Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 was ...

... whatever it was. Now it's nearly time to move onto 2019 and face up to the future, something that's always just around the corner but still manages to arrive quite unexpectedly. I wish I could say more but the future is notoriously tough to predict, people have died and/or lost vast sums of money trying to do just that. Best to let it happen, relax and allow the soothing magic of time's oozing and passing to wash over you like some woolly, warm, soft and flexible blanket. Welcome to 2019, a year devoted to the void, to reflection, clumsy social interaction, moved goalposts and a degree of bearable frustration. There will be change and changes, pages flicked over and storybooks thumbed through. We'll tell ourselves different things, often they're script will refuse to line up with the obvious world of reality but when all else fails just stare into the soft glow of the imagined light that's straight ahead of you and point yourself towards it.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Farewell Big A

That's my final day as a sweaty minion in the Big A over for the foreseeable future. I've returned to civvy street and feel like a combat soldier who's just done a stint in Afghanistan. Maybe that's a bit of exaggeration. The thing is that this year's sojourn into the purchasing mind of the British public hasn't been so bad. The Big A seemed almost human at times and the staff and managers were genuinely working hard to give the customer what they want, mainly a load of Chinese crap as it happens i.e. phone cases and covers, awful toy games, electronic oddities, cook books and a smattering (?) of lurid sex toys. It seems that's what Santa brings us all and then, for good measure we buy even more of it when the sale comes. As a barometer of taste and appetites it's worrying but then so are the TV schedules, the pop charts and the wayward political opinions trotted out all over the place. As a country and a society we're mostly fucked and fucked up but at least the good people of "A" retain a sense of humour and dignity in the face of Brexit and economic adversity and plow on. "It's all right for them" you may say, "what about our high streets and the retail sector?" Yup, totally fucked, blame that one on your town councils and chamber of commerce jokers. Those without any vision or flexibility will, I'm afraid, perish. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

More Cold War

I've been following Coldwar Steve on Twitter before it was cool or fashionable. Well that's my claim. The output has been patchy on occasions but this top deck shot shows him at the peak of his form. Just a pity nobody is sneaking a fag in memory of the old days and the smokey, early morning mist of the upstairs passenger compartment. The 0655 to Donibristle Industrial Estate was my ride, humming "a day in the life" and probably (but I'm not sure about this) not having a care in the world. It was 1973 and the world was truly a different place, unrecognizable and strange, austere and tough. I'm glad that it's over. None of the punters depicted have shared my experience, they've done other things but still ended up in the same place.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Some time in Fifeshire

Earthbound now for nearly 64 years, finally found a reasonable hat, still something of a tooth problem going on in that squint smile but at least I'm smiling, Christmas and the remains of all things must have been good to me this year. Sunglasses are of course vital in December, all that glow and haze going on above the fog. Having a lovely loving wife and a wonderful (if bat-shit crazy) family also helps me stay sane. Reasonable amounts of exposure to animals (dogs, cats, alpacas etc.) does no obvious harm either. I'm back at work today and I've eaten three Christmas dinners this week. Roll on 2019ish.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Picturesque Fife corners

Looking west in Limekilns. Fife.

Further west.

East, in the blurry distance.

Emergency Kitten

Boxing day: If the holidays, vacuous TV broadcasting and hollow religious festivals are getting to you then here's an emergency kitten to study and thereby calm you down. His name is Kylo, he's about eight weeks and he's currently residing in Dundee and in this pic he's having a wee nap. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Daily Truffle

We started out with twelve, that's slowly reducing. They're rather good. HN no less.


The source of numerous family breakdowns, Christmas arguments, tears and tantrums. It's that time of year when some (not all) turn off the TV and play games like Monopoly. Surely this year of all years there should have been a Brexit Special Edition to go with all the other variations. "Go to jail" or be sent back to wherever you came from, "Chance" they're be no food or movement of goods, "Community Chest" whereby we destroy local communities and industries, Utilities get little or no investment and you can forget your tiny green houses and red hotels, they'll all be sold off to Saudi as their prices collapse. As for the railways, they're fucked anyway. Never mind finding proper sensible political or economic solutions either, just roll the dice and see whatever deal or no deal comes up. Good seasonal family entertainment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Daily Reindeer

Traditional Bambi burgers. One of two hungry reindeer that popped into work for a visit. Neither were called Rudolph though they did have names that I didn't quite get. Their own actual reindeer names, the ones they gave themselves will however never be known to us. I'd guess they'd be quite complex, possibly Finnish sounding or in some similar Scandinavian language, tongue twisters for the likes of me. That's the thing with reindeer, you never really know what they are about. They probably taste alright though. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Waves and winds

Classic Japanese art morphs into GIF territory. I quite like the unnatural way the volcano (Fuji?) moves up and down. There's a lot of turmoil in this world.

Typical Fife countryside scene, an idealized winter time.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Wonderful etc.

A sobering thought. Paul McCartney's highest earning tune i.e. the one that pays him the most royalties is in fact "Wonderful Christmas Time". Indeed I have heard it about 18 times today and that snyth part is starting to get to me, never mind the rest of it. Paul is a musical genius no doubt but it must be strange for a tune like that to at the top of your earnings considering all the others bangers he's come up with. Life and art are not fair.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Gilets Jaunes

Christmas Card No1: The three wise angels of the Fairport Convention.
I sometimes think that whatever is going on in France right now, the yellow jacket protest etc. would be a bit useful here, now and again, just for a change. Something just to shake us and our friends in the political elite out of our/their complacency. The "will of the people" could be misunderstood. Careful what you wish for I know but it seems that the UK's "strength of feeling" is seldom easily articulated. We sit back and hope for the best because we're British, not foreign and not likely to get over emotional or excited. So we get ourselves rolled over and, as in the case of Brexit, led by stupid and greedy donkeys into likely disaster. Gilets jaunes just means yellow hi-vis jacket, and here was I thinking that a gilet was a really classy and expensive waist coat thing that country types wore when out gathering up blackberries and stray ponies in the winter months. Riots in the UK, civil disobedience over Brexit? Hmm.


