Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Daily Unicorn

I spotted this rather battered old unicorn in a library garden yesterday. I presume it's one of the Scottish varieties of unicorn, a heraldic trope driven down from the glens. Until recently I hadn't properly noticed the extent to which unicorns were part of Scottish heraldry. They are all over the place in stone, jewelry, seals and paintings. A fantasy animal for a fantasy country I suppose. I've been blind.

Fortunately we're not the only country to be as silly and screwed up as this. Many others (bigger, greater) have gone down a similar path, along with using dragons, griffins, giant worms and so on. What better a device than to have a mystical and non-existent animal to represent you as your beloved country's emblem? 

The unicorn also seems to be mentioned, in poor translations of the Bible and Quran, giving it some sort of religious significance and credibility. Why not just go for Micky Mouse or Smaug for a more contemporary update ?  I like history but one of things you quickly learn from it is that very many of the decision makers in the past were pretty batty or (to their credit) they may just had a strong sense of fun and irony and they've fooled us all.

P.S. Dear USA, are eagles real or mythical?

Monday, August 30, 2021

Internet Winners

I thought I saw this a few weeks ago on Twitter ... or did I?

Monday morning, the gas boiler is behaving badly. Roll on Tuesday.

When cat food upsets the cat.

"Scraping the bottom of the windows" was never a proper expression.

I hear the voices at the bus stop but cannot understand a word.

The weather has a mind of it's own, unlike most people. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Prayer for the Indigenous Scots

Bringing down the lies of the corrupt monarchy system and the tyranny of colonial rule, one disfigured statue* at a time, according to the whispered voices of the ancient Inuit Scots tribes who are guiding our actions via spirit guides: 

Some say the Scots did pretty well out of the ruthlessness, cruelty and greed of the British Empire at it's height - well a few certainly did. Schools, concert halls, libraries and hospitals were built. Also plantations, palaces and prisons, and a few stray gunboats. There were new universities for the few, there were careers in the military, there was transportation and immigration to the colonies, token postings, all opportunities of a kind. The gallows being another option.

Bit by bit the highlands were cleared, the clans broken up, the state's religions and controls imposed on us, political voices were snuffed out, our culture and language was mocked and diluted and we just got on with accepting it. We allowed it all to happen and we all learned that we had to speak "properly", up to a point.

We became an industrial powerhouse, dark satanic shipyards, mills and mines. We manned up for the armed forces, we doffed our caps to the top hats of the establishment, we almost believed in the mantra of "God somehow saving the Kings and Queens" while stuck in abject poverty and blissful ignorance. We fought in Empirical wars so that other people could make fortunes whilst sipping gin in Singapore. There were lies, back stabbings, puritanical sexual censorship and weapons of mass indifference. 

They stole from us and the rest of the "Commonwealth" spreading the curse of a toxic Christianity mixed with a blessed ethnic cleansing, a bad education, fake economic dependency and real exploitation. They continue to deny that it ever happened that way (the annual GERS fiasco as an example). Nothing has changed. 

It's still the elite, the royalists and the Bullingdon Club and their like that rule and oppress, they have the power and the privilege and the access. Don't kid yourself as to how they regard you, your family and everything you have or do either. It's all considered to be available to them for an given purpose and ultimately expendable. They'd rather shag a dead pig's head than allow you the head-space to grow, govern and make your own mistakes. Simple.

By the way you don't have to be born Scots to be Scottish, it's more of a state of mind thing. You can easily self identify (as is becoming the custom these days) into the obscure Alba tribe of your choosing once you've completed a mildly painful ritual. More of a cerebral challenge than finding a uniform and a flag, you might say.

Also don't expect much in the way of assistance or clarity from the SNP, it's all too complicated and there are careers to build and lots of time to waste. There's too much going on right in the political fog of stupidity but there's bound to be a handy, glossy leaflet to explain the policies that are planned as well as a few cartoon YouTube ads. (As Sean Lock once said "at what point does a leaflet become a pamphlet?). 

I don't despair at all, I just blog this stuff instead.

