Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Rematch......



Hullo there ma wee blog,


Well, thats me off now for my 2nd stage appeal against an unfair redundancy selection. Lets see what happens now.....

Place your bets, place your bets.....

Some chance!

See you later.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Natalie! Your place or mime?

Hullo there ma wee blog,

Just this cos I have laughed at it for years........





see you later

Monday, 28 September 2009

some holiday snaps......



Hullo there ma wee blog,


Thought I would take a wee meenit away from my prep for stuff.....

My Stage two appeal against unfair redundancy dismissal is on Wednesday in Edinburgh. {I dont have a problem with being selected for redundancy if the selection criteria is fair and applied to all, but it wasn't..... and while I honestly dont grudge any of my colleagues a job cos they are great one and all, I am a man of principle and a fighter, if nothing else. Dont care how big they are, if they're wrong they're wrong. }

I have also a date for the ACAS tribunal hearing for my unfair dismissal case for 3rd and 4th Dec.

And I am in the throws of prep for my interview for the Parole Board appointment on 8th Oct.

Heres a few shots from our short break - Tenerife in the Canaries.

music above is from Ed Alleyne - Johnsons 'Purple Violin Concerto' which I found a few years back and return to again and again as I find it so brilliant and relaxing .

Hope you enjoy it too.


Tower of fish, L'Oro Parque




Cliffs, Los Gigantes.



Feral kitten on the make



Volcanic column, Mt Teide National Park



Flower, Mt Teide National Park

See you later.

Listening to.........probably same as you!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Overcome by emulsion........

Hullo there ma wee blog,

Just back from a few days away and catching up with stuff including a few nice comments. Thanks very much.

I'll post some photos of our trip shortly.

Meantime here's a wee something by way of an apology especially for Scudder whos been having some problems posting comments.




see you later........

Thursday, 17 September 2009

You dancin? You askin? Ahm Askin. Ahm Dancin.


Francie and Josie.

Hullo there ma wee blog,

The phrase in the header is one familiar to pretty much every Scot I suppose. Glasgow dance hall patter of days gone by, of Teddy Boys and quiffs,crinolines and curls to the disco days. An imagined and studied cool is slightly skewered by the riposte and the inference that 'youve no' quite worked hard enough for that one pal'.



It came to mind last night as we walked into the 02 in Glasgows Sauchiehall St. We had come to see David Gray, a favourite of ours. Not knowing Glasgow so well. I had in my mind confused Argyll St with Sauchiehall St and we ended up parking at the Candleriggs multi story which is probably a good 15 minute walk away. But it was a lovey night and the walk meant that we were ready to find a wee place for a bite to eat when we got closer. I picked the lovely G up from an early finish at work and we had come through in good time.

So, we had a light pre concert dinner at a small Italian restaurant just across the street and very good it was too. We were finished in good time to walk across and join the queue as it started to head in at doors open. I was slightly annoyed - strange for me I know - when some of the door staff managing entry came along and said anyone with an 02 phone please come to the front of the queue for priority entry. The lovely G and I are both on 02 but had deliberately left the phones in the car so we had nothing to carry. Thanks for that 02! Why no message on the tickets or on the on line ticket site.

Still, we were in the first few hundred into the place despite everything.

Inside the venue is a bit tattered and torn about and the floor - pretty much a completely standing venue - was so filthy that I found myself doing that kind of deep sea divers' walk across the floor because it was so sticky......yuk!

As we were some of the first in we found ourselves a good spot near the front, to one side. There are some steps up to a raised area with standing tables and a minimal seating area which was full even by that early point, and so, we settled down to wait. Support was a guy called John Smith and he was pretty good, a good voice and some really cool guitar work, but support is always a difficult thing. Even if we are enjoying you, we are still anxious to get you off and the main event under way.

The concert got underway and we had a fantastic view across the heads of the main floor audience and only about 50 feet away from David himself. He gave us pretty much all of his new album which sounded pretty good too and of course ran through all his big hits. We laughed at the number of people trying to take mobile phone photos from far off and later giggled about why folk will insist trying to take a video while they are bopping away as they hold the phone. The woman standing in front below us was constantly filming and we could see her screen. She is going to be so disappionted when she looks and finds a film of the camera phone in front of her being held up all night.

My lovely G held me and sung her favourite " sail away with me" quietly in my ear and I returned the favour by singing my favourite " Be Mine" into hers. Its what its all about innit?

Thanks for last night hun and I'm really looking forward to a few days away with you from tommorrow. Sunshine here we come.

see you later..

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Episode IV, A New Hope.


Hullo there ma wee blog,

An interesting day.

The panels today saw us terminate one order, vary another, continue for attendance of key people on one and issue a place of safety warrant for yet another wee soul. All of this done under the scrutiny of an observer from the Childrens Panel Advisory Committee who came to check on our control of process, grasp of legislation and decision making. While some panel members seem to get quite edgy about observations I have never been that bothered. Seems to me that if I am concentrating on the observer then I am missing the point somewhat and not doing whats needed for the children and families. Still, I have been doing this for several years and have been observed dozens of times now and I'm still here so maybe I have just become accustomed to being observed.

Truth be told I feel much more under scrutiny by the families and I think thats how it should be. The rest of it is just background noise.

The recruitment drive is on the radio at the moment and our area starts the process next week. We dont need many this year as we have retained almost everyone, but its always a bit of a lottery as people realise how much time committment is needed and of course as volunteers we rely on employers etc supporting time off or flexi working. I have been added to the list for mid Lothian as well as they are really toiling for men - we need both men and women on a panel of three - so we have been asked to support for several months until the new intake is on board and trained up etc.

