Blogspot seems to be broken. Could be an ill wind though. Mebbe I'll get some returners - those who've long deserted my senile croaks for younger, brighter stars. One once was a supernova you know - the biggest bang in the universe. But now I think "black hole" might be a more appropriate cosmology.
Sitting here in me jamas, waiting for the replacement GPS to arrive. (It didn't arrive yesterday.) Rather, at quarter past four there came an update on the parcel tracking screen (isn't technology marvellous... you know exactly when and why your parcel didn't arrive) telling me, "Delivery failed. Left card." Well, it didn't, and they didn't. The English simply don't understand Scottish housing. So today I've sellotaped a clear and present sign pointing to the correct button. Of only nine. This ain't no ghetto, you know.
Switched on BBC Breakfast for the weather report (there was a song about that once...) only to see Doctor Rosemary banging her gums about some wonder drug for stopping smoking. It's the best yet. Like every other one, then. And it only costs one hundred and sixty quid of your - yes your - money so these damn addicts can once again fail to stop, then go on bleating how they've... " - tried everything, and nothing ever works. Hack. Cough. Spit."
Then she came out with that old chestnut about how many billions smoking costs the NHS every year.
What little it does cost (a few cheap antibiotics for bronchitis, the occasional lung yanked out in a routine op) is more than paid for by tobacco tax. More than. Make no mistake - cigs are a net earner, huge earner, for the exchequer. That's the only reason they didn't ban them years ago. Think about it. And recall the words of "Doctor" John Reid, when he was Health Secretary, urging people to keep on smoking. At least he was (fiscally) honest.
Princes Street, Stopping At The Central Bar. Ding! Ding!
Edinburgh's trams seem to be in a perpetual on/off state. Like Schrodinger's cat, they're both dead and alive at the same time. Alex Salmond, our shiny but tiny First Minister, asks the very valid question of how the disgraced former Edinburgh Council could spend 100 million quid on trams without having a single thing to show for it. This town has more plots than the Royal Shakespeare Company, I swear to God.
You can listen to Leith FM here, should you wish. I'm not on it, so the appeal can only be limited. (Seems to be bust already. Was working this morning fine.)
Well, it never happened for me, either. Vividly I remember forty years ago trying to break that very record over my then partner's head. Have you ever tried to break a 45 single? Over someone's head? They just don't smash. Dinnae. As a demonstration of anger this totally failed, so I switched to a shellac LP of Brahms' Violin Concerto. The madder I got, the more he laughed. Love! Dinnae gie's it, pal.
Yesterday was more listening than talking - first with Sandra and then Chav Gav. Both at times of change. Both much loved.
BEGINS AT HOME
Sandra and I eventually found our way to Stockbridge, Edinburgh's Charity Shop Boulevard. There are so many charity shops there that the ordinary shops, the ones trying to make a profit, have all gone out of business. Tough. Have another million from public funds.
I got some shirts, a fawn waistcoat, and - ta-da - a Saturday Night Fever t-shirt in bright orange! GET DOWN it says, and has a Travolta-like silhouette. So very retro. Just like me. Which reminds me - we're having a Caribbean Beach Party at work on Sunday. It was a toss-up between Caribbean theme and Sergeant Pepper. Helpfully I suggested "Sergeant Pepper Does The Caribbean", but that hasn't apparently happened. Strictly speaking it's my day off, but I might pop in for an hour - wiggle me grass skirt at the bingo ladies.
Sandra bought baby Chloe a summer outfit, and I found her a bijou Russian Army jacket, complete with Red Star badge. Well - Little Alex her dad is Russian, so she musn't forget her heritage. It's got a wee Velcro pocket for her stash.
Sandra dropped me off, and I took the clothes to the Port for Alex. Juicy was there, and Big Straight Al, who took my number and threatened to phone me. Ooo la la.
ALL YOU NEED IS SPEED...