*Image courtesy of Canada.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Gravy Lover

It's true. Both of our cats love gravy. They also have cute little faces like the cartoon cat here, no the same long tongue though. They are enjoying this food but will go off it in a few days and turn their noses up at it. That's cats.

Friday, August 27, 2021


Naturally I was tempted to call this piece "The Empress Helena and her search for the True Cross". It's a title I've stolen and used a few times with, as expected, little success. So much for that. Previous examples now live on as landfill. Matter cannot be destroyed, just rearranged and hidden.

I'd also like to say that it came to me in a dream but I've never been any good at recalling dreams, probably something to do with not being able to remember quite what I did yesterday or even "at the weekend". So it is then that these random items appear with no clear meaning or context, like space junk or asteroids falling from a purple night time sky without any traceable path back to their distant origin. Unrelated accidents and fluff piled up in a corner. Harmless; that is until a tiny, red hot asteroid lands on your head.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Substantial Mushroom

As we edge ever closer to self sufficiency driven by self imposed supply chain issues, the possibility of growing our own food arises. Something I've always been reluctant to contemplate despite all the Blue Peter style "dig for victory" TV things and articles. Then I discovered this mushroom at the bottom of my garden, growing all by itself. An unplanned event. It's not growing now though, as I pulled it up and I've no idea if it's a useful drug or is safely edible, or both. I'm taking my time and reflecting upon it before any further action*. The paving brick is for scale.

*Binned it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!

RIP Charlie Watts, the coolest Rolling Stone and by far the best musician in the band (next best being Mick Taylor and next, next best being Brian Jones). As someone famous said, "this may be a watershed moment for my generation" ... not quite sure what that means but it sounds thoughtful and wise.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


I used to think that "Garden" was a good band name, probably as a result of over exposure to the Woodstock vibe etc. Pushing in on the wistful hippie buttons. There were a few dreary "garden" bands out there, now all best forgotten. I prefer real gardens and so I'm walking amongst the various blooms and growths and fruits still bursting out as the summer fades away. I can't take much credit for it either, I mainly cut grass and pull out things that have been clearly identified as weeds by those with greater knowledge. 

I still have a shallow sense of impending doom that I can't quite explain, a lifelong problem (or a weird asset perhaps). Maybe the garden brings it on but also removes the sharper edges as bees buzz, colours emerge and life springs up optimistically against the odds. In this Eden I am neither Adam the baffled newcomer or God the constructor, I'm more of a ghostly angel labourer, following vague instructions but with a funny idea that any day now the fall of man and various other tragedies are about to take place.

In the meantime I'm simply enjoying the garden. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Art of Food Snapping

Looking terrible: Some/most home cooked foods just don't photograph well for me, this is a good example. Minced beef, onions, peppers, chorizo, tomatoes, puree and various random herbs and seasoning. Nothing weird. Seems that capturing food in a photo and making it look attractive, even edible,  is a bit of an art. Respect to those who do it well. This real life example will be fine with rice or pasta I guess, eventually.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Nobody I Know


Ignore what's above.

Apropos nothing: I may have come to point (and this point may be the rock bottom) where when I look at or hear from or read about any of the major political parties in Scotland* I do detect the nasty smell of rats somewhere deep within my nostrils. Is this just age induced, part of normal life experience or a simple fatigue brought on by over exposure to weasel words, ignorance, avoidance of truth and barefaced lies? I've no clear idea.

*Also applies south of the border.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Self Medicating

The mid-August Lurgy has struck me down this week. Having said that I'm still a high functioning vacuum cleaning expert and a regular operator of the wonky tumble drier. Things could be a lot worse though; I have now failed a third Covid test, I'm continuing on in the dull tradition of failing O Level Maths in 1970 and a few driving and intelligence tests along the way. I'm clearly in a muddy rut of eternal looping. Like the rest of the world I thought I might have the wee Covid bug but it's just regular man-flu so no heroic credit can be claimed. 

My strategy has been to fight it with an extreme diet of anchovies and Beecham's Powders, as your dead granny, who you always suspected was a witch, might have done. This salty drug and oily protein combination administered via sour dough toast isn't really making any difference but I still remain a fan of alternative medicines and lunch breaks. 

