Sunday, May 31, 2020

In the Font of Courier

Ordinary thoughts, mused enlightenments and confused travel recollections take on new forms and meaning when expressed in the font of Courier. One day this internet landscape that we now explore, ponder and abuse will be gone. There will be activists and those eager to preserve the delicate history of it all but, one day the developers will come. It will be ruined and laid waste to in some Biblical kind of way. Will any remnants survive? Not many, just the fonts, the brave new, slightly altered but still recognisable fonts. As for meaning? We no longer seek such a meaningless thing. The struggle continues.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

In the Font of Arial

Knowing not why I felt a strange compulsion to delve a little deeper into that mysterious world that had now opened up before me. I found myself in a place called "Lockdown Recovery - Phase 1", a special place reserved only for the actual geographical inhabitants of a land called Scotland. We were to be the first to fly free in a dangerous but necessary experiment or so they said. I confess that I was a little nervous, stepping out, raw and unused into this big space with free flowing fellow travelers, all regimented and safely apart, all fixed and focused on getting somewhere because, quite suddenly we were allowed to. 

I didn't feel safe. Too hot, too hostile, strangely quiet and then there were the "other people". I was afraid. For the first time in a while I was in the flow of the traffic of greater humanity, and it showed.  Advice can be taken or ignored it seems. No masks, chatting with open mouths, too close, not observing, possibly using non-household toilets and crockery, sidling up to others in queues, travelling as far as they liked to their second "holiday home" and justifying this because it was a warm weekend and the electricity meter needed reading. Hmm. I may never cycle to Dalmeny ever again.

Worlds apart: Phase 1 night-vision goggles used in broad daylight reveal the difference and it's almost like night and day.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Andalusian Fantasy

Here's oor hoose stretched and reflected in the shiny arse of a car. It has a rather interesting  and exotic Andalusian quality about it that fair makes me fancy taking the ferry to Tangier or the bus to Cowdenbeath. Most things are, at their edges, more of an illusion than a real thing. Something that's both profound and meaningless.

Thursday, May 28, 2020


In other news and in alternative and more reasonable universe I'm quite liking how these grapes have turned out.

Other People's Work

For the record and to who it may or may not concern I tweeted this yesterday. It's clear (?) to me that this government's manipulation of strategy and constructions are, all in all, completely self serving and not in the interest of the people of the four countries that make up the UK. This is despicable and irresponsible behaviour. The PM has adjusted and smoothed his own public health strategy to protect his top advisor and so cover up his selfish conduct. Shameful and criminal in my view.

Anybody care about this?
Quote Tweet
John Barclay
Replying to @lokiscottishrap
Does he know that by changing #StayAtHome
to #StayAware to save the #SuperDryGollum he has created possibly the biggest UK political and criminal scandal of modern times?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Distorted Vistas of the Heart

Spent most of yesterday giving myself doses of good advice by saying things such as "calm the fuck down" and "it's just the usual Tory shit show", but that doesn't really help because I've never actually taken my inner voices very seriously. Time travelling social media coupled with the staccato intervention of random and irrelevant news clips and opinions from unreliable sources drives the day along as if powered by crack cocaine and nitro. Not a safe or useful mix. I'm flipping between the reputable and the untrue, I'm just not sure which is which.

The only easy answer is to plant out seedlings or cook food (not at the same time). You undertake these tasks very slowly and deliberately whilst, in between stirring, mixing and chopping, staring bleakly into those coloured up styles of distorted landscapes and vistas that make no sense whatsoever. The rub being that this is exactly the same as much of the so called real world at the moment. Then, as days pass and you adjust to the speed in that brave new world of redemptive creativity, you can look out for signs of actual growth. 

