Monday, May 22, 2017

Twink returns

Spent a large chunk of this (Sunday) morning trying to entice our favourite stray cat, Twink into the house for a little extra food and fellowship. She was having none of that, food is fine, she wolfs it down but anything else is taboo. The poor wee thing has clearly been treated badly by human kind at some point and we're slowly trying to win back some trust. At the moment she sniffed at my outstretched hand before pulling back, that's progress. Today's been remarkable however as she's pretty much stayed in our garden, moving from cover to cover and trotting around in broad daylight. The other good thing is that our own cats are not bothered by her arrival and go about their normal business quietly around her. It seems we're on a journey...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

In ruins

Inside the ruin of the old Crombie Church. Abandoned for almost a hundred years. Hard to imagine quite what kind of meetings or worship ever took place in this cold, remote and tiny space. The past often seems nothing more than unmercifully grim whatever way you look. Now the weeds and foliage have fought back, the unbelievers rule this part of the world and the stones are cracked and faded. The dead have been abandoned and nobody remembers. The dreams or ambitions of whoever built this are thin and gone and the many bodies under the ground have no name or identity to add to the story. This is how it all ends for most people, whatever you might think is important or worthwhile that you've done, time will simply blot you out. All is meaningless and chasing the wind.

Strong and stable and...

The Tories seem to be on the verge of throwing this election. It's almost as if there was some bigger plan in a longer game for a different outcome. Either that or they've decided that the electorate will tolerate pretty much anything, meekly accept the worst and join in on a race to the bottom. I remain quietly perplexed by it all. I've even forgotten that I said I'd not blog about politics, ah, those were the days.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stupid is as stupid does

An almost classical piece of composition used here in this photo of Craig Whyte and various Glasgow Rangers cohorts, as if they were posing for Leonardo. Whyte's on trial for fraud and has played no small part in Ranger's collapse and Scottish Football's wider humiliation. What I find incredible as this long running car crash plays out is the attitude of all the main players and the complete disregard they have for their loyal fans and the footballing community at large. The Rangers fans have been treated like shit here, OK I'm certainly not one but for many the "club" is everything (forget political and religious matters here) and they've seen it torn down by greedy, irresponsible and cold hearted scoundrels and even still as the 2017 League closes their team is in a financial black hole. Meanwhile the mud sticks on all Scottish football, fans of other clubs are angry at the ongoing Ranger's "entitlement" charade we see played out regularly and the media's fixation with any Old Firm story that'll hold water for a few minutes is all consuming to the detriment of the rest of the game.

In all of this sorry saga, no one, from David Murray onwards has ever offered any kind of apology or come close to saying sorry to the fans or the wider world of football. Nobody ever does anything wrong these days but the fans who are paying fans, who keep pouring cash into the club, not animals or cattle or sub humans are virtually ignored at every turn. Perhaps they are all just really stupid, but I don't like to think that way, they can't all be. They are clearly in love with a club and a footballing ideal (I'm certainly not!) and that makes them willing to take punch after punch on the chin from a series of shady businessmen and still come back for more. Daft, shocking and sad all at the same time. Then again people will still vote Tory time after time. The thing is people aren't stupid, it's just that those in power treat them that way and so they become accustomed to it and act accordingly.

Ahem! Moving on here's a recent picture of Jupiter that looks a bit like somebody's digestive system or the detail from an old oil painting.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Same sky different field

Feeling pretty privileged to live out in the sticks where the green and pleasant land meets the grey and choppy water. The only actual cloud on the horizon these days is the problem of wind blown ash from the artificial lagoons a few miles from us that's by Culross,  Valleyfield and Newmills. Fortunately we're  far enough away from it for this to be a major problem but it's not that way for folks close by. These remnants from the days of coal and the nearby coal burning power station are unstable and are, from time to time cover the nearby villages in a fine and unpleasant dust. Word is that it contains arsenic and various other nasties. SEPA have added to the drama by applying some kind of prohibition notice to the folks at Scottish Power (as was) who are responsible. Of course the current dry spell isn't helping and though the dust is being damped down it still prevails. Bit of a situation and unpleasant bun fight really. Local Facebook action group is via this link.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hey Mr Pink Urine Man

I've never really had any problems with blood. No icky, squeamish feelings or fear of it. I think I may have given blood about fifty times until I stopped a few years ago, this was mainly down to the blood donor nurses having trouble getting a needle through the scar tissue that had built up in both of my arms. I probably wont be back donating anytime soon now either. So it's funny but I was a little freaked out after my Green Light Laser Prostate Surgery because I just might, as an obvious part of the procedure and the recovery, pass a little blood.  The idea of peeing out your very life blood in some awful post op fashion did not appeal to me. All very Hammer Horror to my tiny mind. 