My wee meeting with JC+ went as expected but I refrained from telling them to stick their 68 quid a week up their jacksies. Actually he was a decent guy and he understands that I cant afford to take work like that.

And on a more positive note.

Drum roll please...........

I have been invited for interview for the Parole Board.

This is a government appointment onto the board which assesses prisoners for early release on licence to serve the remainder of their sentence within the community

I am absolutely chuffed to get through even the first stage of the application and get an interview. Mind you I sweated over the application but it seems to have done the trick anyhow.

I think its my work on Childrens Panels which has helped here with my experience of interviewing, offending behaviour and risk assessment.

Now I have until the 8th October to get to grips with the legal side of preparation for interview.

This will be my first interview since redundancy and its absolutely in the direction I want to go. I spent more than 30 years making money for a big company and now I need to do something I can be really proud of, something that is really me.

Regardless of the result {its a bloomin long shot} just to get an interview, a REAL LIVE INTERVIEW is just fantastic......





See you later..........

Listening to Runrig, 'Every River'

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

He's Not The Messiah. He's A Very Naughty Boy!



Hullo there ma wee blog,

A full day ahead as I have a 4 case session at the Childrens Panel this morning and a much looked forward to {Ha!} meeting with the lovely folks at the Job Center Plus this afternoon, so they can ask me why I am not taking any of those lovely minimum wage jobs they are so good at pushing at any unemployed person on their books.



Hmmn..... now what could I possibly tell them?





Without making them cry.........


See you later.


Listening to......... Terry Wogans Breakfast show on BBC Radio 2.

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Glossary


good and evil.

Some people only see good while others only see evil............


Hullo there ma wee blog,

I posted a while back about a glossary for some of the words from my Mither tongue I might use. I'm still thinking about ways and means but in the meantime here is a wee taster of some stuff via one of my favourite writers, Christopher Brookmyre. Its a glossary which was attached to one of his hilarious novels "A Tale Etched In Blood and Hard Black Pencil."

Not quite the same but I think its quite funny. Chris is very irreverend and close to the bone at times........

Hope you enjoy all the same.

