Monday, August 31, 2020

When we did nothing

It should have been something more than it turned out to be. That's the problem with reflection if there's not enough to reflect upon. Regretting not so much what happened but what didn't happen. Those things that were talked about but never progressed, those places never visited, those conversations we failed to have. The wrong directions now clearly visible looking back on life's cruelly real and undeniable mapping systems. 

Everything back then was strained and strange. How did cars and appliances ever work even in the 1970s, how could we speak to each other, why did we think that our food was nice, was working really miserable, where did money come from, what was the real news, were our clothes ever clean, where did you get information, why did you fall in love? 

The past is horrible even though horrible things only rarely happened. Yet people write books and stories and make fortunes trawling up their early lives and experiences, their version of the universe, ensuring their history comes out on top. They have their victims lined up. How they got a job with the BBC, signed on the dotted line, went to art college, traveled to Nepal, fought in a war, met somebody famous, wrote a song, had casual sex, discovered themselves, woke up alone. Their halcyon years of well remembered trivia and fibs. Nostalgia matters to the nostalgic, but it was never quite like that, never as it's portrayed, never the same as it was seen through your eyes and with your own feelings, there before you like some collapsed wooden Jenga puzzle. The past is mostly uncomfortable for ordinary people because they didn't really do much with their lives, just towed the line. Got by. 

People might say I cheated, that I was a cheat, a traitor, I kept myself to myself, I didn't speak or speak out, if they actually noticed. Everything is true and everything is a lie, in this belief I'm  relaxed as I approach the later stages of life, not looking back but looking forward to interesting things still to come ... like an new anorak. Most likely blue.

In the next few days, 1st September, my dad's 100th birthday happens. I'll visit his grave but I don't know what I'll do when I get there. Probably just stand and feel awkward, look blank, try to think the correct thoughts but know that my memories of him are pale and not properly constructed. I've not worked hard enough at remembering, I was too busy passing time in the here and now and in the fuzzy travelogue narrative of daily life, the information and detail I need to call up just isn't there. I didn't collect or curate it. I didn't think it mattered. I didn't think. Perhaps I'll just do what writer's do, make things up and embellish. Perhaps that'll compensate for actually doing next to nothing all this time.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

La Suite Apocalyptique


The Umbrella Academy is strange, surreal, almost compulsive watch. A TV show that engages (me) with each new episode but then you somehow struggle to remember details of what went before (normal at my age). The previous episodes lie there like dried out muddy puddles as the action moves forward in a repetitive cycle that is the basis of the comic book story arc and shows some inventive genius. It's odd because for once I actually like all the characters complete with their obvious flaws, contradictions and the occasional editorial jump that renders the story line nonsense or at least a little less believable with each episode ... but it's a comic. Sense, sensibility and logic are not required. I'm not worried about them, I've not invested anything in this pulp TV, I'm being entertained by Netflix. I understand that they can never die, never be saved, simply because they never existed...and Season 2 is over and done with. Not sure I've the stamina for a Season 3 should it ever materialize.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

New Radiators

Actual picture but not the actual picture.

Seventeen years of gunk, corrosion, chemicals, road film, Scottish weather, high operating temperatures and environmental trashing* means the two radiators on my car need replaced. They're on their last little sad radiator legs. They're leaking. Something I noticed when a) I noticed a warm fluid leak dripping down by the front wheel that certainly wasn't coming from me or my trousers and b) the temp gauge, always steady at 80 degrees whatever the weather, decided to move by all of a millimetre to a little more than 80 degrees. OCD me quickly sweated and panicked at the sight. Fortunately these events clashed with an MOT and service booking so there was an opportunity to get everything sorted in one sweet if sightly expensive move.

*May also just have been yet another random mutant algorithm. Or a perhaps a big mutant algorithm did it and ran away.


Friday, August 28, 2020

Squirrelproof Bins


Out for a healthy walk: Sometimes that irrational fear just creeps up on you. Out there, beyond the boundary of senses, no easy navigation possible, like dark waters, too deep for your feet to touch the bottom. Then, that cold breath on your shoulder slowly turning warm. What ravenous beast is this? What's out there, unnamed, rattling on the bars of it's damp dungeon, whispering spells and words to ingratiate itself with golden lies and promises as you lean into the dark spaces? Out there in the blind woods, where eyesight is unreliable, where sounds are tortured and unclear, where signs remain distorted and warped. Mostly just brisk cyclists and clumsy joggers passing by.

