Monday, 8 February 2016

Debating


This football lark is a funny old game right enough.  Two men sitting in different sides of the stadium see two completely different games.  Facts are blinded by bias.  Situations that are clear to one are disbelieved by the other simply because they wish it to be so.  Sadly this can continue for years into the future and no fact can ever cause this to cease.
Sunday was one such situation.  Hurrying home I switched on the Heart of Midlothian v Hibs derby in the Scottish Cup, a game we usually win, and sat back to enjoy another rollicking 4-0 victory.  This by half time was what I was expecting as we swept aside the wee teams puerile attempts at football in spite of the kicking they gave our better players and our manager deliberately giving Hibs a chance by playing two men who were not fully match fit.   The kicks led to three our our noble players being replaced as injury forced them from the field, brutal Hibs tactics continued unceasing to the end I must note.  The injuries and a rather strange desire to sit back and wait for full time led to Hibernian stealing two goals, one from a fluke of a header and the other while assaulting the goalkeeper, and this brought a great deal of rejoicing from the lower orders in the visitors stand.



Inevitably this led to wasting much time later that day attempting to transform the somewhat over the top reaction from the Leith faithful who saw a draw as a significant victory.  I suppose as a wee team a draw with a Big Team is indeed a victory and it was important for them to make the most of their temporary position.  However I fell it was my duty to keep them sane, a near impossible idea I realise.
Many rude and needless words flew from the enemy as they considered themselves victorious.  I have required to remind them of the proverb:-

Haughtiness leads to a fall
Pride leads to destruction.

They will not listen.  I indicated the fact that sitting in a stadium full to the brim was an unusual event for them and this may be playing on their minds, minds that are easily distracted,and the noise generated must have been an alien sound  for them, but they still would not listen, possibly they are deaf.
Reminding them of the overall statistics did not hinder the wee lads attempts at argument, facts as you know are not acceptable to them.  Indeed several clear penalties as well as the assault on the goalkeeper appear to have been missed by standards that Willie Collum would be proud off.  I suspect sitting in the 'Roseburn Bar' for an hour before the game might be at the root of their failure to accept facts.
Now the whole weary business must be done again in a week or so's time.  Once more our gallant boys will suffer bad decisions and many knocks as they continue our noble effort at football education in Leith.  Will they be grateful for this free lesson?  I somehow doubt it.  
Now I discover they are unable to show this game on live TV as it clashes with European games, have Hibernian deliberately chosen this date to stop people watching them humiliated I ask?
It's a disgrace!


The successful Hibernian team on the open top bus 
the last time they won the Scottish Cup!


Friday, 5 February 2016

Fat Boy!


Enjoying my grossly overfilled plate of muck for lunch I was disturbed by a call from the museum, her voice shrilled on the ansafone and I rose, put aside my lunch and made my way to the desk.  She put the phone down as I lifted mine.  Typical woman!  I realised some tragedy was taking place so I acted swiftly - I went back to my lunch.  I would have called but that costs money.  Later, before I had cleaned up, I waddled into the museum to discover I was not required.  She just wanted to know if the email sent that morning had arrived!  Tsk!
However the new 'Body Science' exhibition was up and running so I wandered around that pushing here and feeling there and recognising the kids will love this one as much as the adults do!  Glancing at the skulls brought some of you lot to mind and I wondered if you recognised anyone...?  This looks a good exhibition, one with lots of thing to play with and that makes folks happy.  Mind you they are getting in free for this exhibition so they ought to be happy.


This there here supposes to inform you of the fat content of the grub you eat.  Difficult to picture through the cabinet but clear enough to see why we are so fat.  I was reading about folks in the past and their healthier diet was mostly vegetarian with occasional meat or fish.  They were thinner, stronger and fitter because of the manual labour and much walking but could of course not cure most diseases.  In fact when I was a lad few fat folks could be seen around town, except for the drinkers of course.


Not very clear but this shows one pound of fat, the fat we carry in our gut.  It has put me off the pizza for tonight anyway!  I had chips instead...


