Sunday, 30 September 2007

F1 Japan

Just watched my recording of today’s race and boy was I impressed by the bravery of the drivers, it was a wet race and started under the safety car for the first 19 laps. The amounts of spray pluming off the back of the cars on the long shots looked like mini waterfalls but the in car shots were mind blowing.

Following someone there was no way that they could see where they were going, just a blur/mist ahead of them with the very occasional sighting of a fuzzy red rear light - but if you could see that then they were probably running too close.

Great win for Hamilton, but the Renault/Ferrari tussle for 2nd place over the last few laps was spellbinding and the last lap antics of the other Ferrari and the BMW could only be described as breathtaking. On the last few corners they were banging wheels fighting it out for sixth place - looked at times as though they were both going to come off the track. In they end after parking up they shook hands, just another day at the office.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Scammer Scammed?

Cannot remember where I stumbled upon this fine tale (it was a couple of weeks ago) but it is a very funny read on how people on both sides of the pond conspired to defraud a scammer into paying taxes for a box of crap.

While I would like to believe that it is a true tale of transatlantic cooperation it might just be a work of fiction, having asid that it still made me grin when I read it.

The Wire

This series has to be in my top three all time favourites list. The quality of the writing, acting and the slow burn pace that it is played out in combine to deliver TV drama of the finest calibre.

If you have never seen it and think that I am babbling inanely then go watch this TV critic's take on it:

Friday, 28 September 2007

New Highway Code - Rant

rt is asking for rants this week and I was going to post this at her place but once I got started I found it hard to stop and ended up becoming too long, so here it is. Came across this story headline at the BBC site today:

Smoking drivers risk prosecution

A government minister was quoted as saying ““If you’re lighting up with one hand and have a fag in the other hand then obviously you’ve not got any hands on the wheel.”

What planet is this guy from? In all my years I have never seen a smoker hold a cigarette anywhere other than their mouth to light it!

At the moment they have only included the following list as “guide lines”, but who knows what the future will hold.

The even crazier thing is that it is against the law to drive while using a hand held mobile and I see people doing it every day - have never seen a motorcyclist eating a sandwich while on the move.

So here is the new advice included in the revised Highway Code:

Safe driving and riding needs concentration.
Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as

loud music (this may mask other sounds)
trying to read maps
inserting a cassette or CD or tuning a radio
arguing with your passengers or other road users
eating and drinking

Loud music? - WTF are they smoking ‘cos I need some of it now!

Arguing with your passengers? Well that should “criminalise” around 80% of families driving about with their kids

Map reading? Oh yes, I never plan a journey, always like to decide where I am heading while doing 70 mph and am half way there.

And to cap it all it is not as though our police forces are sitting around all day looking for things to do - as the guy in this post has detailed over the last couple of years.

Rant over, time to relax with "a nice cup of tea" as Arthur Dent would have said/done.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Beer 104 - Leffe Brune

Finally managed to track down a bottle of this (after my problems with the Blonde) and have decided to fly solo as I end up getting more of it!

I love the packaging on this bottle (wire and champagne style cork), do not own a proper Leffe glass so had to make do with my largest wine glass.

Best way to drink this stuff as it reminds you that it is 6.6% abv - definitely not a quaffing beer, pours our a dark brown colour with a beige head (so no problems with the photo then), it has a rich complex taste - think chocolate mixed with bitterness.

Now if you will excuse me I am off to finish the glass and then the bottle in honour of my great nephew Lewis - while listening to The Wailers.

Got to start thinking about compiling CDs for the lad, he is two days old now and I do not want him to growing up a musical philistine - reggae, folk/blues acoustic guitar, blues, rock, african music - I will leave the dance selections to the young uns.

Feeling Old

I am now a Great uncle, eldest niece produced a healthy baby boy on Tuesday night at 23:00 - called Lewis. Of course I have been aware of this impending event for the last nine months, but that did not stop me feeling the passage of time when I got up yesterday!