Sitting here in me jamas, waiting for the replacement GPS to arrive. I might have to take this afternoon off work to make sure I get it, as it's a "before six" delivery. Normally I happily pay a supplement to get goods earlier in the day, thus avoiding fucking up my employer. But with this being a replacement I had to take it on their terms. I phoned my boss last night.
OK then - which of you speedfreaks watched the movie Spun on ITV2 ? It's been on twice, and as drug movies go it's the bees knees. Recommended. Especially for those who've ever taken a stimulant drug. Even more especially for anyone speeding off their tits while they watch it. Think updated Drugstore Cowboy - with methamphetamine rather than smack. There are Mickey Rourke, Peter Stormare and Deborah Harry - but the stars are unknown twenty-somethings. That and the editing, which beautifully conveys a speed hit. And boy do these characters knock some back! Spun. (Some tasty totty too, for those who like that sort of thing.)
Well, there's no shortage of nostalgia on air at present.
Only last Saturday I was enthusing about the BBC series Seven Ages of Rock, and purring with delight at an entire hour of 1960s pop classics.
Then on Tuesday Andrew Marr extended his reach from that tired old Sunday Morning formula (I've said it before, and I'll say it again - they should get Russell Brand to present a decent, non-BB show) to a documentary called History of Modern Britain.
But what had we to wallow in last night? Children's TV in the early 50s, that's what. The much-vaunted "golden age" of Flowerpot Men, Muffin The Mule, et al, et al. It's on BBC Four all week - Children's TV on Trial.
The fifties were all down to Freda Lingstrom, apparently. She created not just The Flowerpot Men, but Andy Pandy as well. Eat your heart out, JK Rowling! Miss Lingstrom was a spinster who ruled the BBC with a rod of iron and lived with another woman all her life. But she wasn't a lesbian, said her adopted daughter. Definitely wasn't that.
Children's TV in the early days was popular with teachers, parents and politicians. The only people who didn't seem impressed were actual children. They responded much better to the later ITV output, with its American dramas and cartoons. (Lingstrom had banned cartoons from the BBC as not being educational enough. Out went even Disney.)
This is all well and good. But do you know what surprised me the most? Seeing Cliff Michelmore and Pete Murray on my telly last night. Both still alive and banging on about their glory days. Wonderful. (Sorry if those names mean nothing to you.)
In other TV news, Big Brother starts up again this week, but I won't be watching. My life has sufficient exhibitionist idiots already thank you. It's only Sleb BB that's of interest in these pages - George Galloway and Germaine Greer sort of thing.
Walk This Way
Yesterday it was Blair Atholl and environs with the walking group. I can show a couple of non-identifying pictures, but give no gossip at all. Life's a bitch when you're a responsible blogger.
Three Times A Bridesmaid...
Many, many thanks to all of you who voted me into a stunning and wholly unexpected SECOND PLACE in the Satin Pajama Lifetime Achievement award. (But it's PYJAMA, not PAJAMA.) Beaten by an Irishman, apparently. Well - they don't have a very nice time in Ireland, so I'm not cross. I'll let him have it.
Do you play Windows Solitaire? Me, I was utterly hooked in the nineties - spending entire nights on the damn thing. Later, with Win98 which doesn't have it, I managed to cold turkey, but now with XP IT'S BACK, and wasting my time like there was no tomorrow. Why spend money on expensive boxed games, when you can while away endless hours for free?"Just one more. One."
Last week this deal and first turn appeared, and I thought they might amuse you. In black suits (nearly all spades) you can spot ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and Ace.
*Coughs* "Thank you to my agent, manager, both my friends, my darling cat..."
[Ed: STF up, you crackhead - you haven't won it yet...]
Oh dear. He's right.
Yes - we're up for one of those award things again. They come and go. A Fistful Of Euros. Lifetime achievement as usual - the one where they shove you when they don't want you to win a proper category.
We're currently standing at number two behind someone I've vaguely heard of, in front of others I've never heard of at all. Except Tom Coates. Tom it was who gave me my first celebrity mention in 2001! We later fell out somewhat over the first Guardian Weblog Awards - the one won by Scaryduck. Tom was the first British gay blogger to achieve any prominence, and I (yes... me, not him...) was the second. (Although neither of us write "gayblogs" as such.)
