Monday, 31 October 2016


The mist tempted me out again today, as far as the shop wherein bread could be found!  Afterwards I busied myself at home doing those things that have not been done.  They still haven't!  
The speed of the laptop varies as the day goes by, maybe it will settle down soon?  In the meantime I took advantage to begin scrawling a wee thing about remembrance for the museum and the media.  I pass it too the boss who translates it into newspeak and they either change it again or ignore it.
As it is I have yet to finish it as I forgot half the stuff I should have used.  Bah!

Sometimes places look better in the mist or the dark don't ya think?  
Not that the few out and about cared, another Monday trek to work with bleary eyes and cold feet was their lot.  A few cars, some key holders opening the shop, well opening it enough to get in and put the kettle on and find the coffee while waiting for the staff to arrive full of cheer.  
The damp streets would not encourage folks to leave centrally heated homes and the mist out there on the wet roads did encourage at least four accidents from half asleep drivers not considering the word around them.  Mondays they say are the worst days for accidents, tiredness, bad mood and weather conditions combine, although a degree of left over beer can also remain and affect drivers. These are not days to be ambulancemen or traffic police!  It is not the day to be a bus driver trying to keep to his time either, the mist and the accidents ruining the day.

This of course is Halloween, the latest fad for taking money from stupid people.  The absurd horror pictures filling facebook & twitter, the vast sums spent on dressing up and even more spent avoiding kids Guising (I refuse to use the American term) as well as nobody actually understanding what all this is actually about takes some beating.  Tomorrow it will all be gone and while most of it is fun for kids there are those who will be enticed into dangerous areas through such activities.  What was once a pagan get together, possibly with a fear of evil involved, is now a party in which real demons do indeed entice some. 
Churches of course usually have alternative activities for kids, some even regard it a All Hallows day, from which Halloween comes, and those who actually benefit most are the makers and retailers of all the garbage that suddenly fills the shelves, shelves which by this time tomorrow will be packed with Christmas goodies.  
Good luck to you!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Mist Again

The mist hung over everything this morning, damp streets and glistening leaves, those that remained on the trees that is, greeted early risers.  The sound, not that Sunday morning has much sound, the sound of distant rumbling traffic was deadened by the mist.  Even the birds appeared to have remained at home unable to see danger more than fifty yards away.   
Funny how mist changes everything.  Suddenly we are almost blind, not quite as bad as the mist mixed with chimney smoke in days gone by giving us Smog.  Now that was thick.  In Edinburgh during the last great smog buses were abandoned on the wrong sides of the road as drivers had lost their bearing the dark adding to the problems, all traffic ceased.  Smokeless zones dealt with that and now just mist by itself hangs round us.  
Wind blows things around, sometimes knocking down trees and houses, rain drenches us and floods the streets but mist just hangs there leaving us trapped according to the thickness it wishes to offer.  The valleys lie thick under its veil while above the sun begins to lessen the grip of the mist and by the time I had raced from bed, much later than when I first noted the mist, it had begun to dissipate.
I raced from bed as I was late.  I had to prepare to go out and time was short, soon I was almost ready, just breakfast, such as it was to take, and then I glanced at the laptop to see what is going on.   
It was then I noticed a strange thing, the clock had a differing time to that on the laptop.  Why?  I wondered if the problems since changing to fibre had affected the machine when I realised the clocks had gone back last night and I had not changed them.  I was not running late, I had an hour to spare!  I then spent most of that hour changing clocks. 
One laptop yesterday gave me up to 56 mph speed, very good however this one, on which almost everything resides slowed to 1.98.  Today however when I returned I fiddled and found it offered 47 mph as it ought.  Hooray!
Tonight as I worked hard at nothing at all it returned to the slow speed for no reason at all.
I am now walking in the dark awaiting the mist descending as that to me will be a lot clearer than the workings of the internet and fibre.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

