Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Scotland has a different tradition of activities on this night, namely Guising.

I can remember as a young loon in the hills going out dressed up with
lil bro’ and reciting poetry (while he sang) for our treats. Oh and no pumpkins for us, we used hollowed out neeps (turnips) for lanterns - and usually ate the contents with mince and tatties before heading out.

Have a frightful night!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Comet Holmes

Heard about this last night but was suffering too much background light last night at DBA cottages to get a good view - better luck tonight maybe.

If you do get the chance then check it out - here are some tips on finding it.

UPDATE Had a call just after seven last night from a friend who lives 2 miles away and had just come in from looking at it. So I sloped out into the night and did not have to go too far before I found a spot from which I could get a look.

Very fuzzy image but there as advertised, then got an email from another friend 12 miles away who had been out with his 8 year old daughter viewing it.

Cosmic goodness all around last night. It would have been more spectacular seeing it in the Highlands but that splendid vista of the Milky Way is around 8 weeks away for me when I trek up there for New Year.


Was chatting with HN at the weekend about great “booze cruises” that we had made to France over the years. Buy cheap day ticket for car and passengers to Calais, arrive in France and hit the Hypermarket of your choice and load a trolley with cheap wine and beer. Repeat as necessary until car is full and then return.

Back in the early nineties when lil bro’ had returned from oil drilling overseas for a well earned break we decided that we needed to do such a run. Instead of a ferry we chose to use the Hovercraft service that was still operating.

Turned out to be a “wizard wheeze”, your drive down to the landing slip and then into the belly of the beast before ascending to the passenger deck to find your seat. Felt very much like getting onto a small passenger plane. The engines start and it rose gently onto it’s skirts and then we were off, 25 mins later we came straight up a beach and then onto a concrete apron.

The return journey was more eventful, we hugged the coast for a time (it had got more choppy out there) while the cabin crew dispensed drinks and then we turned out to sea. It was like a wild roller coaster ride as we went up and down the waves, we were quite enjoying ourselves (managed to keep the beer in the glasses).

The other passengers were not, the crew closed the bar and within 5 mins the first person was using the sick bags and that set off a chain reaction. We were both fine and all too soon for us the roller coaster reached the harbour and calm descended, the cabin crew apologised to the passengers for the wild ride but we thanked them for the experience and drove off with silly grins on our faces.

Here is news piece from back in 2000 when the service finally ended. Am really glad that I took the opportunity to use it while it was still there - a grand day out and a ride on a venerable British invention.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Back From The West

Weekend went more or less as expected, weather was mild but overcast/raining most of the time, we finished eating dinner just after eight on Saturday night (some sort of record).

Admired HN’s new 30” wide screen PC monitor, Irish Lass’s new Mulberry handbag (so prized that it lives in it’s own cotton sack when not in use).and commiserated with them on the sad demise of “Quennie”.

“Quennie” was their 20 year old BMW 7 series car that they have owned for 14 years and which had taken them safely all around the UK and Ireland. It was diagnosed dead a couple of weeks ago and their attempts to replace it have been frustrated twice so far, which explains how I ended up touring the streets of Cheddar in what can only be described as a “Columbian drug baron’s” style of vehicle.

I am not going to jinx it for them by describing it in any more detail, but if they do get it then there will be photos. All in all a grand visit and a good time had by all, yes there was loud music but fortunately no mad dancing around the living room at 02:00. Even managed to get up before they left for work this morning - thanks to nor resetting my mobile to GMT on Sunday morning.

HN and OEN both blamed my own humble hi-fi system for persuading them to invest tens of thousands of pounds on their respective systems - me I blame the IT business for giving them too much disposable income.

So here a couple of photos:

Yes that is a drop down screen at the back and the projector for it in the foreground, a surround sound system plus the racks of power amps below the screen. The system drives a pair of fine speakers which deliver clear sound with a very healthy bass - oh and their 300 year old house comes with walls that are 2 feet thick so do not worry about the neighbours.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Neanderthals ‘were flame-haired’

Came across this article yesterday and it makes for interesting reading. Have long held the view that Neanderthals have had to put up with a lot of “bad press”.

This will probably be my last post until sometime on Monday as I am off on another road trip.

