Showing posts from June, 2011

11 Years.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Ursula was an oddity. She was my lovely G's mother too which is how I came to meet her in the first place all those years ago. A woman with an occasionally wacky, always distinctive sense of dress and a huge stride that virtually made you run to keep up with her, she was the kind of woman that stood out in any crowd, normally for the wrong sartorial reasons as colour co-ordination was never her strongest suit, but that must have come in very handy for her husband and children when she needed to be found. Having come to the UK in the early 60's from her native Switzerland to complete her training as a nurse, she met and married a Scotsman and never went home again except for regular holidays.. Despite having lived here for 35 years she never lost her Swiss accent or that same Swiss bluntness of approach. She never quite mastered English either which could be inadvertently hilarious, often at the most unfortunate moments. It's never a good thing to burst …

The Sunday Post

Hullo ma wee blog,

This weeks poem is from Sheila K Cameron.

An absolute favourite of mine.

Two Inches Tall.

You'll need the sound on and - if you can - a set of headphones would be perfect.


Hullo ma wee blog,

I wake slowly not wanting to be released from the warm and comfortable oddity of knowing I'm in bed and  asleep. As I come slowly up through layers of gentle awareness and away from the dream state, layers of sound come to the fore; raindrops softly pattering the velux window across the room; slow drips from the underside of the window frame hitting the metal flashing at the joint of the red pantiles of the roof. Beyond these sounds comes a stir of wind and an early birds sing-song, close yet muted by distance and the rain, the kind of gently dropping rain that I hear my father's deeply distinctive voice in my head call  'justaweesmirr' in that broad Scots dialect he used. I smile with the memory and let my mind follow the sound out of the window through the rain and I concentrate on the birdsong as it warbles and undulates across the garden from the branches of one of the plum trees there. The sound moves up and down, a plaintive, thoughtful, appre…

The Sunday Post.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Brooklyn Cop..

Built like a gorrilla but less timid,
Thick fleshed, steak-coloured, with two
Heiroglyphs in his face that mean
trouble, he walks the sidewalk and the
thin tissue over violence. This morning,
when he said "See you babe" to his wife,
he hoped it, he truly hoped it.
He is a gorilla
to whom "Hiya honey" is no cliche.

Should the tissue tear, should he plunge through
into violence, what clubbings, what
gunshots between Phoebe's  Whamburger
And Louie's Place.

Who would be him, gorilla with a nightstick,
whose home is a place
he might, this time, never get back too?

And who would be who have to be his victims.

Norman MacCaig, April 1966.

Beautiful Bewilderment

Hullo ma wee blog,

Shouldn't journeys end like this - an advert for a mobile phone company.

Or how about this to start your day off {providing you're not running late for the train}

A Sunday And A Cat On A Lead

Come on! Hurry up a bit!
Hullo ma wee blog,

Sunday was a nicer day than Saturday with it's steely skies and sometimes heavy rain showers pushed  thumping into the garden on boisterous winds. Even though at times Saturday looked bright and reasonably fine and even if the garden really needed a good dowsing to help the growth along, it was wild enough to make us want to stay indoors.

You want me to go down there ?
Sunday started off the same way but got better as the day went on until the by the afternoon it was settled enough to make us feel like shaking the house from our heels for a bit with a little walk somewhere nearby. Jess had been a constant companion to us over the past day or so and seemed keen to get out of the house too so we decided to take her for the walk with us. She's been out with us on a regular basis and although she's kept on a leash, she's quite comfortable and doesn't appear stressed by a new environment in any way. We've had a few strange …

A Childrens Hearing.

Hullo ma wee blog,

 Unfortunately not every child gets the safe, secure and nuturing upbringing they deserve. Too many are raised in chaotic conditions where abject poverty, neglect and addiction  are the norm, leaving children at risk for their welfare, their future and sometimes their very lives. This is a post about Children's Panels which are lay tribunals set up under Scots Law to hear cases for the protection, care, guidance and treatment of children at risk between birth  and age of 16. {or 18 in some cases.} This process which puts the child's interests before all else is unique and  has been a worthy feature of the Scottish legal system for many years.


On the day of a Children's Hearing, the three of us making up a panel - always a mix of sexes to prevent any kind of all male/female bias creeping in - get together beforehand to have a short pre-hearing meeting to discuss the information contained in the reports…

The Sunday Post.

Hullo ma wee blog,

This Sunday's post is;

Aunt Julia.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her-
I could not understand her.

She wore men's boots
when she wore any.
-I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

Hers was the only house
where I've lain at night
in the absolute darkness
of a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pourling wetly
around house ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepenny bits
in a teapot.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little she lay
silenced in  the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre. But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagulls voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions


Silence Of The Bams.

