Category Archives: General

The protection racket…

Since when did we need to be protected from cinnamon buns? Since when did we need someone decide that vacuum cleaners should be significantly detuned?

Well now actually. The EU is doing both, the cinnamon is happening in Denmark and the reduction of the power of vacuum cleaners is being readied to be carried out soon across the whole of the EU.

No doubt you’ll be able to think of lots of things which have been regulated, controlled or had the price increased on goods or services which you want to purchase but someone else thinks it’s a good idea to make them very expensive so you’ll stop purchasing them?

The EU is a culprit but so is the Westminster government and of course your local council to name but three. They also have two tools in their tool kit. They can regulate you and threaten you with the law if you don’t comply or they can whack the prices up and keep the increase in taxes for their own good reasons.

Of course we’ve let them away with it. The government is supposed to protect us, not protect us from ourselves. There is also the tiny matter of democracy and how we’ve lost it. In the last Scottish Government local elections in the ward here the MSP returned was a Labour guy, I should explain that we have a lot of lefties in the area. Artists, musicians, writers and the like, a growing gang of cyclists etc…

In the local council elections a labour guy, an SNP guy and a Green guy all represent our ward. I mean how can that work? They all claim the same victories, they all jump on every small issue that comes along and if you write to one you write to them all and they all go scurrying around to sort it out first.

Can’t we get politicians that we want rather than politicians that we get?

We don’t need all these rules and regulations. The more rules and regulations the more people who are required to administer them. The more people the higher the cost. The higher the cost the more our spending power is reduced.


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Save a prayer…

Religion is a tricky one is it not? You choose a religion or you have it chosen for you and then you have to get on with it. Some religions are more difficult than others. They need more time given to them, they all seem to need money to be provided to them although some of them are the richest organisations in the world.

Of course you can also choose not have any religion at all. It’s not compulsory yet.

Years ago one of my workmates went to Nepal and brought back some really great photographs. One featured a number of lines of prayer flags. Lines of them all blowing in the wind. The deal was that the prayer flags were blown by the wind and the sentiments written on them were carried away with the wind to land somewhere and do some good.

I kind of also think that it’s actually a very shrewd move on the part of those writing the prayers. It’s like write once read many. Instead of having to go to church/monastery/chapel/cathedral and say prayers, which is time consuming etc. you just write it on a flag and every time the wind blows the flag flaps and your prayer is said in effect. The beauty of this system is that you can be getting on with your life and save huge amounts of time going to say prayers etc.

A fabulous efficiency.

Think of the productivity gained!

So if you’re driving through Edinburgh anytime soon and you spot a line of brightly coloured flags blowing in the wind from an upstairs window those’ll be mine.

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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Charities, General


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Building an empire (a very, very small empire).

As soon as I was back to blogging I was off again. Bloomin’ chesty cough, no energy and shrunken appetite.  Whilst I kept up with work, blogging was just  a step too far.

However, I was also building a fence between our house and a neighbours. Measure up for materials, order, await delivery, carry all the stuff through to the back of the houses, measure where post holes go, dig post holes, mix up ballast and cement, hold post and put cement in, plumb posts, drink lots of orange juice collapse into chair. Next morning put slats onto posts, which have thankfully, stayed in the right place in a raging gale. I have one section to finish (now finished) and small bit over the other side (still to be finished) and the jobs a good’un.

The work here has been on going for some months. The neighbours on the other side changed and the new ones were making changes. We jumped on their bandwagon and now the whole of the outside of the house has changed completely.

There were a few problems along the way. It was something of a challenge to make sure we got the brick work walls we wanted rather than have the same as next door. Clones we aren’t! Some tradesmen were less than great. One kept upping the price at the end of each job, and two more failed to complete work after they’d been paid for the full job. Not by much but a deal is a deal.

Next door were doing internal work also and noise has been an issue. Okay they have to do the work but a little more consideration would have helped enormously. I’m hoping that the next week will see all the work finished and the last few bits tidied up.

It became obvious early on that getting materials wasn’t going to be the easiest part of the job. It would seem that there is a building boom taking place. When I say “boom” it’s probably much smaller than booms of the past and probably a lot of builders merchants have gone by the boards in between times.

Another noticeable phenomenon was the jobs that some of the tradesmen did with some of the neighbours. People obviously have money to spend even if it is the run up to Christmas.