A Tale Etched… – the Glossary

■ afore - Earlier than the time when.
■ auld - Advanced in years.
■ ay - Pertaining to.
■ baith - Affecting or involving one as well as the other.
■ bampot - A somewhat combustible individual.
■ baw{s} - spherical object{s}.
■ beamer - Ruddy-cheeked display of embarrassment. See also riddie.
■ birling - Motion inclined to induce disorientation.
■ blooter - A hearty and full-blooded strike. See also lamp, scud, skelp, stoat.
■ boat hoose - Evidence of upward mobility; a privately owned dwelling. Literally a bought house.
■ bogey, the game’s a - Declaration of despair; resignation that all is lost.
■ brammer - An impressive specimen. See also stoater.
■ brer - A male sibling.
■ bubbling - Prolonged and self-pitying bout of tearfulness.
■ bunnet - A fetching item of headgear.
■ cadge - To solicit charitable donations of money or more often confectionary.
■ cheenies - Treasured orbs in the possession of the male.
■ chook, is it - Expression of profound scepticism .
■ clamped - Rendered lost for words.
■ clap - To stroke affectionately. “Ken them? I’ve clapped their dug!”
■ coupon - One’s visage.
■ crabbit - Of foul humour. See certain Scottish broadsheet literary critics.
■ da - Patriarchal head of the household. also Dad, Paw and Faither.
■ dae - To effect, perform or carry out an activity.
■ deck - An incident considered sufficiently amusing as to imagine one rendered horizontal with laughter. See also gut, pish.
■ deid - Expired, no longer with us, snuffed out, passed on, ceased to be.Think that Monty Python sketch.
■ diddies - Protruberant milk-producing glandular organs situated on the chest of the human female and certain other mammals. See also Greeenock Morton FC.
■ dowt - The end of a cigarette, much coveted by impoverished but aspiring apprentice smokers.
■ dug - Four-legged domesticated flesh-eating and leg-humping mammal of the wolf-descended genus Canis familiaris.
■ dunt - A small, controlled blow.
■ dwam - A state of foggy befuddlement.
■ edgy, the - Look-out duty, usually in cover of nefarious deeds.
■ eejit - One not blessed with ample intelligence. See Old Firm supporters.
■ eppy - Paroxysms of uncontained anger.
■ erse - The posterior, buttocks or anus. Used by Old Firm supporters to accommodate the brain.
■ fae - Used to indicate a starting point.
■ fanny - The female pudenda. Term of abuse for particularly whiny and snivelling individuals. See also certain Scottish broadsheet literary critics.
■ feart - In a state of anxiety.
■ fitba - Popular team sport known in some quarters as “soccer”, invented and given to the world by the Scots. English claims to have invented it rest on their having the first Football Association, which proves only that they invented football bureaucracy. Thanks a pantload, guys. You form yet another bloody committee and a hundred years later, we had to put up with Jim Farry.
■ fly - Sharp-witted and elusive.
■ fud - See Fanny. And yet again, see certain Scottish broadsheet literary critics.
■ fullsy-roundsies - Challenging skipping-rope technique, not for dilettantes. Comparison: see shoe-shaggy.
■ gallus - Term of glowing approval. Derives from description of that which is cheerfully bursting with self-confidence. The word comes from “gallows”, coined at at the hanging of a Glasgow thief and murderer known as Gentleman Jim, who had remained his smiling, cocksure and witty self right up until the drop.
■ gaun yersel - Shout of encouragement, insinuating the recipient needs no assistance to perform his attempted feat. Literally “go on yourself”.
■ geezabrek - Invoked to wish for peace or better fortune.
■ gemme - A match or playful diversion. One might request to join by entreating: “Geezagemme”.
■ gemmie - Most enjoyable, highly approved.
■ gie - To transfer possession of something.
■ ginger - Generic term for carbonated minerals. Despite billions of dollars spent on brand recognition and advertising, in Glasgow, Coke, Pepsi, Seven Up and Sprite are all referred to as ginger.
■ greeting - Tearful outpouring of grief.
■ gub - The human mouth, usually referring to a large and loud one.
■ gubbed - Soundly beaten, inferring the resultant metaphorical closing of the aforementioned large and loud gub whose outpourings occasioned the gubbing.
■ guddle - A state of frantic uncoordination.
■ guddling - A subtle means of angling practised without a rod or net.
■ gut - An incident considered sufficiently amusing as to imagine one’s innards rent asunder by laughter. See also deck, pish.
■ hame - Where the heart is.
■ haun - The end of the forelimb on human beings, monkeys etc utilising opposable thumbs in order to grasp objects. Also the appendages dragged along the ground at the end of Old Firm supporters’ sleeves.
■ heid - Uppermost division of the human body, containing the brains, except in the case of Old Firm supporters. See erse.
■ heidie - The headmaster.
■ hing - An inanimate object as distinguished from a living being.
■ hingmy - All-purpose procrastinatory term for that which one cannot quite think of the name of yet. Equivalent of the French truc. Sometimes also thingummyjig
■ honking - Emitting a foul odour; poorly thought of. See St Mirren 2001-2004.
■ huckled - Arrested or apprehended by agents of authority. See also lifted.
■ humping - The act of coitus. Also a convincing and comprehensive victory. See Celtic 0 St Mirren 3, April 1991 or St Mirren 3 Rangers 0 October 1983.
■ jakey - Homeless indigent partial to Buckfast and superlager.
■ jakey sentence - An undaunting custodial term, like those commonly conferred on the above.
■ jammy - Enjoying extreme good fortune. See Rangers 1 St Mirren 0, Scottish Cup semi-final replay 1983.
■ jinky - Swift-footed and elusive
■ jobbie - Malodorous human waste product. See the performance of Brian McGinlay as referee, - Scottish Cup semi-final replay 1983.
■ jooks - Outer garment extending from the waist to the ankles.
■ kb-ed - Rejected. "Knocked back." pronounced 'Kibbied'
■ keech - See Jobbie.
■ keek - To glimpse briefly or surreptitiously.
■ keeker - A black eye, rendering one able only to keek.
■ kerry-oot - A cargo of alcoholic refreshments purchased from an off-licence to be transported elsewhere for consumption.
■ knock - To take without consent or permission and with no intention of returning it. To steal.
■ lamp - To strike out using one’s fist. See also blooter, scud, skelp and stoat.
■ lash - Leather tawse used for administering corporal punishment in Scottish schools. Outlawed in the 1980s less on humanitarian grounds than upon the belated realisation that the weans were having competitions to see who could get the most lashes.
■ lavvy - Water closet.
■ leather - To bring considerable force to bear upon an object or person. See also malky, panelling.
■ lifted - See huckled. That Lighthouse Family song never quite hit the same note north of the border.
■ lugs - Organs of hearing and equilibrium in humans, Old Firm supporters and other vertebrates.
■ ma - Female parent of a child or offspring.
■ maist - To the greatest degree or extent.
■ malky - An act or instrument of extreme violence. See also leather, panelling.
■ maw - see Ma.
■ mention - Succinct and economical graffito stating simply one’s name.
■ mibbae - Perhaps.
■ minging - See Honking.
■ mockit - In a state of very poor cleanliness. See also Greenock.
■ moolsy - Selfish, ungenerous, disinclined to share one’s sweeties with half a dozen cadgers who wouldn’t give you the steam off their shite if it was the other way around.
■ morra (the) - The day after today.
■ nae - Denoting the absence of something, such as the likelihood of an Old Firm supporter winning Mastermind: “Nae chance”.
■ neb - Nose.
■ noggin - See Heid. Also Napper.
■ numpty - See Eejit.
■ old firm - Ingenious idiot-identification scheme which tags halfwits, criminals, thugs and assorted neerdowells voluntarily in blue or green-and-white garments, making them easier for the rest of us to avoid. { Glasgow Rangers and celtic Footbal clubs}
■ paisley (get off at) - To practice coitus interruptus. {The railway station before main Glasgow station}
■ pan breid - A soft loaf made with refined white flour. Also rhyming slang for deceased.
■ panelling - A brutal and unrestrained violent assault. See also leather, malky.
■ pish - Urine; urinary function. Also an incident considered sufficiently amusing as to imagine one rendered incontinent by laughter. See also deck, gut, and Morton blowing promotion in 2004.
■ porteed, you’re a - Early playground declaration of intent to bring the authorities to bear upon a transgressor.
■ poke - A paper bag. Also to jab with one finger.
■ polis - Organisation employed to harrass and intimidate under-twelves.
■ proddy - Member of the Protestant or Presbyterian faiths, or one perceived to be so due to non-attendance of a Catholic school.
■ puddock - A frog (“Aye, it’s a braw bird, the puddock”)
■ riddie - See beamer.
■ sair - Painful.
■ sclaff - Poorly executed strike of a ball failing to make clean or well-directed contact. See Jose Quitongo.
■ scoobie - A clue, or inkling. Rhyming slang. 'Scooby Doo'. Many people think this form was invented in Londons East end when it was actually discovered in Glasgows west End.
■ scud - In a state of undress. Also, to strike something with dull force. See also blooter, lamp, skelp and stoat.
■ scud book - A magazine celebrating the female form.
■ self-reference - See self-reference.
■ shite - See keech, jobbie, and certain Scottish broadsheet literary critics.
■ shoe-shaggy - Undemanding novice level of skipping ropes, swinging back and forth without describing full circles. Comparison: see fullsy roundsies.
■ side - A proper match contested by two teams, as opposed to a kick-about or a game of crossy or three-and-in.
■ single fish - Serving of battered fish without chips which rather confusingly includes two fish. Also rhyming slang for urinary function.
■ skelp - To strike or slap. See also blooter, lamp, scud and stoat.
■ skitter - Diarrhoea; also anything watery, weak and poorly formed.
■ skoosh - A task or prospect one expects to be less than taxing. Also a soft drink, usually uncarbonated.
■ snotters - Mucous discharge.
■ sook - The act of, or one given to acts of sycophancy or ostentatious obedience.
■ square go - Pugilistic unarmed combat, with both parties ready and willing participants.
■ steamboats - An advanced state of refreshment. See stocious.
■ staun - To stand.
■ stauner - When one’s member chooses independently to stand.
■ stoat - See skelp, scud, lamp etc
■ stoater - See brammer.
■ stocious - See steamboats.
■ stowed - Crammed to capacity.
■ swatch - A brief glance.
■ tanned - Subject to an act of robbery.
■ thae - Those.
■ thon - That.
■ tight - Descriptive of a young lady of robust moral virtue, who probably has nae tits anyway.
■ toe - A strike at a football making up in brute power what it lacks in accuracy and panache.
■ wan - The singular; one.
■ weans - Children.
■ winching - The romantic pursuit of young ladies.
■ wrang - The opposite of right. See Brian McGinlay’s decision to award Sandy Clark a goal in the 1983 Scottish Cup semi-final replay when the ball failed to come within two feet of the goal line. See also Brian McGinlay’s failure to award St Mirren any one of three stonewall penalties during the same match.
■ yin - The, singular. See also Wan.
■ yins - Multiples of the singular.

