"I would love to have Brad's babies," I confessed. "And I'd let him call them anything he wants." There was some startlement, some blushed confusion, from Young Robert the techie at the Station yesterday morning. We'd just been chatting about Brad and Angelina's baby's name - well, Stewart had, to be honest. Me, I can hardly contain my indifference to the child - when I decided to shock Young Robert just that little bit.
"You...? Brad's babies...? Would love to have...?" Robert mouthed, looking far more shocked than I'd anticipated. This was going really well.
"Don't look at me!" Norrie the Fireman said, nodding in my direction. "I hardly know the guy - just drink with him in the pub now and again." Young Robert backed off to a safer distance. "Oh. I thought I was as obvious as the snow in Alaska," I murmured, inwardly laughing my socks off. We do have fun at that radio. Brad's babies.
Rather less fun overnight on Monday/Tuesday, when the same Mad Alastair I mentioned below turned up at the studio and started causing havoc. He had to get ejected by Stevie Sticks. I've said all along that individual is bad news. He really should be Sectioned for his own protection. Leith is a dangerous place to be bouncing around in when you're mad.
Break A Leg
The show yesterday was quite wonderful. Almost certainly the best we've done. You name it, and we talked about it. Norrie was a great asset too. Great asset.
After the show I trolled down to the Port to pick up Robin. (Well, everybody else has.) He was scheduled to replace my hot water tank, there and then. But, as young Rabbie said so perspicaciously, all those years ago, "The best laid plans o' mice and men, gang aft agley." ("Often go adrift".)
And the drift here was that Robin had snapped the key to his Merc van. It was in two pieces, like some Da Vinci Code puzzle, or Lost. (Rosslyn Chapel have even brought out a DVD about themselves now. Are there no depths to which people won't sink to make a buck from Jesus' tadger?) Ye cannot serve God and Mammon - but ye can have a damn good try. If I believed in any form of "afterlife" I swear JC would be laughing his socks off at the money-grubbing Gentiles.
Take A Cold Shower
After much crossing of (my) fingers, Robin managed to find a key-cutter who could make a new one from the two pieces. And so we were set. Or rather, we weren't, because the strain of all this had clearly unsettled him, and he needed much alcohol to calm him down. That and the company of women. So we're postponed until today.
"Chill, Peter," Babs said, seeing my blood quietly boiling. (Unlike the hot water.) "Just chill. It's Robin. He'll do you cheap, but in his own time." So fingers crossed for today then. Day ten. I'm seriously unfresh now, and'll have to take a (cold) shower before glowing for two hours in the studio.
Cold shower. The very idea makes you shiver. Brrrr!
Well, that's Show Number One past Pluto already, and today it's number two. Our guest, Norrie the fireman, slept in and didn't turn up (just as well we weren't on fire), so we had the entire two hours to ourselves. This was no problem.
Community radio is for broadcasters, not for listeners. You can fairly confidently assume there'll never be more than three of them, so why alter your good time to suit three people, eh? Would you?
Someone who was listening, an anonymous and deleted commenter here, complained about my use of (my own) NB material on the radio show. Although I wouldn't normally dignify anonymous criticism with a reply, let me just for once do that. Let me point you in the direction of Wolfgang Amadeus, who created a thing or two in his time, and assure you that Wolfie recycled his own themes and licks all over the place. (Clearly I hesitate to compare myself with his musical holiness, but that's the general idea.)
If anyone imagines I'm going to desist from making a point on radio, just because I've already made it on weblog, then they'd better find another radio show and blog. Cloud cuckoo.
After the show we had lunch in The Regent Bar, our kind sponsors. Vegetable lasagne, and very tasty too. Just two pounds fifty, note - dumps like Isobar and Cameo, who charge upwards of six for lesser quality.
Split with Stew then, and bussed it to Market Street and the City Arts Centre. There's an LGBT (how I hate that term - there's nothing L, B or T about me) exhibition called Remember When. It's about recent changes in society, vis-a-vis homosexuality. In an irony that might escape some but not me however, the show is consigned to the basement. Scotland is roughly fifteen years behind most of the developed world in these regards. Knox might be dead, but he's not forgotten.
Went to that little yellow photo shop next to Deacon Brodie's, on the Mound, for a Smart Media card for the FujiFilm. Out of stock. Fuck it! So off to Dixons in Princes Street, now renamed Curries, and bought an Olympus 6 Megapixel camera for half price at 99 quid. For an extra fifty you got a half gig card and carry case. So I got that too. (No point in ending up as memoryless as I was to start with, eh?)
Seems like a nice toy, but of course it doesn't play on Priscilla, so you won't be seing my new super HD pictures for a while. (It needs Windows 98SE and PentiumIII 500 Mhz. We fall one level below each of those.)
Teatime, Robin (don't call me gay I'm a brochure star) is coming to install my new hot water tank. This is day nine sans agua caliente, and I'm starting to ming, bigtime. But yesterday when I saw Robin in the Port, his face and head were caked with blood. "Tequila," he said, wrily. "Did you drink it, or did someone smash it over your head?" I could only ask.
We played bridge. Mad Alastair came in and caused lots of disturbance. I was sorry Little Alex wasn't there to get rid of him. Stewart turned up, but by then I was incoherent. He took over the bridge, Captain, while I played with my new camera.
Today's Radio Show might contain some or all of the above material, or indeed any material at all. Try Talk 107 instead. Or whatever it's called. There will be no podcasts, because of musical rights. As I suspected. Sorry to have misled you, as I was myself.
However - if someone were to (illegally) record our show, and then (illegally) post it on the internet, then of course I'd be powerless to stop them. Powerless.
My liver hurts.
The recent lament about Saturday night loneliness seems to have resonated with a few. Many thanks for your kind and supportive comments. And to the irl friend who kindly texted. I am rich in love.
In the apparent absence of Haloscan this Bank Holiday Monday, feel free to avail yourself of the Naked Blog comment facility. We take no holidays here.
"Yes, Gordon in The Compass is very rude," El Tel said yesterday in the Port. Well, outside the Port, to be pedantic. (It is much more fun just to follow your smoking company outside, and continue the chat. Face it, you've put up with vile tobacco for 59 years already. And soon it'll be so stigmatised it'll just disappear. Like ecstasy.)
Another thing that's so over now is Oasis. Yet silly old Ming Campbell named them as his favourite band. Oh dear. What's that gurgling sound? It's the last traces of Ming cred flushing down the plughole. Oasis. They weren't even at the Beckhams' do. And, much more critically, neither were Elton and David. Your party's seriously fucked without they twa'.
Must be so amazing being Elton, and invited to literally everything. "Gay royalty," says Kevin TSG, and I suppose he's right. Yet Elt does nothing much for me. Not in the pioneering way of Boy George, way back then. Or the currently intellectual offerings of Stephen Fry, who I suppose must be my "gay hero", if there was to be such a thing. Wouldn't give any one of them bed room though... rather have la Beckham any day. Straight men are so much more of a challenge, doncha just think, girls?
Popped in to the Leith FM studio after work last night - get some practice on the new board. But it's not that different. At first I freaked, as Robert explained this slider, and that dual purpose slider, and this one can be decks or CD 1, and be careful you don't run a tune over your jingles on PC 1, but PC 2 is OK (it's a giant iPod), and so on and so on. And be careful, so very careful to clear the mikes when the music's on, or you run the risk of effing and blinding live on air. Safest just to tell your guests not to swear from start to finish. They've brought in a fifteen second delay, but you can hear it and it's very distracting.
I'm terrified, of course. Far too old. How tf am I supposed to be grumpy for ten days? I really couldn't give a shit about anything - except Rude Gordon in The Compass. (Yes - that one is still lingering... mebbe cos I work with customers myself, and wouldn't dream of speaking like that. Wouldn't dream.)
