last updated November 11, 2014

Whit?

The predictive text on my phone was really struggling with the Scots Language. I turned it off but then you just realise how bad your writing is with 2cm digits trying to strike 5mm keys. Like an elephant playing piano. It was frustrating me but I realise that it is learning. It's a slow learned but it's mastered quite a few of the basics. Amongst the learned words are wee, whit, cannae, dae, pish, loch, acht… I'm not going to go on: my phone might have learned them but that last sentence was written three times. Maybe the laptop will learn sometime as well.


Posted by stupot at 04:33 PM Tuesday 11 Nov

Something old, Something new, Something simple

The two comfiest pair of trousers I own are well over 10 years old. One set are brown checked X-Large slacks which are a bit thinner than they were but are apparently still dapper enough to gain complements. They're loose and cool - I love wearing them in summer. The other pair are Rohan Bags - Amazingly comfy. I wear them in the office as much as I would in the hills. They're dead breathable, dry out in no time and have a double layer in the arse and knee. I got a new set recently as the old ones are a bit frayed but I'm having to push myself to wear them, because the old ones still work fine, are 'worn-comfy' and I don't have the preciousness you get with new stuff.

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Posted by stupot at 06:56 PM Monday 10 Nov

Ahhh, Aya, ah, Ow. Aaah. Ah. Jesus.


Posted by stupot at 07:23 PM Sunday 9 Nov

Lismore

Lismore ended up being nothing like I thought it was going to be. Mainly because I had no idea of what to expect. Appin was one corner of the west coast I hadn't quite ventured to. It's an unassuming island I had passed on the Craignure ferry and more of a low lying rock, even if impressively stretched out, from South to North. The backdrop is bold and impressive, accentuated by the crisp autumn light which is fleeting but powerful at this time of year. As you stand on the pier at Port Appin the land mass of Morvern, both laterally and in elevation, is majestic.

We didn't really see the granite super quarry of Glensanda but the kind of added to the intrigue - it felt like it should be in a Christopher Brookmyre book. Meall na h-Easaiche mountain is certainly visible though and evidence of its existence is seen with boats carrying staff and fuel around the head of the island, behind the chef of the hotel who occasionally goes to check the creels at the end of the pier.

Laura is a relatively immobile 40 weeks pregnant and I've got a fresh gash on my left arm with 12 stitches and a gamy ankle. It's safe to say we're not here for the white water rafting. With no mobile reception, we get a telephone call through the bar - which is pleasantly at odds with city life - and arrange to get picked up by Marlene - a family friend of Laura's - the other side of the short ferry crossing.

We meet an interesting chap in oil skins and end up visiting his new build, turf-roofed home. He knows our connection and we realise that everybody know everybody - literally. We're entrenched in detail during our tour of the island which is satisfyingly rural: the tiny boat the Oban dentist commutes on in all weathers, a poster drop-off for the cinema club they have, we hear about the local politics, of land ownership, of the hardships of island life. We look south to Mull and over to Oban, east toward Glen Etive and the wee surrounding islands. North, as we turn around, to the Nevis Range and finally Morvern, the rock I am so in awe of, to the west. We're deeply content and would be happy to stay for a time. Our last wee foray before we start our new jobs as night-watchmen.


Posted by stupot at 11:07 AM Sunday 9 Nov

Loch Class

When you go to Skye you don't even need to take a ferry these days - for the other larger islands you take the big ferries - the Island Class ferries. You can get some space to yourself, some decent food and you're generally very comfortable: especially if you have been at the mercy of the weather during your visit. They even have blow up ferries you can buy. Which is quite cool. Dependent on the direction of the wind and the experience of the captain, these ferries can go out in pretty rough weather. On the final leg of our day to get to Jura we were definitely not on one of these. It was a tiny shelf of a thing and there was no hiding from the elements other than an out of place, urban bus shelter bolted to the deck. I thought about the daily school run heading to Islay where we'd left: how well the kids would get to know these stirring currents in a strait just south of the worlds 3rd largest whirlpool, the Corryvreckan. We were on a loch class vessel: which despite its small size, is a favourable sign of approaching an area sparsely populated with humans.

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Posted by stupot at 05:58 PM Wednesday 22 Oct

Picky eater

If I eat fish, I go into an anaphylactic shock. My throat swells up and blocks my airwaves. Even if there is not enough ventilation in a space I can get restricted breathing or my eyes swell up. The adrenaline kicks in and then I'm shattered - I usually have to sleep. I'm relieved but I'm knocked out. My body goes into overdrive. It's happened twice in the past few weeks. Sometimes I get a twinge in my throat or upper mouth that is inexplicable.

