Tuesday, 31 March 2009

King Creosote...

...and Fence Records? Ahh, the classic aroma of Cuprinol, so evocative of childhood years spent poking around in my grandad's Anderson shelter-come-shed. A whiff of two stroke, grass clippings and that weird crystally powder you can use to make your pink hydrangeas blue or the other way round.

This isn't, incidentally, my fence. Just a random stranger's. Nice all the same. Sniff...sniff...

Saturday, 21 March 2009

A change is gonna come...

Radio 4's Saturday Live has as one of its guests this morning photographer Martin Parr. Not only is he one of the UK's leading snappers but, apparently, his various collections of ephemera (stretching from 1970's detergent packaging to commemorative miners' strike plates) are also highly regarded as a valid catalogue of society and as a social study in themselves.

This notion of "stuff" certainly appeals to the hoarder - and untidy bugger - in me and I was amused to hear of his various items of Obama memorabilia, particularly these boxers...

Nice. But how long are you supposed to give it before switching to another of his campaign slogans?

Friday, 20 March 2009

10-4 good buddy, what's your 20?

If the title makes no sense, you really need to watch Convoy or Smokey and The Bandit. Or both. Definitely both.

I started a Twitter discussion earlier (I say discussion, but no-one's replied yet, what do I care?) on the idea that Twitter is the Citizens' Band Radio of the 21st Century. The flaw, I now realise, is that you're not legally allowed to text and drive which means you'd have to do it as the passenger, which kind of takes some of the 70's road movie romance out of it. It's never going to catch on with solo truckers is it?

"Handles" are definitely better than "usernames" I reckon but the problems of incorrect predictive text might make putting the pedal to the metal problematic...peebl to the netal good buddy?

Who needs a Bluetooth headset...

Count on the Co-Op...

If 'reduce, reuse, recycle' really is a mantra for our times (alongside 'oh no, the recession' and 'What do you make of that Fred Goodwin then?') then the Co-op really must get the plaudits today.

Unpacking my weekly shopping, delivered by the 'Co' via Caledonian Macbrayne, I was delighted to chance upon their choice of packing/insulation material this week.

Normally we're lucky to get a page or two of an old Press & Journal but today, having recently cancelled the Guardian Weekly subscription, I was treated to a glossy, free and fairly recent Telegraph Travel magazine. Tomorrow's breakfast need not be without its supplements!

Every little helps...oh, that's someone else.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

What does this button do?

A question often asked in our house as we gaze at this on the stairhead wall...many theories have been put forward, a remote starter for the generator (nope, tried it), a central heating central control switch (ditto), master fusebox trip-switch type thing (don't even know what that is), panic button of some sort...all bearing absolutely no fruit whatsoever.

So it was with no small sense of worry that I spotted a picture in yesterday's Guardian Weekly which suggested that our innocuous looking device might, even as I speak and casually flick it on and off, be doing all sorts of untold damge to the stability (or otherwise) of world peace...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

I did go for the early morning stove/coffee thing in the end...

Every early morning, just to wake up and put coffee on the stove...*

Ok, a pot of tea then.

Woke up early today, no alarm, unassisted by girning children. How pleasant. Still under the duvet I thought to catch the shipping forecast at 5.54 but it must only be on long wave...no matter, an excellent feature followed the six o'clock news. A programme of the type only the BBC can do well, 'Open Country' all about the Snowdon mountain railway, complete with presenter's mic background sound effects of clanking wheels, noisy workmen and rain lashing the carriage windows.

The feature was ostensibly about the struggle to build a new visitor centre at the summit to replace what Prince Charles called 'the highest slum in Wales'...what does he know about slums...or Wales?

It was a lovely, soothing piece which had the strange and for me hitherto unknown effect of making me want to visit Wales. Well, the mountain railway at any rate. The construction director rather touchingly referred to the previous building - buried in stone to help it blend in - as 'like a war bunker meets Macchu Picchu'...I'm sold!

Aztecs...lovely, isn't it?

This audio delight was followed at 6.30 by Radio Scotland's excellent Out Of Doors, another 'out and about' programme. Today's offering began with a trip to the whisky Mecca that is Islay to see the rebirth of the 'farm distillery'.

Such descriptive language has always been the preserve of the Beeb's factual radio output but nonetheless, it's always heartening to hear phrases like 'phenolic qualities' and 'magnificent esters' before 7am. The Kilchomain (and yes, I'll check that spelling later) farm distillery hopes to produce an 'expression' - which seems to be the malt whisky equivalent of a wine vintage - with 100% local barley, so local in fact as to come from the field opposite the still shed. That, we were told will be seriously rare stuff, for the collectors' market. The regular stuff - still super rare - will be a 25-75% mix, the larger share still impressively local, keeping the carbon welly-print down by coming from just the other side of the island.

The whole process seems cyclical, organic and inherently sensible - 'waste' products and by-products of the distilling process being used bsck on the farm as either feed or fertiliser.

The 'water of life' providing enjoyment for the drinker, sustenance for the beasts, nourishment to the land and an income for the locals...as it once was, so it ever shall be.

* Roddy Woomble - "Every line of a long moment"

Monday, 9 March 2009

Tri a little tenderness...

A sorry and forlorn sight, this adult's trike has seen better days.

Now it languishes useless, alone and, from the looks of things, beyond repair on a remote Scottish island.

Were my skills and indeed inclination up to the task I might think about attempting a rescue and refurbishing job, though I'd stop short of mentioning recycling.


Thursday, 5 March 2009


Three year old daughter...'dad, the sun has got his hat on!'

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

You probably work in an all night garage...

Comedy value...last night I actually bought some kindling at a petrol station, I wasn't planning to use it at the petrol station, just so you know...

I was momentarily tempted by the charcoal briquettes on offer alongside but managed to resist. I settled instead for a Scotch egg and a Ginster's pasty.

Oh, and a blues CD on the 'Hallmark' label...that's sure to be good.