Showing posts from May, 2012

Crisis averted.

It's nice to work with nice people. In fact – it's amazing to work with nice people.

Half an hour ago:

I pick up the telephone and dial the number for work.

"Hello there, it's Alistair. I'm afraid I've got a problem on Sunday and I'm not going to be able to get to work on time. It looks like I'm going to be at least an hour late."

The reply? "No problem. Get here when you can. Okay?" No questions, no recriminations, no sound of breath being slowly exhaled and no impression given that when the phone goes down comments would be made behind your back. Just straight to the point and that's it. I know that it will inconvenience at least three people but I also know that they won't mind. You'd do the same for people like that if the shoe was on the other foot wouldn't you?

See you later.

Listening to:

Fat Cat Political Debate

A late night TV debate show..........

Govt spokesman  " ......and you call your members out on strike when only 32% of those elegible to vote did so and by doing this you will inconvenience millions of members of the public and put in jeopardy the fragile economic recovery of the country. It's disgraceful! Frankly that's why we need to change the legislation governing Trade Unions in this country - to prevent just this kind of madness."

Union spokesman " Let's be absolutely clear here - we're not going on strike. We have simply balloted our members as required by law and based on their voted instruction stated that we are prepared to go on strike because of  your failure to talk to us to resolve the situation. Let's remember too that our members didn't cause this recession. It was caused by fat cat bankers who frankly have remained badly regulated, highly paid and obscenely over-incentivised by bonuses and, by the policy of YOUR government, have…

Fear and loathing dans le jardin

I'm sitting enjoying my morning coffee on the step at the front of the house which is wide and comfortable in the (fairly) early morning sun. I decided to bring the coffee here a few moments ago when I was filling the birdfeeders on the apple trees at the back of the house and the old pear tree at the front. I've conscientiously fed the birds around the garden for years and we now have a prodigious menagerie of various species that like us enjoy the benefits of living here.
I can never quite make up my mind whether the birds rely on or predate on our efforts as a bonus. Certainly they manage to get through huge amounts of seeds and nuts and assorted bits and pieces from the kitchen laid out on the wooden bench on the patio or from the feeders. Although I filled the seven feeders just the other day every single one was empty this morning. I picked up the large white lidded bucket from the side of the patio door as I left the kitchen and realised that the seed we have is almost…

The Sunday Posts 2012

Dedicated to my friend Scudder who passed away this week.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

By William Ernest Henley

Photo by Alistair


I found out my blogger pal Scudder died yesterday. We met through these pages as he was one of the first handful of followers of the blog and he found lots of common ground in my writing. Like me Dougie Buchanan was a sometimes curmudgeonly Scotsman always ready for a rant or two at whatever jerked his chain at any particular time and through our blogs we bantered backwards and forwards until one day he said "This is daft! Why don't we meet?"

So we planned to get together but as is often the case circumstances intervened and it was a couple of months before we were able to make it happen. In the interim we began to Skype regularly and continued the banter through e-mail and video conversations lasting hours. One of his e-mails told me matter of factly he had been diagnosed that day with cancer and had been given a few months. Although shocked to the core, in typical pugnacious fashion he took it head on and was determined to see that Christmas with his new granddaughter…

The Sunday Posts 2012

The evening slips you into it, has kept a place for you
and those wildwood limbs that have already settled on
the morning. The words you have for it are flyblown now
as the dandelion you'll whistle tomorrow into a lighter air.

But tonight, your sleep will be as round as your mouth,
berried with the story of sunlight finally run to ground.
You are all about tomorrow. The moon has your name
memorised: the curl of your back, your face, an open book.

'Your Face An Open Book'
By Vona Groarke

A Balcony on the World

This is the final instalment of photos from our recent trip to Lake Garda in Italy. Sorry it’s taken so long – circumstances have meant time to post anything has been much reduced of late. Now however I have a bit of time at last and have it’s been nice revisiting the photos and the memories they bring.

As we stepped off the little lake boat that acts as a floating bus service around the edge of the lake that day and onto the jetty at Malcesine about 40 minutes from Riva Del Garda where we were staying, it was clearly a busy little place with lots of noise as tourists and locals jostled for position to get to the best seats on the emptying boat. The jetty was at the edge of a small harbour which was itself at the edge of a picturesque little square, lined with cafes, bars and restaurants and the typical shops you find in any tourist dependant destination. It was clearly signposted as a tourist spot by the prominent castle that towered over the sun-bleached pantile roofs of the old to…

The Sunday Posts 2012

If you think you are beaten, your are
If you think you dare not, you won't,
If you like to win, but don't think you can
It's almost a cinch you won't

If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out in the world you'll find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in a state of mind

For many a game is lost
Ere even a play is run,
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow
Think small and you'll fall behind
Think that you can and you will
It's all a state of mind.

If you think you are out-classed, your are
You've got to think high to rise
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can.

'It's all in a state of mind'
By Walter Wintle

Sleepy Time.

I roll over in the dark not knowing what time it is but knowing with complete certainty that I will have to get out of bed. The curse of getting older seems to be that nocturnal visits to the loo are commonplace. While that's as may be it that doesn’t mean I have to like it, especially since it’s not my insomnia that’s wakened me or is keeping me awake but my bloated bladder. At the side of the bed the alarm clock taunts me with its tick, tick, tick – counting down the seconds to when I can't take it any longer and will have to head for relief. It’s not fair; the bed is warm and the room is, well the room is almost baltic as we say over here and I know I’m going to freeze despite going and coming back in jig time. Sometimes you just know that you’re more sensitive to cold than others and this is one of those nights. I’m snug in bed. I’m warm and cosy.

I groan and test the temperature by sticking a foot from beneath the covers, hoping that the icy tip of my nose is ly…