Saturday, 30 May 2020

A Walk in the Park...

The promise of another hot day made me leave the condominium before 10 this morning.  I wandered across the green of the park, avoided by several gents keen on a 6ft distance, glad to be outside before the park fill with dafties seeking sunshine and virus exchanges.  
Slowly I passed the long queues at the supermarkets, all well distanced, and the market, each stall with distant keen customers, was remarkably quiet.  I did wonder if the Tesco queue could be longer, I suspect they could wait nearly an hour today.  At Sainsburys at least he sun shines on you, not at Tesco. 
On the one had I noted how efficient people were regarding 'social distancing' yet also the great fear that was among them all.  Elsewhere long queues of traffic were piling up as people headed into the sun, here the locals, most of whom voted for Boris, were wary of an early lock down ending.  This makes me wonder how many will send their kids to school on Monday?
In an attempt to divert attention from Dominic's wrong doing Boris has forced the schools back and offered a 'Test and Track' device.  Many will not attend school and the Test App has already been found to be full of holes.  One QC has indicated the language used is US legal terminology, make of that what you will. 
Dominic, I must say, is guilty and must go!

Since returning from my waddle around town I have done nothing but read my book.  The intention was to finish it today, but there is yet another chapter appeared!  The book has me in its grasp, I must stop and eat but I must pick it up and read also.  I am worn out!  
As such I have little idea what is going on today.
A quick glance at the news shows a surprise, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam says we are ending Lock Down too early, as do two other 'top scientists.'  This is not Dominic speaking!
Near naked women will dominate tomorrows pages as the media report on crowded beaches and parks.  The one opposite me has not in the end been crowded.
Another attempt to bring back English football and finish season is planned.  How will they cope if a player goes down?  What about black players susceptible to this virus?  Money is what matters here!
Scottish football may restart. or may not, Hearts may go down, or they may not, reconstruction may happen or it may not...normal service via the SFA/SPFL.
Meanwhile in Minnesota in the 'Land of the Free' it is common for Police to kill Black men because they are back, then the 3 year old in the White House refuses to condemn the killer and grumbles about the resulting riots.  'Shoot them' He says!  The bumbling idiot clearly has no idea what leadership is about, I suspect he thinks the cops will vote for him.

Now, having scanned the press I am left wishing I had not bothered.  I do note Boris is hiding, would he be caring for his child perhaps...?

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Witless Wednesday

This sums up my day.
Doing nothing but drinking coffee and reading things.
The hardest work was getting this laptop to work, thanks to another Microsoft download it has since been giving trouble.  Isn't it always the way?  At least it works, even if it requires restarting, indeed Blogger requires restarting also, several times, as this is hindered by the updated software.  While it works now it was slow and unwilling to start, Blogger also, and I look forward to tomorrows beginning struggle.
However that apart, I read Twitter for news, books for knowledge, and did little else.  I was going to watch Boris meeting the House Committee this afternoon but could not face the lies.  Since then I have learned there were lots of lies.  Cummings is still around and I await the Durham Police next step.  Take your time lads, get it right.
Of course, after all this coffee I cannot sleep...

Tuesday, 26 May 2020


Is it over yet?
Have they sacked him?
Has he resigned?
Can I come out now...?

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sunday Blether

I didn't bother to watch the historical sight of Boris attending a press conference, even one in which I am told all the questions were pre-prepared.  It was however no surprise to see on Twitter the news that Boris backed his man Dominic Cummings.  The anger that has resulted will be treated with contempt by Cummings and his paymasters behind the scenes.  We must ask who is paying who here.  The Koch Brothers?  US hedge funds?  Who pays Matthew Elliott and his crowd?  Who is buying all the data Dominic is selling to the USA?   Why do the media keep quiet?  
What more is to come out of this corrupt government?

Unusually quiet around here these days.  Most folks outside of government advisor's have been following the rules, only occasionally someone will be caught trading drugs in the park or like here be chatted up by a policewoman with paperwork.  No idea what was going on, he was sitting on our step when they arrived.  I was woken from my siesta by the van door slamming, this causes me to reach for the window in case it is a parcel for one of us.  There was even one delivered today!  However, this was just a drunk I think, someone must have called for the police, or possibly he has been annoying folks in town.  As always no more has been heard.  Possibly they drove him to the border and dumped him on Suffolk, always a good idea!

Looking through the old pics I came across this one.  I always liked this, but it may be a while before I take it again.  The strong winds the past few days have put cyclists off, not many pass by, and while the old railway line is quite sheltered the wind would be against you going up hill.  Not a pleasant time.  Great coming home however.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Friday, End of Week Rummage.