This is all plausible until you go out for a woodland walk and notice that the trees all have small serial numbers etched into aluminium plates and attached to their trunks and you wonder if: a) you've stumbled into an unused Disneyland back lot or b) this whole thing is just a complex simulation.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Great Wave of Unbelief

Some say he is a genius but I'm not so sure: I suppose I believe some of what you say happened but I don't believe your explanation of events or the weight you apply to them. In your little universe only your rules count. Your exceptional is exceptional to you but may well be common to the rest of the world. What does normal look like? You are however unable to see or understand that, trapped as you are in that strange, binary world of single minded, simple needs and protections.

As for rules, of course they are wonderful things, guidance is to be admired and good practice encouraged, unless that it these things call upon you do something out with that comfort zone you enjoy, the privilege and the protection natural to your background. By birth you landed in that lucky position where life gave you support, choices and chances most don't have. You don't know any better.

You can't understand restraint, patience and trust. These are unnecessary things in the gilded grandiose prison that is your narrow and affected mind and they'd just get in the way. You have a purpose.  It's never going to be your fault. You float somewhere above it all, the temple of the low man. It's the media, the law, those stupid people, the system, the big clunky structures of governance and those irritating people who disagree with you. Nice way to be.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Someone's Psychedelic Breakfast

Egg and banana pancakes.

Using the golden ratio, which is roughly two eggs to one large banana - so you can riff on that, do the following: Mix the eggs and banana up vigorously into a kind of egg and banana smoothie batter, this may take a little time and some elbow effort but stay with it. Heat up a suitably non-stick frying pan and plop a pancake sized dollop of the mixture in. No need for oil.

Buckle up any nearby saxophone and improvise freely for a few moments. Then turn the pancake, the downside should now be the upside and the upside should now be a pleasant brownish/golden colour. Resume your saxophone playing whilst what was the upside now cooks on the downside. Stop playing and using a fish slice style of implement (please ensure it is free from fish) remove the pancake and place it on a dish. Apply some golden syrup or whatever you like on pancakes. Eat and enjoy. 

My work on earth is now complete, thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Over blogging?

Apologies for over blogging and over Tweeting this but it's simply the best, most meaningful, most succinct and relevant Tweet I've seen in ages. I say that as a one time Civil Servant who kind of knows the score. #RockTheFuckOn.

In troubled times

Yet another idealized cat picture set out in such unstable times, aloof and on a comfy warm cushion, oblivious to the troubles of the world and the blatant corruption that destroys and disturbs our political systems and swallows our sleep and resource. Nice to be a cat perhaps and lead such a simple, cozy life (unless the pet food food chain and the basics of all cat litter logistics and veterinary cover should break down in the current self-induced self inflicted mismanaged chaotic crisis running amok in the bizarre world of humans etc.).

Still Lives

Image by LB.
Technically it was still as it was captured but of course these fellows were just happily (albeit with a certain trepidation) celebrating their brief lives as tomato slices riding on the cheese and toast train to oblivion. Nice.

Two sticks of rhubarb, harvested in the recent unexpected strong winds, captured flying in close and intimate formation underwater.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Robot Fingers

Dear reader, another blog post in which I cheerfully and accurately predict things to come: 

"In the near future all serious cases of Rubik's Cube Disease will be quickly and effectively cured by robot hands. I should add that the procedure will normally be carried out either in space, in a medium to distant earth orbit or at the bottom of the ocean, subject to cost estimates and normal expenses and approvals."

Not actual procedural or medical images.

Stormy Saturday

Choppy waters, tanker rides the waves, old bridge stays steady, leaves blowing everywhere, branches coming down, winds swirling across rooftops and gardens, wet swipes of stinging weather. Saturday May 23rd 2020. Strangely peaceful to look out upon in these troubled times.

In other news: We have the most idiotic, ill-willed and incompetent Westminster Government I've ever seen. Each day some new piece of bullshit hypocrisy oozes out from their inner cesspit of deceit and failure. Argh!

Friday, May 22, 2020

No weddings, 3 fridges and many funerals

This is useful: How to stay apart, how to fall apart, how to trip over furniture, how not to see spaces, how to understand the relative mass of common objects as if they were sentient beings somehow following you down the street, how to be assaulted and possibly shoved off the pavement by the unruly behaviour of three very drunk and shouty fridges passing by, how to ensure random pieces of furniture running amok in the street do not cause you any harm, how to consider a 2m space if you have a limited knowledge of the metric system but have either been inside a fully furnished house or a branch of IKEA, how to behave in the company of both people and imaginary white goods. 

