail was cold but the evidence was warm, the burnt out car in an area of burnt out scrub. The source and location of the recent bush fire, quickly extinguished by a helicopter and a few water bombs. We'll never know the full story.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Coconut water

My new thing is lazing in a hammock, drinking chilled coconut water and reading short stories by Muriel Spark. I may be suffering some kind of convoluted breakdown. It was always to be expected. In the distance there are sirens wailing, some kind of emergency down in the town, I'm too far away to witness or influence anything but it's all kicking off. It may be the affect or the effect of coconut water. Thereafter I spent an hour in the company of the Blue Oyster Cult, it was almost relaxing but not as relaxing as Muriel Spark. She wrote about the Blitz, the randomness of death and chaos, the unfairness, the abstract funerals, poets meeting their untimely mortality and so on. In the end I didn't know what to make of it. At this point I reverted back to beer.

More ghosts

Sundown meets the hovering twilight ghosts at Albufeira railway station. The car park's a muddle of tight corners and poorly parked vehicles. If I had blood pressure problems they would surface here but they don't and I made a safe escape. I put it down to my special relationships with ghosts.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

End of the world

The wild and rugged coastline and cliff edges at Cape de Sao Vicente in Portugal, the end of Europe's main land and staring into the open mouth of the Atlantic. I made it there early enough, avoiding most of the crowds and self inflicted traffic jams across the cruel and primitive roads. Surfers, swimmers and curious tourists mix in a blustery hot spot and one way street. Get there, breath it in and get out. There are lost souls here, among the cafes and market stalls, the gravel tracks that lead out to 200' drops and steps that allow the families to struggle down to hidden beaches and mysterious caves. The wind never stops, the impetus of a long flight from the west pushes you back from the crags, everything comes from there and faces back and chills the soul ready for the inland heat that awaits. 

Watching over

Not spiritual, not religious, not fond of ceremony. Likes images, gifted wild flowers, peace. Occasional conversations with myself or the sky. Looking out onto and into the horizon. Cold beer, warm sardines, potato salad, non-destructive testing, the blues, the quirks, the dreams.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A history of music in sand

Grumpy Zappa.

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant with a strange sandy short scale battered Stratocaster.

Pink Floyd tableaux.
Yesterday I had a hot and dusty wander around a park depicting (amongst other things) the history of modern music in sand sculptures. Their version of history ends about 1980 and starts with Mozart. There are some weird inclusions and strange mixes. The Doors, Janis Joplin, Bach, Bob Dylan, Madonna and the rest. Curious, dry and in need of a little TLC.

Picasso and Dali also featured, hard to tell where the cubism and surrealism began or ended in the juxtaposition of forms and renderings, modern masters Disney and Star Wars were also there to please the kids. The only form of cool escape was a "beats" style cafe were shade and cheap coffee allowed some respite from the baking heat and blinding yellow glare of sandy reflections. Odd but intriguing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Algarve Daily Photo

A scarf knotted onto a ring on a wall.

In a holy place where God might well speak through the light of a window or the bulb of an electric candle.

Local homage to Art Deco, shapes and colour. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

All Hail...

...the new King of America and the Leader of the Free(ish) World as he greets some toady in a suit.

Garden daily photo(s)

A quick amble round the garden/stroll around the grounds. Nature in the dusty, volcanic raw. An odd mixture of fruits here today, (cactus is fruit isn't it?). You can turn it into tequila eventually. Grapes are also fruit, they just turn into grapes of course but they can also turn into wine, brandy, champagne etc. Very versatile. Not that I'm drinking today, not a drop has passed my lips, strictly water and coffee. Nice to have days like these where sobriety and salads reign, it's all very Mediterranean despite that particular sea being some distance away, conveniently enough.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Some safari or cruise

I find myself trapped in a luxurious Portuguese prison while the World Cup, Donald Trump, Brexit and Wimbledon rage elsewhere. Please don't send help or mount any rescue mission, I'm calm and intend to remain so. It's an education, a slow, warm and selfish one. Also self imposed. I read "Poverty Safari" by Darren McGarvey whilst sitting by the pool sipping red wine and/or slugging cold beer. My guilt, empathy and recognition materialized as beads of sweat. I asked myself many times "how did I ever get here?" There was no clear answer any more than asking Darren McGarvey "how did he ever get there?" 

We are all passengers on some large karmic cruise liner it seems. Some are up on the sun deck or in the lounges, drinking, laughing and socializing with well chosen friends. Every day there's high tea and dancing. There's a lot of chattering and academic and aspirational manoeuvring. That's the few. The rest are in the engine room, shoveling and swearing, leaning on shovels and staring into a well managed blackness. Some are serving in the dining rooms, ironing in the laundry or busy in the kitchen chopping up pig's trotters and squeezing oranges. Some just hide in lockers and damp sea chests afraid of discovery.

This travel plan is fine for some but bloody unfair for others but it's the luck of the draw or an accident of birth. Of course the officers and regular crew on the ship are reasonably happy, they need the poor, that's part of the evolved plan and the main part of the industry. Exploit, ignore and patronize them, that way everybody stays in a job and has a career plan and a mortgage and the poor just get poorer. As for me, I remain a traitor and indifferent parasite, a stray from my working class roots. I grew up ashamed of them and tried to bury them, that was/is a fucking stupid and ignorant idea. I won't be doing it again. Whoever you are you should read this book.

Windows to the soul

Behind these shabby shades there can only be more rot and ruin but the make pretty shapes and pictures for the passing tourists. If was a proper photographer with a decent phone (?) I'd shove these up on instagram but this afternoon it's too warm and sunny and too lazy to bother.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Needs a good title

"The wind blew in from Africa, last night I couldn't sleep..."

I have no idea what this is about but I like the cat motif.

For some reason I have now become a collector of outside laundromats, they pop up all across Europe and are clearly an exciting, clean and lucrative business venture for some.
Saw these shoes in a shoe shop (surprise), they make no sense unless they were meant  to be presented to Donald Trump were he ever to visit Italy.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Food and Drink

Avocado and scrambled egg, "scravocado". Sangria, just the usual. A diet to keep you fit and see you through the World Cup.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Day 7

Well I think it's day seven, it may be day eight. It's a close call. The heat is bearable, the pool is cool, this is holiday weather and lazy haze has flopped over me making things in general an effort. There's light relief in a shower or a drink or stopping. The world conspires against stopping, it's not allowed, it's frowned upon. You must go out, take part in an activity, experience things, see with your own eyes, break sweat, visit a place. Well a bit of that's OK but generally I'll resist the pressure, I'll just float somewhere, safe and warm, over in the distance you might just make be out. A small particle of inactivity. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Slow descent

After about 2000 miles of uneven driving I've made the slow descent to the bottom of Europe, Portugal that is. Actually I've been trapped here, by fierce heat and cheap alcohol, for at least a week. It's a struggle to survive right now with that complex set of guilt trips buddies burning away on my back; privilege and age induced righteousness. Nice to hear that the UK is quietly sweltering at the same time. There's also football happening. Busy.

Sunday, July 01, 2018