Friday 31 March 2017

Do You Boho?

It's the last day of March, the day before April Fools Day and for one thing or another, well actually reading "Tom Waits on Tom Waits", the word Boho came up again. There was a passage titled "Boho Blues" which I thought sounded like the title of a Tom Waits song. Waits himself cuts a bohemian figure, raggedly stylish with immense talent as an artist and actor, probably one of the people who can make smoking look cool (my opinion is that a fag in the moth usually makes people look like an imbecile, friends excluded of course). It turns out there is no "Boho Blues" by Tom Waits, at least I can't find a copy and I do have most of his output in my collection.

Boho also means to me a certain style almost gypsy , arty, and life affirming and my eldest daughter Juliet is a wonderful example of that , and Kirsty my youngest is certainly into the arty and exploring the unexpected and unexplored , I remember her wanting albums by The Pixies and Rage Against the Machine for her birthday. They are both anything but average and make me so proud.

The term applies the my favourite hotel in the whole world , La Rosa at Whitby, if you want Boho, spend a few nights here or just visit for one of their many events. Amanda and all the staff fit in perfectly, I'm surprised it's not been commandeered for a film or TV series like say "Desperate Romantics".

The other week it was Kirsty's birthday and we wen to the wonderful Bohemian vegetarian restaurant in Newcastle , check out their web address here. It's I Love Boho! Again the food and staff are awesome and they sell second hand vinyl too! The music played is consistently excellent, and the atmosphere is well ... Bohemian.

Then that took me back to Joni Mitchell's "Hissing of The Summer Lawns" and the song "The Boho Dance" and Joni Mitchell certainly artistically was in the Bohemian Groove progressing from folk to jazz and making it sound wonderful.

Anyway , it's Friday night, and the weekend has started, if you like Boho be Boho , but have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Ten Thousand Steps Underground

I'm still nowhere near a hundred percent, but am still hitting ten thousand steps dail, and reading and being inspired by Tom Waits. I remember buying "SwordfishTrombones" on the back of "In The Neighborhood" , putting it on and being totally shocked by the first song "Underground" , and that is shocked in a good way. This was something like a mephistophelean take on The Dwarves Marching song from Disney (which he covered for real on the album "Stay Awake") The only artist who was anywhere near this was Captain Beefheart, so to have another singer who could to this was totally mind blowing for me.

This post is going to be short because I am tired and probably overdoing it physically, but I actually managed to do something at work that amazed me, and hopefully it will make one or two of my colleagues happy. That's assuming it still works tomorrow.

Anyway I am feeling totally drained but will leave you with more Tom Waits.

Sleep well my friends

Tuesday 28 March 2017


After doing the 15000 Step Challenge that finished on 20th of March I said that I wanted to maintain ten thousand steps a day. On Sunday I decided to visit some Roman Ruins in Benwell a little video here and a photo montage here) .

Despite living here for fifteen years, I had never been despite knowing about it and being so close to the line of Hadrian's Wall (which I helped light up in 2010 - so I've included the video of that and there's a lot of articles on it such as this on the BBC).

Anyway I've managed to go off on a complete tangent.

After the Roman Ruins, I needed to do more steps, but suddenly felt like I was walking through treacle, walking became very difficult, and I was on Nunsmoor and nowhere near a bench or housing. I had completed my steps but was feeling close to collapse, feeling like I'd been kicked and battered, aching limbs like when you get 'flu', and feeling queasy and worried I was going to throw up. I was not feeling good.

I eventually got to a bus stop where Fiona met me, where eventually a bus turned up and then I got home and went straight to bed. I slept and drank a litre of fizzy orange and then I was OK to watch some TV and have some soup.

The following I thought I maybe have to give it a rest, but it was foggy and I thought I may get some good pictures, so thought I would walk over Nunsmoor and took this video here. That meant that I still hit 11K steps yesterday so my idea of giving myself a rest didn't happen. The thing is, I do need to exercise and lose about 30Kg (I weigh 106Kg) , and am thinking maybe on Sunday I became dehydrated.

So today I will walk in again, well part of the way, and hopefully hit my 10K steps which is about 5 miles.

The music in the video is "Shining Light" by Ash , which is my daughter Juliet's favourite band.

