Thursday, February 04, 2016

What cats really want

That strange, moist, pre-lubricated chicken pieces pack that you never buy; we buy. But we don't eat it ourselves, never. It goes directly to the cats, well one cat, particulary if it makes the hungry noise. Seems to taste best straight from the floor as well, maybe that makes it like some kind of household road-kill so there's cat satisfaction. Tesco value, asda value, Aldi whatever and randomly packaged bits from petrol stations and Spar shops (whenever lack of planning and lack of shopping comes about). All from the same big chicken run in Norfolk, economies of scale etc. It's probably OK but I can't say I find it appetising, it's got too many cat associations now. They won the chicken pieces war over a long period of time and I'm slowly either turning vegetarian or into a vegetable.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Project for somebody

I am of the belief that all things are (possibly) possible. So, setting James Joyce to music. Has it ever been done successfully? Then again is successfully the correct measure to use or outcome to expect? Doubt it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Collateral damage

Cat relaxes as the storms roll by.
The measure of a modern storm are the new kinds of harm done other than chimneys and trees getting blown over and other forms of collateral damage. We had a bit of that, the felt has parted company with the garden shed and a piece of the kid's slide went AWOL (now returned) but generally it's our wonderful lo-fi Internet life line that goes all flaky. Funny how this unseen and abstract little link with civilisation affects us when it glows with an angry red light instead of the cool blue of stable communication. Then it's the pointless OCD act of switching things off and on just to try to jolt a restart and also to delay the painful process of calling the rather frigid and underwhelming BT hotline, joy of joys. Anyway the link has (no doubt thanks to some BT engineers climbing up a ladder in a gale; thanks) returned and I'm bathed in a serene blue light again. If only I could find something meaningful and worth linking into on the great wide web. I should look for some IT contingency planning techniques I guess or better yet, get a life.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Not civilised enough

There must be better and less petty things to moan about than the weather. In theory yes but once trapped in the black hole of stormy muck that is currently steamrolling over us it's hard to think creatively. Of course it's hardly tough indoors in a warm and dry if slightly shaky building. Get a grip man.

I presume that it's the government, Donald Trump and ISIS that are to blame with their negativity, well constructed lies and poor sense of style. They've killed our moment. They disturbed the Karma balance with their antics and now we're all headed to hell, limbo and the 5th Dimension. Once there we'll befriend pigeons and wild birds; feed and talk to them in the streets awaiting the moment of our arrest and eventual incarceration. It's just not civilised.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Goodbye January

So January is over, now it's February next with it's inexplicable extra day, all because it's not had one for four long years.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Making things fit

The day began with a three egg F&B breakfast that somehow confused the waitress. She recovered well and earned a handsome tip. She also gave us free or bottomless coffee, not usual in the UK. Then it was time for the great outdoors, a pleasure always available but seldom sampled. So I walked three miles today in very cold weather wearing a very tight hat and very tight sunglasses; Mrs Impossible looked on approvingly and did her best to capture the uncomfortable moment. My head has swollen somehow. I did not choose to do this it just happened. Along with the puddle jumping, dog and owner encounters and the prospect of the heavens dumping tons of chilly water down your neck at any moment it passed the time in an edgy but almost pleasant way. Once home I was resuscitated with chicken noodle soup and corn bread. Then it was a YouTube marathon, editing and making things fit. More later.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

All in my head

A cartoon cat called Tog.
Everyday, if I can, I like to read something from a quality newspaper or at the very least it's facsimile in the form of a web site. So it turns out that I saw today that there's a cat in Scandinavia trapped in the body of a woman. She has to employ false ears and a tail to be the cat she wants to be. No mice have been caught yet but she may well eat them from a pet shop. I can think of a number of humans who are trapped in the bodies of cats, there are likely more than even I think. Any corrective surgery would be both risky and expensive. Sometimes life in all it's confusing forms is just plain confusing. The cat problem is one thing but I've yet to hear of folks who thought they were a red setter, a spaniel, an elephant, a buzzard or a trout. perhaps I'm going to all the wrong parties. Maybe in these "fluid" times it will become more common and we'll gradually adopt more creative personas and looks that will be accepted by employers, governments and welfare agencies. It'll be fine so long as I'm not expected to share a cage, hutch or aviary. What about being a tree? There's got to be room too for becoming inanimate objects like a bungalow, a lawnmower or a motorway information sign. So many opportunities really.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dash Position