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Sleepy Wednesday


After I trudged my weary way home yesterday (56 kids almost all at once!) I followed the normal procedure of laying my head on the desk and switching on the laptop.  It didn't work!  I picked my head up and pushed this and touched that, internet dead totally dead.  The laptop worked as always but the web was unreached.  No matter what I did nothing would work until I was so fearful of the silence I turned on the TV and left the machine to stew.  Fifty channels on pap so I ended up with the 24 BBC news where I discovered the while of BT's output was damaged by an 'outage!'  Some outage as most of the UK was outaged!  When the internet returned it was about seven in the evening and I was beginning to see spiders crawling up the wall!  I was also worried I would miss the football and a cold sweat was running down my back.
Once again I had that strange feeling of silence.  Not a chosen silence but an internet lost silence.  The world seems suddenly to be dull, life empty and having the TV on to fill the gap does not help, especially when it is full of pap.  How did we live before the internet?  How did we follow football?  How did we keep in touch with people or things?  Some folks were out overnight and some of those run businesses what a hindrance for them this must have been.  I suffered also and now I await my compensation, 72 pence for loss of web and £600,000 for emotional hurt. 



In spite of a chill in the wind that appears to have been kept in the fridge the daffs have come out all over the land.  The council ones have broken through about two months early and when Spring arrives there will be none left.  The birds are confused by the mild weather just as we are.  Still I prefer this to the snow we had before.
It was much better on Monday when I had to crawl into the museum to aid 74 children in their shopping.  This was fun as both days kids were all six year olds and had no idea about the counting business.   With our advice however most managed to get something they liked and some managed to get at least four things for their £3.  It is quite hard having to break their hearts when telling them three things worth £4:99 are out of their league and they must choose to drop one, this can take time.  The teachers on both days were good which helps and all went off happy.
I have been asleep three times today to recover...


Saturday, 30 January 2016

'Setting the Desert on fire'


My best looking and most intelligent niece only ever made two mistakes, she married a Hun and bore his son.  That said she appears to be quite happy about all this in spite of my opinions and the son has turned out to be the only member of the family with the ability to read books.  Since he learnt the art of reading he has always had a book in his face although drink and women have lessened his reading abilities somewhat in recent years.  However when Christmas arrives and the two are together long enough for a briefing re presents he has clearly advised her regarding a book for me.  It is not possible she, wise though she be, would consider such a work as suitable.  Indeed the last book she chose by herself was 'Grumpy Old Men,' a book with which I could not begin to comprehend the reason she sent to me and then could not see any 'grumpy men' within, indeed they appeared quite commonsensical for the most part. 
This year once again she has returned to him for advice and clearly his advice has been good.  "Setting the Desert on Fire" by James Barr is a wonderful fast moving narrative concerning the details of 'Lawrence of Arabia' and his Middle Eastern adventures during the Great War.
Having read so many Great War books I was going through one of those moods when any more offerings were not seen as urgent reads, naturally I have four more lined up after this one all demanding my attention!  However once I opened the book I could not put it down.  Everyone has heard of 'Lawrence of Arabia' British propaganda and tabloid newspapers half truths saw to that but few including myself know the real deal.  This book, the result of four long years trawling through documents, diaries and letters scattered across the globe, enlightens us as to the reality of the popular myth.  Creatures found in Hollywood movies usually bear no relation to the facts I find.