Another week of joy and happiness is over. The early weeding this week, the Tesco and Sainsbury shopping all wore me out, not helped by having to hoover, change bed, laundry, and cook also all week.  Al these girl jobs and only I to do them.  It is so wearing...

So I spent time looking through old, very old, pictures you may have seen before.  Some were taken on the old Minolta B.D. that's Before Digital.  Playing around with them can be beneficial to them, but not always.  This one of St Giles Kirk must have been taken from Calton Hill, two or three others were, and I actually like it.  Calton Hill has been a playground for Edinburgh folk for many a day, and today it continues the dubious honour of having many a strange occurrence occur there.  This did not happen on the day I ventured up the hill, too cold that day.  Kings of old allowed sport, archery and such like, the people preferred open-air theatre and debauchery.  The imitation Parthenon still stands, well around ten pillars at least.  This is the 'National Monument' designed to commemorate the Scottish servicemen who died during the Napoleonic Wars.  It ran out of money in 1829 and work has as yet not restarted.     

Advocates Close in the high Street is a favourite place to picture.  Work has meant such a pic may no longer be possible, however, this is one of a great many closes that go from the 'Royal Mile' down the High Street to Holyrood.  Old Edinburgh being built on a thin stretch of land the buildings tended to rise up higher and higher, ten stories not being unusual.  We can see the slope away to the north from this angle.  The memorial to Sir Walter Scott stands in the distance.  Scott invented the modern 'traditional Scot.'  Tartan and romantic Highlanders and all the half truths and lies that accompany his determined effort to make Scotland well known, but part of Greater England!  He sold us out and still did not make enough money from his books to pay his debts.  Advocates Close was named for the Lord Advocate, James Stewart, a fine residence in his day, later a slum and now renovated, and expensive I bet.

Abraham Lincoln stands atop this memorial to the Scottish American Soldiers who fought in the US Civil War.  Erected in 1893 with several of these men buried underneath or nearby, it shows Lincoln at the top, a freed Black slave with a book, revealing he is now educated at the base.  It is the only such memorial outside of the US. 

How did I climb hills?  This was taken ten years ago when my mother died.  One day my brother drove us around to get a feel for the place as it had become.  We stopped here, Salisbury Crags to the right, castle and all in front.  A popular view for those with expensive cameras!

Edinburgh Zoo is famous for the Penguin enclosure.  I took this 'Rockhopper Penguin' pic at the time they were renovating the place.  I can assure you penguins smell a great deal when up close.  One of my nieces did a year at the zoo when 16, this included 6 weeks with penguins.  As she got on the bus going home the drivers would say "You, upstairs!"  No-one sat near her.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Courageous or Daft...?

The temperature is high, around 75 at times, and here at Southend Beach we see thousands of people, 'social isolating' themselves together!  This is being repeated all over the country, parks are full of such sights.  Crowds gather forgetting the virus and glad to be out in the much needed sunshine.  Is it safe?
Of course it is not safe!
While it is safer to be outside than indoors with others where virus and germs can be transferred it is not possible to accept that such crowds can be safe, especially from such a virus as Covid 19.  The men in the Labs do not understand the make up of this virus as yet, how can they deal with it?  Yet the Brexit voting Essex individual decides they are 'safe' in this crowd.
Shops opening will make things worse, today MacDonald's in Chelmsford opened for 'Drive Thru' orders and Spelling lessons.  Several Twitter posts from those who control the traffic in the county mentioned this as the cause of tail backs!  I believe it was 'Costa Coffee' yesterday blocking streets in similar fashion also.  

Here we see three waves of Spanish Flu from the pandemic of 1918/19.  The first wave was small but deadly, as the third was small, but larger than the first.  However it was the second wave that killed the majority.  Men in war are forced to move around, workers also, little chance of proper 'Lock Down' then.  However, there is control now, it has been allowed to slip and soon we will face a depressing return to numbers being spouted, lying numbers at that, regarding the latest victims of this virus and government incompetence.   How many on the beaches or in the parks will catch this virus?  One in ten will not survive.
Possibly they might wish to consider the idea of gargling with salt water as a cure.  Like me you will wonder if this is from the 'Donald Trump Health Society' but in fact it comes from a study by clever clogs at Edinburgh University, so it must be good.  I have heard many times that such gargling can aid cold cures, but never tried it as I thought it 'old wifey' to be honest.  I may change my mind as they claim some folks had an improvement in their symptoms when gargling.  More research required.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Gardening and Shopping

Wearily to Tesco late at night for the odd things like milk and bread that we cannot live without.  Weary as I had foolishly considered myself 25 again and sauntered downstairs and weeded the front. While this was good, it requires doing and only I bother these days, it meant a lot of effort, effort being something I have not used in a while.  So by evening the walk to Tesco found new undisturbed muscular activity.  I feel it yet!  This was not helped by Tesco being busy.  It is usually quiet at that time but lots were around wandering hither and thither instead of following the one way system.  There was a queue and while the staff were excellent it took time to get through.  A lovely evening but some questioned what the steam engine noises were, it was me puffing up the road.  