Anyway - it's me you're wanting to vote for, not anyone else in Lifetime, so nip right over to Satin Pyjama Award (I refuse to put "pajama" on Naked Blog) and vote, vote, vote for PETER in Lifetime Achievement.
Loads of our friends are in oodles of categories, so after you've voted for me you can browse around. But remember, these things usually go on machine-mediated mass voting anyway.
And sorry if you're not in it, but please don't sulk in public as happened a little in the Bloggies (TM). Most unbecoming. NB has been overlooked more times than an ageing crackwhore in Salamander Street. Whit's fer ye, will no go by ye, as we say in Scotland.
Yes, another one. (Readers with functioning memories might recall the arrival of Sal from London last month. We did some Pentlands.) Sal is straight as a die, handsome and 39.
Well, someone else who's been commenting on NB for quite some time is Mad Jim, and on Monday we did some Pentlands. Mad Jim is straight as a die, handsome and 29. Check those scary mountain pics!
(You can see where this is going now, can't you? Well, it's not. Twenty-nine is quite as young as I'm prepared to talk to. Ever. Neverland this ain't.)
So what's Mad Jim like?
"Green trousers, blue top, blonde, kinda ugly," he texted, when I was standing in the Gyle Centre awaiting our first eyeball. It was like something out of Brief Encounter, I truly swear it.
My phone went off. "Is that you in the check shirt?" this young man said, waving at me from the other side of the fountain. I looked down, and yes, it was a check shirt. Life can be exciting at the cutting edge of Web 2.0 !
So what's Mad Jim really like? Well - he's certainly far from ugly. But he does go on about sex a bit (that heterosexual variety you might have heard of), so I've decided to slightly re-name him as Sex Mad Jim.
"Tell me more, tell me more, Say, does he have a car?"
Yes. A nice red one. You do meet the nicest people through blogging, you know. Just not that many of them. (I think five in ten years. Not exactly a rush.)
IN OTHER NEWS
Saturday I didn't make it to the blog meeting, as you might have read before. (I can only meet people if they already adore me through my work. Such as Sal and Sex Mad Jim.) So despite the clement weather, I stayed in and punished myself by feeling worthless. Sunday dawned nice though, so a couple of coins got tossed and I chose the 10.25 bus to the Pentlands for the Rollercoaster. Cardiovascular training. Ages since I've gone for the half past one bus.
Well - and you're not gonna believe this one - who should I bump into on the east side of West Kip, but the Walking Group! Yes, that's right. It was their scheduled walk for that Sunday. You could have knocked me down with an ice axe. (Adapted from my late mother, who had loads of expressions, some of them quite wrong. One of those being: "You could have knocked me down with a sledgehammer." (She meant feather.)) Rest In Peace, mother dearest. You have spawned a literary genius.
"Are you coming on our walk with us?" they coo-eed.
No, I replied. I'm still in self-imposed exile for getting lost last Sunday and ruining everyone's day. We laughed. I chatted just the right amount so as not to be pushy or forward, but didn't join them for lunch. They were sitting in a bunch of heather, and heather is full of ticks that give you Lyme's Disease. I swear it gets harder and harder to live a healthy lifestyle.
Talking of which, the Regent is doing Bockwurst with pickled red cabbage and genuine Schwarzbrot. You get two long penis-style sausages, about eleven inches. Two!! How greedy is that, I joshed with Alan the owner. A steal at just three quid. I had it on Monday after Sex Mad Jim in the Pentlands, and then again on Tuesday. Put on three and three quarter pounds, but I just don't care. Call me reckless all you want - I fucking love it.
Sadly the GPS must have got some sort of heathery tick on Sunday, as after the summit of Carnethy Hill it went quite mental, as you can see from this picture below. Put on 40km of zigzags. How useless is that?