Heading west to Cheddar (Somerset) to visit Hairy Nephew and Irish Lass for the weekend. On previous form this should result in very late nights, loud music, and not eating dinner until well after nine - oh, and large amounts of alcohol being consumed.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Loudon Wainwright 111

This dude first crossed my path in ‘72 (or thereabouts) when I heard his third album. The song Muse Blues really struck a chord as I was trying and failing to master the guitar and had delusions of becoming a song writer - even owned the spiral notepad and pencil!

Have since then seen him perform live on at least six occasions and have never been disappointed, he throws his body into his performances (might have slowed down a bit now) and his gurning* has to be seen to be believed. Even stayed in the same small hotel as him when he played the Cambridge Folk Festival back in the eighties - decided that he probably wanted to concentrate on his breakfast and not be harassed by a fan at that time of the morning. His humour might not be to everyone’s taste but he can always make me smile.

So here we have Nocturnal Stumblebutt, Mr Guilty a finally his “hit” Dead Skunk.

* Note for overseas readers a gurn is a distorted facial expression, and a verb to describe the action.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Beer 107 - Greene King Abbot Ale

This one makes it into my top 5 English beers , first came across it at our local arts centre in the late seventies. We enjoyed many a weekend session guzzling rather more than was probably good for us on a Friday night - if very slow/non existent Saturday mornings were any guide.

Plenty of flavour (but not very hoppy) and a healthy 5% abv.

Are you happy now EN?

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Janey Godley

Came across her blog in 2005 and was very impressed, with her writing and stories - so much so that I bought her autobiography as a gift for a family member.

Travelling across this land to perform her stand up she seems to regularly encounter the strangest of situations or the weirdest of people.

Here is a fairly typical example of what I have described. Check out the archives on her blog for more whacky tales.

Queen of Scottish Comedians.

Original Eldest Nephew

When I was visiting EN last week she remarked that she wished that OEN was still with us so that she could show her son to him. I replied that he would have loved to meet him - he was always really good with kids.

In June 2001, OEN, his best friend from school, Hairy Nephew (EN’s brother) and his girl friend Irish Lass were over in Germany for a short break to take in a track day at the Nurburgring on their respective sports motorcycles.

Back in the UK it was a Monday so I was in the office doing typical DBA things, enjoying myself jesting with my favourite co-workers and settling into my working week, when the phone on my desk rang.

It was HN, and immediately my spider senses started tingling (HN was notorious in the family for his “phone phobia”) - I could hear the emotion in his voice as he said ”There is no easy way to tell you this obi-wan, there has been an accident and OEN has been killed”. I replied with something along the lines of “Is there anything that you need me to do?” and was told “not at the moment” - so we ended it there with me asking him to ring me when they got back over here.

Picked up my tobacco and papers and went outside for an extended smoke break and a walk around the car park. So I had to deal with the fact that OEN had gone from our lives forever, went back in and sleep walked through my duties for the rest of the day - did not tell anyone at work what had happened.

Went home that night, had something to eat and then drank a bottle of wine and had a couple of drams of a good single malt in his memory as I tried to assimilate this news. I remembered seeing him for the first time one cold January afternoon 35 years earlier with his father holding him up to a hospital window for me and little bro’ to view.

Memories of all the times we had done crazy things together, argued about stupid stuff, concerts we had attended, places we had visited etc etc.

Got into work early the next day and when my manager showed up I explained the situation and that at some currently unknown point in the near future I would need to disappear for a few days. He completely understood and told me that it was fine by him.

The depleted crew returned at the end of the week when I joined them for a painful night of memories and got the full details of what had happened on Monday.Our only consolation was that he dies while doing something that he really loved.

Towards the end of the next week I flew into Inverness for the funeral arriving there a couple of days early. Cannot remember much of what went on in the church but was impressed with the number of his friends and colleagues who made the 1100 mile round trip for the funeral - a couple even came across from Dublin.

So that night in a rented cottage on a hill overlooking the town a small group of us held a wake in his honour, we all got shit faced together and swapped stories long into the morning. All of us were in agreement that this was the way that OEN would like to have been remembered,

It is far easier to handle the death of an elderly relative or friend as the life in question has run it’s natural course, however when a young life is cut short it feels like much more of an injustice - the universe delivering a really hard kick in the groin.

