Sunday, 31 January 2010

Morality and the Press

The press these days are talking about 'morality!' Morality from the press you say? Yes indeed, and what brings this need for moral;s to the fore, money! Yes filthy lucre that's what! You see what happened was the muckrakers at the 'Daily Mail,' and elsewhere, got wind of a 'well known married footballer' bonking someone else's ex. Shock! Horror! There are sales in this story, however there was a problem. The 'well known footballer,' managed to convince a court to stop such 'allegations' from being published! How dare he! The press went apoplectic when they found that their 'right to press freedom' was being hindered by someone's 'right to privacy.' What an insult to 'press freedom' and 'freedom of speech' they cried! What they meant was , "We can't make money out of this!"

There are two things here. The first is the man himself. John Terry the England football captain. There is in the English psyche a belief that to be an 'England Captain' is something special, and ought to be someone who possesses the 'play up and play the game' attitude. Now let us look at this closely.  'Play up and play the game' is etched on a mural sculpted outside Lords Cricket ground in London. This is the centre you would think of the honest professional Englishman who 'plays the game.' Cricket players, including England cricket captains, have become renowned for their ability to cheat and stay at the wicket even though they are aware of being 'out!' Football, being a contact sport, is a much rougher game and the opportunity for cheating is wide and varied. Emotions rise and temptations caused by fear of defeat or desperation to win, with large financial rewards often in the background, mean many men fail to 'play the game,' including the majority of England captains! England herself obtained the World Cup in 1966 by claiming a goal when the whole world, including the USA, knew the ball had not crossed the line! Yet they fuss so loudly whenever Maradonna's hand ball against them is mentioned. There is a deep held belief that 'foreigners cheat and Englishmen don't which does not hold up to unbiased scrutiny.

The question of morality is the other point that needs mentioned. How can the tabloid press, famous for topless models, sensational sex stories, and staffed by homosexuals, lesbians, adulterers, men who dig through peoples dustbins seeking evidence of wrongdoing or scandal, and who care nothing for the harm they inflict on society or the individuals concerned, how I ask can they query the morality of John Terry captaining 'England?' Those who line their pockets destroying lives, under the pretence of 'press freedom' face a dreadful and fearful judgement one day. Yet they claim a moral high ground simply because this man dared t oppose them and plays for England!

In truth John Terry is a fool of a man. Married with kids and involved like this is an easy temptation but to think he could get away with this, and censure the media was a mistake. Of course this whole business has nothing whatsoever to do with us or the media,and under no circumstance ought anybody's private lives be made known in the press. Crooked perverts adulterers have risen to high rank before now and will do so again, this does not make them inefficient and has nothing to do with their job. Only when an MP or religious type says one thing and does another should this be revealed. Even then it ought not be be made a big deal, we are after all made of the same material and what temptation brings one down will easily affect others, including ourselves. Terry was in the wrong but it is his family's business not ours, whatever his position. The press would be healthier if they stood back and sought to do the right thing themselves, their lives would improve and so would their journalism, and that indeed needs cleaning up these days!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Good News Saturday

Picture from London Hearts excellent website

Good news this Saturday is the return to Tynecastle of Jim Jeffries as manager! A surprise to many of us in that Csaba Laszlo the present manager, while not happy and clearly not relating well to Lord Vlad, it was thought by some, well me, that he would last till seasons end. However yesterday afternoon he was removed from his post and replaced within two hours by Jeffries. This is indeed that warms the Heart! Jim was a robust defender in his playing days at Tynecastle and eventually managed his way to the top with the Heart of Midlothian when he brought the Scottish Cup (the oldest football trophy) back to Tynecastle after an absence of many years. Who can forget the sight of the open top bus slowly making its way along Princes Street, the cup held aloft by one player after another, the tears running down happy faces, as they are doing on mine even now?  Oh happy day! 

Now Jim is back! It is of course hard to imagine such times will return just because Jeffries has once more taken the reins at the only real football club in Scotland. The football is different now, the players have changed, yet we know if anyone understands what the club means it is Jim Jeffries. We will get passion and determination. We will get an attempt to play football properly and we will get no slacking from lazy players. Quite simply if they make no effort they leave! I suspect that this will stabilise the club and secure our future, not counting the millions of debt Vlad is playing with. Jim's appointment does not indicate success, but it does indicate a step in the right direction and possibly success in the near future! All decent fans everywhere will wish Jim and the Heart of Midlothian success, meanwhile Chick Young and Billy Dodds and other lesser men will be crying their eyes out as they note the happiness at Tynecastle. Indeed the west coast bigots fear Hearts like no other club as we are the only real challengers to their despotic hold over the game. I await their renewed attacks upon the Hearts with pleasure as it shows their fear! Go get them Jim, and bring this back next season if possible! 

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

My Luck

My luck never changes.
Today I decided that as there was an attempt by the sun to shine through the cold air I ought to attempt to fix the bike. The new gear cable is on, but requires a lot of adjustment. My mechanical instincts being what they are there is little chance of me doing this effectively. Once I got the tools out and looked at the bike I realised there was less chance of success than even I realised. My luck you see, was out!

The other week, while my neighbour was moving things in and out, I locked the bike with the 'Citadel' lock so he could move it as he wished to get through the narrow hallway. Today, full of the urge to fix the bike and cycle I discovered the key would not open the lock! A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, so why is it that my journeys end before the first step is taken? Almost any job that needs foxed is hindered by a screw that will not turn, or is missing, or is inaccessible. Nothing is ever straight forward except the instruction books, and they ignore such little things, such as reality!

