Archive for April 2011

"A Great Occasion"

April 30, 2011

As passionate Royalists and lucky enough to have the day off work (not compulsory in Scotland: a rare political JW10 comment coming up: shame on you, Salmond), my family and I enjoyed the spectacular Royal wedding yesterday, super glued to the box we zapped from ITV, BBC and Sky. In a celebratory mood other friends and family were invited to a little indoor Royalty rave on randan at oor place later on.

My darling wife decided to take photos of the events on the TV screen. She was having a great time with the camera giving me the inspirational Flash (A-Ahh) of saddling her with the moniker, Lord Snowden. I’ve plastered her works all over this page while at the same time copyrighting them with my unreadable scribble. The three TV channels could sue me as it is their camera work; however, I’ve got a lawyer acquaintance who will claim that it’s my telly therefore my property.

The night’s proceedings continued in a similar red, white and blue-blooded vein. Various discussions on monarchy and Regal issues were discussed. I weighed in with some little-known facts namely that purple has always been the colour of Royalty. Purple dye was expensive and rare in the old days and was exclusive to the privileged class. Going off at a tangent I then said that the Golden Grail of record collecting, the blue vinyl Bohemian Rhapsody, by the majestic, magnificent, aptly-named Queen was supposed to be purple vinyl but the printers made a colour blunder. I got a few oohs and aahs with that one. At this point Snowden brought out her portfolio of bootleg snaps and suddenly Logie Baird televisions were the order of the night. My dear mum, I love her so much, an archetypal Glaswegian wummin of the old school, began reminiscing of all the great tellies she’d had over the years.

The 60’s: A rented set that had a slot for ten-bob bits for when the power ran out. Glory days were when the TV man would come to empty the takings and put in a free 50p shot before he left.

1978: Our first colour TV just in time for the Argentine World Cup, although, umm, Ally’s Tartan Army, umm, narrowly failed to win it. (Probably the only time I’ve cried for Argentina Scotland)

2007: A Panasonic that had a faulty slat giving a distorted picture. She knew where to take it back and took it back to Comet, giving the well-salaried manager an earful…

Nonetheless, the small screen is a wonder of the universe. I’d like to thank it for a very memorable day and wish the newly-weds all the best.

Test Post

April 28, 2011

The answer lies in the fathomless deep

beyond the edge of dreams

where age-old stone speaks to age-old stone

in tales of heartache, joy and pain

and nothing is as impervious as first it seems

Words © Marya

Parentheshisss

April 27, 2011

Everything seems to be processed nowadays leaving no room for individual expression. The same-old, same-old has been replaced by a same-new, same-new that makes the same-old appear much more exciting because the same-old had a wider breadth about it. In a word, there doesn’t seem to be any characters around today (that’s nine words, could have been ten if does not was written instead of doesn’t).

However, all is not lost as I was introduced recently to a character. An acquaintance told me the fellow (Dan was his name) I was about to meet used brackets in every one of his spoken sentences. Intrigued, I said hello to Dan.

“Hello and Hi (that’s lo and hi not high and low).”

“What do you do, Dan?”

“I’m a carpenter (that’s more skilful than a joiner) and my favourite wood is mahogany (would be teak if somebody wrote (more…)

Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline

April 21, 2011

One of the few times I’ve been really worried was just before the end of the century and the oncoming threat of the Millennium bug that was predicted to wreck havoc on the world’s computer systems. The Y2K problem as it was also known turned out to be a damp squib in the end. All that fretting I did over one’s and zeroes was for nothing. Stupidly, I was scared of a 1-0. And if the bug did become infectious it wouldn’t have harmed me anyway; in 1999 I didn’t have a computer. Though, I did have a DVD player so maybe my channels might have got mixed up, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.

From that day forth, although it was the first (Jan 1 2000), I vowed to never worry again. This peace of mind has helped me to remain calm while all around are falling to pieces. As a well-known, famous, popular philosopher said – I forget his name- “it is better to have a happy Etch-a-Sketch face than a Nostradamus on your back”. This outlook has made me cope with life’s little struggles while ignoring stories of the end of civilisation.

Yesterday, I was on a bus to pass the time and I noticed it was getting very busy. The travellers had a steely look of intent in their eyes. My judgement of their body language was telling me they were having money difficulties, possibly their portfolio of stocks was in a bad way, or they were deranged criminals. At times like these it’s hard not to worry. Enigmatically, I put a Mona Lisa half-smile on my face to temper the emotions of the crew.