So I phoned the company and they said to return it. I said I'd give it a little more chance, but as Jim declared, it's a thing you trust your life to so you don't really want it fucking up. Especially as early as this. Shame. But there ya go. Ziggy Stardust.
SEVEN AGES OF ROCK
Talking of which, did you see it on Saturday night? Seven Ages Of Rock on the Beeb. This first episode was loosely about the arrival of Jimi Hendrix, but it sucked in everybody else as well. Stones, Beatles, Who, Cream, Animals... a picture of an era. Me, I was enrapt, especially with staying in all day and being sober because of the non-blogmeet. It's so glorious to see the Stones young again. Ooo la la. Seven Ages is the best TV rock show since Dylan Week, last year I think that was.
This Saturday it's Pink Floyd and Bowie, although by then I'd stopped listening to pop music - even the Beatles and Stones, once they changed styles from the sixties. Her Satanic Majesty's Request and Sergeant Pepper were the last two pop LPs I ever bought. End, finished, closed, tancat. I was in my twenties now. With extreme ishoos. And an intense romance. (But aren't they all, at that age? Bless.)
David Bowie is six days younger than me. Strange that two people born so close together should have such divergent lives - one with looks, style, glamour and success, and Bowie a bit over the hill now, doncha think? But still he'd have his bus pass if he lived in Scotland. Plus free central heating and double glazing, as Meg the Lesbian Sandwich Lady reminded me yesterday. (She's back - and badder than ever!)
There was a pair of MSPs in the Regent. You could tell they were MSPs because they were short, but wearing expensive clothes and glasses. I mean look at Wee Jack, and Even Wee-er Alex.
I love that. Hi Ho. Love to greet a prostitute with those very words.
Anyway. It's been a good four days off, despite (or because of?) little or no blogging. Is it possible to lead a full life and still be a blogger? Today I've tried to bring just a few highlights of the preceding. And I enjoyed writing it for you. Tara. Seeya soon.
Thanks to (S)MJ for being such a good sport. And I really did enjoy meeting you :o)
I'm on holiday tomorrow! Yes, that's right. I've taken a whole day out of my meagre annual allowance so as to attend a Scottish Blogmeeting tomorrow.
I'll have all morning to shop for a new outfit and hat. Although bald will have to be beautiful at some stage. (I'm getting slightly used to the bald thing now. Slightly. And it isn't me who has to look at me, as it were.)
I've fallen in love with West Linton, and want to live there. It's so Miss Marple - the very antithesis to Leith. But sadly I couldn't afford even a garden shed in those hallowed lanes. Plus there's probably a two hundred year waiting list for intending WASPH residents. Although I did notice the Gordon Arms is Aussie-owned. Neighbours! Sal would have loved it. (Probably not.)
At the blogmeet I'll keep dragging the conversation back to the Bloggie Awards, and when that palls a little I'll suggest a walk up Arthur's Seat. How controversial. Gordon loves order.
Comment Is Adorable
Thank you so much for your comments this week, which are more loved than even diamonds. It's times like this you realise just how embracing blogworld has become. OK - got to head off for work now, and then four, yes four days of my life. Luvvya more than words can tell.
Now Blogger saves your drafts automatically! (Except wtf is the saved draft?)
You could wait all your life for a title like that. All your life.
People live in houses, in the main, whereas cows live in fields. It seems logical that if a person were to stray into a cow's home (field), then the cow would be justifiably angry. It might charge at you. Trample you. Start a trend and get its mates to join in. Something to chat about at the next committee meeting.
Readers might recall, over a year ago now, Stewart and I straying into an L-shaped field, and suddenly noticing there was no fence at all between us and about thirty cattle. Cattle which had spotted us, and were heading our way. We bolted out of that field like mice before a hungry cat!
And since that day, my walks have studiously avoided any trace of cow. Sheep we can cope with - they always move away. But cows move towards you. They do! They really do! Mooooo!
You can guess what's coming now, can't you? All that talk about cows must mean something really cowy has happened, and recently. (That's how blogs work. Take it from a hasbeen.)