I also have a suspected "yellow tongue" infection. This means I can only use words that are close to the middle of the colour spectrum so am relying upon the goodness of robot tills and elaborate Italian style arm and hand gestures when out and about in the real world. As a result I've deliberately spent most of the week in my own imaginary world but you'd never be able to tell any difference.

As I write this drivel the cat has mistaken me for a bed and my laptop keyboard for a piano in a feline speakeasy where he thinks he has been hired to entertain the other hep-cats and pussies. This intolerable situation makes typing impossible ...

Friday, August 20, 2021

Accordion to Some

Not currently for sale but can be perused freely here. Distorted and unoriginal art work featuring a bootlegged image of a musician and his chosen instrument. Subtitled "Please don't shoot me I'm only the accordion player and to be frank my name isn't Frank". Pastiche on horse-hide velum. 

Reasonable offers will be listened to, noted and then ignored mainly due to lack of ownership and copyright and that sort of thing. More unobtainable bargains to released next week or thereabouts.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Wheels of Fortune


If this was a YouTube Channel:

"Stone circles don't have to be actual circles made of stone they can also just be circular pieces of stone. Step backwards into the inner void. Free yourself from the tyranny of history and your own mind's limitations."

"Should I just proceed with some random stream of thought regarding telling the time or seasons via such a device? No."

"Can't be bothered really."

"Life is full of choices and you certainly can rely on me to made some of dodgy ones, here and there and everywhere, all on a regular basis. So what I'll do today is metaphorically spin an imaginary wheel of fortune and see what mystical guidance that great spinning beast can provide."
Done and done.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Lost Football with a Pig

I understand that pigs are clever animals, unfortunately they taste good and of course they are not the easiest of animals to rear and handle (if you don't know what you're doing), also messy, as you can see from the photograph. For some reason they seem to like footballs though but I failed to get the money shot of this pig dribbling with the ball or doing an overhead kick. Maybe some other time. I lack the levels of killer concentration required. 

Right now I'm can be conflicted about eating meat, even anchovies on toast seems like a step too far. I know this will pass and that soon enough  a golden fried egg on a seared steak will become attractive once again. Life is a long cycle of ongoing repeats, until you die and get eaten - most likely by tiny bacteria and bugs. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Cocio since 1951

Chocolate milk in a tin, nicely chilled, very few ingredients; milk, chocolate etc. All very simple. What's not to like there? Learn a little more here. I am not being sponsored or paid in anyway to provide this particular information. I regard it as a public service, being a good citizen. You all need to know about this stuff so I'm sharing it.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Alpaca Daily Photo

The truth is that alpaca ownership is not the easy road we thought it might be. As newbies to the world(s) of these lovely beasts and complete strangers in the alpaca community we've struggled. The paths of alpaca husbandry are many and varied as it turns out and there are some key directions and options we hadn't thought through such as:

Do you basically wear them by harnessing and harvesting their fine wool and creating high fashion "designer" but itchy and possibly infested garments?

Breed and show them for a quick but hazardous profit?

Race them in the various illegal competitions that exist only on the dark alpaca web?  (Heavy betting required and a knowledge of the gambling ways of the Hispanic community).

Eat them, (they taste like chicken) and via that experience publish a cookery book "50 Hot & Spicy Ways with an Alpaca"? (Also consider using their skins as upholstery for your custom Mini Cooper once they've been butchered, so generating a second book eventually).

Suffice to stay the jury is out and we're mulling over the various options - there may be many more than those I've listed here.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Doors

Interesting Doors. What's on the other side? No one knows for sure. That's true of all doors*. You just can't tell what you might experience on the other side, so in order to do so you must pass through. Turn the handle, push and move forwards. Pain, fear, surprise, terror, disappointment, injury, revelation, discovery or perhaps nothing really, just another space to inhabit.

Editor's Note: *Does not apply to glass doors.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Into the Light

Meditations on spiritual matters for beginners: Follow the path into the light and then, without really thinking too hard about anything, you're back out into the dull but reliable world on the other side. There, that wasn't so bad. All the time it was just a rotation. If done correctly you should experience a rather satisfying sort of circular motion. Vague but tangible. Great for the flow of blood and the complexion.