I think we’ll have a rest from building work for a while now. Well apart from the metal work which we may commission sometime soon maybe? It’s an Art Deco house we have and the walls have been given an Art Deco motif and it would be great to finish off the pillars with Art Deco metal work.

We’ll see…


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New model army available soon

I am dismayed at the news that British troops are being sent to Mali. The loan of two aircraft and aircrews was a step too far for me never mind troops being used. I can’t say that I have much confidence that a UK involvement will not grow and grow.

There is a bright light on the horizon though. Thank goodness.

We actually have a force in the UK that could form a very robust military force, which we could feel happy to deploy and we wouldn’t mind too much about any casualties.

Let me introduce their leader, the main man who has already gained vital and very useful military experience. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome our new leader of all things military, Prince Harry of the House of Windsor. Yes, that’s right. I actually saw him on the TV news discussing how he’d personally shot people who were, obviously shooting at him or at least some of his mates anyway.

He has led an impeccable life. He is a model for us all to follow. His exploits in the military speak for themselves, he has more medals than Chris Hoy although his thighs are significantly smaller. He took Las Vegas by storm and stood it on it’s head. He personally invented the new liberating phrase – “What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas it gets plastered all over the papers, TV and the internet”.

Oh yes he is the man. He doesn’t go along with convention. He is brave enough to expose bodily parts ,which the rest of us mere mortals keep hidden and he’s comfortable knowing that his aging Grandmother saw them too. What a guy. Just what a guy.

Slight draw back? There’s only him. He doesn’t have a gang as such. His brother is far too busy thinking up baby names, worrying about his disappearing hair and what his sister-in-law is going to do next. Not to worry though because, you’ll be surprised to know, I have another plan for you. Oh yes.

We have had another hidden military asset being hidden in full view for many, many years. They have all the answers, they don’t mind going outwith of the rules and they really like wars and shooting and stuff. They number three in their composition. They are our beloved politicians at all levels, the civil service, councils and the establishment and the ladies and gentlemen of the press and media in general. In reserve we will also have the Greens, climate scientists, medical experts, mouthy slebs and the terminally offended.

Harry is at this very moment arranging transport to get them all off to Afghanistan, Mali, Syria… you name the trouble spot, they will be there. They will be equipped in the same manner of our present military who will be home from all conflicts within days. They will have to buy a lot of their own kit and pay for their own care and rehabilitation as is the case presently for existing military. This will pose no problem for our mighty new fighting machine.

You’ll be wondering what will happen if some of them bruise a knee or split a nail etc. Well they’ll be so busy beating all our (well theirs really) enemies that they won’t have time for the niceties of personal grooming etc.

Of course some may succumb to injuries received in the field of battle. Some will, alas , not make it home whilst still alive. Yes I know it’s shocking but that’s war is it not? They are keen on war, they are keen to make people do what they think they should and they have never been shy about coming forward and saying how wonderful they are.

What happens when they start to get killed? Easy. They have already thought of that. Into a box, onto a huge aeroplane and then taken to Brize Norton and slipped out the back gate. Their funerals will be very quiet affairs. No need for TV coverage.

If only…

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in BBC, General, Justice, Politics


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You’d Harley believe it…

Friday was to have been Harley Day but the inclement weather made that just too difficult. I didn’t want it to be all dirty on the first day I had it and to be fair, if only it had been, I just wouldn’t have been sure what level of grip it would provide on wet roads.

No matter though because Saturday was the new Harley day Mark 2!

I went up to collect it not long before 11:00 although the roads were still wet. It was great to finally get it. Cold and wet under foot but still a joy. The noise is just amazing. If you want a bike that makes a real noise a Harley does it without trying. If you want a car that makes a great noise you need a V8 engine, no messing although you’ll spend a lot of time at petrol stations. I have a V8 engined Jeep, just like the one that the bombers used in their attempt to bomb Glasgow Airport. In my sights, the current owner doesn’t know that they will be selling it to me soon.

Anyway, I had a run out and then went to put it in the garage. I couldn’t push it in backwards into the garage because there is a kind of steep concrete ramp it has to go up. Far too heavy for me to push backwards up the incline. Not to worry. I drove it in and planned to rehash the garage on Sunday.

Mrs TT helped me sort out the garage so there was enough room to turn it round enough to be able to drive it out again. It involves a 500 point turn but who’s counting?  I then drove the bike round to the front of the house and parked it to the left of the drive since we had to go out in the car for a few minutes.