I know the lock has been stiff before but today I attempted to put the key in but found it would not go. So I struggled, pushed and grunted but nothing would move. I tried another key, no change. I checked it was the right key, it was, so why does it not fit? I pushed, and pushed, shook the thing, swung it about, although being attached to the bike this was difficult, and after losing several pounds in weight from my exertions, took the only appropriate action - I gave up! I drenched the 'blessed' lock in oil, not olive, and left it. Tomorrow I may have another go, there again I may just curl up in a warm corner, if there is one, and cry myself to sleep instead!

Luck? Don't ask me about luck! 

Monday, 25 January 2010

Blackbery Juniper

Somewhat typically, Blackberry Juniper was supposed to be producing a bairn today, but like all women everywhere she had failed to come up with the goods. However for several weeks now her conversation has been limited to things that are of no interest to any normal male. She can converse with her man, when he is not working, eating, or playing on the PC like he should. She no doubt spends far too much time gossipping
about nothing, or other women, to other women, as women do.  Those conversations they can keep to themselves! However I strongly suspect that the wide knowledge she has built up over the years of her short life will be pushed aside for the next few months as she and he become trapped by the new arrival. Now we all know what this means. nappies, smell, waking at odd hours, just like being here in fact! It also means lots of women arriving and informing mum the brat "Looks like his dad," which in my view is just as well. However when my brother, who married a Phillipino, received the boy from his wife, he was surrounded by other grinning toothed Phillipino women, looking at the dark haired, slant eyed child and telling all and sundry that he "Looks like his dad." We thought he looked like his mum! 

The strange thing about my brother was the photographs. You see photography was his job, that is he repaired cameras and did train in the RAF for photography. A glance through the albums show helicopters, jets, RAF personnel, places he was stationed and the like. Good pictures of high quality. Suddenly there is a woman, a Phillipino woman and from then on all pics are snaps of her. These only change when first one then another child arrives and she is forgotten and the brats take over the albums. One day, when they are of school age, this wears of and the quality photographs once again begin to appear and as the kids develop so do the pictures! No doubt BJ and Matt, if they take any pictures at all, will go through the same situation! The problem with a blessing, as some folks like to call them, is that the 'blessing' grows into a child, and that as you know is not always something to enjoy. Just think of the problems at school, the neighbours complaining about noise, the police at the door, the High school escapades, the crowd he/she will mix with,and the money they demand to keep up with the rest of their peers! Think about this and wonder why folks go through this! I begin to understand why my mother used to mutter about me being 'a mistake,' although I may have that wrong!

Today Scots celebrate Rabbie Burns birthday. The Scots sometimes regard him as some sort of saint, a 'warts and all' saint. He was certainly no saint in spite of some in the Church of Scotland giving him more credence than he deserves. He was however sharp eyed, quick witted, and in many respects very humane. He supported Scots independence and the American revolution, probably for the same reasons, and indeed almost ended up as an American citizen at one point. This did not happen and sadly he died while the effects of drink and rain brought him to a sad and early end. Not one for the high intellectual society of Edinburgh, although he managed to 'befriend' a few of the ladies there, he ended up a customs man in Dumfries. His heart and soul shine through his poetry and song, whether he spent hours on them or extemporised 'off the cuff.'

There are poems and songs, history and details regarding 'Burns Suppers' to be found here on this Burns site

O my Luve's like a red, red rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

ITV Football Coverage

Now I am not one to complain. In fact when I hear people complaining it really gets on my goat so it does! So I always attempt to see things as they are and discern a positive note wherever possible. However, having been subject to four attempt by ITV to show live televised football I fear there are several points that require to be made.

For instance the titles at the beginning, what is that all about? Overlong, nonsensical, and grossly expensive. Half the length and we can do without at least one showing of those blasted Meercats! Then there are the 'boys in the studio.' Now one or two of them I can put up with, but on the whole these men are the ones the BBC would never look at. I mean Dennis Wise for instance? Good job it wasn't Newcastle who were playing! Not that there is much said as after every sentence we "Have a short break" which lasts four minutes, or is it hours! And the adverts, dearie me. Insurance ads aplenty, absurd meaningless car ads, and always, always a promotion for a rubbish ITV programme that is not fit for Broadmoor Mental Hospital, sorry, 'Secure Facility.' However the major point about watching live football on TV is to see live football. But what do we see? It cannot be described as live football as the camera spends half its time looking at the manager, two inches from his face usually, or at someone in the crowd, preferably female even if she is a dog, or their party piece - the back of a players head! What is the point of this? And don't get me started on 'action replays!' Well, yes let's get me started!.

A shot at goal, a cross near the goalie, a tackle, a wonder pass, all these require a replay, often several. Why? We see the man involved, usually from the back, the goalie, the replay, the man, the goalie and in so doing miss whatever is happening 'live' on this 'live' football match. Just show us the game and stop wasting time looking at the players! Who cares what they look like? Only their mothers and they should be in the kitchen anyway! Why watch the men, watch the game!!!! How many times have we been left wondering what happened while the director gives us the useless, slow motion, replay of a manager lifting his hands, slowly, in the air? Why? Indeed, why do we ever get to see the man's reaction at all? Any football fan knows what a manager, fan, or player is thinking, feeling or saying, why does it have to be shoved down our throat WHILE WE MISS THE ONGOING ACTION? Nobody wants to see things off the field, whether it is an injured player or a blonde fantisising about the unshaven full back, we want to see the bloody game!