There's something about staff in fashionable venues. They start off quite normal, but quickly begin to regard themselves as superior to the customers. Looking down, doing a favour by even serving you. I've seen it a lot. Bet you've got it in your town too.
I'm sure all at NB wish Little Alex and even Littler Ashley every good wish on their new happy event. "It'd better be a girl," Alex said to me yesterday. (The result only came on Friday. It's breaking news.) "Because I couldn't stand a ginger son," he explained. (Ashley is flame red haired.) Ashley said she was still in a state of shock. But happy shock.
Godfather. Moi. I can just see it.
And now I must away and think about radio shows. I have no guests, no content, no ideas and no hot water. It'll be brilliant. Later today you'll be able to judge for yourself. See my sidebar.
Fascinated to see The Eagles on the box last night. Me I've long been a fan. Can't be many in their fifties who haven't enjoyed at least a couple of their tracks.
Yet somehow I'd not the slightest idea what they look like. No concerts, (never go to them - too many people), no magazine articles... not even a photo. I actually know more about the Arctics and FF than I do about the Eagles. Yet I could hum only one FF song, and no Arctic Monkeys at all.
And suddenly there they were in my home! In 28 inch widescreen and Home Theater surround sound! Impressed? You bet I was. I hadn't realised the songs were divvied out amongst them. (Here I confess to knowing not one Eagle's name.) Strange to see the Hotel California one singing while drumming along. Haven't seen that since Ringo Starr. He sang Desperado also. And another, lesser number.
But sadly his voice is a wee bit fucked. Couldn't do those great songs the justice they deserve. He should come out on the Scottish hills with Stewart and me for a month. That'd put some life back in his larynx, bigtime. The best-preserved voice was the bassist's. But he did look like the youngest.
So there you go. Possibly the first ever review by someone who wasn't there, and didn't know one single band member's name. You couldn't etc.
Shame it was called a Farewell Tour, as people are getting quite used to rocksters in their fifties these days. They could go on to total wrinkly-rock like Mick and Keef. (Shame about Keef falling out of his tree, by the way. But around here we like to say that Big Straight Al did it first.)
Today I got to train on the new desk at Leith FM studio, ready for broadcasting tomorrow. Pray Stew and I don't fall out this time. In December we didn't even make the first show together before he'd finished with me. Dramatic.
Apparently everything's gonna be podcast. Eeek! You can run, but you just can't hide. Now where did I put that damn guest list...
Well, actually it doesn't. The Compass (Bar) last night was the scene of some quite appalling customer service. Rudeness, shouted. From Gordon the barman, a wizened, grey little man of no apparent charm. They say he used to be an actor.
This was all just half an hour ago. Beyond belief, and I told him that in front of his customers and staff.
So why are you boring us with this latest tiff, Peter? People we've never met and never will?
Because the Compass Bar are advertisers on Leith FM, the radio station you read so much about here. And on which your intrepid chronicler is set to feature for the next two weeks. So the dilemma is universal - recount the tale of rudeness, truthfully, as a piece of genuine local interest, or shut the fuck up and take the money.
Here We Go Again
It's that Gregor Shore effect. (Do you know I've actually been chided for things I've written on my own website about the shitbags who do business in this town?)
Never, ever take advertisers' money. It is the poisoned shilling. But Naked Blog remains free and independent and always will be. Thank God these next two weeks will be my last ever outing in advertised media.
Saturday Night On The Sofa
Been alone on Saturdays practically all my life. Still rubs a bit though, when you press your nose up against the windows on normal life - seeing the happy groups of people laughing and interacting. And you think, "Why me? Why was I singled out for such a sad and lonely life?"
But of course there's no answer. Or if there is, it's too horrific to entertain. So you feed the cat, and comb her, and wonder which of the two of you seems to suffer the most. Times I think this cat means more to me than all of the humans I've ever known. I just pray someone will look after her when I'm gone. They can have the house.
Busy old day yesterday, what with failed workmen in the morning, Sandra in the afternoon, then Arthur's Seat in the evening.
Before I knew it was quarter to ten at night - yes really - and I was sitting happily reading the Guardian in the Southern Bar, surely one of Edinburgh's nicest. (Along with the Regent.)
Showering On A Sunny Afternoon
"Do you want to get in with me?" I asked Sandra, as she started the shower. "No - yer all right, Peter," she quickly replied. ("Yer all right," hereabouts means, "Not in your wildest dreams.") Language. Doncha just love it. Then I thought how silly I was to say that. Flirting with a friend when she knows I don't mean it anyway. Ah well. That's what friends are for. We covered lots of ground. It had been too long. Her daughter's band is opening Leith Festival at the Ocean Terminal on Thursday. All very exciting.
"Don't call it pop!" daughter L declared. " - It's R n B."
"What does R n B stand for?" I innocently asked. (She's 13.) "Dunno," she said. Bless. They have made some excellent tracks, though - whatever they're called. Worth keeping an ear on. I said the band was appearing in the same festival as Tommy Smith, Brian Kellock and Dick Lee, three great names of Scottish music. L said she liked Arctic Monkeys, but didn't like Franz Ferdinand. I said the Monkeys have lots of acne, but they are very good. I read yesterday that the bass player has withdrawn due to exhaustion. Strange. I thought they'd barely started. He could hardly have got past Class B's by now.
A Snip At Five Quid
After Sandra's, and a haircut in Junction Street with the new Turkish guy, I popped in to the Port for a few more. As you do when you're an alkie, and haven't passed out yet. (All this new fitness has pushed the "pass-out point" several pints into the future, by the way. Far more potential for causing havoc, both here and IRL. Scary.)
Decided to sit outside, and mix it up with the smokers. Mary has erected a green canvas fence around her doorway, to keep the smokers corralled. "Grolsch Lager" it says. "Drink Grolsch." No, I thought. I'll stick to my Tennents. T in the Park, T in the gob. You know where you are with chemicals.
Various smokers came out and smoked. Steve n Sharon, GaryD. "What are you doing here, Peter?" they asked. "I'm reclaiming the outdoors for non-smokers," I grandly declared, trying to avoid the vile tobacco fumes. Lindsay the Leith FM Manager of Something or Other came along with Billy her new bf. Seems like a nice boy.
She took a call from a worried radio presenter. "It's your show, honey. Put what you want on it," she said. Class. Earlier I'd been chatting to Wee Robert. He and Stevie Sticks do the most astonishing midnight show you've ever heard. It is cooler than the Antarctic icecap. It is so cool it makes your ears freeze while you listen. It is so cool it could keep an entire Iceland foodstore frozen for three and a half nights. It is so cool it... [That's enough cool, you drunken old soak. Think of something else, why doncha. Ed]
It's A Wonderful World
What's going on in the world while I've not been looking? I hear that big butch Mr Reid has taken over the Homo Office. But they're still giving bail to foreign rapists or summat. My own idea, for what it's worth (which is more than most people's ideas) is that the Home Office is just too big. Police, Law n Order, Immigration, Asylum, Justice... too, too much. They should just build a big Guantanamo Bay. Build it next to Edinburgh Forthside Instant Slums. (Tomorrow's Banana Flats). Put all the suspects there until they confess. Even threaten them with the Port o Leith Bar on a Saturday night if they don't. Sort them out bigtime.
And what about Big Brother?
Some evil commenter, long deleted, suggested I could "screech about Big Brother". Tough one, baby, and you clearly haven't been paying attention. I never, ever write about BB here. Only Sleb BB. Bog standard nutters (like you) I can see every day. But Germaine Greer is a different kettle of fish. And I pay George Galloway's wages. Entitled to see what he gets up to.
Da Vinci Code movie I'm sure I can live without. Seems to be a triumph of hype over content.
Oh, that's enough already. Sitting here trying not to think about immersions. Have a lovely Friday and weekend. It's raining here, but not in my heart.
