Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 January 2021


Although we have not had snow, temperature have been continually less than zero for more than a week now, meaning that snow has not melted and pavements are covered in frost.

The temperature has warmed a little and though there was a flurry of snow , it's now just continuous rain, and still cold.

The BBC has just stated it's going to be a dry day , but snow and rain in Scotland (for the Scotland being anywhere north of Watford)

Music wise I listened to a lot of Lou Reed the other day , a 5CD set featuring "New York" , "Songs For 'Drella" . "Magic and Loss" , "Set The Twilight Reeling" and "Ecstasy" , and every album is excellent , all far outstripping the David Bowie produced "Transformer" his breakthrough solo album and often listed has his peak.

These five albums prove that Lou Reed solo was far from a one trick pony. "Transformer" contains some stunning songs (my favourite is "Vicious") but we will go with the opener from "New York" "Romeo Had Juliette".

Have a great Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

A Nightmare

 I woke from , what for me is, a recurring nightmare, although it is very mild compared with what most people would class as a nightmare. I think I am slightly claustrophobic , so it's a manifestation based on that.

Earlier this week I dreamt I was in a house and many of the rooms had no windows, big buildings with no windows I find, creepy, rooms with no windows creepier because you are inside.

The latest was for some reason I was holidaying in the far north of Scotland (which I would like to do) , and while being shown around the place I had to squeeze past the host in the doorway to the "main room" and then felt even being there it was too small to get out. It's this situation where you are at the risk of getting stuck and unable to free yourself and often have variations on that theme, though I always manage to get past the difficult part.

In real like it reminds me of the ascent of Scott's Monument in Edinburgh which manged to combine my claustrophobia with vertigo, but I managed to do that and got some great photographs, and to be honest, my body size is not increasing, so once this lockdown is dealt with (if that happens) I may do it again. Similarly the "gateway to Cow Hill from Grandstand Road is a very tight squeeze for me , although I could climb over or through the fence.

I don't like small caves or underground tunnels and when I see these cavers squeezing through holes , often also underwater it sends my blood cold, I think that happens in the film "The Descent" , which for me is a real horror film.

Other nightmare scenarios are being up high and having to traverse gaps in stairs or ladders to go up, knowing you have to do the same coming back.

The thing is, with all these nightmares, I either get through it or wake up, and with tonight's , because I am on a staycation, I can write about this at 3:30 am knowing I don't have to get up at 5:45 as usual. Every day is like a Saturday , although today I have to go to Newcastle University to help with research into my Cirrhosis of the Liver so it won't be just lying around doing nothing, listening to music , read or playing.

So something dark to accompany this post, or maybe not. I'm been listening to a lot of Chris Rea recently and maybe "Nothing To Fear" is a more suitable piece to sign off with. I just posted a Youtube video of some of his amazing album packaging here, although some people may think that Chris Rea's music is a nightmare but given his prodigiously good output I can forgive "Driving Home For Christmas". 

It is now 4:10 am

Monday, 30 November 2020

Physical Book or EBook on St Andrew's Day

p> I am currently reading two Clive Barker books , "Imajica" (my favourite ever book) and "Coldheart Canyon" (rather excellent) the former on my Kindle Fire the later a hardback edition . The former I'm only a quarter through (though this is the biggest ebook I have ever read) and the latter I am 90% through though it's half the size of of "Imajica" but I still find physical books easier to read than ebooks although ebooks are very convenient.

With a device like a Kindle you can carry a library with you and if you have an internet connection you can add to that very easily , but it must always have power, but that does allow you read in the dark, but reading is dependent on the device having power and working.

ebooks are great for reference books of any form as they allow you to easily search and can be updated and annotated, though you can do the latter with physical books. 

Both formats have their benefits and I benefit from both, although I have added to my ebook library with numerous free volumes which I have yet to read , whereas with physical books I think I whether I have somewhere to put them (I don't but that never stops me).