He is gone from our lives but as long as we retain our memories of him he will never, ever be forgotten.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Bruce Cockburn

Managed to get a good four hours out of the PC today with no shut downs - maybe due to it being colder this morning and my not turning on the heating. Hey just put a fleece on indoors, help save the planet by leaving your heating off!

Still having trouble completing “that post” so as a treat I am sharing 2 of my favourite Bruce Cockburn tracks. First came across him when one of our cousins from Canada brought across his first two albums for myself and little bro’ in the early seventies.

Fine guitarist and a really poetic songwriter, when I went to Toronto in late ‘79 I had to stock up on the other eight LPs that he had since released. Worried abut their safety all the way on the flight back home.

From the ‘79 release Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws here is Creation Dream - pretty good home made video.

Also from the same album is Wondering Where The Lions Are - I have no idea who the people in this video are but it was the only copy of the complete song that I could find on YouTube.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Still Here - Just

My PC appears to be suffering from a dodgy power supply, get about an hour out of it and then it just shuts down - fecking annoying - need to then let it cool off for an hour before getting another 60 minutes out of it. So, still working on the post I said would go up yesterday maybe tomorrow.

As a substitute London EMT pointed us in the direction of a thread on this Mountain Bike forum about the perils of strong laxatives. The entries to read are those by blue-tone - really LOL stuff.

Or you could head over to Las Vegas cabbie’s place and read his tale of two recent “overexcited” passengers. It is the one from Saturday October 13th.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Big Yin

Some good friends of mine were up from Dorset for a family wedding today so I walked the 2 miles over to another friend’s house to visit with them this morning. It had been cold first thing but by ten under a clear blue sky it had warmed up quite a lot, now walking is usually my best thinking time.

I was thinking of a comment that Eldest Niece (EN) had made on Thursday afternoon which led me down a path towards a suitable posting, more thought applied on the return journey. Fired up the PC, and started tapping words into a document, read it and decided that I was not expressing my thoughts all that clearly (wish that I had Scully’s easy way with words) - so I will leave it to stew on the back burner overnight.

In lieu of that here is Scotland’s King of Comedy Billy Connolly, first saw him back in the ealry seventies and was blown away (he was still doing guitar/banjo playing as part of the act more than in recent years).

Here you have Cardinal’s School Visit (1981) and Tobacco Police (2002).


Friday, 19 October 2007

Baby Lewis In His Crib

Had a good trip there and back (traffic wise - always a plus) - Hummer count on trip 1 and it was on the motorway and not the narrow B road that I had been using earlier (phew).

Little Lewis turned out to be as cute as advertised, running his mum (Eldest Niece EN hereafter) ragged when not napping. This is one seriously hungry little fellow, he glugs down on his milk in the same style that EN’s brother glugs down a pint of Guiness.

EN’s man returns just before five and needs to send a quote to a customer, so to “speed” things up she transfers it to her work laptop to send out over her broadband connection. This turns out to be a major mistake, on the first attempt Outlook locks up and loses her email, 2nd attempt - same result but the message has been saved.

I suggest rebooting and letting it cool down for a bit before trying again - major mistake. Fifteen minutes later EN fires it up gets the dreaded “Invalid System Disk” message. So she rings her company’s tech support guys and explains the problem and gets the reply “Do you have a small Phillips screwdriver? You need to remove the battery and then try jiggling the hard drive, then see if it works”

EN’s man heads off with a gleam in his eye, EN meantime cannot wait and waggles her laptop in the air and then tries rebooting and it works! Message is sent by the time her man returns with screwdrivers and is very disappointed that he does not get to dismantle it.

The wee man goes to bed not long after six thirty and her man settles him down while EN prepares our dinner (Aberdeen Angus sirloin steaks, pepper sauce and veggies). As Lewis is going to be on formula milk overnight and tomorrow morning she decides that my visit is the perfect excuse to have her first glass of red wine for five months.