Hullo ma wee blog,

{A wee tale of less than political correctness - and swearing}

I'm just sitting minding my own business perched none too comfortably on a hospital waiting room chair reading a book and well......I'm waiting. Hospitals make you do that don't they?. They never seem to run to any discernable timescale that I've ever come across and Accident and Emergency Depts are even less connected to time than other parts of the health service in my experience , which thankfully isn't enormous if I have to be absolutely truthful. Don't worry by the way,  it's not me that's injured - apart from having a numb bum that is - it's a pal who has just recently - 48 hrs ago - had a 2nd operation on his leg which was injured and supposedly repaired more than a year ago. As you can tell, the first operation doesn't seem to have been a success so they had another go and we've just been sent here straight from our local doctors surgery where he'd …

Take the Long Way Home

Hullo ma wee blog,

Last night the Lovely G's wee brother Leonard aka 'Leen' came to stay overnight. Not so unusual perhaps but this was a bit different as Leen is on the final leg of a round Scotland cycle trip raising money in aid of Motor Neuron Disease research,  as the disease is one which has affected at least two generations of the family. Recently made redundant, Leen took the decision to do something positive for others and set himself a goal of raising a thousand pounds for his chosen charity. By the time he gets home to his girlfriend tonight, still sticking conscientiously to the coastal routes he's followed all the way, he will have been away almost three weeks, cycled 1300+  miles in almost consistently atrocious wind and rain and will have exceeded his fundraising target by 70%. While by his own admission it hasn't always - or even often - been fun, I'm sure it's something he'll be able to look back on and enjoy in retrospect and is somet…

A Scotsman Shouts 'FREEDOM' To The World.

Hullo ma wee blog,

I am, as my mother would have said, like a dog with two tails........

I'm back in the land of the internet, unleashed once more by the arrival of a new computer since the departure of my last one to the computer graveyard. It had done it's stuff but came to an accidental and somewhat premature end. Thankfully, due to my Lovely G's prediliction for almost completely comprehensive insurance cover, I'm now in the possesion of a brand spanking, highly upgraded, sleekly beautiful, new toy. The keyboad is great, the sound is wonderful and the speed - oh, the speed - is breathtaking. The memory is mind-boggling in it's enormity and I'm enjoying uploading all the essential wee bits and pieces I'd stored from my last one and looking forward to being more inspired and productive than I've been of late.

I promise I'll look after this one sweetheart.


Must go - I've got things to play with at the moment - Oh but it's nice to b…

A Bird in the Bush is Worth........

Hullo ma wee blog,

There are at least thirty sparrows in the flock that sweeps down to litter the driveway at the front of the house this morning, cheeping and jostling for position as they enjoy a dust bath. When fright takes them they leap into the air together and disappear in a whirr of wings into the safety of the hedge a few feet away simply to return to their dusty squabbles a few seconds later. A solitary blackbird is one of the bathers, large and plump by comparison as she goes about her morning ablutions with feathers puffed, short beats of spread wings against the ground. Two or three jackdaws strut self importantly beneath the old pear tree pleased, even though they are too large to cling to the feeder full of seed hanging from its low branch,  to have mastered the secret of the upward lunge with its solid thump to release a tiny spew of beady treasures to be jumped on by those waiting just below.

As I sit at the kitchen table tapping this post I'm joined by a tapping…

The Sunday Post

The dwarf with his hands on backwards
sat, slumped like a half-filled sack
on tiny twisted legs from which
sawdust might run,
outside the three tiers of churches built
in honour of St Francis, brother
of the poor, talker with birds, over whom
he had the advantage
of not being dead yet.

A priest explained
how clever it was of Giotto
to make his frescoes tell stories
that would reveal to the illiterate the goodness
of God and the suffering
of His Son. I understood
the explanation and
the cleverness.

A rush of tourists, clucking contentedly
followed him as he scattered
the grain of The Word. It was they who passed
the ruined temple outside, whose eyes
wept pus, whose back was higher
than his head, whose lopsided mouth
said Grazie in a voice as sweet
as a child's when she speaks to her mother
or a bird's when it spoke
to St. Francis.

By Norman MacCaig.
June 1964.

La Garriga - Things That Make Me Smile.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Sometimes it's nice to get away from a world that often seems to be petty, self obsessed and too narrow minded for it's own good. It raises my spirits to see people do things for others without thought for what's in it for them or do things that simply make their community and therefore the world a better place. I was reminded of that this morning when blogger pal Jono over at e-clecticism posted the newest release from the 'Playing For Change' organisation - a group who I feel fits this concept perfectly simply by showing that music unites us all and by inference that we are the same the world over if we just stop for a moment and realise it. They do this by sending a recording around the world and getting local musicians to add a layer to it as it goes. The results are wonderful.

Unfortunately I couldn't get any sound on the posting, but as I obviously like 'playing for change' I headed through to the youtube version. It's a gr…

Where the Bodies are Buried.

Hullo ma wee blog,

Sorry to have been ignoring you over the last week but in my sad life where very little happens it's been a hectic few days. From a holiday weekend that saw us go from a concert to a jaunt to the remotest west highlands, to a couple of full days of childrens hearings and all the preparation needed for that and a night in Edinburgh at an event with my sister-in-law, I feel my hands have been quite full. Add to that the insurance company taking away the carcass of my old laptop to confirm it can't be repaired before parting with any of their cash forcing the lovely G and I to have an extended period of sharing computer access and before you know it several days have slipped by without me posting a single solitary thing.

Wednesday night saw me in Edinburgh with sister-in-law K  to attend the launch of Christopher Brookmyres latest novel 'Where The Bodies Are Buried'.  Christopher - or Chris as his publishers are now marketing him - is one of my favouri…