Friday, May 31, 2013

Imaginary Robin

There's not much worse than getting followed around by a figment of your imagination. This has been happening to me for a few months now - in the form of an over friendly robin. Frankly the tiny red-coated fellow is stalking me. Here, there and as John Lennon might have said, everywhere. But mostly in the garden. When I whistle, along he comes, winking and blinking and set to briefly enjoy my company before winging away into the safety of the shrubs from where he can safely observe my antics. I have encouraged him, saved his life (from the jaws of a cat) on one occasion and regularly fed him assorted nuts coated with second hand fat from the butcher shop in Limekilns. It's all my own fault really. Relationships can get complicated.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blackie Strat

What it should look like.
Building up a Blackie Strat from EBay'd and found bits and beach combings. Well I've not done any building yet, just purloining the pieces and preparing to clean up, titivate and repair. There will be periods of doubt, disappointment and some frustration but I shall struggle through. Once completed this priceless mongrel  pedigree tribute to rock n' roll n' blues history will be priced at £350 or thereabouts. Form an orderly queue.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Smartphone ownership

My actual screen pic minus the ever morphing shortcuts.
Sadly the Samsung Galaxy smart phone honeymoon period is over. A fun and proud to have novelty for a few days it's already revealing a wider, possibly world wide "Emperor's new clothes syndrome" type of deception that I suspect everyone has been duped into following. OK it's not a total crock but one week in I'm hungry for a proper button to press, I dislike the stupid flicky screen. My clumsy flicks or nose wipes are generally misunderstood and it warps of into god knows where whilst covered in fingermarks. It moves in my pocket and resets or changes the view. It's always looking for some connection, like a Los Angeles hooker. It's always telling me something isn't available and it still chirps randomly (I suspect Googlemail) in some desperate bid to get my waning attention. Texts and typing are a muddle, I'm doubly confounded by the tiny non-button buttons and the irritating spell check that rattles on with unwanted suggestions all the time.

Them there's the camera, the one bit of mobile tech I had bonded with. I don't see it happening with this fickle baby. It wants it's own way all the time, it  blacks out in any sunlight, does the flicky thing to video when you least want it to and in a unforgivable way it refuses to mate with an Apple MacBook. That means that to get photos into the laptop (because I don't want to stuff everything on line unedited) I have to extricate the tiny memory card and then use an adaptor to regain control of the shots. Unless some unexpected Epiphany occurs it's headed for the bottom of a sock drawer or the bottom of the Forth.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Out of my system

The warden's house. A job for the summer, advertised once in a while and probably well worth it...I've signed up.
Here's the ferry looking steady...but it's anything but.
The green lump between the sea and the sky is in fact the island.
The old, ruined Aberdour jetty, made to look older by adding black and  white.  Once the centre for river traffic, ferries and holidaymakers.
Views of the mythical isle of Inchcolm set out in the Forth of Fifth or as we call it the Firth of Forth. It was the recent location of a magical family wedding. The island is a strange mix of the abandoned and the derelict and the stridently restored. Seagulls and puzzled explorers pick their way here and there in the remnants of the old abbey complex and Napoleonic and 20th century gun emplacements. The wind never stops blowing and the birds eye up unwilling targets, that's just the island life. All rather good and stiffly Scottish, the boat journey's pretty interesting also - as is the landing.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Says it all really. Some things are just out there, hidden in plain sight.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Been playing this all my life

MAY 16
The act of arranging bacon strips on a frying pan in the most efficient way possible given the dimensions of your pan. The goal is to maximize the number of bacon strips on the heating surface without leaving any part of any strip uncooked.
"I have 100 square inches of bacon and only 36 square inches of frying pan area. Time for some Bacon Tetris."

In praise of black bananas

Some days life is just a steady, relentless set of missed opportunities, black bananas and misspelled blogging errors. Today I did have the time and inclination to repaint the badly painted and slightly embarrassing garage doors and somehow justify myself. Two great blue chunks of wood fitted, hinged and bolted into sympathetic holes grinning at me in a potential DIY sunny evening way. Alas, just as I'd digested the last of the Anster cheese and was about to revise my ongoing  ironing and kilt maintenance plans along came hail stones, rain and other general forms of warm Biblical pestilence. I imagined a leaf to be frog, blown grass to be locusts and midges to be scorpions, it was all over without the shouting. I resigned myself to a sober and unpainted fate and then watered the tomatoes and suicidal peppers in the conservatory whilst watching foolish people bidding endlessly on EBay for antique mandolins and banjos. Truly, the amusement never ends.

