Sunday, 31 October 2010



A thought has crossed my little mind tonight re privatisation and the effects thereof. The mad Baroness Margaret Thatcher was quoted on one programmes from the 70's talking about equality. Her point was this was impossible in a society full of opportunity as those taking their opportunities would become better off than those failing to do so. What she was getting at sounds like keep the rich rich and the poor poor. Her privatisation of the utilities has indeed encouraged just that! Those badly run organisations, stuffed full off uncaring employees, have now been replaced by grossly overpaid directors ensuring their workers are as cheaply paid as possible and worked to death, this of course leaves them uncaring. It also leads to the public paying vastly more for the service (remember that word) and some of the poorest suffering badly because of it. The railways are now subsidised much more than when they were badly run by one organisation instead of badly run by several. The Gas folk are already increasing prices as winter begins, and the government wishes to sell off Royal Mail to save the tax payer a few bob. The increase in price and loss of service which will result beggars belief!

The point is in the 80's we were told Maggie encouraged greed, as if it did not exist before then, and I am beginning to reckon that most of societies attitudes today reflect the selfishness that began during that decade. Since the war years there was an unwritten agreement of 'service' to the nation, now that has gone, in utilities, buses etc, we have an attitude that reflects that found in 'Eastenders,' self, self, self. Do not consider others just yell and scream for your will and forget others. This attitude lies deep in the human heart yet was released by Thatcher and her love of money, sorry enterprise! Look after yourself replaced service to others, prosperity was king and eat your granny if need be! 

Now greed was there before of course, and it showed in industrial relations where both sides were incompetent and self concerned, it was seen in relations with others, yet there remained an underlying belief in public services for all. In the past thirty years the nation has lost all concern for service to others, unless you are asking "Do you want fries with that?" Yobs rule so many council estates yet nothing is done about them. Vigilantes who take action are jailed if caught, not rewarded! Such yobs always existed but men would take action, and the police would agree that such action was right, and often join in. Most folks could walk the streets in most, not all, areas relatively safely. Today too many areas are uncontrolled because nobody wishes to be involved, especially the emergency services. Recently the emergency services failed to respond at 7/7 in case another bomb was in the area, and a fire rescue crew stood by and watched a man drown because they had not 'water training certificate' or equipment! Allowing for facts being badly reported it remains a fact that something is seriously wrong somewhere!


Friday, 29 October 2010

The Ghost Trains of Old England


This was a programme broadcast on Radio 4 the other day. The main object was to find rail services that are advertised but never appear to run, and little if any information ever appears concerning them. Now as you know I find disused buildings strangely attractive, I suspect they remind me of wimmen I have met, and I also find tales of railways intriguing also, however I am a wee bit hesitant concerning this one. As the narrator travelled from one empty station to another, and then spent an inordinate amount of time to get a free taxi ride between two stations, I began to feel my skin creep a little. Info concerning such stations and trains that arrive once a week, but do not pick up passengers, may be interesting in a way, however the desperate trawl was a wee bit wearing. Some trains do run, but rarely, it is a way to keep a line officially open but in fact the rail company has actually stopped using it, and crowds, or is it groups, of anoraks will gather to journey on these trains. It need not be stressed that these were all male, spoke in a strangulated English accent, and, possibly,   did not go home to a female of the species at days end. I could be wrong but.....

Some years ago the English queen arrived at Edinburgh's Waverley station at the same time as I did, well almost. She was a bit early so she did not wait for me. Typical woman! Having not been hanging around the station for some years I took a couple of poor photographs and suddenly was confronted! "What was the traction?" said an excited voice. "Traction?" I thought. There are no tractors round here mate! I suddenly realised he and his mate, both male, were talking about the royal train, which departed just as I arrived. Becoming frightened I may be mistaken for such creatures I replaced the camera in the bag, they always have similar bags don't they, and sent them on their way to where I suspected the train was being stored for security reasons. If they were to get arrested for clambering about the track there I assure you I was not too worried. 

