Tuesday, 28 February 2017


It was a gloriously sunny day today.  It's also the last day of February so time to mop up bits and pieces before turning over the calendar.

Bridge over burn outside Killearn

At a recent concert in the music room of Charles Rennie MacIntosh's House for an Art Lover I took this photo of a vase of lilies on the window ledge.

And last, but not least, here is a photo John took of Ellie (2 and Harriett (3 and a half).... or as Ellie calls her ...  'Harri-Barri'!


Monday, 27 February 2017


 * * * * * PREAMBLE * * * * *

There is a new film Mad To Be Normal about to come out in April, 2017. It has the Scottish actor David Tennant as the main (male) character. This week it has been  premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival.

The film is about the Glasgow psychiatrist R D Laing.  In my day he was a controversial figure and this film addresses this plus the work he did trying to get a different approach to mental illness.

His book The Divided Self was much talked about in the 60s; I had even read it!

The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness, Penguin Modern Classics, 1960.

Amazon: "This watershed work aimed to make madness comprehensible, and in doing so revolutionized the way we perceive mental illness."

* * * * * * INFLUENCE OF O'SHAUGHNESSY  * * * * * *

Our friend, Bill D. dropped in for coffee today.  Iain was out; we got talking.  

Bill was very friendly with 'Ronnie' in their student days (1940s) up to about 1963.  He recalls that he had an incisive mind and one of the things they shared was a love of poetry.  Ronnie introduced Bill to the following poem which Bill (aged 89 years) could recite all the way through:

ODE (from MUSIC AND MOONLIGHT Collection of Poems)
by Arthur O'Shaughnessy *

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Laing liked the sentiment of this poem particularly (like so many people) the notion of 'movers and shakers'.  Bill and I concluded this must have been a strong driving force in how and why he went about his life.

Bill also mentioned that Ronnie was a bit hard to take at times (and, of course, only knew him as a young man before he became a 'celebrity').  

He recounted a chat he had at a Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow lecture some years ago with Dr Arthur Shenkin  (President at the time), He put it to him "What did you make of RDL?"  After a prolonged pause, apparently, Dr Shenkin replied "He should never have been a psychiatrist; he should have been a philosopher."

My 'Rorschach Rainbow'

* Born in London, Arthur O’Shaughnessy worked in the Zoology Department of the British Museum. By age 30, he had published three collections of poetry, including Music and Moonlight, which contained his inspiring poem “Ode.”  [Poetry Foundation]

 * * * * * *    'THE MUSIC MAKERS'  * * * * * *

 aka Us playing at the 'Railway Inn', Bowling

Saturday, 25 February 2017


Here is a 2 minute action packed video of a 'bonspiel' during a winter freeze in the city.  Click on this link in capital letters below (not the image).

And here is what an owl might have seen had he been passing overhead instead of investigating a traffic camera (not sure of location....).

Friday, 24 February 2017


John took the following 4 photos recently.  Their children are  now 10. 8, 3.5 and 2 years old.
Four Wee Monkeys

 Alastair and Ishbel in Glencoe after a weekend camping in a bothy with Dad.

Alastair and Harriet

Harriet is standing on the toilet in order to see into the mirror as we play 'hairdressers'.  She loves 'role playing' whether it be sweeping the floor, stirring with a big spoon whatever happens to be on the go at the time.
Anyone listening at the door would hear something like "And what are you doing today?" ... brush, brush .... "Going shopping..."  "And how are your children? ..."Fine..." Plait Number One done ... "And who is your best friend?"  Plait Number Two done.   "That's beautiful!" she says when all finished!

And here is a fairly recent photo of Indy, now 5 and a half and getting very tall for his age.  He is in the Science Museum in New York during the Christmas holidays. A recent examination under anaesthetic showed no abnormal cells.  Such good news. Apparently, after the age of 5 years the chances of the occurrence (or should that be recurrence?) of pathological cells declines.

Saturday, 18 February 2017


Sign seen in Ladies toilet recently.  It is 'art' because I put a frame around it and called in a little help from Banksy.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


I was in Glasgow city centre today... George Square to be exact.  It was quite busy with half term school holidays just now so there were lots of people taking the city centre tourist bus which does a circular hop on-hop off tour of the city.

I passed folk just getting off the bus about to start their exploring.  I overheard one woman say to her friend ... with apologies to Andy Warhol....


Sunday, 12 February 2017


We recently attended a Burns Supper at a local boat club.  We went with Brian and Maggie and were told that it was to a ceilidh so be prepared to join in with a song or an instrument.  We are always up for that.  (Often we find a 'ceilidh' turns out to be a concert on a platform where you sit in rows of seats, eg. in a village hall or whatever.)

We arrived at the early evening start time and Maggie and I got stuck into the bottle of Merlot that she had brought.  I stated at the start of the evening I was quite tired and asked that we go in separate cars in case I wanted to bail out.