It's late here - after ten in Bonnie Scotland. Just wanted to say hello, and thanks for having me in your home like this. Can't always be easy... lots of pain, lots of neurosis... selfishness... oh I don't know. Why dwell on the negative?
Just popped my glasses on. Nice to read with two eyes. Got this strangely useful setup that one eye reads close quite well, while the other one does distance. Handy idea - except then you never, ever get binocular vision. It's one or 'tother. Never both - except with glasses, which are nice.
"Copper cylinder and immersion - a hundred and twenty," Tony my IT Manager said this evening in the Port. He'd read the blog. Seen my 900 pound pain. Tony's a property developer also, when he's not being an IT consultant. Kens the cost of water tanks. This cheered me up bigtime.
Stewart offered to drive me to the shop to buy the goods.
Sandra offered me a shower today - which I took - and offered more in future. She even said I could stay there while I get the central heating installed, which is another pipe dream.
Robin offered to look at my tank.
Wee Robert offered to do my rotten window frames.
I am rich in love. Some people seem to like me. Others clearly don't. But I am rich in love.
Thank you if you've read this. What a load of offal. But thanks for having me in your home and on your motherboard for these moments. I think I love you. Soon I will be able to read your blog again. Just now I can't read anything I didn't write myself. Its so bizarre. I read the Guardian today, and laughed at every sentence. Seriously.
They were on about walking. It's all the rage. Well - quelle surprise - seeing as you read it all on here first. Silly little piece - any one of you could do better. Walking and pedometers? Check this from over a year ago. Plus she keeps starting her paragraphs with "And". So silly. So such a cheap point, and.
Tonight in the Regent, before my Arthur's Seat, I met John Hein, the editor of Scotsgay magazine. (A fact, not necessarily a recommendation.) We shook hands. He cupped his ear at my surname, to indicate, "Who?" So I made him repeat his own name.
Great start. I'm totally hopeless with celebrity, me. Even Z-list.
"Do you know that's a time bomb waiting to go off?" my plumber asked me, sternly, pointing at the hot water tank. " - I'm not touching it."
"OK. Thanks." I replied, drily. This was just ten minutes ago.
He said it had no expansion pipe. That whoever had put it in wasn't a plumber. That it had a leak, and he hadn't taken a tool out of his box yet.
"It's worked fine for thirty years," I said, feeling it pointless to pursue this interaction further.
Cost of drama to date: seventy five pounds.
Progress: A nice new piece of flex.
Ways To Go: There are two. The official route would be to buy a new hot water tank. One estimate for this was nine hundred pounds. (And I hardly possess nine hundred pence.) The other would be to find a cowboy. Cowboys can be useful, when they're not shagging up Bareback Mountains. (I'ts out on DVD now. Maybe should give it a whirl, but I've this awful feeling it might just be sanitized porn. Either that or else doing to homosexuality what the Supremes did to black music.) Gays for the masses, like Norton and O'Grady.
Big Straight Al is not a cowboy, but I'm sure he knows a couple. He's not answering his phone though. Maybe he's shagging up a mountain.
(I've stopped feeling emotional about this situation now. It's only money. Lots of money.) And at least it makes a change from all those damn mountains. Something more of you can relate to. Yes - every cloud has a silver lining, n'est-ce pas?
Watts equals volts times amps. (That's a Scotsman, an Italian and a Frenchman by the way. Went into a bar.) Shut up Peter! You're getting hysterical. Stop typing and for once do something with your life. Make some money to buy a new tank, for gawd's sake. You know a new tank is a wonderful thing. You and zoe can sit and look at it. Revel in its fucking newness. Knowing beyond doubt that it'll still be heating water long after you're pushing up the daisies and zoe is a scarf.
Have a wonderful day, everyone. Enjoy your hot water. Splash a little around for me and zoe.
Part of me here says get a PayPal button and see what turns up. (Some of the readers are quite well-heeled.) Another part says that would be crossing a line. (Those well-heeled readers usually have blogs themselves, quid pro quo.) Yet another part says imagine how you'd feel if nobody sent anything. Nada. You know what you're like, even over comments.
The weather is as cold as my water. Brrrr! Soon I will contract pneumonia, I just know it. Already the alopecia is acting up bigtime.
(Those who've missed a day or two will not be aware of Leith's latest must-have gossip - namely that my immersion heater has gone kerput. It is an ex-heater. It has ceased to be (useful). And so on, ad infinitum.)
All this stress is taking its toll already. I truly don't feel able to go to work today - act as if nothing's happened, sort of thing - while all the time radiating smell over my bingo ladies. Smegma.
Terry And Jack
Gay men love houses. After cock, houses are a gay man's favourite thing. "Ooo! Bijou!" they shriek at the latest nick-nack, mentally composing their put-down the moment the hapless hosts are out of sight. But not this queen. That side of things seemed to pass me by. "I think you're in some sort of denial here," someone once said, wrily surveying the detritus in which zoe and I happily wallow. Till someone has to come in, of course. But that only happens once every couple of years. Max.
Do I miss company? Well, of course. Thing is, other people kindly invite you to their houses, and then not unrealistically expect the favour to be returned. But it never is. Can never be. So the expected happens. (This is currently under way with one of my closer friends even as we speak.) I'm pretty cut up.
Thank you for listening thus far. You've been a great help, even thought you don't know it. Now I must away and organise some strong, handsome man to come here and repair my deficiencies. Upgrade my foul existence.
Would Smell As Sweet
Big Dave and Big Straight Al were in the Port yesterday afternoon, when I popped in between electrician visits. What is it about me and big men? Al the plumber explained lots about hot water tanks. Ta, pal. Then Babs came in. And Stewart. I told Stew that the radio station name Leith FM has served its time admirably, but should now go, and something more zippy and less pedestrian/parochial put in its place.
Ocean Radio? Radio Forthside? (Hah!) The possibilities are endless.
It starts on Monday. But I've no time to be terrified, due to emergency of plumbing. To which end, I must now leave you and try not to freeze like a rabbit in a headlight.
So what happens this morning but Andy my electrician and former pupil brings along another. Former pupil. Ostensibly to help, but I'm sure in reality to join in the laughter at the mess. Oh dear me. I can just see it on my obituary.
Someone else who had a nice Times (don't ask. It was all there was left) obit yesterday was Freddie Garrity.
Aha! You're showing your age - or rather lack of it.
"Yooooooo were mayed for meeeeeee, Evrybody tells me sooooooooow Yooooooo were mayed for meeeeeee, Don't pretend that yooooo don't know!"
Oh they don't write them like that any more. Thank God.
I hadn't realised that Freddie, of Freddie and the Dreamers (for it was he), was ten years older than me. Beatles, Stones, etc tend more to the five year mark, those who survive. And my nearest star, chronologically, is la Bowie, at six days younger.
Stuck In A Rut
But back to my electrician. He can't get it out. The old immersion, that is. He said that the grommet melts and turns to glue. I said what can you expect when it's at least thirty years old. Pray I don't need a new tank. Just pray. I truly can't afford one. Plus that would require a plumber too, who I can't imagine will work for nowt. And Big Straight Al is still crocked up.
Last night in the Port was ace. Quiet music, no obvious nutters, and bridge over troubled water with Mary and me against Cad and Black Tony. We played until Cad and Mary couldn't hold off from going outside to smoke. I wandered home at nine-thirty, which is incredibly late for me. It was getting dark, I swear it. Couldn't buy bread or toilet roll.
Oh - I've discovered a wonderful way to lose weight. Have inflamed gums. By the time you've got them brushed and flossed and as near to sterile as you can get a living mouth, there's just no way you're gonna coat 'em with bread and jam, now is there? Rumbletum time.