Mother and son are both doing fine and I will be visiting in the near future to “wet the baby’s head”. The photo below arrived in an email from eldest nephew yesterday with the title:

First Pictures of new Baby Lewis in his crib....

Have to admire his warped sense of humour, fine weapon with an interesting back story and a long history in service.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

New Sidebar Addition

Came across this site today and was blown away by the eloquence and lucidity of her rants.

Try reading this one as an example of how health systems on both sides of the pond are just so screwed.

After reading that, if you are in the UK take a moment to sign this petition.

France 0 Scotland 1

It has been two weeks now and it has finally sunk in that we went to Paris and achieved a famous victory. This is a really big deal, just over a year ago Scotland were ranked 62nd in the world (France and Italy have been in the top five for a long time).

As a result of this win Scotland have risen two places to 14th in the world rankings - highest ever achieved. Apart from the glorious goal in the video clip there a few other things worth noticing: the number of Tartan Army members in the stadium (hey, it was supposed to be an away game); the sheer joy on the faces of the Scottish players at full time; the expressions on the French ones.

Well it could still go wrong, we have to play Ukraine, Georgia and Italy before final qualifying is decided - but for the moment we can live the dream.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Hairs On Back Of Neck Moments

As a young boy I would spend my summers on the Isle of Lewis staying on my Uncles’s croft and on a Sunday everyone had to don their best clothes and attend the local Free Kirk. The service was conducted in Gaelic so myself and my brother did not have a clue as to what was going on.

As no musical instruments were allowed in the Kirk (“spawn of satan” or some such reasoning), the psalms were sung unaccompanied by the congregation led by a “Precentor” (who recites the text emphasising the key parts of the melody). Our uncle would take regular turns in this role.

The sound is very haunting and it used to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Had been thinking about it at the weekend and that led me to searching and I found this site - has the same effect today as it did back then.

Try track 12.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Love Struck Baby

Here is my and little bro's favourite Texan guitarist: Stevie Ray Vaughan. Enjoy

If you liked that you might care to hear his take on Hendrix's Little Wing - similar but different in his own unique style - that dude could make a guitar talk.

Hednrix himself will appear at at later date.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Coincidence Or Karma?

Now to start off I am using Karma is it’s non religious definition (ie fate/destiny) just to avoid any confusion out there. I was in the fair city of Sydney (Australia) as part of my round the world trip and although it was June (their winter) the sky was clear and bright so I decided to stroll into town after breakfast and take in the Botanical Gardens and get some pics of the Opera House.

It is a week day so the gardens are pretty empty and I while away the morning ambling around and taking in the sights, aforementioned Opera House, that bridge, ferries heading out across the bay etc. When it got to one I started to think that a beer and a bite to eat would go down really well, so I exit the park onto a large street and then select a cross street at random which will take me into the heart of downtown.

After walking a couple of blocks I hear a voice behind me saying “Hey, DBA Dude what are you doing here?” - it is A, an old school friend from the Highlands (we lived on the same street and had gone to school together from ages 5-17). “I could ask you the same thing” I replied, “I thought that you were in Adelaide?” (city just under 900 miles away).

Turned out that he was in town for a couple of days, staying in the hotel he was standing outside, waiting on his girl friends sister who was supposed to take him on a tour of the city - she was 15 mins late and he had just decided to give up on her when I walked past him (lost in reverie - well I was not expecting to see anyone that I knew in Sydney).

We chat there for another 10 mins and then head off to a bar and spend the afternoon drinking and catching up on news, we round the day off by having dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant - first time that I had tried that cuisine and I was very impressed. All in all a really, really great day.

So, Karma or Coincidence?

Sunday, 23 September 2007

American Beer - Early Eighties

My introduction to American beer came in 1980 when I was visiting a cousin in southern Alberta, the local brewery was on strike at the time so the only stuff available had been imported across the border - Miller “The Champagne of Beers” it said on the bottle.