Have a great Tuesday everyone

Sunday 26 March 2017

The Twenty Three Hour Day

No there's a title for a science fiction story. It makes me thing of F Paul Wilson's "Nightworld" the final book in The Adversary Cycle where the days start getting shorter than they should be or "The Eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss where during the workday timepieces are slowed down by the controllers then at nights and weekends timepieces are speeded up. Sound familiar to anyone.

So today we just have twenty three hours to cater for daylight saving or whatever you want to call it. We do get it back later in the year , so that hour is but in a temporal savings account (but we don't get paid interest, much like a bank).

Yesterday was weird, I have things to do , and want to do things but just couldn't actually bring myself to get anything done, or rather that's how it felt. It was like a feeling of nothingness and emptiness inside, like my get up and go had got up and gone , leaving me bereft and empty. I always try and think of positives but yesterday was not feeling positive at all.

The think is, I had had a brilliant night on Friday seeing lots of friends I hadn't seen for ages as well as The Coyotemen and King Salami and The Cumberland Three , although I was feeling extra tired so didn't last the whole night.

This has been fairly full and intense but we've been rewarded with some excellent weather for the weekend.

ON the positive side I put in train some stuff that needs doing round the house, did some shopping for fruit and kept up my ten thousand steps a day. Last Sunday I had to do fourteen thousand steps but hit nineteen thousand. I don't expect to do that today but I do intend to hit ten thousand steps.

I also managed a couple of films on catch up TV and now I've managed to write this and it's only just turned eight of the clock (new time.

One other chore this has caused is that I have eight analogue watches , add to that the cooker, light programmer, heating control and three analogue clocks and that's a few timepiece adjustments I've had to do. As I said last night I could do with today being 72 hours to give me time to do things at leisure, but there's only sixteen of the twenty three hours left, the first seven hours used up by sleeping and writing this.

Anyway the weather is gorgeous again,I need to shower, get up , get papers, walk five miles and have a wonderful day. I found an excellent live version of Haircut 100 doing Fantastic Day for you to enjoy.

You have a fantastic day too my friends.

Friday 24 March 2017

No-one Sings XXXX Like XXXX

It's funny how reading a book can inspire you to write something. I'm still on "Tom Waits on Tom Waits" a part where he's disparaging, to say the least about covers of his songs ("Ol' 55" by The Eagles and "Heart of Saturday Night" by Jerry Jeff Walker. Then I started thinking about covers of songs and even why people start making music.

Everyone starts playing because they hear someone else, since the invention of radio that has been every westerners kick off for making music, and as radio spreads it will be everyone's starting point, if they are going to play, although records and TV are also other sources.

I remember an advertising line that said "No One Sings Dylan Like Dylan" , but lots of people covered Dylan and improved on the original, thing The Byrds' "Mr Tambourine Man", Manfred Mann;s numerous covers "Mighty Quinn" being a big hit, and when they transformed into Earthband they targeted Bruce Springsteen with "Spirits In The Night" and "Blinded By The Light" though still revisited Dylan with "Father of Day, Father of Night" , and then there is probably the best ever Dylan cover, Jimi Hendrix's "All Along The Watchtower".

I still love te Dylan originals, but it took me a long time to appreciate them, but all the songs above are improvements on the originals in my opinion, but I do believe no one can out do Tom Waits on a Tom Waits song. Rod Stewart did justice to "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "Downtown Train" and to some listeners they will be better that the originals. I like both but prefer the Waits versions.

Cpvers are generally how musicians and bands start before moving on to write their own stuff, which hopefully will be better than the stuff they were covering . The Beatles and The Rolling Stones started off with covers (and the last Rolling Stones album was all covers) , but that gives bands a good starting point.

Some bands are happy to continue doing that, and they usually find a appreciative audience for mainstream covers.

Anyway that's a lot on my opinion of covers, I will leave you with the Jimi Hendrix cover of  "All Along The Watchtower".

Good Night my friends.

Thursday 23 March 2017


Why 23:29? The figure just came to me. I don't know why, but I am still reading "Tom Waits on Tom Waits" so maybe that has something to do with it.

