Showing posts from October, 2009

Two sets of heavy purrs....

Hullo ma wee blog,

I sit on the couch, coffee by my side and a book in my hand. The day is grey outside, driech and cold but not so cold as earlier in the week. A cat sits at my feet and contemplates me with the utmost intent.

I look down..


I get a mouthed but silent meow in return and go back to reading my book.

A second later I am joined on the couch by Jess, who now contemplates me from much closer than before. I lift my book and give her a raised eyebrow 'what?' kind of look. She steps with supreme dignity onto my thigh and moves up inside my raised arm and thumps herself down onto my chest in a sideways slump, back towards me. A slight raising of the head back into my chest answers the question 'Just feeling lonely eh?.'

I return to book and coffee and stroke her gently between sips, cradling her weight to prevent her slipping down. {a forlorn hope in reality as my belly would no doubt do that for me} After a while her head slips back onto me in a…

And On a Historical Note........

Map of Scotland by John Speed 1610
Adapted to avoid image of Royalty - printed 1660
First known representation of tartan in print

Hullo ma wee blog,

I have been thinking these past few days, as I take my lovely G to the railway station in Dunbar for her morning train to Edinburgh and her working day, about what topic I should choose for a post here. I got some really nice comments about my post on 'The Black Watch', which was one of the most enjoyable posts to do, due to my real attachment to the story, although my writing of it caused me to go back to books not read for some time and find some mistakes that maybe I should clear up a wee bit. {I also found an absolutely heart wrenching account of the three mens last hours and their execution which I should maybe also look at for the future} But I have been trying to think about what should come next.

I have an almost equal feeling for the men of the 78th Seaforth Highlanders who mutinied at Edinburgh Castle in September 1778 and t…

Sometimes its the little things..........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Isn't it amazing sometimes what makes your day so much better? I mean REALLY makes your day better. I don't mean the earth shattering stuff either. Sometimes its the simplest, most accidental, innocuous even, tiniest wee thing that makes life worth living just to BE there, to have seen that, to have smelt that, to have heard that,it all adds up to having FELT that completely unexpected thing.

It can be as mundane as a smile from a stranger or it can be as utterly skillful as a someone demonstrating a craft. It can be spontaneous or part of a performance. It can be completely personal as a memory of family or completely anonymous. Something that instantly -'BANG' - the camera/recorder in your head suddenly, unexpectedly tunes into, and you know at that moment you will be able to recall that second many years from now. Maybe even as you die. Its breathtaking not in its importance but in its beauty, in its transience even. A perfect photograph left untake…

A Big Pie and A New Car......

Hullo there ma wee blog,

Jings, where does time go. It seems like no time since my last post and yet its been four days or so.

So what have I been up to?

Well my weekend was filled with A Big Pie and A New Car......

I was invited by my older brother Gordon - Happy Birthday for today by the way, big brother - down to Irvine for a night out. He has invited me before to nights out with associates or to functions but I have never gone. I don't like the idea of sporting nights where you get suited and booted to go and watch a couple of guys beat seven bells out of each other in a boxing ring. And I'm not a golfer. Not that I'm one of those who see it as a good walk spoiled or anything like that but I'm a fisherman and to be honest both of those sports are pretty time consuming, and expensive, if you are going to do them properly. I'm not into round table socialising and fundraising and all that schmoozing and self congratulating stuff either.

Shield of the Hammermens g…

Am Freiceadain Dubh

Black Watch Memorial Aberfeldy
Firstly, let me introduce you to the man in the photo. His name is Samuel Macpherson and he was born in Laggan in the highlands about 1712 or there abouts. He is standing on a memorial to the regiment of which he was part. It was officially The 43rd {Highland} Regiment Of Foot but was known in Gaelic as 'Am Freiceadain Dubh'. but we know it much better in Britain as 'The Black Watch'

I have a natural sense of the ironic. It reassures me, keeps me sane, brings a wry smile to my lips and sometimes, a deep sense of satisfaction.

I think that as a Scotsman its part of our national character, part of our make up.

Let me tell you a wee tale. Its a tale of history, of Scotland and of irony. Jings, three of my favourite things all in one. I hope I can do it justice.

I once worked in Fort William in the highlands. Its gaelic name is 'An Gearasdan' which means simply 'The Garrison' and reminds us that it was fortified as a frontie…

Thank you for the music

Hullo ma wee blog,

I love my live music. Had some of just the best times experiencing human creativity and sharing emotions with complete strangers in dark rooms filled with beautiful live music. Hearing music as its intended, live in front of you, and connecting with it in a much more personal and complete way because of that.

So it was tonight as the lovely G and I travelled through to Glasgow once more to see Fleetwood Mac in concert at the Scottish Event and Conference Center, right by the side of the Clyde and 'the Armadillo', our own wee version of the Sidney Opera House, beautifully lit up and complemented by the equally colourful BBC Scotland headquarters on the other side of the river.