Got to go.

Training night for Childrens Panel....... Yahoo! not....

see you later

Listening to......... time running out, MOVE YERSEL MAN!!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

A Cloud of Drunken Butterflies



Hullo ma wee blog,

I was walking the garden yesterday prior to giving the grass a weather delayed cutting. As I walked, with my hessian bag courtesy of a well known supermarket company, {recycling for the use of} I loaded up our windfall fruit. We have two apple trees, two plum trees and 3 pear trees. The apple trees, one dessert, one cooking apple, are holding on tightly to their treasures but saw fit to offer a dozen or so perfect samples, tightly packed with juice and now firmly promised to a hot oven and a crumble crust.

The plums are past now and have been gorged mainly straight off the tree with only a quick wash and a good book to accompany them.

The oldest pear tree is at the front of the house, a sole survivor of the orchard that was here before. She greets us on arrival and we drive under her branches to get to the house. An old lady now - don't ask - a gentleman would never discuss such things - she is not as vigorous as she once must have been. This year has been a good year for her though and she has been generous with her gifts. Again, a quick wash and savoured alone, or with some goats cheese and a touch of honey, a dry white wine and a crusty loaf. A la Languedoc.

The winds of the last few days have persuaded her to shed the last of her fruit and they have lain on the grass, fallen to join some that had gone before, and left forgotten and ignored, a job down the list somewhere until yesterday and my wee sack. As I approached I was enclosed in a cloud of twenty or more drunken butterflies who had not forgotten or ignored them but had been busy making the best of that fermenting fruit. I stood amongst them and laughed at the feeling of drunk insects reeling about me and the sight of half a dozen wasps so absolutely puggled that hard beating wings couldn't be controlled enough for flight and they rolled and nose dived about the grass. At least thats how it seemed. I dont actually know if insects can get miraculous. I did the good thing and raked the fruit to one side where they all can continue to enjoy the bounty of the old tree.

As you can see from the photo from one of the other trees there won't be a shortage of pears around here anytime soon.

See you later..........

Listening to Duffy.....'Mercy'

Last Post


Hullo ma wee blog,

After my last post my maudlin mood continued.

LAST POST by Carol Ann Duffy

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud…
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home-
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce- No- Decorum- No- Pro patria mori.
You walk away.

You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too-
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert-
and light a cigarette.
There's coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.

You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.

I read this and thought I'd share.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Connections, Coincidence and Claret.

Wood panelling, Barns Ness Hotel.


Hullo there ma wee blog,

I don't have a clue what to call this post as it feels like it might be a bit of a ramble due to it being a late night - currently nearly 2am - and, sitting at my usual place at the kitchen table, I have a wee Singleton of Dufftown single malt whisky by my side. Don't worry though, like me its old enough to be out on its own at this time of night.........almost.

Ah, actually I know now where this is going and why..........

On Monday past we were invited out for a quiet informal meal and get together by some friends in Dunbar. We went to a hotel called "The Barns Ness". In the hotel is a small plaque explaining that the wood on the walls of the dining room came from a ship called the 'Mauretania' which was the sister ship of the 'Luisitania', which was torpedoed at the start of WW1 with horrendous loss of life. The beautifully carved wood was recovered from the ship when it was broken up at the end of its working life.

Nice story, nice meal, nice evening out right?

Aye it was, but it was more than that too.

As I have a bit of spare time on my hands at the moment I have been doing a fair bit of reading. As usual, I don't just read one thing at a time, so currently I am reading Stephen Fry's 'Moab is my washpot', Titania Hardies 'Rose Labyrinth' and John Buchans 'History of the Royal Scots Fusiliers'.