My neighbours car was parked in front of the bike and I saw her walking past the bike and getting into her car with her two young kids. I considered going out to make sure she had enough room even although there was loads of space front and back of her car. Then to my horror she reversed into the Harley. She pushed it upright from it being leant over on it’s stand towards her car and then she noticed it and pulled forward quickly. I ran out and very, very luckily there was no damage at all. Phew!

She was very apologetic. I’m sure she had a fright.

Too close for comfort though.

How may lives does a Harley have? One has definitely gone for sure.


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Just ordinary men.

I’ve used this title before. I last used it for a post I did on the soldiers of the First Word War who had had the temerity to instigate their own truce with the enemy. Having done so they shared photographs and details of their lives before the war. The soldiers of both sides were just the same. They were just ordinary men who wanted nothing more to live a life in peace, a life free of hunger, poverty and war. Ordinary men.

Now we have the nastiness of Afghanistan being reported nightly, or should I say those soldiers who have been killed being reported. The whole saga of conflict from the Iraq invasion onwards is utterly disgusting. Or should that be the Iran/Iraq war, which was the starting point? Countless thousands of serving men and women gone or horribly injured or mutilated if we take into account all of the armies involved regardless of friend or foe. To what end? Oil? One world governance? Arms sales? The drug trade? Religion?

The latest news from the “front” addresses three different issues. The first is, of course the killing of UK troops by Afghans, who are either dressed to look like Afghan troops or police.  That’s unfair as far as war is concerned but of course there are no rules for war, it’s barbaric and inhumane no matter how you consider it.

Trust? How? It’s not possible. There exists a cultural gulf, which is wider than a very wide thing indeed. The sensible thing to do would be to pack up and leave. What about those Afghans who have been loyal and played a part in the coalition forces? Give them an opportunity to leave the country along with the troops. Easy to say very difficult to deliver.

A more worrying part of the same news is of course the sudden increase in soldiers being killed in roadside explosions. The services hierarchy and the government allowed soldiers to go out on patrol etc. in snatch Land Rovers which worked well enough in Northern Ireland but which were totally unsuitable for a guerrilla war.

Eventually the troops were supplied with proper mine protection vehicles although it took far too long and more than one attempt to get it right. Does the increase in deaths from explosions mean the Afghans have found a way of overcoming the vehicles armour and design? That would be very bad news if they had and another reason to get out the troops of there.

Lastly we have the continuing saga of Harry Windsor. Here is a typical gung-ho young man desperate to get his hands on men’s toys, fly a helicopter and shoot things. The last report on his activities said that the attack on the large coalition base had resulted in Harry being moved to a secure area. He was not in any danger. Unlike the other soldiers.

Get him out of there. Not for his own protection but for those of the forces who are within his unit and the wider forces. What Harry wants is of no concern to anyone but his family. He can only ever play at being a pilot or a soldier.

Of course the media are incapable of reporting anything much apart from Harry getting his man parts out in Las Vegas or Kate getting her lady parts out in France. Outrage? By the container load but not because these “royal” people have not recognised their responsibilities. Oh no. It’s not their fault. The press is bad. We, in the UK are not to see the pics. The rest of the world can but not here.

I really don’t care one way or another about what the “royals” do or don’t do. As long as it does not cost the taxpayer a penny. They seem to have loads of holidays, loads of trips, loads of access to things that we can’t. In this day and age, why?

Because they are not ordinary people. By accident of birth or connection they are treated as if they are “royalty”. They are you say? There is no such thing nowadays. Their continued existence is purely a necessity for the, mainly, English establishment.

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in General, Politics


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Grayson Perry, need I say more?

You may have heard of Grayson Perry, seen him on the Rob Brydon Show last week or caught his exhibition at the British Museum amongst other places.

He is an unabashed transvestite, choosing to dress in his own version of womens clothes, as the fancy takes him, whilst also having a wife and a daughter. His art is sought after and commands significant prices in the art world. He mostly does ceramics, which can be quite entertaining and enjoyable as shown on the Saatchi Gallery website (if you are in Chelsea it’s worth strolling around the gallery, which is free, regardless of who is being shown, it’s just off Sloane Square with easy bus and tube access).

