Monday, 29 June 2009

Donald Ford Images

Donald Ford was one of the finest players ever to wear the maroon shirt of the mighty Heart of Midlothian FC. Donald starred for the maroons in the 1960s and 1970s in a period when Hearts struggled both on and off the pitch. He was part of the Scotland World Cup Squad that was the only unbeaten team at the finals in West Germany in 1974.

A footballer extraordinaire is now a photographer extraordinaire. Donald is one of Scotland's leading landscape photographers and his excellent work can be seen - and purchased - at his superb website

There are some stunning images there - it's well worth a look.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Monday, Monday

Some thoughts to fit in with the start of another week...

Challenges: I expected times like this - but I never thought they'd be so bad, so long, and so frequent.

Get to Work: You aren't being paid to believe in the power of your dreams.

Governments the world over: If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.

Idiocy: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Individuality: Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else...

Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.

Sanity: Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.

Bear With Me...

Two American Football teams are on a tour of Europe and have a quiz to see which team can name most places in Holland. The game was won by a single Dutch Town.

A child was misbehaving by protesting loudly and rudely, waving boards with crazy slogans on, while guests were visiting. He was punished for having mad banners.

There is evidence that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers, but unfortunately all the league records were destroyed in a fire.Thus we'll sadly never know for whom the Tells bowled.

He said he grown strong from all his dancing, but no-one believed him.It was obvious to all that he was bearing waltz fitness.

I'm a baker for the army. When I go to war, I go in all buns glazing.

The policeman pulls over a car onto the side of the road and walks over to the driver."Do you realise you've got two snakes attached to the front of your car?" he asks."It's all right," replies the driver, "they're just my windscreen vipers."

A man was charged with stealing ducks from a local pond in a small English village.When in court, the judge asked how he pleaded. He replied 'Not guilty Mallard'.

There was one a dromedary whose fur was an amazingly close match in colour to the desert sand, and he was almost impossible to see.Some called him 'the invisible dromedary', but in reality he wasn't invisible; he was just really well camel-flaged.

Did you hear about the new line of Elvis Presley-themed steakhouses?They'll be for people who love meat tender.

I always wondered why the ball was getting bigger as it came at me..... then it hit me

I used to want to be a gold prospector, but it didn't pan out.

The police caught a burglar last night after he broke into a bathroom window, stood on a set of scales and gave himself a weigh.

I knew someone once who was a monorail enthusiast. He had a one track mind.

The price of chess pieces was going up. I had to buy quickly, so I decided to contact my pawn broker.

A jump-lead walks into a bar, and looks around aggressively at the other customers.The barman says "All right, I'll serve you... but don't start anything."

Did you hear the one about the man who dreamed he was a muffler on a car, and then that he was part of the wheel? He woke up exhausted and tired.

What did one archaeologist say to the other when he stepped on his newly discovered artifacts?"I'm so sorry, looks like I owe you an anthrApology!"

Our local Catholic church has plans to bring their parishioners to services by bus. They plan to call it mass transit.

Saturday, 27 June 2009


A hermit has begun 40 days of isolation in a Gothic tower in Manchester Museum.
Ansuman Biswas, 43, who lives in London, plans to contemplate things "lost" and the impact of extinction during his confinement. Mr Biswas has chosen 40 objects to present to the public during his stay, including a human skull and a brick from the Great Wall of China. The city's museum has 4.5 million artefacts, which Mr Biswas will live among until 5 August. His only communication with the outside world will be through his internet blog as he details what life is like in seclusion.

From the BBC News Website

Forty days of isolation? Living in seclusion, away from work, mobile phones, loud-mouthed neds who plague society, screaming grandchildren, demanding daughters, noisy neighbours, infuriating and loud television, drunken arseholes on the night bus home on a Friday night, fecking tourists, queues of traffic....

Room for one more, Mr Biswas????

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Yes, I'm Positive...(the art of punnery)

A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him . . . . . A super calloused fragile mystic vexed with halitosis....

Thanks to my good pal Lizzy for these!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Tale of Two Companies

British Airways is asking thousands of staff to work for nothing, for up to one month, to help the airline survive. The appeal, sent by e-mail to more than 30,000 workers in the UK, asks them to volunteer for between one week and one month's unpaid leave, or unpaid work. BA's chief executive Willie Walsh has already agreed to work unpaid in July, forgoing his month's salary of £61,000. Last month, BA posted a record annual loss of £401m, partly due to higher fuel bills and other costs. BA has said that hundreds of staff have responded positively to the request.