First World Problems Arise Again

My Fibre Broadband is up and working, in theory giving me much faster speeds and hopefully better images.  Of course this did not work in a straight forward manner.  Oh no, it failed! 
I set up the 'Hub' (BT call routers 'Hubs' for no good reason) and all worked well on the old Broadband.  However when the call came informing me in that broken 'one word at a time falling over itself' robotic voice that Broadband had been set up and was going I soon discovered it was not.
The Hub lit up, shone green, flashing orange, flashing purple, steady orange.....and continued steady orange indicating a fault.  I followed the instructions and kept strangely calm and at around 7:30 called the BT 0800 number.  A message thanked me for calling and asked "Button 1, Button 2" and having hit the wrong button I had to start again.  "Welcome,Button 1..." Ring tone, "Thanks for calling, we are very busy at the moment and the wait could be 10 or 20 minutes."  Button 1, or Button 2 or Button 3... ring tone, the first of FIFTEEN messages informed me "Thank you for waiting, All our call handlers are very busy at the moment, I apologise for the delay." Ring tone, message, ring tone message, etc ..." are very busy at the moment" until just before eight on the clock a human being answered!  
This man was very good and tested the line, checked this and checked that and so on, you have been there have you not?  By 8:30 he had decided it was not me, it was not the line so he must send an engineer out.  He came back after a while having arranged an engineer to call between 8 am and 1 pm tomorrow, being today!  What's more he arrived at 8:10 this morning!  The engineer was good.  Very effective, hard working tea drinker, he spent some time running tests and decided it was definitely the 'Box,' that green box that BT have standing in various parts of towns and cities. 
So off he travels to the box and forty minutes later he is back, plays around with high tech equipment again and now my Fibre Provider is providing.  Still sticks a bit but I guess that is it settling in?  Two hours off that mans life was taken up listening to me, hold on what I mean ...oh never mind. Two hours he spent fixing this and the complicated computerisation of it all amazes me.  In days of old we pressed Button 'B' and got our four pennies back, today he presses buttons and masses of complicated (much for security in these days of hackers) goes off around the planet fixing lines and bringing billions of calls together.  I was told about 10 years ago that one fibre cable could take around 15000 calls at one time!  For old people like me this is magic!
Right, what football is on tonight....

I woke at 5:30 this morning and was determined to get up at seven to ensure I was awake just in case the engineer called early.  So I slept fitfully until just after six having one or two strange dreams and wondering why we have noticeable dreams when we sleep for only a few minutes?  Is it because we wake when still so near a deep sleep or what?  Most interesting dream where an old woman in a block of flats asks me to ensure her door is locked and secure.  No idea who she was, never been in that building but it was all so real for a short while.  I hope I dream I have a bath early tomorrow morning so I need not have one when I wake.  The engineer stopped me doing anything else today as I had to put the house back together, the phone point is just behind the desk, and all the clutter was moved to make room.  The only action was taking a picture of the sodden leaves knocked down by last nights rain and taking that from the window as I could not be bothered stumbling up and down the stairs.   Summer time ended the other day (Gosh!) and Autumn leaves are annoying those who have to sweep them off the paths.  The golden colour has not come out in the picture but you can imagine what it is like.  Lovely colours but I still prefer Spring!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Life is so unfair!
I had a hard day at the museum today, Kids are on holiday and not only did they come in to join the published activity many came just to get them out of Mum's hair.  In between kids came the Grandparents and lively (very) three year old, people enquiring after things that ended four years ago and one after another for this or for that rushed through the door.  I never got a moment to myself!  It got so bad that I honestly considered locking the door so i could put my feet up but the boss did not appreciate that idea for some reason.
In between the postwoman appeared, I shoved the grandparent I was attempting to get money from aside and raced after her.  I knew she had a packet for me and I was not in, I was here not there.  She knows me and helpfully indicated she had a packet for me, in another bag!  We arranged that I would be at home when she got there around one O'clock and when the time came I rushed up the road slowly in time to find I had missed her.  She must have had an easy day today, not normal on this round I know as I used to do it.  So my packet, the new 'BT Home Hub' for the Fibre Broadband that starts tomorrow now lies in the sorting office laughing at me.  I have to walk all that way for it early tomorrow to spend a day sorting it out.  I realise, as you do, that it normally takes five minutes to sort out but this is me.  I suspect it will not come into operation until about midnight, not that I am cynical!  Bah!  Life is unfair.  (First world problems!)