You shift your weight, foot to foot, uneasy, troubled. The sweat begins to stick to you. You're aware of your own smell, your nerve's show their clean edges. Sparking with invisible electricity and ferrule dirt. You're looking but not seeing anything, there are no connections to be made. There is no sense to this. A funny looking old dog that's off the lead is almost approaching but meandering across the path with no clear purpose, the owner cannot be seen.

Spittle and fury, limbs writhing and items flying in all directions, whimpering or howling tries to match the sounds of crows and seagulls attacking stray pigeons over on the foreshore. Or peace, tranquility, only the smooth hum of Chinese plastic wheels rings out across the bumpy unrepaired tramac and puddles as they breeze along, fruit shoots and bottles successfully deployed. Mums in leggings and hoodies shoving buggies, headed for the nursery.

You're in Scotland and it's still August. Will this month ever end? Please adjust your face mask and remain 2m clear of fellow humans, avoid eye contact, look serious and take care because our current litter bin designs don't seem to be very squirrel proof. Thank you. 

Here's a drone view of some early Earl Gray tea plants we're cultivating as a hedge against future shortages.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Not one of those people

If I ever were asked to sum up the UK's current state I'd probably use an illustration something like this one. That only makes me a realist, not bitter and twisted in any way and certainly not a traitor, though you can stuff your jingoistic Rule Britannia type anthems wherever they might be the least comfortable for you.

So, having established that I am not one of those people who moans and drones on and on about how things are getting worse and how the UK is an international laughing stocks, a denier of it's own putrid history and currently run by a bunch of crooks and jumped up village idiots. I actually think things, whilst far from perfect are tolerable, up to a point. Many things are wrong and are going wrong but there are quite a few good things happening in science, industry, culture, language and human relations ... I'm sure. They tend to be overlooked by a squalid media scrum over nonsense news, celebrity trivia and editorial guidelines that "promote" the jumped up village idiot's idiotic behaviour and utterances. Otherwise things are just fine if you're keen on measuring that sort of thing. 

I say that but then again I may have just coughed up a rather nasty mutant algorithm. I did walk past a school, used public transport and shopped in a shop today. That might explain everything. 42.

Here's a highly sophisticated animation showing the ritualistic dance moves of either a Russian Spy or a Young Conservative. Make your own mind up about it:

Putin, Putin, Putin.
Dance, Dance, Dance.
Like a Young Conservative.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Glow of a German Cat

Meanwhile over in Germany, cats are going for a decidedly stylish but also sinister look these days. That view is of course from a human perspective, the cats may well have other opinions. I'm guessing for them it's a matter of increasing your own profile, building status, standing out in the crowd while looking cool if a little humanized, and for city cats, as basic step towards road safety and self preservation. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


I recently collected a substantial Chinese carry out from our local place and it came in this rather nice box, one which I quite like. Tsingtao is a type of Chinese beer that I've never heard of, not being much of a world traveler or beer geek etc. The carton, meal time contents duly consumed is now destined for the recycling skip across the street and will presumably return to us one day in the form of toilet rolls or a brown paper bag. It's the circle of life, as every Chinese lion knows only too well. Here's a sort of Steam Punk / Industrial rendering of it, purely for reference.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Vicarious Coffee and Cake

Custard tart and milky coffee as served up in Koln street cafe yesterday at lunchtime. Meanwhile back here we had lentil soup and oatcakes as the rain poured down on the corrugated iron roof of the croft, a wee surprise after a promising early morning brightness. Cats and dogs weather. I am of course not being factual here but referring here to the ongoing going ons going on inside and outside my head. Turns out too that a little rain does not discourage the jet skiers currently mowing through the waves and the lawns up and down the streets.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Distorted Woodland Gods

So as not to be confused with dragons or other fierce creatures the characters balance a welcoming cherry berry cupcake by creating a pyramid with their bodies much to the confusion of the woodland sprites standing by awaiting the unknown visitors who may of may not turn up today or even tomorrow subject to the availability of the right amount of golden starlight in order to fully warm up and power the proceedings and also supply the refreshments. Very thoughtful.