Today is St. Andrew's day and I have a feeling that Scotland will soon be leaving UK much to the delight of the Scots and Little Englanders, so maybe we will go for the excellent "Little Britain" by Dreadzone.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Not Bored

I don't do blog posts when I'm away on short breaks although I haven't posted in nearly a week, which is quite a long blogging break for me, but Edinburgh was great but cold.

Edinburgh whilst being the joint capital of Scotland seems a remarkably unplanned city , which just adds to it's interest, and is small enough to easily explore on foot as well as having some amazing buildings and constructions. It's also full of small alleys, high level walks, stone steps and you can usually see some landmark so you can always find your way back if you ever get lost.

I got back yesterday evening and watched two episodes of 30 Rock, two of Veep and the final Frankie Boyle Scotland travelogue and then thought I don't have time to blog and realised how the quantity of choice on television can actually steal your time. The thing is I don't even have Netflix and despite it having lots of series I want to watch , my ivo disk is 90% full and I have Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and the commercial channels hubs to watch so much television that I really don't have the time.

People often tell me they binge watch series, but more than two episodes of anything is too much for me, and then I have two Clive Barker books on the go and music to listen to too.

So as I close off this first March post to go to work , the sun is shining outside, and tomorrow I am going to visit Kirsty and Mark to see and hear Mark's latest record player upgrade and Edinburgh did provide me with four more pieces of vinyl , two New Order 12" singles , "Fans" by Malcolm McLaren and "Gris,Gris" by Dr John so I'll go with "Confusion" by New Order which has one of the cleverest covers I have ever seen, although I have seen similar examples before, but even the guy selling it in Vinyl Villains wasn't too sure what it was, and the remix I'm sharing (cos it uses the cover) was used in the film "Blade".

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Power To The People

No it's not about Jeremey Corbyn , although with the state of voting in the leadership contest Owen Smith and Angela Eagles and the PLP will be preparing their next leadership challenge , probably just stopping anyone from them voting.

It Had To Be
Anyway for the first time in months I forgot to submit my power readings (due the face of some extremely enjoyable company). I'm in my third year with Ovo and signed up with them after their CEO accused the "Big 6" of being liars about theire wholesale costs. I was coming to the end of a 5 year fixed deal with E-ON and they told me that to continue for another 12 months I would have to hike my monthly payments by 20%. I contacted OVO and they gave me a two year fixed price deal for a 4% increase on what I'd been paying E-ON. I know I don't get Tesco Clubcard points any more but I get get payed 3% on my credit balance which sounds good but probably works out about a pound a month.

At the end of my deal Scottish Power contacted me (I said they could ring me in the evening, they rang at 1pm the following day, maybe the sun sets earlier in Scotland, and said they could give me a deal for £70 a month, then have rung me several times since causing me to put them on auto reject).

I went online and Ovo recommended I reduced my payment by more than 50% (£60 a month) so I decided to reduce to £100 a month. They are also good and helpful on the phone.

Anyway that's where my power is coming from in the foreseeable future.

September is here, The Smiths are playing on Radio 6 and I'm drinking a cup of tea ready to go to work. I hope you all have a brilliant day and it is nearly weekend. The obvious song is John Lennon and The Plastic Ono  Band's Power To The People.

Have a good one.

Monday, 28 December 2015

On The Road

This weekend I drove 300 hundred inhospitable miles to and from Scotland. It that time I saw rain , snow , ice , surface flooding and coming back the combination of bright sunshine and wet roads made it like driving into an arc light . At one point the sun was coming through the trees to the right but due the speed and the distance between the trees it was like a stroboscopic effect. It inspired me to write this:

Hard Road

Hard Road

Speeding into the arc light
I should be aware of the road
 It's like a mirror
Can't see the markings
Can't see the other cars 
Three Lanes Bad
Two Lanes Worse
The sun is strobing
Through the trees
I still can't see
I've survived
I am still going
This isn't driving
It's just surviving

That's my unstructured "poem" of my experience over the weekend. Two small amendments were suggested by my good friend Joan , and they have been taken on board. Obvious choice for me is Black Sabbath's "Hard Road" , which is probably my favourite Sabbath Song, still gives me goosebumps

I really hope you have a had a great Christmas or Yule break and are ready to run up to the end of the year with gusto.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tomorrow Belongs To Me .... or Does It?