John Buchan, who is best known for the novel 'The thirty Nine Steps' wrote this history, in memory of his brother, an officer who - like my grandfather - served in the regiment. Alastair Buchan was killed in action on the western front, April 9th 1917. This was part of the battle of Arras. 38 Scots battalions including RSF took part in the attack. In British terms, a predominately Scottish affair, with more Scots involved than at Waterloo and many times more than involved in the battle of Bannockburn.



My grandfather survived being shot on 3 separate occasions, was returned to action each time and spent the best part of three and a half years in the front line, first in Gallipoli and then in The Western Front. Family history says he finally badly twisted his ankle on duckboards in a trench and while lying alone but for a couple of others in a tin shed at a field station, suffered an artillery bombardment of several hours. My Grandmother believed it was this episode, incapacitated, cruelly exposed and incapable of finding shelter, that left him with the condition which in those days was known as 'shell shock', but is now known as PTSD or 'post traumatic stress disorder'. From the accounts I heard as a child which were heavily sanitised, he came back a changed man and although was able to function in his previous job as a local postman for a few years, had to undergo increasingly long periods of hospitalisation and ultimately, complete incapacity. All the years I knew him he was bedridden, shaking constantly. Like many others he never received any war disability pension or recognition of his condition as being war injury related.

Much loved, he died in 1967 having lived with his condition for fifty years.

I was eight  - and devastated.

Joining up in early 1915, he sailed from Liverpool on board the 'Mauretania' on 21st May and landed in Gallipoli on June 6th. His battalion of almost 900 men was part of the 52nd division which was approx 10900 strong. The 2 battalions of RSF were immediately put into the line where between July 3rd and July 13th, losses were 4800 men. Early 1916 the campaign was abandoned as a failure.

The regimental history records this episode as follows:

' The losses for the 52nd division were such that for the Scottish Lowlands it was a second Flodden. In large areas between the Tweed and Forth scarcely a household but mourned a son '

and

' Unless one has seen it there is no imagination that can picture a belt of land some four hundred yards wide converted into a seething hell of destruction. Rifle and machine gun bullets rip up the earth, ping past the ear, or whing off the loose stones; shrapnel bursts overhead and leaden bullets strike the ground with a vicious thud; the earth is rent into yawning chasms, while planks, sandbags, clods and great chunks of ragged steel hurtle through the air. The noise is an indescribable, nerve racking, continuous, deafening roar while clouds of smoke only allow intermittent view of the whole damnable inferno '

It cost Winston Churchill, whose idea it was, his post as first lord of Admiralty. {Ironically he was made Commander in Chief of the Royal Scots Fusiliers}

The 2 battalions split, some to Palestine and the rest, grandfather included, to the western front.

Grandpa's story as described to me as a child trying to understand was simply that he was hurt in the big war and that we didn't talk about it. Much later he was described to me as a very brave man who had "gone over the top" on several major engagements. Who knows in reality what his experience was. Not me for sure. But I did experience the impact of that experience. My father helped his Mum look after his Dad every day as we lived nearby.



So before work - like his dad he too was a postie at first - he would go and wash and treat his Dads bedsores. Before he came home he would again go in and take care of any needs that might be required. At least twice a week I too would go to see Gran'pa and while there I would be given the task of shaving him with an old Phillips three headed electric razor. We all had things we did with Gran'pa and shaving him became my role. Being very small, at least when I started, I would have to climb onto the bed beside him and reach around his face while I shaved him, taking great care not to move the wooden frame that held the heavy blankets off his legs. Although by that time Grandpa couldn't speak more than two or three words at a time, I remember well his voice as he ran his damaged hand over his face and found a wee bit I had missed. "Here,"  he would say and I would go back and do that bit again and he would sometimes chuckle, a rumble deep in his chest and his jaw waving back and forth showed me he smiled. Sometimes he got me to go over bits again and again as a bit of fun I think. Job complete, I would carefully dismantle and clean the razor with its special miniature brush and show it to Grandpa for approval before putting it back together with small hands and sliding it back into its case.

Shaving an adult is a highly serious thing for a wee boy you know.

Being so close physically to him so often I remember every crease, nook and cranny of that old man's face. I remember the look in his eye as he watched me shave him or give him his tea in an odd china cup with a spout on one side and a lid on   {In fact I have it still - just a magpie really!}  He seemed able to look right into a wee boys heart. I remember his skin, his hair and his smell; how his face felt as small hands patted after-shave on;  how he would try and hold me as I reached across him at the limit of my balance as I shaved him; how he would wince if I fed him tea that was too hot. I would sometimes lie on Grannies bed across the room from him and we would read silently together, him with a book on a darkwood frame, beautiful and specially made for him by one of my uncles, and me with my book propped on bare knees.

I remember spending a night, being very young and sleeping in Grannies bed, in the same room as Gran'pa, and hearing him moan and occasionally shriek during the night until Gran got out of bed and went across to murmur something to him for an unknown while before coming back to bed with a quiet but commanding "Now, now, you. Back to sleep. Nothing to worry you here. Just Gran'pa dreaming. Just a dream," as she got back into bed herself.

And thats why I found myself thinking of him and of years past on Monday night and silently raising a glass in that wood panelled dining room of the Barns Ness Hotel.


See you later.

Listening to;

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Are they nuts.

Hullo there ma wee blog,

one of my favourite blogs had this on a couple of days ago. The guy is clearly Scots and a bit nuts.

Small use of bad language folks. Be warned.






But then someone posted this nutters escapade and I thought that the first guy is actually a bit of a woos........