Of course I've survived this and there was no rivers of blood moment (I may have had one when I was zonked but who cares?). It was more a pinky kind of yukky urine which, strangely I found to be reassuring. Reassuring urine if you will. After the surgery all those nasty bits of vapourised material from my malfunctioning prostrate finally finding a way out and down the drain, phew! It's a therapeutic kind of primal thought, pissing your illness away. I'm sure old style medicine men would applaud such an event and be knighted or rewarded by the king. Watching the tone kind of mellow down, seeing the pink fade slowly and a more normal (?) colour beginning to appear.  So below is a shot of the actual laser at work, vapourising tissue but in a sanitised way that includes none of the debris. That appears later, then disappears like a reluctant sunset, I hope.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Idle musings

I feel quite strongly about some things but less so about others.

Some days I just can't be bothered.

I follow enticing stories in the media that I hope will lead somewhere and do some good, mostly they don't.

There seems to be no way to break the stranglehold that the established media hold on "facts".

With every news story I read I think, who is behind this?

I cannot understand the mindset of so-called ordinary people / voters. Why would anybody outside of a privileged background support the Conservatives?

There is no logic in the lines taken and then followed by people.

We seem to have managed to create a chaotic system than no single person or group is able to undo.

I'm afraid of revolution but I'm also afraid that there will not be a revolution.

Most days at some point I think, "people need to shut the fuck up."

Most days at some point I think, "people need to calm the fuck down."

Most days, most of the time I think, "yeah, I'll get around to that one next."

Is there any quick way of generating more Twitter followers without paying and playing the game?

I've got 99 problems, that's about it.

I tend to clean out bottles and containers before recycling them but it seems to me not many others do this.

Once you reach a certain age everything revolves around how well your metabolic rate is going.

Is it possible to make a decent meal from the items found in the end of aisle displays in a supermarket?

Where do birds sleep?

How can you easily break the cycle of wearing the same five T shirts that are on top of the pile?

On the beach

I was listening to Kezia Dugdale on a Radio Scotland phone in. I tuned out after about twenty minutes.  Truth is that she wasn't doing badly, she's a trier and of course most of the questions she's getting are a bit dumb or way too specific, I just feel a bit sorry for her. Most of Scotland would support Labour if it could get it's act together, lose the toxic in-fighting, take a realistic view on Independence,  develop a credible group of professional politicians and grow up enough to consider the prospect of collaborative rather than confrontational politics. 

The current shark infested environment will never deliver a credible political solution (from Labour), they cannot win as they are and poor Kezia struggles on in a thunderstorm of conflicted messages. So more of the same old, same old come June 8th..."but I'm just sittin' here, on the beach, and those seagulls are way out of reach, I need a crowd of people but I can't face them everyday."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Six months late

Fashionably late in watching the movie Passengers, pretty much normal for me. It's quite a tense and thought provoking film albeit there are massive plot holes and even bigger questions raised by the tense and at times creaking storyline. A good film to watch if you fancy a long pub argument about Stockholm Syndrome, sexism or social responsibility and of course your own possible choices if you wake up in space inside a dodgy space craft. Husbands and wives can debate long and hard which way they'd go, would you wake your partner up? Could happen to anyone I suppose and it draws easy parallels between the Titanic, the Pilgrim Fathers or about any sizable piece of human colonization ever carried out. Travelling isn't much fun really. 

Suggested slavery and people trafficking are  in there as well and of course the moral maze of sending paying passengers into space in a craft that may not quite be fit for purpose to a planet thats a hundred years into the future and needs a bit of fixing. They should really have left all that in the public sector but as usual once things get contracted out corners get cut and expectations fail to be met. Then systems may well break down. What kind of disreputable people would ever sign up for such a deal anyway? Earth must be pretty bad by this fact it's cold as hell and no place to raise your kids, as a wise man once said.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A collection of collections

Muircot Farm Shop & Cafe, deep in rural Scotland somewhere but still closer than you think. One unexpected outcome of my retiral from any kind of serious working life has been my creeping awareness of visiting more and more farm and coffee shops across the Central Belt and enjoying the experience. Indeed they form the buckle of Scotland's recreational belt for those of a certain vintage. I'm now on speaking and visiting terms with about a dozen of these authentic stone and metal clad establishments. It's happened by chance I suppose but truly one visit leads to another in the never ending chronicle of easy ways to waste time but still exploring safely and maintaining a feeling that's warm and woozy. Turns out "warm and woozy" is a perquisite for being happily retired nowadays, that and drinking fancy coffee and exotic tea. 