Took off one and three quarter pounds. My electrician's returning at teatime with a blow torch. Hope he doesn't bring half South Edinburgh with him to blow it.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Look on my mess, ye mighty, and despair.
He can't get it out. The old immersion. He brought this most enormous fuck-off spanner you've ever seen. And it couldn't get it out.
Big Straight Al was in the Port when I went, and he said I could get a new tank for maybe not that much. Oh dearie me. Times a girl feels she would be better off on the streets.
Four Hours Later
And the even further update, the Final Solution - if anyone's still awake - is that he really, really can't do it. Apparently it was twisting the copper collar of the tank. This means it'll never work, and I'll have to get in other people. Plumbers.
My - I'm sure Andrew Marr never has these problems. Six weeks' happiness, walking with Stewart, and of course Nature strikes back. Today's walk was off. Now Thursday's has to be too. Guess I'll never walk again. Some people were just born to be tragic.
Photo of Tony by kind permission of the copyright holder, David Morrison.
Shhhh! I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this. Shortly an electrician will be here to look at my immersion heater. It has ceased to heat (very much), just making a tiny sizzle and then warming the water to roughly the temperature of pee. Just what you don't need, unless that sort of thing lights your fire, to mix a metaphor or two.
(Ever since I learned that NB has become a High School teaching aid, I've had this urge to shove in secret lessons, Lost-style.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes - the water.
Those who've been around for more than a moment (alliteration), will recall that we don't keep a very tidy house (often metaphor, but here to be taken literally), here in Naked Mansions. Oh no. Cleanliness is next to sheer unadulterated fucking boredom. (Developed cliche. Can be fun. But avoid real cliches like the plague. At all costs. (Repetition - but usually works best in lists of three.))
That's enough with the English lessons already! (US Jewish) Get on with it!
The hot water kind of conked out during yesterday's teatime shower. And this morning there was next to nada. Shit! That means (a) expense, and (b) getting the house fit for a tradesman to enter. So I've just had to wash up, as smell was starting in the kitchen, now that the weather's getting milder. In general I wash up about twice a year. For special occasions, sort of thing. Purple Herbal, by Fairy Liquid. I bought the bottle in 1999.
Brown slime was on the tops of the plates, and blue mould underneath them. Some of the mugs were full of slimy grey stuff. All the cutlery was black and slippy. The aluminium sink was stained with brown circles. And the irony of washing up in cold water so that the water might eventually be hot again didn't escape me.
Some things, like hot water, you tend to take for granted. This heater has worked perfectly well for the thirty-plus years I've lived here. And who knows how long before that? It is a good heater. It has done well. It has washed an awful lot of dirt down my various plugholes. If it never heated another calorie then it was surely worth the money it cost.
So I'll keep you posted, coolly.
Festival of Brochure
Much chitter-chatter in the community about the new Leith Festival Brochure. It's blogger paradise, to be honest.
But to avoid offending Tony My IT Manager and other parties, it might be prudent for once simply to shut up. Bet you never thought you'd read that here! (Me, I think it's braw. But then, it's my pal Robin's nip and tat.)
He's been, and gone to buy me a new immersion. Wouldn't it just be my luck to stumble on an ex-pupil electrician? Now all South Edinburgh will hear of my atrocious home. (I made up a fiction that I'd lived away for a year. I could tell he didn't believe one word of it.)
I said he hadn't changed. He said I hadn't either. That much.
McAfee and Me
What is it about McAfee products? Now Priscilla is turning blue again on a regular basis. If it ain't broke, I shouldn't have tried to fix it. It's the Privacy Service seems to be the culprit. Slows things down to reverse. I'll uninstall it. My life is an open book anyway.
"So have you two kissed and made up?" asked Little Alex in the Port yesterday, when Stew and I breezed in after our latest walk. At first I didn't get the meaning, and thought it was just another slice of the recent homophobia a couple of Portslime twats keep flinging in Stew's direction - apropos moi. People who can't see a friendship without making suggestive and destructive comments about it. People who have no interest or pleasure in their own miserable existences, so who set out to tarnish the enjoyment of others. And they know exactly who they are. And Alex isn't one of them.
(Gay readers, and there are a couple, ken fine that the biggest homophobes are those with strong gay tendencies themselves, but who aren't man enough to admit them.)
Get On With It. Take a Joke, Why Don't You?
Right! Enough of the homophobia already!! Tell us what you've been getting up to!!!
Yesterday's walk was in the Moorfoots, I think. (It was Stewart's day to drive the map.) We started at Peebles Hydro Hotel, cheekily parking in one of their generous carparks, then up a back track past an entertaining avenue of hippie cabins. These are people who get away from it all by living with a whole bunch of others the same. Little gardens with windmills in. One home was a railway carriage. One of them was called Fornell n Me. You could almost smell the marijuana and the lost dreams of the sixties.
To an outdoor centre, shuttered up, where we availed ourselves of their garden furniture to enjoy a restorative sandwich and coffee, courtesy of my new unbreakable Thermos.
Away From It All
There are lots of "alternative" communities in the south of Scotland, perhaps one of the most famous being the Buddhist centre at Samye Ling. A lorry crashed into their temple, Stew said, which doesn't sound very karmic. Somebody should write a book about them all, which might sell forty seven copies. But that wouldn't matter, as they'd get a generous grant from the Scottish Arts Council. There you go! You got the idea here!
Oh yes, there's loads of dosh around if you know the right people. Possibly the most significant Scottish literary work these days is the one you're reading, yet Naked Blog takes not one penny of public money. Not one. The very expensive hosting I pay for out of my own pocket. Only in that way can I retain total control and be beholden to no-one.
We Walk The Forest Path
After breakfast we headed off into a forest called Glentress, climbing up to the ruins of a tower. Then higher and higher. Sometimes thick conifers on both sides, sometimes one side or the other was open for viewing. Paths and small signs were everywhere. This is Mountain Bike country, bigtime.
There was another tower, a TV mast, where we stopped for more grub and drinks. Behind us a windfarm, propellors swirling in defiance of Iran. But there are many objectors to windfarms. Many signs saying, "Object to the windfarm before this view is ruined." Yet you notice people always seem happy to have a mobile phone mast, no matter how ugly. Gossip is more important than being able to breathe, clearly. But then gossip is now, and the death of the planet might take a year or two. Rev that Chelsea Tractor!
A couple of hours of ridge walking, with great views to both sides, brought us to a pointy hill called Lee Pen. A steep descent then, over terminal moraine, and we were in the village of Innerleithen, where a restorative pint of two of Bear Ale in the Traquair Arms Hotel, and a chat with owner Jane Rogers, quickly put the wind right back in our sails. Jane said she gets a lot of trade from mountain bikers. I said I thought they were under 18. Jane said she'd thought that too, but they were in their twenties and thirties and took it very seriously.
Next walk is scheduled for Tuesday. Munro country, weather permitting. The west of Scotland has notoriously fickle weather, you know. That's why drinking caught on.
It Pays To Advertise
Especially on fabulous Leith FM. Oh - you're far too late to sponsor Stew's and my show (Two Grumpy Old Men), but there are still lots of slots for you to invest in. OK - it's not exactly Sky One, but then it's not exactly their rates, either. Nowhere near, in fact.
Phone Lindsay or Stewart (yes, that Stewart) on 0131 308 9636, or email leithfm [AT] hotmail.co.uk
Say you saw this on Naked Blog, and qualify for an exclusive ten percent discount!
"So you're not committed," Stewart said, as he folded his piece of paper and put it away. We were in the Port, just an hour ago. "We need to discuss our radio show," Stew had said.
Me I demurred. "Do we really need to discuss it - right now?" I asked, pointedly. Like - here I am having not too bad a time, and the last thing I want to discuss is a fucking radio show.