We had seen Fleetwood Mac once before, many years ago, when they were touring some big city down south and had been due to take a ferry across to Dublin but were prevented by a couple of days of storms in the Irish Sea which put a complete stop to any plans for sea crossings. It was sudden…

All for one and one for.......himself apparently.

Hullo there ma wee blog,

Reading the paper this morning and a report on yesterdays speech by Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank Of England, given to the C.B.I. in Edinburgh. He was taking the opportunity to fire a warning shot across the bows of the banking sector, warning against a return to the blockbuster bonus culture that has been blamed for threatening the stability of the financial system. His remarks come as a report is published claiming that city financiers are set to trouser bonuses of £6 Billion, up 50% on a year ago.

The R.B.S has already had to deny claims that some top investment staff are to walk away with bonus figures of £5 Million.

Goldman Sachs has openly stated that average, that's AVERAGE, bonus will be £500,000

Lord Myners, City Minister, has warned that he COULD act to cap them, but has so far only indicated that banks which have been part nationalised, such as RBS, will have big payouts blocked, although as far as I am aware he hasn't indicated what a '…

Technic-Al assistance.....

Hullo there ma wee blog,

I got back last night about 9.15 having been out at a recruitment evening for the Childrens Hearings system. I was asked to go along to represent Panel Members to meet a group of some 25 potential new members, to sit with them for just under half an hour and take questions and explain what a hearing feels like and what skills you develop doing the role etc.

Those of you who have read this blog at any length will have come across mentions of the 'Childrens Panel' before - its a tribunal that sits to support children and young people who are in trouble in some way, either offending or being offended against, or who are facing difficulties through lack of care and protection from parents or carers etc. We can put in place legally binding measures for the care, protection, control or treatment of children via 'supervision requirements' or in certain circumstances by issue of legal warrants. It works under Scottish Legislation and the European Convent…

Golden soup for an Autumn Night

Hullo ma wee blog,
My disconnected feeling has treacherously descended into an irritating, sniffly head cold despite the deceitful euphoric few hours of last night. Its left me feeling jaded and listless once more, heavy headed and small eyed, and permanently, miserably, accompanied by a box of tissues wrapped in their bright, cheerful, irrationally annoying packet. My journey around the house marked by a territorial deposit of used tissues in each waste bin. Yuk.

I can't think of food but desperately want something. Hot, soothing with a good but easily digestible body. I decide on soup. To be honest it couldn't be anything else really. Programmed by tradition and temperament and not least by the ease of making just a simple pot of soup. Its all I can raise my enthusiasm and energy to anyway, and the stuff is all here in the house.

So, a base of onions chopped and softened in some butter, a few roughly chopped potatoes and two small finely grated carrots. I want them to dissolve …

On How Insomnia Messes With Your Head.....

Hullo there ma wee blog,

So. After a few sleep laden days and nights, unwelcome normality returns via insomnia. Whoop de bloomin do!

I have found myself unable to post through most of a week which seems to have largely disconnected me somehow. I have been struggling to stay awake and concentrate on anything for more than a couple of hours at a time. When awake for even those short periods I have been so unmotivated with 'real' life that I've stayed firmly in the other world of internet, books and TV. I have been backtracking the stories of some of the blogs I follow but even this what would be a normally pleasurable and invigorating even, exercise has taken too long and left me cream crackered {knackered} and needing to lie down, Its all a bit pathetic and strange if you ask me. Oh yes, I,ve managed to make a few comments on other folks blogs but not much. Unable to say I've been feeling unwell but something definitely not me. I don't normally spend my existence lyin…

A funny thing, soup

Hullo ma wee blog,

I woke up gently smiling with Paws distinctive laugh in my ears, or so I thought. Must have been in my mind in reality of course.

It was still deeply dark and my lovely G had a couple of hours or more at least before she would be stirring for the start of another week. Octobers chill occupied the room with us, crept in, no doubt, from the bedroom window that's perpetually open except when we are away from home. As is my habit once awake, I stole off quietly to the kitchen, the kettle, and the table by the patio door to the garden. The first place to warm when the boiler strikes up and brings the house to life for the start of the new day.

In my dream we had been just chatting, Paw and I, chewin the fat, in his last place in the sheltered housing complex, a few hundred yards from the house now belonging to my brother and I where he had lived with Mum.

Its in the village where Gordon and I were brought up. A small and still close knit community of mainly ex mi…

Sorry, all you guys in the Royal Mail........

Hullo ma wee blog,

I came home this afternoon having been at a training day for childrens hearings. The legislation for freeing up children for adoption has changed and to be able to continue to sit on hearings all members have to attend compulsory training.

On arrival there was a pile of mail behind the door.

Mail is erratic just now due to the Royal Mail workers taking sporadic industrial action in pursuit of something which has passed me by. But then again, other than the odd letter to Job Center plus or a birthday card I never use the Royal Mail anymore these days.

Maybe that's why they're taking industrial action!

{Actually, as its the Royal Mail your Majesty, could I ask you to nip round there and sort it out cos you have been letting the side down for years. Its not on. Its not good enough! Its not very British! Would never have happened in your Dads day...}

But as usual, here I am going off at tangents.

