Monday, May 31, 2021

Pandemic Monday

Why does this happen on every other wash no matter how deep into the washer barrel you place the capsule? The detergent industry owes us all an explanation. Even on a Monday ...

"Just another pandemic Monday, whoa, ho ho."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

BA Teaspoons

In this occasional series I'm going to be exploring the world of my favourite teaspoons. Those either rare and valuable or those that enjoy some design quirks or attributes that makes them special. There may not be many.

First up is a British Airways spoon from the 1980s. Back in the day BA travel was almost a pleasant experience, even for the lowest grade of passenger. Proper crockery and cutlery was used (actual china and metal), food and drink was free on demand (almost), tickets were flexible and flying was strangely pleasant. There were no searches or elaborate controls or security, there was a degree of boarding chaos but it was tolerable. Smoking and drinking were encouraged as was chat and banter between passengers and staff.

So as part of the in-flight deal free alcohol abounded, as well as snacks, scones, cream, coffee and proper breakfasts. I was a fairly regular traveler on the Edinburgh - Heathrow shuttles then and I guess, most likely as a result of drinking four double whiskies on the way home, one evening I pocketed this spoon. It's a really well designed, well made spoon, a little longer than you'd expect but satisfying to use. Strangely the BA script on the spoon's handle shows "British airways", no uppercase A on airways. That's an odd design feature or error.

I do wonder if others, greedier or dafter than me pocketed much more stuff; coffee cups, glasses, more cutlery or the high quality napkins that arrived with every place setting. I guess a lot of it is out there somewhere. I know during the start of the pandemic BA auctioned off a load of cabin material as flights were running down but I imagine it was all more recent, modern material and less desirable than 80s vintage (unless from business class).


Saturday, May 29, 2021


The truth does not live in fact, it lives in dreams and fiction. The truth is an untruth disguised as a truth. A loop is without an end, until you cut it to form an end. An end is simply the other side of a beginning.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Foreign Travel

Foreign travel and outdoor pursuits. Things we'd like to do but currently are pretty uncomfortable about, but you can still read books about it all or see others do them on TV, all across the world. If you are brave enough or stupid enough, the wide world is your limited options oyster. Of course there is so much contradiction out there it's impossible make sense of planet earth's status. There's the warnings of massive pollution, melting icecaps and wildlife extinctions, the bad news and obvious evidence. Then there's the Instagram and Nat Geo world's of beautiful vistas, landscapes and eye popping sunsets and travel shows where the sun glints on sea food platters and polished wine glasses as smug presenters enjoy a false life of luxury. 

Then our own little experiences, the repetitive dull rain, middle of the road weather and our grey and littered streets with the drone of traffic and sea gulls fighting over a Burger King box. It's hard to know quite where we are.  Real life remains a puzzle you just have to get on with.

Tomorrow the sun will shine, people will be behave better and be safer, governments, media and corporations will act responsibly and sensibly. Ordinary people will respect their surroundings, care for others and firmly hold authority to account for errors or poor policy. Bigots will just stop being bigots. I wish.

Not sure the clocks in the photo reflect reality either.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Black Album

Reintroducing the black album concept on the back of, well nothing in particular. Is it what the world needs? Not really. I wasn't thinking of making any "Black Album" album at the moment, it was attractive though when it was a thing but that was all some time ago and I'd forgotten about it till now. Anyway if we did make one then this would be a useful image to use to promote it in Scotland. Perhaps not. Black Irn-Bru wont catch on anytime soon. But a Black Album Eurovision Special just might. Cash in now!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Good 'uns

"Good 'uns," said the Major, unashamed of his behaviour in his chosen walk of life, back and forth to dwell in Fife. Good eggs, but one short of a half dozen, perhaps it was poached and eaten by my cousin. We'll never know the truth, he's such an uncultured youth."

Ogden Nashville.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Hidden Views

The views expressed here are not necessarily my views, I may simply be repeating those of others for effect or just to give them an airing. It's likely that most views are mine and were correct at the time, set in a certain context, maybe not so much now. 

The view above is however about to become history or at least will not be viewable in quite the same way for a while. It's rendered in crayon purely for artistic purposes and not for technical or reference reasons.

