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Showing posts from March, 2011

A Grave Concern Makes My Day.

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Hullo ma wee blog,

It's funny how you stumble across things sometimes. Yesterday I'd gone down to Dunbar with the camera doing a wee bit of research on a one time resident of the town {Perhaps more about that sometime later on the blog} My search for information took me to the parish Kirk, or more specifically, to the graveyard. It was a lovely afternoon, bright and sunny and with only a gentle breeze coming off the sea - the Kirk is at the edge of a steep slope down to the sea and has a great outlook over the water - and I spent a peaceful hour wandering the old graveyard looking and enjoying as I do, the old headstones and some of the beautiful scripts, lovely carvings and intriguing stories that you find in such places. Even though I didn't find my man and had to abandon the search due to other commitments, I took a few photos and generally had a braw time. It's just the kind of thing I like to do occasionally. I find old graveyards fascinating, with their final imp…

Sunday Afternoon Walk

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Hullo ma wee blog,

This afternoon turned into a nice sunny few hours, so different from the dull and monochrome morning it had started out, so the Lovely G and I decided to flee the coop for an hour or two and head out for a walk. On Saturday I had suggested that if the day was good enough today we would go to North Berwick and have a walk through the town and out onto the rocks at the end of the harbour, with perhaps a stop off somewhere nice for a coffee, but as we were leaving later than expected I suggested - rather than drive the half hour to North Berwick - we change plans and just take a beach walk at Dunbar as Belhaven has a good stretch of sand along the bay and in sunny weather like this there are some great views out to The Bass Rock etc. Me being me, I took the camera along so here are some photo's taken while we were out.

I posted another photo of this ' Bridge to Nowhere'  last week. This one shows its true purpose - spanning a burn {stream} flowing into the …

The Sunday Post.

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The Old Pear Tree In Front Of The House.
Hullo ma wee blog,

Here's this weeks poem for Sunday.

Basking Shark.

To stub an oar on a rock where none should be,
To have it rise with a slounge out of the sea,
Is a thing that happened once {too often} to me.

But not too often - though enough. I count as gain,
That once I met, on a sea tin-tacked with rain,
That roomsized monster with a matchbox brain.

He displaced more than water. He shoggled* me,
Centuries back - this decadent townee,
Shook on a wrong branch of his family tree.

Swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a spring,
Is all the clearer. I saw me, in one fling,
Emerging from the slime of everything.

So who's the monster? The thought made me grow pale,
For twenty seconds while, sail after sail,
The tall fin slid away and then the tail.

Norman MacCaig. Dec 1967

*shook

The Politics of Modern Debate?

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I've done a fair bit of ranting  or commenting about politics on the blog. That's odd because I would never have previously described myself as particularly political. Sure I have a point of view, and I hold my values dearly, but I never felt engaged enough by politics to get involved, other than exercising my right and - in my eyes - my obligation to vote. Although not a member of a political party I see voting as a must. After all, if you don't vote you've little grounds to complain about anything that happens after in my view. So over the years I've listened, formed and changed opinions, gone back to previously held views and grafted on new ones and all the while, at every opportunity, I've trudged to the polling station and voted for the party or sometimes the person that conforms closest to my values. I've not always voted for the same party, although mostly I have. Through the years no matter what way I've voted in real terms I…

Windborne

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I sit soft and quiet under an evening sky and watch the sea until the colours perfectly meet my mood and I realise that I love her in as many ways as the winds blow.



A Good Lunch

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The Bridge To Nowhere, Dunbar.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Salmon fillets steamed over water and cider vinegar, green leaves of watercress and spinach, tomatoes and cucumber and a dressing of toasted sesame oil and a few drops or so of lime juice. Nice peppery leaves, nutty oil and the tang of citrus, sweetness from the tomatoes, the earthiness of the cucumber and the luxury of the salmon given a few nice twists of sea salt from the grinder all went together perfectly with a cold glass of cider.

Absolutely stonking.

Well done that man!

See you later.

