Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The River of Troubled Souls

Or is it the River of Tortured Souls? Or the River of Somewhat Anxious Spirits? The Stream of the Great Unwashed's Consciousness? The Slow Torrent of Political Incompetence that Poisons the World? The River of Feckless Liars? The Huge but Steady Stream of Liquorice Negativity? A Cloudy and Overcast Day in the Nether World?  Always tough to assign a title to some random images you've invested so little of yourself in. It could be a video game title though, or an album.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Not an Endorsement

Are you at an age or time of life when you might just be curious about trying CBD? 

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis or hemp plant. Unlike the more well known cannabinoid THC, CBD is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause you to experience a high that is typically associated with cannabis*. Research into CBD is still in early stages, however anecdotal reports have shown positive results and it is being researched as a potential treatment for chronic pain among many other conditions. CBD is extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant using a range of different methods before it is then diluted with a carrier oil to create a CBD oil. It’s also used in a range of other exciting products such as balms, lip balms, edibles and capsules to name a few. The list is only growing as CBD companies find new ways to innovate.

* But you can get it in chocolate bars too.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Camouflage and Concealment

One of the things I liked best about army training in my teenage years was the exercises we did around camouflage and concealment. Face covered in burnt cork, green fatigues on, hiding in the grey dark in long grass or woodland. Feeling invisible and undetected. Then the rush you got, spotting the "enemy" moving nearby. Could they see you? It turns out that cats are really up for this too. 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

I Knew I Forgot Something

 Robot Spirit Guide is useful but he's not as smart as he thinks. Well maybe he is. Maybe he's not a he. It's just a robot mouthpiece after all. In the image of the robot god of course. The robot god we made. Who now rules over us. Quietly and wisely. As the program dictates. There can be no deviation from this route. If you believe that you'll believe anything. I believe it. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

South Queensferry Daily Drone Photo


The above photo shows the famed SQ VAT-69 distillery in all it's 1960s glory as well as the green spaces that formerly surrounded the site.

It was taken by a Samsung Vesuvius time traveling drone (now available at Amazon, eBay and in selected Aldi stores) for just £99.99. This powerful little machine can be set up to fly back to any period in recent history and take high or low altitude, full colour arial snaps of what ever target/landmark you manage to program in from your own smartphone using the time travel app. Batteries are not included (base model has a clockwork motor and perpetual motion feature). Special "Time Paradox" insurance (recommended) is available at extra cost, price etc. TBA.

The drone contains numerous other "safety" time travel features including a block on the software that prevents retrospective historical assassinations from being carried out. Please don't expect to set up your device to simply head off into the past and crash into the skull of that nasty dictator, politician, high school teacher or disreputable family member you'd like to eliminate. Other less reprehensible "disturbance" options are available, again at extra cost.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Secret Life of Guttering

The old roof gutters on our house have been removed and renewed. They're grounded now, back on terra firma. I'm now marveling at the tiny eco system that's been living there, high up above us on the edge of the roof line out of sight, thriving undisturbed for years. If left alone who knows what might emerge from the mossy green primal soup? Anyway it's all over now. Another new world destroyed by greed and progress (and routine maintenance).

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Happy St Pancake's Day

"St Pancake, seen here in a fashionable purple robe, discusses the finer points of the drop scone during a traditional bake-off ceremony by the Sea of Galilee. Long and multi fingered hands were all the rage back then. This eventually led to the invention of the piano in China and a radical new way of doing addition and subtraction using a number system not based around tens." From the Big Book of Numbers, Scribbles and Graphs.

Primarily a middle eastern delicacy the pancake was invented by the supreme Celtic-Buddhist teacher Stewart McPancake around the time of the Byzantine Pyramids and Darker Ages. Due to constant grain and beef famines in the nether regions Stewart encouraged people to make pancakes from well beaten eggs using whipped up and irritated bananas. As a result everyone was saved. The rats returned to the mountains, there was no solar eclipse or lizard invasion and the rest is proper history. The earthquakes that followed were nothing to do with Stewart either, that's according to his mum Cleopatra. Enjoy your own authentic home baked butterscotch and onion pancakes on this holiest of days, whatever way you can.

Messing With Reality

The power of the editorial airbrush: The "reimagining" of Roald Dahl's books tells you everything about everything that's wrong with er... everything. So that's my opinion, an obvious and predictable point of view from somebody of my generation (but hopefully others). Pelican Books and their informed rewrites can just Foxtrot Oscar, IMHO. Hurry to your nearest charity shop and buy up the originals. It's a sound enough investment.