Well, you'd be right. There I was yesterday, setting off for a gentle walk after intensive legrest on Monday. Legrest after thirteen hours on Sunday with the group, which you'll notice I still haven't blogged about. (Two of us got lost. The others weren't amused. He said he'd get teased. A lot more than you probably realise, I thought, gaily.)
The walk started at West Linton Golf Club (Scotland's answer to Beverly Hills), and followed a Roman road. I nipped up Mendick Hill for lunch, then back down to Legionnaire Terrace. All those togas! They must have got right horny, marching for hours on end, staring at young tight bums in front of them. But I digress, bisexually.
Long story, short: I was tramping this Roman road, basking in the rays, thinking about you lovely people who commented here yesterday, when there just ahead of me, blocking the way, was a gate with cows behind it. Loads of cows. Dozens of big brown hairy cows, and I'm NOT exaggerating. It was a retreat or advance situation, and bravely, very bravely, I chose advance. You can only get trampled to death once, and let's face it - after sixty it's kinda downhill all the way.
[ED: can you get to the damn point? They haven't got all day.]
Fuck off. OK then, this is the point. The Pentlands are littered with signs to the walker. They tell you to let your dog off the lead if the cows move towards it. They tell you not to get between them and your dog. They advise that if the cows are still moving towards you, you should "leave the field by the quickest means." (O shit.) They tell you that if there are mothers and calves around, then you're mince, dude.
Much flashed through my mind. What flashed mostly was that FARMERS mingle with cows all the time, not usually fatally. So a farmer I would damn well be then! I opened the metal gate, as quietly as possible. Squeeeeek! Clang!
On a gently sloping field to my right were twenty cows. Some near the path, others further away. To my left was a barbed wire fence, and over that fence was safety. A no-cow zone. I reckoned at a pinch - if terrified enough - I could leap the fence, with badly ripped skin the only affect. So I took a very deep breath, broadened my shoulders to the max, and boldly strode toward the cows. Making no eye contact. Tall as I could muster, and really farmer-ish. In a moment I was past some cows. They didn't seem to be following, but of course I didn't dare look, in case that got them interested. Past more cows.
Rounded a curve in the road, and then - oh no! Three cows were ON THE PATH. Actually on the path. Heading towards me, keeping to the left, like traffic. There was no retreat now. Cows to the front of me, cows to the back, cows to the right of me, and barbed wire left the only cow-free option.
The ground was covered in big plops of cowshit, buzzing with yellow flies. Sun-baked shit smell filled the air, but I hardly noticed in my terror. "Don't look GAY!" I told myself firmly. "Some of them might be BULLS and want to mount you!" (Even in terror of your life, sex is rarely that far away.) And death by bull rape would certainly be a stylish way to go. "Take it EASY, bigboy."
The cows approached. Twenty yards. Ten yards. Me, I kept striding manfully towards them, faking total calm. (Animals can sense fear, you know.) Five yards, two... a cow was close, so close, as close to me as you are now. I didn't look back. No eye contact. I am the walrus. Now I am past the first one. Moooo. Past the second. I am past all the cows. I have only sheep ahead of me. I will survive.
And that was my exciting day with the cows. Did anything get your heart racing yesterday?
There are no photos of this ordeal, for obvious reasons.
I must face a simple fact. No-one I know gives a fuck about my main (only?) interest, the outdoors. Not a flying fuck. No-one. Nemo. It is as lonely and as isolating as that.
Yesterday I (very bravely if you know even one percent of the background), very bravely went on a walking day with a busload of folk who do care about the outdoors. A walking group. And yes - the day was packed with interest - shimmering, an adventure - but you will never, ever read one word of it here.
And why is that? Well, the "blogging about people behind their backs" days have ended. Finito.
It was good while it lasted, oh yes. At it since the nineties, me... tippy tappying away like there was no tomorrow. Stealing their thoughts, words and deeds like it was going out of fashion. Well, now it has. Here at least.
So what are you going to write about, Peter?