Or is this one simply using the "peril sensitive sunglasses" used by Zaphod Beeblebrox in 'Hitchikers guide to the galaxy'




Makes my recent brush with low flying { See 'Are there two G's in Bugger Off!' } look a bit pale by comparison.

see you later.

Listening to Talking Heads, 'Psycho Killer'
p.s. Had to quickly go back and alter the 1st clip as there were some links at the end of the clip and I didn't realise that one of them was inappropriate until after I posted. Really sorry if anyone saw that. I'll be more careful in future.
Al.

Time Passes, tyg, tog, tyg, tog.........


Hullo there ma wee blog,

Well, its a bit of a shock really. My morning companion of many, 16 to be accurate, years is giving up his morning slot on Radio 2. That's right. After 16 years at the helm of the countries most popular radio show, Terry Wogan, is leaving his morning slot and will be replaced at the end of the year by Chris Evans on the morning show which has a daily audience of 8 million.

Tel, whit am ah gonny day man. Nae mair poems, japes and Janet and John stories.
Chris is aw very weel 'n' guid at whit he daes like, bit ahm gettin' a wee bit auld for aw this chinge n that.

At least yer no leavin tae thi en' o thi year.............

I started listening years ago, and as a dedicated listener of, at that time, young years I was chuffed to be considered a T.Y.G. {Terry's young git} Over years I matured into a curmudgeonly T.O.G. { Terry's Old Git}.

Oh well nothing stays the same for ever I suppose.

Good as you are, and as much as I enjoy your drive time slot Mr Evans, you've got a big job on your hands to fill the gap left by the not inconsiderable girth of Mr.W.

3 months and counting........



Listening to...... Radio 2 breakfast show.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Some Books, Beer and Great Big Bangs...........





Hullo there ma wee blog,

On Sunday, after a stressful week at work, the lovely G was left early doors for a much needed long lie in while I padded off downstairs to drink coffee, potter and do some overdue housekeeping on my laptop, part of which was playing with labels for the posts on this here blog. As usual for a novice I no doubt have complicated things too much. I'll look at it again later perhaps.

I also installed a visitor counter which shows the countries of folk reading the blog. While it probably wasn't the primary reason for wanting to start blogging initially its nice to know that what I scrape out of the brain cell is read somewhere once in a while, and of course if you are here and reading the output of my addled brain then feel free to leave me a note if you like. Even if its to advise me to give up or seek professional help that's awright.

I have wandered somewhat off piste a bit here as usual. I started this to update what my Sunday consisted of.

After a leisurely brunch we decided we would go out to visit some friends, the parents of one of our God daughters, to take the wee one some clothes we had just bought for her, but as it was an off the cuff thought of course we found when phoning ahead that they were out. So we ended up at "The Fort" one of Edinburgh's prime retail locations ably designed for parting unsuspecting souls from their hard earned baw-bees.

Moi being moi, I also decided that I would opt out of the trawl round the dens of iniquity with the exception of Borders books, where the lovely G could find me when she had finished traumatising our overdraft. I have learned { painfully } over the years not to get in the way of a { read MY } woman determined to have some retail therapy, so I headed for the sanctuary of the cafe, or is it a coffee shop, what is the difference, at the back of Borders.

{I would just like to say here and now, quite freely, uncoerced and not in pain, that the lovely G is not usually guilty of traumatising our bank balance in any way, shape or form. Never know who might be reading this stuff! Jings! }

I had forgotten how expensive a simple coffee can be in one of those places.

Crivens! Mine cost me nearly 30 quid.........

But I got, ahem, free with my coffee.........

'The Alchemist' by Paul Coelho
'The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam' by Lauren Liebenberg
'The Complaints' by Ian Rankin

The lovely G returned and we had coffee together before heading into town to park up and make our way to meet Marion, a friend I hadn't seen for a couple of years. No reason for that I suppose other than she has been closer to the lovely G and they meet occasionally for drinks, coffee or the odd film or theatre night.

Sunday night though we had a meal before heading off for the fireworks which mark the end of the Edinburgh festival for another year. A massive show from the castle ramparts and linked to a concert which takes place in the open air theatre below in Princes Street Gardens. We had managed to bag some tickets for access to a private party in a bar in one of the streets looking up onto the castle. Access to many roads is restricted this year because of the Tram works so it was great to be able to get into a prime location for the show.

The bar, on the other hand was something else: very trendy, exclusive and the haunt of the beautiful and well heeled of the student classes. It may come as a surprise but I dont fit into any of those pigeon holes.


Inside we were give two marbles each which we could exchange for free cocktails. The girls went for a strawberry one and a martini based one with lots of ice and vegetation sticking out of it. It looked like it couldn't make its mind up if it was a drink or a salad to me. Still, whatever floats your boat as they say. Being more traditional, read PLEBEIAN, I stuck to beer, or the closest to that which was a continental lager for a fiver {choke}. Lots of very glam young ladies either in very short cocktail type dresses with lots of bosom on display or carefully understated designer chic. The guys were uniformly 6 foot anorexic looking baa- studs with Ferrari/Porsche/other sporty key fobs in their hands. But that could just be me being a bit insecure. Just a wee bit.

Mebbe.

I fitted right in of course with my chinos and tee shirt and received several admiring glances as I stood at the bar for what felt like twenty minutes trying to attract the attention of the beautiful, over friendly and attentive - with every one else - bar staff, who, whenever they finished serving someone seemed to be so exhausted they had to go and lean on the end of the bar furthest from me and have a wee drink themselves. And a chat with their friends. And eat some canapes. And......ach well you get the idea I'm sure.

I managed to attract ones attention by cheekily dying of dehydration at my end of the bar and she shimmied - dontcha love that word - across to take my order.