(Examples: One very long sentence and one very short sentence.)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

In Dreams

It's found in the second aisle in Aldi, around the corner from the cheese, ready meals and cold meats. It's on your left, down a bit on the lower half of the display rack, lower than the unpleasant chocolate and the strange biscuits. It's not like the much hyped Dreamies for cats, they're hard biscuity things smelling of fish and unpleasant to human taste (I suspect). This Dreemy is really a knock off Milky Way but, quite strangely a lot better. As if the Aldi brothers had secretly nicked some old, not quite right for 2020, cost effective or PC Milky Way recipe from Mars and actually improved it. I'm impressed and I will return and buy more in my new found role as a happy customer.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Le Grand Bleu

Sailing on out into the great and somewhat misty blue yonder of the North Sea, the £150m (or thereabouts) super yacht Grand Bleu leaves her temporary mooring just beyond our back garden and heads away to London town. No doubt there's a decent socially distanced cocktail party happening there tomorrow night and nobody on board would want to miss it. There will be wheeling, there may even be dealing. Of course they will be missing the Saturday evening delights of the 'Ferry but I guess they're OK with that. Bon Voyage.

           Blurred image as she sits outside Rosyth docks ready to depart.

Confessions of a Beachcomber


I'm old enough to recall "the world according to beachcomber" (without capitalization). It was a silly, funny, odd column that existed in the Daily Express on certain days. It was about everything and nothing in particular. In the the pre-Python days (but still with Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan being very busy being brilliant) it did represent a slice of humour that was not mainstream BBC fodder. Having said that I cant remember a single Beachcomber anecdote whereas I've some seriously good memories of the other comedy trailblazers who didn't play the complete establishment game. None of this is relevant, comedy remains a weird profession and what is funny sometimes isn't. 

Anyway I like the idea of the observational beach comb as a piece of relaxed therapy and possibly inspiration. Living close to a beach helps and thankfully I do but my beachcombing brain and attitude are as yet not fully developed and of course I should really be combing some metaphoric and imaginary "world" beach and not just the real sludge, sand and rotting seaweed. The real Beachcomber had few answers, mainly just findings, observations and views. Finding answers are of course the hard part of real life and the combing of it. I've a way to go it seems.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The pubs are open

A real pub in an imaginary place.

The pubs are safe spaces say the safe space experts but if you get ill it's your own fault. The shops are safe as is your place of work ... (I ranted quite unhealthily for a bit after this and I decided to delete it all, ranting isn't helpful to anyone).

"The students are calling for the reform of the monarchy" said the newscaster regarding protests in Thailand. I quite like that phrase. I wish they were British students.

It's August but ... weather warnings have been issued. So say the motorway signs.

The Yo Sushi counter in Tesco remains closed, there are fears that it may never open. I however am unafraid.

I put a full bin of compost into my brown bin (the same sized bin), it only half filled it. Explain that if you can Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk (or you'll fail the job interview that I'm imagining), and show your working. An interesting fantasy test.

The Umbrella Academy Series 1 Episode 9 "A Serendipitous Discovery". Lovely title.

Onto plums...

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Shoes on a wire


A daily photo type of post and a sad state of affairs, not expressed in bold text either for some reason despite sitting to the left of a colon: Unloved and unwanted and possibly infected by some terrible foot fungus that even a good quality cream might fail to cure. Nike shoes, suspended from a telephone wire above the Cowgate in Edinburgh City, August 2020. Size unknown, suspected to be at least 10s.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Content on a rainy day

An idea from above.
An idea from above.
 This could be about being content on a rainy day, at ease and at peace despite the weather being a bit of a dampener. Or it could be about trying to create some content that rises a little above the customary pedestrian drivel you normally get here, no offence all you pedestrians out there or those with dyslexia who may think I'm bethering about predestination or simply being pedantic. It's a rainy day anyway. One of those irritating common experiences we all feel the need to speak about or describe as if no one else has ever walked out into a rainy day in their best Mountain Warehouse outdoor shoes and realized that they were simply not up to the job (the shoes) and that any planned attempt to walk up Ben Nevis will require better tooling.