Surprisingly it was raining at the time this image was captured but the inner rainbows within the soul of the room took flight up to golden places and serenaded the surfaces and little nooks with hues and hidden meanings that I can't quite explain. That's my view anyway.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The world according to cats

Our cats are communicating with us using signs rather than sounds. The days of trying to translate a barrage of anxious, worried or hungry meows are over. The cats are now arranging pieces of cooked chicken into small message based piles in order to alert us to their needs and feelings. For example the arrangement of chicken on the right once translated simply reads as "please get off your fat arse, stop watching Gogglebox and get us some fresh food, preferable juicy meat in nice, runny gravy." A new era of feline companionship difficulty has dawned.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Your face says it all

At a certain point in your life your facial expression may solidify into something like this if you're not careful. Of course if you can't be careful then simply be absurd. This flippant but useful tip works at any age and in most circumstances.

Eurovision: Another year, another selection of strange but sometimes quite good entries. For all the tat and effects it still makes compulsive TV, I can't quite understand why it appeals to a crinkly cynic like me other than I suppose I do enjoy seeing Britain (and the BBC establishment) taking a light hearted pounding, I find that quite satisfying. People say it's outcome is political and tribal, well it is, but it's also because we're a bit shit and arrogant when it comes to competition and of course karma always wins.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Safe Spaces

Having a busy few days fumbling along with DIY projects and the like. I've just completed our newly sanitized and secure anti-Covid, anti-bullshit and anti-social hermetically sealed "panic after the calm but before the storm" panic room. There's a lot of potential panic around these days. Note the double zip entrance/emergency exits I've installed - just in case the beating of a hasty retreat is required. 

In the rarefied atmosphere of the finely balanced breathing system I'm fully expecting to really think some great thoughts, most of which I'll not bother sharing here. They will be philosophically heavy but lacking depth and poorly formed due to the light, puffy, synthetic air. 

Is the panic zone like the Twilight Zone or some futuristic space craft? No, but somebody once likened our grotty but interesting planet to a space ship, I'm not sure why other than the fact that it's traveling a 25000 mph across space but in a squashed up circular kind of orbit and we can't steer it. That's something I'm not mind-full of and I tend to block it out of my everyday comings and goings. 

There's a sparking new Lidl opened up just down the road so I'll be stocking up with all essentials needed for the long voyage to nowhere. So once disaster strikes we'll be safe in this special room and that'll be that. No dust, no toxins, no bugs, no nothing. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Red Rug

Obituary: The red rug, the family carpet, whatever, has gone. Our red rug was a veteran in a number of fields of human conflict, birthday party incidents and wine spillages across various central Scotland locations over at least 15 years. Never properly cleaned or hoovered and home to numerous life systems and strange cultures, as a magnet for cat fluff, dog fluff and human fluff it served us well and kept our naked toes warm in all weathers. 

Some say it came from John Lewis, perhaps IKEA, I forget but any Velcro that touched it was instantly stained red with it's alien red carpet residue and Brillo pad like abrasive properties. In later years it was used as a platform for daily Joe Wicks antics and we have indeed worn it out properly with our regular high jinks. Now it's gone and the cats are very confused but a replacement will arrive soon (it may be here already), we'll see.

Funeral service - Broxburn Recycling Centre, 10:00 20th May, all welcome (subject to regulations).

Thursday, May 20, 2021


Most of the time I take a fairly balanced view on how my life is going and overall it seems to be going quite well. I have standards but they can vary a little from time to time. I'm human. That's just how things are. Then along comes Twitter, desperate to root around in my psyche and remind me in a few sparse, barbed words that I could have done a whole lot more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Alfa 166

I was moaning and droning on about ugly modern cars and SUVs a few weeks ago, a pointless rant really, as if my opinions might actually change anything. So by way of an upbeat and positive alternative here's what I consider to be one of the best looking cars ever, though possibly not the most reliable; the Alfa Romeo 166. 