Strikes me that a few more books are crying out for similar treatment if this is now a thing: the Bible and the Quran being good examples. Swearing your truth on a highly suspect, violent, bigoted and divisive book of made up legend, weird history and primitive religion isn't a great idea. It doesn't hold up. Let's get it edited/censored to neatly fit with the current generation(s) and their own interesting and developed values. Nobody wants to cause offense now do they?

Meanwhile the UK media takes the view that without Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish independence movement will collapse and that Labour will once again reign supreme in the green hills of Caledonia. That's an odd piece of logic and assumption but guess what, the media also tell lies. Sure the SNP is a bit of a shit show right now, full of duffers and idiots promoted beyond their abilities but so it is in every other UK political party. It's always a nervy judgement call on how you might manage to vote for the least worst.

The SNP remain a peculiar beast, in typically Scottish fashion they manage to move both forwards and backwards at the same time as they remain stuck in the vacuum of an evolutionary loop that is inescapable. They just don't have the balls or vision to agitate for their cause.  You can tell that even MI5 don't think they pose any actual danger, when was the last time an SNP MP fell out of a hotel window in India? 

Anyway I'm going to enjoy seeing how many of their gravy train riding MPs pledge their allegiance to sour puss King Charles III and wish him well on his big bucks coronation. OBEs and MBEs all round.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Kit-Kit Kat-Kat

A quick and easy question: What is better, a four finger Kit-Kat or a two finger Kit-Kat?

Answer? I can't say for sure but I've just eaten a four finger one and is was 60% more than reasonably adequate.

Kit-Kats are big in Japan, there they have exotic flavours and colours. We here in the west struggle with that sort of thing according to the marketing people, mainly because of our tendencies towards serial dullness, so we miss out.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

American Traitors


Due a series of unpredictable events and adverse weather we binge watched "Traitors" the USA version via the ad free services of iPlayer. We'd already watched the UK version, a revelatory study in human idiocy and immaturity that had to be seen to be believed.  Nobody emerged from it looking like anything other than an emotional child. It was oddly riveting just the same. The American version, currently available to fully binge is even crazier. It's also set in a lush and magnificently filtered rendering of a Scotland that as Scots we all recognize but seldom encounter in the real world. It's also made up of 100% American stereotypical contestants as you might expect.

The wide eyed and manic contestants line up like guests at some D-lister and lowly public service worker's wedding, all unaware of the kind of event they've landed in. Some loud, some moody, some needy, some just obviously ignorant of most of the normal behavioural traits that their fellow humans exhibit. Life has taught them very little. You wonder how they ever manage to do everyday things or hold casual conversations ... but they're here and now playing an adult game with a big cash prize. It would be fine then if they simply understood  a) how adults act and b) what an actual game is.

I suppose none of this matters, the whole thing is a chaotic car crash that's highly addictive and entertaining, cringe worthy and even funny at times and how people can claim to "love" and "trust" perfect strangers after few hours under some gilded gothic roof makes no sense. Perhaps it's the highland water and the mountain air. However it does turn out that a few of the contestants are far from being unfocused, dumb or malleable and that really is the main and unexpected twist. If your attention span and dislike of loud Americans can't cope with all ten curious episodes the final three will probably do it for you.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

AI Cat Stevens' AI Cat

Whilst leaving the local shop the other day I overhead two postmen having a conversation. One was older, bearded with the correct amount of white beardy flecks, the other younger one wore a bobble hat and had a wispy, ginger beard. The kind of beard that the navy would've made you shave off as it wasn't up to naval standards. Why on earth am I describing them by their beards? It's as if they had no other physical features of note, maybe that's the point. H. G. Wells' "the Invisible Man" is all about a postman after all. Are postmen mostly invisible and hard to describe without using words like beard, shorts, Rastafarian or chatty? 

These postmen were discussing Cat Stevens' albums. "Oh yeah, that one's a classic", said the older postman. The younger one nodded. "I've got quite a few of his", added the older one. 

He's got them on vinyl and CD I imagine, none of that streaming stuff, he's not of that generation. I could make an educated guess of what's in his listening collection and how he remembers rolling five skinner joints on the book fold covers. The trouble is that often it's all about the memory and the context, listening to the actual music and enjoying it 50 years later isn't so simple. 

"Favourite tune?" "Ah, well, probably Matthew and Son". "Aye". "Then there's First Cut, that's a belter". "Aye". "Father and Son." "Aye".

By now I'm moving away, heading across the car park with my lunchtime hot pie and egg mayo baguette. The postmen are back to loading the van. It's a familiar kind of conversation. The appreciation of music or films or whatever ... always going back to some golden time. A pub chat that's forever circular, like some YouTube search that keeps throwing up fragments and tangents you just don't need. 