Anyway on Monday I finished the Step Challenge and decided I wanted to keep up ten thousand steps a day. The weather has been against me but I have hit more than ten thousand three days running and I am sure I can do it over the next three days.

Tonight I met Kirsty and Mark and Fiona in Bohemian for Kirsty's birthday tea. We had some amazing food and enjoyed company and the excellent atmosphere. We talked TV, film and music and Sparks' "Number 1 Song In Heaven" came on, (the music in Bohemian is always excellent) and Kirsty said she had never heard of Sparks , and it was my fault , cos I am her dad, I mentioned some classic Sparks songs to no avail, but they are now another band for her to discover. I had said that in my opinion they are probably the most innovative and excellent band going, and have put out some amazing music including collaborations with Franz Ferdinand (FFS) and Faith No More.

Then I found out that The Coyotemen are active once more and playing Think Tank? tomorrow night, so that means one last gig night before the end of March.

This means I have been quite active for the last few weeks and intend to keep up the pace. I will find a reason to walk at the weekend, and I will leave you with another Sparks song , "The Rhythm Thief" from "Li'l Beethoven"

Enjoy and sleep well my friends.

It's 21:04

Wednesday 22 March 2017

... And Then It Rained

I'm looking out of the window at pouring rain. It held off while I finished the Step Challenge and got my fence and decking fixed, so I am happy about that, but when you have to go to work, or even just go out, seeing the rain come down like this is not incredibly appealing. We were told that we would have snow, and given how cold it was yesterday , I was not to surprised about that, or wouldn't be surprised if it did happen.

The sky is a uniform grey and the rain is falling in a heavy drizzle, you need a decent umbrella or a waterproof hat or hood. It's not blowing too much which is a small mercy, but I was hoping to walk into work but give the state of the weather it may be a bus journey today.

I'm just listening to 6Music and they're telling me about this year's 6Music Festival  and you can watch the live stream featuring among others, Depeche Mode and Sparks (two of my favourite bands)  on your big telly if you are not actually there.

So basically that's more semi sedentary action for me this weekend , while it might not improve my health it will definitely improve my well being.

OK I shall set off to get to work by fair means or foul and leave you with some Sparks from the time they met Giorgio Moroder ... The No 1 Song In Heaven , have a good day and stay dry my friends.

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Fit For Nothing

Not exactly. I have completed the step challenge and today I didn't have to do anything, apart  from an early doctor's appointment, coming home to see about repairs to my back fence and decking, then going to work and trying to sort various things, meeting a friend for lunch , losing my new headphones , finding my new headphones, and without any effort hitting ten thousand steps (about four and a half miles) that I hope to do every day.

I was expecting to do about 5K steps today , but sometimes it is easy to hit a few thousand steps, other times it seems ludicrously difficult.

I prefer walking through parks and fields to being on roads, but I do prefer a solid footpath, not mud that you sink into. One of the problem with the Town Moor is that cows graze there, and that  means that they can turn areas near gates and watering troughs into black mudbaths , with little chance of you negotiating them without some mishap.

Anyway the good thing about this walking malarkey is that it may keep me slightly fitter, and any form of exercise is better than nothing at all.

So it#s time for bed , and I only need to get up for work tomorrow. I still may walk in to work, but there is no pressure, apart from finding a more interesting way to walk into work.

Today while on the bus between Fenham and Byker I watched a talk about abandondoned Malls by Dan Bell turns out to be a good friend of my good friend Dave, the world is getting smaller every day. So I will include that below ,, and "Destination Eschaton" by The Shamen is always an inspirational way to close the day.

Goodnight my friends.

Monday 20 March 2017

Over The Line

Today's sixteen thousand steps finished this step challenge. Overall that's about eighty miles walked in two weeks, that's here to Whitby, so I know I could walk to Whitby if I actually wanted to. It's definitely brought out a bit of my obsessive side, that is the desire to do the job , hit the goal and succeed.

I'm not in a hurry to do another, but I am minded to hit ten thousand daily, but we will see how that goes. The weekend coming up will be an opportunity to rest, or maybe do something else.

I thought I'd just do a short post, it's Monday night, and that's the first day of the week over with. Tomorrow starts with a 7:10 doctors appointment, then sorting the fence and decking repairs before another day at work, lunch with a friend, wishing my daughter happy birthday and eventually landing back home without the target of fifteen thousand steps to hit.