Commentators, why do they go on about someone's career? You have never seen some of the small teams players before, you will never see them again. Do we need to know he learned his trade at Rochdale, shops in 'Morrisons,' and plays the guitar? NO! Just comment on the game in front of you! And remember the rule for TV commentating, 'less is more!'

Oh yes, and one other thing, Clive Tyldsley, SHUT UP, just SHUT UP!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Am I a cynic?

George Clooney, whoever he is, has arranged a world wide concert called, 'Hope for Haiti,' gathering performers of the 'top rank' to raise money for Haiti relief. George himself has apparently put $1 million into the cause. Now I am all in favour of grabbing what money you can for emergency relief but am I being cynical by believing that there is less concern for the poor than concern to be seen in the right place by many of those involved? Sure Haiti has produced some who have become stars in the US and they are rightly concerned, certainly there are those like Clooney who wish to do something to help the needy, and many Americans have had a holiday there in recent years. However I remain sceptical when a number of 'famous faces' are quick to offer their services at such times.

Since the eighties when Bob Geldorf gave us 'Band Aid' it has become the in thing to gather around and produce a record or concert to provide aid to the poor. Great idea in principle but cynically I wonder if the folks involved do it for the publicity rather than the needy. Now I am sure many are wiling to help those in deep distress, but would I be wrong to suggest that instead of a concert they just put their hand in their pocket? Elton John was at one such gathering raising money for a charity, aids I think, yet he is said to have spent £4 million on flowers! I think I can see a better way than a free concert Elton. It costs the stars little to perform, once, in front of a world wide audience for charity. It costs them much more to sell one of their Ferrari's and give the cash to the campaign.

In the 19th century Prime Minister William Gladstone complained about rich men leaving charity money in their will. "Why did they not spend the cash on 'good works' while alive?" he asked. He was right of course. He himself spent some £85,000, that is many millions in today's currency on charitable works! It is not wrong to have money, and he believed in the aristocrats being at the top, but this also brought responsibility to aid those less fortunate than them, and in his view if you cared about the cause you would spend it while alive, rather than deprive the relatives left behind by your will. In the same way if these 'celebrities' really cared about Haiti, or indeed any other cause, they would already be spending some of their cash in that direction. At the moment it appears the earthquake has brought about a concern for Haiti that did not exist before, and this was one very troubled, poor nation before the earthquake, why did nobody raise money then? The need was just as great. A bandwagon for Haiti has arisen, and just as quickly as it rises it will disappear once more,and soon Haiti, like Darfur, Ethiopia,and a dozen other causes, will be forgotten. The 'stars' will continue to shine in their heaven however.

Friday, 22 January 2010


Rain! Non stop rain, beginning before the world arose from slumber, continuing non stop till now, and looking like it will cease only once the Friday drunks make their stumbling way to bed. Early this morning I woke to the sound of car wheels informing the world that not only were they up early but it was also wet. By the time I managed to pull the ragged curtains apart (how come spiders make so many webs?) and glance upwards, bleary eyed, at the gray clouds overhead, the world was sodden. No birds sang form high in the trees, vast numbers probably killed of by the snow I suspect, only umbrellas, hats, and turned up collars were to be seen passing by. The raindrops landing in the ever growing puddles making those lovly geometric circles as they plopped into the mucky water. If only I had a camera capable of capturing that moment. If only the lighting was such that those precious drops of water would release a glistening photograph for me. I suppose had I such a camera, and even allowing for sufficient light to obtain a result, I strongly suspect the natives here would request I place the camera in a more suitable place and shift my bulk out of their path. Barbarians abound in these parts. While the rain drenches the eastern half of the nation as it makes its way to the North Sea it at  least cleans the streets and in some areas this must be considered a good thing. Some part of the land, like Glasgow, only ever get clean streets in such weather!

To encourage you into healthy eating, here is one of my favourite recipients. By 'favourite' I mean one I can almost do successfully, sort of.......
Try it!

Biscuits and Cakes

Oat Rounds

These biscuits are the first cousin to the Digestive biscuit, with added oats. They are good with cheese or eaten by themselves with morning coffee.

50g (2oz) caster sugar
100g (4oz) soft margarine
100g (4oz) Hamlyns Scottish Porridge Oats
50g (2oz) plain flour

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. Lightly grease two baking trays. Measure the sugar and margarine into a bowl and cream together. Add the oats and flour and work into the mixture. Lightly knead the mixture until smooth and roll out to a thickness of ¼" (5mm) on a lightly floured surface. Cut into rounds using a 2½" (6cm) cutter and place on prepared baking trays. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or beginning to colour. Lift onto a wire rack to cool.
Using margarine rather than butter results in a more shortbread-like product.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Escape to the country

Escape to the Country is a programme  designed to aid country type people, 'townies,' to find a rural idyll that they can call their own. I like this programme. It enlivens our covetous nature as we watch a couple, always a couple, and sometimes some pretty strange couples appear on this show, we watch a couple wander about several houses wondering if this is 'the one,' and mentally tear down walls and build families. (Maybe they should keep the last bit to themselves of course?) We covet both the money these people have to spend, usually in the regions of £300.000 to a million or so, and then dream about the house we wish to possess, all the while shivering in our clammy cave sitting over the last candle to keep warm. But do these people know what they are doing I wonder?