The bus stopped and the whole congregation rushed past me and hurtled into the building of the Department of health and Social Security. There must be a new benefit up for grabs. At this time I could feel wetness on my chest. I looked down and saw a red stain on the breast pocket of my shirt; one of the unemployed had stabbed me during the stampede. I remained undeterred to my injury as there was no ache from my chest. Obviously, my nonchalance had made me immune to pain.

Deciding to investigate the wound I stuck my hand in the pocket. I fished out a red pen that had burst. This marker was my weapon of choice for writing in the margins of my books, now it was no more. The shirt would also have to go to shirt heaven. This double-whammy would have tested most individuals. It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Just another tractor blog

April 15, 2011

A scene had developed on the periphery of the city. The townspeople were laughing and their mocking tones made me rubberneck in their direction. As usual to get the best view I barged through the crowd shouting “Coming through. Make way for the doctor”. One wag, that’s wag and not WAG, responded, “it’s not a doctor that thing needs, it’s a scrap yard.”

Soon I saw the object of their derision. And it was beautiful. The object that is, not their derision; English can be a handful at times. Broken down in the middle of the road was a vintage tractor. Mine eyes were seeing the glory of a 1960 Massey Ferguson. Manual recirculating ball steering, two-stage clutch rear power take-off, 72 inch wheel base and a maximum drawbar pull of 3,965 Lbs. This is the Debbie Harry of tractors.

At this point I would like to add that not all the townspeople were mocking the rural driver and his broken down angel. Two intrepid entrepreneurs, spotting the absence of a windscreen, were washing Massey’s bonnet and taxing the stranded owner a fiver for their troubles.

I warned everyone to stand back as I was about to perform a miracle. Everybody likes to see a miracle done for free so they backed off a yard. With all my might I was Samson and Simon of Cyrene rolled into one and I heaved the backside of the voluptuous tractor. Creaking noises of an engine sparked into life and the push had done the trick. The tractor sped away at the speed of tortoise.

The townspeople had seen the light, were won over by this extreme act of charity and clapped like duelling cymbals. It was a seminal moment that was cut short by bursts of laughter from across the road. Another set of townspeople were laughing at a broken down steamroller. This might be harder to shift so I took off my jacket and rolled my shirt sleeves up.

No half-measures, only Pints

April 7, 2011

I received, typed with gold lettering in a laminated card, an invitation to a fortieth birthday bash. Now this do was not going to be a picnic. The venue chosen was a hoity-toity place of splendour and snobbery; a five-star hotel with, I’d guess, three-ply toilet paper in their Louvre’s. Nothing wrong with any of these things and the free buffet at the party would be a treat; I had only one misgiving: the possible wallet-emptying price of the alcoholic drinks.

In these austere times, desperate measures are undertaken just to stay afloat. I planned to plan ahead by staking the joint out. My sources told me there was a soiree taking place and I cased the function hall of the hotel. Going undercover my investigations were in the style of all the great Private detectives: Jim Rockford, Thomas Magnum, and Lew Harper (called Archer, in the books).

Sitting in my car I eased down my Fedora beforea easing it up again as I couldn’t see a thing. It was eight in the morning. I was a bit early. Most of these parties don’t start until eight at night. No matter, I waited.

And waited. And waited. And waited. I watched a few waiters arrive. I had as much experience of waiting as them.

As night fell, guests appeared. I studied the young ladies closely. Not in a dirty old man type of way, that would be unprofessional. It was through the monitoring of the women’s handbags I would find out what I needed to know. My worst fears were realised. Every one of the females, beautifully dressed as they were, exquisite to a fault, turned up to the ball with a huge handbag. Their bags were expensive and stylish but they were overly large compared to the rest of their outfits. Soberly, I went home with food for thought.

There are many traditions in the West of Scotland and one of the old ones would have to be pulled out of the hat or more accurately, the bag, for the upcoming event. It was clear that the ladies were smuggling drinks into the hotel. Using lookouts these drinks were then dispensed from the bountiful stores in their handbags/suitcases into the obligatory, so as to not arouse suspicion, glass of paid for alcohol, thus laundering the elicit goods.

Mostly, it is bottled spirits, vodka or gin that are illegally carried into the over-priced bars. My predicament is that I don’t drink spirits. How can I get nine of the best buys in beer past the bouncers?