A large Greek inspired monument to Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) a Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.  His friends created this now soot blackened monument to him in 1831.  The Greek influence of the citizens of Edinburgh was strong and many Greek inspired creations dot the city.  However it was because of the deep intellectual fervour, still found in such citizens, that brought about the nickname 'The Athens of the North.'  Quite right too even if half of what they wrote and said was indeed a pile of cobblers, but it was well thought our cobblers.  The unfortunate influence of Adam Smith on the mad baroness Margaret Thatcher was one lasting legacy of those who resided in the fair city (under the gray clouds).  You can tell that when I took this picture it was summer, the clouds are quite thin and almost, but fail to, let the sun shine through.  I had a better picture than this but somehow I have deleted this.  My life!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Death to the Truth

Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland received a request to bake a cake with a pro gay slogan upon it.  The staff member accepted the order and the Ashers themselves refused it as such slogans went against their conscience.  The order however was a set up.  This was placed by a man who had knowledge of their beliefs and with the support of the Equalities Commission in Northern Ireland brought a prosecution.  The Equalities Commission in NI is run by Sinn Fein, the republican party of the province and they have a pro gay stance.  In short it was a game played to attack the protestant side of Ulster as well as promote a gay stance. 
The case went to court and after considerable time and trouble the Court of Appeal today announced they were guilty of discrimination.  What a disgrace!  Discrimination indeed, from the gay lobby and not for the first time.  How disgraceful that this ruling arrives when the facts are known and no discrimination took place, except that of the Equalities Commission.
This is yet another example of how Christians are persecuted by the gay lobby.  Their failings are now more important in this world than anyone who opposes them.  It will not be long before the UK bans those who oppose such a way of life as normal and offer freedom from it, this has already happened in many US states.  Soon we will see churches being closed and Christians fleeing to more open lands such as China or Lebanon!  The dark days are upon us, those who hate Christians will increase and the dark satanic power behind them will strengthen his grip.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Sunday Post

My Sunday has been as good as can be so far.  
The morning spent in St Paul's meeting good sinners left and right and home in time for the second half of St Johnstone playing Dundee.  Clearly I got the best bit of that one.
I followed this up with breaking my rule of ignoring the bigot brothers and watched the League Cup semi final between Rangers and Celtic.  Sadly my wish that both would lose did not occur and my hope that Rangers fans irked by Celtic scoring four goals would lead to an all out assault of the pitch did not occur either.  Fooled by Celtic's inability to get the ball past the excellent Rangers goalkeeper  the game was alive right up to the end when Celtic actually scored.  No invasion by the blue huns, no mass arrests, just 18 so far, so scandalous back page headlines after all, quite disappointing really.
However there was hope as I then turned to Chelsea playing Manchester United and missed the first goal as it was scored so early.  Man U managed to lose four nil and were lucky to get nil.  Paying vast sums of money for players might be a good idea if they are actually any good and able to play together as a team.  However when the tactics are wrong and the defence have never played football before as was clear today it appears the money was wasted.  Possibly money laundering by someone is occurring?

One of the classic snaps!
In 1974 when cycling my way down south I sauntered through Selby a wee place in Yorkshire.  I spent the night in a pub in Osgodby and as I travelled around the sky became a rare pink shade.  How lovely I thought and reached for my trendy wee Instamatic camera.  Here is the result, an evening shot of a pink sundown over the 'Oil & cake Mills,' Selby.  I was happy with this picture as I was with few others on my trip.  The place was enjoyable, the accommodation perfect, the sky wonderful.
I just forgot the spool in the camera was Black & White....