In truth she was stunning, very scandinavian; short haired, fine chinned, beautifully proportioned and revealingly dressed - not that I noticed of course. Unfortunately she seemed to have failed her 'O' level basic cocktail making skills course by quite a long way and it took her about 8 minutes to cobble together a strawberry thingy and a cabbage patch on ice. After a few more minutes waiting while she showed me her A+ skills in putting a huge head on a pint, {No jokes about me asking her for that pls!.} I left with the drinks and she left, exhausted, traumatised and almost tearfully, for the other end of the bar again.

When the first bang indicated the fireworks had started and everyone left for out side - OK,OK, I admit it. That's how I managed to attract the barmaids attention, alright - and I had the drinks, I too left for outside to watch the show. The two girls had been successful in claiming a prime spot - canny fight these young uns - especially when they have their good frocks on - and we settled down to enjoy the evening.

Well worth it.

Super!

Smashing!

Lovely!






See you later.

Listening to Men Without Hats, 'The Safety Dance'

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Pretty as a Picture 2

Hullo there ma wee blog,



Here's a wee walk through my photo galleries on my PC.

A flavour of me.




Cove Harbour - a pleasant mile away from the house and one of our favourite haunts.
Heritage, fishing, sea.




Auschwitz 1 main gate. We should never forget.

History, remembrance, values, honour and respect.

Life will always win through.





Beringen, Switzerland, from the Beringen Randenturm.

Family and our 2nd home.
Love and kinship.



Klosterli, the lovely G's Aunt and Uncles house in Beringen.

Sanctuary.





The Rhinefall, 2km from beringen.

Largest waterfall in Europe.

Water, nature, power, longevity.




Towards Torness, Peace.

An evening view from one of my favourite viewpoints.




Light on water.

I don't think I could ever live too far from the sea.

Spirit, place, heritage and harmony.




Hymn books, Lincoln Cathedral.

Words, history, architecture, spirit.






Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh.

Scotland, history and heritage.




Elcho castle, Perth.

strength, beauty, nobility.




Smailhome, Scottish Borders.

Outlook perspective, security and scale.



Scone Palace, Perth.

Water on plants.

Life, succour, evolution.



East Lothian.

Home, love, peace.



Ballachuilish, Scottish highlands.

Beauty, wilderness, loss and liberty.



Dunbar, East Lothian.

Wind, sun, rain, salt air and Belhaven Brewery.



Beziers, Languedoc, France.

Faith, history, awakening, culture.



Cathar memorial, Minerve, Aude, France.

Als Catars
Faith, persecution, belief, determination and values.



see you later..............

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Scunnered/Dear Lothian and Borders Police



Dear Lothian and Borders Police,

Its been raining heavily - no, lashing down - today and I should have been sensible and stayed in and not, as I did, chose to go the 8 miles to Dunbar to post some letters and get some food for dinner tonight.

As usual I took the local back road to join with the A1 on the straight near Torness power station and on joining I noticed that there was no traffic. Well it was raining heavily. There was a lot of water on the road but nothing that coudn't be dealt with by my very ordinary car as long as I took care. I was surprised to come up against a road block though, closing off the whole of the road. This was even more surprising as I came up behind the roadblock. It certainly seemed to surprise the nice police officer who got out, grudgingly, from his lovely dry van to come over and ask me what I thought I was doing.
Once I had explained that I hadn't forced my way through the road block 3 miles back but had come all this way without once passing a sign to tell me the road was closed or, as your officer inferred, that only imbeciles would drive through that road under current conditions, I was allowed on my careful way. I noticed that cars who were reaching the roadblock from the other direction were very few and these were being diverted off the main A1 onto the country road leading to Innerwick. A couple of miles further on there was another block again stopping cars coming the other way and diverting them also to the Innerwick road.
At Sunny Dunny - not very sunny today of course - I couldn't get down the road I wanted as it was closed off and had to carry on to the big roundabout on the Spott Rd junction. Of course, as per one of my earlier posts - see my rather nice wee blog Crivens,Jings and Help Ma Blog - this was jammed solid by traffic coming in the other direction blocking off the Dunbar junction at the further road block which you kindly provided at that location too. Still after a short wait of 15 minutes or so I was able to squeeze past and get into Dunbar, not as far as the Post Office mind you, thanks to yet another road closed sign on an otherwise perfectly clear looking road. So my shopping done I joined the queue back to the roundabout and again after about 15 minutes managed to get close enough to attract the attention of another constable.

Again when I advised that I came from a village in the direction of the closed road and indicated that I had actually just came down the road a few minutes before, allowing for waiting time of course, I was greeted by some lack of belief and incredulity even. I assured the constable that no I wasn't a nutter and that actually the road beyond the Torness blockade was actually very passable with just a little care. I even offered that maybe it could be opened again in my opinion. Certainly it would be worth checking out at least.
After a moment the cones barring the road were moved and I was allowed past. I noticed however that they were replaced once more after I passed. I drove on, 40mph max, and noticed that the mid point road block was no longer there. Things are looking up I thought. Another couple of miles on I came up against the initial road block again albeit from the right direction this time. I stopped in front of the cones and again the nice constable left his dry and no doubt warm van and came over to me once more. I asked if I could get past the cones as my cutoff back to the village was about half a mile further on and that as he knew I had just come down that very road shortly before.


'Not a chance' was the reply 'that road is closed. You can take this side road up to Oldhamstocks and on from there.'

I explained that I knew that road very well and there would be at least two or more places where it would be much much more difficult to get past than if I was just allowed to carry on for the half mile to the junction.