He brought out a scrap of paper. Guest list. His personal guests for our show. On it were a handful of Port o Leith smokers - and a similar number of local politicians whom nobody's heard of, and even fewer could care less about.
"I'll have the first half hour," he said. "Then we'll merge for a bit. And you can have the last half hour." He fixed Tel with a glance, nodding in my direction. "I'm the heavyweight here, while you..." He left it open.
"While I actually have Kylie on my segment," I replied, oleaginously. "She's desperate to talk about her breast cancer treatment. And then Madonna - on why she really doesn't care that much for Dean in The Village. I'm thinking of Tom Hanks too, what with the Da Vinci Rosslyn connection and all..."
They laughed. All around laughed.
"This is gonna be cutting edge radio," Stewart declared. "Now that we've got the licence there will be no boundaries. Nobody phoning up saying cool it." (He meant you-know-who.)
I told him he'd got three POL jokers, three politicians wanting re-election, and two old geezers (him and me) still clinging on to the idea of a belated showbiz career. "None of it's gonna happen, Stew," I said to him. "You can count the listeners to community radio on one hand. It's like blogging. Only any use if an established medium picks it up."
And Make It Snappy
David Morrison came in. "Black Tony was looking for you," I said. "Then why was he talking to you?" was Mr Morrison's answer. "Maybe because he's known me almost two decades," was my reply. And later I told DM What I thought of his attitude.
The radio starts up in thirteen days. Leith FM6. I haven't one single clue, and even less interest. Anybody know any fascinating guests? But I have to tell you, if it's not about me then I'm really faking it. Can't remember when I last met anyone as interesting as me. Truly.
Oh - and unless one or two more of you develop the manners to drop a sentence in the comment box, then it's bye-bye baby for this free gravy train as well.
Couple of months ago I wrote to you about my purchase of a new McAfee Security Center (sic), and how it wouldn't install, and therefore I missed the last Scottish Blogmeet through anger and depression. (This was a shame, as it was just before my very brief celebrity flickered out and thrust me back in to deserved obscurity.)
Then Priscilla my computer (I thought) gobbled the post.
But no! Twas the mighty Blogger itself, having a gobble. Gobbly, wobbly and deleting posts on a global basis. Such power. Even radio stars like zed lost "a whiny post", as I recall her describing it. And you just don't mess with zed.
Well, of late Priscilla has been behaving in exemplary fashion. An example. Speedy, for a 333, and almost never throwing up a bluey. So last night I thought I'd have another bash at installing the McAfee.
And it installed a treat.
Good stuff? Well, not really.
I now possess a Privacy feature which makes it take five minutes to load Windows, plus I have to press CTRL to access my comment boxes. Plus there's a Spamkiller which looks on helplessly and does nothing at all. Even to pretty obvious spam like "Lolita Pus$y" Or "Confirm your account details".
Total wastes of money those, then.
Those Broadband Blues, Baby
And then at half six (pussy time, remember) half six this morning my Telewest Broadband goes on the blink, doesn't it. Literally the blink, as the green "Online" light flashes on and off in its clinically desultory fashion.
But it's all back now. Incidentally, if you want to see what Telewest engineers are up to, go on MSIE, File, Open, and type 192.168.100.1 into the URL box.
(Naked Blog and its subsidiaries worldwide accept no liability whatever for any loss or damage resulting from this action, or indeed any action at all.)
It's a result! Below thirteen stones again today, the first time since March 19. (This is not the world's fastest weightloss programme.) Take a little off, put a little on. No wucking furries.
This is thus not that startling a thing to mention. Except for one discovery which really did cheer me up.
My ambition was to lose a stone. (Fourteen pounds. It's how we do things here.) And all this time I've been thinking I'd have to hit something like 12st 11lb to achieve that. But no! On August 8 last year I officially clocked up 13st 13 and three-quarters.
And today? 12st 13 and three-quarters. And you don't have to be called Einstein or Vorderman to note that is a loss of one stone precisely. At the third stroke. I have lost a stone! Cinderella shall go to the ball!
Yay me. And here's to the second stone, as and when. That first one only took 281 days. Which works out at four fifths of an ounce a day. Or twenty grammes, as they say in Belgium. Not a lot, but I did it anyway.
Right. The sun is out now, if rather pale and interesting, and I must repair to the alehouse to get you some gossip. Last time I was in the Port I had to run out the door because of ear-splitting din from the jukebox. "It's Shaun Ryder," Stevie Sticks said to Big Straight Al. "I don't care wtf it is," I chipped in. "It's fucking shite and I'm not having it."
That pub used to have such style, back in Mary's early days. At the Flotterstone there's no music at all. Just birdsong and a stream. Bliss.
Me, I rarely buy newspapers. Because they're shite. Can do better myself, usually do, and here's the proof. Plus you can almost get a pint of Tennents finest for what they asked for an Observer yesterday. (I was stuck at work between shifts, and there was no-one within thirty years of me to talk to.) One pound sixty.
Turned first to the magazine Observer Women. (I would never read a magazine called Anything Men. Football, cars and poledancers. Vomit on all three.)
And what should be in Observer Women but six, yes six, pages about Kate Moss.
WHO THE FUCK CARES ABOUT KATE MOSS?
It said she gives no interviews, and this adds to her allure. (What allure? To whom is she alluring?) Mebbe she gives no interviews because she has nothing to say. Does nothing except pick outfits and put them on. Exists purely and simply to be photographed. Like all models, of all genders, she is a cypher. A big skinny zero.
Now, when I were a lad I wanted to be like Mick Jagger. As much like Mick Jagger as possible. But there's one huge mother of a difference here. Jagger wrote and performed songs, and fronted arguably the world's second biggest band. Ever.
Moss does nothing. Except lines of cocaine, apparently.
Models are shite. As is the Observer for charging me one pound sixty to read about one.
(Oh - and the lead story in the main Observer Magazine is about some other skinny bitch who's written a book about rich New Yorkers. Victoria Sykes. What has happened to the world while I wasn't looking? Is there anything left except dumbness? Does no-one at all care about the nature of the universe?)
Zoe's just jumped off me knee and left a whole mushroom cloud of hair in the air. I swear that cat is a wholesale hair factory these days. How long does this go on for? Fortunately she loves getting combed, so that lifts some of it. Plus I rubber brush her bedding and platforms which picks up cupfuls more. I'm thinking of making a little pillow out of it. Thank God I've stopped sneezing over all this, as there'd be nothing left of me. Skinny as Kate Moss.
Just woken from the most vivid dream. I don't normally have them these days, what with Furry Madam pinging the upholstery at anything from about five am onwards. (You can train a cat not to do things. But you can never train it not to wake you. Think about it... )
Anyway. Fuck Furry Madam - I'm going back to sleep. And I did. In glorious technicolor. Somebody sent me a text consisting entirely of pictures of vegetables. I got Melon... Cauli... and then the dream moved on. Upstairs in the bus there were two handsome guys behind me. One smallish, one biggish. Only when they stood up to leave did I notice they were handcuffed together. The small one was the cop. The big one kissed me as he went past. He looked a bit like Tel. I was shocked, but not unpleasantly. Criminals can be so interesting. I've known loads.
It was the last night at the bingo, due to it closing. Although my night off, I decided to get togged up and go in to show face, say goodbye to the old dears, sort of thing. I put on a blue suit, with blue tartan waistcoat and a yellow tie. Looked fab, even though I say it myself. Good thing about dreams is you don't need a mirror. Only a pedant would insist on finding a mirror in a dream.
The boss was there. And his boss. And loads of gear, boxed up. While I was calling my last ever page for them, they were carrying stuff down the aisles in more boxes. It was pandemonium. My bingo ladies stood up and threw their books at the accountants. Me I was almost in tears at the inappropriateness of it all.
Then zoe pinged really damn loud, and it was over for another night.