So I'll leave you with Neil Young singing "Walk On". My voice has been likened to Neil Young's and I love everything about the guy so for me that's a compliment, for Neil Young maybe not.

Enjoy your Monday night my friends.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Eggs and Chickens ,,, Tom Waits for Norman

Sometimes things you do have unexpected results. I've been taking part in a step challenge , the last day of which is tomorrow when I need to do fifteen thousand steps.That's around seven miles in a day, not a great deal in the great scheme of things but it does mean you have to make time to do these things. Essentially each thousand steps takes around ten minutes of brisk walking , so that means I need to spend two and a half hours walking tomorrow.

This weekend , in order to not be playing catch up , I've got up early each day to give myself a start on the steps , and it's worked OK. Today I did nineteen thousand steps (I only needed to do fourteen thousand) byt set myself a task of walking up Cow Hill and taking some pictures. Cow Hill is not difficult to climb, it's sort of a mound but you get a good view of Newcastle.

View From Cow Hill

Anyway the basic point is, that I have got up earlier, done more walking, done more writing, done more reading , done more catch up TV, done more guitar practice and recording, and more listening to music and I feel very tired, but I'm just wondering if the cause of me doing more is actually the step challenge. It could be. In order to accommodate it I've had to ensure there is enough space in the day.

This is about the fifth blog post I've done this weekend but I won't have time to do one tomorrow morning.

Hopefully after my final day tomorrow, I will still ensure that I do 10K steps a day which will clock in a 4½ miles which I will definitely maintain. Also I may try not lying in at weekends and just going out for a walk. I prefer being off road but on a path. The walk up to Cow Hill was a bit muddy today.

One of the things to maintain this is that you do need halfway decent weather but this weekend has been fairly good.

Tomorrow is going to require a very early start. I want eight thousand steps in before I get into work. That is a tall order but it will mean I've over half way there before I start work.

One of the songs I listened to was Tom Waits' "Ol' 55" which was covered by The Eagles , but I'll treat you to a live version by the great man.

Goodnight my friends.

In The Neighbo(u)rhood

Yesterday I started reading my next book, Tom Waits on Tom Waits , I opened it up and thought , whoa , I really can't do this. The writing on the introduction seemed tiny. It's a biggish book , 450 or so pages , and my eyes are not that great at reading small print, but I have managed similar books before, the most recent being "I Am Zlatan" which was hard going, only 300 pages but did manage to keep my interest and teach me a few facts , and I do like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  The book I've just finished is "Spanking Watson" by Kinky Friedman which I bought because I like the guy, and the book was easy to read , 200 pages of readable print and a reasonable enjoyable and diverting read , manage a few minor offensive but funny scenarios and you just have to check out Kinky Friedman's song titles to see if you would be offended by him , but there is a cat in the book and Nelson Mandela loved him.

Anyway after a day I've read the intro and twenty pages of the Tom Waits book, and that is good going for me. I did once read a Dean Koontz book "Dark Rivers of the Heart" in one four hour sitting (it's 750 pages) but that was an exception, but it's amazing how the writing becomes easier to read when the book really engages you, It is going to keep me engaged for a couple of weeks, but I am a huge Tom Waits afficionado ever since I heard the song "In The Neighbourhood" from "Swordfishtrombones" which made me go out and buy the album immediately (they didn't have downloads in them days). When I looked for a video to include with this, I remembered Peter Gabriel had also covered this wonderful song , so I've included that video as well for you to enjoy, though it doesn't seem to be available, I thought it would be on "Scratch My Back"

Anyway I was out for a walk round MY NEIGHBOURHOOD this morning as part of the penultimate day of the Step Challenge and walking down Two Ball Lonnen saw a cat in a tree being tormented my two magpies. You don't see that every day but I thought it was an amusing scenario.

Last night after having my TASCAM studio for a few weeks I managed to record something onto it. It was late at night and just the equivalent of Thomas Edison's "Mary Had A Little Lamb" , but digital recording is a bit more convoluted that pressing play and record on a cassette recorder which is how I used to record stuff. Anyway I think the tiny steps are paying off and hopefully this year I can produce something on my terms.