Yours is as good as anybody's. Probably nothing. The well has dried, and the goose is looking for an agent. Blog 1.0 is dead.
It was a fab day, though, yesterday. (I got lost in the middle of a peninsula.)
You've been a wonderful audience. Live long and prosper.
Yes, it's been Spend! Spend! Spend! in and around Naked Mansions over the last seven days. Two hundred and fifty quid, if you don't count the obligatory pints of Tennents just to calm myself down.
Now, most of that is fair dinkum sport as Sal would say. (Except he doesn't talk like that.) The GPS is fine, and does what it says on the box, allowing for the budget price of 140 quid including VAT and next day delivery. The warnings in the preamble are fun:
"Contains substances known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm." Well, sometimes it's a blessing your reproductive days are behind you.
It tells you not to rely solely on the instrument for navigation, but to use only in conjunction with other aids. It tells you not to put it in your car where airbag deployment would fire it through your skull. And in block capitals it says:
THIS PRODUCT SHOULD NOT BE USED AS AN AID TO DETERMINE GROUND PROXIMITY FOR AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION.
Having put the Village pub at 13 metres below sea level earlier this week, I'd tend to agree with that!
ON THE MAP
The Memory Map too is quite glorious. (Post below.) Worth every cent of the fifty quid. (Soon I'll be giving you 3D flybys of my walks!) Ooooh and Aaaah you will surely say! No, the only gripe, and it's quite a severe gripe, is with the connecting cabling. Thirty quid and it's serial only. And darling Brad my new computer (in common with most so I hear), has only USB connectors. So twenty quid further had to be found yesterday to get the GPS and the maps talking to each other. Fifty quid for a cable! You don't buy a camera and expect to pay anything at all for the connector. Talk about daylight robbery.
Moral: don't buy a GPS without checking the cabling. It should be USB, and preferably included in the box. (This brought to you as a Naked Blog value for money report.)
DIDDY PARLIAMENT NEWS
So what's what in the Scottish Parliament? Well, the last time I looked, nobody still quite knows.
Wednesday we were getting Alex Salmond for First Minister, as darling zoe's tail indicates here, and he was abolishing the trams. Yesterday we weren't so sure, and we might be keeping the trams.
What's not in doubt is the utter venality of the good riddance former Edinburgh City Council. Sorry to my non-Edinburgh readers, but this one must be shouted from the blogroofs. Because thanks to Stuart of A Scandal and A Disgrace, we hear a sorry tale.
Background. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to its topography and architectural heritage. The combination of Princes Street on one side, castle high on the other, and the green of Princes Street gardens in between, is justifiably world famous. It is a common good. A common very good, and you would think, dear naive and trusting reader, that it would be SACROSANCT that no building is allowed on Princes Street gardens. It would be beyond question or even debate.
In fact there are laws preventing such building. And also on two less famous but also beautiful green areas. But what do our hateful former City Council do? On the day before the election? Well, read here for the full sorry tale.
Hanging's too good for the bastards. (Readers with functioning memories might recall my recent post about "breeze block executive housing in Princes Street Gardens". I thought that was a joke! Clearly not.)
Sunday I'm hillwalking in the Southern Highlands with a group. This could lead to great, if exploitative blogging, and at one time I'd have jumped at that. Now, people will always find out. Shame. Naked Blog these days seems like an albatross around my privacy, allowing total strangers to read years and years of fairly intimate diaries. Whatever happened to modesty, to taste?
Was intrigued to hear me old mucker Stewart on Leith FM yesterday. Stew has a fine radio voice and presence, but he MUST learn to let his guests get more of a word in. And really, really, Leith FM should have moved on from banging on about Leith Festival programme. (This year not featuring Robin's nipple.) There are issues to discuss! Trams! Venal and corrupt councils! Wtf cares if Jonny Dolescrounger is putting on a juggling show?
Leith FM. 98.8 on your FM dial. Now available from Fife to North Berwick, so we're told.