In many ways this programme, still available to listen to for a few days, was quite interesting. However the stereotype of the railway buff crept in and spoiled things for me. I attended a great rail gathering at London Bridge some time back, lots of Southern Region trains on view, and found myself surrounded by people of all types. men teaching their kids history, and in truth railways are a major part of British history, where would we be without them, and a good time was had by all. Well until I discovered my pictures were all blurred. A clever brother had fixed and turned something the wrong way round when putting it back together! Pah!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Black Boxes


For reasons I do not understand myself I wandered around the flash shopping centre today. Taking the free bus there I remembered what it was about crowds I disliked, the crowds! Large numbers squeezed on and the large male already seated was not to keen to allow me to join him. I am so polite these days, this area being so much humane than London, and I realised how I had changed. Attempting to sit on the dreadful but much loved (because you could jump off and skip fares) 'Routmaster' buses I learned than to get space on a seat the best way was to sit down heavily and force the already seated ignorant brute to move. A quick apology and you were both on!  The seats on those buses were made for one and three quarter people not two it must be said! This tactic had slipped my mind and shows how nice I am becoming, the incident with the hatchet apart of course. Disgorged into the rain I wandered into what once was 'Comet' and now appears to be either a renaming or a new shop designed to over change us. I could make out fridges and food mixers on one side but for the life of me did not know what the black boxes were. Ignoring the incredibly thin laptops, all black and far too pricey, I wondered how to turn the radio, I almost said wireless, on. it took me a while to realise this was a home cinema outfit and not some for of stereo, oops I mean 'music centre.' Having read that Sony stopped making their 'Walkman' in April, or at least some Chinese slave labourer did, I feel I am falling behind in the technological stakes.

The digital telly I had died a while back and I am left with a twenty year old set which gives me five channels filled with rubbish if nothing else. Yesterday I attempted to fix the VCR to it (VCR is another name for video recorder, ask your dad!) and the thing was not compliant with it. What with the tape recorder on my centre running fast and this I cannot play all the tapes (ask dad again) I have made. I did manage 'Freeview' until the telly died, (it was switched on but the plug was not, as I put on the plug it must have overpowered the set!) but 'Freeview' does not view with the old TV. However I can manage technology far enough by using the 'BBC IPlayer,' or the other stations version thereof so all is not lost, yet. However this brings me back to the PCs I saw today. Sleek, thin, black and costly and I bet ten times more powerful than this beast! They appear to be half the size of my box also. Everything on that side of the shop was black, and everything on the kitchen side was white. Mr Ford must have shares in this company!

I walked home, in the rain, it was easier than using the free bus.


Monday, 25 October 2010



Once again I have my fingers itching to write. And here I am, cold, tired, and brain dead. Last night, as I lay my head down on my bedbug covered pillow I had thousands of words running through my mind. Hundreds of points were raised and many of the problems of the world were sorted, and then I dreamt of being employed in an office with a pretty young boss. I awoke just as she fired me and have spent the day with "You mindless, incompetent lout," running through my heart. That dream was quite realistic I thought. Anyway the dullness removed all the words from last night and nothing is lined up tonight.

I could have written about music but I won't. It appeared to me you see, or it did last night, that we could not live without music. I like something tinkling from Radio 3 in the background when I write or read, sometimes piano jazz is used, but at all times there is some musical sound nearby. Builders and decorators like most tradesmen require Radio 1, or something similar, blasting out the noxious pandemonium they call music and always at a volume capable of drowning our Harrier Jump Jets! Celebrations lead to song, football fans automatically sing when they are winning (although Dumbarton fans have not been singing much this season I am told), worshippers sing, lovers sing to their beloved (unless they get a slap), and toddlers dance to music and attempt to sing along, music is part of the human existence, how could we cope without it?

Neanderthal man, (no I don't mean Hibernian fans), must have made some kind of music. The early form of man, called Adam in the good book, must have found himself singing when the occasion called for it, but what instruments did he use? Some say the Canaanite's in ancient Israel were famed for their music going back centuries. They were said to travel to Egypt and Hittite land in Turkey to use their talents. Singers, dancers, flute players, drummers, and the most awful instrument until the organ - the tambourine - were in use, along with others no doubt. Ancient Greeks had women playing 'Nose Flutes' at there symposiums before they were found playing the pink flutes.