From the BBC News Website

Workers at seven Royal Mail delivery offices in Scotland have been taking part in a 24-hour strike in a row over job cuts and services. Royal Mail said about 330 staff at two offices in Edinburgh and others in Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath, Grangemouth, Bathgate and Irvine were involved. About 160 distribution drivers in Edinburgh were among thousands in the UK who took action on Friday.

From the BBC News Website

Am I the only person who thinks that Royal Mail staff need, to use a term oft-used by our friends across the pond, to wake up and smell the coffee? We now live in an instant communication age. The Internet, mobile telephones, satellite feeds, wi-fi have all made communication not only immediate but, in most cases, reliable. The opposite, it seems to me, of any business plan Royal Mail may have in operation.

Many people now pay bills on-line and communicate by either e-mail or text. Can you remember the last time you sent someone a letter? Until recently I used to send a cheque to pay my credit card bill; paid my council tax (albeit reluctantly -see Rants passim) by queuing at the post office and sent things such as greeting cards through the post at least a week in advance in the hope the recipient would get the card in time. On occasion they would get nothing at all - I posted £20 in gift vouchers to my mother a couple of years ago and she never received them. Doubtless, some postal worker with a smug grin had helped themselves. Now I pay the majority of my bills on-line. Not only is it infinitely quicker but I know that payment has been received at the other end - and I'm not relying on some couldn't be arsed postie to do their job properly.

Royal Mail's latest strike action - timed, it seems, to affect those who have sent Father's Day cards - will affect many people who still rely on the creaking postal service to deliver. The majority of items I receive through Royal Mail these days is junk mail. So their antiquated views on industrial relations won't really affect me unlike their strikes of years gone by.

Perhaps Royal Mail should take a look at the real world - such as events presently happening at British Airways.

It's time to get real.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Beat in Edinburgh

I had the pleasure of being at The Beat gig at Edinburgh's Picture House on Friday evening. One of the earliest of the British ska revivalist groups, The Beat formed in 1978, and skanked up the charts with the likes of 'Mirror in the Bathroom' and 'Stand Down Margaret' - a message to Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Last night they had their adoring audience bouncing as they performed all their classics - and Stand Down Margaret turned into Stand Down Gordon...

I've seen the band several times before and they never disappoint (not even a slight technical problem could spoil last night's show)
Excellent stuff and hugely enjoyable. If you ever get the chance to see them live, I highly recommend you do so.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Meanwhile, in the Council Chamber...

Chairman: So, fellow Cooncillors, item 3 on the agenda - the installation of a pedestrian crossing on the A68 in Dalkeith. Any comments before I pass the motion?

Councillor A: Aye, I would like to ask why we're installing another pedestrian crossing on that stretch of road when we already have 40 sets of traffic lights.

Chairman: Well, in my view, ye cannae have too many pedestrian crossings.

Councillor A: Aye, but this new one is only ten yards from the last one we installed last month.

Chairman: But we need it for the kiddies. We dinnae want to be sued by Mr & Mrs Numpty when their brats run across the road and are squashed by a number 86 bus.

Councillor B: Ah wouldnae worry aboot that, Mr Chairman, the number 86 bus disnae go faster than five miles an hour...

Chairman: Point taken, Cooncillor B, but we can't take any risks. I've seen some o' thae First Bus drivers when they're aboot tae finish their shift fairly bombing along the A68.

Councillor A: That would be very difficult with all those traffic lights. Anyway, we've already got a pedestrian crossing outside the old Dalkeith High School. I remember we installed it a month before we closed the school.

Chairman: Aye, but wi' obesity levels rising it's asking a lot of the locals to walk roond the corner ten yards just to cross the road. So gentlemen - are we agreed?

All: Aye!

Chairman: Right, motion passed. I'll get the road dug up again - it should nae take that long, it was only resurfaced last week. I'll see if there's any temporary traffic lights left we can use in the meantime. I think we might have used the last set last week. Okay - last one to the pub gets the drinks in...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Sublime Ally Kerr

Ally Kerr, one of Scotland's top singer/songwriters, is one of my favourite musicians. I first saw Ally play live in Glasgow about three years ago and I was hooked. His second album, Off the Radar, is one of those you simply can't stop playing. My favourite track is There's a World - and I think my good pal Lizzy in the Hei'lands will particularly enjoy this one!