Tomorrow further rain is forecast. Quite incredible. The spiders however remain busy, unbothered by the damp weather.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Cyphers in the Stones


Little known facts from the darkness of the past: A recent discovery has been made at the low water point near the harbour of a Scottish fishing village famed for it's confusing one way traffic system, tacky AirbnB homes and having the oldest "old school" fish and chip shop anywhere. The discovery was made by a band of Enid Blyton characters all up in Scotland for their "hols" and staying with their maiden aunt Agnes, madam at the popular  "Fisherman's Brothel" Hotel. And so it was that Sonja, Charles, Boudica and Jeffrey along with their feckless dog Sparky the Spaniel made the discovery whilst heading home for supper one July evening during Edwardian times. 

Experts have described the find as looking a lot like ancient communications from an unknown alien race. The runes can be seen at low tide in Pittenweem but only through special goggles. I took it upon myself to check out the find and have already translated their meaning but have decided not to share their message with the rest of mankind, until the time is right. Please note these pictures only show a part of the message, there are other photos that I am withholding for robust reasons of national security. 

The Blyton kids have now returned to a small village near Harrow and pose no threat to the secrecy of the project due to having been written with short attention spans and being easily distracted by a tray of hot fairy cakes or a large bowl of iced sultana buns and a jug of fresh lemonade.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Some smart arse

Some smart arse (well that's pretty unfair and judgmental right away and untrue no doubt) drew an arty picture of something called "line on turquoise" but the sad fact is it looks like a very basic diagram of the human digestive system and based on my limited knowledge and taste that works just fine for me. I'm sorry about this but actually I'm not sorry at all. I do kind of like it but it also makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. I'm thinking that it's in the South Park School of Art if there is such a thing. I also think that's what art is supposed to do so everything here is reasonable for the time being.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Textures from the concrete swamp


A working title: Textures of building materials viewed as if seen through the downward facing camera of a tiny Martian lander that's run off course somewhat and is about to touch down on some small construction site on the wrong planet altogether. In fact it failed to leave this planet (it's home planet) and has been flying around confused and out of control for some time, now it's power is running low, it needs a solar recharge so it's seeking out a suitable spot for a reviving nap.
It's an unlikely scenario I know, but I do wonder about all the nano tech applications that are taking place and how they just might intrude on normal life in unpleasant ways or perhaps run amok and fly into nostrils, microwaves and shower nozzles or be absorbed into the food chain in some strange way.

Friday, August 14, 2020

A man needs a maid

I can't quite figure out what a 24 year old Neil Young would have to say that would connect with my 17 year old self but a connection of sorts happened way back then. Naive and inexperienced and all that, a million miles away from the leafy Laurel Canyon wonderland and the Canadian prairie (in every sense), but it meant something at the time. So I caught myself singing "a man needs a maid" in the shower (?) after a pretty sweaty, full on working day. I was two glasses of wine in on an empty stomach. I managed at least two verses before forgetfulness set in.

The daily harsh reality being I made two trips to Broxburn tip today (aka the recycling centre), it's as unglamorous as it gets. Wood louse and creepy crawly infested fence posts, rotting timbers and broken wooden slats were duly disposed of. It felt, in the post thunderous August heat like climbing Ben Nevis in a diving suit. I've turned soft and unfit, I've sweated pints and been bitten by the local berry bugs as if I was the UN supply team in a famine situation, I'm now a blobby jelly man. Then I cut the grass and then I did some concrete shoring and mixing. Now all I want is a shower and lo and behold I begin to sing "a man needs a maid" and feeling conflicted as I douse myself in fake coconut body whatever gel. 

