Saturday, March 28

best west

When blog people find out that I lived in Scotland, they sometimes ask me: is it better to live in the west or the east?

I'll let these pictures, from a bus-spotters' web site, speak for themselves.

The East:

The West:

dr trisha said write for 20 minutes without stopping or censoring or editing

what hard to do what to say don't censor don't spell jump joy do more zest breathe
boring can't be bothered shit no make me! eff off ya bass
Alan tall will show you a sword
guilt about a few deeds
Lilian guilt
Jane's pal guilt
banger in crowd guilt
hard on self
swim Scotland the edge boring I'm beyond all that now this is my life here, don't realise how lucky you are yes I do
death aging don't care just want more of now
K great but annoys the fuck out of me
our home our life
Scots mac ScotMac
spin guilt suspicion Pollock halls cell monkey on back cold cold cold alone
want to read more more
more Linux hooray
more weights box smart clever
this is all about planning, about me, it's not really work
don't waste time
don't waste with deifheids?
church Sunday school broom Beatles Halloween jock did some good fatherly things
not again
bored of (available?) food sex music web sites (ha!)
black guilt poor folk i have no worries
nobody has my worries
poor me, rubbush!
exercise! (jock) true, really the only reliable source of fun pleasure
a drag having to watch out for injuries old and new
Trisha session was very involving, next one probably too
envy the young, drool over, wasted on young
salivation one of lifes pleasures restored with HBOxygen
weeing (went for one just now) retention deficit disorder
promiscuous guy on gay doco yesterday, living so dangerously and seedily, pathetic
memories of school days, in jazzy's room listening to records, doyly carte etc, didn't know how lucky we were, CCF, school dinners! jock carruthers truculent adolescent shuffle schoolbag skidding
smoking what a diversion of energy and life force
giving up the best move i made (that and kath)
sat morning now weekend stretches a bit empty unlike when I'm home alone, feels like there's a gulf, a lack of connection, but maybe par for course? mention to trisha
so lucky to have time and opportunity fo free counselling (even during work hours) lucky me!
keep going houshold chores possum painting etc i can do well but want reward and/or balancing activities
old dear - love her despite flawed r'ship and she flawed, my mum and thanks top her as well as blame to her

Sunday, March 22

young folk

I'm not in the same league as Hotters when it comes to being stalked by 16-year-old nymphets in an educational setting, but the youngest student in my class is a school leaver called (say) Tracy. She's probably not actually clinically ADD, but she likes to horse around in class. Normally I am happy to name the behaviour I see, and ask the person to stop, but this person is (a) not exactly repulsive and (b) often funny. So I tend to let her away with things, or even to join in and spar a little. It's mildly unprofessional.

Yesterday, as they were all leaving the room for a break, she got hold of the board pen and wrote on the board "Tracy is fab, signed .." and then signed my name to it.

While the room was empty, I rubbed out my name and copied her handwriting to make it read "Tracy is fab, signed Tracy".

I was still away on my break when they returned, but I gather people laughed and she was mortified. She was still trying to find the culprit when I returned, and so I joined in: "come on class, somebody own up!"

It's my good fortune to have a job that's not boring.

Thursday, March 19

red stuff

I leapt out of bed this morning, elated at the thought of another whole day off work, then decided to let myself fall luxuriantly backwards onto the bed. Of course I misjudged it, and took a flying header into the corner of the bedside table. The blood, the blood! So I had to walk the dog in a baseball cap stuffed with ice cubes, probably looking like a walking tumour but at my age nobody notices you in the street anyway.

The partner suggested I might need stitches. I can cut my own hair with mirrors. How much harder can it be to sew up the back of your own head?

Tuesday, March 17

green stuff

In the previous post, I had no intention of maligning smokers. Only smoking.

Last century when I gave up, I did it before nicotine patches and other therapies had been invented, so I had to find my own way. I did it very gradually, and one of the strategies that helped was adulterating my roll-ups with herbal smoking mixture. I began with about one-third herbal, then ramped it up over a long period, until I was on just a wee strand of baccy in amongst the herbs.

I used to smoke this stuff in pubs, but it stank, and people who knew no better would assume it was drugs. Every Saturday morning, Mary Hopkin and I would drink beer and listen to the fantastic jazz quartet upstairs in the White Cockade. The Donald McDonald Band. The guy had an impressive collection of saxes, which he played fantastically. One in particular cost more than a house, and was so big he had to stand on a box to play it.

Anyway, after a few months of Saturday morning ecstasy, drinking Tennents and smoking the horrible herbs, the jazz simply stopped happening. I read a music review in the Scotsman, lamenting the closure and blaming the patrons who used to smoke drugs.

Anyway, the point is I've been trying the same gradual adulteration technique to wean myself off tea. Yesterday I had got to the stage where I could get through a whole day on herb tea mixed with about two twiglets of green tea. Today, St Patrick's day, may be my first day without any green tea at all. So when everybody here is walking around in green clothes or make-up, I'm doing my bit to maintain global balance.

Saturday, March 14


I spent most of Wednesday morning at work lying comatose on the office floor staring into space. Some people meditate to get into that state, but all I had to do was decide to quit tea for a day, and the result was an inability to do anything. At one point I went for a walk but kept wanting to lie down and sleep. At one point I thought that if I had a heart attack at least it would be an excuse to lie down in the street.

Doctor Bob explained why I've been having so many cigarette dreams since I started drinking tea. He says that one addiction reminds me, on a psychosomatic level, of the other one.