I nearly bought one (two actually) a few years ago, just as I was moving from my Ford Cougar ownership phase. The first was a dark blue one with a lovely tan leather interior but I rejected it as it clearly had a faulty info screen and a repair would have been costly. The other one was silver with a black leather interior (like the one above) but the deal seemed dodgy. The seller met me in a Macdonalds car park which is never a good sign. The car checked out OK but there seemed to me to be something odd about the log book details and so I just walked away (still with a wad of cash in my inside pocket). I still wonder about that car ...

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tuesday Morning

Here's my latest self portrait wittily entitled "Tuesday morning, none the wiser". Before settling for that title I did mull over "Tuesday moron, appetizer" and "Tuesday moaning, no Alzheimers" but after those three strikes I got bored and moved on to elsewhere, wherever that is. I also hear that there's a 9% chance of rain today, at some point.

Terry Reid album score: I'm currently sitting at 4 out 5 CDs listened to. Quite a strong listening performance over the past week.

Cashew number three please: an actual photograph of Sunday's roasted sea-bass with cashews and badly placed cutlery.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Little Nemo

There's a Twitter account called "International Times" that publishes a few old pages and articles from the infamous late 60s/70s rag from time to time. Mostly Fat Freddy's Cat, the Freak Bros and arty mind blowing shit etc. The other day this page from Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay was posted, a bit of a memory jogger for me. His artistry and imagination always impressed me and his huge scenes of curvilinear perspective work were incredible.

This predates the normal IT cartoon fodder by 50+ years but McCay's work always had that extra trippy factor that appealed to the hippie types that IT pandered to, namely the likes of me. Of course Nemo was of his time and so a few awkward stereotypes and well trod cultural norms remain there, unedited for a modern readership that knows better. Also a reminder that long before Finding Nemo's clownfish adventurer there was Little Nemo and of course Captain Nemo before that.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Don't dream it's over

There may be open roads, 
There should be better days,
Not for the few but the many,
In our time, times can change.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Avocado Farming


First of all I apologize for this weird phallic-like image, it is of course a primitive avocado farm set in a wobbly glass and nothing else. The milk bottle does have a certain history and may well be older than me but that's a story for another day. So we've been trying to grow avocado plants for a while now, almost a year and there has been not a lot of success. Methods have varied, all based on cherry picking internet search advice but for one reason or another all we've seen are slowly rotting seeds floating in murky water. 

This latest attempt is no different and nothing noticeable has occurred with this seed in about three months. However it's now facing west rather than east, will the weather and fertility gods look kindly upon it? I doubt it. My wild dream of owning Scotland's most successful avo-farm is slowly dying and quite rightly too.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Sound of Metal

A bit late with this but hey ho. I watched this film a few weeks ago, it was surprisingly good (not even sure why I think that) and quite moving. Only really a few minutes of noisy metal music so nothing for the sensitive or uninitiated to fear. It left me with no desire whatsoever to play the drums, drive an enormous RV across the USA or lose my hearing anytime soon. Overall that's a positive outcome I'd say. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sonic Cathedrals of the Head


Inner voices: Who can fail to be seduced and beguiled by the over optimistic tones of a voicemail voice? Your call is always wanted and welcome but dash and darn the recipient just cant pick up now because there's chickens to be fed, fresh white bed sheets to be hung out in the sun, milk to churn to butter and an apple pie that just wont bake itself. Busy bees are we in the warm darkness that lies in the silent vacuum beyond the unanswered phone. They'll be so pleased on that one wonderful day when you call and they pick up and all is well in the world.

Nothing is real of course. How would you feel if your number was blocked, that they see it on the screen and with no thought other than to just button you out? The have better things to do. You don't belong in their world and your only compensation is to be calmed by the smooth tones and oscillations of the prerecorded voicemail fairy - unless you're with Giff-Gaff where the voice belongs to some drunk bloke from Yorkshire bellowing in a pub at about 10:30 on a Saturday evening. He was paid for the gig in pints I believe.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Oat Milk Bomb

Just because I haven't mentioned milk bombs for a while doesn't mean they've become obsolete or gone away. They are constantly evolving in this house. Now the oat based bombs are currently popular here. Simply add a "bomb" of  Actimel to a glass of (oat) milk, fresh from the fields and bang, or slurp I suppose.