Yesterday was an unaccustomed Saturday off, due to my kindly agreeing to work today for a colleague instead. So he can get back from wherever he is. I didn't ask. The young do get around.
The gloriousness has returned. "But we had a lovely May," they'll all be saying, later in the year, when the sere fingers of autumn tighten their grip, and the hot water bottles get taken down and dusted off again. "May was really lovely. Do you remember it?"
Yesterday I forgot my PIN number in the Regent. It was so embarrassing. And so scary, in an Alzheimer way. I was with Richard the drama teacher. He gave me a fiver of his own to pay with, but his face spoke volumes. It spoke, "This guy has sunk so low he's trying to con this money out of me." I sat down, flummoxed and confused. It was just the third digit which had me beat. I was fairly confident of blah, blah, something, blah. Could it be zero? Surely not. Zero is never a PIN. But it was. So now you know.
Richard had his Dell laptop, to avail himself of the Regent WiFi facility. I'd never seen a laptop that close, and never seen WiFi at all. Sometimes the Regent is more like a library, with this one and that one all hunched over their laptops. The antithesis of what a pub is meant to be for, if you think about it. Struck dumb in the midst of the most powerful two way communication since speaking caught on.
Oh how the young do isolate themselves in cocoons. No wonder they murder for a phone.
I can't say I was that impressed with laptop WiFi, to be honest. Naked Blog took at least a minute to create, and half the flickr pictures were missing even after that. Christine the barlady rebooted the WiFi. Ingrid quite liked her picture.
When I remembered the zero, it was such sweet relief to pay my bill properly, and refund Richard his kind loan. Wow. Won't forget that one again in a hurry.
Thicker Than Water
Earlier, Stewart texted me from the top of Meall nan Tarmachan. (Hill of the Ptarmigan.) He was with his brother, doing a family outing. "At the top, but we've lost the dog," he texted. "Congratulations. Zoe says find the dog," I texted back. It was a Munro. The thing he's been wanting to do since we started. An hour later he texted, "Oh shit", and I knew he was at the dangerous ridge. I texted back be careful, but that was a bit daft, as the phone going off might make him fall off.
Me, I had to content myself with Arthur's Seat. Didn't get it together enough to make the Pentlands. But I photoed them from Arthur. Three nice young black people were at the top, from London. Very chatty. Later I wondered if they were a band. "Do you live here?" one of the two women asked. "Can't you tell that by the grin on his face," laughed the guy. I pointed them to the Pentlands. Said that was where they should head next time. The other woman asked about grips on your shoes. I said you could get a half decent pair of grippy shoes from TK Maxx for twenty quid. (But if she's really a pop star then the price wouldn't matter, I thought later.)
Had an in-depth talk with Fiona, back at the Regent. She kept talking about Male to Female transgender operations. I said there was no operation yet invented which could turn a male into a female. She agreed, but said well if it makes them feel better. I said I'd never thought of that.
I took loads of pictures. The park is green now, briefly, before going sere again in July. Masses of yellow flowers, but I don't know if they're gorse or broom or whin. Is there a botanist in the house? The scenery's so fucking fabulous, the pictures practically throw themselves into the camera. J'adore digital photography.
(Pictures after I've watched Andrew Marr.)
Andrew Marr Update:
A Mr Tuttle, the US ambassador, was on. He can't pronounce "nuclear" correctly. Says "nucular", just like his boss. And Homer Simpson. He says he won't pay London congestion charges because they're a tax, and diplomats don't pay taxes. Wee Andy said the charge was a toll not a tax, and diplomats do pay tolls. They differed on that semantic point.
Later, Nicola Benedetti was on. She played the Paganini South Bank Show thing, and then it got harder, and she fluffed just one bounce of her spiccato. The cameras were working overtime to show what she a hot chick she is. Cute ass in white jeans. Gap at the midriff. White stillies. More hardons than Natasha Kaplinsky.
You heard of Nicola Benedetti first here, in March, 2004. And Franz Ferdinand here, a few months later that year. We might be quite old, relatively, but we don't miss an important trick.
Doggy In The Window
Here's a branch of the Bank Of Scotland in Holyrood Road which seems so dog-friendly they don't even allow humans. I blame the schools, personally.
(Still my favourite, "Always Read The Label", takes some beating for sheer stupidity. And it's absolutely everywhere.)
Yesterday dawned glorious again. It's been wall-to-wall glore for quite a few days now. But all good things come to my end, as they say, and this great weather was forecast to finish yesterday teatime.
And I was off work. Day off. I have several. Comes with being old and not desirous of monetary riches.
So the Pentlands beckoned again. (We're having a Pentland Week as Stewart's car, essential for further afield, is in dock awaiting a hose. That hose will literally cost more than the car did! Stew loves a bargain.) (He got his Senior Citizen bus pass yesterday also. Showed me it in the new Nobles Bar that evening. But we musn't get out of synch. This isn't Lost. It's much better.)
He phoned about 9.30. I was kinda expecting it, but I'd decided that even though there'd never be 11 April 2006 again, that this day would soon be gone for ever, I really really should rest my legs and knees. Really. Should. Soreish. Stiffish. And you only get one pair of knees Mother Brown.
But fuck it! You'll never get strong knees sitting on the couch! Half an hour later I was in the bathroom scrubbing off the biggest of the smells and boiling water for my new metal unbreakable Thermos. (Practically unbreakable.) Would hot coffee on the hills be a blessing or a curse? Might it bring on some terminal tachycardia, leaving me melting in the heather and bracken, beetle-food, Robin Cook style? Without even his ugly face to scare off the sheep?
And - most important of all - dare I go it alone? Sans Stewart? Only one way to find out, gentle reader.
Access All Areas
Where Edinburgh ends to the south, the Pentland Hills begin. So far, so simple. But it isn't - simple - because between houses and hills is one mother of a by-pass. (Freeway, Autobahn, sort of thing.) So you need a crossing. And they're limited. Won't bore you with the details, but three times now we've had crossing problems in the Swanston, Dreghorn and Bonaly areas. Fine for the leaflets to say, "Take a Bus To Enjoy The Pentlands!" But they don't tell you what to do when you're dropped off in the middle of Stepfordville with the zooooom, zooooom, zooooom of trucks whizzing past the only sound.
The hills were pretty boring, so I won't. Well, not boring, possibly, but not anything you could really put in to writing. Stew was at the Carlops end, while I hung mostly near Flotterstone again. I'm not nearly as adventurous as him. He confessed later on that he's got almost a fetish for finding the new all the time. Me, I prefer to consolidate the old. So I'm now reasonably well versed in the Hillend and Flottersone environs. Plus I love to sink a pint or three in the sun, come midday.
Is That A Gun In Your Pocket?
Oh - I had another shit. In Phantom's Cleugh. Worked fine again. This time I tucked the paper down in to a rabbit hole. Stew said you should always do it near a stream, so you can wash your bottie and hands. Good thinking. There was a near-constant rat-tat-tat from the Castlelaw firing range. Troops In Training. "Wish I was 19 again. I'd soon give them some training," I laughed with Rex in the Port, later. "My dear - I think you've done your bit in your time," he retorted. If only he knew the half of it.
Big Straight Al was there too, and Craig. We discussed a matter, and I presented my defence. Later I popped in to the new, posh Nobles Bar in Constitution Street. "No smoking, no mobiles, no cameras, no hawkers," it said on a brass sign outside. Glen was there, and Stevie Olsen. "I thought they were trying to keep trash out of here," I declared, perhaps not very friendly. Stewart came in and we compared our days. His was a bit better, I think.
Hi to Miss Scott and get well soon from all at Naked Blog.