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Disappearing Faces

We were chatting, my friend and I, about disappearing people.  As you age, slowly in my case, you note people once common have disappeared.  The faces that arrived on the TV screen in the late 50's when a vast 'Ferranti' model appeared in our living room only appear today when their death is announced.  Footballers once fit grown men seen running around the field at top speed are now noted in club get togethers as small, fat men long past retirement age.  This is made worse when your great niece, now 19 years of age, posts comments on facebook grumbling that folks born in the 1990's are getting old!  OLD!  Your 19 woman!  
Perception alters as age passes by.  Once we looked to the future 'out there' with some degree of trepidation but a lot of excitement.  Now we see cynicism and despair at the world.  Once hope filled us and opportunities could be rejected for another would be along in a minute, now the only thing that takes a minute is the trying to remember why we opened this cupboard or went through to the other room, sometimes it takes much longer.   The good side is that we may no longer care to get excited about trivial happenings, rock music does not make us 'headbang' for long a we suddenly forget what we are doing, football does not have the same grip as we accept after all that we are not indeed going to make it, and fashionable occurrences bore rather than excite.  We have no faith in the press or TV, no trust in any politician of whatever party and consider ourselves able to distinguish most cons that arrive via the web.  Well usually anyway!
As my mother aged all her friends, both family and close friends from round about passed on.  Quite how she saw this I am unclear, her attitude was 'you just have to get on with it,' and so she did.  That generation always just 'got on with it.'  Being a blether as she was she could always get new friends willing to gossip about nothing for long periods so she managed well I suspect.  Yet all her family, many of their offspring, including one of her daughters, passed away.  All her friends she and my father made left us, she was the last one standing and remained so until she reached 94.  How did she view all this?
I note myself how footballers I watched have died, TV newsreaders and 'personalities,' many of whom had little or no personality that I could detect, pass away from us  year by year.  Familiar faces are the background to our lives whether we like them or are indifferent to them, yet when they go we see a gap opening.  Our minds view is amended and reality comes in.
I can recall noting men in the 50's and 60's, flat caps, overcoats and usually haggard faces.  Today such men rarely have hats, dress as fashionably as men in their 20's and often, like me, look 25 (well maybe 35).  Few appear to be 'old' and as one said to me "In my outlook I am still 25!" and I knew what he meant.  This is however not how I look to outsiders, any young woman using the term 'Granddad' in my presence reveals how they view me!  I have a photo f my grannie dating from 1926 in which she looks ancient.  She was in fact the same age as my sister is now 76 and she, while ancient, like all women these days fails to look it, he older husband however is beginning to look his age.  
We have seen many family members near and far pass on and in the next ten years a great deal more will go, my view of the world will change again, especially as the remaining TV and radio personalities disappear, yet I suspect I will plow on.  I have Jesus who cares for me in spite of it all and this alters my view considerably.  It does not however stop ageing nor the loss of familiar figures in the world around us keeping our world view together.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


This is now an aged example of what ruins cities, towering glass blocks!  If memory serves me right this is 'Millbank Tower,' a 60's monstrosity that houses rich folks in their vast office space with views over the sprawling city, unless of course it rains.  
London of course has not only been filled with such glass horrors but has taken such creations a step further by adding daftness to invention.  Buildings now bend, are mistaken for cheese graters or just sit like a pile of abandoned glass like the 'Shard!'  All this because of a steel frame inside.  That frame allows the builder to go high and wrap his building in glass or brick.  It was once just the money mad Americans who filled their cities with such heaps, mostly built with brick.  That nice attention seeker Mr Trump own one or two in New York, the 'Empire State Building' I think it is called, a construction as hollow inside as he himself appears to be.  
Would you believe that somewhere in Yorkshire (or is it Lancashire) in the distant past a Mill owners began this type of building.  Memory fails to remember the details but by using such a steel frame, well Iron in his case, he created a mill six stories high, powered by water at first but later by steam.  This was the forerunner of all these strange sights that litter our world today.  Rather typical that it was someone from that part of the world to begin it, don't ya think?

This is me trying to earn money for Christmas.  Now why would I be thinking about Christmas when we are still in Autumn and it is only half way through October?  I am thinking about Christmas because 'Selfridges,' that bastion of greed and selfishness has revealed their Christmas window displays today!  