Thank you for tuning in again. It's been a frantic week, mostly on GPS matters, which for obvious reasons I'm studying as if my life might one day depend on it. (Which is pretty much the idea.) Factor in Scottish and Edinburgh politics, and there's not much left for the indoor non-Scot. Which is most of you. Time for a separate "outdoor blog" methinks. Keep this one for emotional scandals and moral dilemmas. I was in the Regent a couple of times, catching up with Drew and Dave the Writer.
But this new Memory-map 3-D World has got me coming in my pants. (Well, gasping out loud.)
Not since King's Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Full Throttle or the estimable Doom - not since any of them have I felt like kissing my computer. Oh yes. I now can die happy.
This weekend I'm going walking with some people. It starts at Stronachlachar, sort of Stirling-ish. Don't ask, just clear your throat and spit. Me, I can just about say Stronachlachar, after 35 years here. (Still no Diddy Parliament, btw. I hear the Greens are that desperate to coalesce with the SNP that they've chopped down two windfarms and started a coal mine.)
Here's Stronachlachar like you've never seen it before. I can make the mountains higher or lower. I can fly along the valleys like Superman. I can move lighting and shadows like God. Oh truly this is a wonder of the age!
I'm coming in my pants, I tellsya.
The GPS thing is very good too, although I proudly got it out in the Village to show someone today, and was a bit deflated when it gave the elevation as MINUS 13m. And after me climbing Arthur's Seat in a gale yesterday to calibrate it! Let's blame the gale. I'm on a steep learning curve. So steep. Just ask me about WAAS. About map datum WGS84. Or Airy Spheroid 1936. Just ask.
Oh fuck, this is living! Life begins at 60 right enough. The appliance of science. Now all I need is a new pair of knees... mebbe on KneeBay.
Great thanks to the taxpayers of the United States, who provide the global positioning satellites, made freely available to all.
Yes, democracy was the loser here in Scotland yesterday, as voters struggled with not one but two diametrically opposite new voting systems.
"What's the difference between Regional List and Constituency Vote?" I asked the man at the voting desk. He blah-blahed on, but clearly he hadn't a clue either. "You put one cross in each column," he kept defaulting to.
The left hand column, Regional List, had fifteen or so odd-looking parties, beginning with Adam Lyal's Witchery Tour Party (post below) and going downhill from there. While the right column was called Constituency Vote (I think), and this had the more familiar four main parties.
You know, I was sorely tempted to bring out the old Olympus camera and give them a quick flash for you, but felt sure that would attract the Law or some such retribution. Had I understood what was going on, I might have been able to direct my wishes more accurately, but in the end I just searched for Scottish Labour Party in both columns to be on the safe side. You know where you are with Labour.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL...
So far, so confusing. Two crosses for a process which up till now (I think) has required just one. But it gets worse. You were also given another large sheet for recording your Edinburgh City Council vote, and on this you had to place no crosses at all, but rather a set of numbers in order 1, 2, 3 and so on. There was apparently no limit to the number of people you could order in this way.
Now for this council vote, it was important that Labour did NOT get elected, as they and their buddies in the building trade are ruining our city. Yet what's this I see? TWO Labour council candidates!! Can this be legal, I asked the man again. No idea he said.
And the winner is...
Well, there isn't one. The election has descended into farce, with over 100,000 spoiled papers due to voter confusion, an automated counting system which has broken, a man running riot with a golf club and ripping up all the papers, boats which have sunk, helicopters stuck in fog - welcome to Scotland, 2007. It makes Florida look like Disneyworld.
(There was an appealing young man outside Leith Church Hall where I was voting, resplendent with large yellow SNP rosette. I told him I'd voted for his party for the council to get rid of the evil Labour administration. He looked a little sad that that was all I'd voted SNP for.)
Nice to have a chinwag with Chav Gav yesterday in the Village, the first for some time. My weight has been a bit good lately, so I've rewarded myself with a Garmin eTrex Summit GPS thing. Kind of middle of the range. It's got a barometric altimeter which calculates your ascent and descent which is exactly what I want. Save messing about with those orange countour lines, so hard to make out with ageing eyes.