I can eat shellfish no problem. The more common affliction is the opposite - fish good / shellfish bad - so people struggle with the concept like I've got it the wrong way around. Some people look at me like I'm making it up.

I can't eat dairy: butter, cream, milk, cheese, yoghurt, whey, cheese. I used to get really itchy with it but now I get a mild anaphylactic shock. I can eat eggs. People think that these are dairy. Maybe because the milk van used to sell them. In any case it's a hard concept for them to understand. I can eat eggs. They don't come from cows - they come from birds.

I can't eat peanuts or hazelnuts or pecans or walnuts. They are bad as well. They give me anaphylaxis. The effects are as bad as with fish. It's pretty scary. I gulp for air past the saliva in the ever decreasing opening in my windpipe. I ensure it doesn't happen often but it's very real. I can eat almonds and pine nuts, pistachios and coconut. This is harder for some than the dairy rule. It's a protein thing.

I can't eat bread or any gluten. Well that's not true: in the grand scheme of things, I can eat them - but I get terrible cramps and then suffer for a week with an upset stomach and do long term damage to my lower intestine. I also get sluggish and apathetic: I don't take in the nutrients and get tired as a result. I used to have the Donuts joke but coeliac disease has really fucked me over on that front. I'll pretty much eat anything else though. No problem.


Posted by stupot at 11:44 AM Thursday 9 Oct

I wish I was Tory

I wish I was a Tory. I wish I liked shopping malls. I wish I liked cars. I wish I liked war and the occupation of poor countries. I wish I liked spending the countries money on Nuclear weapons. I wish I didn't give a shit about poor people. I wish they would just get a job - I mean there's job's out there - why can't they just get a job? I've got a job - I pay my way - why won't they just get a job and stop draining the country's coffers?

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Posted by stupot at 11:01 AM Tuesday 7 Oct

The Horizon

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning and I was standing by the lights as I do every morning waiting to cross the road to start my commute. As cars whizzed past me I turned around and glanced into the Chinese restaurant and noticed a framed picture on the dark wall that I'd never noticed before. It was a cheap frame but the image was impressive - it was the House of Commons and Big Ben. My eyes moved back down towards the pavement and I cycled on when the light turned green. I was completely numb - the same feeling that is a symptom of oncoming depression. My stomach was tight - the same feeling that is a symptom of my body undergoing stress. I wasn't alone in having these feelings it transpired, but that was no comfort.

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Posted by stupot at 05:33 PM Saturday 20 Sep

Lumpy and Whippy

Cowal is a place I've been to on quite a few occasions but I've never really been over to the west side which rests on Loch Fyne. The area is incredibly accessible from Glasgow and is why the town's merchants had houses on Dunoon and Rothesay which also explains their period grandness. In miles it is not far but the ascending, descending and new, dramatic landscapes around each corner makes it feel like you could be entering another country, which, I suppose, you are. We were staying at Laura's uncle and Aunt's chalet just by Otter Ferry and arriving on Saturday evening in good weather I unpacked the bike and headed South for Portavadie on the stretch of road I hadn't ever been on. The direct route over the Bealach to Glendaruel is cruel so I thought better of it at the beginning of our break: 'Uncle Jonny' having tipped me off (to cement my decision, I met a cyclist coming the other way the following day who had broken a crank going up it).

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Posted by stupot at 07:03 PM Tuesday 26 Aug

Ted and Liz

2 weeks ago I was on the Isle of Eigg and walking over from the tearoom to Cleadale I noticed a postbox with the initials GR as part of the raised cast emblem - it was a wall mounted one: the wall looking in this case like it had been made purely for the purpose of housing a post box. It dawned on me that usually these read ER (as in Elizabeth Regina) but the GR was surely a reference to King George (Rex) of Georgian fame. We met to watch the road race for the Commonwealth Games where we'd been last year for the National Champs - just by the post box at the end of Cecil Street in the west end. We were standing about between laps, the awning out from Neil's van to shelter us - and eventually some stewards - from the rain, when an old man paused as he walked by. I could tell he wanted to say something and I asked if he was alright - he said he was happy they'd painted it. He was talking about the box and I agreed, but was oblivious to what he was getting at. "There are only a few of these left you know - the E on the box is not for Elizabeth but Edward the 8th". I'd forgotten about his short reign but it transpires the Royal Mail had managed to put up 161 boxes in that time. Few of these remain intact as most were changed to a G for George. The scripted E is followed by VIII you can notice if you're bored enough to pop up and have a look. He really rained on my postbox fact I'd been sharing for only a fortnight - but I was happy he'd shared a better one. Pass it on.


Posted by stupot at 07:12 PM Sunday 3 Aug