How to navigate an assault course of mis-matched bits of furniture and appliances. How to behave in crowded areas if you think you are not a Covid-19 carrier or how to behave as if you might be one and therefore don't wish to pass your infection on to others. Finally, based on your experience of things around you, what is the size of the average bench, be it garden, park, gym, cafe, bus stop etc.?

Fly Tipping

More Green News: OK I'm a Fifer and wont apologize for that and this is probably not typical Fife behaviour but interesting and indicative none the less - some say that we are living in the "end times", a fact possibly proven by the UK being full of some prime examples of everyday common sense and all that. What can we U turn on next?

Fly tipping a caravan simply by leaving it on the pavement isn't a smart or sustainable move. So the recycling centres are closed as, I imagine, are the scrapyards and you simply must get that surplus caravan out of your driveway in order to make room for the new (to you) Renault some fucking thing or other you just bought on Gumtree for £750 whilst maintaining the correct social distancing. Nice job.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Roses by any other name

I take my direction and inspiration from the Garden of Earthly Delights via Marie Osmond's heart wrenching "Paper Roses"' So here we have an avalanche of delightful, delicate petals returning to earth. Fragile. The Peony is the butterfly of all flowers. Gone before it's really here. As if to prove and remind that nothing lasts unless you take a photograph, then with technology it will last as long as the servers still hum and the wires glow. Memory fades too easily. Make the most of these moments.

Where the streams converge

We watched DEVS, all eight episodes, it's a TV show, it killed some time, it also killed time for some. You need to work that one out for yourself.
Lockdown has become a space ship experience, a slow motion experiment, life lived travelling to some unknown point. Daily exercising, eating routines, small insignificant tasks, looking out of the window and seeing other, untouchable worlds, the fear of contact and entrapment. Messages of propaganda arrive along with messages of disturbance and non-compliance. Many mixed messages. Some question the journey we are on, there is talk of mutiny on other ships, rumours abound. 

State owned recreation hi-jacked by the private sector. In the dark, once the sun is on the other side of the ship we watch sci-fi, as if that would help. Theories and plots unfold in other fantasy worlds, parallel and strange in the private land inside their screen. We empathize, it's all that we've been programmed to do. We are powerless to resist. Somebody else wrote this stuff and those people are actors or CGI. Other people watch comedy or music videos. There is no single prescription that works.

Now we live only for the broadcast voice that will tell us of arrival, but we'll remain sceptical. There have been false dawns, sightings and promises. Facts that were not factual. So we continue to look out of the window for signs and into our own doubts and hopes for some daily chink of light or insight. There is little in the way of trust left. There needs to be a coming together, a convergence, a belief that we have made it. We're not there yet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Studies on the chipping of a tooth

This short post is sponsored by the sustained and slightly painful efforts of Bored Films of Canada, BBC60+(Arts and Crafts) and the Kelty Communist Party Community Garden. Thank you all for your efforts.

I've set about projecting this project of great cultural significance all around the actual interweb, starting here. This the ground zero. It's modest start but apart from it's (amazing) cultural significance (did I already say that?) it needs to be seen widely across the full spectrum of Scottish society so as to highlight the many victims of minor dental hardship struggling through this unholy but quite necessary ultimately health giving lock-down thingy. Which, as a polite reminder to one Sarah Smith none of us are "enjoying". By the way, my life saving appointment has tentatively been set for August the sometime of soonish subject to availability.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Art 4 Sale

Creature slamming into mud: Rare opportunity to purchase a muddy rendering of a rare and remarkable wildlife scene, namely an unknown creature jumping into a pile of muddy material (details unknown) in the wild. Sound effects are also included, based on the authentic local dialect as spoken since the days of yore. Also in the presentation are a series of "speed lines" and of course and there is the mandatory cartoon duck discretely placed on the left to add a touch of comic realism. Serious offers only please. PO Box No. 99 Anytown.