As I've travelled the world, tripping over flagstones and spilling tea I realise more and more that a good many people are completely glaikit and behave that way most of the time. Glaikit is a great and underused word and one I'm sure both W C Fields and Groucho Marx would have used regularly had it been available to them. It sounds like it's meaning, pretty much perfectly. So these  glaikit people then; they are everywhere and often in quite senior and influential positions, others do things like hairdressing, driving or travel agent work. I often wonder how they survive and, more confusingly how the rest of us get by whilst alongside them. I'd also like to see glaikit appear on gravestones more often in what is known as the dash position; Born - Died. So it would be:

Born 20th October 1955


Died 21st October 2030.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Nothing personal

Available somewhere on Etsy.
If you were to criticize this blog (and that would hardly be difficult) an easy and accurate accusation to make would be that it's not personal enough. It's vague, woolly, full of fabrications, dull, lifeless, a vanity project, an obsession, unfunny and a complete waste of time. Fair enough. So to rectify this (the personal part) here are some truths:

Favourite food - rhubarb.
Favourite island - Galapagos
Favourite body posture - slouching.
Favourite font - New Times Roman Size 8.
Favourite item of clothing - cravat.
Favourite fabric - jute.
Favourite colour - duck egg green.
Favourite drink - coconut milk.
Favourite word - wobbly.
Favourite TV show - The One Show.
Favourite swimming pool - Burntisland Beacon.
Favourite shop - Lidl in Broxburn.
Favourite sound - sandpaper on wood.
Favourite day - Wednesday 
Favourite weather - foggy, dull and 11C with a 6 mph wind for N/W.
Favourite egg - brown size large.
Favourite toe - wee toe, right foot (on me but not everyone else).
Favourite stamp - First class large packet.
Favourite sand - builders'.
Favourite holiday - two weeks.
Favourite money - 20p piece.
Favourite band - The Pixies.
Favourite thought - stopping.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday - usual soundtrack

Drove to Aberdeen and back. There were occasional blips of tyre warnings, rain and scrambled egg on toast. As the dust settled and darkness fell I listened to what has come to be known as the "usual music". Soon it was home for haggis, neeps and tatties. Nice as it turned out. The tatties and neeps were purchased from Waitrose, a shop I seldom visit, mainly because it's far away. The vegetables were fine but overall the shop, whilst pleasant was unremarkable and strangely cheap. Is this the experience that posh people rave about and cannot live without? If so my thinking on a number of exclusive and elitist pastimes must now be reconsidered. I may indeed be posh after all.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Having not been in the village of South Queensferry for a while we ended up there two days in a row, eating, drinking and parking badly in the Hawes Inn, one time hang out of Robert Louis Stephenson. Here's some touched up and untouched photos of the noisy new bridge construction project, taken from a safe distance with a full stomach and an empty head. The old bridge remains a cause for concern, it seems to have become extra bumpy since it's December mishap - even with the crossing speed reduced to 40 thanks to a network of intrusive cameras. If I didn't know better I'd suspect it was reacting somewhat petulantly against the steady arising of it's younger, fitter sister. Retirement and redundancy are  not easy paths sometimes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blurry cat exits

Here's Tigger the local bad ass cat and general street fighter making a hasty exit from our cat sanctuary just as I was about to snap him snoozing. He objected to his privacy being invaded by a camera and duly bolted. Now the cat house is chilly and vacant until he or some wondering stray decides they need some shelter.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Asleep at the wheel

You know that feeling you get when driving when you zone out and carry on driving but you're not really aware of where you're going. You're on some aware but disconnected driving autopilot of the brain. After a few minutes you snap out of this, can't quite recall how you got where you are and resume driving in a much more conscious state, you think. So to counteract this I've taken to making up songs based on the number plate of the car in front. There's a strong, random element of nonsense here. It's important that there is a car there and that you are not too close to it. Here's tonight's effort, played in D but likely to be better in F#.