Dinner was most excellent and the pair of them manage to sit up until ten thirty (bedtime has been nine for the last three weeks). EN remembered me telling her back in August that I had found my video copies of the last series of Buffy but that it did not include the final episode so before retiring she cues up the last DVD for me.

I am amazed that she managed to remember that what with lack of sleep and learning how to cope with her new arrival. End up watching all three shows so it is after one before I head off to catch some some sleep.

Anyhow here are some pics of the wee man first one is mine (the other two I took were too blurred), the next two are of him at five days.:

Note for EN, manage to pick up a bottle of your Export IPA on the way back so I will feature it at a later date.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Georgia 2 Scotland 0

Much sadness here at DBA cottages this morning, I could make excuses (loss of key players through injury/suspension, blatant penalty appeal turned down when scores were level) but that would not be fair.

The better team on the night won, they outplayed us for most of the match and deserved their win.

What this means for qualification is that in order to get through Scotland now need to beat Italy (current world champions) in their last game at home in Glasgow next month. A pretty tall order but the dream while fading still lives.

So, to cheer myself up I am heading out to visit eldest niece and great nephew later on - see you tomorrow.

WARNING - next post will contain cute baby photos!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Groove Armada

Marks & Spencer have been running a TV advert campaign all summer for various parts of their food range, when I started to think about the background music they were using I realised that I knew that tune.

Took me a couple of weeks to figure out what it was as I do not watch much TV with commercials (video them and then FF through the breaks by choice).

It is At The River by Groove Armada, and for any of my younger readers the “strange device” in the video is called a turntable

These were (and in some cases continue to be) widely used to play music in the “dark ages” before CD players were invented. Many audiophiles/”luddites” remain convinced that with a good turntable a richer quality of sound can be produced compared to a CD player.

I fall into this class, it was 1994 before I purchased a CD player and my Linn LP12 (happy 23rd birthday) deck can still kick it’s ass to this day.

An Atheist Speaks

Came across this rant on The Trouble With Islam while I was over visiting at Whichendbites place and it made me chuckle.

Naturally decide to check out some of his other postings and the guy turns out to be an “Equal Opportunities” Atheist.

Christians, Jews, Catholics all get turned over - interestingly he has yet to turn his eye on Hindus or Buddhists but then again he only seems to have been posting for six months.

In the interests of “balanced reporting” here are two more links to him,
Unholy Scripture and Catholics.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

After my last rant time for some humour, first heard this on the radio back in the late seventies and was totally blown away by the story and the characters. In my view the greatest radio comedy that I have ever heard.

Read all the books, quite enjoyed the television series from the eighties (clunky special effects aside) but am not a fan of the movie made in 2005. While the special effects were great, the story arc is just to large to be cut down into a 2 hour film.

What the universe needs is for the makers of the new Doctor Who to remake the TV series using the radio scripts as a starting point.

In the meantime here is a clip from the old TV series featuring Zaphod, Ford, Arthur, Trillian and my personal favourite Marvin.

Drink Driving

What is it with Hollywood and drink driving? Is there some mind altering substance in the water supply or is there a higher than average supply of the “stupid gene” over there?

This year has seen a constant stream of actor/”celebrity” drunk driving stories with the most recent being this dork.

You drive out somewhere, have a few drinks and then decide to go home, as I see it you have three choices:

Hail a cab - that is why they are there at that time of night,

Ring a friendly limo service if you do not want to travel in a conveyance that might have been used by “ordinary people”,

Climb into your own vehicle and drive badly homewards risking other lives and your own.

So people with the “stupid gene” select option 3 almost without fail, the maths is not hard three or four beers or glasses of wine over a two hour period is almost certain to put you over the limit.

While I have no problem with them wiping out their own lives it is the risk they pose to others that concerns me. Now there are far more “ordinary people” over here and over there who commit similar offences through ignorance /”delusions of invincibility” - but these “celebrity” types have the cash to pay for their ride home and should be setting a better example.

I know from personal experience how alcohol impairs your ability to control a vehicle, it slows you reaction times and ability to read what is going on around you.

In my “defence” I was younger (and stupider) and driving in a country where there were no drink drive laws as alcohol was banned there. Lots of desert to run off into, only ever did it in the wee small hours when there almost no other traffic - but it was not clever.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Neil Young

Was watching TV early Saturday night and came across an interview with Neil Young and the first thing that struck was how much he has aged over the last year - still lucky to be among us nonetheless.