Monday, May 18, 2020

River Forth etc.

Forth Bridge to Crombie Pier: Still in it's original packaging, a fully fledged chart illustrating all the navigational pitfalls and hazards that might be found in the mid/upper reaches of the Firth of Forth, circa 1950ish or earlier or slightly later but certainly not recently. Also included are significant details of landmarks and human settlements, some of which I may have lived in, some of which I may even have worked in during my long and illustrious career. All the local historical questions you'd ever want to ask answered on a single sheet of framed parchment. Not for sale.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Guided by the voices of cats

A possibly dangerous presumption based around the behaviour of cats: Today the household cats have decided to stay in as it's a damp rainy day. I am presuming this but I have decided to follow suit, to take my lead from the actions of cats rather than any chemical or electrical process counter to this that might be happening in my own mind. I am the slave of  two cats for the day albeit I will not be using a litter tray or carrying out any form of self cleaning using my tongue. As a result I will experience, as far as I can remember, the first full day of lockdown in which I haven't ventured outside of the house at all, not even into the garden. 

In other news we mounted a search last night for "tiny subtitles" on a Swedish sci-fi film. Even from the safety of our own couch it was an extensive and laborious process that we explored for the first time. Sadly we failed; twenty minutes into the film (which shall remain nameless) we were unable to locate the tiny subtitles. This meant that the film, rendered only in the Swedish language was to us, mere Northern Europeans of Celtic origin, totally incomprehensible. In the end we had to give up and watched an Alan Partridge movie instead. It was that kind of evening but we did laugh quite a lot.

I got up this morning and learned a whole lot of things about explosions, gear ratios and eclipses and now I've fried most of my brain, at least for the day. The cat sitting on the TV remote control may have played a small part in this. "Soon 43% will become 76% and we will be near completion." Said a wise old cat.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Accidental Inhalation

How some things may seem the morning after.
In a normal day in a normal universe I'd have awoken this morning with at least a 75% feeling of being hungover: Anniversary outing, wine, Prosecco, Chinese food, more wine, Zoom Bingo, Gogglebox, the News, Twitter, nice gifts, Joe Wicks, rich cakes, hampers, more wine etc. all take their toll. Thankfully nothing happened and I got up this morning clear headed and in reasonable shape (apart from the normal multiple Wick's induced injuries and stiffness that now plagues my "senior" body), so that was a nice surprise. 

I'm also less fixated upon my chipped tooth. I phoned the dentist yesterday but the line was busy with customers who have real problems and actual pain. At one point my dental damage seemed to be the size of a small aircraft carrier in my mouth, now it's more at the level of a leaky rowing boat. These are terrible illustrations I know but my mind is elsewhere as I've been cleaning out the cat litter tray and may have accidently inhaled at some point in the process.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ten Years After

Gravestone No. AB118 makes a handy temporary table.
As part of an essential shopping journey we made a possibly non-essential journey, only a few miles from the well beaten track in fact to our old house, our former home and the location of our wedding ten years ago. We were married in the church next door and then had the celebrations etc. in a marquee in front of our house. 15th May 2010. 

We moved away eight years ago but came back today just for a wee look around and to remember and reflect on the day. Those that are now not with us, those that have arrived and the journey we've been on to get this far. We sat in the sun by the church, sipped some Cava whilst looking over the ancient graves. OK not particularly glamorous spot I know but, in my view, the right thing to do. Cheers to us!

Once we'd done that I was naturally curious to inspect the septic tank, the woodland pathway, the paint job on the house, the fruit trees and the general state of things. Phew.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Emergency Dental

How the inside of your mouth feels when there's trouble there you can't quite fix with a brush or a toothpick.
I suppose it had to happen during lockdown, some kind of medical crisis that isn't Covid-19 and isn't actually a crisis. A chipped tooth is not a crisis, the dentist's website kindly explains it all in simple terms. Only an idiot would see minor cosmetic dental damage as problematic. I'm also on a dental plan so it'll get fixed ... some time in 2021. 