I can’t say I mind too much how people dress. I much prefer people to wear what they want rather than what they think they should wear or what they are told to wear. Alas, conformity is probably still the norm although it depends to what and with whom you conform with right enough. Wearing Union Flag attire at the moment is very popular because of the limpics and the plimpics and I don’t see myself indulging in that either now or in the future although I hope those who do enjoy the experience, such as it is anyway.

Football and rugby fans, punks, emos, crusties, mods, rockers, grunge, hippies bikers etc. etc. All uniforms, which identify people as, being from a certain, shared value, shared opinion, shared motivation sort of clan/group/ movement. We’ve probably all been there one-way or another. Go to the golf club and there’s a way you have to dress. Go to church and it’s the same thing but maybe less so in recent years. Going to work even. We all conform to something.

Grayson lists one of his influences as Boy George who certainly went out of his way to be different. I well remember seeing Boy George on Top of the Pops and not knowing whether it was a boy or a girl I was watching. The name sort of gives it away right enough – BOY George! Doh!!!!

Grayson is not alone in his enjoyment of wearing women’s clothes of course, apart from the millions of women worldwide who wear women’s clothes on a daily basis, there are other chaps who are also transvestites such as Eddie Izzard who is a very funny man indeed. He just wears what he thinks is fine depending on his mood etc.

Let us all just be ourselves. Throw discretion to the wind! Dress as you feel you want too as the mood and fancy takes you! Go on you know you want to.

I’ll join in as soon as everyone else has. Honest. Well maybe. Or maybe not.

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Art, General


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X Factor Auditions 2 2012

I missed the first few minutes of this week’s show, which didn’t seem to have contained anything of real interest. I’m not counting Rylan Clarke as a serious participant, even the X factor expects some talent involving music to which the performer is contributing. Good sense of humour mind you. There’s always the weird vote right enough but I doubt it.

However, there were a few moments later on which were interesting and perhaps point to the type of performer that this years show is aiming to identify. The four stand out auditions of the first week were all capable of singing, playing and instrument and composing. This would be a departure from just looking for the best voice, personality and looks which has been the strategy for all those years.

Perhaps the Voice has had an influence on Simon and made him or his producers consider where they sit in the TV talent show genre. Can it be called a genre? The X factor is on screens for the longest time in this genre, be it episode times or weeks. The long number of weeks allow the X Factor to nurture and develop to a much greater degree then any of the other shows and this might fit in well with choosing more creative people although there is always going to be a place for those with exceptional voices.

Kye Sones sang his version of a Rita Ora song, which impressed her given that she was one of the judges.

Lucy Spraggan delivered a really good fun song, which she had written herself and played guitar. The lyric was very wordy, almost to the point of being a rap but it was cleverly structured and struck a cord with a large segment of the audience. Even snarly Nasty Spice smiled. Good grief.

James Arthur filled the “hard luck” quota, which the X Factor likes so much. To be fair he seems to have a fairly troubled life so far. Anyway, he did a very unusual personal version of on of Tulisa song.

I can’t help noticing that a small brown animal has taken up residency on Louis head. And why not…

Simon has been busy signing up athletes to act as mentors for the TV show finalists. Mo Farah, Tom Daly, Jenifer Ennis etc. etc. There was me thinking it was a talent show too. Determination, talent and a huge desire to succeed.

There you are. It only took a few seconds. We’d all be stars if we did that and wanted it enough. If I followed those three words I’d be sitting here writing my latest in a series of huge selling books, thinking about the next movie I’m going to direct to add another Oscar and somehow squeeze in the writing and recording of my latest album which will go on to be the greatest selling album ever.

Oh well…

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in General, Music, The X Factor


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A run out to South Queensferry.

There’s a tradition in the UK that when the weather is good people drive out and park somewhere beside water. Any sort of largish amount of water will do the job but that obviously depends how near to a decent bit of water you live. What happens to those who aren’t that close to water? Maybe they go and park up at a highish point and gawp at the view, such as it is.

Mrs TT and I do the driving out to a bit of water thing. Usually we go to South Queensferry and park down at the car park between the two bridges. Once there we might read our books, gawp at the bridges, maybe get an ice-cream or, on other occasions, we might walk along the High Street.

We are not alone in this. Lots of people do it at various times throughout the year. Young and old, Grannies and grand-children, families, young couples, motorcyclists, Johnnies, etc. It’s changed a bit over the years mind you. The Council (Edinburgh of course) have organised the parking so there are fewer spaces.

