Thursday, January 31, 2019

East Neuk Daily Photo

A peaceful harbour in a stormy world.

The far away May Island, or Island of May.
Another sunny but nippy afternoon spent working down in the East Neuk of Fife. As ever the trusty (if a little ancient now) phone camera was put to the test to try to capture anything vaguely interesting or potentially artistic. In hindsight I see that I miss so many good photo ops, particularly people ones. I just don't quite have the courage to snap complete strangers however compelling or artful their pose, stance or look might be. Even stray cats are a challenge. I've a morbid fear of somehow being outed as (even) a reluctant arty type. The upshot is much of my viewed life is self edited out and replaced with static images that wont talk back. A street life photo man is something I'll never be. Ho hum. I suppose it's good to know your limitations but not so good to be limited by them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Across the seven realms

Almost everything in this picture is thanks to Google in some way. Google being the god of heaven and earth and the sparks of electricity that connect us all  in a new and adaptable religion forming up in the Western world.

There were (are) seven swans a swimming but when I took this shot the other five were under water. Damn clever and versatile birds. Sorry if the swan's arses offend anybody.

Number one of an occasional series. The seven realms being earth, sky, water and four others that I can't quite think of at the moment. Anyway it's always nice to be out and about seeing and appreciating the wonders of nature even on a chilly January day. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Euro septic

The annual ritual known as "removal of the poos and liquid" is complete. That's the local pollution cleared up, of in a tanker to somewhere where this wonderful material, with all it's good bacteria, might be useful. Perhaps it's piped to the centre of the earth, or launched into space or just spread across a vast lettuce field in Spain. I'll never know but a small part of me wonders and the smaller, less pleasant parts of me ... I forget things quickly.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Under the sea

Under the sea, under the sea, there's so much plastic, really fantastic, join us and see...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Let Scotland flourish

Through a brandy and rose wine haze I can see it all laid before me, a great panoply of invention and disaster, the story of us. We used to manufacture things, there was heavy industry, coal, steel, ship building, fishing,  innovation, enterprise and ... misery. A few people profited, everyone else was left with a plague of industrial diseases, generational poverty, a cultural vacuum and a strong sense of being exploited (though we were never sure who to blame). Now we are in a post everything scenario. Nothing really exists, our history is imaginary, our future is doubtful and our present is only marginally bearable. We have parks where our heritage is buried and our battlefields are ploughed over, museums and media that tell an alternative version of history and a disabled Scottish government who wants the best but have no clear idea nor mandate as how to achieve that, ever. Welcome to 2019, Brexit, scandals, sandals, socks and all. Unreliable history.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Anstruther daily photo

Today was in fact yesterday.

There's always one with a garish filter, this one was of course done by a friendly robot from outer space.

In winter very few people bother to sit on these attractive benches by the public toilets.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Petrol station observations

Under the stars and artificial light, the distant petrol station.
Petrol station: Some pumps are out of diesel, there's never an explanation. Traffic cones on the spillages. Pay at pump on the pumps with the longer hoses, why? Those strange products they advertise on the pumps, blue-tooth beanie hats, tool kits, head torches, a scarf you can heat in a microwave and portable electric candles, nobody else sells this stuff. In the shop those special offers will greet you at the aisle ends and at the till. I've never seem anybody buy these items, maybe late on Christmas Eve there's a boom.

There's no free screen wash buckets anymore, blue towels have run out but if you're lucky there's a diesel glove made out of a plastic bag. Special litter bins with letter box sized gaps to prevent you actually using them. Tight manoeuvres are required around those cars where the drivers are indoors queuing for the coffee machine. Some people are quite impatient. Some people pump their petrol and then go over to the cash machine hoping it might work. Signs warn of CCTV. You are being filmed in case you act like an idiot and the footage has some on line value.

Newspapers rest in outside bins that are way too big. Fewer papers are sold, possibly to pensioners. They (papers) don't even look interesting anymore. All the headlines are at least 36 hours old. There are logs and kindling, screen wash and BBQ bags, not worth buying at those prices. Don't linger in this area.