Naturally I turned to the internet for solutions, emergency fixes, products called "Tempteeth" and the like. All no doubt Chinese in origin (not a bad thing), three and a half to four stars on reviews, prices and delivery vary wildly. There are YouTube demonstrations, mostly by similar lockdown victims like myself, all quite relaxed, performing and re-performing their tricks to fix that troublesome tooth and thereby restore their dental beauty. Invariably their solutions are temporary, masking and replacing the tooth damage is a daily task, part of their beauty routines along with nails and what have you. They are mostly young women (?).

I'm biding my time here, DIY mouth gluing sessions have seldom gone well for me in the past. I just need to concoct a reasonable story for the dentist's hotline. I'm on the case. Still pondering super glue. Lockdown has created that rarest of things, too much thinking time.

(Tiny) Tooth chipping with laptop logo for scale.

Sympathy for the Dragons

Above: A phoenix. Complicated birds, ultimately in trouble with themselves but always destined to return so it's not so bad really. Fire as a creator is hard to understand for us poor humans and our feeble imaginations and what a phoenix experience feels like is beyond scary. Respect to the phoenix.

Below: You can never get enough dragons really. They are forever popping up in books, films, TV series and art. Mostly as the bad guys but you can never tell, it's complex and the dragon's perspective is often not properly understood or rendered clearly. Here's one to enjoy as they either slowly BBQ you on a spit roast with their lazy hot beery breath or blast you into some incinerated oblivion in a split second of high pressure thermal torture.

Thoughtful illustrations by LB.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Willow Tree Wednesday

Willow: By LB.
Wednesday: Slept a little later, maybe longer. Itchy legs and still sore calves, blaming Joe Wicks and rudimentary brick laying and cement work. Photographing cats and the oil tanker Ohio - all from the window. Tug boats moving, moored against the tide. Reversing beepers. Panic reminder to put out the brown bin because the brown bin collections are starting again and it's full and we don't want to miss out. Yogurt, blueberries and granola in a small dish. A cup of coffee that was not too bitter and went down well. Browsing news out of habit rather than interest, my focus needs to shift. Birdsong. There are lots of birds here. Wednesday 08:19.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


The well crafted badge of the perpetually locked down and bewildered.
We've been awarded the non-Airbnb, non-commercial, non-infected, non-committal badge of adherence to Scottish life in 2020. This is me stepping back to admire our achievement (as designed by one of our grandsons) and our status as being reasonably safe and healthy in body, mind and spirit. If you believe in that sort of ridiculous but interesting twaddle. 

Monday, May 11, 2020


Stay alert.

A colourful rendition of a favourite plant and pot. I'm staying as alert as possible.
An unprecedented wave of bin juice: That could mean one of two things or indeed two things. One being a kitchen bin mess due to a leaky bag that requires rapid and careful cleaning before it turns into a fully blown kitchen floor disaster.  Fortunately I am trained in the correct procedures and managed to retrieve the situation. The other being a short, pithy description of the PM's Sunday night speech... bin juice indeed.

Staying alert in a stupid world: Weather-wise a bright but disappointing Sunday (that being yesterday), where has spring gone and where is it going? Then the chilly peace is shattered as the interweb gets flooded with outrage and unbelief over the (Westminster) Government's latest ineptitude, as if that was somehow unexpected. Their business is serial fuck-wittery, people actually voted them in and continue to defend them and some faceless "grandees" will benefit from the ongoing and needless chaos. 