Music reflects our age and our mood. Young folks tend to like loud crashing music because for them the world is young and full of interest and excitement. Today I spent my time listening to the 'Death March,' I wonder why? Cheery music was used during the war to keep the factories working. Some songs were banned because they slowed production and others encouraged as the workers worked faster under their tune. I think it was the 'Yellow rose of Texas' that was banned at one point as at the chorus people tapped out the tune on their machines and so many were damaged war production was seriously it! The BBC were advised to drop it quietly! David famously played his Lyre to King Saul when he was in a downer and this cheered him. Divers require music to aid them while using their satnavs or they end up in Basingstoke instead of Barnsley. Music is always with us and we appreciate this unless it is sound which clashes with our mood.

In the early seventies I worked for slave wages in a Leith Cash & Carry. The boss had decided we needed music and tapes were played, over and over and over again. Whoever it was that done the cheap cover version of Donny Osmond and 'Puppy Love' I do not know, however if they were to have fallen into a pit with ten hungry Rottweillers they will be happy to know some folks in Leith were rejoicing at their accident. Worse however occurred at Christmas. There was only one tape! We had at least two, and later three, tapes of 'music' to play, but only one Christmas one. 'Dashing through the snow' may be fun on a sleigh in some American state however singing about this while slush lies several inches deep outside the door and we have heard the song a thousand times is NOT FUN!

I canny get that song out of my head now.....

Right, I'm off to listen to 'Canned Heat' until my head calms down. I may be back by Thursday. In the meantime ask yourself if you can live without music, I can't.


Friday, 22 October 2010



To exercise the bulk that creaks every time I stand on the broken weighing machine I decided to clean the place this week. I cleaned the woodwork, the doors, the bit behind the loo, the cupboards and on and on,  but the glow soon wore off. While the place is unnaturally clean, what a funny smell health is, I soon got fed up with all this and resorted once again to being a slob. Partly this was my fault, in fact most off it was my fault. You see I made flapjacks. Not the sort you would buy in a shop, certainly not, well not unless you want E-Coli or some such, and the problem is I made two lots and then I ate them. They were quite good, almost tasty, which in itself is quite something for me, but they do put on weight! I have added half a stone this week while I was supposed to be exercising to lose that! 

Ian Duncan Smith wandered around Glasgow some time ago and decided that the people on benefits needed hep to get off drugs and into work. Underneath his Conservative image there is a man who wants to help those at the bottom of society. How does he intend to do this? Well he wishes to limit those on Invalidity Benefit and get them 'Back to work.' he also wishes people in Merthyr Tydfil to 'get on a bus and look for work.' There are various other money saving aids to work available from this man. Now a bus to Cardiff from Merthyr takes one hour and possibly (since Thatchers deregulation of them) costs about £4 a day. Those on benefits, of whatever sort, must rejoice at the thought of £4 to spend on a bus not to find a job! Could it be that this man, like the others amongst the millionaire Cabinet are mentally unbalanced? Or will we see IDS in the House of Commons pantomime dressed as Scrooge?

Sad news tonight that Portsmouth may well be extinct in the next few days! This is sad indeed, not because I am a fan of the club but because the fans are true football fans as they ought to be, that is fans of their local side! These are not people who run after distant clubs for glory hunting reasons, they support their side, and this is good! Of course they are not all the type you would wish your daughter to bring home, clearly, but there again all football clubs have one of those somewhere! 

This club has been handled by several owners and some board members you would not wish to be associated with. Various people with East European connections have been running the club, but to what end? Has Portsmouth been a place to launder Russian money I wonder? I ask because Russians have been involved and Heart of Midlothian fans understand some of the problems they might bring. This of course does not imply anything illegal occurred, but something morally wrong has indeed been occurring and over a good few years at that. Portsmouth reached the English Premier League. Under 'Arry ' Redknapp they won the English Cup and found themselves a glorious Euro night against Juventas! 'Arry had of course 'opped it to Spurs by this time and some wondered if there was more than football involved in his departure. No manager would refuse the offer of the Spurs job but did the man realise he could do no more for Pompey, or was he aware the money had run out? The players were on huge salaries it appears, even for the EPL, and debts soon appeared. After much struggle it looked like the team was settling down to a stable future and the former owner, Sacha Gaydamak has demanded an up front payment for reasons of his own.