Please don't take this as an endorsement for ASDA or Actimel products either. I'm a free agent, unsponsored and without any valid means of commercial support. I happened to purchase these products on a rare day out and they work well for me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Everyday Things

Among our food stocks these baguettes are relatively long lived. On constant display in the kitchen they have failed to look attractive enough to eat for about three months. I think it's down to disliking the effort required to heat them up in the oven,  for at least ten minutes, that and fitting them into our wonderfully eclectic but conservative weekly menu. This carefully constructed menu is mainly based around impulse buys, the occasional surplus and strange leftover combinations. Sadly these baguettes will have failed to be part of that, but I remain confident that their time will come. 

So back to everyday things, a short list:

Discovering MORE buried paving blocks in the garden, digging them up and planting clematis.

Listening to Radio 6 for a morning and discovering I'm not completely out of kilter with the world of Radio 6 - not sure if this is a good thing.

Painting white over dark grey over light grey in a home decoration experiment.

Visiting the local recycling bins and coming to the conclusion that nobody gives a fuck.

Sitting on the couch along with a cat desperate to scratch his ear on my laptop as I try to work.

Trying to understand the media's obsession with the Mitfords, mainly anything they wrote, said or did.

Hoodwinked by feeble key rings.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Something Else Wrong

Old news in tin hats: "Send in the gunboats!" You can be sure the Daily Mail and Daily Express will use this kind of stupid language anytime that the UK's sovereignty is seen to be under threat. As if the Navy can somehow fix things by pointing guns and missiles at innocent people. I worked in and for the Navy for years, they really don't like this kind of trashy talk. It would be nice to live in a country where the media is actually grown up and mature in it's outlook and comments, but that's not how it is. Just look at the election coverage this weekend.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Absurd Foods

Tales of absurd food No.1 - A special effect that turns high quality eggs into tomatoes has been developed by NASA and Lockheed Skunk-works. Apparently they taste just like chicken though some extra seasoning may be required for actual space flight use on the up coming Mars program. 

Saturday, May 08, 2021

This might not be important

 ... and it has not aged well.

The conversion chart illustrating how to move from being a Grateful Dead fan to becoming a Steely Dan fan. Stereotypes as points of reference abound of course. The good part of  the comparisons is that they confirm my chosen life long position as a happy misfit - I'm not in there at all. As if you can't be both GD and SD and enjoy a flexible lifestyle. File alongside the dinosaur's remains. 

It did make wonder about other equivalent conversion charts: Steeleye Span to Steely Dan, Alanis Morissette to Billy Ellish, Van Morrison to Morrissey, Public Image to Public Enemy ... and so on (groan).

Friday, May 07, 2021

Suzuki Thinks


The marketing men (and women) at Suzuki now think that my name is W'Barclay. I am newly baptized. The remains of my old name lie on the cutting room floor. Quite interesting for about 10 seconds I suppose. I did own a Jimny a few cars ago and it was a fun kind of vehicle in a quirky way. I'm unlikely to buy the yellow peril in this promotion however but I am intrigued as how my name has evolved within their system into this version. The Post Office are also already implicated in this affair.

Perhaps it's finally the real me coming through via the various distorted mailshot gremlins and it's been my proper name all along. My soul must now travel a long and winding road to find a way to connect to the new auto given name, punched into my reality through the fog filled ether. You just never really know what's factual or correct in the matrix.

In other less cynical news here's the 'Ferry foreshore from last night.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Voting Today?


I hope you're happy. We're voting today, a nation shuffling along, pens in hand, masked and confused, oppressed under a number of contradictory delusions and bored with unreadable pamphlets. The recycling is collected today, eerily, a bumper haul for the industry as the unread rubbish slips away. 

I'll be holding my nose as I tick the pale boxes in this almost meaningless democratic exercise. My sense of "this time we're really fucked" is registering at about 11. I say that because whoever wins it's the same old ... we've fallen into the hands of professional politicians who view themselves as being right ... all the time. Mistakes, they've made a few and on a regular basis but whatever transpires there will be no reckoning or retribution and no resignations. And they also reserve the right to kick unpopular political footballs into the long grass.