Pickle of the day is Beetroot: Superfood, alternative Christmas dinner, snack material, sandwich filler or simply salad.

Friday, December 14, 2018

And relax

It's illogical to get stressed out when you know what you know. OK when you don't know.

Fed up with Brexit, politics, economics, Westminster, national bickering, the BBC and Christmas tunes? Relax. Another busy week ends in a busy Friday and possibly a busy weekend but I had a colourful Social Bite lunch and the bus wasn't too crowded. Extreme weather (but normal for winter) is promised and the Christmas bug and the panic it exudes is biting legs and the back of necks. Wild alpacas are loose all over Scotland. It's just fluff really. Keep that seasonal stress in check by simply staying busy, it's the only antidote and alternative. Refuse to jump from the speeding merry go round, stare at the ground, breathe in and decide not to get dizzy. All things must pass eventually. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Daily Alpaca

I met some alpacas today at work and I'm not even working on a farm. I didn't realise that alpacas were a part of the Christmas story and that they belong in there with the various cows, sheep and donkeys (and presumably camels) mentioned in what is often loosely described as "God's Word" the much edited, redacted and distorted Holy Bible. Anyway nice to see that our progressive and modern society has now included the humble alpacas into the Christmas menagerie. Next year I've no doubt dinosaurs or even mammoths may well make an appearance. So much of the fabric of our society and our belief systems are based on very little, or nothing in particular or just plain old fiction ... but you might get imprisoned or worse for saying such things in certain places, Northern Ireland would be one I'd imagine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Half a banana

Rare version of Andy Warhol's half banana, created as a prototype before he'd considered adding the other half. Trial and error, that's how you do art. The musical part of it ... well it is an acquired taste. There's no sign of it here but I recall being beat up by it at the time.

Meanwhile: I was in Edinburgh today for work. The grubby, grey Athens of the North. Litter, mess, gunge everywhere (seems to me), tacky markets and billboards, funfairs looking dismal in the morning light, public space hi-jacked for a quick quid and wandering tourists gaping as they wheel their cases across the bumpy pavements. Christmas in Scotland, we've not really done our homework.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Don't start believing

When you don't believe in anything (?) Christmas preparations can sometimes take a back seat, but not this year. It's only the 10th but I've uprooted the Christmas tree from it's seasonal garden refuge and brought it kicking and screaming into the house. I've untangled a great mass of fairy lights and then tangled them up again (in a slightly different formation) around the house. There's a wreath on the front door but nobody has died so far and I've been to the shops and Amazon for gifts. I've also made a firm financial spending plan to take me up to the dawn of 2019 and I've even thought briefly about far away things like January. There's been an outbreak of common sense and morality despite my regular bouts of absent mindedness and my lack of any moral absolute in my belief system. Perhaps it's just duty or a sense of fun or a decision at some subconscious level to avoid last minute panics. Maybe, unlike politicians I'm now able to learn from history and mistakes and so prepare for the impending attack of everything Christmas. I could be just desperate and eager to "get it over with" or maybe I'm enjoying myself in some perverse way that's nothing to do with the time of year, just my time of life. Still got to start the wrapping though.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Big Sky

Actually the sky is the same size today as it was yesterday but for a brief period in the afternoon it seemed rather large. That's the sky for you, always up to odd tricks, bigging itself up and generally showing a tendency for exaggeration. Perhaps it's a seasonal thing or a reminder of how things are as we approach the shortest day and prepare for our pagan dance rituals and back slapping. The phenomenon of big sky was first recognized in the 60's (of some century or other) when people dropped acid and lay down on the grass for long periods. They suffered from strange illness and became confused, now they practice all the things they didn't preach but still wonder about the sky and all that might be hidden on the other side. It's a bit of a winter thing here in the northern hemisphere. 

Friday, December 07, 2018

Peace of mind

It's still under test but I'm already excited about this new tool. Hopefully it'll keep one aging German sports car in fine fettle during the winter months. Peace of mind for me for only £30. Too good to be true maybe but worth a shot. It's all no nonsense, straight forward and even an idiot could use it. Hmm.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Tesco cat: Night duty.

Although he's not looking particularly energetic here, sitting amongst the fire lighters, I did see @Tescocat bounding across the tops of various pallets of winter goodies before settling on this spot. From here he surveys all the various comings and goings and random acts of shoplifting, all in a days work for the superstore feline. Also seems to be working a night shift this week. Any extra Christmas money is always useful.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Lost specs

There's nothing quite like the sense of loss and panic that combines and plummets you into some black abyss of despair when you misplace your glasses. I say misplace because you can never truly lose something, it's just in a place you can't quite get to or locate. Some smoky, misty, isolated outpost of a cracked reality where certain items tend to gather ... unexpectedly. There they sit, waiting to be found, perhaps even slightly anxious themselves while all the time fate whispers, "not yet, not yet, keep them hanging on, all anxiety, scratching, sniffing, fumbling and moaning." Eyes bulging in the cruel sport of the frantic search and still no sign until that blessed moment of wild illumination occurs, all the usual places, pockets, shelves and cupboards turned over and now there they are, hidden in plain sight sitting on some back lit surface and recovered. Fully.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Some cats

Some cats have all the luck, some cats get all the pain, some cats get all the breaks, some cats do nothing expect get themselves immortalized in crayon on old envelopes and then posted on some mediocre blog site.