Terrific songwriter and a very fine guitarist he has been one of my musical heroes for the last thirty years. Cannot say that I have enjoyed all of his offerings, but that is one of his traits that I admire, he does what he feels like doing and not what is expected of him.

Finally got to see him and Crazy Horse live around six years ago and they were excellent - well worth the two hundred mile round trip in very heavy rain.

So here in aging order are three clips, Old Man (recorded 1971),
Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) (1979) and Pocahontas (2004).

Respectively they are Acoustic, Electric & Loud (though I did find a clip of him doing this acoustically which was great) and Acoustic.

Finally someone put the interview up on Youtube, here he is talking to everyone's favourite film critic.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Beer 106 - Fuller’s London Pride

Well, after preparing dinner my thoughts turned to alcohol and what to choose this evening. A quick check of the cupboard revealed this little beauty.

My second taste of real ale and it has remained one of my favourites ever since then, more hoppy than the Youngs but also with a fine taste of malt in it. Definitely in my top 5 of English ales and well worth trying.

Have a great week - I was hoping to visit my Great Nephew this week but I think I broke my little toe yesterday morning (have previous toe breaking experience). Feels a lot better today but still hurts when I walk so am not sure if it will be up to driving this week - time will tell.

Scotland 3 Ukraine 1

The dream run carries on, was listening to the game on radio and could not believe it when we went 2 goals up after only ten minutes.

Yet another great performance by the lads, you can watch all the goals here.

Seems that they are now playing part of this song after every Scottish goal, so I could not resist including a link.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Silly But Fun

Now this is the sort of thing that travel guides never mention - America is one scary country.

Check it out here and make sure that you read their Top 11 tips - who knows when you might need them.

Women Know Your Place

Spoof informational film from Harry Enfield & Chums:

Hard to believe that our culture once supported views like this.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Meet The Natives - Part The Second

So our plucky adventurers got to see a fox hunt and were perplexed that the “fox” was a guy on a quad bike (hunting foxes with hounds was made illegal here in 2004). They laughed their heads off when the hunt flushed a fox out into an open field and none of the hunters noticed it.

Back at the castle Sir Somebody organised a black tie dinner for them on their last night, they followed along and appeared to enjoy themselves. Then they switched into their traditional clothing (or lack of it) and performed one of their “custom dances” - fair play to the toffs, a good number of them joined in.

Then they went to the Isle of Skye - as Captain Cook had described Tanns as being like the Hebrides when he first landed there - think that they enjoyed the scenery. On the journey back they came across snow for the first time in their lives and they sure loved that - running around throwing snow balls at one another and marvelling at the stuff.

They were put up in a penthouse flat in London and got to visit the outside of Buckingham Palace.

The good news is that our brave men from Tanna achieved the aim of their quest and got an audience with Prince Phillip (not filmed), they went to ASDA (supermarket chain owned by Walmart) and got kitted out with lounge suits, shirts and ties. They were truly delighted to get this opportunity and got all excited the night before it.

Next thing we see is them returning to their village (wearing their suits etc) to a big welcome, the chief explains to them that PP said that it was not the time for him to return. They show around their framed photograph of them with PP - which goes down really well.

The whole village gathers that night to watch the film of their adventures on the other side of the world and it is smiling faces all round.

Russian Humour Alert

Came across this news story earlier in the week - who can say Russian have no sense of humour.

The latest news is that they docked safely with the ISS around 16:00. Must say that I envy them spending six months orbiting the globe above us.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Meet The Natives

Channel 4 has been running a three part documentary series called Meet The Natives, the setup is that 5 islanders from Tanna (in the Pacific) are flown to the UK for 4 weeks to experience living with middle, working and upper class families (tribes).

Their religion leads them to believe that Tanna and England were once the same island and that we are all brothers - they also believe that Prince Philip is the son of their god.

Only one of the five speaks English yet they all seem to be able to pick up on things very quickly,. The look of disgust on the Chief’s face when he was shown pigs being artificially inseminated was priceless - I think that it might have been down to the females being aroused by a male pig that they could only touch with their noses.

