Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pure mad mental gear, man

I went to the sales in Glasgow today. I know, I know. I stored up as much calm and Zen-like detachment as possible in advance.

Shopping for jackets and work clothes was enlivened by spotting the latest streetwear trends. While in the posh jackets department of Frasers, some neds came in and started enthusing about the products on display. Obviously Burberry is so 2005, and all the kids now are into Aquascutum and Crombie. After a bit, the lads seemed to be following me between shops. "This guy's pure intae aw that mad gear, follow him!" I finally threw them off and bought something in Austin Reed.

I predict that soon only Conservative politicians will wear hoodies and trainers. The kidz will be hanging out in their hacking jackets and leather brogues, smoking walnut shag and listening to John Betjeman.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nice walk

After a frustrating fallow patch, I went for a nice hill-walk today. With the short days at this time of year, one's options are limited, but we managed a couple of Munros from Drumochter. This does make things easier, as you are (vertically) half way there. The weather was good after the horrible storms of many recent weekends, although the large quantities of recent rain have washed away most of the snow. We had the traditional will-we-need-crampons conversation at the car, and said items were left in the boot. I did take my axe, and found a few places to use it, although the lack of one would not have been a problem.

Some fine wildlife on show too: a mountain hare; two ptarmigan pottering about on a very small snowfield; and a herd of hinds sheltering in a col.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fast service

I occasionally order books through abebooks, and the service is impressively fast, even though it relies on the international postal service. That fine work Categorical Data Analysis arrived today, as it turned out, from Taiwan. Abebooks being what it is, I hadn't really noticed where it was coming from. I make that 4 days.

As a bonus, Royal Mail actually managed to fit the book through my letterbox, rather than knocking the door, running away, and making me collect it from the sorting office.

Monday, December 18, 2006


"I've got a lot of sprouts", says the woman on the train. "Can you make soup with them?"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One's pictures

Saw a nice exhibition of Canalettos at the Queen's Gallery yesterday. Very interesting to see how contrived and altered the images from this famously "detailed" artist are. Perspective is used as a distraction. The collection has a matching set of 12 paintings that trace the Grand Canal through Venice. George III bought them from the wealthy patron who commissioned them, showing that he had some taste (or he was well advised). The present royals have precious little of this, as becomes clear when you see the awful tat on sale in the gallery shop.

Spotter's guide

The Guardian does have a sense of humour, it seems. After their innumerable wallcharts of flora, fauna, cheese, dinosaurs, they have produced one of Guardian readers. However, I think that some of the types noted are rare visitors.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I feel I ought to post something about the murders in Ipswich (where I lived for many years), but I don't think there is anything original I can say. I did take exception to some of the newspaper headlines, including the Telegraph this morning - something along the lines of "fifth call girl found murdered". If they were bank managers, would they put that in the headline? There are faint overtones of "they may just be tarts, but I suppose five is a bit excessive". Although of course, their profession is almost certainly why our murderer chose them.

Friday, December 08, 2006

She feels better now

Earlier this evening, I watched a woman ahead of me in the queue at Borders spend £65 on Christmas cards.

"Well at least that's done!" she said when the transaction was complete.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Reasons to be cheerful

I am currently enjoying a double CD of Ian Dury - an artist who rather passed me by the first time round, although I am of the right age to have been a rabid fan. I am slightly embarrassed to only do this after his death.

I can remember my primary school teacher talking to the class about Ian Dury's appearance on Top of the Pops (which means this must have taken place on a Friday morning in 1979, I suppose). She descibed his shortcomings at length, and clearly wondered what the world was coming to. "Imagine getting paid for singing hit me with your rhythm stick! What rubbish!"


I have quite a nice painting easel that allows you to adjust the height of your work using a nifty little ratchet mechanism. Last night, a heavier than normal load meant that said ratchet dropped onto my thumb, which I was using to mark the position that I wanted. Bleeding, pain and swearing ensued. Don't try this at home, children.