The political problems faced by London were simple enough.  The Royal Navy was now powered by oil rather than coal so guarding the oil fields in southern Mesopotamia was urgent.  The Turkish threat to the Suez Canal could lead to uprisings in Egypt which may lead to loss of the Canal and cut the lifeline to India, the so called 'Rose in the Crown.'  France was desperate to control Syria and the Brits were desperate to avoid any interference from them in that area.  Here also two forces fought for control of the region, London and India.  The Indian end was afraid upsetting the balance in Arabia could lead to disturbances in India and their solutions cut across much of what London, or their people ion Cairo wished to see.  Political games are of ten delicately balanced and strong forces often care little about the harm others may suffer.
The Arabs were of course not asked their opinion.
This is not quite correct as Arab opinion was important, that is getting Shaikh Hussein and Ibn Saud the two most powerful Arab leaders, to follow British wishes in removing the Turks.  Politically this led to vague promises that in reality meant little in western diplomacy however in the Arab mind many steadfast promises were made.  Often this was exaggerated by translation promises and lack of comprehension of the other sides views.  This still causes resentment today.     
Lawrence, or Captain Edward. T.E. Lawrence as we should call him was an intelligence officer in Egypt.  Before the war he had travelled widely in the region working as an archaeologist and just happening to note Turkish positions in the region.  During 1916 he got his way for more action by transferring to the Arab Bureau and entered the Hijaz region to assess the situation.
In Arabia hew as able to convince the Emir of Mecca Shaikh ibn Ali Husein to follow British will and provide men to help deal with the Turkish railway that ran to Medina the then capital and birthplace of the prophet Mohammad.  
For the next two years Lawrence developed the various factions into an army of sorts and indulged in 'Boys Own' type adventures attempting to destroy the railway line.  As time passed they progressed form cutting small sections soon repaired to blowing bridges and long lengths of line.  Each occasion hindered Turkish movements of men and supplies destroying equipment and men.  On occasion the Arab nomadic approach of looting and taking no prisoners caused some degree of disagreement as this cut across the normal British approach to prisoners.
Difficulties with tribes fighting with one another rather than Turks, of shaikhs demanding large sums of money which appeared to disappear, with Husein fear of ibn Saud taking his place from the rear, and above all problems between London, Cairo, and India and the personnel involved each working from his own position all added to Lawrence's struggles.
For political and personal reasons Lawrence's aim was to enable the Arabs to be seen as fighting the war, not a Briton leading them.  This was to stop the French moving into Syria and to encourage the British to allow Arab rule over the land.  Treaties were signed unknown to those in the field, and often hidden for months, promises from one, vague or not, flew between various peoples, all to often Lawrence would no little of these or in some cases be found responsible for them.  It was that kind of situation.

The final victory brought more confusion as one promise or another was pushed aside to suit worldwide requirements.  All to often consideration for the Arabs themselves were considered unimportant.  The Arabs of course were not one nation, they remain today a variety of tribal and sectarian groupings forced together into political states invented by more powerful nations and their requirements.  Political turmoil in itself is not the fault of the west, that would occur anyway but it is always good to have someone to blame, especially if you have oil and money.  
For most of the war Lawrence's role, along with that of many other British officers and men who joined as time went by, remained a secret back home.  It was the French, in an attempt to prove their position, that revealed his work.  A great hero was created and common myth keeps this going for years afterwards.
Lawrence was not in my opinion a man you could get close to.  He was certainly affected by the war but appears to have been a troubled soul before this time.  he claimed in his 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' that he had entered the town of Dara then in Turkish occupation and been arrested as a deserter from the Turkish army and roundly whipped and abused by the commander of the town.  Much of this appears from this book to have been an invention of his mind.  The 'Seven Pillars' was not meant for popular publication and given only to friends and this may have allowed him the freedom to express his rather unusual desires more openly.  He certainly indulged them after the war.  The settlement saw Lawrence back in 'England' and later he went on to join the RAF as a lower ranked airman.  Captain W.E. Johns famous for his 'Biggles' books was working at the RAF recruitment office when this strange character entered to sign on.  Orders from above came through and it was only later did he realise what was going on, the purpose of his enlistment was never clear.
Lawrence died a hero by crashing his motorbike at high speed in 1935.  His influence on the Middle East must have hung heavy with him as he saw the major powers mishandling the situation there.  At least some of those he worked with were inspired by their actions there, one Francis Stirling was to join him and later became the leader of the 'Long Range Desert Force' in the North African campaign, this was the beginning of the SAS. 

The book is well researched and a racy read.  My knowledge of that aspect of the war was limited to General Allenby's push up through Palestine and the actions of the Arabs against the railway line did indeed go a long way to helping him by disrupting Turkish movements and greatly hindering the Turks in their operations.  The suffering of Turkish prisoners is not something to consider however but the Turks had followed the usual Middle Easter approach and treated all peoples badly.  The book does not gloss over the good and bad aspects of Arab and political behaviour, it shows the British in a poor light all too often and exposes the confused mix of Arab politics.  
Well worth a read and a change from the Western Front!    


Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Wander


Having had a few days when nobody wished my presence (the first day started about 50 years ago) I have managed to catch up on half of the things that required doing about an eon ago.  So as the sun decided to shine even though this allowed the chilly air to freeze everything and some things that ought not to be freezed I wandered abroad through the gardens.  The thing about the cold weather is that while the plants have few flowers the cold keeps the mums and kids well away.  Only two could be seen in the play area, two too many for me, and I wandered freely among the greenery breathing almost fresh air and enjoying the sun.
A passing stranger offered me a smile, the type of smile women like her offer when fearing you are a rapist, and I only just stopped myself shouting "BOO!"   I had an encounter with a neurotic teacher on Tuesday and I am rarely in a mood for other neurotic females.  I blame the 'Daily Mail.'  Any man walking alone is clearly a rapist/murderer/paedo/ like that man on the TV and needs to be watched as they have read about such things.  The only other who approached me was this timid squirrel and I had nothing to offer him.  However as another possibly older squirrel came hurtling down the oak tree and began to chase him from what was clearly his patch this was an irrelevance.  I actually put aside some nuts for the beasts and of course go out without them.  Tsk!  


As a few birthdays are coming up I decided to shop around the charity shops.  With Christmas past I was hoping folks would have dumped their old stuff in and give me a chance to get a new jacket, shoes and birthday gifts.  How disappointing that was today.  Nothing worth paying for except one book that they were asking far too much for.  It's a charity shop not a bookshop I wanted to say to the woman.  
I noticed some things however such as a dozen or so DVDs of English football.  I noted these were not new and it struck me one lad has found himself a wife at last and his favourite videos and DVDs are being dumped.  It may be of course that she has dumped him and his goods are following or she might have tidied up in that female fashion with no comprehension of what has value and what has not.  I expect the 'Jane Austen' sets are still in their place at her house.
There are six charity shops in town, two of them attempting to be 'High Class' shops with quality shopfronts, decent adverts and higher prices than required.  Most of the staff are of course volunteers but such shops while making money appear to have the wrong attitude for charity shops in my view.  This is made worse when the bigger the charity the more is spent of staffing costs and it appears to me some require urgent and radical rethinking of their policies.  The other shops are less pretentious and a wee bit cheaper in my view and I like that.  While one works hard at making second hand stuff look almost new the other makes sure stuff is decent and puts it on show.  What more is required?  One or two of these shops have been going for years, since before I came here 20 years ago almost, and the 'Cancer' shop has taken over a million pound in its time.  A recent refurb has made it look good and sadly they now stock less books, mores the pity.  I sometimes wonder about the history of the objects on sale.  Who wore that jacket?  Why was that gift rejected?  Did the owner of the university books make a success out of their study?  I'm very taken with the 'Sue Ryder' shop as they sell furniture and have loads of everyday items usually with that one thing you have been looking for.  Naturally they did not have what I was looking for today.
Ah well, next week maybe.


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Dreich Day


A dreich day indeed, wind blowing rain appearing and nothing happening but routine housework - much of which is still undone.  However the day was enlightened by the news that a judge has ruled the 'Bedroom Tax' imposed on the poorest as unlawful!  How good of him!  This pernicious tax, a tax paid by council tenants on each bedroom that is no longer occupied by a family member.  It goes without saying the poorest, often aged parents, were the ones hardest hit.  Now this disgraceful tax has been dealt a blow and I wonder if those who have paid will get a full refund and those who have been forced into other, often less suitable accommodation will receive compensation.  Certainly there is a lawyer somewhere sharpening his pen looking for a client.

Another 'major' story is the one where a headteacher has banned parents from bringing children to school while wearing night attire.  It appears this is what 'slummy mummies' do today.  Somehow I cannot help feeling that something is wrong when mothers care so little about how they dress that they regularly fail to be dressed when taking kids to school - if indeed the wee brats need a mummy to accompany them by that age.  My mother would not have held in high esteem any women so thoughtlessly dressed, indeed she would have considered them in need of care.  
Naturally in today's world some have arisen offering support claiming a mum has the right to do what she wishes.  True, but it is better if she wishes to use her brain and bring her child up properly and not like a lazy slapper, innit? 

Andros Townsend has left Tottenham Hotspur to play for Newcastle United.  Newcastle have agreed to pay some £12 million for his services and one paper claims the player now increases his salary from £20,000  week to £55,000 a week.  Is this a sign of desperation from Newcastle or just realism as whoever they buy will wish for similar amounts?