On the other hand they bond instantly with the rabbit hunter and his ferrets, lending a helping hand and regarding it as land based fishing.

In the second program they visit Manchester where they see homeless people for the first time and are appalled they we treat our animals better than our fellow humans. Back home if someone needs a house they all muck in and help to build one.

A jet wash causes great excitement – it’s something else they have never seen before. “Now I can see that a car is like a human being,” comments one of the men. “They have to shower frequently and wash their bodies with custom medicine. Then every so often you have to clean out their insides.”

Their way of looking at the world around them and their philosophy on life (“love, happiness, peace and respect”) should be an inspiration to us all. There is an openness about the way they approach all the new things they are encountering for the first time. They certainly belie our "civilized" westerners opinions on "primitive tribes". Having said that, they have very old fashioned ideas on the place of women in society.

Last episode is on tonight, here is what they wear when back home, the chief is the one in the middle.

Tell Me It's Not True

According to this story, it was proved 20 years ago today that Nessie does not exist - I am crushed.

Anyway it is still a bonny place to visit, so here are a couple of pics.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Cloud Appreciation Society

Heard about this lot today and having checked out their website it is well worth a visit. There over 3,000 pics available up there, and I reproduce one of the paragraphs from their manifesto:

“ Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked.
They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.
Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save
on psychoanalysis bills.

I really like the idea of a society that is dedicated to clouds and found myself endorsing a large part of the manifesto. It was hard to tear myself away after 45 minutes had flashed by.

So here are some of my favourites from my first visit, Grim Reaper, Salvador Dali, Lightening Strike, Cool Image, Noctilucent Clouds.

Noctilucent means “visible at night” (that old Latin education of mine comes in handy even after all those years) but in the world of meteorology it is “(of high-altitude clouds) visible during the short night of the summer”.

So head over and check them out here.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Mark Kermode - “Control”

Anyone who listened to Mark’s demolition of the latest Tarantino offering might wonder if he ever does give positive reviews.

Here is one from last week on the film Control which is a biopic of Ian Curtis and his band Joy Division.

Basically it is a six minute extract from the live video stream when the show goes out at 15:00 on a Friday, which can usually be found here.

For another fine rant here he is on Pirates of the Caribbean 3 - fans of the franchise would be advised to look away now.

The result of the Comsat Angels vs Joy Division text poll was a resounding victory for Joy Division.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Beer 105 - Cairngorm, Trade Winds

The Cairngorm brewery is based in Aviemore, which sits down in the river valley with the Cairngorm mountains looming on the horizon. The brewery has only been there for six years and I had never tried any of their beers until 2006 when I had to spend a year back in my home town - about 12 miles up the valley.

Still remember the taste of the first one that I drank and after that I was hooked, and it is always good to support your local businesses. This one has a pale golden colour and is quite hoppy in flavour, went down very well with my curry last night.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Sutton Hoo - Part The Second

Returning to the visitor centre I got a coffee and sat out in the sun, chilling out next to a tree with an area of garden to myself. Read the pamphlet describing the site and noticed that photography was only forbidden in the Treasury Room.

Refreshed, I entered the Exhibition hall and was greeted by two National Trust volunteers who told me that the Audio/Visual film would be starting shortly and was well worth the visit. It was pretty entertaining and at 8 minutes was about the right length - contained the statement that 80% of modern English words come down to us from Anglo Saxon, which came as news to me.

Amble round the hall soaking up the history and I come to the first display cabinet where I take this shot - looking at it last night I was amazed to find that I had a successful replica of the case contents. So without further explanation here it is.

Then moved in front of the case next to it and took this one, which is not as sharp but does show the ornaments from a horse bridle found in the tomb of a warrior excavated in 1992.

Next stop was the reconstruction of the famous helmet but first I read a notice telling me that photography was not allowed in the Exhibition hall for reasons of privacy and security - damn. Major disappointment as it warranted half a dozen shots all of it’s own, so the next few shots are not mine:

The reconstruction of the helmet is a thing of great beauty and the same could be said of the sword. The hall also had a reproduction of the tomb found within the ship as it would have looked when it was created and boy had they filled it with stuff.