The presenters give lavish information regarding the are in which the couple desire to find a dwelling, the green country, the deep blue sea, the history and the communications, all with a smile and a cheery disposition. And yet I have never heard mention of the ducking stool or the witch burning, the wife swapping is ignored and there is never a mention of what they did when they caught that poacher! Do these incomers not understand why Agatha Christie set so many of her crime stories in villages? Do they think 'Miss Marple' was an invention of the author? These were not novels, they were news reporting! Yet not one word of this is mentioned by the cheery presenters of this country. 'Community' is mentioned many times, especially when speaking of the local pub, the presence of the Post Office, and of course the small shop. Yet the pub is not called 'The Jolly Hangman' for nothing! The Post Office was closed after the little old lady running it was done for murdering her 'toyboy,' and the small shop is run by a sour spinster and her brother who has not been right since he was mortared at Monte Cassino! If you hear strange noises in the night it is just him 'passing through' the garden. It's best not to look out......

When the house buyers have finished grumbling about the insufficient 19 acres of land, the problem with the upstairs toilet, and wondering if the house, priced at a mere £850,000 is for them, nobody mentions the curtains twitching across the road. Do they not know that while the farmer, desperate for income, is happy to sell them an extra 'bit of land' for an arm and a leg, the curtain twitcher has already worked out a plan to stop this happening? No voice will be raised amongst the unsmiling, unless they are being paid, villagers about the reason the woman of the house is so eager to 'do a deal.' No voice will mention what, or who, is lying at the bottom of the village pond either,will they? Ducks are often found in such ponds, but surely the programme presenter must have thought an alligator a bit strange for the Cotswold's? I would love a country house with an acre or two. A little wood at the side, a wide panoramic view, preferably of the sea, and the money, and justification, to possess such an abode. However I would be careful about where I buy, amongst whom I would dwell, and remember the story of Lot. He 'saw the land was good,' and it turned out to be Sodom!

Enjoy your house hunting.




Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Do it Yourself Blog

The football will be on soon, and my tired little mind cannot be bothe think of anything clever, witty, rant worthy, or intellectually stimulating so if you want a good read you will have to do it yourself!  Cheers!

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Past

I read today that the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 was being released from jail after serving 29 years inside. This in itself is not something that I bring to your attention it is the thought that for many today this act means nothing. The assassination attempt, (it is always an 'assassination if the target is famous and just a 'killing' if it is one of us ordinary folks you notice) happened before half the world was born! The majority I suspect in this world are under twenty five, (do you remember that experience?) and this event is from a bygone age.

Consider what events before your birth meant to you and how they affected your outlook. For me the biggest event was the second world war, you may have read about it somewhere, possibly a copy of the 'Sun' you found in a toilet at work, and I developed a 'view' on this that possibly still has an affect on me.  How do you view the recent past that means so much to those old folks, your parents and friends, who talk about it so eagerly? It is a bit like talking about a dream, it happened but is vacuous. Only the experiences that we pass through have meaning for us. To a younger generation an event, earth shattering for some, that happened in 1981 could just as well have happened in the days of the Vikings. The recent past, and 29 years is recent to me (and to you, admit it) but to an adolescent near you it could be ancient history! Twenty nine years before I was born takes me back to 1932 and in my mind that is the distant past, made so possibly because the war acts as a buffer pushing events before it into another world. 1932, as you know, was the year Jayne Mansfield was born, my dad returned from army service in India, Laurel & Hardy made 'The Music Box,' the film in which they transport a piano up some stairs, and  Adolf Hitler obtains German citizenship by naturalization, however those events appeared to my mind to come from another world, a world before time began.     

When my (much older) brother and sister began to bring home rock and roll records, (Little Richard I loved you) and played them on the gramophone in the corner my mind considered the music of the thirties to be dull and old fashioned. When young ex-workmates sang along to Celine Dion's meaningless outpourings some had the lack of musical understanding to complain 'The Beatles' were 'old fashioned!' Naturally I shot them. This explains why they are ex- workmates. The view of the world of those around us is to my mind made even more strange when you consider that those voting for the first time this year were born two years after Margaret Thatcher was removed (Praise the Lord) from power! These folks have no concept of those dreadful eighties. And what was worse, the politics or the music I ask you? Either way these young folks today have no respect for their elders and betters, er .......did we?

Friday, 15 January 2010


The thaw has settled in! I opened the curtains this morning, well it was just morning when I got up out of my pit, and the saturated fields and sodden pavements indicated it was a rousing success. The fact that it leaked into my boots when I squelched down to the soup kitchen also indicated a successful thaw! The heating was immediately switched off, at least I blew out the candle, the thick gloves and thermal underwear thrown into the wash, but they may be brought out again if it turns cold again before I get around to actually washing them. How lovely to wander around amongst people no longer hiding their faces behind scarf's like Nubian tribesmen. How nice to leave the gloves at home and let my fingers feel the air once again, of course they need cleaned after contact with the air around here. Spring is coming, I think I might loosen a button on my anorak.

The Telegraph has a wonderful story concerning Swedish WeightWatchers. Around twenty of them gathered for the weighing as they do when the floor began to give way under them! I particularly liked the phrase at the end "The cause of the floor's collapse remains under investigation."  