Click on the song title, sit back and enjoy! You can see more at

Sunday, 14 June 2009

No Kidding...

I saw this rather stylish image in this week's issue of the Radio Times under the Lifestyle section. It's an advertisement for cotton chino suits made by a clothing company called Peter Christian.

This delightful image is from the company's website.

However they have thought it necessary to add a disclaimer at the foot of their advert in the Radio Times.

Car not included.

If you look at page 138 of the magazine you will see I'm not kidding.

I can hardly contain my disappointment...

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Saturday Night's All Right (well, it's not actually)

The Auld Reekie Ranter is not a happy chappy tonight (no change there, I hear you say, dear reader) I've checked the calendar - yup, it's June 13th. Double-checked - yup, it is officially British Summer Time. Yet, it's Saturday night, the rain is persisting down, it's dark, it's gloomy and we're now halfway through the weekend.

But I thought you liked it when it was damp, miserable and gloomy I hear you ask.

Well, yes - to a point. Although I would prefer to be sitting outside with a glass of cider letting the sun beam down and listening to some decent music on the IPod rather than stuck inside with the central heating on listening to the rain batter against the window.

And, quell surprise, there's nothing on the telly. I'm certainly not even considering watching Graham Norton, Chris Tarrant or Trooping the bloody Colour (viva Republic!) And don't even mention the words Big Brother...

In an attempt to cheer myself up I tried to purchase tickets for The Specials gig in Edinburgh in November - only to discover they're sold out barely twenty-four hours after going on sale. In any case, the £32 price was a tad steep and when you consider the administration fee, credit card fee etc. etc. you're looking at forty notes. These additional fees for using credit cards are a pain in the Simon Cowell. It seems to me to be a licence to make money.

With it being the close season, the fact there's nae fitba is another reason to grump. Yes, I complained regularly last season about some of Hearts performances and the likes of Christian Nade having all the pace of a slug. But Saturdays just aren't the same without fitba.

Damn it, I'm away to open a bottle of cider. Anyone care to join me...?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Fancy a Bite?

This may look like a scene from a Hollywood film but it is actually an
image captured by the Royal Navy during an exercise off the coast of
South Africa. I can only hope the fella was okay - and had a clean change of underwear...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Millionth English Word Declared

A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services. Global Language Monitor (GLM) searches the internet for newly coined terms, and once a word or phrase has been used 25,000 times, it recognises it.

From the BBC News Website

Web 2.0. That's a strange one. Or two point zero. There are a few words in Scotland that are used considerably more that 25,000 times but aren't considered 'English'. I'm sure, dear reader, you can imagine what some of these words are. Inspired by Billy Connolly's sketch about pretend swear words, here are a few words and phrases I use you wouldn't find in any Oxford English Dictionary - or US web monitoring firm...

Bassa: a derogatory term used as an expression of anger. As when the number 86 bus fails to turn up for the eighth day in succession 'First Bus, you're nothing but a bunch of useless bassas...

Nade: used when describing someone as particularly slow or even inert. As in jeezo, mate, have you not got the drinks in yet? I've seen Christian Nade move quicker than you. Also used in relation to being lazy, lacking in enthusiasm and general malaise. In Scots terms, cannae be ersed...

Gettaefalkirk: commonly used as a way of declining an offer. As in being asked to work overtime on a Saturday - 'You know what you can do - you can gettaefalkirk'

Pissupinabrewery: a term used quite regularly, particularly when lauding the efforts of local councils. 'I see, Jim, that Midlothian Council are installing another set of temporary traffic lights in Dalkeith while they dig up the road they resurfaced last month.'
'Aye, see thae cooncillors? They couldnae organise a pissupinabrewery...

Jaiket on a Shoogly Peg: a Scots Human Resources term to indicate an employee has been found guilty of a misdemeanour so serious they have been issued with a final written warning.

Yer Tea's Oot: another Scots Human Resources term, used when the employee fails to take heed of the above warning and ends up being dismissed.