One of the wee white envelopes didn't contain a bill or another of …

Shame on you, you Muppets!.....

Hullo ma wee blog,
As a treat from the slog of prep for the job interview I have awarded myself a day off from job hunting and have spent a calm hour or two surfing the world of blog away from those interesting and knowledgeable souls I follow -sook, sook...{see previous post ' glossary' for translation if needed}

I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed. { not like me, eh! } I seemed to come across blogs by a number of ex-pats living abroad and a common theme was of panning those parts of British society or politics that should be changed, improved or abolished in their opinion. A regret for things past, erosion of values or whatever. And so, they appear to have moved abroad to establish or to join a better 'little britain' in their part of Spain or France or New Zealand or where ever.

I call it the 'Culture Del Costa'

At some time in the future the lovely G and I plan to live, at least part of the time, in France. But its not about escaping …

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbyeeeee.......

Hullo ma wee blog,

Aye, weel thats me finished all the preparation for my job interview tomorrow at 9.30am.

I,m told it will last an hour and I have to give a short 7 minute presentation on 'what factors you would take into consideration in forming a view as to the level of risk an offender may pose to the general public'

while I am a bit nervous I am actually looking forward to it. That will probably change in the morning.

Still, I'll give it my best shot.

Wonder if I'll sleep tonight.....

Listening to The Flaming Lips......'Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots'

You know, its never going to happen....

Hullo ma wee blog,

6am and I'm back again.

Sleep has given me a very effective body swerve tonight and no matter how I try its just not going to happen...

Ah well.

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me and I'm feeling good.......

Dum, da dum,da dum,da dum, da......

Aye, right!

see you later.......

Life, the universe and everything......

Hullo ma wee blog,

Aye, still up 4.20am.

Been scurrying through some of my favourite music to try and calm the demons while considering life, the universe and everything.

Would you like to listen?

Jon and Vangelis. Memories of years past. I really enjoy this usually with the sound up, headphones on and the lights down low. And a nice brandy seems to help it along sometimes but not at this time of the day......

Sometimes when thoughts are full of feeling I like to hide in fact. Maybe thats why I
I loved this piece from the moment I heard it.

And you may have noticed I'm a Monty Python fan.

You know what the Monty Python boys say.......

'Nobody expects The Spanish Inquisition!'

Goodnight, God bless and may your God go with you - as one of my favourite comedians used to say.

Sorry been a bit maudlin tonight. Will try to be more upbeat next time perhaps.......

see you later........

Sometimes, not often........

Hullo ma wee blog,

2.30am. A wee single malt whisky. Coffee. Music.

Sometimes, not often, after a particularly difficult session at the Childrens Panels I find myself tossing and turning during the night, mulling over the situations that kids sometimes find themselves in and how on earth they are expected to cope.

A case today, a child abused and trying to make sense in a situation which I have no experience of, surrounded by people trying genuinely to help but a child, a young adult, unable to see the way, to trust. A wee soul, lost, hurting and damaged. So much potential at risk of never coming to light. And that damage done, like a stone dropped in a pond, rippling out to touch, affect and damage others too, their ability to help, to understand, sometimes even to believe that such a thing has/can/is happening to a loved one.

And how can an adult exploit a situation like that in such a dreadful way.

Why is life sometimes so beautiful and sometimes so terrible.....

Please - take care of yo…


Penguins. L'Oro Parque, Tenerife

Hullo ma wee blog,

It went like this.........

I had been in the kitchen, at my usual spot at the table, for a few hours working on prep for the dreaded interview when I realised that I was really, REALLY cold.

'Absolutely baltic' as we would say in these pairts.

I had been engrossed and not felt the cold creep in. We have had fairly mild weather until now and as we are on LPG, not mains gas and its quite expensive, haven't yet put on the central heating. This weekend with gales and albeit a sunny Sunday, it got cold as it got dark. Our kitchen has three outside walls, as does the lounge, and these rooms can become either warm or cold in a short time and this usually leads to us reaching for the heating controls or at the least some woolly jumpers and thicker socks.

As it was getting late I went through to the lounge where the lovely G was watching some telly. I said I was freezing and was going up to bed with a reference book on chil…

Its a Beautiful day.............

Hullo there ma wee blog,

Its such a different day from yesterday when there were the first of the real gales coming in off the sea. The first real taste of the coming Winter so far. Trees in the garden were wrestled backwards and forwards and most of the remaining apples torn from their grasp leaving only a few stubborn signs of plenty behind. An overdue reminder that me and my wee hessian sack should have been active before now.

As the lovely G had a rare Saturday off work we decided we would go to Edinburgh to begin the search for a new car for her. Her current car, the first she has ever owned just herself, is now almost vintage and although much loved is at the stage where the advice of our trusted mechanic was a salutary and refreshingly honest " If you bring her to me again I'm afraid its going to cost a lot of money to do what really needs to be done to keep her safe for another year "

And so we set off down the drive under the thrashing branches of the old pear tre…