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dreicher Still

A constant cold rain fell, bringing with it dull gray clouds and depression. As I walked through the slush I discovered the areas where puddles gather through the simple method of stepping into them! I did laugh! How lovely to squelch through the streets, frostbite eagerly devouring the toes, and dodging women's umbrellas. There was no need for anything other than a quick wander around town to know that getting back to bed was the only way forward in such weather. If I wanted this I would have stayed in Edinburgh all those years ago and grown another layer of fat! Funnily enough while enduring this weather my stomach has not, as yet, succumbed to the cold. It could be worse, my great niece up in the wilds of West Lothian built an igloo, of sorts, and it stands yet. Had she been better behaved however there would of course been no reason for her dad to ensure she made use of it last night!

There is an item, here on the BBC site, claiming that there is 'No such thing as safe Cocaine.' Now answer me this, why do people take drugs? Since before they became popular in the 60's it was well known that drug taking was habit forming and those who participated would become slaves to the stuff. So why do it? There are enough drunks in this world, from all backgrounds, who are addicted to the stuff and busy ruining their lives, so why take something even more dangerous and destructive? Certainly the 'Celebs' who inhabit the media are seen taking them and popping in and out of rehab almost daily, and their broken lives, broken before they became famous I tell you, their lives do encourage people into such a lifestyle. Fatuous comments in the trendy press claiming how wonderful it all is does not help I suppose, and even less the 'freedom to do your own thing' brigade who of course are careful not to get addicted! Rich spoiled brats may get themselves into the press but always manage, well often manage, to avoid a senseless death, and this must encourage others to give this a try. Peer pressure and stupid parents play a part but in the end why do people take the stuff?

It's well known that not eating enough 'greens' affects us, as does putting too much 'fast food' into our fat gobs. Margarine has to have vitamins added to make it worth while and too much cheese leads to Cholesterol problems, and death! Yet daft folk put 'E' tablets, whatever they are, heroin and cocaine into their system and expect to avoid problems. Now call me fussy but if eating a 'MacDonalds' burger is dangerous just how dangerous is Crack Cocaine? Are you not safer  following the trick in the early 70's of some folks in the US? The lay down at the end of runways and inhaled fumes from passing aircraft in the hope of getting 'high!' When asked if they did so the local sheriff, a somewhat taciturn gentleman replied, "No sir, they just got run over."

Is life so dreary we have to get out of our heads? Now I occasionally take a wee dram, a cheap one if I buy and a half of water if Mike buys, but getting drunk is never on. I got away from that when 18, now I wonder why folks find being unstable on your feet, not being aware of your actions, and ending up with a face full of vomit entertaining? Even at 18 this was not great. Is this all life has to offer? The experts may well tell us drug taking is dangerous but the whole world is infected with this, and there is nothing that can stop it except personal choice. That alas, appears to be lacking. The world is in  a bad way and we cannot see it.  

The sooner this cold 'snap,' as the weather men call it, is over I am off down to the beach again. A walk along the breakwater is always enthralling - unless you fall in of course! Roll on Spring and the sunshine once again!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


A Scotsman wanted to impress his girlfriend so he took her for a ride in a taxi. 
The trouble was, she was so beautiful he could hardly keep his eyes on the meter.

An Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman went into a bar. 

The Englishman stood a round of drinks, the Irishman stood a round of drinks and the Scotsman stood around.

How do you know if a Scotsman is left-handed?
He keeps all his money in his right-hand pocket.

Did you hear about the Scottish kamikaze pilot?
He crashed his plane in his brother's scrapyard.

Young Jock MacTavish got down on his knees to propose to her when a 10p piece dropped out of his pocket and rolled under the sofa. In the 20 minutes it took him to find it she had lost interest. Two robbers broke onto a lodging house in Glasgow. They were discovered and a tremendous fight broke out. Bleeding and covered in bruises they finally managed to escape through a window. Well, we didn't do too badly said one, 'we came out with twenty pounds.' 'Thats true,' said the other, 'but we went in with sixty pounds.'

It was a bitterly cold day on the golf course and the caddy was expecting a large tip from his rich Scottish client. As they neared the clubhouse, the caddy heard the words he was longing to hear, 'This is for a hot glass of whisky.' He held out his hand and a sugar cube was placed in it.

What do you call 2 scotsmen hanging from a washing line?
A pair of tights.

McDougal bought two tickets for the lottery. He won five million pounds.
"How do you feel about your big win?" asked a newspaper reporter.
"Disappointed," said McDougal, "My other ticket didn't win anything."

What's the difference between a Scotsman and a canoe?
A canoe sometimes tips.

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman went out for a night on the town.
The Englishman spent £30, the Irishman spent £20 and the Scotsman spent a very enjoyable evening.

The MacTavish brothers decided that one of their number would go to America and make his fortune, coming back to share with the rest of them. The youngest, Ian, was chosen for this task. Off he went, and he worked hard in America, and earned himself a fortune over a few years, and wired his brothers that he'd be returning with it. When he came back to Scotland he got off the boat, and looked around for his brothers, but could not see anyone who looked familiar. Finally, a group of bearded strangers approached. "Ho, Ian, are ye not knowing yer own brothers?" asked the first one. Then Ian realized his brothers had grown beards.
"Fer heaven's sake, laddies, what would ye be growin' them beards for, now?" he asked.
"We had to, lad, ye took the razor wi' ye!"

A Scottish gift: "It's nae use to me, ye're welcome to it."

