Saturday, April 30, 2022

Velux Exhibition

Velux Window Collection* and Exhibition: We’ve been secretly accumulating these roof windows and hiding them in the house in various cupboards, box rooms, secret passages and at times in plain sight. It’s such fun to confuse house guests and unwelcome visitors with the pitter patter of rain or the scrape of a low hanging tree branch on a discretely placed Velux frame high up in the darkness of an unlit bedroom.

They can also be a useful source of extra ventilation in a confined space, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the installer’s advice.

We also collect long and sharp, pointy knives and there’s an axe under the bed**.

*Frames without names.

**The long, fingery tendrils of mean spirit tree branches may decide to interfere with your sleep pattern in ways that could be unpleasant or even dangerous. They do this by accessing your space via the Velux window. It comes from their deep and understandable dislike of humankind.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Macchiato at the Kitchin

Keeping things low key: A tiny macchiato served up after a superb meal at the Kitchin down by Leith. I did not expect to be so satisfied and impressed with both the food and the service. Yum.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Red Diesel

Fuel Duty: They came down from the hills. Red diesel in the tanks of their Landrovers and quad bikes. Roads were built for softies. The secret paths, glens and gradients were all theirs. They had tamed the wilderness with the whip of the 4 x 4. The dogs loved it all, riding shotgun as the heather parted before them. The sheep were less sure but queued up for turnips and the deer stayed away. That's what deer tend to do. 

As for people, they know their place in the organic machine, crammed in a car park before pottering into the wild purple yonder on their bikes or in their new boots. The latest water bottles from Tisos on display, dangling from backpacks. Soon the sky will be slipping into the colour of the diesel as the sun sinks into the western sky.

In the countryside water is a vital resource, just getting it into the ground and into animals can be a challenge.

Not all holiday homes make the cut, some are just too basic and rustic for the wide eyed townies. The landscape is scattered with the wreckage of a failed colonial economic theory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Fools on the Hills


Lost in our own country, shadows on a strange hillside, scouring the landscape for clues. The traces of what might have gone before disguised with lichen, moss and heather. A motorway of rabbit paths.

Old stones and broken timbers. Now banished and crushed by nature's persistence,  treasonous history and it's repeated excuses. The landowners thought they knew best and the locals were no better than cattle to them. Their portraits still hang in their empty halls. They died in their arrogance without issue or remorse and still their influence drips down like a dirty oil spill on the land. This peculiar economy is their legacy.

The truth is always troublesome, bothering the soul and tarnishing the dream. It was a nice day to be up there anyway and the deer on the hills were in fine form. Could do with a few weeks of rain though.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lord of the Aga Rings

Aga cookers get hot very gradually. There’s no hurrying an Aga. They are the plodding dinosaurs of the cookery universe. Jurassic and basic. Functional in an unhurried world of their own. But you can still burn the food if not careful. That’s plenty pent up and uncontrollable heat for you.

I am the Master of the Aga. Bow down. I can shuffle the pots. It’s a form of dance fused with the management of sources of intense heat and burning metal. You could lose your fingerprints or fingertips. It’s very dangerous but when it works out for you it’s satisfying in an abstract and ancient way. However the naan bread that became a biscuit was less successful.

As children we burned many books and things, mostly sausages and some books, some Ladybird books. Currently I am burning logs. Logs harvested by the great wind of the winter of 2022 that flattened Edzell Woods and many others. Now we burn their tree bones. There’s nothing else to do with the piles of timber debris. I don’t know what environmentalists might make of this action. When nature fights back the rules change and the logs are harvested.

Logs, secure in their resting place awaiting cremation.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Holiday Homes Under the Hammer

If you see the internet as a great cloud that covers the land then you’ve obviously never visited the backyard, backwards arse of the beautiful back of beyond. We were there and there was no waves to speak of other than stray blips of digital distortion that refuse to be gathered together into a pattern of credible pixels. Cloudy blips of inconsequence that flew overhead and for a short while promoted baseless optimism then for a longer while some stiff resignation, acceptance and gallows humour. The crawling of the Twitter Bots, the Facebook Posts, the refreshed screens, those reflected creations of repeated opinions, swirling in the mind’s eye of an invisible force that asks no questions but always asks questions. 