Who should be sitting in the Port yesterday afternoon but Little Alex, Ashley, and Kevin TSG. Kevin was just back from Iceland, but it was very expensive. Dinner for him and his mate was two hundred and thirty quid. Yes, you read that right. A pint was seven pounds. He said he loved the scenery, but he'd never go back. You had to wait five minutes for this geyser to go off. Some of the old dears never got off the bus because it was a bit steep.
Ars Gratia Artis
Later, Kinnon came in. "Is there any archive feature on Naked Blog?" he asked, the meaning of the question eluding me. "It only goes back to 1997," I replied, still not cottoning on. He must think I'm a right Dodo. It's just that in the fast-moving world of personality blogging I can't possibly remember every little snippet and nugget that slips out.
Kinnon - your fifteen minutes are here. Fissures of men. See also the debate in the comment box beneath it. We do take privacy matters very seriously. What you should not do is listen to my petty little critics in the Port. People who couldn't write two sentences to save themselves. Enjoy. I hope it's got better and I owe you a pint. Sorry I can't afford Tracy Temple fees.
And now sit back everyone and inhabit last night's tale of people and places...
I shouldn't be sitting here, writing to you like this.
It's nine in the evening, and Lost 3 will be on in less than an hour. Then Lost 4 on Channel E4. It's so demanding, keeping cool and in touch with the media.
Hills Are Alive
"There's always wind in a bealach," said Stewart yesterday as he sat on a stile and opened his lunch. We'd done Caerketton (climbed up from Hillend, and no - we didn't take the ski-lift - and then Allermuir (trig point), and it was time for some semi-serious sustenance. A bealach is that bit between two hills where the ground slopes off in both directions perpendicularly. Think saddle.
And there's always wind in a bealach.
Later, maybe one hour later, we were sitting in the supreme comfort of the Flotterstone Inn. (Naked Blog Stars = 5/5) Stewart chose Vegetable Lasagne, while I plumped for the Caesar Salad with Bacon. Such a handsome young man behind the bar. Normally a Caesar with bacon or chicken gets you nothing more than a few measly animal shavings - some creature DNA - but this one contained half a pig. I truly do swear it.
But - you could have drizzled our salads with Chef's Special Caesar Sauce, when who should turn up at our garden table but Roddy the Tree Surgeon. And his red-haired (flame, actually), lady called Kim.
"Do you two know each other?" asked Stewart, with impeccable manners. (Manners are so disappeared these days, doncha just think?)
"Well, yes we know each other quite well," I quickly replied. "Roddy was once a Hunk Of The Week on Naked Blog."
I turned to Kim then, quickly, sensing she'd not have a clue what was going on. "Did you know your bf was a model?" I asked her. " - On a gay website?" (Nothing like going for the jugular.) But Kim rallied spectacularly. She's a landscape gardener. Earth Designs. What a soil-based couple! It was all very wonderful. Kim is from Roslin, so knows Big Straight Al very well. He is her friend.
More About Al
Later, back in the Port, who should be there but that very Big Straight Al. (If you remember, Al fell out of a tree, and was seriously injured.) He'd just been back in the Edinburgh Royal, getting the infection wicked out of his wounds. He said the infection made him feel so ill. I said the ERI is a filthy hole. He said he'd lived his childhood playing in the Pentland Hills. I said it was such a shame we had two walking sticks hanging from the bar between us.
Now, dear reader, let me abandon style and artifice here, and just say how very sad I felt, as Al pored excitedly over the Explorer Map, stabbing it with his finger... "I used to play here... Here you'll get the best view ever of the stars... I spent my childhood here.... sometimes I got into trouble for being so far from home... "
And all the time those grey plastic and metal crutches between us - symbol of what might be again, but then again might not.
Al, I salute you, sir.
I told him he'd come on one of our mountain walks some day. He said he would definitely do that.
This segment has been removed after representations.
Apologies to all affected. I misread the permissions. Most times we get it right, but this time clearly not.
Earlier, back on the hill, Stewart waved some toilet paper at me, which I gathered meant he was having a shite. Kinda felt like one myself too at that juncture, so - gazing round and noting there was not one soul for at least three miles - I squatted over the bracken and opened up. After first spreading the feet a bit. And pulling the jeans forward, to make clear room for the faecal matter. This was new and very exciting.
Earth to Earth
Well - after a silent splat, with no splash at all - suddenly there was my creation. Adorning the vegetation. Garnish. Not so much a turd as more like half a tin of thick tomato soup, to be honest.
Wiped my little bottom with toilet paper, then washed the wiping fingers with drinking water. It seemed strange, so wrong, leaving shitty white toilet paper fluttering in the wilderness breeze. But then again it was only tissue, and come the first rain it'll be history.
Saturday, Little Alex and Craig the barman are coming up Ben Lawers with us. Munro. Generation Game. I bought a metal Thermos from the Co-op tonight. Eight quid. Impressive. I'll check it overnight.
Oh, I swore I'd never watch it again. So totally pissed off at the ending to Series One I said that's it. Lost can continue without this viewer.
But of course it can't.
Tuesday evening, just in from the pub (quelle surprise), what should I notice but the long-awaited Series Two had started and I'd missed the first six minutes. In Lost, six minutes are vital. So I waited for the repeat, which was last night.
Oh. My. Thespian Aunt.
Lost does more with time than Doctor Who could begin to imagine. Forwards, backwards, silly wigs on and off Jack's splendid head... you name it. They even did Jack's arrival down the shaft twice... once with Kate watching, and once without. No, you weren't deja vu-ing. I checked the tape. (Talking of Doctor Who, isn't this latest one just such a daft wee laddie? Ecclestone gave the doctor balls. David Tennant looks like he's handled quite a few himself.) Nothing wrong with that, of course.
Yes... Locke, Jack and Kate are down the shaft now. Where they meet Desmond, played with a voice either Scottish or Northern Irish. Not sure. But that's not important, as this guy has already appeared to Jack in a pre-cognition. Or something.
Meanwhile, all at sea, Mike and Sawyer are adrift on an increasingly frail bamboo raft, battered as it is by the obligatory shark. Josh Holloway hams it up like a bacon buttie as he yanks a bullet out of his shoulder without a Class A in sight - rolling his eyes like the front of a number seven bus. I tell you. This episode came perilously close to comedy. Mike, the black dad, never did act much anyway, so no change there then.
My current view is that the Island is a plague pit and a drug trial. (Note Desmond injecting himself with official-looking serum at the beginning.) The reason both Claire's baby and now the youngster Walt have variously been snatched will be to farm some of their Human Growth Hormone. The Others will be people with Delta 32 mutation, who've spontaneously recovered from the plague, and now gone feral. Like south Edinburgh. The reason everybody gets better from everything is that they've sprayed the place with Miracle-Gro, to help the trial subjects get better. (And don't overlook the white bear toy that Mike gives to the infant Walt.) I'm sure you didn't. Overlook that.
So dear reader, as you can see, we're hooked again and loving it!
Episodes One and Two are repeated (yet again) on Channel Four at six tonight. Episode three on E4 at ten.
Month or so ago we offered you a nice Bird Flu joke. Imagine my surprise to see it in the latest edition of New Scientist magazine! (I read it in the Regent. Classy joint, I'm telling you.) Naked Blog - read by scientists and adored by millions.
Oh, and talking of pubs, I must apologise to Jacks and Chav Gav at The Village. I popped in for one after work last night, and one was all it turned out to be. No - 'twas nothing anyone said, and certainly not the lovely kisses from both Chav Gav and the newly-bald Claire. No, it was a severe case of "ear-abuse" from that ghastly record that was on. And on, and on, and on, and on. Madonna? It made me feel like vomiting, I'm sorry. Almost physically ill. What a relief at the Regent where they play one record, and then another one, and so on, sequentially. And quietly.
The Village has a newly-refurbished lounge, currently sporting a photo exhibition by some local snapper. (Not David Morrison this time.) Dude seems to like putting patterns on nude women. And why not. ("I'm so sick of cubes on my tits darling. Can't I be Paisley for a change?") Typical price 80 odd quid.