When it comes to art and music I know I sometimes say I like things but I don't really like them. I'm being supportive of other tastes so I bluff. Sometimes I've never even listened to the album or seen the film that the conversation is about. I might admit to that, I might not. A lot of the older stuff is a bit shit really, you just have to dig down and be selective. I've certainly never bought any of Cat Stevens' albums but he was always OK and interesting. I reckon it's all down to who you hung out with at high school. That sets you on a road. After that not much else counts. 

The AI image above features a giant "Cat" with his famous five legs and a single unbearded postman who may or may not have a gun. The AI image below has simply been added because in the end (?) these things will dominate our lives and outlook to the point we wont know reality from unreality so we best get used to it. These postmen have beards and do regular work for a street cat called Steven, about whom the less said the better.

Friday, February 17, 2023


I don't know how wild this boar was but I'm guessing it wasn't too happy once his fate was decided. Pate is just posh name for "potted meat", a way of using up cheap cuts of meat by boiling them until they're mushy, adding herbs and seasoning and allowing the mix to cool and solidify. Then you use it as a sandwich filler or just spoon it up any way you want. If you stick the name "pate" on it then you can charge what you like per jar and dummies like me will rush out to buy it. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

For the Birds

I can confirm that the new funky and solar powered Bird Buddy is now locked, loaded and fully operational. For the birds the good times are just about to begin. I'm not sure what this will mean for us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Mount Olympus

Here's my home made Vesuvius or Etna or Stromboli. It's not Mount Olympus as the title suggests but that was my first thought, then I realized that Olympus wasn't a volcano, I think. More research may be required but it's unlikely ever to happen. It's not really a model at all, just the first spurt of flame when the firelighter awakens under the logs and kindling. 

I do wonder about the Greek and later Roman gods, up there on Olympus in their daft and hedonistic pomp. Did the clever and deeply philosophical Greeks really believe in those ridiculous gods? I think it's always about opium for the masses, it works so well in every civilisation. Add a few well thought out legends and fables and you're away, then get those idiots to spend their lives putting up beautiful but meaningless temples where they can sacrifice a few pigeons now and then.

Recent press information has given me some concerns about log burners but the "bad press" seems to centre around inner city (London mainly) readings or figures. We're out in the sticks, by the coast and on a windy hill, no one nearby seems to use a log stove, does that make anything right? Will we live to regret our smoke signals or is it simply a minor mark in our already enormous polluting footprint? 

Monday, February 13, 2023

The Road to Utopia

When I was a child I thought that Utopia was a real place, perhaps in Tibet or Nepal, shrouded in mist, hidden by mountains and great passes and only discovered after surviving many impossible trails and trials. Few people ever entered, nobody ever left. I was of course confusing it with Shangri-la but I didn't care, I just liked the idea of such a place existing*. I presumed the fountain of youth was there along with eternal life, peaceful serenity, no conflict or pain. I saw it in comic strip colours and inks, bold and bright. I wondered if some stray helicopter or aircraft might find it and it's discovery broadcast on the TV news, in 425 lines in grainy black and white. Who would be the first to tell the story? The ever resolute BBC I imagined, with Richard Dimbleby providing a dry and well informed commentary as the special program ran. 

It never did happen. What nobody knew (well me mostly) in those pre-whatever years was that this country, whilst not a Utopia could actually be a pretty good place with a lot of potential. Then along came the villains, the greedies and the serially corrupt. They didn't really have the same dream, they just wanted disruption and a kind unfair simplicity where privilege and nepotism could quietly gain and maintain the upper hand, even more so than before, and it worked. We're now living in their Uptopia, made in their image and we still don't own a single piece of it. That's because it's all theirs and it always was. We're displaced people.

A final word to the "middle classes": you don't exist. The media and some potted history created you a while ago. You act as a deluded buffer for the ruling minority, in place as an ignorant bullwark against the "working class". You think you have something to lose and a lot to defend, but you're just doing their dirty work by craning your neck to see how far above you those lords of the stratosphere are actually flying with all their twinkling resources; shining as a faint spectacle beyond their own armoured ceiling. You'll never join them. Yup, it's all a big sham, numbers on bits of paper and blips in digital vaults. Enjoy.