Hell no I reply, it had little taste and was only 3.x% abv - switched to red wine for the rest of my stay.

Fast forward three years and I find myself in a bar in Waikiki one afternoon, too hot to be out in the sun (beaches are for walking on not for lying down). It is a fine bar, cool sounds on the jukebox, free pistachios and friendly patrons. Spend around four hours drinking what I think was Olympia (cold, marginally more tasty than the Miller) but apart from have to visit the toilet at regular intervals the beer had no effect on me. After however many that I had I should have felt something when I stepped out of there - but no, nothing - could have been drinking lemonade all afternoon.

Now starting to think that American do not know how to do beer, but lo I am saved. Get to San Francisco and discover Anchor Steam beer - wow, proper colour and packs a healthy 4.5% abv - and even more important it tasted great.

The one other “find” on that trip was called (if I remember correctly) Henry Weinhard’s - we got it in Northern California/Southern Oregon and it was also very drinkable. Dark in colour with a great taste, ideal at the end of a days road trip.

From what I read that has all now changed and while there are still mega breweries turning out bland products, the country is now festooned with micro breweries turning out some very interesting products. Must be time for another road trip

John Fahey

A curse upon this intraweb - just managed to lose an hour out of my Sunday morning all because the name John Fahey popped into my head and I made the mistake of putting the name into YouTube!

I had not listened to some of these tracks for over twenty years and as I worked my way through them lost all track of time.

For the uninitiated he was a finger picking guitarist with a truly unique style - he definitely had the soul of a sitar player in there with all that blues background. My biggest problem was trying to choose which track to share - they all brought back memories from first hearing them in the early Seventies.

So now you get the chance to lose four or so minutes from your day - enjoy.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Doctor Mark Kermode

This guy is a very interesting film reviewer on radio over here, he has a Phd in horror fiction and is infamous for his rants when he has to review a film that he does not like. As you will soon discover, his favourite film of all time is The Exorcist and he holds a very high regard for it’s director William Friedkin.

It is always enjoyable to listen to their tangential asides which crop up for reasons that are often not immediately apparent - this week’s podcast contains some classic examples such as the aside on Unforgiven leading on to a general exchange of information with listeners on the subject of what films are titled in different countries.

You can check him out for yourself over here - there is a fantastic review, rant, demolition of the latest Tarantino contained in it and an amazingly positive review for the latest Angelina Jolie - not one of his favourite performers.


Camera Problems

I had planned another beer post yesterday, wrote it up all I needed was a picture of a wine glass filled with Leffe Blonde and the bottle. No problem, nice head on the glass, took a couple of snaps and transferred to the computer - doh, looked like a glassful of Leffe Brune which is what I had intended to buy in the first place.

So swill down half the glass, refill and try again, same result - repeat one more time with no difference being made - apart from the mental state of the photographer, at 6.4% abv this is not quaffing beer. So next time I attempt that one I will invite friends around and get them to be my stunt doubles until I get the shot that I need.

So an easier topic for today coffee (without which my day cannot commence), here is a shot of the freshly filled cafetiere only four minutes to wait.

Now we are cooking, ready to start the day.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Bert Jansch

The legendary Scottish guitarist plays his version of Jackson C Frank's "Blues Run The Game" - filmed in 2006.

Has anyone else seen this story? Or know any more about it?

No more time to post as I have to head off to local "big city" for some ales and a curry with a bunch of good friends - oh, and I get to walk four miles between here and there and ride on a train!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


There is an international cricket tournament being played in South Africa at the moment, the first one of it’s kind - Twenty20.

It is a relatively new format with only 20 overs a side being bowled so a match can be completed in about three hours, there are minor rules changes which apply generally to keep the game moving. The most significant difference to the other formats of the game is that a match cannot end in a tie - in the event of scores being level at the end there is a bowl out to decide the winner.