Friday, August 13, 2021


Dark studies in the eternal key of piano: An old friend and companion, maker of wooden music, mechanical and complex, solid as a rock, resonating and still in sympathy, black and off white, in tune with yourself, weathered and coloured, unknown hands and unknown long hours history, unknowable, to lean on, listen to and play. 

W G Eavestaff & Sons, all the way from London, some place far away in the past, we thank you.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Misheard Yoga

The vital question that no one is asking is - is the extreme Connecticut accent complicating the already complicated science of Yoga?

I suspect that this particular session is not suitable for beginners: 

"Yoga and walnuts. Practice ton for ten minutes. Leave your regular life behind. Knees stacked up into your hips. Leave your regular life behind. Cash care here. Take your gaze inwards. Exhale at the back. Inhale cow poles. Exhale for the cat posse."


"Rise, inhale for cow poos. Wide to the thighs of your mat. Format to the earth or lower your blanket. Wreck your hits from side to side. Brain stickiness here. Face the lawn. Reach down to acquaint a gentle stretch. Gucci if you're tall then take your ears to the arch."

"Break into the straights!"

"Rub your knee into your chocolate. Break into the step-side, coin more inhale. Extend bull legs outside. Mink your bright elbow and hug your knee into your chops. Find your brats. Slow down - lengthen brats. Head loose and take on inhale. Move over your mask. Give yourself a vaccine massage. Whistle your soul." 

"You're welcome to stay here. And relax."

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Skies East & West

Looking East

 Looking West

Turns out that the sky operates quite smoothly and easily in a number of different directions all at the same time with little or no human intervention. I hope that it's able to stay that way for a while.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The A Words


Close up of a maze that's made from maze, actually not particularly amazing but a decent enough idea.

Here are a few words beginning with A. For clarity I'll call them the four "A" words. I've come to dislike them either due to their overuse or their deliberate (or unintentional) distorted debasement.

Absolutely, Awesome, Amazing, Astounding. 

To be clear (sic) I'm not against A words, my all time favourite word is Absurd.

It's just that these four ... Annoy me!

This is the first in a truly trivial series: watch out for the four "B" words that irritate me, coming soon.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Pen Island


Always more trippy in someone else's garden.

Having uploaded this I quickly realized that images contained within the detail, all naturally floral and vegetable, had morphed into something a little more phallic as a result of some unexplained "process". In the name of art I've decided to run with it, or at least post it here for want of anything better to do with it. 

Sunday, August 08, 2021



I first read this sign as Muriel Spark Way (like Yuri Gagarin Way) then realized it was Muriel Spark Walk though I read that as Muriel Spark's Walk. I then wondered if she walked in some peculiar or distinctive manner. Perhaps with a slight limp or with flamboyant or perhaps very graceful movements, like a fashion model would. Maybe with the purposeful gait of a doughty head mistress or an angry policewoman, or like a party lady tottering in high heels or like a cowgirl, moving to her inner music's beats on some line dance night. 

Probably none of these apply but I presume she did walk amongst the mere mortals of Bruntsfield, quite normally, once upon a time, somewhat detached, observing and noting, laughing to herself and grinning at her fellow humans with their strange habits, loves and behaviours; there across the uneven grounds of Bruntsfield Links. 

Not much had changed since except everything, her beautiful world with all it's fine aspirations is a fading shell, hollowed out, as if a stray and nasty  tongue had sucked a Malteser to a soggy husk; people, lovers, dogs, coffee, inner city relaxation, chatter and rough picnics. Still there but mostly unobserved because daily life doesn't matter so much, there's too much of it about, constantly recorded and replayed on social media. What remains to be said that is actually new and fresh?

Far away but nearby, the Crags hang under the city sky.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Blue Waterside

Oils and pastels imagined, sunny farewells, short holidays less than a day long, apparently lost dogs and slow burning sand, framed but without dimensions, intricately mistaken, hot under the collar with sweat running down your back, a bottle of tap water and abandoned buildings, litter, no litter, some sense of the unrecorded past, travelers on narrow roads, clifftop pathways, avoiding eye contact and telling the time thanks to a peaceful wind from Norway, taking the day in to take in a different view. 