*I do relish a good vacuous splurge sometimes, just to clear out the passages.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Brewdog in a Tennent's Glass

I like a few of the Brewdog beers, maybe not all of the overly flavoured types but their IPAs are pretty good. I'm not a beer snob though and I don't much care for the Brewdog brand in terms of reputation and attitude but the beer's OK. It goes down too easy maybe and therein lies potential trouble. Anyway to keep some universal balance in place I like to drink it in a Tennent's glass (one I found outside on our garden wall) and thereby keep myself and my errant soul peaceful and serene. As a drinking system it works most of the time.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Last of Us Episode 3

I only dip in and out of the Last of Us, I'm not able or willing to keep up with this, basically I don't much like zombies or weird fungus people. However I watched episode 3 and was really pleasantly impressed with the temporary change of direction; the tale of Bill and Frank. This is a wonderful, sensitive and disturbing piece of drama. Of course there's action, suspense and horror as the main story arc curves onwards but the accidental and bitter sweet lives of Bill and Frank are a finely crafted and sensitive love story that I didn't expect to see or feel so affected by. It also spawned a Linda Ronstadt track being played that might well rival Kate Bush's Stranger Things moment. The music never quite dies and neither do the memories. We're all running up a hill of some sort.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Out of Dates

Nothing lasts forever in the material world: This car, minus a rear quarter light has been left abandoned in the local shop's car park since last December. I don't think it's been reported to anybody and I doubt anybody cares. I thought about reporting it myself but recent experiences with the police suggest to me they'll do very little. When car, shop or house burglar alarms go off any report is met with a chilly indifference. 

There's no resource or energy there to get involved, that's pretty obvious to me. The traffic division prefer to monitor speeding offences and little else. I wonder how long this car will sit here. I'd imagine at some point it'll get torched and then there may be some resources deployed. It could have been resolved in a far simpler way. Ho hum.

Below are some out of date dates, they "expired" early January but I decided to try them last night. They were overlooked in the Christmas extravaganza. I'm still alive and typing this report a day later having scoffed a few. Please don't try this at home.

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

We Shall Overcome

Local celebrity cat overcomes rational/irrational fears and fitness issues by clambering onto the window sill and staring out into the big bad world on a Wednesday evening. There's a valuable lesson there for us all. Don't be afraid to look out of the window and, for a time be transported by whatever random things you might see. It's good to overcome but some might say that it's better to come over and simply annoy your friends and neighbours with your inane chatter, dodgy opinions and appetite for strong drink and mutton pies.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Not that Tuesday

When you're drifting in and around new worlds and different dimensions it's easy to lose track of time and think that today is Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day). Turns out it's not, there's still two weeks to go and I was once again wrong. Funny but we never celebrate anything on this day nor actually feel the need to eat pancakes at any time during it. Why does it somehow seem important?

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Today's the Day


"Today's the day the Teddy Boys got their shit nicked."

This is the sort of puerile and idiotic humour I like. I should probably apologize to everyone and even myself for finding this kind of statement funny but I've no intention of doing so. Of course the art/illustration is via the dreaded AI prompt, thus making the whole thing even more silly, hateful and pointless. We are here because the internet brought us here and we're all stuck with it now.

Saturday, February 04, 2023


A glitch in the unrelenting weather matrix. Unreliable forecasts predict 0% from Sunday onwards. I'm unsure as how to react. Days without rain in February. No damp conditions, drizzle or pounding great sheets of water falling from the sky. Does anybody know this is Scotland, home of the dreich and dreadful, the dim foggy and soaking place where there is no respite from all forms of H20 coming at you?

P.S. It was my 14th year on Twitter the other day. 14 years in which I've steadily gone nowhere and failed to grow, respond or make any kind of difference. I didn't bother to post this either. I'm not much of a community person it seems.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Book of Shell

An almost green and pleasant land, idyllic and calm, nature's garden with everything in it's proper place, clean water and air, agriculture thrives in the distant fields, spring slowly emerges from the grip of winter. A simple enough illustration from an old copy of the Shell Book of the Countryside. Life was different then.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

A French Despatch

I fell asleep and woke up to find it was February. The great, grey oil slick of despondent January is fading into the distance. Snowdrops peer out, blinking below the crusty garden willow, green shoots emerge promising tulips and daffodils. The light and seasons confirm that we still see life and time as linear and mysterious. Our perception is as dull as we want it to be. The future still a black hole and always out of reach until it collapses onto us despite how smartly we think we read the signs.

We've yet to evolve into a more circular and all encompassing vision of our lives and times. So we trundle on in some kind of darkened chaos peering through the slit in the prison cell door, looking at things presented through the odd angle's distortion so we can't quite fathom them yet. I blame Wes Anderson for skewing my world view but also thank him for somehow making it all real to me.