Despite all this self indulgence and unlike most of my contemporaries it's really a savoury experience, sugar and cakes and all that fluff are avoided but a good crunchy farmhouse lunch with authentic soup-works still renders you sleepy and smug.  Then, once the grub's gone you wander around the farm shop and look at stacks of eggs and portions of local jam and perfect looking vegetables arranged like soldiers in white wood boxes. Sometimes we buy, most times we don't but despite our indifference these places are booming, filled with shuffling Zimmer frames and young mums on the lookout for bolt hole before the next school run, they're the equivalent of Betjeman's air conditioned, bright canteens but without the danger of brain damage.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The day before the day before.

High tide.


We watched Eurovision last night, it'd be fun anyway whatever the outcome if only for the riotous tweets and messages generated in the background. Every act's performance and look being subjected to a blizzard of humour and criticism. You need to be tough in this industry with all the immediate feedback. I've not bothered with it for a few years so it was nice to come back in from the cold and note that nobody gives a toss about Brexit and the UK's schizophrenic politics, we really don't matter much, we're like some drunk, eccentric uncle determined to piss the bed and then keep everybody awake with his snoring. Politicians should watch this, if only to gauge the puerile level that most life is lived at and to see the absurdity in their pompous stances and ill informed statements when faced with this daft version of reality. Know your audience (and then ignore them).

(8 hours later) A spaniel in the works: two to be precise, running madly, funnily all across the garden and various outside spaces. I'll never finish the paragraph above, the spaniels have worn me out, none of it really matters anyway, much more fun to watch dogs having a good time.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Losing my incontinence

I always wondered what it must be like to lose your memory or have a stroke or be injured and suffer a loss of mobility and then have to relearn habits, skills and whole chunks of life once again. My recent illness has of course been mild in comparison to anything as life changing but I've had to relearn a few basics. Mostly toilet related. Now I'm post-op things are thankfully working again and fear, pain and the embarrassment of imperfect and malfunctioning plumbing is diminishing. It's nothing I can take credit for, just the right surgery and the body, set straight again now realigns itself with functions that were previously running smoothly. Though for some reason it's easier now to pee when standing on tiptoes. Has this always been the case and I just didn't know about it?

The things is I've never really understood or accepted that things might break down. Ok there's wear and tear and possible abuse but why should perfectly good well designed components just fail? In cars or appliances it's all about heat and friction and the build up of contaminants. In humans, designed I assume by god/aliens/evolution/imagination that shouldn't happen. We should just remain unbreakable until we're seventy or thereabouts. Then some latent chronic laziness, fatigue and unfair wear and tear time bomb comes into play and we'll just die. Following this and after the necessary purgatory period our spirits soar to the moon for refurbishment or perhaps we are reborn as noisy wild birds hovering above graveyards or pecking at telegraph poles. Then again it may just be the black worm hole of eternal loss and spiritual incontinence.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Concept albums and screwdrivers

Every so often or during periods of intellectual starvation I take a dive into my inner obsessive and edit my Amazon wish list. There will be blood and casualties, things removed as they are no longer available, obvious whimsy either tolerated or surgically dealt with. The end of hope and the start of dreams, the notions of reading and listening and relaxing in some golden state of being whilst surrounded by the totems and explorations the list might promise access to. The chance to revisit past choices, to remake them, to ponder and then start some collection that might, upon my untimely demise explain some tasteful things about me. Not so much that this was what I liked, more this was what I perversely added and you can never be sure whether I liked them or not (as if that was even important).  There is the other overarching storyline...of all the things I might need right now the very last of them is more stuff to confuse and clutter this stuttering life and so add to it's teetering contents.

I'm also tickled by writing a will and funeral directions that contains instructions and elements that I'd not really want but that might be fun. The wrong kind of funeral music, the wrong or inappropriate readings, the wrong setting with unwanted details added. Then people can be finally confused or reassured by this 45 minute bemusing, miserable and contradictory experience. "I never really knew him". "It was exactly what I thought he'd want". "A load of bollocks, a bit like everything he ever did". "What was that all about?" Why leave certainty and answers when you can leave an interesting pattern of random litter, like a wish list that points in a forever dumb direction headed elsewhere? 