I haven't smoked in twenty-five years, but I still remember what it was like. Awful. The time-wasting narcissistic biochemistry, always wondering "is it time for my next ciggie yet? Maybe if I have a cup of tea then the next smoke will taste better." And then punctuating every activity with a fag - one to wake me up, one because I've finished breakfast, one at the bus stop, one because I've got off the bus. And so on throughout the day. "Are there enough left in this packet to see me through till tomorrow?" Going to bed when the packet's empty, then getting up again to jog across the city through the rain to find a shop still open.


And it's true that the tea thing is getting out of hand here in the same way. Any excuse for another cup - one to wake me up, one before I start work. This morning I tried going cold turkey once again. I managed a joyless tealess walk with the dog, but before lunch I felt a tea-withdrawal headache coming on, so of course I had to brew up. Medicinal purposes you see.

Still, I'm fortunate that I've got the good addiction, without the bad one to balance it up.

Tuesday, March 10

dangers in the news

Two items of medical research in the news recently:

It used to be beneficial to drink one glass of wine a day. Now, it seems that drinking just one glass of wine a day can INCREASE risk of cancer by 168%, finds a new study.

Taking cat-naps in the daytime used to be good for the health. Now it seems there is a clear link between sleeping for short periods and developing type-2 diabetes. People who take naps during the day are 26 per cent more likely to become diabetics.

And two reports from Albert in Australia:

Contrary to worldwide opinion, Australians are actually very polite and well spoken. An Australian firefighter with 40 years experience has been sacked for swearing during the recent Black Saturday bushfire crisis, when hundreds of people died.

John Willis lost his job as captain of an Australian fire brigade for swearing on emergency radio when his crew ignored instructions and put their lives at risk.

Mr Willis said he was singled out because he said "f---" out of frustration when his crew tackled a fire against orders.

A kangaroo woke up an Australian family last night when it smashed through the bedroom window of their Canberra home.

"I had just my undies on. I felt vulnerable," said the householder.

The man eventually wrestled the thrashing and bleeding 2-metre-high kangaroo out of the front door, leaving a trail of blood through the house and claw gouges in the wooden frame of his bed.

He was left wearing just his shredded underpants and with scratch marks on his leg and buttocks.

Albert will probably never complain again about the possums in his garden keeping him awake at night.

Friday, March 6

just for a change

Everyone knows that the northern hemisphere is the opposite of the southern hemisphere - when it's winter in one, it's summer in the other. And when it's daytime in New South Caledonia, it's night time in Europe. And water gurgles down the plughole the opposite way around. But not everyone realises that absolutely everything is the opposite.

For instance, it's Friday night here in the southern hemisphere. Time to pull up the drawbridge and slip into the smoking-jacket. I'm feeling so blissful, I can't even be bothered opening a beer. Meanwhile, some people in the northern hemisphere are knocking back beer at high speed. Everything's balancing up.

I've been having lots of dreams. One was a nightmare. I dreamt my brother was in the habit of visiting Scotland, and to kill time during the day, he brewed cups of tea in the old flat I used to live in. He still had the front door key from when I lived there, and as long as he didn't bump into the new owner, he would get away with it.

In the dream, I broke into the house along with him, and I kept saying "c'mon, we've gotta get out before the guy comes home."

As I opened the front door of the flat and peered out, there was a lawyer with a briefcase coming up the stairs. I ran out past him, and he started shouting something like "stop thief!"

I woke up in a sweat. I know what they do to nice middle class people like me in prison.

Remember, everything has to balance up! And so it came to pass that, at the very same time as my nightmare of Edinburgh, an Edinburgh blogger had a nightmare about springing a leak in his boat in the Pacific Islands. Uncanny how everything balances up!

I've also been having dreams about smoking, where I'm drawing deep on a cigarette, and thinking "this is gonna get me hooked again." This is what comes of visiting Ra Baccy Blog too often.

I haven't smoked anything in decades, while some people in the northern hemisphere will smoke anything that burns. It's all balancing up.

Today I finally lost my mobile phone, after four years of ownership, during which I used it perhaps a couple of dozen times. Meanwhile in the northern hemisphere, some people are suddenly taking their mobile phones out of the box for the first time, and discovering a multitude of uses for them. Everything's balancing up.

Tuesday, March 3

big red goes to the big garden

This little beauty was out and about a lot in the recent wet weather.

Isn't he magnificent? About two inches long. I named him Big Red.

I was walking down the concrete path today, when I suddenly skidded for some distance, and my heart sank as I realised that only one thing could be as slippery as that. I had stood on Big Red! I'll spare you a description, but it wasn't pretty. I was going to do the humane thing and put him out of his misery, but I would probably have messed that up and just added further torture. So I walked away, to at least let him die in peace.

Monday, March 2

why I shouldn't go out

We were invited out for brunch at the home of some other non-deifheids that we know. I excelled myself socially. contributing twice to the conversation. The first time, I overheard a woman talking about a wedding I was at. It was time I said something:

Me: Oh, I didn't know you were at that wedding too. I met a guy there with cancer, I wonder how he's getting on.

Her: He just died. He was my husband.

Later on, she was talking about the very childish behaviour of someone called Rebecca. I decided to make up for my earlier gaffe, so I thought I'd empathise with her:

Me: How old is this Rebecca?

Her: 35.

Me: It sounds like she needs to see a psychiatrist.

Later I discovered she had been talking about her own, mentally disabled daughter.

I get my tact and other social skills from my old dear, though I'm not in her league.