Hi to Miss Scott in the English Department. Things I could tell you about Ian Paterson when he was young...
I've just had a Tuna Pasta Bake from Iceland. It was horrible.
This just in overnight, from Brett in Florida, by the miracle of electronic communication:
You really are an inspiration. I envy you your mountains. Many years ago I camped and hiked from West Texas up through Northern New Mexico and the Southern Rockies. It's been too long.
I am not twenty paces, but still only twenty miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and I never go there anymore. It's too depressing. The seafood restaurants and oyster houses on the coast were destroyed by Hurricane Dennis. And we had great oysters this season. I just ate them in town.
While you've been climbing I've been pruning my overgrown hedge of azaleas. Took a week off from work, only to suffer a bad allergic reaction to the high pollen count. Pecan tree tassels, I think, seeing the evil things on the ground, each one outlined by a toxic yellow puff of pollen. My sinuses were so blocked that I was cross-eyed with a headache. It has been very dry, and that makes it worse. Today we finally had some rain, which I hope will clear the air.
Gin and cukes? Interesting. There's an asian salad I like, cucumber thinly sliced, marinated in rice wine vinegar.
That's it for me. Carry on, Peter, and report back to us.
Stewart was sixty yesterday, and despite talking about it so much over recent weeks, I almost forgot. But not quite. "Hiya. Oldman," I texted at teatime from the Ocean Bar, as I gazed forlornly at the Gregor Shore desecration.
"I'm gonna climb Arthur's Seat," he texted back in a flash.
"Want company?" I suggested. "I'm right nearby and got a camera." (A man's birthday ascent needs recording. Here it is.) Am I getting camper or what?
Earlier there'd been much laughter with Babs in the Regent, as I discovered a whole new bad habit of gin and cucumber. You're meant to have the cucumber with some posh gin called Hendrick's, but it works just as good with cheapo gin. Try it. You won't be disappointed!
Here's the lovely barmaid Ingrid pouring me my gin and cucumber. See what a long shadow my little straw doth cast on her. Waxing metaphorical!
Babs chatted to this other woman outside for a smoke, as they do these days. Honestly - the smokers have all the fun, I can tell you. While us nons and exes sit staring at our lonely pints. "How did you two meet?" the woman asked on their return, which was a bit cheeky, I thought.
"We were secret lovers twenty years ago," I began. "But now we're much happier as friends. That's right, innit Babs?" Babs nodded. Carol - for that was her name - was a bit startled, but rallied. So I pressed further.
"Babs had just left school at the time, and I was what was it... thirty one?"
"Thirty eight," Babs said, joining in the fiction.
Carol looked quite uncomfortable now. She had shades on top of her head, which is always the sign of a woman in search of a millionaire. She said you can tell what a pub's like by the people smoking outside it. She said the Artisan Bar was dreadful. She asked us if we'd heard of the landlady of the Port o Leith Bar. We confessed our "romance" was sheer fiction, and I told her I was gay as a coot. (But most people work that out for themselves.) I dunno. When I was nineteen they used to tell me I was straight-acting. (They used to tell me almost anything to get into my knickers.)
And that is the story of yesterday, in reverse order. Have a lovely weekend. I hope to.
My body feels different, tingly. Like it's becoming something it was always meant to be, but couldn't be. Then. But can now. Free from restraints - except the odd loaf. And occasional fish. Nescafe Gold Blend.
I walk the forest path, bigtime, baby. Watch that last comma! Releasing my inner creature - the cells that hunt and gather. Not read and play tetris. Not agonise on relationships lost.
Because there's a bigger relationship - mighty to dwarf those human angsts. Join me.
We decided against Ben Lawers yesterday, as Munro country had mucho rain forecast. So we went south to the Moorfoots and Moffat. (My God - I've just noticed the homophony there. The things you learn on Naked Blog. Exploring the vocabulary.)
Anyway - there's much you can read about our walk, without me making any more effort than to point you to this Google page. Any of the first four links will serve you well.
I particularly liked...
"On a visit to Loch Skeen, Sir Walter Scott was thrown from his horse into a peat bog. Despite this unfortunate introduction, he was so inspired by the landscape that he later described the scene in his poem Marmion."
Residents of these pairts will also know of the Marmion pub in south Edinburgh, scene of a recent gangland shooting. Awesome. I tell you it's not safe to leave the house these days.
Oh - and we circled Loch Skeen, ascending a hill called Loch Craig Head (2632 ft). There was wind, rain and much bog underfoot. (But none of us had a horse.) The path up beside the waterfall to get to this loch is fucking terrifying, and I'm already having my regulation nightmares. "There's about one fatality a year from that path," Jean the landlady of the Tibbie Shiels Inn told us later. "Only one?" I quietly mused. (But I know I've used the term "certain death" in this weblog too much in the past.)
At the Grey Mare's Tail you might get half a second to cling on to some rotting vegetation and scream, before it gave way and plunged you into a spine-snapping, skull-mincing crevasse. The best that could be said is that it would be quick, there'd be no drain on the overstretched NHS, and of course you'd have died in a beauty spot.
Isn't it hilarious about Charles Clarke and John Prescott? I'dd never thought of John Prescott and Bill Jefferson Clinton in the same sentence before, but they're now united. By blow job under the desk, it would seem. Why do women do that?
(Although clearly I can sympathise much more with Clinton in his heyday.)
"Do you find this offensive?" Tony my IT manager asked in the Port tonight, slipping me a folded A4 sheet. On the front of this - it was a brochure - was a devil picture with horns, and on the back an ad for Gregor Shore's housing on the waterfront. Edinburgh Forthside. Executive slums.
The paper was the artwork for this year's Leith Festival brochure.
"Yes Tony, very offensive," I replied. "Edinburgh Forthside has succeeded where the Nazi bombs failed. Environmental rape." (Slip a quid or two to the peasants as you laugh all the way to the bank. And the suckers fall for it every time.)
Devil's In The Detail
But no - I'd got it all wrong. It was the front I was meant to be commenting on, not the back. "Don't you see the nipple?" Little Alex asked me then. Oh my god. Yes - there was a nipple above the devil picture. Pierced nipple - how disgusting. "It's Robin!" Alex told me, laughing into his pint. (Robin - don't call me gay I'm bisexual.)
Oh dear me. The things we start here on Naked Blog.
They wouldn't allow me access to the artwork to bring you the finished product, but here - taken wiv me own Fuji Finepix, is Robin - don't call me gay, I'm bisexual, featuring nipples and devils.
Clearly someone's decided that pierced nipples and tattoos are what Leith is all about.
"Beats a middle class dude cycling along with a viola strapped to his back," said Cad, who incidentally came up with a much better title for this segment, but sadly I can't remember. (Bevvy.)
Hills Are Alive
Tomorrow it's Ben Lawers or maybe Meall a' Choire Leith. Munros. 1000 metres - mas o menos. Me and Stew and Big Dave. Not a piercing in sight. There is much interest in the pub about the new mountain work - as we strut our fitness that they just haven't got.
Next week Little Alex has booked his place. He needs the training - for his new job. (It's still secret, but think desert.)
It seems Naked Blog almost cost Leith Festival a sponsorship from Gregor Shore Builders (as above). Shame. But they really should be more choosey who they take their money from. Any nice rubbish operators on the line? Stewart says rubbish is totally run by gangsters. (Naked Blog contains my own personal views on a whole range of matters, and is not connected to any other organisation.)
PS: The mocked-up brochure at the head of this article took about 8 minutes to prepare, and - even at an exorbitant pound a minute - I'd be hard pressed to charge more than eight pounds for it. I do hope Leith Festival aren't being stung for much more than that. Next time see me first.