This may of course all be negotiating tactics, but the clubs fans are the ones who suffer, not those in the money. All may well be brought under control, and some agreement might well be reached, however the way people use football clubs to their financial gain is a disgrace. Other clubs are also in financial difficulty, Dundee are walking this tightrope just now, and even the Liverpool's of this world have problems. However it is not the directors who suffer when clubs go bust, it is the fan of the club. He is the helpless one in these situations, and no-one appears to care about him!


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Top 50 Jokes?


That august periodical 'The Daily Mail,' today publishes what is claimed to be the 'Top 50 Jokes!' The researchers 'researched' many online jokes to come up with their choices. Humour is subjective of course and  what suits one will not suit another, as I have often discovered! Women especially fail to 'get the joke' as they listen emotionally, unlike men who just listen. Here are number 50 - 40 on their list, the others can be found at the 'Daily Mail' online page -  It's not just the way you tell 'em:

50 I went to the Doctors the other day, and he said, 'Go to Bournemouth, it's great for flu'. So I went - and I got it. 

49. A seal walks into a club... 
48. Went to the corner shop - bought 4 corners. 
47. So I met this gangster who pulls up the back of people's pants, it was Wedgie Kray. 
46. I'll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.       
45. I tried water polo but my horse drowned.      
44. A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: 'I'm looking for the man who shot my paw.'      
43. You see my next-door neighbour worships exhaust pipes, he's a catholic converter.
42. I've got a friend who's fallen in love with two school bags, he's bisatchel.       
41. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. But when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it.
40. 'I said to this train driver "I want to go to Paris". He said "Eurostar?" I said, "I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin". '  


Monday, 18 October 2010

Television Plays


In the days of two channel television there used to be a thing called 'Armchair Theater' from, I think, ATV TV. This competed with plays shown on the BBC and the other day the type of plays shown came to mind for some reason now forgotten. In between those featuring Judie Dench overemoting,(at least it saved writing scripts) there appeared plays which took us well aware from the run of the mill stuff that now dominates the small screen. Today, as you know, anything that appears on screen is merely a soap opera! Often it is an American version which includes guns, explosions and women throwing themselves at the anti-hero star. (British version differ in that they contain guns, explosions and a woman throwing herself at the anti-hero star.)
However in the sixties this was not the case. One of the first, which appeared around the time we first had our Ferranti Telly, featured a spacecraft hanging over London threatening earth! I can remember the scene in the Cabinet Room as the Prime Minister and his cohorts discussed the situation. As they spoke my folks debated whether this was 'live' or not! I can remember my dad saying "That's not Harold MacMillan!" as if to convince my mum that it was indeed a play. Now you understand why I have no brains! A later play featured two men sitting on a park bench discussing life. As the talk continued it became obvious one of them came from Mars. Such events are not shown today, nor is the one concerning the department store. This featured a young men wandering around a store after closing time and discovering the mannequins that modelled the clothes in the store window. As he looked at them, and those inside the shop, they began to speak to him. By the end of the play he had of course become one of them and was found standing in the window, statuesque like. One other featured Bernard Cribbens, at least my memory tells me so, and this concerned a man who's skin slowly began to turn into steel. This began around his midriff and slowly made its way upwards. His anxious wife and not so anxious doctor stood by the bed, ignoring him, and discussing the situation. In the end he dies. Maybe this had a satiric value that my young mind could not gather, possibly it was just written by a nutter?    

Now tastes change and time passes but it appears to me that television today only wants soaps and simple to understand 'drama.' That is why the quality is so poor. A comment made on the 'Steptoe & Son,' programme claimed that comedy today was poor because it required a laugh every thirty seconds, there being no time to create characters or situations. We live in simpler times, the TV audience cannot cope with much beyond soaps and reality shows. The drama I mentioned from the past may be a bit esoteric, whatever that means, but at least it was something different. I suppose in the fifties and sixties TV had room for experiment, today this is not allowed. There again red tape intervenes. Memory tells me that the radio programme 'I'm sorry I haven't a clue,' was created by Graeme Garden and one other discussed the idea in the BBC canteen, went upstairs to the Radio controller and were given the go-ahead there and then. Now it takes several layers of suits before a programme is offered to the nation. Somewhere along the way creativity and spontaneity have been lost.

There again, maybe it's just me thinking today's telly is garbage of course and past times appear better.


