Showing posts from January, 2012

And What About Us?

The lovely G sits with her legs stretched out in front of her in front of the full length cheval mirror in the corner of our bedroom. Fully dressed, she has her head cocked to one side brushing her hair as Jess rubs herself backwards and forwards across the small of her back. Across the room I have head and shoulders deep in the built-in wardrobe as I hunt for a T-shirt and a pair of socks, but pull-back when I realise she's speaking. I've learned after years of tuition that it's better and less painful to pay attention at all times - or at least to appear to. That doesn't mean that I understand all the time of course. I am just a bloke after all.

 I look across at her.
She reaches one hand out to touch the base of the cheval mirror.

 "You know, if all I had was just this, the pine chest, the craft table, my laptop, I-player and my log (I know she's talking about a table - top driftwood candleholder which I bought her for Christmas, gaining mega brownie point…

The Sunday posts 2012

"Felis Cattus” is your taxonomic nomenclature:
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents:
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance;
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
Oh Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display,
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array;
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

'Ode to Spot'
by Lt. Cmdr. Data

Photo of Jess by Alistair

I think we're going to need a bigger boat!

Are  there any people in the civilised world who haven't seen the blockbuster "JAWS"?  If you're like me, you're probably pretty sick of it being trotted out at every opportunity by satellite companies. Like ‘James Bond’ movies, it seems there's never a holiday passes without yet another rerun doing the rounds on one station or other.

Having just said that, I found myself quite bemused a few weeks ago as I pressed the record button on it yet again. I've no idea what came over me. Later, I'd meant to delete it, especially since we were getting a bit low on recording space on our digital recorder, but for some reason hadn't got round to that either until looking through the planner with the lovely G for something to watch. I was just about to delete it when the lovely G volunteered that she'd never seen it before. Considering we've been together for 25 years I was pretty amazed that despite all the conversations about movies we've had a…

Wordfuse - Motoring edition

Blogger pal dbs over in Canada may have invented the 'wordfuse' as far as I know. He takes two words and 'fuses' them together to give added meaning or comical emphasis when viewing some of the anomalies or absurdities of modern life.

This 'wordfuse' occurred while sitting in the car the other day with The Lovely G. I became aware that the conversation was basically a list of instructions from her to me.

 I now deem her irrevocably to be my 'SatNag'.

But that's just tongue-in-cheek sweetheart - honest!


{Backs away slowly tugging forelock...}

Listening to:

Just Like That

Sometimes, so just like that ........


The Gift Of Humanity

Burns Cottage Alloway

Tonight across Scotland and the world, people will celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns. Born 5 miles away from where I was born, we grew to adult hood in the same area, knowing many of the same places and tramping much of the same landscape. Many of his poems speak in the language and rythm of the local dialect and make clear connections.  His presence, his memory, is revered there maybe even more than anywhere else. You can walk into a graveyard in Ayr or Mauchline and find the graves of the cronies and characters, the loves and lassies that inhabit his poems - imagine finding the graves of characters from Dickens or Shakespeare: David Copperfield; Oliver Twist; Uriah Heap; Romeo or Juliet. You can with Burns because he wrote about what and who he knew.
I think it was the poet Wallace Stevens who said the open-minded reading of poetry helps you to live your life.  I understand that now; that poetry makes you aware of your own humanity and the humanity of…

Keeping it real.

I like the idea of reality TV, really I do. It's very name tells what it should do on the tin doesn't it? Reality should have a huge place on TV, with its potential to communicate, inform, inspire and influence, yet I get royally furious with so many of these programmes which just set themselves up as entertainment when what they are really there for is to hold up people for ridicule as a freak show and pander to the egos of megalomaniac 'celebrities', fame hungry media whores or deluded and misguided, desperate-for-attention idiots. I hate the way panel shows offer 'participation' at a price, manipulate opinion and votes and change some poor 'winners' life so radically and so quickly, having created a public that's desperate not for any winning individual but for just the next serving of more of the same pap and who will never have interest in a winner for more than a few months beyond the end of the series, so desperate have their manipulated tas…

The Sunday Posts 2012


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

At Last

Etta James 1938 - 2012

What a voice....

If Music Be The Food of Love.....

Late night listening transports me back in time.

 It's 1975 and it's late, but here in my bedroom the schoolboy me is wide awake. The first chords have just struck on what will become a lifelong favourite album as for the seventh, eighth  or twentieth time tonight I'm listening to Mike Oldfield's 'Ommadawn'. I just bought it today and I've spent hours devouring the artwork and every word on its cover. It's an obsessive trait that I'll carry long into my twenties - until the demise of vinyl for the more modern CD, with their loss of artwork and cover design as a communication medium. Oh for the return of the gatefold sleeve!  But like many in the years to come I'll cling to the old ways for a while before I can let vinyl go - partially at least.

 I lie stretched out flat on my single bed, the curtains closed to the smallest glint of light from outside and the turntable on the chest of drawers is turning the disc at the required speed. I have the…

Thinking About Joining The Childrens Panel?

I don't normally repost items but Childrens Panels across Scotland are currently looking for new volunteers. If you are interested and thinking about joining this might give you a bit of an insight into what happens. For more information click on the link below:

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 u…

The Sunday Posts 2012

My Shadow
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

By Robert Louis Stevenson from his collection entitled …

Grand-motherly advice.

When I was in my early to mid teens my Grandmother once saw fit to sit me down and lay out a clear moral framework for me via a lengthy lecture.

It included:

"And watch out for bad women who will lead you astray and corrupt you with their loose morals........"

After that, I looked Granny, honest I did.