In domestic and international form it has been a great success and has attracted sell out crowds, but for me it does not represent the cricket that I have known and loved for many years.

Test matches (International games played over five days) were my introduction to the game and the reason that I came to love it. With six hours of play per day (rain permitting) and each side batting twice there is ample scope for the balance of play to ebb and flow several times between the two sides during the course of the match.

I have been privileged to watch some of the world’s finest players over the last twenty years playing in London and have witnessed some thrilling performances. It never mattered to me who was playing well (being Scottish means that I do not mind if England had a bad day), for me it was all about seeing top sportsmen perform at their very best.

Here are two of the finest bowlers that I have ever seen. Michael Holding is the finest fast bowler I have been lucky so see play and Shane Warne the world’s greatest leg spinner. The guy providing the commentary in the first clip and seen in the second is another legend himself. Richie Benaud is a former player who has been doing television commentary for over forty years and is regarded here and in Australia as the greatest cricket commentator.

A day at a Test Match was also an excuse to meet up with friends, sit out in the sun for 8 hours enjoying a picnic and some wine while the days play unfolded in front of us.

This all came to an end two years ago when for the first time since ‘84 we failed to get any tickets for the Test Match. We had applied in October for tickets for a match the following August for 20 years without any problems.

Ground capacity had increased in 2004 by 5,500 so that does not explain it - I suspect that the answer is corporate greed with ticket agencies being involved. Looking at the crowd on that first day in 2005 I was amazed at the clusters of Australian supporters scattered around the ground. How did they manage to get 50 tickets in a block I pondered.

So I will never again see Test match cricket in person in this country and while that saddens me on one level I have come to terms with it and moved on. We now pick a county game and go for a day in the sun with cricket to watch and our tickets are bought on the day at a quarter of the price.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Farewell PC "David Copperfield"

One of the UK police bloggers that I have enjoyed reading for the last couple of years is packing it all in and moving to Edmonton Canada to join their police department.

He appeared on a BBC Panorama program last night higlighting some of the excessive amounts of paper work that our police have now been shackled with.

His writing was always good and he will be sadly missed. Wave goodby to him here.


Living about 15 miles west of Heathrow Airport people around here are used to aircraft passing over our heads on a daily basis and think nothing of it. Concorde, however was a totally different proposition - people would stop in their tracks, lift up their heads and smile as it passed overhead.

I used to time my morning smoke break at work to coincide with the morning departure and the sight of that iconic dart shape crossing the sky always raised my spirits. After four years of it not operating I find myself missing the familiar sight of it in the sky.

What I do not miss is the noise that it used to make on take off and while climbing over us - on many weekend mornings I would be sitting engrossed in a book, drinking coffee and losing all track of time. Then the windows would start rattling and the noise levels would rapidly build up to a crescendo - it really was two or three times as loud as anything else.

I suppose that it acted as an external alarm clock for me, a reminder that there were chores to do and that the morning would soon be over - but it still fecked me off big time for disturbing my quiet reverie.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Firefly - A Tribute

Came across this earlier today and enjoyed it so much that I felt that I ought to share it.

It is by “the great Luke Ski” who is someone that I had never encountered before, got to admire his sense of humour

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Best Race of the Season?

Just got finished watching my recording of today’s MotoGP from Estoril (Portugal) and am having trouble finding words to describe it.

Back in the day when Senna was still alive I used to think that Formula One was the pinnacle of motor sport, however for the last five years or so it has been MotoGP for me. The fearlessness of these guys as they overtake at inches (or less) apart at speeds of up to and over 185mph is truly amazing.

Today was great, the top three guys in the championship (Stoner, Rossi and Pedrosa) battled it out for the whole 28 laps (mostly) and it was awesome.

So if you have never watched a MotoGP race before try to catch todays and experience something incredible, and if you have have, then I apologise for my words failing to capture/depict the beauty that is top class motor cycle racing.