Wednesday, 13 October 2010



Today I decided to cogitate on my next step. I came to the conclusion that I required encouragement where concentration was concerned so I placed a large sign above the desk to help me concentrate. Just a moment ago I noticed this sign read 'THINJ' in large bold letters!

The futures bright......

On every occasion that I have turned on the TV to watch these games I fail to find any action. All that greets me are several past 'stars,' most of whom I have never heard of, blethering on about the Games. I want to see action, something happening, not burbling as folk try to fill time! When there has been action it has always concentrated on the English teams attempts to win Gold. This was taken to the normal BBC limit as a Scots girl fought for first place, moving into second as she rounds the bend, while the camera ignored her and followed the English lass drifting backwards into fifth! British Broadcasting indeed! Naturally the Scot continued to slip away and in the end she was third and the English first. I suspect more dirty dealing there! 
I looked for action but the most I got was swimming. Now to me swimming is one of the more boring activities, I prefer the discuss, hammer and such like. However swimming dominated for at least a week, which means the English were involved. The problem above all is the limited coverage. With trendy sets you may get a choice of channels, I have only the basic five these days, and what is covered there is very limited for the most part. Sue Barker gets very excited when mentioning the medals won, but rarely do we see other nations winning  theirs. Boasting about 'British,' and I use that term loosely, medals is understandable, but then we realise that Australia and Canada have ten times as many, yet we hardly see them mentioned? I canny wait for 2012 and the billions wasted on the next Olympics!

As my mother came from Cowdenbeath, the heartland of the Fife coalfields, I can understand something of the emotions experienced by relatives of the men trapped for so long deep under Chile! When watching a TV programme set in such a town the sounding of the siren caused my mother to react. The memory of the siren from Pit No. 7, or any other close by, would bring the town almost to a standstill while they awaited news of the cause. Often this was a small fall, trapping only a few men, in some situations it may lead to many deaths. My uncles once got themselves trapped by such a fall. There was a very long shaft that they could escape through by walking round to Pit No. 1, however Will had bad feet and was unable to walk that far. He had to sit tight until men dug their way through to him. A small incident which shows that danger lurked daily down a mine, and also that miners will risk their own lives to save another's! It is an unwritten rule that if something happens you go and help! After all, even if he is your enemy he will come to your aid! That is one reason mining areas produced such close knit feelings. That grand man Mike tells us that on the day Margaret Thatcher celebrated her 85th birthday these miners were brought to the surface. I bet she thought she had closed them all down!


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

So Another Day at Work Finishes...

So another day at work finishes, well my second two hour stint this week, and with it my little job comes to an end.  While it was not much to boast about, and I am so slow that snails sometimes passed me by as I went to work, at least it gave me the impression that I was working. Now I am back to being a dole scrounger and a lazy workshy parasite (@ 'Daily Mail reader'). The company has 'outsourced' the warehouse because, as they put it, "The warehouse is not working!" What they meant was, "It's too expensive." Some of the lads have already moved on, and the rest leave this week however a problem has arisen. It appears the people taking over the warehouse, based somewhere in the Midlands, are struggling to get things working there also! What appeared a good thing monywise has turned out to be harder in reality. Hundreds of items are not that easy to deal with, especially when many of them look similar and some are very small! Cynical folks laughed, and were shocked to be asked to stay on, they have refused. I ought to indicate I was not asked to stay.....

Tomorrow I will continue the search for employment of a sedentary nature, requiring little intellect and paying me untold wealth! As I have already attempted this with almost every company in a ten mile radius I am somewhat dubious of success. There are around 300 jobs in this area and three thousand unemployed! Take away several hundred unable or unwilling and there is still a problem. Even working a few hours a week was good for making me feel less guilty when sitting around loafing (@'Daily Mail' reader). Receiving the first payslip since Adam was a boy was such an experience I considered placing it on the wall! Now this has ended and I am back to lounging about in pubs drinking all day (@'Daily Mail' reader) as I will be receiving about £32,000 a year, plus house, for the eight children I possess (@'Daily Mail' reader). Now I don't wish to appear cynical, as you know that is not my nature, I am gentle and quiet usually and not one to complain, but I do get somewhat irked by the attitudes of the "I'm all right Jack" types.