Listening to

How to Significantly Reduce Global Warming

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Maltesers - Cinema Confectionary of choice
Sitting in the cinema last night as we watched Liam Neeson's latest flick 'Unknown' {almost up to average by the way} I dipped my hand into the bag of sweets so thoughtfully provided by the Lovely G only to find they had turned almost to goo. That's right, they had become - Meltesers. {Aye thanks dbs for fixing 'wordfusing' into my wee brain cell}

The thought struck me that it could probably cure global warming and the energy crisis combined if only cinemas would turn the thermostat down to a reasonable level instead of cranking it way up. {I can just imagine a smiling cinema manager, "These go up to eleven!"}

Oh and talking about turning things down - while you're at it perhaps you could turn the thermostats on your chiller cabinets down too. Charging £2.55 for a bottle of lukewarm water to take into the movie is just adding insult to injury. And look on the bright side - with all the money you'd s…

The Persuasive Powers Of Punctuation

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I almost called this post 'If In Doubt, Stick A Comma In'..........

I bet some my more regular readers are dumbfounded by my punctuation at times. I know I am. It's something I've always struggled with and I seem to have become increasingly addicted to commas as I get older. I do try and get it right most of the time but there are also times - even though I do re-read and spellcheck etc before posting - that I get it disastrously wrong. As often as not once something's been posted I'll re-read it and it'll end up back in edit mode to sort out this or that I've got wrong. I don't seem to be able to see mistakes until after I've hit the old 'publish' button. Often when I re-read things I find I've got to sort out numerous bits and bobs I've got wrong. There are also times when I honestly can't be bothered and when the message is still loud and clear I'll just let it go. Even when I do re-edit, there'…

The Sunday Post

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Hullo ma wee blog,

Connoisseur. {1977}

The rain makes a drumming on the roof
and a splish-splash on the road.
Nothing makes one sound only.

That cloud is a camel, a weasel, a whale.
Hamlet was right. Nothing
has only one appearance.

I collect
Your laughter, your talk, your weeping.
I collect your hundred of semblances.

I store you in the cabinet of my mind
I'm a connoiseur, in love with the value only
of priceless things.

Though my eyes blur, I look at these treasures.
Though my hands tremble, I touch them.
Though my heart grieves, I love them.

And a seed falls from a tree and
in its lowly cabinet sets about
creating forests.

Nornam MacCaig.

Prague

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Old Town Square
Hullo ma wee blog,

Well, that's us back from our few days away to Prague where my wife took me for a surprise birthday treat. Although she had been before I'd never seen it and was left reeling yet again by a beautiful city. It's strange but given a choice I would probably never choose to go on a city break but would rather choose to be out in the country somewhere yet, every time my Lovely G has taken me to a city I've completely fallen for it. Maybe depite everything I said in that post before we went I'm easy to please in reality, but I don't really believe that either. The only explanation I can find is that she takes me to some simply stunning places.

As usual I took loads of photo's - hard not to in a place like Prague - and came back with a camera - and a mind - full of memories to treasure until hopefully I can go back again. It's a place full of charm and with a photo opportunity round every corner.  Again as usual I spent lots …

The Sunday Post.

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Hullo ma wee blog,

You're probably getting fed up with Norman MacCaig by now but I'm finding it almost impossible to get away from him with his perfect economy of words so you'll have to put up with him for a while more.

Edinburgh Stroll. {1989}

I leave the Tollcross traffic and walk by the Meadows
between two rows of trees, all looking
as grave as Elders of the Kirk - but
wait till the wind blows.

Dogs are hunting for smells. A few men
are practising approach shots
on the drwarfish golf course. some children
are incomprehensively playing.

And between two heaps of jackets
a boy scores a goal -
the best one ever,

Past the Infirmary I go back to the traffic,
cross it, and there's Sandy Bell's bar.

Tollcross to Sandy Bell's Bar -
a short walk with a long conclusion.

See you later.

Well I Never.....

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Don't I look surprised and happy?
Hullo ma wee blog,

By the time you read this I'll be gone.

It's my birthday next week. Not that that's anything momentous on its own of course, but I was taken by surprise last night when my Lovely G announced that we were going away for a few days. That too isn't necessarily momentous either. We often get away for my birthday. This year I wasn't expecting anything special - I rarely do - so I was delighted and taken by surprise when she announced that she was taking me for a short break to Prague instead of as I expected, to somewhere here in Scotland. I'd been talking it over with a pal the other day, idly chatting, when he asked if we had anything planned for my birthday. I said that as far as I knew we hadn't anything organised but I hope that maybe we would have a few days up north. Maybe even we would have a stay at The Balahulish Hotel  {probably my all time favourite} if we could. As far as I was concerned that …

No wait a minute thats MY money.......