In the early eighties I worked for this company.  Operating from the warehouse in Paddington I spent a delightful three years being driven around London delivering parcels until I stupidly agreed to go inside the vast warehouse and work myself into the ground for eight hours a day there.  Luckily I broke my leg and after nine months was transferred to the vaster accounts office where futility and self serving was a daily occurrence.   Not the worst job I have ever done but foolishly I remained for a couple of years when I ought to have ran for it and found decent folks to work with elsewhere.  Stupidity is of course my main talent so I remained.
One thing was clear when it comes to money grabbing this store knows all the tricks and one of them is Christmas.  The Santa Grotto is always busy with long queues forming, and if the grotto is placed badly these queues hold up the whole store.  Just remembering the crowds makes me shake inside.  How lovely it was trundling around London reminding the driver that he ought to stop at red lights, so much better than the closet that was the office space.  The space was OK but it was full of people and a Kalashnikov was considered a suitable item, in my mind at least!  Oh move on quickly...

Well it's nearly over.  In a few weeks we will know if the Americans have been stupid enough to elect Donald Trump as President!  Only the USA can land themselves in this kind of mess.  Other nations have political systems which ensure politicians stand for election, none ask rich rabblerousers to do so.  Trump appeals to the worst in the US stirring up hate and fear like no-one else, appealing to those who feel far from government and appealing to the All American myth, whichever way the people choose to believe it.  Policies?  There appear to be none, talent, none either, actual desire to do the job?  None!  l think he stood for a joke, an attempt to snub those who snub him and like Boris Johnson and David Cameron over here it went wrong and now he may well end up as President!  

What is the alternative?  Hilary!  At first site she is obviously able to do the job, she saw it as wife of a President, believes she ought to have had it last time, and has experience failing miserably worldwide before.  All the required skills are there.  The trouble is much of the US hate her.  Some disagree with her policies, many disagree with her.  So far little in the way of rational reasons why have emerged suffice to say that is the situation.  
So which way will it go?  The only one laughing is Putin.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Historic City

In another lifetime I wandered around Edinburgh looking for photographs.  Having been brought up there for around twenty or so years I discovered on the occasions I returned that there was nothing to photograph.  This is because you do not see what is all around you when you live there, it is just there!  You learn about the history at school to some degree but what is in front of the nose is more important especially when in the teen years.  The 'Castle,' the 'Royal Mile,' the 'Palace of Holyrood house' all these existed but were just there.  The same thing happened to me when spending a night in Bath, the town not the tub.  A great deal of Bath is built in similar style to Georgian Edinburgh that I did not 'see' it, it was just there!  It therefore surprised me one day to realise that Edinburgh is full of photo opportunities.  Suddenly one day I noted the architecture was different from London, the sky bluer, at least one day a month when the clouds part to let it shine,and history was and is all around!

The 'Merkat Cross' pictured at the top is historical.  In days of yore, when Scotland was as it should be independent, civic announcements were read out by the 'Herald' of the 'Lord Lyon King of Arms.' These were announcements concerning laws passed by the Scots Parliament situated on the further side of St Giles Kirk from the Merkat Cross itself.  Today Parliamentary Elections are still announced by the Herald from this Merkat Cross.  Proclamations, edicts, burnings and punishments were also carried out at the cross.  In 1565 Sir James Tarbet was tied to the cross and pelted with eggs for saying the Mass which had been banned several years before.  Murderers, rebels and outlaws were hanged, some after being broken before hand at the cross.  Life for the criminal was not very kind in those days.
This Cross is a Victorian version of the original.  That is thought to have originated in the late 1300's and stood out in the main thoroughfare, later it was moved to the side and in 1760's it was demolished.  I suspect Sir Walter Scott while not responsible for the Cross was a guide and an encourager for those who wish to keep Scotland's history alive.
The 'Lord Lyon King of Arms' still today has an important job ensuring standards regarding er, standards are kept up.  Recently several Scottish football clubs were informed that portions of their badges and crests infringed the law and were taking advice from the Lord Lyon regarding their legitimate appearance.  He is not a man to be fooled with!    
The drain seen at the side of the Close is also interesting, it would have in times past been very interesting as it would have flowed with excrement chucked out of the windows above.  As I recall the emptying of pots was done at night, the cry of 'Gardyloo' being uttered as a warning to those slushing about in the Close below.  As the closes on both sides of the High Street slope downwards the refuse would run away but not always taking everything with it.  The rich lived high above leaving the stench to those down below.  It is no wonder Scotland is more egalitarian than England and now wonder also we developed so many leading medical personnel!