A couple of glasses and I had revived.  In the meantime there was a lady going around with her raffle tickets so, having brought a bottle of wine myself ... the first I grabbed from the cupboard... I handed it it for the raffle as it was unlikely Maggie and I would open it.

Now this bottle is one I bought with my Christmas M&S voucher; it was the one I chose because I liked the colour of the bottle.

Well the evening wore on and by 10:15 pm the meal was finished and coffee was just starting to be served.  Then the ghetto blaster and its accompanying pair of speakers were cranked up just a tad more ... and I thought ... 'This is hellish!' ... I am off.  Iain, who can't hear in crowds at the best of times, was in agreement. So we gathered out stuff and made our way home.

We left our raffle tickets with Brian ... who came by the next day.  We had won a bottle of wine in the raffle ... mine!

And this is it [King Valley, Austrailia, Pinot Griogio Arneis, 2016], alongside Ken's love daffs ...back home again sitting on our sideboard!

Saturday, 11 February 2017


The children make us laugh.... Wee Ellie is now 2 years old and is a very good speaker.  Every day she has new words as well as sentences.

Here is Ellie last week, being steered by Ishbel (10), where she was out on a walk with John and Mairi and the rest of the gang.  Photo is John's.

When she was here today she sat (very nicely!) at the table while I had a cup of tea and she had an ice cream.  Last night we had people for dinner and there were some cherry tomatoes (right hand corner of photo) in the middle of the table.  She had one thinking it was a grape .... "eugh-gh-gh... it's [dis] 'gusting!"

I asked her  "What was Daddy doing today?"  "He's on the 'puter." !!!

Monday, 6 February 2017


The jokes get better and better.  Louise posted an item today that I thought was really funny: someone wants to build a wall? IKEA might have a solution....

The link is here:

"The Scandinavian furniture maker has offered the USA a practical, ready-made solution with “Börder Wåll”. All they need to do is pick it up in a van from the nearest IKEA branch and put it up where they want it to go. Totalling US $9,999,999,999.99, “Börder Wåll” is significantly cheaper than a conventional wall. Estimates suggest that a conventional wall would cost between US $15 and $25 billion."    And it just gets funnier.

This reminds me of the time wee Alastair announced that wanted Santa to bring him bunk beds for Christmas.  When discussing the problem of trying to get them down the chimney he suddenly stated "Well, he bring them as a flat-pact!"

If the wall doesn't do the job there is always a Build Your Own prison cell available!

Thursday, 2 February 2017


I awoke this morning feeling somewhat sluggish ... which is not my usual.  Normally, once awake, I get up and get going for the day.  Not this morning. Not ill, I forced myself to attend to chores etc which soon gets the day moving in the right gear.
Now that it is lighter in the morning I always like to get rid of the various types of rubbish (packaging, bottles and paper)  which go into our various coloured recycling bins.  I noticed that the day was, not so much dark, as 'dull' and that there were no birds singing ... i.e. very quiet.  "Ah hah" sez I "there's a weather front coming in, a big Low Pressure (storm) coming. Literally, the calm before the storm. And after an hour, the trees started fluttering and leaves started blowing around.

I have got good at picking up these signs after years of being at sea and seeing the conditions change ... sure enough ... bad weather soon followed.

I looked on my iPhone and took a photo [the image above]. The image posted is a screenshot which, as I was showing Iain who did not know how to take a picture of something on his iPhone screen, I took by (1) holding down the ON/OFF button on the top right of the phone then (2) carefully, and lightly but firmly, tapping the HOME button - the round one at the middle bottom on the iPhone.  The order here is important; I can't make it work the other way around nor by pressing both at the same time as instructions say.

Anyhow.... at this point I made a phone call to Christina, my Swedish friend. She was feeling exactly the same way so I suggested that maybe it was something to do with the weather.  "Hold on a minute" she said. "Let me read the barometer."  She returned to the phone and in her astonished Swedish voice cried "Heavens! It says 'STORM' on the barometer!"

I wish I knew what the actual barometer reading was but it just goes to show that there is something in the Old Wives (or Old Sailors) 'feeling' for the weather!  Furthermore, chances are one is not getting a cold or whatever so, therefore, it is best just to get on with the day!
The image above is from Wikipedia: a shelf cloud, associated with a heavy or severe thunderstorm, over Swedish island of Öland in the Baltic Sea in July 2005 taken by Arnold Paul.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Brian Kelloch and Tommy Smith played at a lunchtime concert today ... they are both legends in their own lunchtime. I was quite blown away by their (piano and sax respectively) playing in the Merchant's Hall, George Square.  So imaginative, mellifluous and totally at one as they grooved their way through an hour of jazz standards.  (More performers could take a leaf out their book!  By that I mean when it is a 'coffee concert' have a program that is light and easily digested.  Leave the heavy stuff, full of angst, for a different occasion!)