We just communicate badly because we quickly forget everything we ever said. We outsourced the memories to a memory bank that’s in crisis but doesn’t know it so reality is no longer recognized as a thing. How did it happen? More badly presented history perhaps. How did they (?) amuse themselves back in the day when alcohol, sex between consenting adults, sex with horses (??) and imagination was banned by the all seeing, bespeckled eye of the Kirk? Now we can see everything but understand nothing. I no longer feel at home on your cloud. Nothing good will come of this digital withdrawal. Well maybe not. We all need a break sometimes.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

First of a Few

Interesting artwork carried out artists I don't normally like, No.1 "The Haunt" by L S Lowery. My tastes are of course uniformed, petty minded and variable.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Potential Compost

The eternal compost of the spotless mind: Compost is the nuclear power in gardening, the dilithium crystals of plant life, the Coca-Cola for the garden's perpetual hangover and you can mix it up yourself like a pro. The photo is of course showing vegetation and gathered material in what I would describe as a "pre-compost state", with all the chemical and bio changes only slowly beginning and a long way from completion. To kick start the process I use copious amounts of amber urine and enforced darkness with applied compression added to the source material. If you think that sound pretty awful then you're right and it's never easy to get these items all together in the correct proportions. It's the ugly side of gardening. Anybody got any spare worms?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Fall Friday


Fall Friday is a Twitter thing. Not much to say about it today. Perhaps this image describes things as they are, maybe, up to a point. Or not. Soundbites and knocked off or knocked up images, that's all I really do.

Speaking of which, this is possibly the best bit of advice you'll ever get in your life, "If you're not in the queue, don't stand near the queue - you're causing a hell of a lot of tension." I'm glad that this has been written up (as opposed to written down) by somebody. It hasn't be attributed to Mark E Smith so far.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Ballad of Greenfingers


I made these raised beds from old pallets and filled them with liners and compost. My dear wife planted the plants, marked them up and diligently cares for them in a highly professional manner. As we're optimists this is surely going to end well in a few months when we harvest a magnificent crop of vegetables and greenie, herbie things.

If you're at all worried about intruders and pests (not that we are) I can vouch for our fence, with it's weld-mesh sections and sturdy timber bastions, making it now fully Red Panda proof. Slugs and snails are however not applicable to the security tests we applied. As for cats, well that's another story.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Resorting to Woodbutchery


The journey into / onto / around stable tuning continues with these Vanson locking tuners being fitted to "Bodge", a partscaster Telecaster. Bodge has had a few troubles over the years and I thought locking tuners might help resolve them. That's how it goes in the world of guitar, you try everything to fix it, allow it to stew, then chuck it onto eBay as a sort of purge and penance. In truth I've never tried *locking tuners before but I though it was worth a punt.

Due to a unexpected set of incorrect dimensions in the headstock area some serious unplanned wood butchery was required. Turns out that 10 mm items cannot and will not fit themselves into 8 mm holes. Another failure to read the small print. However I managed to drill, file and sand my way around the problem and now they are fitted. They're still subject to a thorough test and implementation regime that is as yet to report it's findings. Perhaps it never will.

*As usual a big thanks to numerous YouTube content makers and layabouts for advice and explanations.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Green Card Blues

I've been working on this specially commissioned portrait for about 10 minutes, it's called "Green Card Holder with Roubles from Putin". I've no idea what it's about. 

Rishi Sunak is a British politician who says he is serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer, sometimes he works from home but I hear he's moved on now. He's been in the job since 2020, having previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2020. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been Member of Parliament for Richmond since 2015. That's a short career for such a high office.

He likes to dabble in hedge funds, soapy excuses and he is married to a very rich lady who lives nearby but who has also been found out to be a cheeky little trickster. He's not known for the common touch and is unable to understand contactless payments, petrol pumps and the ethics and principles of International Law. It would appear he has no real concept of poverty or experience of hardship either. I imagine that he's having a good day none the less.

