Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh dear

Radio 4's 6.30 comedy spot doesn't get any better. A hilarious programme set in a tourist information centre, anyone?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I've just purchased some big bookcases to replace various small ones that I've acquired over the years. So last night I had some anoraky fun sorting out my books. Quite a few contained abandoned bookmarks. I've never been one for using proper bookmarks, usually just grabbing any handy piece of paper, so these form a kind of demented summary of my last 20 years. In no particular order:
  • Receipt for OPTIKA, 22 Stall St, Bath on 17 August 1996. Looks like I had an eye test, though I have no memory of this.
  • Receipt for Napier University library, recording the borrowing of Mathematics in Western culture on 05 January 2005.
  • Slip of paper torn from a A4 sheet. The header has Chapter 5 The Holos Worksheet.
  • Cheap day return, Edinburgh to Dalmeny, 11 September 2004.
  • Credit card receipt for Edinburgh-Glasgow monthly ticket, 30 October 2006. £250! No wonder I left that job.
  • Receipt from Ipswich and Norwich Co-op for compost, 12 April 2003. I was served by Lynn.
  • Wrapper from Terry's Waifa. Best before APR97.
  • Two genuine bookmarks from Word Power books. Recent.
  • Ditto, much creased, from Waterstones, circa 1997.
  • Ditto, from John Smith and Sons, Glasgow, early 90s.
  • Punched Fortran card. Rescued from Glasgow University Physics Dept, circa 1990.
  • Ticket for the Courtauld Gallery, bearing a detail from Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.
  • Seagate Pound. A fake pound note produced as a drinks voucher for a company bash. By means of Photoshop, our company secretary's head was substituted for the queen's, and didn't she look the part. Late 90s.
  • Room card from Spread Eagle Hotel, Thame. Probably 1998.
  • Business card/bookmark from Tin Can Mailman, Arcata, CA. I bought from them via abebooks. December 2001.
  • Nice bookmark, bought in Paris, reproducing drawing by Gustave Moreau. I wondered where that had got to.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beinn Chabhair

The forecast for yesterday was excellent, so it would have felt wrong not to go up a hill somewhere.

I've pretty much been through the Southern Highlands, so picked out Beinn Chabhair, which I've not done since some time in the early 90s.

Other than the well-known waterfall that you pass on the way up, I recognised very little from my previous visit. Funny how much you forget.

I feel I'm fairly fit these days, but only managed to match the Naismith time rather than undercut it. I put this down to doing some of the northwest ridge, which the SMC guide describes as 'strenuous'. So there.

Some mist rolled over just as I got to the summit, so no panoramas from there, I'm afraid. Still, a good day out.

On the way back, I went into the Drovers for a pint. There was a time when this was a standard stopping-off point on the way back from weekends, but I've not been in for ages. It's much the same as it was, though the bar staff have less hairy chests, and whether the stuffed bear in the entrance is the same stuffed bear that I remember is hard to say.

A week ahead

My digital radio confused me this morning by changing from BST to GMT a week early. I spent some time resetting other clocks and watches, and then tut-tutted over the fact that my Mac hadn't got it right. Except that it had, of course. Clocks in the UK change next week. Is it just me, or is this information not communicated as much as it used to be? Maybe we now just expect clocks to have the computational power to reset themselves.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day out

Last weekend's fix took place on the Moorfoot hills. Not exactly one of the greater ranges, but you have to use what you've got available. The Moorfoots form a boundary to the view when I travel to work in the mornings, filling as they do the gap between the well-known but flat Lammermuirs, and the popular and more eye-catching Pentlands. And some tiny fragments are visible from my flat. A while ago, I formed the idea of a Moorfoot traverse that joined the A7 to the A703. So that's what I did.

It was a day of wind generators, quiet backroads that you didn't need to share with much traffic, and quite a lot of dead things. As well as roadkill pheasants and a badger, I found a still-living lamb on the hill with its eyes pecked out. Enjoy the view.

That's Gladhouse reservoir with Arthur's Seat behind. There were Whooper swans on the reservoir, which (according to a passing birder) were in Iceland the day before. On the 62 bus home, an 82 year old called Irene filled me in on local gossip, how the trams were going, and what shops used to be on the site of the St James centre.