An Australian entered a bar and stood beside a Scotsman.
"Where are you from, pal?" asked the Scotsman, after they'd chatted for a while.
"I'm from the finest country in the whole wide world," said the Australian.
"Are you?" said the other. "You have a damn funny accent for a Scotsman."

My wife was the last of 5 Scottish sisters to marry, the confetti was filthy.

Wee Hughie was in the garden filling in a hole when his English neighbour peered over the fence. Interested in what the mad man was up to, he politely asked, 'What are you doing there, Hughie?'
'My goldfish died,' replied Wee Hughie tearfully without looking up, 'and I've just buried him.'
The English neighbour was very concerned. 'That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?'
Wee Hughie patted down the last heap of dirt then replied, 'That's because he's inside your cat.'

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Dreich indeed today. Gray clouds overhead, occasionally releasing flurries of snow that swirl around, neither big enough to lie deep and crisp and even, nor small enough to avoid irritating those wandering through them. When I sat inside, suffering soup in which I had foolishly forgotten to add the imitation 'Oxo' cubes, I watched the sun break through and the sky, briefly, turn blue. When I left an hour later the scene above greeted me. Standing stark and tall, bare of leaves, and shivering in the cold, this tree dominated the scene as I passed by.How long until the buds start to sprout? How long till the birds can gather under her leaves to avoid the heat? How long until this dreich, cold weather runs away back where it belongs at the Arctic circle? I am left wondering how those who suffer six months of darkness survive?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Friday, 8 January 2010

Blonde Jokes

Q: What did the blonde say when she found out she was pregnant?
A: "Are you sure it's mine?"

Q: What does a blonde say after she graduates from college?
A: "Hi, welcome to McDonalds."

Q: What do you call a blonde skeleton in the closet?
A: Last year's hide and seek champ.

Q: What do you call a fly buzzing inside a blonde's head?
A: A space invader.

Q: What do you call a blonde with half a brain?
A: Gifted!

Q: How do blonde braincells die?
A: Alone.

Q: Why did the blonde resolve to have only three children?
A: Because she read that one child out of every four born was Chinese.

Q: What do you call it when a blonde dies their hair brunette?
A: Artificial intelligence.

Q: Why should blondes not be given coffee breaks?
A: It takes too long to retrain them.

Q How can you tell if a blonde's been using the computer?
A: There's Tipex on the screen.

Q: How can you tell if another blonde's been using the same computer?
A: There's writing on the Tipex.

Q. Did you hear about the blonde man who had 8 vasectomies?
A. He had to -- his wife kept getting pregnant!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Wednesday Snow

Once again we are covered in the white stuff. Once again the nation grinds to a halt. Once again the media is full of the usual questions, "Why can we not cope," and "Who is at fault?" "Terror and despair, shops closed, food stocks low!" and the 'Daily Mail' with it's "I blame the government/council/gritters/immigrants!" from its  headlines and comments from readers. By next week we will have forgotten all about it. The snow will have gone, the stomachs will once again be groaning and other things will cause our ire to rise. Still, it fills up the post count doesn't it?

I was listening to yesterdays 'The Pitch' on Radio Scotland's website this afternoon. I must say I was very surprised to hear such a programme from Radio Scotland. Instead of the usual small minded Rangers/Celtic nonsense they usually give us, and instead of the tabloid like approach they take to the game I was confronted by three men talking sensibly about the game. This was a sensible surprise! Stephan Craigan, who plays for Motherwell at the moment, led the discussion well, and with him were an ex-pro Derek Ferguson, a man who once had the immense privilege of wearing the Heart of Midlothian shirt. Also involved was the Kilmarnock Australian player Daniele Invincible, a name he has not lived up to!

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, probably because they were attempting to discuss seriously the points put to them instead of the Jim Traynor type programme where mentally defective Glaswegians phone in full of paranoia about their sectarian sides hard luck stories. To hear the professionals views on the situations were at times enlightening and always interesting. How come I did not know of this programme before? Craigan led the programme well, better than how he plays football, and the other two were well able to comment on the game in Scotland. We need more programmes like this, and we need to hear more from men such as these!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Cold Weather

I do complain about this cold weather, and rightly so! I feel that my rightful place is amongst the sunshine that is scattered so freely towards the centre of the planet but appears so fleetingly in my life. Tonight, the cheery weather folk tell us, snow will make its way from Scotland and the north of England and cover us in deep layers of the white stuff! The 'Daily Mail,' in the usual calm manner, has a headline 'Met Office Forecasts 18 Inches of Snow!' I doubt we will receive 18 inches, two or three would be bad enough, and I suspect the temperature will fall to below zero.
However this is nothing really. In a few days this will end, with flurries on and off until Spring actually arrives. However today Beijing, the Chinese capital, recorded a temperature of minus 60 at one point! In many places it was so cold the heating would not work! I also came across Christians in prison in North Korea, a place on a similar latitude to Beijing, who are imprisoned for their faith, in jails without heating I would imagine. Thousands locked away, many suffering like their fellow citizens from malnutrition, in temperatures lower than many of us could withstand! So while it may be depressing, and cold weather is, and while it may be dark and dismal, at least we are a lot better off than many.  