Anyway it's a beautiful day, I may take a trip up Cow Hill and take some photographs, in order to meet today 14k step challenge... then again who knows

Saturday 18 March 2017

Sleep Is Good .. Being Awake Is Better

Although sleep is good, it enables your body and mind to recuperate and repair itself, but I do prefer being awake and able to do things. I know I should be in bed but thought I would just write a short post on this.

In John Cooper Clarke's "Beasley Street" , his very dark masterpiece , he describes sleep as "a sneak preview of death" which is a chilling assessment of what is really a natural function. Some animals sleep all winter, and I am sure some humans would like to do that as well.

Rest is good but activity is better. We do have so many sedentary pastimes such as watching TV or someone else do something. Reading at least exercises the mind as does writing. I am now sitting typing at a keyboard and a lot of my working day is taken up in a similar way. I do get up and walk around so I am not going to atrophy at my desk, but feel that is often frowned on by some people.

Tonight I've just read of Chuck Berry's passing , he was 90 and had a good life although he did some bad things and definitely in the 50s and 60s was royally screwed over by the white establishment. I saw him once at Southport Floral Hall, queued for tickets and found out everyone else in the queue was queuing for Gilbert O' Sullivan tickets. A sad loss from a true American poet, the words to his songs stand on their own.

Anyway that gives me an excuse to include a Chuck Berry song "No Money Down" for your delectation from the film "Hail Hail, Rock'n'Roll" , and now I will go to my bed and sleep. I have fourteen thousand steps to do tomorrow.

Sleep well my wonderful friends.

10,250 Steps To Go ......

Sorry to keep going on about this step challenge but it does help you notice things. It seems my average walking speed it about 3.5 miles per hour. I believe that the average walking pace is about four miles per hour. Today I need to do 13,250 steps , a mile is about 2,750 steps for me so today is about five miles, hitting six miles on Monday. It's 8:30 and I have done 3,000 steps so that's a fifth of today's distance.

I was really tired for some reason last night so was in bed at ten then up at six this morning after a night of strange dreams that you really don't want to know about (boring not interesting). That means I have got a start today so hopefully I can keep on track. There's only two days after today.

The only slight problem today is the drizzly rain, though there's no wind so a light umbrella is ok.

The weekend started yesterday after an incredibly intense week with work and exercise and stuff , though this weekend there will be no let up. And after I finish on Monday that's followed by a 7:10 doctor's appointment on Tuesday as well as having some repair work doing to my garden fence.

I have finally given in and used a complete random play on my music collection on my phone. Luckily I have good taste so I've not been hit with any duds so far, although there's been the odd revelation. The song for today was just a reminder of the band everybody hates to love (I don't , I love Carter USM) and "Bloodsport For All" came on much to my delight, so that's the one I'll share with you.

Have a brilliant Saturday all ... 10,250 steps to go .....

Friday 17 March 2017

Getting Harder

I have another three days of the step challenge. 42,000 steps in the next three days. I know some of you do that every day, but I don't really do formal exercise.

Today I took a detour on the way to work, spent an hour getting into work and did six thousand steps and spent an hour walking in. I tend to listen to music going in, and that makes the journey less boring. I tried a gym once, and the regimented mundanity of it did nothing for me. You cannot benefit if you get bored with what you are doing, and I was really bored. I am ok with swimming where you have to keep going or you sink and drown, but cannot do gyms at all.

Anyway today's target was 12,500 and I did 14,100 , and each day since my lapse I've walked more than my next days target. Tomorrow is 13,250 so I need to be up and on the road early.

Sorry this is very mundane, but as the steps increase it eats into my time to do other things. Even though I walked extra this morning , then walked up Westgate Road to Wildflower for lunch, then an extra trip for shopping tonight, I didn't think I would make it.

It turns out I did make it, so just have another 42,000 or so steps to go. I've already done 120,000 steps in this challenge so another 42,000 should not be a problem.

Anyway I am actually tired so I shall leave you with a song and "The Distance" by Cake seems appropriate. Sleep well my friends.

