Showing posts from May, 2010

Last day of the holiday........

Poppies on the field wall N. Berwick
Hullo ma wee blog,

The Lovely G wanted to do some gift shopping for a forthcoming birthday in the family so we headed up the coast to North Berwick for a walk round and a look at some of the gift/craft shops. It's been a beautifully sunny day here and nice and warm to match, even if the forecast for tomorrow is rain - all the better for G returning to work as there's nothing worse than going back after a holiday with the sun splitting the sky - so we wanted to make the best of it with a wee trip out.

Over the wall to Bass Rock
I took the camera along but the sun was so bright the colours seem washed out.
N. Berwick beach
The town was busy with holiday makers and golfers all doing their thing in the sun and after a short hunt we managed to get something suitable as a birthday present so we had a light lunch and a walk before coming back home to relax in the garden as the grass has been duly cut this morning as promised.

Another shot of the popp…

There's got to be a windmill or two........

Kinderdijk - windmills
Hullo ma wee blog,

Holiday over, it's back home to rainy Scotland. The weather last week in The Netherlands was good to us with mainly hot and sunny days and just one day of dull and cool. Now as we head into the bank holiday weekend - which to my mind always heralded the start of summer proper - it's a cool 8C and the rain is pattering against the window, albeit in a gentle and quietly relaxing way. With normal return-from-holiday grass cutting plans postponed I might have the chance to finish my holiday read. Strangely for me, who can devour up to a book a day when on holiday, I never completed any of the two books taken with me. As well as the days being filled with good company and interesting places, insomnia disappeared and I slept like a log which in turn gave me more energy and a better chance to enjoy each day.

Ghent - rooftop statues
We spent a few days with our friends at their farm near Eindhoven before joining my brother and his wife at their…


Hullo ma wee blog,

You can have a few days rest while the Lovely G and I are away in Holland.

See you in a week.

Crivens, Jings..........Review of the Year

Hullo ma wee blog,

Incredibly, yesterday was a year to the day since I took my first bumbling steps into the World Of Blog and made my first post.  In 365 days much and little has changed, which is probably a bit confusing for you if you have strayed here for the first time and for those of you that know me a bit better, you are probably thinking that;

a} That's a pretty fair assessment
b} Anyone who has strayed here for the first time will probably - knowing the way I ramble - still be confused by the end of this.

In the last year I've made 216 posts which surprises the heck out of me. Before this I'd never even managed to keep a diary for longer than two weeks and to be absolutely honest, even then there were only half a dozen angst driven teenage entries.

It all started because I was in the midst of crisis. I'd been made redundant by my employer completely out of the blue and was in absolute turmoil, worried about the future for my family and myself. I'd w…

The week ahead.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

This week will end in a good way hopefully as the Lovely G and I fly off to Holland to spend some time with our Dutch pals Lisette and Martien before meeting up with my brother and his wife for a few days sightseeing and relaxing. Before then I will be crossing a couple of anniversary dates; the first anniversary of the blog's existence and the first anniversary of being made redundant. Hopefully you don't need to ask which of those will be the most enjoyable.

This morning I have been arranging with my ex-employer to take up a share option which I am entitled to. This needs to be fully concluded by Friday which should be no problem, but may unfortunately use up almost all of our remaining money from my dwindling redundancy payment. The upside is that by exchanging this for shares at a very preferential rate we will initially double our investment and hopefully be in a good position to benefit from growth which I feel is likely in the next however long. I ha…

Whiskers in the night............

Hullo ma wee blog,

I switched the lights off and crossed the hall to the stairs. It was late and The Lovely G had departed for bed hours before, followed conscientiously by Jess a few seconds later. Jess paused by the lounge door, yawned in a whisker stretching grimace and looked back as if considering whether to come back to her warm place beside me on the sofa, before turning and dutifully heading after her ladyship, her tail giving a dismissive flick as it disappeared silently from sight, leaving me to solitary TV.

By the time I was ready to follow it was later than late and I wearily went through some perfunctory ablutions in the bathroom before quietly creeping into the dark of the bedroom. As I entered, switching off the light on the upstairs landing as I did so, I could see Jess lying on the bed between The Lovely G and the edge of the bed nearest the door. She sleepily opened one critical eye to check that whoever was disturbing them had authority to do so and, permission gra…

How to choke on your breakfast.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

How to choke on your breakfast..........

1}Take your wife to her morning train through a beautiful East Lothian early morning glow.

2}While in town buy bacon, rolls and a newspaper before returning home.

3}Make breakfast of coffee and a bacon roll before sitting down at table to enjoy breakfast.

4}Open newspaper.

5}Read that our new coalition government - who promised tax cuts which would benefit the average family by £700 a year - are forecast to increase tax to a level where the average family would pay £1200 more a year. {consider that your unclear if this includes the promised   -£700 in the calculation}

6}Outraged, turn page away from photograph of smiling git of a Prime Minister { who had to enter the Scottish Parliament by the back door yesterday because of protesters}

7}Read that the price of petrol has reached an all time average high of £1,21 per litre {£6 PER GALLON} despite the wholesale cost of fuel GOING DOWN.

8} Take huge gulp of coffee to prevent ga…


Some very beautiful film of Lancasters in flight in HD.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Yesterday it was announced that there will be a £3.5 million memorial to the men of Bomber Command to be completed in London by 2012.  It brings to a conclusion the long fight for public recognition for the more than 55,500 Bomber Command aircrew killed in action during WWII. There has been a concerted campaign for public recognition since the end of the war, when the men felt that their sacrifice and effort was left ignored in the political aftermath of the war, due to the concerns over the area bombing campaign and the civilian losses resulting from it.