In my head it is not PC, I'm not sure why, I suffer some kind of self inflicted abstract ageist guilt. The things I liked, the phrases I go to, the thoughts I think might just be ... incorrect. Of course nobody is actually listening to my inner narrative and judging it or any of my questionable opinions as I try to keep up with the best possible contemporary guidance and pretend that I care about them and their incomprehensible logic. Like trying to walk the unenviable tightrope of SNP or Labour Party acceptance and correctness, a fucking intellectual trial and a joke in itself. Anyway at some kind of weird, possibly incorrect level, out of step with the current enlightened view ... a man probably needs a maid, I think.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Unprecedented Times


Sometimes there's no point in trying to write anything remotely original when there are plenty of other people, clearly cleverer than me, who can put things out there in both words and images better than I can. I do not despair at this obvious fact, I'm quite happy about it. It means I don't feel I need to take any actual responsibility for even trying to make up imaginative stuff or be relevant. Why only the other day I was saying that very thing to Mr Putin and his pure bred American red-neck lackeys, it was during one of our strategy mind control and planning, telepathic conference calls on Zoom. 

Just thinking that somebody needs to set up a newspaper or some online slightly shitty type of newscast and call it "Unprecedented Times". Maybe it already exists in the Harry Potter universe or some such fantasy landscape.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In our gated community


Designed to keep out the good people, keep the cats in (but there is a sizable kitty escape gap under the actual gate that's causing some chin stroking), be a timber bulwark against the cruel storms of the world and reduce the south gable end of our house to some kind of apocalyptic grey zone where the sun won't shine and nothing will ever grow again (but there will be hope as we set our faces towards grim reality and rebuild with the tortured muscles of the crude and unsophisticated life forms that we have become, a brave newish kind of alternative world). That was/is the plan and now it has come to be. It has shape, texture and a latch and hinges. I give you a poetic and unrealistic rendering of the new gate.

Here's my train


The roar of the engines and the blue fumes of diesel greeted him as he crossed across the platforms in the railway station. The slightly wonky and very analogue information board flipped through various versions of destination information  reality. Like some living Scrabble board it mixed the names of towns and times as it struggled to display the relevant departure information. A giant clockwork beast running down it's inner windings as he imagined elabourate and complex gears and workings spinning furiously behind the digits and letters. The journey looked straightforward. Change at London Euston and then onto Victoria, presumably by foot with local directional advice given freely all along the way. In the background the station Tannoy system seemed to perpetually argue with itself, there was no filter on the broad Liverpudlian advice that buzzed from the aging speakers, conveniently nothing actually said could be made out or understood.

Platform 2 was for London. Liverpool had been a brief stepping stone, London was likely to be more of a spiraling path, he wasn't sure. Portsmouth was something that might happen and that too was more of a stepping stone. London would require some money making, some kind of hustle and a bed for as many nights as possible. He had options, a bit like a hand in a one sided pontoon game, some might come up with the right numbers, but as for the others, who knows? These thoughts made him nervous. He truly had no idea where he was going. The journey represented an answer and a hurdle.

There was about a twenty minute wait before the next train so he found a bench. On a barrow nearby there were baskets of racing pigeons quietly cooing in anticipation of the freedom of the race. A space in the platform roof was allowing pieces of sky to send sunny beams down onto their wicker baskets. Their eyes like tiny lights searching out for hints of blue, directional information and clues as to the whereabouts of their only true master, the sun. The great orb that guided and encouraged them on journey after journey, race after race. Concepts they couldn't understand as they were simply deluded birds, masked and blunted by their calling to fly as freely and quickly as possible, guided by the sun and mysterious elements back to some cosy loft in Southport or Birkenhead where a warm perch and a prize of regular corn supplies awaited them.

He looked through the wicker work windows into the pigeon's temporarily cramped world and in turn they reacted with quiet indignation as if he was some kind of peeping Tom. They avoided his gaze at all costs with animal determination, it's not as if he was their manager about to administer a team talk of tactics before the game. No, all the whispering had been done a while ago, they were on their own on the leading edge of their competitive journey and so was he. There is such a thing as unexpected mental strength in all breeds and creatures. Flight as opposed to fight. "Oh, here's my train." A great green Deltic with a stripy yellow face was shunting a row of claret passenger coaches into the hungry platform siding.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Rogues in a parcel


I'm almost sorry for poor old Lord Banff. He must've just said, "Yeah, whatever."