In the shop, waiting for a free till. The assistants avoid eye contact. Quite right. There are sweets on the left of the queue, this has been outlawed everywhere else but is still OK in a petrol station. All the chocolate bars are normal sized unlike the shrunken mutants you can buy in the main store. They seem over priced but what do I know? There are sandwiches and cold drinks, some are reduced to clear. I never stray into this area of the shop. I have no loyalty card either.

In the future these places will not exist, there will be charging terminals or just common driverless cars you'll call up with an app or something. Oh, there's no toilet here so don't bother asking.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Under the warm breath of the main door air curtain, Tesco cat sleeps as the bitter winter chill bites all and sundry. I've no idea what sundry really means but I'm sure that all sundries will be well and truly bitten by various icy blasts over the next few days. Good luck to them all.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ten year challenge

I know it's old hat but I revel in being behind the times. I've occupied this hallowed and lonely space for a number of years. A fluid number in truth, that's some kind of maths I didn't get round to not learning. In fact I thought it was the "ten stone challenge" at first, now that might have been interesting and in these sugared up, watered down days and  a worthwhile exercise. It was not to be and to be honest I don't really know what I'm doing or what I actually believe anymore. I'm also not sure who I believe anymore either. The future (a thing that some rampant optimists believe we're headed for but at different speeds of course) might be OK after all or things might just fall apart. The centre cannot hold etc. etc.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

And so ends...

... that strange, almost unearthly phenomenon known as daylight. Today we used it all up, it ran out and started to fizzle away about 5ish. It might have been later. Not sure who wasted it all quite so quickly. It was certainly there and doing well when I awoke this morning at 0910. It was all around (in the room and leaking under the bed covers) and when I looked out of the window there was even more. Eventually once I'd showered, exchanged germs and had a dose of protein I ventured out in the daylight. It was fine but, pressured on by the other motor car drivers, I switched on my headlights and added extra light in case I hit a patch of sudden gloom. I think that's how the Highway Code puts it. After a while I forgot about the daylight, kind of of ignored it and took it for granted as I went about my business. Then all hell broke loose about 4ish when the moon turned up like some drunken gatecrasher. At this point daylight's arse was right out of the window and the sky started going pink with embarrassment. I was late to notice this but took the above photo (photo above) as I returned home. Now there's no daylight left so we're all fucked for the time being and have stumbled in and switched the heating on. Hope this situation improves tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


"Lost: One unicorn / pig hat, suit small child. If it's somewhere out there Lord please send me a sign." The hat is currently on display somewhere on the Fife Coastal Path, in Fife.

I'm not sure when unicorn / pig /hippo (?) hats became a thing. Maybe a rainbow and a yellow vest is missing too. I'm also not sure what if anything they signify or if there is a lifestyle or particular set of values that they represent. That's the thing these days, you cant be too careful, Free speech has created a low energy tyranny that requires us all to take offence or get all shouty and righteous if any particular boundary is crossed, no matter how blurry or irrelevant. Everything has equal importance but no one is more important than somebody who has been offended. These delicate flowers are to be wrapped in double bubble wrap and shielded from the cruelty of common and common people's culture, my thoughts (unspoken) are that it's all too much and what with the weather and the state of the country I'm offended just by standing still and doing nothing. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Bare trees, crisp air

Just after I took this photo this morning hundreds (?) of wild geese flew over headed north east. Their calling and cackling was almost deafening. A huge wave of early morning noise; nature's alarm clock circling slowly. They fly with great exuberance and style albeit I'm never quite sure they know exactly where they are going. There is a basic formation and order but the erratic calls, the frenzy and the odd straggler suggest they are on the brink of organisational chaos. Still they get some where, usually landing in a huge, agitated  gathering in one single uncultivated field, or by the water's edge, all within eye contact or hailing distance. I've love to be able to understand their high flying conversations but in order to do that I'd have to be a goose.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Bring me a kitten