Claude money spent over ten years painting this mural, an image of his garden and it is a colossal work.  It is being put on show at the Royal Academy of Art in London and in my view it is a con.  Art is of course a con, almost all art is about making a name for yourself and lining your pockets, you know the type of 'artist' I refer to.  
Another is putting on show stuff like this while people pander to the 'in crowd' by speaking in hushed tones of the 'light' the 'handicraft' or the quality of the art.  Total cobblers!
Someone somewhere wishes to pay several billion for this and store it in his house and boast to his friends that he owns it, Putin probably, and jealous friends will gather round to view the painting in secret and be part of the 'in crowd.' 
Me, I think it boring and a dull background in a large hall but nothing special.
People however will queue for hours to spend vast sums staring at this.
Bah!
  

Art?


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

What Time is it...?

You will probably know that on this day, January 26th, the One o'Clock Gun was first brought in to use way back in 1861.  
The needs of shipping at that time depended on accurate clocks as by these the navigator could work out his position. (Don't ask me how it's complicated!) As long as he had the sun or stars and an accurate timepiece he could get his ship into the intended harbour.  Had the clock been inaccurate even by a few minutes this could lead to ships ending up miles of course a rather dangerous experience in Victorian days. 
Leith, a small place near Edinburgh became the capital port, putting it to good use, and this small town was a very busy port during Victoria's reign.  Not she bothered to visit even though her statue stands at the bottom of Leith Walk.    Ships wanted confirmation of the time before sailing so during 1861 Captain Wauchope of the Royal Navy installed a ball on top of Nelson's Column high on Carlton Hill which dropped several feet exactly at one o'clock.  To ensure accuracy the nearby Astronomical Observatory next door connected the ball to their accurate clock.
This was fine and ships in harbour at Leith, Granton or Newhaven would have benefited from this simple invention.  Hold on, this is Edinburgh, known to the world as 'Auld Reekie' because of the smoke from the many chimneys that belched out daily, even in summer in Edinburgh!  Add to this the 'Haar' which descends over the Firth of Forth and soon the watchman on deck of any ship would be unable to see the tower let alone note the ball drop.  It should be noted the dropping sphere was a great idea but as the smoke/mist/haar descend two days out of three you would have thought a Naval person wopuld have considered this. 
Later that year the answer was found when an 18 pounder cannon was placed on the 'Half Moon Battery' at Edinburgh Castle high above the New Town and daily four men manhandled the gun to ensure it was fired exactly at One.  This required a four thousand foot long cable being laid from the Observatory to the castle (by the Royal Navy) and from that time on the gun has blasted out at one each day (bar Sunday) frightening the life out of people in Princes Street below and serving as an excellent tourist attraction. 
It was rumoured that during the Great War the gun was fired at the Zeppelin that flew over dropping bombs on the Grassmarket and elsewhere, however it would not have been possible to manhandle that cannon into a suitable firing position, the castle was defenceless, unless a few rifle shots could reach but I doubt that would work.  
In 1953 the cannon was replaced by a WW2 25 pounder field gun and moved to it's present position high above Princes Street, here it is clearly seen by ships in port and of course those delightful rich tourists who ought to be heading up the slope and into the castle.  Blank ammunition for the 25 pounders ran out and now a more modern 105mm light gun is used to frighten citizens and foreigners alike.  The reason for the gun died some time back and today ships guide themselves by highly technical equipment guided by satellites high above the earth.  The tourist however need not know this and possibly imagines men on deck listening for the sound, some do indeed look for the explosion a mile or two out at sea. 
the gun is fired by an ex-gunner fires the gun with appropriate military pomp a pomp somewhat diminished as today a woman has this onerous responsibility.  A woman, firing the one o' clock gun!  Is anything sacred today...? 