Chris Whitley - Big Sky Country

Reading Scully’s post today of life in a flat part of the USA reminded me of this track from Chris’s first release (Living With The Law) so I dug out the CD and listened again - interesting song writer and a fine fine guitarist.

So then I had to google him to see what was he was up to today and found to my shock that he died of lung cancer in 2005 at the age of 45.

A great loss to his family and music fans across the globe.

Check him out here.

Beer 103 - Hoegaarden Witbier

In honour of the F1 GP today at Spa-Francorchamps (my favourite car race track on the planet) I thought that a bottle of this would go down well. Pretty sure that this was the first Belgium beer that I ever drank back in the early nineties when eldest nephew was living and working in Brussels and I popped over for the weekend.

A wheat bear it has an unusual colour and taste - quite tart but with a smooth aftertaste and a great creamy head. If you have never tried a wheat beer then this is a very good place to begin.

Slàinte mhath!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Haddock à la crème

This is one of my favourite recipes (stolen from my sister), you can use any smoked white fish (not the yellow dyed stuff but a natural pale colour) like say cod but haddock for me tastes better. While skinning and de-seeding the tomatoes is a pain it does give a better texture. To scale up just double/triple etc the quantities. The real up side is that it tastes great cold the next morning - have only ever experienced this when I have cooked it for myself, if the guests do not finish it off at the table random late night snacking does for the remains.

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as main course


1lb smoked haddock,
3 tomatoes (skinned & de-seeded),
2 rashers smoked back bacon (grilled crispy),
2 oz grated strong cheddar cheese,
1/4 pt cream,
black pepper

Use a low dish (eg casserole lid), grease dish with butter.

Chop fish into small chunks. Chop up tomatoes and bacon and spread over/between the fish chunks. Pour over the cream, sprinkle cheese over top and grind black pepper over the cheese.

20 mins in moderate oven (Gas Mark 5, 375 °F, 190 °C). Serve with crusty bread as a starter.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Worlds Best Flight Attendants?

Writing Road Trip reminded me of my regular (5/6 times in one year) flights from Kuwait (alcohol banned) to Dubai (they have a strange innovation called bars, you go in and request an alcoholic beverage, money changes hands and you get the drink of your choice).

My younger brother was living and working in Dubai at that time so there was never a problem with somewhere to stay and we were always welcome (even if he was working off shore) to raid his fridge and borrow his car.

Our airline of choice was Gulf Air and their attendants were the best, they really knew their passengers requirements. We would barely be off the ground before the drinks trolley would be wheeled out and they would start dispensing alcohol to the tragically deprived masses.

The return journey was always more relaxed for them as they knew that we had all been sated with alcohol for 2 days and were not in dire need of a top up.

So ladies of Gulf Air I salute you, not only intelligent and thoughtful but also very glamorous.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

First came across him when he was playing with Fairport Convention and was impressed then, since that time he has had a long and successful solo career.

A great guitarist and and a fine songwriter.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Side Bar Photo

My eldest brother turned 60 last year and to celebrate his wife wanted to get him a bottle of 30 year old Macallan malt whisky. Fortunately for her purse this proved to be out of stock as the prices started at £200 and went up!

Having discovered this my brain took me back in time to a Christmas about four years previously when my younger brother and his family were visiting at my mother’s place and I had gone up to join them. One cold night we are enjoying a pint or three of Guiness in the pub closest to her house when my brother noticed a bottle of malt on the top shelf behind the bar.

The bottle in question was a 30 year old Glenfarclas and was a little over one third full - now this is one of our favourite distilleries so we just had to try it. The taste was amazing so we had another couple, it was expensive but well worth every penny and we returned the next night to finish off the bottle.
Now the distillery is only about 12 miles from my mother’s house so after checking with my sister in law I headed out the next day to purchase a bottle for him which came in at the pretty reasonable price of £90. It also resolved the dilemma of what we should get him by picking up the 21 year old at the same time.