It was a fantastic announcement and one that obviously left me feeling a great degree of satisfaction.

From yesterdays Guardian newspaper.

"Just over 65 years after VE Day, Westminster council has finally given the go-ahead to a memorial dedicated to the memory of RAF Bomber Command and the bomber crews who flew over occupied Europe during the second wor…

153 Squadron 1944/45 - The final entry

A few months ago, just before Christmas in fact, I decided to go on a journey in search of a bit of my Dad that I didn't know all that much about. Dad died last year aged 84. He'd had a good innings, been an ordinary working man all his days and, an intelligent, able and highly sociable man, he worked in low paid jobs -  postman, insurance agent, traffic warden, social work assistant for blind welfare - for all of his working life. He never hankered after money or status and enjoyed the simple things in life; family, children, nature, people. He was a great fisherman and a great reader, he enjoyed solving problems and making things with his hands in a nutty professor creative kind of way. He was a natural psychologist and understood what made people tick. He was self deprecating and a good conversationalist, a staunch and lifelong giver of friendship. He was inquisitive, questioning and interested to the last. He had one of the most embarrassing laughs I have ever heard from …

153 Squadron 8th May 1945 - VE day to the end of 153 Squadron.

Lancasters over London. VE day Celebrations.
On 8th May, the day that marked the end of war in Europe, the squadron left Scampton once again to make the final food drops marking its involvement in 'Operation Manna'

Although the end of hostilities was marked by  festivities both in camp and outside and intense national celebrations took place with street parties and dances, war was not yet over, with Japan still holding out.  At base the celebrations, while enthusiastically embraced by some, were in contrast felt somehow inappropriate by others who had experienced family bereavement and those who found it hard to celebrate when so many squadron losses had been made in recent weeks. Although I can't find absolute evidence I think its likely that at Scampton as in other places guards were placed  on aircraft to ensure that any over euphoric and inebriated crews did not decide to go on a victory 'spin'. Some bases quietly ensured that aircraft had their magnetos remov…

Jamie Cullum - All Hail 'The Piano Man'.............

Hullo ma wee blog,

The lovely G and travelled through to Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall last night to go to our first Jamie Cullem concert. G was the instigator, listening to bits of his regular slot on BBC Radio Two as she comes home from work sometimes. I was an interested companion, loving piano music in most of it's forms, even if I do struggle with the density of some jazz. I was, it has to be said, unsure of a full blown jazz piano concert by someone I had heard very little of, but willing to give it a go. It turned out to be one of the most fantastic nights for a couple of years and as we reflected back on the night on the way home, we both agreed that he can sign up another two fans.

We were ably set up for the show by a half hour set from supporting act Eliza Dolittle's quirky voice and engaging character. Each track she gave us was original, interesting and very musical, yearning back to phrasing, styles and form of previous years in a highly sympathetic but compl…

153 Sqn. 29th April 1945 - 'Operation Manna'

70 years ago today my fathers war came to an end with the final mission to deliver food to starving Holland. A few years ago I posted his squadrons campaign diary for 1945 in real time following them day by day as they fought to survive what was the last few months of WWII. This is the story of their last operational flights.
Continuing the story of my late dad's wartime experiences as tail gunner in Lancasters of 153 Sqn and following Squadron operations from Jan 1945 to the end of hostilities.

During the days in April when the squadron was 'stood down' due to lack of operational targets in enemy territory, the crews of 153 Sqn were detailed to carry out low level cross country flying and map reading exercises. No official explanation was given to the airmen. The reason eventually became apparent......

On the 29th April, 153 squadron began humanitarian food…

Big Love - Lyndsey Buckingham

Hullo ma wee blog,

I'm not normally one for just posting video, so please excuse me for indulging myself with this great bit of acoustic guitar playing which was on my playlist last night too. Saw him perform this live last year and thought it was just tremendous.

Hope you enjoy it too.

Normal posting resumes from now I promise........

see you later {when we have a new government perhaps?}

Of Malt and Music.......

Hullo ma wee blog,

Kitchen. Computer. Cat at my feet. Whisky by my hand.


Will you sit a while perhaps?

see you later.......

sometimes things go right..........

Hullo ma wee blog,

It's great when you get something right. It's important sometimes to do that. Not necessarily the big important things, but the small, the minuscule, the insignificant even. Sometimes, these are the most important in reality. Now, I suppose I'm really talking to any fellas who happen to be reading this. I think you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that getting a small thing right can have benefits exponential to the significance of whatever it is that's gone right.  Just as getting insignificant things wrong can have consequences just as exponential, and usually painful in some way, in reverse.

I think all of us, and by that I mean every husband, partner, boyfriend or whatever - us guys - have experienced a situation where an argument, a tongue lashing or even a long huffy silence has come - as far as we are concerned - completely out of nowhere to leave us stunned into bewildered silence as we try and work out what the heck went wr…

Eat! Drink and be Mary?

Hullo ma wee blog,

No. Don't worry. The post name just reflects my love of puns.........

Today I'm feeling a bit frustrated and jaded at the same time.

 A letter dropped through the door from one of my insurance companies saying that they have not had any paperwork and do I still have a claim I want to make against my payment protection insurance. I had missed this company from the list of credit cards for which I had payment protection when made redundant last year but had eventually twigged that I had protection and raised a backdated claim. To do this I got the insurance company to send me a form which I completed, then sent to my old employers for them to complete and return - which they did - then I passed it to good old Job Center plus, our friendly Govt dept of unemployed persons, so they could do their bit. Once this is done, they send it off {they won't give it back to you for you to send 'recorded' delivery as they don't trust you not to tamper with …