There will be a "proper" inquiry you know. Plus they (?) went to parties.

You may well consider that this (my opinion and the image) is just more vacuous ranting and that reality is only some kind of complex construct. To try to prove this you may say, "have you ever actually seen your neighbour bringing in their groceries?" To which I might well respond with, "you know I have not, perhaps you have a point there."

Monday, April 11, 2022

Pink Floyd (Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox)

Pink Floyd - Hey Hey Rise Up (feat. Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox). All self explanatory and a quite moving musical piece coupled up with war footage and that of Andriy singing. Already it's had millions of views in the last few days but I'm always late to the party so it's still worth sharing. All the background's there on YouTube. Cynics might say that the old rich guys of Dad Rock should stay in the background and die quietly in the shadows. Nope. If there's one thing (the good part) of my generation has learned, it's that silence is seldom golden. Every little note, word, image and whispered truth helps. Don't let the bastards grind you down.

Reserved for Media


A match day out at Kelty Hearts FC. The day's opposition was Stirling Albion. Nice that they kept a seat allocation for each of us. The game however was a dull 1 - 1 draw. The pie score was about 8 out of 10, fair selection, good quality and serving temperature. Ease of access and overall impressions 7 - 10. Partick Thistle Factor (PCF = crowd sophistication and conversation content) a surprising 8 - 10. Cultural references and relevance (sightings of ex-Dockyard workers and Dire Straights on the Tannoy plus playing the Kelty Clippie at full time) a time warped 8 -10. Not bad scores after all. Recommended.

I could have deducted marks for their drum but I'm not so petty minded. 

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Found Item


I found this in my trouser pocket.

I'm considering drafting up a few artwork ideas based around the concept of "the lack of persistence of memory", an answer to a question that Dali may never have asked. Memory fade or memory creep maybe, we can all suffer from this. It seems to me an appropriate subject to try to interpret and to explore in some sort of classic or maybe romantic style. As soon as I have a few decent examples worked up I'll be sharing them here. Of course I'm assuming that I'll remember to go on and actually execute some work based on this theme. Bearing that in mind you may or may not have to wait a while to view any of the results. Thanking you in advance for your patience.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Still Life with Boots

Found hear the high water mark in South Queensferry: A pair of boots abandoned for no obvious reason. Forgotten by the owner, perhaps a tourist, high and dizzy by being so close to the Forth Railway Bridge presumably. An engineering icon from before the dawn of time and even before the invention of Steampunk, all made of girders from Motherwell etc.

Many visitors are affected and moved when seeing it's red glow and magnificence up close for the first time, but few leave their footwear behind. So the boots remain a local mystery, like some fictional based criminal mindset with it's blundering modus operandi, we'll never understand those twisted depths and we'll never quite know the real truth.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Pars Up For It

The scene after the second goal went in. Pyro on the pitch of course.

A good night at East End Park saw Dunfermline beat Raith Rovers 2 - 0 in a rare win. The scramble for survival continues, for the next few weeks anyway, the outcome being hard to predict. I suppose it's looking better but not certain by any means. Anyway it was a spirited performance last night and the fans were behind the team 100%, for a change. The North West Stand, where we were was truly bouncing in a way I've not seen in a while. Great fun and entertainment despite the torrential rain and heavy police turnout. Not so good for the Kirkcaldy fans but at least they've got a trophy this season.

Great photo. Whoever took it and doctored it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Queensferry Daily Photo

There has to be an interesting back story as to how this crusty old LHD 4x4 V8 Jeep Grand Wagoneer still on it's Arizona plates ended up parked faraway from home at the Tesco in South Queensferry. Answers on a postcard please.