Garry Winogrand took this photo a while ago, probably part of a series and it's rather good and evocative I'd say. Nobody knows why she's holding her shoes, perhaps they don't belong to her at all.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Still life with anchovies

Today I've received most of my essential protein from anchovies, I hope the doseage works. I'll need all my fading faculties to get to grips with the new mobile phone that the confused pony tailed driver dropped off, in the exact time slot (as texted), this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of the transaction following last week's web based elongated ordering misery. So now I have the slim, dark and exciting smart phone. It's gleaming, modern and charging (asleep as it were) but we've yet to bond. A key point in relationships with the  inanimate technical objects that we use to connect us to the world; phones, Kindles, cars, laptops, web browsers and alcohol. If, even at this early stage we hit a snag then the marriage of man and machine can fail and stubbornly refuse to reignite the passion and promise that the first viewing on the web or on the forecourt suggested so strongly (the price must be a key factor here...). Clearly I need more anchovies, some red pepper dip and creamy chocolate cake.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The A - Z of Grim

Dark & Macabre: I make no apologies for this, I am simply passing it on.  I think Winnie and Xerxes met with the grimmest of endings.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Piper at the gates of doom

I didn't realise that some dumb trash can metal band had used this name. I could still shed a tear over the original chapter and the other night, when the sun hit the trees... I remembered a day.


Get ready for a new eating experience, choose from the Mach 1.5, the vertical drop or  the Temporary Time Travel options.
Breakfast at the Loch Leven Larder: it was a good experience, a nice eggy black pudding and spicy sausage combo launched into and washed away with a pot of tea and some thick seeded toast. The rainy view of the flattened out loch and desolate islands added it's own unique flavour. Loch Leven is the the east side's poor relation to the international playground that is Loch Lomond. Less bling and height and golf and hotels, no big misty Ben or crags or Glasgow patter. A flatter, sadder, plainer version of the midge riddled and fake tartan west, that's Fife /Perth/Kinross. No big boats or seaplanes or cabin cruisers, just the bird sanctuary, dotted gliders, traffic calming and determined fisher folk in leaky looking boats.  Good cheese counter also and tasty chocolate spread.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Phoney McRingring returns

File under "who gives a stuff anyway?": The good people at Three telephone systems peacefully capitulated to my stream of annoyed type emails and kindly called me back from a mysterious location hidden deep within the Indian sub-continent. A kindly chap, obviously aware of my recent history of mental health and my poorly expressed exasperation successfully negotiated with me and a deal was quickly struck. Good humour and rather weak signal came together to hurry the transaction along a bit also. Now I'm the potential proud owner of some fancy phone (delivery pending and illustrated above) and I've reduced my monthly bill by a whopping 33%. I'm getting some other free stuff also but as I dozed off somewhere around fifteen minutes into the slowly fading call and I didn't think it good manners to ask for a repeat of the details. Now I've no idea what it might all be. That's the way to do business I think. Stay on the edges of consciousness and don't worry too much.

If you are experiencing problems with call centre type  issues, button pushing and excessive hanging on the line then this site offers short cuts allegedly.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Other people's funerals

Your own personal Jesus.
Other things can rise up at will, a seasonal effect so I believe.
It's a bit of a shame that there is no such thing as eternal life. If you're not sure then go to a funeral, there's the proof. A dead person, lots of family, friends and hangers on/supporters and...that's it.

I was at one today out in the East Neuk, wonderfully mad sunlit weather, rolling clouds and white seas in a craggy church clinging for dear life to the water's edge. Beside it a battered graveyard, windswept and white with salt, back on a low cliff top overlooking the great mother sea, licking at the graves as if to beg for a taste. I heard all about the life lived, it was uplifting and interesting, he sounded like a nice chap, a square peg in a square hole, loved and liked he'd explored and fathered and befriended. Then a cancer and the fatigue of living beyond allotted years caught up. I didn't know him at all it seemed, others clearly did. I wished I'd known him better and as the old hymns rattled unsung around the kirk interior I was sad for myself that I'd missed some slim chance somewhere along the way.