Cafe Girl


What is her name, that cafe girl? All speckled colours and avoidance, woolly scarf, student face, reading a grey green book in a grey grey cafe by a grimy station in a washed out city. She's still reading, still not looking up from the book, still sucking the glowing life from a cigarette. A cheap little coffin nail of a cigarette from a cheap little carton. The kind too mean to include coupons or vouchers. There is no upside to this smoking, it's just some vaguely nihilistic activity that feeds nothing as you breathe it in and mix it with those rippling, cranky words you're pulling from the page. 


He wonders how long he can sit here. He looks at the other customers. They all form some jagged edged composition framed by his view of the slippery world. His Irish perspective distorts the scene with a cruel familiarity. A Liverpool made of both simple and complex atoms spinning and blundering that will slowly cough up a Lennon or a McCartney or a Cilla type or some football player hero a time or two in every generation. The crowd cheers and chants. Those relentless Mersey Beat jingles, now tired and overtaken, more like rain in a bucket than Ringo grooving on a snare and tom tom. The golden days are gone, evapourated when the genius left the bottle and the bottle fell from the wall.


 We're over on left wing now, proper and it's a manky ill-fitting day and the Beatles are some shattered thing that lives on in teenage memories, pop art, charts and frenzied tabloid excitement. A situation only destined to get worse as you get older as it's relentless tailspin mirrors that of your own life. And now, waiting on the train he can't pull his stupid eyes away from the sad girl pretending to be deep reading bloody Kafka. Everything is so obviously temporary, feelings and ideas float in and out, like tide water in a frustrating cycle. He gets up and heads over to the station as the cafe girl slowly disappears in a silent puff of her own frail white cigarette smoke. A half crown coin, she'd balanced on it's edge on the Formica table top flips onto it's face with a clatter that goes unheard.




Monday, August 10, 2020

Unspectacular Success

Guessing that nobody wants to hear about how Blogger's new and "improved editor" is as clunky as an overweight pig in a MacDonald's dustbin so I'll not mention it here. I am clearly of an age and attitude where any improvement generally looks like some sort of corporate cost cutting step backwards. This seems to apply to just about everything. It may be that on one balmy night as I slept the deep and untroubled sleep of the just and righteous, the meaning of the word "improvement" was changed by order of a Papal Bull, the Illuminati and the Kremlin and the dire consequences are only now lapping up from my flooded basement wetting my cold toes. Subsequently I also missed all the related woke-based activity and outrage on Twitter and so this significant linguistic change simply passed me by. Not for the first (or last) time either I'd imagine. Life is a series of awkward, unstoppable events. Why am I just realizing this?

Sunday, August 09, 2020


Liverpool is a bigger city than Dublin, that's because it's filled with people who came from Dublin or thereabouts. This was because of the Industrial Revolution and the cruel colonial human trafficking system that was called  the British Empire. The Scots and the Irish have always recognized this but apart from a few all are historically brainwashed into thinking that this was all some kind of "good thing". This is a thinking that still prevails today as we play out our political games in an infuriating stop/go system of government that is stricken with fear of exposure as it is guided by the voices of the ruling dinosaur families and plutocrats.

Near the railway station was a greasy spoon. He went in, ordered a coffee, toast and scrambled eggs. He paid with British coins he'd collected from relatives. He had a few Pound notes and a Punt note, that was it. As he finished the meal and supped the milky coffee dregs he looked up. A girl was sitting at the table opposite, her head in a Kafka book and a cigarette dangling between two fingers. He willed her to to look up and across over the pages but she refused, or at least she showed no intention of engaging with some young Irish tramp in a railway station. 

For him this was a familiar situation. Sat in a public space, hoping for some casual conversation, ordinary talk or at least some pleasant chatter, nothing too deep. First catch the eye, then a smile, then a few easy words. It seldom happened. "People," he though, "are all too far up their own arses these days." These days were of course the golden times of analogue before we'd all be swept away in the chaos and confusion created by digital. A time when souls would become truly lost but communication would become so much easier and also so much more dangerous and difficult. 

Saturday, August 08, 2020

The artist as a younger, dumber man.