Here's the trippy, through the looking glass version:

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Machine Heads


Swapping out machine heads: So I took the (old) Grovers from my Washburn 335 and put them onto my Yamaha acoustic and fitted a new set of Wilkinsons on the Washburn. Half an hour of fiddling and some kind of double tuning stability has been achieved. Quite satisfying in the end. I'm not bothered about the screw holes in the Yamaha, it's an old campaigner now and they're hardly noticeable. Please ignore the poorly attempted but nearly reasonable luthier knots, I'm slowly getting better at them. I also filed down the Yamaha's bridge piece as part of the exercise and bingo, better action and no unexpected buzz.

Monday, April 04, 2022

Evolutionary Progress

Whilst Darwin style evolution is the default choice for explaining how things came to be, and I get that, sometimes I wonder why some obvious directions of evolution have not been taken. I'm puzzled that we have so few flying mammals. How, with all their voracious hunting skills, appetite for birds and energy did cats never manage to fly? Had they done so small birds would pretty much be extinct and battles between cats and raptors might be commonplace in our skies. 

I'm not saying that this would be a good thing but cats with wings has to be a logical step in their own progress as predators. You could argue that because cats have not developed wings (and flight) there may some inherent cap on evolution that prevents a creature becoming too dominant in it's field. This doesn't apply to humans though (that's a bit of a stretch) as we collide with everything in our path. Blah blah ... getting back to cats; we have interfered with feline evolution by domesticating them to the point that there's now no need for them to fly, so they don't.

Bigger cats, cougars, pumas etc. maybe could've gone this way but as most of their prey is ground dwelling there would be no need so it only seems a worthwhile extra attribute for smaller cats. If there was/is a god who controls evolution in some limited way or within creative boundaries then that god may have decided that wings would be a strength too far for cats versus the rest, so it never happened. Otherwise it's another random act of unintelligent nature limiting the success of one strand of creation.

I've really no idea or scientific insight into the whole theory of evolution (as is obvious), I'm just checking out one animal at a time and then, as the full weight of history and biology crash down on me, giving up and rambling. Of course this entire train of thought was inspired by me dreaming of one of our cats was up a tree attacking and subduing an owl in a very violent and unpleasant manner. "Don't fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult was playing along as the soundtrack to these slow motion Spaghetti Western style events. I awoke somewhat disturbed. I can't quite see cats the same way anymore, despite the fact that the cat in the dream was not equipped with wings of any kind.

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Marveled Comix

A recently completed panel mock-up.

A silent world without word balloons but full of CGI explosions: I'm steadily getting more and more bored with the ever expanding Marvel Universe. It used to be an artistic if disturbing place, not any more. Now re-imagined as the centre of disasters and diversity so extreme it is as boundless and silly as any real universe. The melted faces of the reviewers, the disbelief of the audiences, the drunken staggering of the producers, the hum of the devices processing the payments, the capitulation of the sponsors, the reduction of the alcoholic mind-soup back to steam and heavy vapour. All in a bolder than bold script.

Cardboard cut outs, inky blocks of pain, fakes and dramas and half formed things we can't ever care about. At this point comics become a pointless distraction, then rendering them into the playground reality of action films making them even more ridiculous with each release. There was a time when fine, multi-coloured roses bloomed there, now I'm not so sure. Dead artists slowly spin in their finely inked, detailed and cross hatched graves, stricken by the exploding spaghetti of exploitation.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Cija Li Je Livada

Branko Mataja

Nice little tune from an obscure but talented musician, (that puts him in with the majority I guess). Sadly long gone but his music, very much home grown and inspired by his heritage lives on via the curious thing that is YouTube. A place where we all might gain eternal life.

Friday, April 01, 2022

Unexpected Life Form in the Bragging Area

The promise of a steady drizzle or a bout of hail may be enough to entice me out once in a while. The magnetism of the fresh air on flesh. The glory of lungs filled with celebratory low cloud. The joy of avoiding unexpected and unplanned roadworks by means of stealth. Eyes still on the prize of non-political correctness but set at an acceptable level. 

I'll also visit a supermarket of some sort to buy chicken pieces for the cats. In a parallel universe I know I'm also buying pieces of cat for the chickens. In a third kind of universe the cats are buying pieces of me for even more chickens. I'm glad not to be living there. Unexpected human sacrifice in the blogging area.