So that's life, death and families. In the end we all run out of time and patience and fail to make that tiny bit of effort. One thing we all have in common 100% of the time. Then it's time to put that polished wooden box into the damp ground, say a few words and turn and walk away. Awkward chat suddenly turns lighter, people shake hands, hug or kiss, speak quietly, someone smiles, our steps increase, up the hill, away from the place where the dead live as their disturbed ground now closes in again. We go to a busy hotel were chairs are hurriedly moved into positions. We arrange ourselves in groups and  drink whisky and eat heavenly roast beef in a last supper (apart from the vegetarians who receive a hurried portion of hot mushroom risotto). Then bumper to bumper on the A92.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Upgrade your phone the easy way

It's that classic dilemma, that endless enigma, the constant problem, the itchy irritation, the still small voice whispering in your ear, the nagging doubt and the creeping dawning of a brave new wisdom; so what is really the better look, swept to one side or a fringe?

Bargain of the day: I ordered one roll of "all purpose galvanised fixing strip/band 10m x 12mm and they mistakenly doubled the order and sent two. Now I have an extra roll ready to ship to some needy part of our impoverished isle or to some other Third World Country (or maybe I just hold onto it for a rainy day). The best £2.99 ever, I take  back everything bad I ever said about the tax dodging, shipment delaying, book burning and music killing good people of that strange on-line sales company named after a South American River, Orinoco?

P.S. If you want to buy a phone from Three or upgrade - you can't. The department is shut and you must go on-line but your old order's blocking your account and the phone you want is no longer in stock anyway so you're stuck and they're sending you texts to say your upgrade is done but you can't get a delivery so you sit at home and ... wait. I think they need a new system.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stone cold holes

The world according to Beachcomber: Generally you search and discover a lot that is of little consequence, no pearls, no pigs, no buried golden treasure creeping through to the surface. Stoop to pick up driftwood, oddly shaped pebbles, sculpted glass and stagger over the detestable plastic and polythene remnants of some not quite passed by or passed out civilisation.  Head down like a lonely maniac, a loose metaphor, scavenging on the edge, bitten by unseasonal winds and spray that erupts like a slow vertical blizzard. This must be where everything ends the journey, bogged down and botched up and washed ashore like refugees and so much forgotten trash. The scale of everything is off the scale. We are all guilty of various misdemeanors and if you're looking for something to hang on to yourself with then it's clear to me it's mostly going to be  indifference.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

We will hear them then

Quite a nice piece of random mash up Tomfoolery. It makes me feel a little sad for some reason, perhaps it's poignant and full of deep meaning. No doubt this process could be carried out on a thousand variations of their works but this'll do.

In other news here's a friendly donkey we (me + grandkids) encountered over the weekend. I called him Don Quixote and his partner Kong. From the safety of a wooden enclosure we fed them long green grass, rain in buckets and 50 Pence worth of Cornflakes, now we're pals for life. Highly unoriginal. The rest of the weekend was spent beach combing, cooking up storms and vegetating; it's that tough time of year when exams, studies and questionable weather patterns abound.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

How we all lie

Stare at a website or newspaper through narrow, slitty eyes and say what it is you see = Randomly Misread Articles: 

How to make Sergeant Pepper Squid, 

Boris Johnston’s amazing but true half time statistics, 

Obituary: Octavia Mussolini, 

Gove attacks used Mr Man,

20 Great Ashes Moments - No 24, 

High hopes for Sheffield Dog Fest,  

Sending red Virgin blouses to war, 

Win a city bleak to paradise, 

Moth of a life on twitter, 

The rise of designer outlets in the rage of austerity, 

Its official Moyes is on Toffee, 

Revealed the 750 hospitals that should never have happened, 

Bowies controversial new video mistakenly removed from the tube, 

Top Ten Books people die for, 

The rise of community ownership in whales, 

Recipe of the day: how to add stirrups to your drinks, 

This little job site could be our chance to love Charles, 

Four day week? Every job needs a costume. 

Boys detained for hugging death, 

Woman survives hairpin shooting, 

Teen: Why I created a man suit, 

Jurassic panic: did the great dinosaur feed ever really happen?

Lastly and most profoundly: How we all lie.