I got a note from the neighbour, we all have them, in the house next door, worried re her Ivy plant that was reaching up to the first floor window.  This is round the back of the house and not a problem.  However having contacted the disinterested landlady I told her to cut the base and it will soon die, easy to remove then.  I offered to help her cut this, clever move it turns out, as she,a lady of many years reacted as my mother would do,she cut it herself, saw and all, because she, in her pride, does not need a man to things for her, she is not old!  Tee Hee!  She is fitter than me and I am glad.  A bit paint no loss on this house of course however today I looked again round the back and it is a bigger job than I thought.  I may have more weeding to do there.  Good exercise...maybe she will help?

Today I had to visit the ironmongers shop and came back via the park.  Several groups of two and threes were dotted around in the sun.  An occasional dad being bullied by a three year old, a couple canoodling in the shade, near naked fat girls reflected an awful lot of sunshine, and a dog walker or two could be seen.  In one part of town people sit together, in the town itself people were making great efforts to avoid going near one another.  Some are really scared of this virus and the ironmonger was wearing a large face mask, the lass at the till the usual type.  Good for them, meeting so many people today they need it.  It was very quiet in town, not helped by road works to pavements that is noisily ongoing, and most appeared to remain indoors.  The sun tempts people into the park, shops may have run out of Vitamin 'D' tablets so they undress in public and very white knees seek the sun.  Mine came home...


Sunday, 17 May 2020


To the untrained eye that 'blob' seen just above the ever so dark treetops is in fact Venus!  Glinting brightly in what can only be called the wrong part of the sky, I had to squash against the wall falling over things to have several attempts to capture a picture, it was impossible to resist.  How I wish I lived in a better placed house!  However, I managed several moving pictures, one or two possible abstract art works worth millions and eventually obtained this before the planet dodged behind the trees and out of sight. 

This is what it looks like in close up.  This picture is not one I could take sadly, the high powered telescope is beyond my pension money.  Such a lot of swirling poisonous gas in one place.  Space is full of such marvels, this one however somewhat hot to touch.  Japanese spacecraft are orbiting the planet, sending back this picture among others, watching the swirling mass and giving astronomers work for years to come.  What practical use the info will be I am not sure, but it is interesting, at least to those of us who knew 'Dan Dare' and that Green Mekon!
Of course the cloud hides Venus tonight in spite of sunshine for much of the day.

The difference 75 years makes to Politics...

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Friday, 15 May 2020

Boring Friday

A walk in the park to clear the head this afternoon.  The sun shone, the chilly wind remained, less so but noticeable to me.  Around me women gathered with their children, well, not around me, they just happened to be lying around in the grass in groups.  The lessening of lock Down will encourage the virus no end.  While dad was being shown how to play football by his ten year old daughter, his bruises will be seen in the morning, a sister bullied her selfish brother, are they not all the same, while he took forever to return the ball they were kicking around, and a dog or two took the owner for a walk it was clear people were enjoying the freedom on offer.  However, I could not help thinking that while this looks good other parks will be more crowded, less space between folk and the NHS, PPE or not, will be seeing some of these people in the not to distant future.  
I no longer consider watching the news worthwhile.  The numbers on offer are either depressing, deliberate lies, or a result of incompetence, none can be believed.  Twitter informs me 1 in 4  Virus information posted is wrong, sometimes deliberately so, I believe that.  I am not sure I have ever known a more incompetent government when it comes to running the nation.  They have the audacity to whine that Nicola offers info before the London spokesman does, indeed, because she is proving more efficient and if she does not offer such info it may not be seen at all!  Nicola has handled this well so far, no matter how petty the attacks on her have been.  She has many faults, running the country in a pandemic has shown she has some talent, talent not seen in Westminster!
It is interesting also that those involved in the 'Vote Leave' campaign no run the show at No 10.  In spite of 'Vote Leave' being fined those responsible have been given jobs by Dominic behind the scenes.   Interestingly this includes the Chief Police Officer who dropped the charges against 'Vote Leave.'  Dominic's own Civil Service in operation.  
The more we know about how the nation is run the more we question why no-one is asking questions regarding the manner in which the nation is run.  If only the BBC could recruit a journalist, what?  Oh they dumped them all...I see.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

There is Less to Say Today...