'Not a chance'

And so, within 500 yards I was maneuvering though water at least twice the depth of the main road and then on to an uphill section where there was a virtual river running down towards me. And of course there were the two bridges where there is normally water pooling even on a mildly wet day to get past too. The first was actually better than I thought but the second was every bit as bad as I feared and the water came well up over the sills of the car. I almost stalled it there, but managed to stutter out the other side with a huge sigh of relief.

All in all that journey took me 20 minutes where the straightforward option would have taken 5. The route I was forced to take was much more difficult and potentially dangerous than the main road, especially as there was actually more traffic on it than normal due to the police policy of keeping the main road closed.
Thanks for that L+B's finest.
While I'm all for public safety an' all, twas just a tad of overkill. I'm not a risk taker where safety, especially my own, is concerned and the main road would have been the safer option by far.

I have also found out that the lovely G may be stranded in Edinburgh as trains and buses have stopped running in this part of the world.

Like when we have more than half an inch of snow, it seems like a few cms of rain can bring the modern world to a complete halt. {But not in places like central Europe, America and Canada where its all part of normal daily life.}

Or do we just over react in Britain.............

Either way I'm completely scunnered.

regards,
Al.
Listening to 'Singing in the rain'..... Naw, just joking.

And in a packed news programme tonight....


The Two Ronnies

The Labour Party was embroiled in controversy last night after another four of its politicians did absolutely nothing wrong. As the Sunday Times published details of four labour peers accepting money to try and influence legislation, the party said it was not often British politics was confronted with a such a spectacular absence of wrongdoing... A Labour spokesman said the latest example of Labour politicians not doing anything wrong would be confirmed after a thorough investigation by the Labour Leader of the House of Lords. It is the first time this year that Labour politicians have done nothing wrong and comes after a series of money related scandals in which there was absolutely no wrongdoing.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Gaunny no dae that? How? Just, Gaunny no...........



Hullo there ma wee blog,

I guess I'm at an age where I get annoyed more easily than I used to. Like when I'm trying to type and I hold down the shift and letter but still don't get the capital i was looking for........

But, you see, I can accept that this is because of me, call it dyslexic fingers or whatever. Frustrating as it is I can go back and I can fix it, and thank God for spellcheck. Ok at my age I forget as often as not and have to go back and edit after posting, and as the lovely G is all too ready to remind me, my spelling was never perhaps as fantastic as I thought it was.

But dear bloggy, I digress.

There are some things that annoy me that of course I cant change and as I get older the impact of these seems to be getting bigger too. And perhaps the MOST annoying is driving. Oh I know I'm getting older and roads are busier and cars are faster etc etc etc.But I'm not that old and until recently I was driving between 40 and 50 thousand miles a year.
When dad and my brother taught me to drive, they made sure that I learned to read the road and anticipate what other drivers were going to do. That also let me read what needed to happen and to adapt and accommodate that in my driving. I learned to be considerate too and that's what is so lacking these days.

Why do so many people think its ok to drive in the fast lane all the time. It gets other drivers frustrated and likely to resort to dangerous tactics like tail gating to get the front car to pull in or to use under taking to get passed via the slow lane. Its so dangerous, unnecessary and so frustrating.


I admit I have used the slow lane to pass an non mover - its illegal in the UK to do this - and what happens? As you pass, and I normally do this quite slowly in case they do decide to move over, they bloomin well speed up and you end up havin a race to get past. Whats it all about. Its not as if I haven,t been behind them waiting patiently for them to pull over for a couple of miles. Its not as if I haven't given them a quick - and non aggressive - flick of the headlights from behind and some more time to pull over. And, its not as though I expect them to move over if there isn't loads of room. Really! But will they do it - will they heck!


One of our friends - a girl - refuses to drive anywhere on dual carriageway other than in the fast lane as she is convinced the inside lane is only for lorries and buses etc, despite being told otherwise. She normally has her small child in the car and never drives above 50 mph, even on motorways, as she gets scared. Scared is not the word. SCARY is the word, and downright dangerous. How on earth did she ever pass a test. I asked once how she felt about queues of traffic behind her and horns and lights being used etc. She admitted it did happen but didn't see it as being her problem, rather the other road users. In 3 lane motorways like many car drivers she uses the middle lane, again regardless if there is a completely empty inside lane available. Gobsmackingly stupid or what. Yet, in every other way she is a really nice and perfectly sane person.........


I actually think that what she is scared about is being able to pull out of the slow lane back into the fast/middle lane to overtake when she would have to and because of that she is in denial of the rules of the road.



This lack of regard, consideration and respect for other people is also to the fore in town with cars being blocked in or prevented from exiting from a parking place, cars are parked almost literally bumper to bumper or roundabouts are completely blocked by cars which cant get through but refuse to leave space so the traffic travelling in the other direction can go when the lights change.


And for what? It makes no difference to journey times but just increases frustration for everyone and promulgates similar behaviour in others. Result? Gridlock.


{ Hi honey, I'm home three minutes earlier than I would have been. Yes, good day thanks. I pissed of dozens of other motorists! }

In town cyclists - ok not all of you by any means - and invariably not girls- guys PLEASE note - ignore red lights and routinely ride on through or resort to riding on the pavements and among the pedestrians to get around the lights.

Last week, walking in town, I was almost flattened by a bike as I crossed at lights. A clear green man and yet a cyclist sped through. A quick step back and I got a shout and a flash of an angry face from the cyclist as he rode past.

That's right he thought I was in the wrong!. Why is that people nowadays always think they are right, or maybe more correctly deny that they could be anything but right. just because they are who they are. { Sounds like X- Factor syndrome again }





see you later.


listening to Talk Talk........Its my life

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