It is not possible for anyone in this world not to have heard about Greyfriars Bobby, the dog who slept on his masters grave in the churchyard after he died.  So therefore I will not mention this but I can say I have been in the pub behind a couple of times, very much a student pub in the 70's, I suspect it remains so still. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Mixed Bag

I came across this squirrel one day in Kensington Gardens.  The poor thing appeared to be suffering from a cold and as I had a packet of 'Lockets' those honey throat sweets as I had recently had similar I offered one to the greedy creature.  he took it happily and sat chomping away, and breathing better, on this branch.  I left another at the foot of the tree for him as I suspected he would require more.  I was surprised that he accepted the sweet as they are not in fact very sweet and are very strong, I thought too strong for him.  I was wrong.  The beast appeared happier and so was I.

'Ally Pally'  a city set on a hill and seen for miles around.  A white elephant writ large.  I don't think this has ever been of much use to the world.  Alexandra Palace was opened in 1873 (rebuilt after a fire in 1875) as a counterpoint to the 'Crystal Palace' now resident in south London.  The main aim was an entertainment centre but I am not sure it was a success.  In 1936 the BBC TV made use of it as a TV studio, awfully well spoken announcers in evening dress and limited programming and even limited audiences.  It was possible for the TV folks to walk round the town and shake hands with all the viewers if they wished.
The war, this occurred in 1939 look it up, put an end to TV transmissions but the Ally Pally was used by the BBC for a while after the war for both Radio & TV, the aerial towering above is still in use, but when the BBC found other studios the Palace was handed over to a multitude of wide ranging organisations and is still in use for pleasure purposes today.  I would go but I canny be nothered climbing the hill.
I took this poor snap from a friends top floor flat which looked over the wide expanse of London.  The sights at night must be terrific and the fireworks displays are best seen from up here.  It is a shame the flat was expensive to run and a bit pokey and she moved to a more sensible rented accommodation.  How the rich live!

One night in the London Favela I got bored and attempted to burn the place down by making use of candles to save electricity, it did not work.  The place did not burn, no insurance was handed out and I saved no money.
Sometimes I wish I  had kept hold of that old Leica.  However it was a bit awkward to use and 1938 cameras do not do digital.  Just think how recently we made use of those wee canisters of film.  It appears like another world where the old fashioned process of developing and printing took so much time and effort while now we can in minutes rather than wait a week or so we can decide we have taken rubbish pictures!  One great step for mankind.

 Time to hit the road, something I often did when cycling...

Thursday, 13 October 2016


A stones throw from Edinburgh Castle there stands these houses built in the late 19th century I believe.  Above the roof of one stands this cat like creature apparently waiting to pounce upon the park land far below.  When we passed this as a kid the family would point this out but I could never see it.  No matter how hard I scanned the rooftops I was too dumb to see what was in front of my eyes.  Standing half way up the 'Mound' I looked for the cat but go see nothing yet one day while passing there it was.  You can tell by the Edinburgh it was summer.  Actually I am not sure this began as a cat but the weather beat hard at the thing and a cat is what remains.  No idea what it could have been.

The London penthouse in which I dwelt for many years contained a 'cat woman.'  This one, who's name I forget, became a a friend to me and often joined me in my humble abode, it joined me everywhere if it could as cats do, however on this occasion the brute was making use of cat woman's garden.  By garden I mean the area above the front door which acted like a garden if you like rock hard ground.  Having eaten everything in sight I suspect he now retires to sit in the sun.  Clever cat.

This is a scene from a trip on a boat somewhere on the Irish Sea in the 90's.  Hunting for oil?  I canny see what else they would be looking for.  Maybe as a nuclear power station is not far away from this place could this be the result of too much atomic power leaking into the sea?  Maybe someone should look and see if they remains in place?   With even the Saudi's worrying about the loss of oil revenue could it be these have indeed been removed and replaced?  If so I wonder what with?

This appears to be Bournemouth Pier long ago but I suspect it remains the same today.  A wonderful beach here, well cared for, much used all year round, and a huge tourist benefit for the town.  This is a place I miss, especially when the crowds have departed or long before they arrive.  Maybe I ought to consider whether it is time for a weekend living of the second family?  Maybe I will wait until the sun shines again as it appears to have gone out now.  I will try again in Spring.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Church at the Gates of Heaven, almost...