 And so it came to be, one sweet spring morning in 1973, a young man bearing a slight resemblance to Charles Manson stepped onto a ferry from the fictional port of Dublin and made his way, by degrees and diversions to the motherland and the English city of Portsmouth. But not quite. He'd no clear idea what he was about or that one day his FaceApp distorted image might appear on an unsupported and unloved blog, but it did. The future was somewhere else and actually best avoided. He fancied himself as a poet for no good reason, having neither read nor understood any it and then only ever gazed over glossy magazines of a certain kind, but he knew that an education and experience in life were closely linked, so poetry it was to be (unless music might grip him) and the life of a rover. An unusual choice for a man with little respect for God's word or the word of man or a decent sense of direction. He had written some material recently however:

"There was a young lady from Dublin, whose ailment was really quite troublin' ". 

He was stuck at this point but remained confident that the train ticket to Portsmouth was the start of a journey that would surely fill in all of those elusive and missing words from start to bloody finish. Those that began at the start of the book and wound their lonely way across page after page until, tired, sweaty and hungry they reached the end. After the end there would be a few more blank pages, as was the custom. Forwards, afterwards, thanks and perhaps an index if the subject matter warranted such a device.

Alighting from the boat in Liverpool he thought of two things, the first being his lack of money and the second begin a clear idea of how to proceed (other than using the newly purchased ticket to Portsmouth Harbour Station). He did know that it was possible to get another ferry from Portsmouth to France. That was an interesting prospect, la belle France. Art with a capital Art. A short hop across the Channel and perhaps an opportunity for agricultural work, farm girls and cheap wine and a garret. It was a slow burning fantasy he occasionally enjoyed in the dead of night.

"Hey, Charlie fuckin' Manson, fuck off back to California or I'll call the rozzers!" The local Scouser salute went down well. He'd heard it before. Most often when he stood up to address the cult meetings in his official role as treasurer and finance manager. All that and the trouble there had been since was in the past. That and the screaming of his ex-girlfriend as she trapped his duffle coat sleeve in the front door of the house the New Year's Eve she chucked him when he was too pissed to bother. Trapped by the coat sleeve in a locked front door, too drunk to explain, too confused to free himself, like a Canadian bear locked in a lumberjack's toilet. A situation destined to end badly for all concerned. But it never did end, it just revolved around in his head like a long playing record on a broken deck at 33rpm. It was as if these things had happened to other people and he'd just read them somewhere, but then again he wasn't much of a reader either.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Cemented Steps

A day of cement fixation has passed, thankfully. I'm taking steps to design steps to build steps to future proof the various awkward levels that exist in and around our garden. It seems that older folks can become confused and disorientated if the world they view fails to meet their own slightly distorted expectations and sensory perception. They might just crash to the ground as if struck down by Jehovah and break a bone or two or get a nasty bruise the size of a Steam Punk tattoo. This can lead to loneliness, isolation, time in A+E and a morbid fear of the people who shop at the Co-op. So I'm working on a long term solution for our garden grounds in order to stay safe.

The design part requires kick starting with a few vacuous thoughts that generally lead nowhere, sad to say this involves imaginary bricks orbiting around my head as the Blue Danube plays in the background, this is a bit disappointing and not helpful. The building part, which takes place in the real world, involves a lot of trial and lot of error and some cement mixing and the heavy lifting of blocks and slabs. Also getting things level is suddenly important. All potentially quite disappointing and frustrating for the inexperienced builder if there are failures. Then more of the same as I correct the various unplanned mistakes a few times over while the unruly cement quietly sets impatiently in the background, deliberately thwarting my progress. 

Phew! Done now for the day and at no time did I use or even consider the Golden Ratio and how I might apply it to the construction project, perhaps that's where I'm going wrong. 😕

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Arthur's Seating Arrangements

Arthur's Seat on Acid - not for the first time.

Arthurs Seat on Acid - not for the first time.

For the ongoing avoidance of any doubt the seating arrangements are pretty simple, as it stands (or sits), two in the front and two in the rear. Please behave responsibly as you take up your allotted space. The conditions may be slippery so take care. The bike below is not an hill however and is a simple two seater.