Being the cantankerous old git that he is he preferred the taste of the Macallan 30 year old that he had tried one time while visiting the distillery. However youngest bro’ and I will always prefer the Glenfarclas.

So that is how I ended up with the photograph - taken to taunt youngest bro’ in Indonesia.

Beer 102 - Wadworth 6X

For around six years I worked on a site where the closest decent pub was owned by the Wadworth’s brewery and I grew to really enjoy this ale. A group of us who had become friends rather than colleagues would go out once a week for a pint and something to eat, great sitting out in the garden in the summer or cosy in front of one of the two log fires in the winter.

Happy days.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

When/Where Were You Happiest?

Now I have always found this a tricky one to answer, was it:

Halfway up a Scottish hillside in bright May sunshine,
Sitting on a beach in Bali watching the sun go down,
After listening to a great concert,
Holing a 60 yard putt one of of St Andrews double greens,
Celebrating the birth of a new family member,
Watching the Milky Way in an area not subjected to background light with friends drinking red wine,
Fishing on a loch under clear blue skies.
Hiking at the summit of Haleakala volcano on Maui looking down on (instead of up at) clouds for a change,

For me the answer is always here and now, just for having made it with all of my memories still intact. I can sit here and relive all of the magic moments from my past and probably feel happier now than when I experienced them thanks to the extra life experience.

Finally a reminder that while bad things have happened on this day a whole heap of good stuff has as well.

Star Wars Help Desk

On a day when everyone could use a good laugh I came across this which cracked me up.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

My Favourite Mexicans do Led Zeppelin

They also played this at Glastonbury and it remains the best cover version that I have ever heard of Stairway To Heaven.


Happy Birthday GSM

On the 7th September 1987 15 firms signed an agreement to build mobile networks based on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications.

My eldest nephew was an early adopter and the thing weighed a ton and was about 1 foot square - cannot see these catching on I thought, just goes to show that my predictive antennae were not very finely tuned.

Fast forward 20 years and there are now 2.5 billion accounts world wide and not only are they tiny but they double up as cameras, calculators, alarm clocks etc etc.

Back in the day someone talking to their self in the street would have been scooped up by the men in white coats and whisked off to the funny farm - now you feel disenfranchised if your cell does not ring while you are ambling around your supermarket/book shop/other favourite emporiums.

However, some places are sacred and all phones should be turned off on entry:

Insert location of your choice

Friday, 7 September 2007

Guiness Is Good For You - Now Official

I cannot believe that shortly after publishing Beer 101 that the results of this research come out.

Check it out here.

John Martyn - May You Never

First say him live back in '76 when I was at University, he had Danny Thompson backing him on stand up bass and they were superb. He has fought his demons over the years but remains a beautiful song writer and one fine guitarist. Enjoy

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Beer 101 - Guiness

I can still remember my first pint of draught Guiness, served in the sculpted Guiness glass of that time, perfection: dark base and a thick creamy head and it tasted as good as it looked.

Never looked back after that and for a long time after my move from the hills to Berkshire after graduation I refused to touch the “native ales”.

Fast forward to the late nineties and myself and the nephews are planning a New Year in County Mayo so we decide to cross the channel to stock up with cheap booze. Along with the wine we find draught flow Guiness cans brewed in Dublin (at that time those in the UK were all brewed in London) for sale - so we buy 96 cans to take with us.

Talk about coals to Newcastle, our Irish friends could not believe how much we had taken with us - think that we only got through half of them as the draught served in the pubs was much tastier.

So now I am off to drain that glass.

Slàinte mhath!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Michael Jackson is Dead

No not that one, this is the one who wrote great prose on the topics of beer and malt whisky (two drinks close to my heart) and also made the TV programme The Beer Hunter.

If you need more detail check him out.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Inspirational Lady

I was saddened to hear today that Jane Tomlinson had finally lost her battle with cancer.