I stole this picture!  It comes from one of those intriguing sites that at first look somewhat dull but actually contain some excellent items. This site gives us a postcard each day and some, like the one shown are very interesting indeed. This picture shows the original post box, an idea of Anthony Trollope the author and Post Office employee. Situated at Barnes Cross, Holwell, near Sherbourne in Dorset the box was first used in the 1850's and even old Mike cannot remember that far back, I think. The uniform shown dates from that time and is reminiscent of some of the gear worn during the 1970's, although not by me! I recommend this site as there are some excellent postcard shown there. The photography is often marvellous and the subjects, ancient and modern, often intrigue. Some time ago I passed through London Bridge Station on a Saturday and there were numerous stalls selling postcards.I was surprised at just how many, and indeed how much! There are numerous other postcards sites also, but I think this is one worth a look!   A Postcard a Day.  

Monday, 4 January 2010

First Monday of the New Year

Removing the ex-army greatcoat, the two ski suits and the thermal underwear I began on my exercises. Arms stretch out ahead and back, again, again, five times, ten, stop. Now swing arms to the side and stretch, again, once, twice, five, ten, twenty, stop. Knees bend together, one, two, three, four, five, oh that's enough of that! Breathe deeply in, out, in, out, ten deep breathes then relax. OK, now to get out of bed.

Dear oh dear, freezing cold once again and Jack Frost has been all over my window. The field outside is white with frost and the people rushing by are wrapped up in everything they possess. The heating is on and I canny feel it at all! In Siberia they do not let the kids of school until it is -37 degrees, and during the war Siberian troops brought over to defend Moscow fought in temperatures of minus 8. They thought this was warm! I however am not one for cold weather, nor do I intend to fight Nazis in this condition to be honest. I wish to be transported somewhere warm, Greece or Turkey or the Isle of Wight. Somewhere that Jack Frost and his icy fingers don't get to go near me.Several times to day I have had to put the heating on. Several times today, sitting here in my sleeping bag, wearing my woollen gloves with the fingers cut out, I have thought of those dwelling in Thailand and wondered how they cope with our cold weather? With a smug grin on their fat faces I bet! I can see them now, chomping yet more chicken and laughing their heads off! What's that? Me wish a monsoon on them? Never! In Nigeria they have a warm day with 38 degrees of heat, usually. In Portugal folk go swimming on Christmas Day. In this area the sun shines and the sky is blue but the seagulls soaring past my window are not looking for food scraps, they are nicking folks scarf's and wrapping them around their scrawny necks, and I don't blame them! Global warming, wherefore art thou pal?

Some of you have probably already noticed this, I as always am slow on the 'catch up' bit, but 'Blogger' has changed the 'Post Editor.'  There is a new one available and it is marginally better than the old one. Well I suppose that depends on you but if it's the new one I use it because the old one will disappear one day and leave me high and dry! Technology is always my slow point (one off) and after amassing lots of cassette tapes full of knowledge my tape machine has burst and they don't sell them any more. Everything is now on CD's except that digital is removing the need for CD's. I would mention large black circular things with  a hole in the middle and ask "Is this a record?" but you young things would not understand would you?

To find the new editor
First work your way to the 'Settings' tab.
At the bottom of the page you will see a field called 'Select Post Editor.,'
Select 'New Editor' save your settings.
Whether it is worth it or not only you can decide.


Terrorism Bush claimed was based in Iraq, although we all knew different. Bin-Laden was known to be in the Pakistan hills hiding among the Taliban. So the military aim was to defeat both of them high up in the Afghanistan/Pakistan hills. Now we discover that the centre may have shifted to Somalia, where Islamic extremists abound, or Yemen where the British, US and now French embassies have closed because of perceived danger. The BBC reports that other nations, considered to be 'western' are also scaling down their operations. The danger from such extremists is indeed great. They appear to have no regard for human life, men women and children die by bomb, bullet and sometimes knife. This is less because of their religious belief and more because of culture and hardness of heart. We are right to be aware of the danger in this country as well as abroad.

Having said that such activities are not new. Violent people, for political reasons, religion, football or any other purpose have resorted to violence at home and abroad. It is part of the human condition, and we must agree, but not always willingly, such violence lies near at hand to ourselves also! Life is never peaceful, although the west, because of the 'Cold War' has experienced seventy years of peace and we have come to believe this is our right. However as a man once said, "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans," of course he got shot!

The Yemen is a place we know little about. Mud houses, Arabs aplenty, terrorists. What else do we know of them? Very little I suspect. However one man 'Ozgur Can Leonard' has been travelling through the land and posted this excellent series of photographs from Yemen. There may not be a picture of a gunman however there are some remarkable houses  and I suspect remarkable people living in them!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Saturday Evening

ITV football coverage just does not work! Tonight we faced Reading v Liverpool in the English Cup. There were other possible games to choose to televise, Notts Forest v Birmingham being the obvious, but Liverpool are one of ITV's favourites. The must produce a large rating for them, and ratings come before football. How then I ask, if ratings are so important, how is it we are offered such a poor coverage?We endure, far too often in my book, Clive Tyldsley commentating. His love of England and Manchester United is well known, he also loves to fill the screen with his voice and I can see no reason or benefit from this. The constant flow of meaningless words is needless as we are actually watching the game!  Less is more from the commentators is the order of the day, not banal ramblings about a players career since he was a 14 year old at Manchester United or Chelsea. Who cares? On the odd occasion a statistic is required, but not during the game, concentrate on what is happening and SHUT UP! After Church scored he went on blabbing about tomorrows headlines and Liverpool facing defeat with almost SEVENTY minutes still to play! Tabloid hacks who care nothing about the game in front of them and only look for a cheap headline ought not to be on TV. Football is too important for this.