Cruise ships drop their passengers off there as well and they are bussed into Edinburgh. There are a couple of boats that do trips out, people bring their boats and Hound Point oil terminal has a bit of traffic too. It’s quite peaceful, well apart from the loud motorbikes, the gulls and the odd train, which goes over the Forth Bridge.

My fist job was in South Queensferry at the bank in the High Street. It was a good place to work. When people asked me where I worked I used to the “The Ferry” which is what local people refer to it as. Of course when I said that people assumed I worked on some sort of boat. In reality I get seasick if I walk through a small puddle.

The back of the bank was right on the river and we could look out over the water when we were working. At that time Rosyth was an operating Naval Base so you’d see the odd warship and submarines going by. That’s pretty much gone now.

The Ferry is known for the Burryman. The middle Saturday of August is Ferry fair time and it’s traditional for the Burryman walks around the High Street on Friday night. At this time the cars and bumped from the parking area and a fun fair is set up there. The big wheel sort of sticks out over the water a wee bit, which is interesting.

I’ve always wondered why nothing more has been made of the parking area. Why haven’t they made it bigger? Why haven’t they encouraged attractions? Why aren’t they trying to attract more visitors who will spend more money in the town?

The big wheel could be made bigger and made to stick out much further over the water. That could be fun. Maybe a more permanent fun fair could be built there as well. They could throw caution to the wind and build a pier. Now that would be interesting. People could walk out over the Forth, maybe they could have entertainment in the form of a theatre on the pier too?

They are supposed to be considering putting a viewing platform on the top of the railway bridge. That could be fun, it would certainly attract johnnies?

They are also busy building a visitors centre at the south side of the road bridge, which should provide great views of all three bridges once the new one amounts to more than three enormous pipes sticking out of the water.

They’d have to be careful though with all these new attractions. Quite a few people go to South Queensferry and park beside the water to bring in the New year. They’d need to keep a facility for that to happen.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Edinburgh, Family, General


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Saturday evening lottery with an X Factor thrown in

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The build up to Christmas starts with the return of The X Factor to our TV screens. I’d have thought that the format was pretty much dead in the water. The arrival of Britain’s got talent, which is a low rent version of The X Factor, and the Voice, which is a hybrid of the two, would have exhausted the rich seam of talent, which is out there. Not a bit of it according to the people on the programmes anyway.

I can’t remember seeing the girl band that won last year popping up anywhere. I can’t remember who won the previous shows pretty much. The judges are the same and Louis is still there. How? Who knows. Comedic value?

I don’t mind the initial auditions. There’s something voyeuristic watching people demonstrate their talent or lack of it as the case may be. I’m not keen seeing some of the poorer people trying out. They obviously have no talent and have been egged on by supposed friends and the X Factor people. Some of them should be quietly and supportively helped to the exit rather than being allowed on stage and subsequently TV

We have the Susan Boyle experience to also consider however, she looked nothing like the part but when she started singing we all cringed at being so judgmental. Looking nothing like how a star should look is now no barrier for trying out.

There were at least two or three people last week who fell into this category. One a boy singer, Jahmene Douglas, with a huge range, another chap, Curtis Golden, playing guitar and singing and a girl, Ella Henderson, who writes her own songs all looked pretty good. They all didn’t fit the star image but there’s time. There’s also time for them to fail at boot camp also.

There are many weeks to go. Lots of weeks. More weeks than anyone can actually stand or will remember who was good or bad. I won’t be watching many of them if at all.

At the moment we still have to put up with limpics legacy. Get more people doing more sports? The thing is, whilst this may have a temporary effect on sporting activities it’s not much a money-maker for the UK as a whole, which is by far the most important “factor” at the moment.

Music makes a huge amount of money for the UK economy and has done since 1963/4.  Some X Factor winners have contributed to this and still do but not in any meaningful way like Queen. The Police/Sting, Adele, Amy Winehouse, The Who, Pink Floyd, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Coldplay, David Bowie, Radiohead etc.

Who will be nest to be added to the list? Maybe someone who comes through not by endless gigging and years of hard slog? Perhaps it’s like winning the lottery on a Saturday night. If they keep going with the X factor they may well win by finding a real musical star although the odds are on the pretty long side.



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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in General, Music


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