Showing posts from January, 2011

Sweet Bird of Youth......

Dreams elude me but thoughts twist and turn, whirling like birds on the wing through my head. It's cold outside but here, under the duvet, I'm snug.  Warm even. I stretch my legs and touch the warm body next to me momentarily. I feel the steady glow of their body-heat which reassures me. I know that if I get cold, if I have to get out of bed for instance, that I can slip back under the duvet and press myself against their heat and wait for it to pour back into my body. At the moment I have no plans to do that so I just relax, chill and enjoy the comfort as I slowly drift off, carried away on this delicious warmth.

Thoughts, like birds, migrate.

I drift away unsure if I'm dreaming or just thinking of my youth, running with the gang or playing rough and tumble in the garden with my brother and sister, my youthful nose sharp and full of smells that come back to me here in the night. I particularly remember the flowers but other things too, like how I used to play sneaking up…

The 'Sunday Post'

Hullo ma wee blog,

This weeks poem is a favourite from Leonard Cohen.

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

And end this night
If it be your will.


Hullo ma wee blog,

We have been without heating, hot water and power for our gas hob for 5 days now since we completely ran out of gas in the house tank at the bottom of the drive. We use LPG as we are not on mains gas and have since found out that our bi-monthly gas delivery didn't happen during the snow around Christmas time and our supplier didn't prioritise us for an emergency delivery after comparing annual usage for the same time last year. Apparently we should have just made it through to our next scheduled delivery date next month. Shame they didn't factor in that due to the weather and since we had been up to our backsides in snow for three weeks, there was a chance we might have had the heating on a little more than normal. Now having called their emergency line on Sunday - to find it operates Mon - Fri and 9-5 only -which is of course when all emergencies happen - we have been waiting more than the three days they advised would be the longest wait for delivery. …

'Slainte' For Burns Night..........

Hullo ma wee blog,

More poetry I'm afraid.........

It's Burns night tonight and the Lovely G and I will celebrate it with the traditional meal of Haggis, neeps and tatties in memory of Scotlands national poet, Robert Burns who like me is an Ayrshire lad. It's rare that tradition tastes so good. {and lets you have a dram at the same time.}

Thanks Rabbie!

Here's a couple of versions of one of Burns greatest works, 'A Man's A Man'. It's a song that highlights Burns' strong political and moral sensibilities as it seems the song was written in support for the revolution then taking place in France. What seems probable is that Burns was influenced by Thomas Paine's 'The Rights of Man' as both works deal with ideas of liberty, equality and universal human rights.

This was the song chosen to be sung at the opening of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999. I think Rabbie would have approved not only that it was chosen for such an occasion bu…

The Return of The Mad Cyclist.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Last year I posted a video of Danny MacCaskill, professional cyclist, doing some incredible bike tricks on the streets - amongst other places - of Edinburgh. I'm not a cyclist but I enjoy the skill, bravado and creativity that goes into doing some of the tricks he does and the videos have good production values and a cracking soundtrack. Now he's back. In his latest video he is on a journey from Edinburgh where he now lives back home to the Isle of Skye where he was brought up, stopping off along the way to showcase more of the incredible and sometimes plain daft, ability he has to use the buildings and landscape for exuberantly doing his thing.

I hope you enjoy it .

There are 10 kinds of people.........


Those that understand binary and those that don't.........


{I don't}

The Sunday Post

I sit with my back  to the engine, watching
the landscape pouring away out of my eyes.
I think I know where I am going and have
some choice in the matter.

I think too, that this was a country
of bog-trotters, moss troopers,
fired ricks and roof-trees in the black night, glinting
on tossed horns and red blades.
I think of lives
bubbling into the harsh grass.

What difference now?
I sit with my back to the future, watching
time pouring away into the past. I sit, helplessly
lugged backwards
through the Debatable Lands of history, listening
to the execrations, the scattered cries, the
falling of roof-trees
in the lamentable dark.

'Crossing The Border'
By Norman MacCaig.

Four Thousand Years ago........

Hullo ma wee blog,

In ancient Egypt four thousand years ago cats were worshipped as Gods.

Jess thinks this should never have changed.

Get out of my way you bloomin cat!

I'm BUSY.......

{I'm going to get a dog. I really am.}

A belated 'Sunday Post' .......