So I must sit down and look at all my talents.
Right that's that done so let's move on to the next phase, this includes lying on the floor crying, "Why me?" loudly and repetitively.  This doesn't actually help, but it keeps the Jehovah Witnesses away from the door I suppose. Then I shall exercise my aching bones,(four hours work and I feel like I have climbed the Matterhorn) clean the house, open the windows, and throw out the rubbish, that bag does pong a bit after a month - or so....  Then I shall sit down and ponder the good piece of luck that came my way today. The 'Beef & Ale' pie that costs about 50p from Iceland, the store not the country, actually contained a piece of meat! Now when I the last time you found real meat in a pie? Note I said 'meat' and not 'beef,' as you never know do you.....?


Monday, 11 October 2010

Stolen Goods

Some guy bought a new fridge for his house. 
To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a 
sign on it saying: 'Free to good home. You want it, you take it.' 
For three days the fridge sat there without anyone looking twice. 
He eventually decided that people were too mistrustful of this deal. 
So he changed the sign to read: 'Fridge for sale $50.' 

The next day someone stole it! 


*One day I was walking down the beach with 
some friends when someone shouted.... 
'Look at that dead bird!' 

Someone looked up at the sky and said...'where?'


My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car 
which is designed to cut through a seat belt 
if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the car boot. 

I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman 
with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain.
My friend said, 'Ouch! The chain must rip 
out every time she turns her head!" 
I had to explain that a person's nose and ear 
remain the same distance apart no 
matter which way the head is turned... 

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area and. 
went to the lost luggage office and reported the loss. 
The woman there smiled and told me not to worry
because she was a trained professional and 
said I was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked me, 
'Has your plane arrived yet?'... 
(I work with professionals like this.) 

While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man 
ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and 
the cook asked him if he would like it cut 
into 4 pieces or 6.
 He thought about it for some time then said 
'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry 
enough to eat 6 pieces. 


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Saturday Park Football


Saturdays these days usually means listening to the totally unbiased commentary on the 'Hearts World' site. While I am listening to their clear, sophisticated, objective discussions on the game in front of them, and the nonsense spouted by those commenting on the relevant facebook site, I spend much of that time burning the 'Flanders Stew.' Today was different! With no football because of the international break I looked around for something to satisfy my intellect and I soon found it - I fell asleep! 

When I awoke, about three this afternoon, I drained a pint of coffee and decided to get the bike out and develop some energy. I steered the rusty velocipede towards King George's Fields where I hoped there might be a kick around of some sort taking place, I know there is a rugby club plays there. Indeed there was, just before reaching the rugby club I found two teams, dressed like Dundee United and Scotland slugging it out with all the energy two teams of far from fit young men can slug. 

The one thing that always stands out for me while watching 'grass roots football' is the way folks kick the ball. We become used to professional players, yes even the Christian Nade's and Kirk Broadfoots of this world, being able to kick the ball over a hundred yards and find someone on their side. In Park football finding a man twenty yards from you is difficult for many! However as we have all played there, and I confess to losing more goals in one season than any Hibernian goalkeeper could do during a fifteen year career,  we know it is not the quality that counts, it's the game itself! If we can produce a good save, a telling pass, or score a goal to boast about then it is all worth while. I have seen some people who play hard because they feel they have missed out on a career they ought to have had. Others who realise they would never have made it and after the age of eighteen no longer check the passers by to see if they may be a wandering scout. The only thing such players check these days are the girls watching and the closeness of the local pubs! 

Alas my hard life forcing me to sleep did mean I arrived well after the second half of this game had started and I could not tell which of these evenly matches sides were winning. This appears to be one of those leagues where folks tend to get on with the game. Most of the time folks played the ball and while there were some hard tackling there was little reaction to them. Only one incident near the end when a tackle, hard but fair ball winning tackle, left a player in tangerine feeling aggrieved. His attempt to wrap his legs around the tackler in yellow led to a swift kick in the back and a short period of dissension amongst the two sides. Good refereeing allowed both to continue after a few words, and the game ended shortly afterwards. On a more local park I have come across a Sunday League game which features that type of 'hard man' who spends the entire game shouting rude words at the ref, even if he himself is not watching the action. You know the type. Tackling hard and willing to confront anyone who objects, yet the first to complain if things go against him. This appears to be the only league like it around here as most of the games I have seen are usually played by those who have no need to drag their knuckles on the ground.