Cooking pots, clothing, jewellery, chain mail coat, sword, spears, shield , that helmet and other items including a game board.- wish I could have taken a photo. That dude certainly went into his afterlife with everything that he might require.

The Treasury Room contained reconstructions of various artifacts, lyre, shield, smiths tools, cloth and jewellery - these people certainly appreciated the finer things in life which I found ironic given that they were living in the middle of the “Dark Ages”.

Coming out of the hall I found that the sun had disappeared behind dull grey skies, headed back with my brain still sifting through the memories of the day and a smile on my face.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Back From Suffolk

Well made it there and back with only one traffic snag on both journeys - which in this day and age counts as a good result. What was more amazing was the sudden change in the weather on Thursday morning, after three days of lead filled skies the sun remembered where we were and shone pretty steadily for 2 whole days.

Apart from visiting friends in the area I had also planned a visit to Sutton Hoo (a 7th Century Anglo Saxon burial site) where in addition to some mounds to look at there is also an exhibition of (mainly) replicas of the original finds (now “safe” in the British Museum).

Arrived around 10:00 and as it was a fine bright morning I headed off to have a look at the burial mounds. The first photo is of the mound where they found the remains of a 27 metre long ship back in the 1930s - within the remains of the ship they discovered the grave of a high ranking Anglo Saxon.

It will never be possible to identify him, but the quality and quantity of the finds give the impression of a high ranking military leader (finely worked helmet, shield, patterned sword etc). The other interesting point is that some of the finds came from as far away as Byzantine.

Not a very interesting photo, just a small lump in the ground with no sheep in shot (luckily). Very pleasant walk to get there and I was fortunate to have the whole space to myself for 30 minutes which gave me time to reflect on what would have been going on there 1300 years ago and on how different life was back then.

The next shot is of Mound 2 where they found the remains of another buried ship, this one looks more impressive because it has been rebuilt to it’s original height.

Imagine seeing a hilltop from the river below with 17 of these mounds sitting on it, I believe that your average 7th Century person would have been pretty impressed.

Decided that my time was up when I noticed a group of people approaching in the distance - still I did get to myself for half an hour.

I took the long way back to the exhibition and met no other people just a lone crazy grey squirrel which insisted in walking ahead of me for 50 metres or so before departing up a tree. Will post some more pics from the exhibition tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Road Trip

Heading off to Suffolk for a couple of days so posting may not happen.

Hope to finally get to visit Sutton Hoo and soak up some archaeology.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

People Are Weird - No 1

On a dreich grey morning I was trawling for some good news (did not find much) and then I came across this story.

What kind of brain says to itself, "hey, I found a leg here so lets make some money out of it".

Answers on a postcard :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Several years ago my eldest nephews decided that my activities demanded that they allocate me a nickname, and the one that they selected was:

Not because I possess any great wisdom, nor unusual fighting skills, nor any capabilities in use of “The Force” - oh no.

They selected it based on my “ability” in a late night/early morning session to pass out from proceedings for a period of time and then magically resurface (like some kind of “Force Ghost”) and continue partying until the wee small hours as though nothing had happened.

Have tried everything, but I cannot shake off the “ability” or the nickname!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Eddi Reader

There are times I have trouble deciding between Eddi and Annie Lennox as to which of them is my favourite Scottish “chanteuse”, that is when it is time to dig out Eddi’s 1992 album Mirmama.

She does an amazing cover version of Dolphins (coincidentally one of my favourite songs) on this and after listening again there are no doubts.

You rule the roost Eddi, accept no substitutes. Enjoy.

Oh, and she is red haired as well!

Love Story

After the last post I was trying to think of something to cheer me up and I remembered a post on a Las Vegas cab driver’s blog that I read earlier in the year, so time to share.

An incredible tale which demonstrates that every now and then the universe can deal out the hands that people deserve.

“An impossibility wrapped in a destiny”

Sympathy Required

Inspector Gadget (great UK police blog, frequently illustrated with pics of farm animals) put up a post last week requesting sympathy for a fellow officer who lost his partner/police dog early last month.

He has not posted since then and IG is asking us to drop by with words of encouragement.