I do these things, note them, experience them, remember them; sometimes. More frequently and I don't know why, I just forget.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Another Lost Football


Waking up into a world of unforecasted rain. Honestly pouring down, not restricted by our feeble expectations, simply being rain. We need a bit more of this sort of thing (except in areas prone to flooding).

Lost ball: Was it washed up here from afar to languish by Port Edgar or did simply get punted over the barrier to meet it's oblivion on the rocks below? Life is too full of unanswered and unnecessary questions to ponder them all. I feel a small existential crisis coming on at the thought of all the possibilities, I'm sure it will quickly pass. However the very fact that it passes quickly might lead to another. We're all caught up in a universal chain of unknowing and doubt as we spiral either upwards or downwards. Can't tell them apart. Having said that, all the lost footballs remain forever lost as far as I can see.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

What to Panic Buy



Traditionally hand folded for a unique texture.

30g of cheese
Energy 316kJ 76kcal
of the reference intake
Typical values per 100g: Energy
24.4.2022 3D13A-20

Ho hum. Some advice if you're captivated by our illustrious government's achievements but want to carry on living. Clearly they don't understand a thing about modern supply chains (those things that will collapse in about three weeks), logistics or industry, but no matter (and they are in full Brexit consequences denial mode) it's all part of the plan. Meanwhile our BBC News pals play along and stage manage all the "unacceptable" stories so as not to upset the common people.

So stay ahead of the problem by panic buying and hoarding large amounts of tasty Halloumi from Cyprus. It lasts forever, well a year or more and apparently it's the cockroach of the cheese world. If you stockpile some you'll survive the food riots and you'll thank me ... eventually.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Whisky Toad


There maybe two bees in this photo or one bee and a smudge, not sure. I've discovered that trying to count the amount of bees in a garden at any one time is difficult. They simply refuse to stay still long enough to allow you to focus in on them. There's probably a scientific method that allows an accurate figure to be arrived at using a complex statistical formula, a grid, two finely sliced lemons, a pot of jam and a special camera borrowed from NASA.

Speaking of insects: Why, when said in a certain way,  does the word "mosquito" also sound a lot like "whisky toad"?

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

IKEA Robots


Walking round our local IKEA the other day I decided to imagine that all the staff (all safely masked and uniformed) were in fact robots, a bit like in the TV show Humans. It made my store visit slightly trippy and if I'm honest uncomfortable. Even if imagined there are some things you cannot easily unsee so we avoided making unnecessary contact.

In the end we booked out at the actual robot till and it was, as it turned out, perfectly safe. Then over to the food emporium for a coffee and a cinnamon swirl and my first actual encounter with a proper imaginary robot. All was fine, I was handed our swirls in a nice bag and then two empty cups with which to tackle the now familiar coffee robot device. 

"All watched over by machines of loving grace" as the prophet and heretic Jeremiah so accurately predicted in 1968 via the Incredible Spiderman #39.

Monday, August 02, 2021

South Queensferry Daily Photo No.13


We come and go, we are all alone except we are not. As above: a rocky promontory where tourists and day trippers sit and noisily scoff fish and chips while enjoying the view. The smells hang in the air in the still of the slow summer evening but I've had my tea. Locals generally avoid this area for their own personal reasons, all of which remain a set of closely guarded secrets that outsiders can never know or understand. That also includes me.

Meanwhile an old Saab (there are only old Saabs now, a fact that annoys me) is still stuck at the top of  a short set of steps that it can never hope to negotiate. It sits and stares forlornly down the close, towards the High Street and all it's bright, shining, imagined pleasures and distractions. There is also fresh festival bunting as now it is THAT time of year.

If you are sensing any sense of despair in these words then your sense of your sense of despair could be described as reasonably accurate but still sadly misplaced.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Liked but not fully understood

Bob does tend to look a little menacing these days, even at 80 years. It lends a certain weight to his words.  Actually I do understand everything referred to, everything said, every word, light and shade, tone and aspects of nuance ... and I understand it all better than you because of my own lived experiences and big dramatic ears, there.