That's enough made up words from me.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

What Does Home Mean to You?

From film festivals to football tournaments, comedy nights to carnivals, exhibitions, workshops, parties and much, much more, Refugee Week Scotland (15-21 June 2009) is an exciting programme of events happening across the country to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of refugee issues. This year the theme of Refugee Week is HOME. For many refugees and asylum seekers, a new home in Scotland means safety from persecution and a life without fear. But what does home mean to you?

For me home is…

Chilling Out: Sitting in the garden on a warm, sunny weekend with a few bottles of chilled cider, a good book and some belting Ska music on the IPod. Much as I love Edinburgh there's something chilling about escaping the thronging masses in Scotland's capital city and just sitting in solitude watching the world go by...

Family: Spending time with Jack and Hannah, my two loveable grandchildren aka the brats. Although I do fear for the world they are being brought up in, they are still at an innocent age and love and affection pour out at every opportunity...
A Bacon Roll and a Lie-In!: After a hard week at work, Saturday morning is bliss. The weekend lies ahead and having a bacon roll and a lie in lets you believe that, for a few hours at least, the world is a wondrous place...

Football on a Saturday: When the mighty Heart of Midlothian aren't playing at home, I enjoy sitting watching Jeff Stelling and the boys on Sky Sports News giving the nation the rolling football results on a Saturday afternoon. A simple pleasure, perhaps - but a pleasure nonetheless. Particularly when I'm waiting for my fixed odds coupon to come up (which it seldom does!) When Hearts are playing at Tynecastle and the game actually kicks off at 3.00pm on a Saturday, the pre-match atmosphere, weaving through crowds in Gorgie, the pre-match pint, the anticipation...sometimes this is better than the game itself! Okay - this is Hearts being at home but you get the jist.

The joys of home. What does home mean to you?

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Britain's Oldest Man

The UK's oldest man and one of Britain's two surviving WWI veterans has turned 113. Henry Allingham joined the Royal Navy Air Service in September 1915 before transferring to the RAF in April 1918. The Royal Navy hosted a birthday party on HMS President in London for his family, close friends and members of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Mr Allingham, who lives in East Sussex, said he was looking forward to being a teenager again. The birthday is another landmark for a man who is the last surviving founder member of the RAF and whose life has spanned three centuries and six monarchs.

From the BBC News Website
Three cheers for Mr Allingham! In a country where many MPs fiddle expenses to the cost of the taxpayer, the cult of 'celebrity' is king, respect is conspicuous by its absence and moral decline is in acceleration, here is a man who has served his country in two world wars and has done the nation proud. I particularly liked his comment that he was looking forward to being a teenager again. With five grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, fourteen great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild it must cost him a bloody fortune.

As well as being Britain's oldest man, Mr Allingham is the only person still alive to remember Hibernian winning the Scottish Cup and Adullamite opening his wallet...

Happy Birthday, Sir - Britain salutes you!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Stop the World...

...I want to get off.

Apparently Big Brother is about to begin once again on Channel Four in the UK. No sooner does Britain's Got (nae) Talent draw to its tedious conclusion than another daily dosage of tedious television begins with a bunch of extrovert chancers bearing their ignorant souls to the nation. They call it reality television but, in reality, it is really televisual diarrhoea.

Many youngsters will love it, of course, but for many of my age it's more evidence of the decline of television which used to inform, educate and entertain. Yet huge crowds will gather outside 'the house', millions of people will watch the 'housemates' wandering aimlessly round 'the house' before spending the cost of a small mortgage telephoning Channel Four to get one of them 'evicted'. As if that wasn't enough, there's live coverage on E4 during the night so you can watch and hear the more uncouth 'housemates' scratch and fart in bed under the duvet.

Damn it, there's not even any football to go to now it's the close season. I may disappear to a darkened room until August...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Someone Out There... the north of England - and my site tracker suggests it's in the Durham area - is spending a lot of time reading my inane ramblings...

Come out, come out, whoever you are!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Words of Wisdom...

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is

Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.

Change is inevitable....except from vending machines.

A fool and his money are soon partying.

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.

I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.So I said, "Got any shoes you're not using?"

Officer, I know I was going faster than 55MPH, but I wasn't going to be on the road an hour.

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.

*thanks to my good pal Lizzy in the Hei'lands for these!