Which reminds me, I paid twelve quid extra to have it here before 9am - and unless these elderly eyes deceive me, it's now 9.13 precisely. I feel a refund coming on...
Darling zoe checks out her position on the new GPS receiver. She really does make a good photographic model you know. Maybe I should get her an agent.
Ban TV advertising to children. This is an obscenity, showing that Thatcher has not gone, just changed name.
Stop giving your money to the workshy to spend on cigarettes, drink and drugs. Officially certified jobdodgers should be rounded up and transported to a secure island. Food of a basic nature (turnips, kale, bruised apples) will be airlifted there once a fortnight. This will simultaneously remove most traces of neds from the streets, making them safe for respectable citizens. Clearly there will then be more social welfare available for the genuinely needy.
Related to the above, babies will be removed from those refusing to make any contribution to their upbringing, and given for adoption to those who can provide for them. The "baby as mealticket" culture, so prevalent here, must stop.
Tax incomes greater than 52,000 pounds a year at 100 percent. Anyone who can't live on a thousand a week isn't trying. Me, I manage fine on a quarter of that. Give them remedial lessons in how to boil potatoes, etc.
Classify tobacco as the Class A substance it really is, with jail offences for possession or supply.
Prohibit private motoring beyond a certain annual licensed amount. Why should some selfish git have the right to step outside his home and turn a key to pollute your planet? No way Henry Ford. Cars will of course be available for doctors and other emergency workers. Citizens can have an annual allowance of leisure miles they musn't exceed. Spy in the sky satellites can monitor these matters using Web 2.0.
Related to the above, ban ALL aviation. It's just not necessary. Britain is a wonderful country, and can be explored using your leisure miles described in the paragraph above. Or get off your fat arse and waddle.
Stop giving National Health Service money to addicts and other idiots. Drug and drink addictions are NOT illnesses, they are self-inflicted destructions. Obesity ditto. Keep NHS money for the genuinely ill.
Sack all teachers who cannot reliably spell necessary and accommodation. Who can't differentiate between it's and its. Who cannot compute 13 times 13 without a calculator. That should see off a lot of overpaid dross right away.
IT'S NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM!
By implementing the above measures, the Naked Blog Party will be able to
Abolish Council Tax completely.
Reduce the retirement age to 45 for all who wish it.
Give free public transport for all, to almost everywhere.
By eliminating those who feel the country owes them a living, provide a wonderful life for those prepared to work.
Tomorrow we vote for the next Scottish Parliament and local councils.
Darling zoe casts her practised eye over the heap of election communications behind the front door, where they have accumulated like mould on a forgotten bowl of fruit.
Her tail is pointing at Alex Salmond (SNP doncha know), while her bottom quite definitely rests on Iain Whyte, Scottish Conservative. Interesting, seeing things from a creature's point of view.
BURN IN HELL WITH YOUR BIBLE
One party which won't be getting the Naked Blog vote is Scottish Christian Party.
They devote the entire back page to sticking the boot into hapless homosexuals. Specifically, those of school age, who - whilst already sufffering the torments of hell (and unlike most of you, I've been there) already suffering torment - the Scottish Christians want to tell them that they are "an abomination". Yes, really. From God Is Love. From the people who brought you the Inquisition. You gotta love em. So vote Scottish Christian. It'll hopefully be the only one the bastards get. Burning at the stake's too good for them.
WITCHERY PARTY(Beat that for a link :o)
No, after studying the leading parties' boring, so boring literature, I've decided my vote just has to go to this man...
And finally, the biggest laugh came from the Scottish Voice candidate, who understandably wants to do everything wonderful for Scotland, yet has his leaflet printed in Nottingham. Mebbe that's Nottingham, Perthshire.
Vote wisely tomorrow, my chickadees. It's important. Union or separation is what it comes down to. The eyes of the world are upon you.
And CHANGE EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL. Labour must go. They are more evil than Christians. In fact, their leader is a Christian Minister!!