Of course there is no escaping the great, slow burning Westminster clusterfuck that is happening some 450 miles south of here. Everybody's neck is on the line and our fate seems to be in the hands of a number a) disagreeable and b) pig-headed people (sorry about that pigs) and that's that. Every Brexit problem just spawns a new problem that only spins the process into an even faster and hotter frenzy. Common sense, nah, forget it. Britain and the wonderful British people and their elected representatives know best ... at how to be stupid. I escape from this tedious and long running horror show by routinely spending time with kittens, playing the guitar, actively avoiding news reports and doing freelance social research (which thankfully isn't focused on Brexit attitudes this time around).  Just to demonstrate my forward thinking I'll set aside a day next week for bulk purchases of toilet rolls, French wine, Pot Noodles and Duracel batteries.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tips for entertaining

"Donald, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times there's nothing worse than serving up lukewarm food on cold platters. Your guests will be disappointed, though they're unlikely to tell you to your face, and I don't care if you paid for it yourself or how many new Happy Meal toys you've got for your collection, it just won't do. Oh, and by the way Wendys is much better than McDonalds, that's just for the record."

Monday, January 14, 2019


Hellebores are one of the first spring flowers to open.Their colour & showiness is so welcome in these weeks before spring.
Helleborus niger (far right) is called the Christmas rose. In legend it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a girl who had no gift for the Christ child. (That's possible).

These are not my words, they belong to a lady by the name of Emma Mitchell, she's on Twitter you know. I have no real idea what this is all about (other than flowers obviously) but I liked the picture and the peculiar little legend mentioned. Perhaps it could form the basis a question in the famous TV quiz Universycle Challenge.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Shopper's Paradise

OK. So you want some coconut water (as any sensible, respectable person would), but you don't want to pay £2 for a single small carton. The answer to this shopper's conundrum is to simply purchase the coconut water as part of a "meal deal". Yes there are such things. Then for £3 you get the coconut water, a bean, curd, salad and chilli wrap and a tub of fresh pineapple chunks. All of which will prove useful if you are either hungry or thirsty or your body is crying out for fibre. Thrust me on this.



Hmm, mysterious leak in the downstairs bathroom plumbing, weird little wet patches between the tiles on the floor. No foul odour. Procrastinating a little. Had a shower anyway.

Seven pieces of French toast, three slices of Lorne sausage and two brown bread rolls (not all eaten by me but I prepared this). Orange juice with bits. Coffee.

Browning and thickening minced beef in a pot.

Removing the trickle charger, starting the car, running the car and then reconnecting the trickle charger.

Carrying out recycling but two of the bins are full. Started a new pile.

Discovering that the mice have stolen and eaten the mouse poison. Not really sure what to do about this. Almost feeling sorry for the mice. What drove them to this?

Fed the birds (did not feed any mice knowingly).

Admin for work, sorted papers, letters, pamphlets, made up letter packs, checked everything twice because that's just how I am. Still having doubts about the envelope contents. 

Split three very stubborn logs with a log splitter and heavy hammer. Harder than I'd expected. Recovering.

Ate three leftover After Eights nobody seems to want. It's 3pm.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Edinburgh nightly photo

Somewhere up near the castle, the tourists have mostly gone, the castle and "attractions" are closed, no invaders present. No unrest. Soldiers smoke a cigarette and dream of sleep. Drunks and those on their way home trip on the uneven slabs. Headed home except for the homeless, those who lead mysterious outside lives in shop doorways an hostels as they seek out warmth and food wherever they might find it. Nothing to see here, officer. 

The city is cruel stone, red lights, dirty pavements, unobserved speed limits and rules. That feeling that nobody cares but everyone is watching, circling, spinning, trying to find a way past the old and the brutal, a way to make the city a better place. All that happens is the popping up of new fast food frontages, revised landlords, a restrained police presence and traffic mis-management. We are all captive here, no matter how free we believe ourselves to be. But you can escape, along the western approach road, via the A90, on a shooglie bus, jump a tram, take a late train to Dunbar. It's possible.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Night garden

At night it's dark (obviously), unless artificially interrupted, which can be OK, or a little strange or a little magical. You can't be sure. There are too many variables. Moonlight, cloud cover, security lights, house lights, star light and too much brooding darkness in the mix to screw up everything. Oh and fog, and freezing fog and finally a decent blizzard coming at you like horizontal flying nails. That's all due to arrive next month, via drone.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The revolution wont be a revolution