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A Fictional Pirate. {Other kinds of robbers may be available.}
Hullo ma wee blog,

I feel better after that rant about politicians and banking and all the rest of it. Its therapeutic to have a rant and get it all out when you're feeling a bit down and sorry for yourself like I have been for the last couple of days. I don't suppose it does much that's positive or encouraging for the readership of the blog - after all not many people {Scudder excepted} - will be wanting to hear me 'gurn' on about politics and there are plenty of 'oddities' out there on the internet when it comes to political ideologies and the like. It's not really what the blog is about and most of you read this stuff because you like the way I write and not necessarily because you like the way I whinge, but it's my gaff my rules I'm afraid so you have to put up with the occasional grumpy old man routine.

We've been getting rid of as much debt as possible recently. The redunda…

Slings, Arrows and Outrageous Fortunes

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Hullo ma wee blog,

Is it just me or do things just stop making sense when you get older? I've never felt this so often before, never felt so aggravated every single time I pick up a newspaper or hear a headline on some news programme.. Every time there's a current affairs programme on the radio there's going to some bloody politician spouting the line, doling out tales of woe about how bad the current economic climate is, how dire the country's finances are, how cuts being implemented are being targeted to make them as fair as possible, how carefully thought through they all are, consideration given to every aspect of our modern life blah blah blah.

Through all this we are also told that this is the best way to deal with things. We can't go on spending and borrowing more than we earn.

On the face of it I have to agree. We ARE in the middle of a global recession. We do need to make changes. But I can't stop being skeptical about this coalition government and p…

My First Guest Slot.

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A totally unrelated picture unashamedly aimed at getting soppy cat lovers to open this post.

Hullo ma wee blog,

I was given the chance to write a guest post on 'e-clecticism', a blog I've followed for almost all the time I've been blogging myself. This is a first for me and I was chuffed that Jono felt that I was a safe enough bet to let me loose in his china shop as it were. It was posted today if you'd like to follow the link above. Jono's blog has been mentioned here before and I do recommend it for a regular visit as he doesn't half find some interesting stuff  down the back of the internet sofa.

Cheers for that Jono. It was fun.
see you later.

1745 - A Damned Rebel Bitch..........

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     Flag of The Appin Stewarts



War is always disastrous and for many Scots, whether involved in the Jacobite uprisings or not, their world fell about them in 1745 and '46. The years afterwards would never be the same. In those hard days for some there was complete disaster and for a very few, miraculous escape, while for the victors at least came the chance for advancement and recognition, for power and fortune. For some it would consolidate and secure their place in the world and for others persecution was borne in the hope that there would be another, better planned and ultimately successful, attempt to return the house of Stewart to the throne of Scotland and beyond. Even after the disaster that had been Culloden this was a very real prospect for many Jacobites and an equally real threat to the house of Hanover and its supporters. The Hanoverian Government of Britain had been caught napping by the speed and audacity of the Jacobite uprising, had severely underestimated how re…

The Sunday Post.

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Hullo ma wee blog,

This weeks poem is;

Two Thieves. {1980}

At the Place For Pulling Up Boats,
{one word in Gaelic} the tide is full.
It seeps over the grass like a robber.
Which it is.

- For old Flora tells me,
That fifty yard stretch of gravel now under water
was, in her Grannies time, a smooth green sward
where the Duke Of Sutherland
turned his coach and four.

What an image of richness, a tiny pageantry
In this small dying place
Whose every house is now lived in
By the sad widow of a fine strong man.

There were fine strong men in the Dukes time.
He drove them to the shore. He drove them
to Canada. He gave no friendly thought to them
as he turned his coach and four
on the sweet green sward
by the Place for Pulling up Boats
where no boats are.

Norman MacCaig.


See you later........

At the Movies........

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Hullo ma wee blog,

I love a good film and am happy to spend hours squirreled away in the dark watching a movie or two. I'm not overly particular about what genre of movie {except one} I'm going to see either as long as it's well made. Even in a film that doesn't grab me for plot or characterisation I'll often enjoy the music or the cinematography or some other aspect of the production. I just love being at the cinema. The lovely G and I both have 'unlimited' tickets to get into the cinema - pay a monthly fee and go as often as you like - which is worthwhile if you go more than twice a month and that's no problem for us. I used to like all the gore and guts of a good slasher or horror story but as I get older I'm shying aware from these more and more as they get more and more predictable and more and more over hyped. I still enjoy the odd shocker but it's more of a rarity these days. While I love the escapism, action and adventure tales that cin…