If yesterday was boring you will find it much, much worse today.
The main delight was to do the 'washing.'  This is interesting in that round here they call it 'laundry,' and do not understand what you mean.  Just as in Edinburgh women, for that is what they were made for, will go for the 'messages,' but in these parts they say 'shopping,' or 'Supermarket,' or 'I have a woman to do that sort of thing.'  When I lived in Edinburgh there were many phrases I took for granted but which cause puzzlement in these parts.  A woman asked the time, 'The back of three o'clock' I said.  She stared at me blankly.  She, it must be said, was indeed reared on a farm.  'Do you mean,' she enquired nervously, 'After three o'clock?'  I stared blankly.  What else could I have meant I thought.  Only then it struck me how everyday expressions we grow up with at fixed to a locale.  Just as many words are found only in certain areas phrases and expressions are similarly found in limited locales.  
Of course round here they all speak with the same accent, acceptable but not one to boast about.  When an individual from Lancashire or Wales or Scotland appears I always enjoy the improvement.  Such accents are delightful, while a 'Scouse' one, named after a type of stew, is not so endearing. 

I picked this book up again, I found it under a pile of detritus, and luckily it was open at an interesting bit.  Here MacFarlane walks around in the West Bank with an Arab walker to guide him.  In a another chapter he was walking with a man who picked up odd bits he found as he walked, made a small 'book' enclosing his finds, over a thousand such books in his possession, and his left me wondering about what goes on behind peoples front doors.  The Arab, Raja is his name, had walked many Wadi's in the West Bank and made maps of his walks, not something to carry about with you when soldiers or settlers might be met.  MacFarlane describes in his usual, normal, current, regular, customary, familiar overblown style as he walks.  On occasion this can be interesting, sadly not often enough.  However they walk up and down the slopes, ensuring they cannot be seen by Israeli or settler guards as the area is technically out of bounds.  The word 'technically' means they get shot if seen, US style, no questions asked.
For such hardened walkers this is great fun.  The author walks along investigating the limestone rocks and describing the rivulets where water has over the centuries run down into the Wadi.  Such men enjoy the toil, even with a heavy backpack, possibly considering that this makes them appear 'real men.'  Walking across parts of Israel crossed by many feet over thousands of years in indeed intriguing but while these two considered the stones I would be considering where the nearest Falafel takeaway joint was to be found.  They trudge along wary of figures on the horizon while rain begins to fall.  This, as is the way in such places soon turns the area into clinging yellowish mud as the rivulets allow water to run down.  This is what done for Sisera all those years before.  Arriving with all his trained charioteers he found Barak at the foot of Mount Tabor.  To him this was an easy victory but the rain came and that area was full of streams.  Soon his chariots were stuck in mud and his men, trained to fight on the move, were no match for the 'Infantry' of Barak, especially when they were aroused.  Sisera himself managed to escape the carnage hiding with the Kenites, he saw them as friendly locals, and was lulled to sleep by a milky drink given by the woman Jael.  He may not have known the Kenites were descended from Moses father-in-law and Jael, when she saw he was asleep, did the decent thing and put a tent peg through his scull.  Never trust a woman I say!  Never trust a woman who lulls you to sleep with a milky drink!
My head hurts now.
Those ancient hills in the West Bank must have seen many a confrontation over thousands of years. The chances of peace in that area now is still slim.  
Anyway that is the sort of area MacFarlane is walking over in this chapter, his style has not changed, the people he meets appear regular walkers, I am talking about walking across Spain, or France or some such, just for the adventure.  These are his type of people.  I am left wondering about them myself. What makes people take off into the wild, possibly living alone far from humanity, possibly in rough areas in the hills or by the sea, obsessed with the world around them, oblivious to the rest?  Why do they do this?  I suspect we have all met them, sometimes envious of them, as they head out into adventure.  But these are not all young people, some have done this for decades.  As I said, when you go into someone's house you never know what you may meet.  I found this in the 80s when delivering in London, normal houses may be done up like castles downstairs, just for decoration, other rather run down properties were a wonder inside, this was the dream house for someone.  Another was an ex-sailor, very aged, with dozens of large models of Royal Navy ships, most of these were ships in which he had served during the Great War.  Poor old man was lonely and wished to talk about them but I had to rush on.  I regret not being able to remain for a while, both for him and for me!
Anyway, I might finish this book yet, depending on the nutter individual found in later chapters...