I'm remaining locked down in the hope of mass targeted clinical assassinations via a merciful Covid 19 dose dropped in the form of some kind of intelligent weapon of God's supreme judgement from the hold of a passing alien spacecraft onto the various Tory Party / Brexit Party bunkers, all done as a form of universal Darwinism to wash the planet clean. There's a faint chance that we, as a species might survive, or advance even, following such an unprecedented (as in bin juice) event.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Chinese spy-phone

Top tips for photos: Up at 0830 yesterday, looked out of the window and snapped this with my Chinese spy-phone. Right place, right time. My tinfoil hat was discarded in haste some time previously when I was out and about recycling wine bottles. So no filters, manipulation or any shit, just the glorious and misty haze of a very still May morning rolling in from east to west or thereabouts. Wild and free photography. 

As a matter of routine self indulgence I quickly uploaded this onto Twitter, as ever seeking the slightest approval and validation of some sort from that virtual world, such is the shallow nature of my stilted personality. The still and silent pigeon atop the chimney was singled out for praise, of course I hadn't even noticed it at the time of clicking. I'm not much of a details person.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

We were promised concrete

We were, I'm sure that it was in the manifesto, somewhere in the small print or a sub-section. A basic right for humans. Concrete, ready mixed, in a handy but actually quite heavy bag. Just add water. Messy to use, tends to have a mind of it's own but still strangely satisfying to work with. Now there's none to be had. The supply chain looks broken. Where did it all go wrong? Why didn't we learn the lessons from pasta and toilet paper? 

Friday, May 08, 2020

VE Day

I'll not be waving any Union Jacks today, eating jammy scones or standing up for the Queen and the National Anthem. There's no Blitz Spirit here, there's no triumph or hijacking of history. In the end our Colonial masters won something but failed to understand it or learn lessons. Now they still look down on us irrespective of service and sacrifice. My dad hated the Tories even more than I do.

The Queue at B&Q

Under the Forth Railway Bridge (abstract view), as seen as part of some daily essential exercising that takes less than the mandated hour. I'm still not completely clear on what a fully "legal" lockdown day actually looks like.

I was thinking about all the people I saw in a queue outside of a B&Q store. It's a sunny morning, I'm looking for some concrete, technically I've made an unnecessary journey but my mental health barometer told me I needed the concrete to build a stone step, yackety yack, to improve the garden etc. So I joined the fairly large queue. A sunny morning, only about 0930 but there were many eager souls in that queue, mostly couples, shorts and t-shirts clutching phones as is the custom. All lost in thoughts on doing up the bathroom, some running household repairs or fixing up the garden like me.

The queue was slow and though I've been in B&Q many times, now from this strange queue the inside of the store seemed quite a mysterious thing. How had it changed I wondered? Would it be one way? Would there be an uneasy sense of desolation? Certain stocks and facilities were not available according to the on line messages I'd seen. It was now another dark world, a small part of an unfamiliar universe distorted by Covid pandemonium. I reasoned with myself, but I just want a bag of concrete and maybe some fence paint if I can find the "right" colour, whatever that might be. 

After ten minutes I moved up one place and suddenly I saw clearly a sign that I'd been avoiding reading: "No plaster, cement or concrete products in stock. Only a small selection of fence paints. More stock due in next week." So that was it, no stock or at least nothing worth standing in a line for. I ducked under the tape, always at a safe distance of course, jumped in the car and drove over to Homebase. First thing I did was check the signs and sure enough: No plaster, cement ... etc." 

Turns out we're all the same. We just want some cement and some paint, perhaps some bedding plants and a pack of drill bits. You can try Amazon but delivery dates and times are screwed so you go "non essential" in a fake, self induced bid of desperation. We're all looking for a purpose right now and sometimes just hating the Tories or being angry at the media or the virus isn't enough. There are higher purposes but seriously who cares? You just need to get back home and mix up some concrete in your garden, in your own small world.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Never Forget

Danger Danger! Trite message warning: Mr Natural's been around for a while, sometimes lying low, underground as it were, sometimes right there in your face, sometimes forgotten altogether, perhaps in disguise from time to time. You never can tell. Things come and go. So as we control ourselves so as not to be too grumpy, try to take a "philosophical" view, don't take our many privileges for granted and try to solve more problems than we might create and never forget that we are all simply ... passing through.