Slo Jamu
I want to be with you
I know you want me too
Slo Jamu

Slo Jamu
This place you're going too
I think I'll pass straight through
Slo Jamu


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Catch the Wave

The Waverley: The favourite Edinburgh pub of many good people for many strange reasons. Gig, venue, refuge, haunt, recording studio, store and meeting place. Often a difficult and odd place to be inside but still with a decaying charm and character all of it's own. Sadly the owner passed away recently and we're now wondering quite what might become of this place. Restoration, renovation, demolition or turned into something quite different...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Old age

Wookie Envy: I'm not sure quite when but I'm considering living as a Wookie once I reach some unspecified age and heightened mental state. Excess body hair is essential so some cultivation is required, a black nose (Cherry Blossom might work), various bandoleers and assorted weapons and a robust and confrontational (cantankerous) attitude. You can just stroll through life grunting and scowling, sort of like being a teenager again. The best bit of course is that once you adopt the Wookie persona everybody steps aside and yet everybody loves you whilst tolerating various degrees of anti social and destructive behaviour. It's tempting. Downside; I'm a bit on the short side to carry this off convincingly.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Revenant

Please note this is obviously not a proper review and there are no actual spoilers herein. OK it certainly is a ball bustin' blood fest, some kind of revisionist western, white man colonialist critique, it has the bear and it's an Oscar vehicle. Does any of that make it a bad film? Probably but I kind of like bad films with incredible cinematography, a creative mythology sub-story and superheated hype. One key scene did it for me. Amongst the gore and pain pornography the Revenant himself is trapped in some dreamlike agony. Outside a ruined Spanish style church, walls covered in icons he hugs his half blood son, back from the dead. The terrain is bleak, the church a broken mockery and the camera slips back to show the two figures in front of the ruin. Through the fractured walls and far in the distance a golden and green valley can be seen nestled between two rugged mountains. Hope is out there, unreachable and far beyond the corrupt church building that blocks their view and scars the natural landscape. The Native Americans stay away but this is their land, not the white man's and certainly not some imported Middle Eastern God's. In the end corruption and revenge seem to do best, at least for short periods of time but it's no way to live your life.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


You know our sense of timing etc. OK well I probably wouldn't have attended anyway and I might not have liked it but it did get some good reviews and notices. I only heard about it last night but then I seldom pay much attention to the Celtic Connections bill, I'll pick a few tunes here and there but this festival seems a little too far up it's own highly respectable folk/rock arse. So I totally missed the Scottish re-imagining of Joni Mitchell's Hejira aka "Pilgrimer" (for artistic reasons). As a fan of distorted live covers this may well have been right up my own narrow minded little street. There are some interesting printed and written offerings around on the evening and the effect, here and there; travelling in some tartan vehicle you might say. If all else fails there will be some sanitised snippet on the red button (if that still exists) or a ghostly podcast to draw down, download and down, in a oner. The moral of the story is that if you want to stay connected with Celtic Connections then you really do need to connect...early.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Before the snow

So before there was ever any snow, history will record that first of all along came the ice. That same terrible ice has been captured here (but minus any rainbows, somehow that didn't work for me). This ice is really pretty monotone in it's construction, dumb and unreflective, freezing with a disrespectful grip on life. It's once powerful spectrum bursting power lost as it became mixed down to the bare tones as the sunlight faded and the seasons of snow began to exert their power. The moon stood still like some silent assassin, hidden in the night sky waiting foe a clear shot. Soon the world will turn to a bright white and there the ice will play a secondary role as the snow glistens and new colours hidden and disguised by time and weather will appear briefly to shine, confuse and impress. Then the grey glaciers shall return, the mammoth's refuge and the scourge of man and skinny beast. We will light our vain fires but we all know that winter's grip will strangle those whose hold is weak.

Blurry cat

The cold spell fairly killed the Mini and here it is in the actual throws of death itself, not living, not breathing. Well the battery gave out but thanks to the AA and the man's smart computer thingy the problem was confirmed and the dead car brought back to life. The trick was keeping it running until a new battery was available. It all came together thanks to the modern automotive supply chain's smooth operation and an £80 bill - which probably was fair enough. This event inspired a rapid clean out of the garage so as to allow entry to cars (but not this one however), now we're all set for winter and the steady drip of slow snow.

At the foot of the picture and on the bottom of the window a blurry puzzled cat looks out across the garden to try to see who might be trudging across the frozen wastes. Of course it's me about to split logs using the infamous Aldi log splitter. The act of splitting logs actually gets you warmer than you get when sitting in front of them when they are on fire. Something worth noting if your simple faith for warmth is in the power of fire and ironmongery.