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

There is Nothing to Say

There is nothing to say, as Lock Down continues, I am following that Sturgeon woman not Boris, I find little to excite my writing fingers.  Wednesday followed Tuesday and little changed between them, except that I realised early on it was Wednesday by looking at the calendar.  Otherwise the grey clouds have obscured much of the sky with glimpses of sun shining through.  The northern wind has whistled through the cracks in my window frames happily freezing my fingers.  The wind has also limited the numbers who would otherwise be filling the park opposite today, Boris allowing them out encouraging them to flock to such places.  The traffic certainly appeared busier today, though it is Market Day, and the English being patriotic enough when crowded around a VE Day celebration are also stupid enough to crowd into a Market even if only three stalls will be there.  I suspect 'social distancing' was only observed by the queues at Supermarkets, the Post Office and the Banks.  

On Saturday I noticed some ignoring the 'advice' by settling down in the park, imagine what that would have been like today?  The Blackbirds, the Thrush's, Wood pigeons and the Crows would be happy for them to all remain indoors, only the lack of left over 'takeaways' would upset the Crows as that has become an important part of their diet.  
The council men cut the grass the other day leaving behind that sweet aroma that enlivens a sunny day.  Quite why cut grass has such a fragrance I know not but there is little beat it.  There was a plant, name unknown, that stood across from me that also offered sweet fragrance but the council took that away earlier this year, clearly something was amiss there.  It has as yet not been replaced which is a pity. 

Routines here can be boring to outsiders, rise slowly, breakfast and then study scripture to my own satisfaction, except that is when it tells me to change my ways or do something.  At my pace that brings me to 11 am at least!  Thus it is too late to start doing those urgent 'Big Jobs' and too early to look at the small ones.  So, let us gaze at the joggers slowly crossing the park, some getting much faster than they were a week or too ago.  Interesting to watch old men, unknown until now, who regularly wander the park paths.  These men have not exercised before but being trapped indoors has brought them out to their own benefit.  Naturally they ignore one another!  

With long queues at the big shops the man on the corner has made the most of the time.  Offering foodstuffs eggs, tins and whatever he can obtain, he has made a killing, mostly on the plants he sells. Business has been god, queues as long as the ones at the big shops can be found daily.  They park their cars at our door and care not about the locals, however I did manage to obtain a tray of eggs, 30 for £6 a go.  This of course means far too many cheese omelettes early in the day and I suspect before long I will die of cholesterol poisoning!  The price works out about normal round here.  Had I been using the bike there are many houses just outside the town which sell eggs, often on an honesty basis, take and pay in box.  Some do Honey also this way.  There has it appears been a rise in the sale of chickens in recent days so it may be urban houses may soon do similar.

Today I managed to avoid both the 'Big Jobs' as well as the small ones, then I realised the milk would not last so now I am preparing to visit Sainsburys at 7:30, the best time to go there. 
A friend has been told, by doctors letter, to remain indoors until June.  She is allowed out in a car however and he and her will take advantage of this and drive into the country for a change of scenery.  The country being five minutes drive from their door that will be easy.  
The change of scenery from indoors to out is great when it happens rarely.  I have been watching those 'Cab Rides' videos from the drivers seat in railway engines and wandering about the country.  Today I crossed the Forth Bridge, bringing back memories, and then the Tay Bridge also.  The video may be ten years old but it was a bright interlude in the day.  For the men driving such engines it must make their day when they can cross such constructions and get paid for this.  A skilled job, good pay and being outside with any troubles being the problem for the guard and not yourself is a great thing.  While delays occur rarely are drivers to blame and always they have the luxury of the view.  Much better than an office life. 
Having broken my leg in 1986 I was moved into an office.  One thing that bugged me was the constant dream of being outside in the van once again delivering across the city.  The nearest I got to this was being a Postman.  Half the day indoors the rest wandering the streets.  An enjoyable job when I began, not so enjoyable now.  Too busy, bad management and too many drops for each man.

Another quick wander about a near deserted Sainsburys.  Few about, mostly male, mostly buying beer, wine an spirits plus bacon and bread.  Clearly getting the breakfast stuff in!  A quick chat to all the attractive young ladies, why do they call me 'Granddad?'  Then saunter home in the chill breeze, blue sky appearing between puffy clouds, a Crow half way up the Police Radio Mast and a silent town lying round about.
Then I realised there were no Starlings on the mast.  In times past there have been thousands of the things.  Possibly they are Murmuring somewhere but at this time there is usually a host to be seen.  The Crow is not enough to put them off, I wonder if the numbers have dwindled?  Only one or two Swifts seen so far also.  I could go on Twitter and er, 'Tweet' about this...?