Monday, 25 January 2016

A Sign, A Cloud, An Aussie and a Bard


As I walked into the somewhat murky gardens this afternoon I noted this sign glaring at me and I wondered about common sense and stupidity.  It has not been raining today but the are has suffered somewhat from this recently and the grass and grounds will be damp.  However I wonder at the requirement felt everywhere these days to inform people about the need to be careful when walking on damp areas.  Some of us learnt when young that rain could make areas slippery and we now wonder about those who feel they need to be informed of this at the age of maturity (I use that word loosely) so as not to endanger themselves.
MacDonald's have to put 'This Coffee is HOT' on their cups because some people complain when spilling it on themselves that the coffee burnt them, almost all packets carry the word 'This could contain nuts' because some are too stupid to check (this includes packets of nuts!) and on the bottom of some cake packs are the words 'Do not turn upside down.'
Common sense has been lost in the drive for cash.  The need for companies and anyone involved with other human beings to protect themselves from spurious (and often victorious) legal actions leads to needless signs littering the world.
I just hope no blind person falls over it!



Here is a fantastic advert for Australia Day 
sent to me by a young lady you will enjoy this!


   
All morning, when I was hoovering, researching and generally not getting out, the sun shone brightly on those walking the streets and above the clouds made way for blue skies and bright shining silver aeroplane's heading for brighter climes abroad.
When I got out this afternoon the sun hid behind clouds and these glowering brutes began to cover the earth and they followed me as I prowled wandered around on my constitutional.  Here at least I met another retired postman who has reached 16 stone by sitting around too much.  When on your feet and wandering the streets come rain or shine weight is not much of a problem however a sedentary life leads to fat people.  He has lost 9 pounds since Christmas by using a healthy diet, I am starting to do similar but not quite there yet.  However I am stuffed full of salmon and veg (with rotten chips) and have already this week failed to lose a pound!
Next week maybe...

Today is Rabbie Burns birthday.  It is unlikely he will join us as he died in 1796 but he left behind lots of poems and songs all of which make him the greatest of all poets and songwriters.  This is one of his best songs sung as it should be and you will enjoy it - or else I will come round!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Global Warming, Birds & Putin...


It's a funny thing this weather.  Today we waken to frozen fields, ice hanging on everything, windows struggling to open, cars covered in frost, a typical winter type day.  Facebook has offered me one of those 'memory' posts where they gave me a picture from three years ago, there a local foto showed snow thickly falling and I considered the weather today warm in comparison.  January after a mild November/December sstill not covering the nation in the depth of snow we expect reflects the reality of global warming.  I wish it would increase the heat around here mind.  
The point I am forgetting to make is that while we have Jack Frost leaving white fields I found the bird feeders I filled yesterday completely empty.  The birds, Starlings, Blue Tits, Sparrows and pigeons of various sorts have spent the day stuffing themselves because they think it is breeding season!  I filled the two feeders with small suet/mealworm pellets and all day the brutes have been hammering away at the thing swinging it back and forward banging on the wall keeping me awake.  
The seasons have fooled the birds and I suspect this will have a result, possibly detrimental, in days to come.  Young birds may face one of those snowfalls just as they begin to fly and this could kill them.  We will wait and see.





So Putin has arranged for the murder, with polonium laced tea, for the Russian, British, Spanish etc spy Alexander Litvinenco.  Naturally the Russians know nothing about this and wonder what the problem may be.  Of course it was not Putin, lots of spies carry polonium in the pockets to use when confronting people they wish to eradicate.
Now lets think about this.  David Cameron and his friend George Osborne have a terrible habit of licking the Russian backside as the Russian's with large amounts of rubles tend to launder their dirty money through the city of London, local football teams, and other enterprises.  Many have spent big on million pound houses, other infrastructure has gone into their care and if we upset them they might move the cash to Germany, France or Italy and that would not do.
On top of this we have the Iraq/Syria/ISIS problem where the Sovie Russians are dropping bombs carelessly around that region.  What if they got annoyed and accidentally wiped out both our planes?  
So Dave and his minions have to work out how to slap Putin down without causing a war, hot or cold, and keep all their cash in our hands.  Putin must be sniggering at them both.  He may be a Mafia type gangster caring only to run Russia for he and his friends but there is no competition when it comes to playing with Cameron & co.  He is well above their league.  There is little chance much will be made of this, I suspect a withdrawal of some from the embassies and newspaper shouting and all will be forgot.



Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Eating Well & Donald Trump


I tried this eating well business again yesterday.  Lots of green stuff, lots of healthy ingredients, lots and lots.  Today I have been rough because I did not eat enough carbohydrate, that's chips to you!  The body needs a plate of chips with everything, at least mine does.  I was choosing carefully yesterday all the right things, I forgot we need some chips to go with it. 
Today as I struggled to comprehend the words on the laptop it struck me the reason was feeding myself badly.  All this health nonsense is just nonsense if you don't have the right balance, I had no balance whatsoever yesterday, although lots of green things must be good for me.
I've had none today.
If my limited mind is to work tomorrow I had better eat something more filling and full of brain energy.  Home made curry and chips.  No wonder I'm unhealthy!



Now here's a thing, using CC Cleaner to clean the slow laptop I note it tells me Internet Explorer has thousands of temp files upon it, this surprised me as I never use the thing!  Is Bill Gates using it for me I wonder?  Can Microsoft be trusted? 
Anyway the brute is still slow, all that can be removed is or will be removed, everything that can be run to clean and search has been bar a boot scan, and still it's slow.
Maybe of course it is just me that is slow and the machine has come down to my speed.  


Well Donald Trump has guaranteed success with the arrival of one Sarah Palin!  As I awoke this morning I heard her screeching voice yelling out to the world that Trump would be the next President of the United States.  I fear I let out a rude word and not just because her screeching was doing my head in either.
Goodness gracious the woman who wanted to do something about South Korea, like invade or nuke it, is now working for Trump.
Had this happened in the UK or Australia or Germany we would all laugh and ignore them.  However this is the USA, these are Republicans, these are not normal people.  I keep thinking of MacArthur.  This general was responsible for much in the past, intellectual understanding was not one of the things however.  During the Korean war he was informed China did not want an American army on its doorstep he quickly found a solution - 'Drop and atom bomb on Peking and Shanghai.' 
Truman sacked him instead.
Back home he attempted to become president, he had trained for this by ruling Japan like a King for long enough, and he received much support from the ancestors of Trumps followers. However he lost out and disappeared into obscurity.
We must hope that sufficient Republicans vote for one of the other losers and that if Trump wins the nomination sufficient Democrats and Republicans vote for Hilary.  She may not be great but she is not Trump.
Just remember the UK voted for Cameron, anything can happen in politics.
 



Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Robin


The Robin pictured here was helpful enough to stop singing and pose for me while I struggled to work out which button to press on the camera.  Sitting there singing his delightful song while announcing to other Robins or any other bird that he was around, and if any lassie is available here is my phone number.  Possibly my presence stopped him getting a response.  Listening to his call and awaiting a reply I wondered if I would here a reply.  Could it be that with the traffic noise nearby he might yet hear any reply even though I could not I wondered?  
We appear to have a lot of these tough wee birds around here but usually they do not pose.  Possibly he thought me a threat to his territory and was willing to see me off.  He won.  Being you I suspect you are telling me he is a she but I will let that pass, you are just guessing as I was. 

Museum was busy today.  I found an interesting museum type magazine and began to read but found it difficult as every time I picked it up the phone rang.  People booking for one of the events usually.  Back to the mag and someone comes in the door, handle them with care and attention hoping they will pay money and back to the mag.  It took till long after finishing time to get to the back page and then I could read no more as three disparate groups came in to prowl the premises. 
All regulars in one way or another, two groups with 'learning difficulties,' that awful pc tag dumped on them by white middle class know best types and one of the 'University of the 3rd Age' groups.  I find it difficult to see people in their third age university when I never finished one.  
B.A. (failed) that's me.  


Having spent all morning indoors I had to get out and take advantage of the bright sky above that I had been watching through the windows.  With the temperature being so low and the sun in the sky we had a wide variety of colourful skies laden with streaky clouds today.  The sky is always worth noting and in the distance especially there were fabulous colours appearing yet I was unable to turn the camera onto them.  When I eventually left the building the skies had changed and these puffy clouds drifted high above, still bright yet without the hues of earlier.  
The one thing I missed from Edinburgh was the view north across the Firth of Forth towards Fife as the skies there were always attractive, although at this time of the year usually gray and flecked with snow!  Bah!  Yesterdays view of Granton was one of the best in days of yore but with all the flats built there it is not like it was sadly.

It appears there is football on tonight, you will be surprised to hear I am off to watch this.  I hope I can keep awake to the end...