Monday 13 March 2017

More Steps

Yesterday I needed to do 8750 steps and I did over 11,000 , but it was a Sunday and I didn't have work, so today's 9,500 will possibly be more of a challenge. I could walk to work, but if I take the bus it means I get there quicker and that gives me options for a earlier finish and longer lunch. I also work better in the morning so to maximise my work return I prefer to be in the office early, and it is nice to be able to finish earlier.

Incidentally I mentioned Bob Marley's "Is This Love" in my last post and it has been played by Chris Hawkins on 6Music this morning.

The sun is shining and it is actually perfect weather for walking in, so if I finish this quickly I may walk at least part of the way. The sky is looking very blue.

The piece of music that just slipped into mind is "Walkin'" by CCS (Collective Consciousness Society), Alexis Korner's pop jazz combo , who did the original theme to Top of the Pops, a jazz cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", which I'll include as well.

I know it's monday, but put a smile on your face and have a good one.

Sunday 12 March 2017

Marching On With My Favourite Bob Marley Song

Step Challenge
I'm currently up to day 6 of a "Step Challenge" (see pic to the right). Next Monday I need to hit 15,000 steps, and that definitely is a challenge. One of the problems with things like this is ensuring that you have time to do it. I used to work in Darlington and regularly clocked up ten thousand steps a day. These days I'm in Newcastle and it's a lot closer, the bus is frequent and convenient and as such my number of steps is often under 5,000. I see lots of people who drive into work, lunch at their desks and then leave. I can't do that, I need to get out at lunchtime.

The good thing is that in Newcastle there are lots of places to go for an interesting walk, so I have no excuse not to make at least ten thousand steps a day.

Yesterday I had two trips into Newcastle and made just under nine thousand steps, today was more of a concerted effort and I have passed eleven thousand steps, tomorrow I need to hit 9,500 but I will do ten thousand. Day 9 onward will be the challenge but I will keep you posted on here.

Today I was listening to someone on 6Music and they said they never thought they would see Corinne Bailey Rae, which I found odd as she is alive and plays gigs. He then said he'd seen her three times. He then went on to play her take on Bob Marley's "Is This Love" which I always rated as one of his weaker songs (though a weak Bob Marley song is still excellent)

I then got on to thinking of some of my favourite Bob Marley songs. My first introduction was "No Woman, No Cry" Live at the Lyceum which still electrifies me, but was difficult to get when I first heard it , despite eventually becoming a massive hit. John Peel then played "Jah Live" which was even more difficult to track down, but I eventually got an import copy from John Allan's Records (he sadly is no longer with us) at Lane Ends in Preston. He thought the bands name was The Whalers!! He also sourced other hard to get records such as The Saints "I'm Stranded".

Anyway if I had to choose one Bob Marley single it would probably be "Jah Live", but if you look through the catalogue there are so many truly great songs. Another which I only heard when exploring his early stuff is "Small Axe" , I could listen to that over and over forever. So I will include "Jah Live" at the top of this post and  "Small Axe" at the bottom, both wonderful songs.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday my friends.

Saturday 11 March 2017

Adventures in Edinburgh Angels With Bagpipes

I was going to post this earlier in the week , but have been so shattered with work that my mind has not really been working after I walk out. But.. here coes...

Spent a couple of days in Edinburgh last weekend , grabbing first class travel on the train which gave a bit of extra leg room and a sandwich. Noticed that there was a special James Martin menu... breakfast consisted of an orange or a banana or a yogurt , that obviously took a lot of thought. I wonder how much they paid for that? Anyway that's being picky.

Got to Edinburgh and found the Premier Inn Hub, and that was excellent for a short term stay, big telly , big bed , shower and a 24 hour bar kitchen.

It was close to the Royal Mile but we went the other side of the tracks to eat at and enedd up at Shezan near the playhouse , which despite being busy found us a table and served up to excellent food, though they were surpised that I didn't have rice, naan bread or poppadums with my meal.

We also ate at The Dome which is an impressive building, the food and staff lovely but the only thing that grated was the rope barrier at the entrance (to keep the riff raff out I suppose) , Saturday night was at the excellent Angels with Bagpipes(booking essential and they don't need a rope) and The Abbotsford Arms was great on Sunday, it looks impressive inside and is welcoming and the food great too.

I was glad to see Fopp and Coda still full of life and these are not the only record shops in Edinburgh, but were the only two I got to visit while I was there relieving them of their last three Nick Cave Complete Lyrics books.