Today's mood and general demeanour was largely influenced by the sighting of this dead bicycle forlornly laid against a railing in Princess Street (in Edinburgh) awaiting a sky funeral once all is quiet and the vultures descend. It might not go like that. The pickings will be slim. There will be no recycling. There will be no news coverage. The flesh will be largely unconsumed. The final revolution of these once proud wheels will not be televised nor witnessed unless a few folks peer out of the windows of MacDonalds, squint over the plastic tops of their plastic lattes and soberly observe the moment when a "cooncil" pickup tears this bike away from it's moorings and then moves it onwards to the tip. I don't what happens after that. I don't ask awkward questions. I just tweet slightly absurd things on Twitter and then wonder at how things became generally but not exclusively mediocre, a black and white finish is the key. I do like a good argument now and then though.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

And now...

...for your delectation I give you some street map details from Fife, portrayed in money saving black and white to suit the Fifeshire type and nature. Just the thing to use should your GPS fail or your battery goes flat any time you're in the area for the purpose of some kind of rendezvous.

One for the refugees

I don't know much about this other than it's an artwork (sculpture or whatever you want to call it) that has appeared somewhere in Denmark as a reminder of and a tribute to the many refugees lost in (shall we say) Northern waters. These people are people, with names, education, talents and families, they are refugees, fleeing from war and oppression, not migrants, or immigrants or some sub-human species that we can conveniently ignore. I'm sad that the UK is slowly  becoming the place that the current government seems to wish to define it as, a cruel and heartless land where the ruling establishment neither show mercy or compassion to their own poor people or to those of other nations. There is a special place in hell...

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Monday, January 07, 2019

This isn't here

In the Far East, further east than you can think of, a large hungry bear took a bite at the moon and the results are now available thanks to modern technology and the like  (see above). These are common occurrences in the eastern part of heaven or even space, usually it's a dragon that gets the blame. It's a cultural thing based on storytelling traditions. I sincerely hope that the Chinese rocket that landed there last week was not swallowed in the process. The effect on tides and possibly time has yet to be measured and it may well be a little darker at night once the moon returns to Scotland where, as far as I can see it tends to hover like a lost Police drone over Edinburgh airport. The good news is that mankind is working feverishly to come up with workable solutions to sort out the damaged moon and any naturally occurring wild drone bad behaviour.

In a green world

Seasonal seaweed colour changes. The cold green of January paints the rocks with a bright and slippery coating revealed as the the tide hides and packs away the water somewhere else down the river. It comes and goes, sweeps clean then deposits more material and allows the green unseen world to come to life for a few hours. We walk across the bottom of this nether world, mud, sand, rocks and weed, any sensible creatures in hiding until the chilly waters return. By then we'll be supping hot coffee and eating the remains of any reasonably well preserved Christmas fare.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Window and door

There's no doubt about it, at this time of year, in the frosty, spectral winter light and the brooding darkness our front door and the odd 18th century windows actually look rather mysterious, as well as strange and warm.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Never the right time

Shallots were discovered by this family late in 2018. In 2019 they were used up. Not sure when we'll see their like again.

Soda bread: No yeast or obvious trouble to make. Solid and dependable and quite rugged and good looking. A new year winner.

When it's not the right time to write but you write anyway but it's just not right, quite. As it turns out I seldom write or type up anything at the correct time. Ideas come inconveniently and I'm astute enough to recognize them as they arrive, often like buses, one after another. What I regularly fail to do is capture these ideas, they evaporate and remain lost and unused. It's my own fault, I refuse to learn or I'm stubborn, lazy or dumb. The ideas fly off like migrant birds headed south and so, once I've gathered myself together to the point of writing something down, I begin with an empty head. Sparse as a wardrobe robbed by a dozen funeral attendees requiring outfits, like an empty fridge two days before pay day and so on. Ideas = down the drain. Well some of the time. 

There's always a lost Christmas card, stuck in limbo, undelivered, eventually binned. Sad. In black and white.