All well and good you may say but the bike isn't a motor bike, it's an electric bicycle that looks like a motorbike but then again it is a motor bike but you pedal it and cycle it but at some point a motor kicks in and it has a rear pannier and somebody else who is not the actual rider can travel on the pillion. The trick is to maintain a healthy level of charge inside and out.

And another thing: These days I'm mostly fed up with people either saying stupid things or getting away with doing stupid things and not getting picked up for them or corrected. I'm particularly fed up with the SNP who despite doing reasonably well in dealing with Covid appear determined to a) do stupid things and b) allow people (mostly SNP people and woke luvvie types) to get away with doing stupid things. All in an irritating kind of self destructive Labour Partyish way. So I'm slowly walking away from all this and whistling some lift music tune quietly to myself.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Gathering of the Red Ant Army

Technically not really a gathering, more of a march to the shops and back again, numerous times a day. This keeps the Red Ant war machine in good order I presume. There's no commentary here, no music, no actual observations, just some random background noise generated by other ant observers and passers by. They were all passing by and a few were, as you'd imagine also passing through. Sometimes sad, sometimes blue, glad that I bumped into you etc.

I'd write more if I could but this "new version" of Blogger is as clunky as the old version and whilst the format is possibly better in some smart techy way I'm struggling to see any significant improvement. Then again why should I expect improvement or even consistency from something that I think I get for free (I assume we are not counting the blatant sharing of data and information that trundles on somewhere in the background as Google toys with my poor choices, thoughtless clicking and the occasional shopping indulgence made via Amazon). Free but not really. I blame Putin and Trump.

Boys - Black Stuff

It's all over the local Bookface pages like a sticky rash, there are yellow signs popping up in the street and a pamphlet has arrived through our letterbox. We are being warned. Cheap, cheerful and invariably messy road upgrading technology will be imposed upon our worn out street. Using state of the art technology invented about two hundred years ago and inspired by the Romans and the Flintstones, hot tar and cold chips will once again coat our road surface. The big day is Thursday, weather and Edinburgh City Council's Budget permitting. 

I'm less than excited about this so called "improvement". A summer time tar parade of black goo and scary thoughts of loose chips ricocheting like bullets across car windscreens and the sweaty temples of bald headed old men isn't wonderful. The blocked drains, the tar coated shoes, the petrol heads screwing up the virgin surface with Fiesta powered burn-outs, the glued up bicycles. Ugh. A bleak and terrifying weekend lies ahead with WD40 and elbow grease at the ready to clean up all comers, all goers, all animals and various parts of once pristine car bodies. It's murder if it gets into your teeth or the water supply they tell me.

Cat reacts to news of imminent local road repairs.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Bog Roll Blues

The less than perfect consequences of Scottish street artists trying to succeed with 3D effects. A well deserved "A" for effort however, "C+" for humour and wit. Today's rain will have obliterated it by now so I'm glad I captured it yesterday.

This song isn't really blues, or bog roll blues (as done by the Groundhogs many years ago on Who Will Save The World), so it's not blues but it's not happy either. No clear idea as why ice cream and fresh fruit feature here at all. 😏

Monday, August 03, 2020

Song about a cat

Monday: Here's a song about a cat. The cat was called Syrus but that may not have been his real name. He was a bit of a wild one and he was a great fluffy ginger Tom. We took him in from a cat rescue centre. He stayed for a while, entertained us and pretty much kept himself going in rabbits. Then one day he just didn't come home. We never saw him again.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Two Easy Pieces

Today's activity and two found objects: Probably gardening, searching for hidden treasure, practice pronunciation, wash strawberries, check the weather, more gardening, more trailing cables, move brown bins around, plant things, stop and think and reflect.

Tuna the day:

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Edinburgh Daily Photo


Things around here are not anywhere close to normal for July 31st, (my first time visiting the city in months) not a lot of people. These are views from the threshold of the Harry Potter shop, I didn't venture in this time either. Previously we'd hiked up Arthur's Seat, scoffed an iced latte, eaten a hasty picnic and paddled in the pools of the Scottish Parliament, not sure that was a part of the original design's functional concept. Busy day and 28C for much of it .... then along came the rain.