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Monday, 18 January 2016

I A'Door Me


After months of procrastination I managed to make a start - again - on fixing the slats on the cupboard door.  This time armed with cheap wood glue I slotted the slats and gunked the ends only to find the last attempt left the gap a wee bit too wide and they fit but only just.  Still I put my handyman skills to the proof and remembered again why I failed technical subjects at school all those long years away. 
After many rude words I managed to fit the top half so as though it looks fixed.  Anyone who opens their eyes, or I fear opens the door, will soon discover a weakness or two.  I expect next time I touch the door to be back at the starting gate. 

This little job held me back long enough to prevent me reaching the shops when they were quiet.  So this afternoon I walked among the living dead around Sainsburys wondering why I bothered.  I only had to shoot two customers and one was driving a black van when he attempted to run me over. I lacked suitable pity for him at the time.  What is it about supermarkets that make people girn so badly?  Normally I am in early so I miss the crowds but the rest of the day in such a place is a wonderful way to practice patience.  


When I first graced this world the family lived in a tenement in Granton.  For the first three years of my life, little of which I recall, we lived a short walk up the road from the harbour pictured here. This photo was taken in 1958 it says and I can recall going down there with dad to look at this rig sitting in the far side of the harbour.  I had no idea what it was for until today when I found this picture on facebook and discovered it was used to search for coal under the Forth.  It is different from what memory recalls so this may be a different rig or my memory may falter but the era is about right.  
The view north over the Forth is fantastic, one of the great memories of Edinburgh.  To the north lies the Forth and Fife opposite, the view to the south reveal the Pentland hills and for a major city the escape to the countryside is  remarkably easy.  How I missed that in London!  
The building on the right was at first a Hotel but for most of the 20th century, and possibly still, it was a land ship for the Royal Navy.  The large ships in the harbour also stopped in a similar spot to the left of the picture, a harbour soon afterwards filled in for industrial buildings.  To the left there was a small school house that my dad attended.  Two doors, one marked 'Girls' and at the other end 'Boys' and quite rightly too, but last time I was in that area the only possibly building had boarding around it advertising the company I could not determine if the school still existed.  At the entrance the road to the left led along to the promenade where relaxation and sea watching took place.  To the right we could eventually reach Leith.  A high embankment carried a railway into town, a railway that closed around 1962, and the embankment has long since gone also.  Behind the embankment lay a small beach and on any occasion I wandered down there I was struck by the smell of fire.  It was the done thing then when at the seaside to gather driftwood and build a fire, even in summer, the smell lingered forever afterwards.  The road on either side near the camera rises upwards as you will realise Edinburgh slopes down to the sea, sometimes we fall in. 


A more recent picture nicked ungraciously from facebook shows a more modern image.  The view has been devastated by the ugly new blocks of flats that take so much money from young trendy people, and to the left there are many more such buildings.  Those with a clear view up or down the Firth of Forth will have a fantastic sight before their eyes, not too sure what the others will see mind. 
The ships have long gone, even Leith harbour appears to be struggling with such reconstruction these days, and at Granton I think only rich folks yachts can be found today.  There have long been such yachts but the actual Yacht Club has sold its premises and moved elsewhere or died.  
As always some things remain, the toilet block stands as always, the buses halt here before trudging back across Edinburgh, and people still climb the stairs grumbling at the effort.  
Is this an improvement?  Is it progress?  Is it the passage of time?
Life goes on and we cannot stop it.  

Here in the soft south I spend a lot of time looking at old pictures and comparing them with the reality today.  On the local facebook page old pics are offered and people reminisce about their childhood and youth, always claiming "it was better then."   No it wasn't really, even if the fifties were better in many ways for kids in the end the 'good old days' are always in our minds.
1958 was good in many ways for me but there were fears and problems also.  For a start we had school and that was not my favourite place.  The fears and problems of childhood disappear and we forget the bad things that caused us worry then, the fears can be worse now of course, but
we were lucky to be living in an era of peace and even prosperity, a time such as my folks had never known before.  We moved into a three bedroom place, bathroom and kitchen, dad got a better job, and we got a TV.  How the world changed then!      
There are good memories in the past but in three quarters of the world war was raging and millions died.  The 'Good old days' are always in our heads, nowhere else.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Nothing Happened


Nothing happened today as I was busy watching several football matches and doing nothing else.
Nothing else happened.
No news.
No nothing.
Nothing.