Her achievments have amazed and inspired people around the world.

Read her story here.

A great lady who will be missed by many.

Road Trip

Back in ‘82 I was working in Kuwait and one week in Spring my buddy A and I decide to rent a 4X4 and head on up to the marshes by the Iraq border to try and spot some migrating birds and camp out under the stars for a night.

So come Thursday morning (start day of our weekend) we head out and rent a GMC Jimmy (large vehicle for us UK dudes) which comes complete with “I love Texas” bumper sticker. We need the off road capability as there are no metaled roads where we are heading, load up with food, drinks and BBQ kit and head off into the desert like native bedouin.

Once we get off the black stuff things start to go wrong, we get lost and end up passing an Iraq border post (small hut in the middle of nowhere) heading back into Kuwait. Bored guard points us in the right direction in exchange for some smokes.

We cannot find the marshes and end up parking by a beach where the tide is out and so we trudge out for 2 miles to see the sea. On our return to the beach we encounter 2 arabic guys in a small Toyota, they demand to see some ID and ask us what we are doing and as they have 2 AK47s parked either side of the hand brake we oblige.

For some reason they thought we were Americans (remember the bumper sticker) but on discovering that we were British they instantly lose all interest in us “crazy Brits” or something very similar. So we head off to find a suitable camp site - somewhere flat not on the side of a dune - and get the BBQ on the go.

Just as we are finishing eating with the sun low on the horizon and I notice that a small yellow scorpion has come out of its hole to join us for dinner. We have probably never moved as fast in our lives and end up sitting on the bonnet watching our new “friend” investigate the changes to his/her normal environment. When it disappears down another hole we retrieve our gear and retreat to the safety of the inside - so much for sleeping under the stars.

The stars what night were awesome and after a couple of hours star gazing we crash out. Around 02:00 we are awoken by the rumble of trucks in the distance, this convoy took over an hour to pass by (war supplies heading from Saudi up to Iraq - the Iran Iraq war had been ongoing for almost two years at that time). Took ages to get back to sleep.

The next morning we waved goodbye to our new “friend” and headed off in the direction of the truck sounds from the night before and after not much more than 10 mins driving we were back on the black stuff and heading South.

Birds seen - zero marshes - likewise but we both enjoyed our mini adventure and it made a pleasant change from our normal weekend routine of drinking home made beer and wine in our “rabbit hutch” one room flats.

My Favourite Mexicans

First came across these guys at Glastonbury 3 years ago and they totally blew me away. When they are asked about their style of playing they always claim that it derives from their days of playing thrash metal! Enjoy

Monday, 3 September 2007

Writers Block

Could not think of anything to wtite on today so I thought that I would investigate emedding a YouTube link.

OK, looks pretty easy so enjoy this, some fine guitar playing from a young man in South Korea - wish my fingers could move like that.

Sunday, 2 September 2007


Why is it that of all our sense the sense of smell has the extraordinary ability to transport me through time and space. I was reminded of this the other day while walking past a newly mown hay field, the familiar smell took me from rural Berkshire to the Outer Hebrides some 40 odd years ago.

My younger brother and I used to spend 5 weeks there in the summer on our Uncles croft and the two smells that take me back there are newly mown hay and the smell of peat burning.The hay was cut with a tractor but then had to be turned to dry it and then collected using hand held tools, my memories of joining in this task always coincide with clear blue skies and of the sun glittering on the waves rolling into the bay below us.

I remember the field as being huge but that is with the eye of a young boy, the reality is that it was quite small. I also remember assisting in the collection of the peat to provide the croft with winter fuel - and then I return to the here and now.

So here in no particular order are my favourite aromas:

Wood Smoke
Peat Smoke
Freshly baked bread
Freshly ground coffee
Grated ginger
Spice markets of Dubai
Sea shore
Single Malt Whisky
Pine Trees
New Mown Hay