Not that we can concentrate on the game of course. With Clive's mouthing we also have banality from the co-commentator, always an ex-player and rarely someone with personality on ITV. As individuals these ex-pro's are quite acceptable, as for giiving an understanding of the game in front of us my grannie could do better, and she died in 1945! A manager, employed or otherwise can give us a clear understanding of the game,and explain why certain players take up certain positions, Chrsitian Nade excepted of course, and David Pleat and Graham Taylor I find helpful here. Clearly Jim Beglin is cheaper! The other slight problem I have is all television directors love of nothing important! Are they all women? An incident occurs so they ignore what is happening on the field and give us a long lingering close up of the back of someone's head, why? Tonight we saw the back view of a linesman, then Gerrard, then Kuyt, for why? I watched a game  few weeks back, that's last year to you, and not once did I concentrate on the back of the fellah's head after the ball had gone. I wanted to watch the game, so why watch something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS? As it turned out the game was not too bad, although Liverpool were! What a shame Reading are not up to scratch these days as it would have produced some fun had they managed a winning goal! Still they did not deserve to lose so a draw and replay is OK.

Did anyone listen to the half time debate? I didn't. I wandered off into other channels until the game restarted as I could not endure the banal half wit comments that would arise. Not that there is any time for sensible comment as they have so many adverts, often for their own programmes, to shove before us. Please, please, take football in England, away from ITV and give it, by law, to the BBC. They have many faults shared with ITV but have an overwhelmingly better product. Watching football on the Beeb also stops them offering us yet another soap opera junk programme.

Something good for once! Help the really hungry by spending time developing your vocabulary on the Free Rice link to the right. This is a wonderful way to test your knowledge of words, (using an American dictionary I suspect,) and improve your already extensive vocabulary. Simply decide which of the choice of four words given is the meaning of the word offered and if correct rice is donated to those who require it. There are many level and I assure you mine is not that high! There are other choices also where you can test your knowledge of the world and other interesting topics. I have discovered that my huge knowledge of the world map is not quite what I had hoped! Well do you know your 'Benin' from your 'Togo?  The capital cities are not as easy as I thought either. There are other options and they are all well worth a go I say, so do it now! The link to the right will give you hours of fun (well minutes then!) and provide for those who do not require to buy books on dieting!

Friday, 1 January 2010

The First Day of the New Year.

New Year's Day Television is rotten! Just like the offerings over the entire Christmas period! I say this most years but it appears to my mind that this year has reached a new low. Vast quantities of films, and I do not watch films, but they were repeats or just rubbish! There was a glut of programmes that were aimed at the brain dead, or perhaps the middle aged, middle class women who now run TV think we are not watching anyway and can fill the screen with the cheap tosh that lies around their studios? It appears they are spending vast sums of cash developing better systems to show us programmes, and manufacturers respond with brilliant, and overpriced, televisions to watch these high quality offerings, except that the programmes themselves have little quality to offer! Almost all those I did like were repeats of those I had enjoyed before. How disappointing is this?

I must say I have enjoyed the use of the PC to listen to radio programmes however! The BBC enables us to pick up many of their programmes after they have been aired and this has been useful. I particularly enjoy Radio 3 and some of the offerings of Radio 4. Comedy, music and decent documentaries abound, usually! I must say I have really enjoyed these programmes during the last year.  The football is better on the telly mind!

While the TV was rotten the weather was not good either. Today started 'crisp.' By 'crisp' I mean freezing, possibly below freezing round here at that. My mood was not helped by getting to my bed at 1:30 and being woken by someone ringing my bell at 3:30.  By the time I woke out of a beautiful dream they had gone and disappeared. Walking around two or three times to day I was surprised by so many shops being open. I still carry the Scots attitude that on this day nothing moves. Usually in Scotland it cannot move of course!  I suspect that in Dalkeith, one of Scotland's more famous unknown places, there were no shops open, and until midday few to care! My face is hot and bothered, I think the cause is the freezing weather which bites into the face when out and reacts to the temperature, not that high in here I say writing with my woollen gloves with the fingers cut out, and leaves me hot and bothered. Where, I wish to know, is global warming?

In Scotland in days gone by 'Ne'erday' saw the Heart of Midlothian play the Hibernian in a local derby. All over the country derbies were played on this day and thousands who had spent the previous hours welcoming the New Year would attend the games. Kicking off at 2 pm,so as to allow the celebrants to return to the next party, the players would get stuck into each other with a will, a will to avoid frostbite usually! The thuggish behaviour of the old firm in Glasgow saw their game moved to a later date, and these days few derbies take place on the big day. I think this is a shame but I suppose this is progress. The fact that on Jan the second we also would play Dunfermline possibly would be too much for the overpaid darlings these days, but in the past this was the routine, and most enjoyable it was too! The fact that we usually (e.g. always) won did help!

The day is over, England returns to normal, Scotland returns to the bottle, and I return to finish the dream so rudely interrupted at 3:30 a.m! Why I ask, do we enjoy wonderful dreams and on waking instantly forget them? We have the emotion from the dream but absolutely no memory of why! So many dreams have been in colour in recent days, or maybe I have now obtained a colour licence for the dreams. I don't recall any black and white ones so why do I notice when they are in colour? maybe it's just me reading too many woman's sections in the 'Daily Mail?'  The 'Daily Mail,' now there is a post all to itself that paper. But maybe later, when I am in a more cynical mood.