Both sides here contained the 'airy fairy' type of player, the one who falls over in a strong wind, and both also possessed one built like a wall, probably nearer to sixteen stone than to eight, and neither of these Goliaths ran more than ten yards with or without the ball! One did remind me of Gary Caldwell, possibly this was more to do with his silky touch rather than his ape like features however. There was one word of advice I would give the yellow sides goalkeeper, don't just fall down when the ball comes towards you, 'leap' towards it, that way your hand will not be so far from it as it hits the post and goes in. 

Oh to be a teen or twenty again! There are times I want to rush out and kick the ball around as in days of yore! Only the heart seizure and bad knee stops me doing this now. The last game I played in was in 1977, and we drew 4-4 with the Spanish Church at a Passchendaele like Wormwood Scrubs. That is on the pitches outside the prison, nothing to do with being inside it by the way. Wiping mud of my glasses when in goals is probably one reason I let in so many, another may well be the difficulty of seeing the ball through the stained lens, yet another may be incompetence but I would deny this! However watching football today I realise just how my goalkeeping has improved as I can always tell whether it was a keepers mistake or someone else's. It is ALWAYS a defenders fault!   

Naturally coming home I now have to make my dinner and a pot full of 'Flanders Stew.' This is easy as I put my one in the oven while doing the stew on the top. Having finished making the stew I looked for my evening repast and discovered some fool had forgotten to switch on the oven! Oh Joy.......


Thursday, 7 October 2010



The above is a picture I took from a moving train as it sped (slowly) from Fort William to Mallaig some years ago. I suspect this was the steam train that runs there during the summer but it may have been the routine service.  It is of course Lock Eil, and we are looking south west towards mountains with unpronounceable names. I loved this view, the differing shades of blue in the mountains as they recede into the distance, the calm water, the boats gently bobbing happily. An idyllic peace filled view, although I suspect that any January morn will find the scene covered with snow. The highlands are wonderful when the sun shines, but not in deep midwinter! Then the locals are joined only by that daft type of man that has to 'prove himself' by walking over the hills and thus giving exercise to the mountain rescue people. A surprising number wear jeans and trainers when endeavouring to survive with a bar of 'Kendal Mint Cake' and a mobile phone. The highlands are to be seen when the sun shines and black cattle are mooing in the fields, sheep are dotted around the slopes and the hotel has a decent view and a warm bar!

The beauty, to someone who was living in London at the time, of the distant outback of Britain was the routine annoyances of the locals. I do not refer to the tourists although that must rank high, but I mean the way the guard and the driver have to leave the train and wander down the track to the lock gates and close them properly, some English tourist joyrider having failed to do his job. The danger of falling off a lock gate into a Loch is not one often heard of in Paddington.  When I was there I did detect a cynicism towards tourists, one I can understand. I did however get bored with surly service in shops from those unhappy with their lot. Just because you are trapped in a mediocre tourist trap does not mean you have to let your feelings show Hamish! I say 'Hamish,' but I think many are actually English folk who have been attracted by an escape to the country and found it is harder work than they thought.

As I espied this church it spoke to me of centuries of worship among the ancient clans of Scotland. In my minds eye I could see them, wrapped in their plaids, scurrying along on the Sabbath to worship. Generation after generation must have trod there I thought. Families going back into them midst of time gathering here each Sunday morning as the bell sounded around the hills.
Nonsense of course. It turns out it was a Catholic Church built in the late 19th century and already looking as if it has been closed down. So much for the romance of the hills.Another shot taken from a moving train and I am quite happy with the result. Using the PC to alter it slightly, cutting of the faded bits of the print, and removing the streaks that ought not to be there, is a great improvement to my photography. One day when rich I will buy a better camera and enjoy myself taking shots both good and bad, but having a great time!


Wednesday, 6 October 2010



Bright sunshine, blue sky and warm air forced me outside today. I actually drew back the old sacks that form curtains over the window and opened the window to let some cold air in and discovered it was almost bearable! After visiting the market, collecting fallen veg from behind the stalls, I strolled through town, avoiding those charity collectors, and wandered home via the park. The bright blue sky, the puffy clouds, the greenery all around refresh the mind and made me believe it was summer again. The holes in my shoes indicated different.  