Hullo ma wee blog,

Yesterday on our shopping trip {which itself came after a visit to the cinema to see 'The Way Back' and which I would highly recommend} I picked up a couple of books with some of the book tokens I had been given at Christmas. People know I'm an avid reader and after a few years of buying books for me, even cookery books as I'm an avid cook { or more accurately eater} too, have now resorted to giving me book gift cards which is great. Sure there's a bit of regret that instead of finding a gem that I might not have chosen myself among the Christmas loot I have to go and root them out myself, but in general I'm more than happy to be able to avoid some of the less accurate choices that have been made for me in the past. If that sounds ungrateful, it's not meant to be. Rather I'm glad that folk haven't spent effort and money on finding that something that I know I will probably never read.

Yesterday I picked up a book on the WWII airfi…

When Shopping Can Be Fun............

Hullo ma wee blog,

Walking along a line of shops at Edinburgh Fort shopping center, we're heading to Waterstones where I'm about to spend some Christmas book tokens.  From behind a noise approaches and I hear a voice call out,

"That's far enough ahead Helen!"

At the same time a child rushes past in a whirl of hair and skinny legs. She's exuberantly pushing a small pram with a doll in it, so fast the front wheels are off the ground. She's wearing a brown suede coat with a fur trimmed hood but the hood is down and the coat is unbuttoned. She has blonde hair trailing from beneath one of those Peruvian style knitted hats, the ones with ear flaps and woolen pig tails that hang down - or would if she wasn't moving so fast. By the time I register these details and how small she is she's about 15 feet ahead of us.

From behind her mother calls her name again, a bit louder and elongated by exasperation to an upwardly sliding note.

Helen pulls up short and w…

A Lesson Never Properly Learned.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

I don't know what triggered the query but I remember it clearly. One of those moments where a child's question comes completely without warning out of left field to an adult who is unfailingly expected to know the answer. My father sat opposite in his armchair quietly reading, I was reading but not reading, mulling around something from a school-day or from an overheard adult conversation. I gained his attention in that childlike way, a two toned notification that something deep and meaningful is about to come.


"Aye son."

"What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom?"

Not a flicker of surprise. No question in return about what had made a boy of six or seven ask such a thing. He put the book, open pages down, on the thigh of his crossed legs and looked at the hearth of the fire for a second.

"Well, knowledge comes from learning. It's understanding things, knowing what things mean, how they work or may…

Animal Diplomacy.........

Tian TianHullo ma wee blog,

Hullaballo and cute photo opportunities abound with the announcement that two breeding age giant pandas are being given by China to Edinburgh Zoo.

 The bears Tian Tian and Yangguang, a breeding pair born in 2003, will be under the custodianship of the zoo society.  The project represents the culmination of five years of political and diplomatic negotiation at the highest level and it is anticipated the giant pandas will arrive in their new home in Edinburgh as soon as a date is agreed. The gifting of these animals is a diplomatic gesture symbolising hoped for closer ties between China and the UK.

But wait a minute.

Is this for real?

Is this an offer made in black and white?

Do we have to Panda to the Chinese from now on?

Frankly I'm bamboo-zled....

Still on a cheerier note - at least they weren't gifted to Glasgow or they could have ended up like this alleged pair of Rangers supporters !

Animal diplomacy has been around for centuries. Numerous gove…

While Scanning Family photos

The Robertson Clan 1915
Hullo ma wee blog,

I have been uploading some photos using the new scanner that my Lovely G got for her Christmas. I've been unwell through Christmas and the New Year and only now feel like I may be shaking off the chest infection that has laid me low and denied me any inspiration or inclination to post anything. The first few photos that I uploaded were just a bundle lying in the library, a few old family snaps that I'd had returned from a relative who had asked to borrow them to make duplicates.

Me being me I spent some time looking at the images I'd scanned into the laptop thinking about the people known and unknown who look back at me. Relatives and ancestors who lived and died long ago, I was caught I think looking for signs of familiar features passed down through the generations. A weel kent nose or hairline or a familiar glance. The first photo was of my Great Grandpa Robertson and family taken in late 1914 or early 1915. This formal portra…

1/1/11 - In the Midnight Hour.........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Happy New Year!

I carefully carried two cups brimming with hot tea and a plate with a couple of mince pies through to the lounge. I'd been blogging for an hour or so, making up the last post of the year and scooting through a few entries from the blogs I follow. It was just the two of us here for Ne'erday as we had cancelled plans to go through to my brother on the west coast. I have a chest infection {again} which has left me with a racking cough which almost folds me double when it hits and the Lovely G is displaying some painful bruising from having fallen  from halfway down the stairs during a power cut the other morning as she tried to get ready for work in the dark. {She's perfectly OK though, nothing seriously damaged, but now she creaks and groans almost as much as I do trying to get out of her chair. Yes, I know. I should never be in her chair in the first place!}  So - at the moment we share two sets of seriously aching ribs. This led me to ca…