I was tempted to buy a set of bagpipes but the shop wasn't open when I visited it, much to the relief of my neighbours, though bagpipes played correctly are brilliant, and only people with no taste would disagree.

Anyway I thought I'd just write this to remind me of some of the good stuff that is in Edinburgh.

There are some huge buildings there, and I did get 3/4 of the way up The Scott Monument and you can see some of the video I shot here.

I thought I would leave you with some fun bagpiping from a Pipe Band, Have a great night my friends

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Up Close And Personal With Sir Walter Scott

I will post more about last weekend in Edinburgh, but on Sunday morning I was wandering round and noticed a flash of red halfway up the Scott Monument, which houses a statue of Sir Walter Scott within a huge spire like structure. There is a virtual tour here but when I looked it was just a picture and a bit of text, I was expecting a 3D 360˚ tour , but either they've not done it yet are don't know what people expect of a virtual tour.

Scott Monument Through The Trees

Anyway I thought I'd walk up and saw the "Best Views In Edinburgh" advertised, and saw the entry
fee was £5 and it was 287 steps to the top, which is more than doable and went to pay and discovered I had no cash. The guy directed me to the Waverly Station Mall but as it was only 10:30 it was shut, so I found a Barclays on the main street and went back, paid my money, went through the turnstile, and saw my first problem. I'm mildly claustrophobic and was presented with a very narrow stone spiral staircase. I took a breath and went for it, going round and round and up. There are four levels so I reckoned this would be about 70 steps and I should be OK as long as I didn't meet anyone coming the other way. I think the lighting is minimal but eventually I saw daylight and came out on the first level, and chatted with a few people.

I also suffer from mild vertigo, although level one was only a quarter of the way there. I took a few photographs and then hit the second stairs. Still narrow, spiral and cramped although they did have the luxury of a handrail. This time I met a couple coming down, luckily they were quite slim (I am not), and there was a lot of bodily contact as we squeezed past each other on those stairs. If I met someone as big as me coming in the opposite direction I may have a problem, though maybe people like me don't usually go up Scott's Monument.

I came out on Level two and the views were much better, and the next staircase was in the main spire, much wider , with a handrail but with lots of wire covered openings, not ideal if you're scared of heights. A few pics , a few conversations and thought Level 3 here I come and set off for Level 3.

Here I digress...into a short horror story by I think Christopher Fowler. He's in his car and drives into a underground car park, there's a car follows him through the barrier so he descends looking for a parking spot , followed by a couple of cars, he starts noticing that the descending lanes are getting narrower, and he becomes jammed, he can't reverse, and it's getting hotter .....

That's what happened with the level three stairs, they started to narrow, the handrail disappeared but luckily there was light and I came out on level three and the height started to really get to me , I was feeling distinctly queasy. I forced my self to take more pictures and some instagram video here.

Coming down was a lot easier, though there was a group of about ten who had to squeeze past me on their way up. I came out and the guy reckoned the views from Level 3 and 4 were the same.

It was an experience that I would recommend to anyone , but I've done it now and don't need to do it again.

There's only one song and it has to be Siouxsie & the Banshees "The Staircase (Mystery)" which I could hear in my head as I walked up .

Have a great day my friends.

Friday 3 March 2017

Marching On

This is my first March post and obviously the month name gives me lots of opportunity to play on words.

Yesterday was Wold Book Day which I thought was a good idea until I found out it was mainly about kids going to school dressed as TV characters. I am shocked by the number of people who simply do not read books and state it as though it's a positive thing. My friend Katie posted on Facebook the questions "What do you prefer music or books?", I answered neither as I love moth and often listen to music while reading a book. I am a slow reader but I certainly feel the benefit of reading.

World Book Night this year have changed their model and I think it's becoming more corporate, so this year is the first year that I won't be involved. It was nice being able to give a "World Book Night" sleeved book but now you have to do it on behalf of an organisation or just give away your own books, which I do on a continual basis anyway.

So it's the first Friday in March , the weekend is here, and it's time to have a great time.

Not sure what song to have so we'll go with The KLF's "America: What Time Is Love?"

Have a good one my friend.