Go Alba!!
Well today Scotland get a say on whether they want to be part of the United Kingdom, and to be honest would you really want to be part of a Union which was being run for the benefit of people like David Cameron and his mates. While I would prefer Scotland to stay, I would also like them to go for independence and give Cameron and his cronies a bloody nose, so I'll be happy for Scotland whatever the result but I've not been happy with the posturings of the Westminster politicians over this.

What song , well a couple from my favourite son of Glasgow. Maybe after tonight we'll have to
rebuild the Wall , and thank God Newcastle is North of it!!

Monday, 2 June 2014

First Things Thirsk

St Mary's Church , Thirsk
I always thought Thirsk was a place in Scotland , I think it sounds Scottish, but Scotland appears to have no place called Thirsk within it's borders. I think I once visited it briefly, years ago, but that was it. Today I decided to go just because it's close and I keep bypassing it on the way to Ampleforth and Whitby.

I was extremely pleasantly surprised by the place. I entered by the one way system and parked up, expecting to be charged a great deal , but no £2.40 for the full day , so that was a great start. Then a brief walk to the centre where there was more parking , but that would have been a little more awkward.

Then there was The Three Tuns , and excellent Wetherspoons refurbishment although the decor seemed to be horse racing based (not surprising given the proximity of the racecourse) though the name refers to (beer) barrels. There was also a Ladbrokes, a William Hills and a Betfred on the main square which in my opinion is not usually a sign of a well to do area, but again given the proximity of the racecourse maybe not too surprising.

The first place I tried was the excellent White Rose Book Cafe where I had a very nice scone and tea and bought some holiday presents and brilliant birthday cards. That was a great start to Thirsk.

Then it was a pleasant walk tound before visiting the Black Lion Bistro which is extremely pleasant , has a great menu and drinks selection and a wonderfully warm welcome. Highly recommended.

On the way I out we went into The Three Tuns which was excellently appointed as you normally find with Wetherspoons pubs.

The only slight problem is that it's a one way system into Thirsk and it's not all that easy getting back out, reminding me of sleeve liner notes to the  Blue Oyster Cult's Imaginos.

But really if you are near Thirsk it is well worth visiting.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Motorway Kelpies

Yesterday and today I was amazed to pass two 30 metre high sculptures of what I though were horses heads. They are actually Kelpies and you can read all about them here. The main problem is that you see them as you are driving on the motorway (M8 or M9 can't remember) but they are majorly imp
ressive. I actually stopped on the hard shoulder to take some pictures one of which is below:

Kelpies on the Motorway

Anyway, I need to keep the seasonal songs going and thought maybe Can's treatment of "Silent Night" which I have always loved.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Colin McIntyre, The Harviestoun Country Hotel and The Mull Historical Society

Just been for dinner and had a very nice meal at the Harviestoun Country Hotel and Restaurant. At reception I noticed a pile of CDs and a plaque on the wall. i was then asked if I knew of the Mull Historical Society.

It turns out the restaurant is run by Colin McIntyre's mum. Colin was the driving force behind the superb Mull Historical Society active between 2001 and 2005 , and Colin is now solo . I immediately snaffled a copy of his "Islands" CD along with complimentary signed copy of "Be My Saviour" so result all round. Enjoy The Final Arrears , superb record.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Surely They Didn't Mean That!!!

Many years ago I was working in Scotland and stopped in the village of Carnwath to get some cash from the bank there. I got the money and turned to go back to my car and saw something across the road that I thought must me a mistake. It wasn't , in the window of the local Post Office cum shop , bold as you like was this:


 After some research a mate of mine found a web site that confirmed that here : "TWATS (Tarbrax Woolfords Auchengray Theatrical Society) use the hall for their production of an annual pantomime." 

While I've got no problem with innocent mistakes and the like , you would think that someone would have noticed the acronym was in fact a very naughty word!!