I've been tidying up the cupboard.  I now have a box half full of old photographs and a large bundle of these set aside to scan into this infernal machine.  How lucky you will be to see pictures taken in the days of the distant past.  Lots of them!
This one of course is Tynecastle Park Edinburgh which you will recognise instantly.  Many moons ago the huge board announcing the home of the Heart of Midlothian stood here but for reasons of crass stupidity this was removed during reconstruction work.  This reconstruction was under way as I passed and we can see inside only because the stand at this end had not yet been built.  I believe it is now home to Mr Smith, author, raconteur and wit, of our acquaintance a man who is lucky enough to sit here weekly and even luckier enough to write about what he sees in the local free press.  Good for him!  Recently it has been announced that the old stand to the right and out of the picture is to be rebuilt.  This will increase the ground capacity and stop folks worrying needlessly re the safety of the present structure.  It is said this stand was completed late in 1914 as the men working on it ran off to enlist in the army at the outbreak of war, a story I have not found evidence for but it does appear likely.

This was I thought a rather delightful shot of St Giles Kirk when I found it but age has ruined the dark bits somewhat.  However turning it into B&W has helped to create a nice enough image of Edinburgh inn the gloom, when is Edinburgh not in the gloom?   Edinburgh is so hard to get to nowadays.  I have nowhere to sleep, no transport and no money so I could make use of the bus pass all the way to Berwick on Tweed and walk from there I suppose?  Maybe that is a bit too far?  I could spend three or more hours in Stansted Airport for a one hour flight and get the bus in from their, or travel by train to Kings Cross and travel by train for six hours or so to Waverley Station.  Just thinking about it all makes me wonder if it would be worth while, especially now the cold east wind is hurling wind up my trouser leg.  I might just wait till Spring, the Haar eases of then and the gloom lightens up somewhat.

It is difficult enough to travel to London just now let alone Edinburgh.  Each weekend for the next couple of months (which means until Spring) they are working on the lines so all trains are replaced by buses from Chelmsford onwards, that's normally a 45 minute journey!  No weekend in the 'Big Smoke' (Smokeless now so what to call it?) for me these days.  In time all this will lead to an improved service or at least that is the hope but the cynical commuter puts things differently!  It does not take much to disrupt a train service, one man stood in front of one just outside the station and argued with the driver for 45 minutes because of a ticket problem.  The friendly travel police took him away.  No train service can be satisfactory all the time but privatisation has made it worse and that is the ideology driving this Tory government today.  Things will only get worse!

I wonder where that is?
It looks a bit Londonish to me but I have no recollection of taking this picture.  It is possible I took it on my travels but who knows.  I quite like it.
You can tell I have not got out, not that there is anything to see around here just now.  Instead I cleaned the fridge (bi-annual event) and sorted these pictures.  I ripped up and dumped hundreds in a cruel but required exercise today.  Most were duplicates, many were children unknown belonging to friends, many more were our lot and not worth keeping now and others were just rubbish.  The wheely bin will be heavy next time dustman!  
Work tomorrow, someone skiving off again!

Monday, 10 October 2016

The Opening

Saturday saw the new exhibition open, 'Postcards & Porcelain' from the district.   A large crowd attended the wine bar opening and an appreciative crowd listened to the fitful speeches with appropriate delight.  The idea is simple, John's collection of postcards cover the area and need exhibited.  This meets the need of many who like to see how the area has change, or not as the case may be.  Sadly few cards were posted or indeed developed during the 50's & 60's, those that were are usually rude ones, and the fashion died somewhat.  The postcards still sells but not as it once did, lack of interest, the internet and laziness take their toll.
When I moved away I was told Mum wants to hear how you are so send a postcard.  Mum wishes to know everything but you wish to write nothing so a postcard is ideal.  My sister used to send me one when she & mum and the kid went somewhere, usually a local or funny card with 'We were here today' scrawled on the back.  I received one featuring a picture of the Andromeda Galaxy one day with that written on the back, I think myself they had been in a museum!