It's the opposite of those times when you're receiving strange but well intended gifts. Those things things that tell you that you've not really made yourself clear or failed to communicate  some kind of taste or preference. You're an unknown. You'd only given out a vacuum and now all this random material has arrived in order to fill the oozing black space of some unexplained life. Serves you right. Make a wish list but make it anything but straight. 

What does a wish list really mean if you have on it things that you already have?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Production Boost

Things you see when you happen to live close to a large industrial and chemical complex: Usually INEOS save their flare burning stunts until after dark. Must be surplus of materials this week as they were in full and fiery flow this afternoon. As ever I'm ambivalent about this great glowing beast. The NIMBY in me says no, the practical man says it's our only refinery and petrochemical plant so we can hardly move it elsewhere. There's no right answer, well there is a right answer. Keep it, make it safe, move technology onwards into cleaner methods so that we can reduce this smokey footprint and eventually, god knows when in the future, be rid of it. Here ended the lesson.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

View on Google

I'm in my rest period, my recovery. Time to make mental lists and play with electricity, top ten concept albums, places to apply cement and mortar, clothes that need folded/renewed/discarded, where to apply paint, exercises that I might consider, bike cleaning, ways to spray tomato plants, how clean/dirty should crockery be anyway, where might the sun go next, head count of passers by, the best ambient music available on YouTube, predict the arrival of the postman, move a guitar around the house, listen to the birds, renovate a microwave, experiment with chocolate in the freezer, edit lists on Amazon...and so on.  Enjoy life. 

So I've been through an awkward time for a few months and thanks to a lot of loving TLC, the NHS and some seasonal variation I'm now on the other side, reflecting. Having not been ill before this experience has been new and not altogether pleasant, at times it was frightening and maybe I over egged it now and again. Maybe I was too precious and careful. Now I'm in recovery mode, it's sunny and suddenly almost anything seems possible...taken at the correct pace and with the right attitude. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Another morning

Another bright, sunny morning where the same things keep happening over and over. Cats on the roof, sparrows on the tiles, pigeons feeling frisky and the sunlight sprinkling across the trees and garden vegetation bringing it all back into life. Then of out into the car and back to hospital for a quick check up and check out and the hopeful resumption of normal business. Then home for a comatosed snooze in that same peaceful garden.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Mad shadows

The sharp sunlight and unexpected May time warmth have aided my recuperation. That and regular hot meals, root beer, green tea and chilled water. If I didn't know better I'd say I was on the mend but I won't speak too soon. I prefer living in the moment where the weather is kind and I'm being looked after. Long may it continue.

Friday, May 05, 2017

The Operation

So for a short while I was back in the safe bosom of the NHS, all warm and reasonably well timed. It was Star Wars day so quite appropriate that I should be seared with green laser so that  all my nasty little health problems could be quickly vapourized. Unfortunately the laser was not pointed at my head, it was aimed a little lower. Well it's done now and I feel a little better in some places and a little worse in others but that's how life goes. The road to recovery is a bit like the A90, it just keeps going, eventually you get somewhere but not always to where you expected. I also ate quite a lot of toast, toast is big in hospital, everybody likes it. Toast is up there with anesthetics, those two things get you through all the other stuff. I actually quite enjoyed being knocked out but like most good things it was over too quickly. The dull awakening and the sluggish sensations of pain and crawling back to reality were less enjoyable but I've always had a troubled relationship with reality in all it's fake forms. Anyway I'll be fine once the bleeding and the music playing in my head stops. Thanks again NHS, please don't let the Tories destroy you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Back to being human

I'm not sure if this is staged or real but whatever way I'm parking my normal cynicism and saying that this is probably the best election image I've seen so far  in 2017. It just works on numerous levels and I just can't count them all but I know they are there. Sometimes an image is a million times more powerful that any amount of rhetoric or planned and spun out messages. We the people need desperately to connect with our politicians and they need to connect with us (and each other). It's painfully obvious that it's missing from most of what takes place which is a poor excuse for communication. The media seldom help either with their smoke screens, agendas and bias. The fun and the life are effectively sucked out of everything, sure politics is is serious but it need not be so disconnected from normal human activity that it falls into a black hole of despair at each juncture. 

Theresa May has her level of disconnect and artificiality down to to fine and awful art. She hardly comes across as a functioning human being, it's sad to see this played out and, by those in the spin and image business Tory machine, somehow seen as a good thing and a safe way to proceed. We need a dose of normal from our politicians and at least in the image above Nicola Sturgeon comes close to getting there. Strangely and just to prove I'm either simple or easily distracted, the older Osborne version (below) also made me smile. He's still a twat though.