I guess that this is what bored or semi-retired people do in order to squeeze some bitter entertainment juice from the dregs of the day. Words and bright images are everywhere but few of them are of any actual interest as they are. They all need to be twisted to mean something.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Winona Ryder and getting screwed

Age: Turns out that Winona Ryder is 41, time passes pretty quick around this lonesome planet. Last time I looked I could swear she was 21. Is everybody else getting old at near enough the same pace, have aliens messed with our food chain or is there a really weird Voodoo Hoodoo going on?

Economics and the fetish of idle tools: There has to be something badly wrong with the system (by that I'm referring to the Illuminati's patented and highly secret methods for running world-wide economics) when you can nonchalantly wander into a drab Pound shop and get a tiny set of jeweler's screwdrivers and Allen keys (10 pieces) from 1/16" to 1/8" for 99p, not even a proper English Pound. Even if they were of Christmas cracker quality and made from stick insect dung it would be a bargain but they are much better than that and are perfect for the imperfect and ancient art of blundering around with the multi adjustable Fender bridge (as below). So once again I have the opportunity to fiddle with a guitar's fine tuning and so stop buzzes and then get a buzz (?). I would happily pay a fiver or provide a sizable blood sample for these sanity saving items but...99p is all the lady in the shop will take.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Fixing another hole and a lion

No rest today, no holiday for me it was all hard labour, cheesy crisps and Stella Artois. The hole fixing continues with some nifty kerb side alterations and then bolting an iron lion into some masonry (spell check wanted to change this to some missionary...nicely weird). I'll be glad to get back to work tomorrow. Now the sun's finally coming out, time for more Stella.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Fixing more holes

 This isn't really fixing a hole, it's more of an exploration, a bit like Arnie Saccnuson though not quite getting to the earth's molten core, more like getting down about 2' deep to reveal a non-existent cellar and more importantly the firm foundations. Sure enough, if you dig underneath any house you'll eventually find them. A sledgehammer and a strong back are also required.

A cat on a spiral stair case, taking in the view and pondering the likely percentages of success and risk for taking a flying leap from the stair to the couch. Doable for cats, not recommended for humans.

I like food, I like people who like food, I love people who make good food but I'm neither knowledgeable about the subject nor am I a foodie. However I can testify that these books work, read them and follow the instructions and, possibly,  a big WOW! effect will take place.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Fixing a hole in the world

Fixing a Strat: Maybe I'm more practically minded than I think, maybe I'm deluded. You can never tell really. Everyday I encounter people who think they are capable...but they are not and nobody's telling them, so they blunder on creating havoc on stilts. That's probably why the world's so screwed up, we're failing to stop them and they are just getting on with it, making things worse all the time. I must remember to do something about this next week and so commence the long overdue social revolution that's necessary to free us all.

So how hard can it be to be good at things? (I am haunted by this question. I am also haunted by other questions but I'm not very good at remembering what they are), and why is it are we often just mediocre at things? Anyway I'm good with Allan Keys and screwdrivers and fiddling with stuff. Probably accidentally good if that is actually similar to proper good, a kind of second rate but effective good which could be enough, so I'm mostly unprofessional but still a completer/finisher as well as being a compulsive fiddler. Britain needs more folks like me.

Carelessness: that's the big problem and it will kill us all. That's a basic truth that's never really occurred to any of the main political parties, religions or institutions and they practice it all the time.

Word of the week: Pyrographic.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Guitar Project

So you enter your guitar's serial number details and it tells you...a little bit about it; some vague dates and locations and that's about all. It's free to use and maybe, one day it will be a source of vital information. The top one is for a Fender Strat quite rightly dated about 1990, the other is for a Yamaha Pacifica that I did think belonged to this century rather than the last. This was purely on the basis of a lack of chips, dings and the build up of dirt and dust. All important details to be able to capture if the virtual guitar shop is going to proceed or even succeed. Just noticed that this site's not been updated since 2008 :-(

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Turner Prize Nominations

These childishly painted and forlorn signs sit at a busy road junction pointing to a non-existent gallery. Somehow becoming a piece of art in their own right; abandoned, absurd and anti-artistic all at once.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Copper Trees

The sun sinks slowly and lazily into the west and shines a still copper tone across the trees as they struggle to turn a late green in this early May day. The fields  buzz in the distance across hedges and jumbled woodland. The birds twitter and coo and forget where they are going, cats run riot in feline slow motion on the cut grass and out on the waterfront the mad human optimists fish in the still evening water. For a short time all is calm and peaceful in this world within worlds.