Porcelain was used in similar fashion and to a small degree still is, however a wee bit more tatty than before.  There was an amazing assortment of items from teapots to thimbles, tanks and milk jugs available at one time.  There are no people on display but in times past a figure was developed and whoever was making news at the time that figure had his face upon it, even if it looked nothing like him!  Politicians, sportsmen, musicians all were featured often on identical wee men.

I arrived home in time for the football results, not that there were many being the international break, and proceeded to watch Scotland draw with Lithuania in a manner similar to other occasions I have witnessed.  I could have warned of this result before the game but did not see the need, proper Scots were surely already aware of the result before it happened.

So I have returned to my investigations of the dead found in Bocking End Churchyard.  Very interesting to see how one can start with a trade, such as joiner, and become a 'Master Builder,' none of those around today, and die in one of he big houses round the corner, it may of course be on eh built himself!  He left little money but a few years later his son certainly did which tells us something but I wonder what.  The man shown was happily minister of the Congregational church but appears to have died suddenly in a hospital in far of Wimbledon, I wonder why?  Such questions are as yet unanswered but do intrigue.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

A Colchester Bookshop & the Hospital Arms

This 'run of the mill' side door, of a kind seen in town's everywhere, led me into a new world, a bookshop!  Not just a bookshop but a proper second hand bookshop with several nooks and crannies and several floors of books, some in order others mixed up.  A wonderful find and I wondered how I missed it before.   I missed it because it only opened up in this building last year having previously been half way down the hill.  More custom, far more people passing the door, more satisfaction for all concerned.   A delightful staff, friendly and I suspect knowledgeable, several floors and with a 'bargain basement,' on the top floor!  

I just happened to see the sign in the window and this led me to the shop.  An aged building, a small shop that is larger inside than it looks from the outside and books a plenty.  Having only my 'outside glasses' and not coming prepared to search for books I was caught out somewhat but I suspect this shop will survive here and there will be plenty of time to visit again.  This shop has all an old bookshop should have, the building, the people, the nooks & crannies and lots and lots of books.  I must say one or two looked expensive to me but this is because I am so used to raking charity shops for books and some of those do not understand the worth of older books so bargains can be found.  These people know books and charge accordingly, they must to survive in this 'Amazon' led book world.  I hope they will survive, this is a proper bookshop.

William Gilberd was as is said a clever man who became a physician, looking after the English Queen Elizabeth and experimented with science to discover the earth was magnetic.  He also came up with Latin words which others called 'electricity' and possessed a clever mind and royal approval.  King James VI & I also approved but not for long as poor William died in 1603 possibly from Bubonic Plague.  Perhaps he ought to have ignored science and physics and just studied medicine?

The house in which William was born is a bit of all right for the time.  I suspect it has been altered somewhat over the years but looks all right from the outside.  Once the place would see horses and the like entering via the gateway and lassies in flowing dresses gathering to chatter about the latest gossip in town.  This house would in those days be in the dead centre of town and clearly Gilberd's dad had influence at the time.  Clearly he also made sure he did not upset Queen Liz.

I was impressed by the ancient gas lamp outside the entrance to the old house but somewhat disappointed by the somewhat tardy lightbulb seen inside.  However these ancient lights add a great deal to old houses, and many still remain in Camulodunum in spite of Nazi bombing during the war and council rebuilding after it.  Behind me the area is modern 1960's or later style buildings.  Two church towers stand reaching to the heavens yet only one is connected to a church building, and that one is no longer used as such as the church has a new place next door.  The building now appears to act as a hall.  The old buildings rub up against a new shopping centre which I can tell you freely contains nothing that was of any use to me.

Having searched every charity shop in town unsuccessfully I made for home and naturally found my bus running just ahead of me leaving me 20 minutes to wait.  Nothing for it but lunch in the 'Hospital Arms' with a £3:40 pint of Adnam's 'Mosaic' and jolly good it was too!  A decent small pub made from two old houses well worth a visit, clean and tidy, well set out, offering food that tempted and judgng by the notice board reasonably popular.   This place gave me space to recover myself before I wandered over the road for the late running bus upon which I almost fell asleep.  That beer was stronger than I thought...