Never found any though....... not for ages.........

If it hadn't been for your advice I might never have found out about them at all.

Thanks Granny!

See you later.

Listening to:

Problems with Blogger - No Comment.

I've been having problems with Blogger for the last couple of days which has stopped me replying to comments on my own blog or leaving comments on others. It also meant that I couldn't read posts on blogs I follow where comments had already been left either. Any attempt at going to any of the pages described above simply lead me to a blank white page that wouldn't connect to anything.

Having posted a question on the Blogger Help forum I found that lots of people are having the same issue and fairly quickly got a response. Unfortunately this didn't resolve the issue for me but lead me to other comments which ultimately seems to have done the trick.

So, if any of you are having problems like this - go to the 'settings' area of your dashboard, select 'comments' and change the siting of the comments away from 'embedded below posts' to one of the other settings. It seems to have mainly done the trick for me although I don't understand why. I can…

Kids and Parents - eh?

These days it feels like often no-one is willing to take responsibility over their own actions or those of their kids. God knows how teachers cope day after day.

To me this sums it up nicely. although I doubt it's a real answering machine for the school. The voice kicks in after about 30 seconds.......

see you later.

The Sunday Posts 2102

Nae Day Sae Dark Nae day sae dark; nae wüd sae bare;
Nae grund sae stour wi' stane;
But licht comes through; a sang is there;
A glint o' grass is green.

Wha hasna thol'd his thorter'd hours
And kent, whan they were by,
The tenderness o' life that fleurs
Rock-fast in misery


No day so dark; no wood so bare;
No ground so rough with stone;
But light comes through; a song is there;
A glint of grass is green.

Who hasn't endured his thwarted hours;
And knew when they were past;
The tenderness of life that flowers;
Rock-fast in misery

William Soutar

William Soutar (1898-1943), the author of this poem, was born in Perth, Scotland. While serving in the navy during the First World War he contracted an illness which left him paralysed, apart from his arms and hands. He was confined to bed for the last fourteen years of his life but nevertheless produced a number of lyric poems - including this.

Caution - May Contain Nuts.....

Am I nervous? Oh Yes. Terrified more like! I don't know why on earth I've agreed to this. Sitting here behind the table, faced with all these complete strangers and waiting for my introduction, I feel almost physically sick. No one who knows me can believe I've agreed to this and more than a few have almost wet themselves laughing. Yet here I am, nervous as a kitten, stomach tied in knots and feeling like I'm just about to lose my non-existent lunch. I must be nuts! I didn’t think for a second I'd start out this way when I began looking for an outlet for my writing.

I’d been writing for a couple of years by then, blogging mostly but also sending a few bits and pieces in to papers and magazines in the hope of getting something published. I’d joined a writing group too in the hope that I could improve my skill and perhaps make some contacts along the way. I subscribed to a couple of writing oriented magazines and used them to follow up on articles on improving chanc…

Seeing The Light.

There are probably fewer things that remind us more of how reliant on modern technology we are than a power cut.

We get more than our fare share of them in our quiet wee corner of the country, especially in the winter when you are in the grip of those short days and long cold nights and losing power also means we lose our modern central heating and gas fire. It's a pain - and we're only about 4 miles from a major power station, which really rubs it in as no matter how often we get cut off they are always gleaming brightly in the dark like a beacon of pure unadulterated smugness.

We've had a power cut tonight when there are no storms like those that happened over the past week when thousands of homes were cut off for days - although thankfully not including us. We did have a couple of outages yesterday or the day before, enough to have us lighting up the candles around the place and leaving spares in handy places and matches close to hand. You've got to be prepared, ri…

Always Expect The Unexpected......

Well hello and welcome to the first post from my new blog called

'The Porage Diaries'.

Dont worry - 'Crivens Jings' is here to stay and will keep on in the same vein I hope but I'm going to try a blog of a more specific nature.......

To be frank I never expected to be setting up another blog right now even though I'd laid the foundations for 'The Porage Diaries' well over a year ago, when the name came to me one day in a haze of porage and sunshine. I know - most people see porage as a winter food, but I happen to like it and am known to have an occasional foray in a poragely direction at any time of the year.

We all get gifts at Christmas time. Most of the time these are more than welcome but sometimes the odd gift will arrive that's either unwelcome or at least greeted with less enthusiasm. This year the unwanted gift I got was type two diabetes which is quite annoying. Even more so when I consider that the person that gave it to me was; well - …

New Music....

Something new for the New Year: The first track released by Scots prog-rock band 'Abandoned Stars' who hail from Edinburgh and include my two brothers-in-law in the line up playing drums and bass guitar.

The track is called 'Beyond Reason' and comes from their first EP  'Opening Act'

Members: Tony Hodge - Drums / Peppe Schiavone - Guitars / Olivier Hadder - Vocals / Leen - Bass  


New Year Tradition.

The New Year celebrations are traditional here in Scotland. We're  rightly world famous for our cheerful and exhuberant welcome to each new year and the extended partying that often accompanies it for several days afterwards. But many countries celebrate it in their own unique ways; the ball drop in Times Square, New York; The fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge; favourite TV shows to bring in the new year; a dip in the ocean on January 1st etc.  Being married to someone of Swiss German descent I was introduced to a tradition from over there which I really enjoy. It's a TV sketch called 'Dinner For One' which is played across Switzerland and Germany every New Year without fail at some point.  They absolutely love it and fall about in stitches, which is strange considering it's completely done in English. I've no idea where the tradition comes from or when it started or how it came to be taken so much to heart by so many, but somehow I too have fallen for it&#…