"It's an easy gravy train that's running and when you make the rules and can interpret those rules as you like, it's all gone for a ball of chalk. But we'll blame the pandemic, Westminster, Channel 4, Brexit, fishermen but never ourselves because "we" it seems cannot be wrong. We're all things now; queasy green, tolerant, transparent and listening. All fine messages to tweet as bullet points, but we're not going to take much notice of your petty grumbles or aspirations of social mobility and don't even mention the Alba word, however you pronounce it."

"We're the only Holyrood mafia now, we own the place, all colours welcome in the canteen clique, we'll stick together, it's our careers and elevated status that are stake you know.  Debating is just a farce and a media show, don't expect anything serious, it's not our style. You should see how well we all get on at the Christmas party. Oh and we've done a few good deals, it's either the UN, a UNICEF post, the Lords or a nice speaking tour of US universities once you're fed up with the daily struggle."

Everything else? Well that was just a dream.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Menu to Mars

Going full on accidental Alan Partridge with this one; a TV cookery show pitch with a cruel twist. Celebrity chefs/cooks have to design a daily menu that will sustain life and maintain health on a journey from Earth to Mars (however long that takes but I imagine six months). The meals must contain all the essentials needed to survive and thrive but the menu must be repeated every day during the flight, there is no variation. 

The twist is that, subject to the judgement of nutritional experts the winning chef must then survive on a Martian probe simulator eating only what was created for the daily menu. They are sealed into the simulator for six months with other err... well chosen victims (fellow celebs) in a Big Brother/Gilbert and George style space flight where the food choices are repeated every day. All filmed live etc. At the end the judges decide if the participants remained healthy as a result of the diet. Prize? Say a million pounds. Any takers? 

Future series will of course feature an actual flight to Mars, post 2030 onwards.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

What Use Is That To Anyone?

Rather good song and rather good lockdown style video to go with it (as is the custom) from some Edinburgh based friends. They're so busy and creative with their big city EH postcodes while we're just looking at the moon in puddles and trying not to burn our fingers on the fake gourmet macaroni cheese we're munching whilst Netflix buffers. Anyway, what use is that to anyone?

Monday, May 03, 2021

A series of unfortunate events


Everything was going quite swimmingly; Canadian and Mexican breakfasts, David Crosby's sloop turned up in the marina (anchored for a day), we lost ourselves in a B&Q maze and a Colin the Caterpillar cake was happily scoffed. Then the curse of the ubiquitous raisin (or sultana) struck and an unexpected emergency occurred. In the end it was a "phew, glad that worked out" kind of incident. 

As a means of relaxing we changed the habits of a lifetime and decided to watch a live (?), final episode of Line of Duty rather than just catch up via a 60 second segment on Gogglebox. Is this how TV should actually be watched these days? I'm not sure but as for BBC drama, it all seems to be hastily written and focused on a series of unfortunate events.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Last of the good girls


Actually these are the good boys but I just wanted to use that title in a blog post (also a good song title that needs to be used). I quite like this photo anyway. I'll think of some relevant content and add it in at some future content adding and editing opportunity. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not. Nobody reads blogs so why not just park things in them?

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Some far away field


Not the usual blurry Luftwaffe view of pieces of industrial Scotland often seen on these and similar pages, this is a little more recent and from less of a lofty altitude. For reference the tree in the centre just at the road junction marks the edge of what is now our front garden. The retaining dyke running from there down to the left is our southern garden wall nowadays. Our house would be in the middle - in a vague area of swampy wasteland.  Our swampy thoughts remain as a tribute.

A lot has changed as time rolled by but since we followed the carefully constructed clues in the treasure hunt, allowing for demolitions and the beheading of the golden rabbit and the lead whale meltdown we are now home. We eventually found the missing pieces and inherited the lost kingdom of pinkish blocks and unmarked burial mounds. There are ghosts of course but we make our peace with them on a daily basis by offering the smoky bread and pale whisky to whatever ancient god will bother to listen. One tip: never wail at your demons, it simply makes them stronger.