Since moving here from London I instantly realised why John Constable was so impressed by clouds. They are everywhere! In such a flat land as this, with its gentle rolling hills (unless you are cycling of course) ahead of you towers the sky and the cloud formations contained therein! Admittedly Constable did not have passing jets heading for Germany or Hong Kong leaving trails in the sky to confuse him, but he was able to study clouds because there are so many around here!  These things fill the eye as I cross the park, and lead me into walking into benches and irate young mum's prams. I find them fascinating, although not as the 'Daily Mail' appears to do. Most days they feature a picture of a cloud that looks like the UK, or Jesus, or a bag of chips! I suppose I like them as having been brought up in Edinburgh I have only ever seen dirty big gray ones until now!


Monday, 4 October 2010



Why is it that every time a sporting event begins the opening ceremony is described as 'spectacular?'  Such events are required of course, speeches with all the right platitudes, dancing children, examples of the home nations culture, and so on. However I question why they are always called 'spectacular' when a better word to describe them might be 'dire?' I tend to avoid such 'spectacular' overblown events as they turn out to be irrelevant to the actual events that follow, are all to often meaningless, and in some cases, yes I mean the French at the opening of the World Cup finals, so 'arty' that not even the home nation understand them..
Dancing children do have fun and are left with a cherished memory, however an overpaid Diana Ross ruining the USA's 94 World Cup opening is just left with cash and a publicity stunt. I reckon there must be a better way to open such events, or at least if not better, maybe shorter!

So I bought the ticket for the Lottery. Never mind failing to provide the correct numbers for the £82 million on Friday evening I still dreamt my dreams of being out of debt via the Saturday draw. Success indeed! The numbers were similar, riches beyond my dreams awaited me. Life could begin anew! I raced up to Mr Patel in the newsagent. Smugly I passed over the ticket.
"Four and a half million please," I said in a calm self controlled manner, adding that there was a fiver in it for him.
"Oh good," said Mr Patel smiling that smile he keeps for the deranged. He fiddled with the machine, sniggered, printed off two tickets and handed them over to me, along with £2.
"What's this?" I said somewhat stunned.
"Your winnings," he grinned.
"Two pounds?"
"No, you won £10." Mr Patel stood then smiling. To his side his wife attempted to hide her giggling.
"Excuse me for asking," I ventured, "But two is not ten. And these tickets.....?"
"Ah but it is," said Mr Patel in that voice doctors keep for mental patients. "You won ten pounds yes?"
"I take five, as you promised me, from your winnings, that leaves five for you!" He stood then grinning that self satisfied grin, the one that deserves a good slap.
"But, but, I...didn't mean a fiver from ten pounds. I meant from the four and a half million that you have not given me!"
"Ah but you didn't make that clear did you?" He turned to his wife who nodded agreement and sniggered again. He looked to his side where his brother in law agreed heartily with his exposition.
"Yes but.....and anyway why only two pounds?" I stuttered.
Well, as you have won you will be tempted to a ticket for the Wednesday night draw won't you?" he waited.
"er, well, er...yeah!"
"And then," he added without sympathy, "you will wish to have a chance for the Friday £112 million draw won't you?"
"er, ..yeah, well, maybe....I...I"
"So that leaves you two pounds doesn't it?"
As he said this Mr Patel and brother in law helped me from the shop and I stood there, rain dripping of my glasses, two lottery tickets in my hand, wondering, just wondering........

Tonight's 'Edinburgh Evening News' gives us the sad news that Johns Hughes has left Hibernian by 'Mutual Consent.' In short he has been paid off. This is indeed sad news as his Hibernian side had been woeful, and that, I am sure you will agree, is marvellous to behold!  The team who claim to be the home of 'Flair Football' (@Hibernian have been left lying on the 'flair' week after week. This was of course good to see! Now however Rod Petrie the chairman has dug into his piggy bank and scraped together enough cash to remove the 'worst manager in Hibernian's history' since the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that..... ad infinitum. I await with baited breath the next numpty to take the 'hot seat' at Easter Road. Whoever it is the Heart of Midlothian remain Edinburgh's 'Big Team,' and the Hibbys remain the 'Wee Team.'  


Friday, 1 October 2010

Steamhammer - 'Passing Through.'


Proper music, none of today's rubbish!

SKIN ALLEY - 'Living in Sin.'

Proper music!