Showing posts with label moaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label moaning. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Devil's work

Full of big plans for the last four days. We were at long, long last going to spend a big old Saturday in the cairngorms, hopefully to make a decent fist of the whole Ben Avon/Beinn a' Bhuird round trip, and thereafter I was determined to make an assault on some path laying in the garden. (Most of the delay in both tasks has been caused by the recent - three month long - monsoon season, in fairness.)

Alas though, it was not to be. I ended up having to leave work early on Friday, not to aid in the hillwalking preparations, but owing to a particularly virulent stomach bug that seemes to have been working its way through the whole family over the last week or so.This is no place for vivid explanations of the precise effects it's been having on folk, but it's only been in the last six hours or so that I've been in my endeavours.

On the plus side, being confined to barracks means that you've got time to Youtube-surf for some of your more minority interests.


Pop quiz then. No peeking beforehand. Everybody should get Kevin Kline as the King. (Everybody would be familiar with all Kevin Kline's work, if it was up to me.)

Nobody will get Rex Smith as Frederick.

Who's this playing Ruth though? You do know her.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


That's the word. I was up at the back of five this morning, all ready to head north in search of the half decent weather that had been promised. A new Munro was in the offing - just the one, mind - I wasn't going to be greedy.

It was, however, pishing it down here at the back of five, and the rain-soaked road to the Highlands wasn't quite appealing enough, so I repaired to bed for another three hours, then took the dugs down the park, watched the Wales v Australia rugby and decided to spend the day drinking beer and watching the telly.

And tramping through Youtube.

Here's a song from Black Stone Cherry at that Secret Session me & Gordy got to see back in March. Ah, memories.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Careful now!

I was restocking my hillwalking first aid kit, seeing as how I actually walked up a hill last week. It's just a basic homemade collection of the usual bits & pieces. Rennies, mainly.  ;0)

But look:

£4.72 - Go Outdoors

£1.69 - Aldi

You'll probably guess that I got the first lot, whereas Marion came home with the Aldi alternative.

Rip off plasters. As it were.

Down with this sort of thing!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Feline depredation

No, it's not a play on words.


We've been enormously careful with the cats during the nesting/breeding/fledging season. Five of them in the house means it can be a tense wee while, but so far this year there'd only been one casualty - and I think it was a wee blue tit that had overestimated it's powers of flight, if I'm honest.

Bit of a setback today when a quick look out into the garden revealed a covering of feathers on the grass, a very dead woodpigeon, and a rather gory-looking Dave the cat.

Woodpigeons are particularly guilt inducing when you can see the bereaved mate flapping around nearby.

Bloody cats.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Awfy busy

I know I don't have a proper job, where you really have to work in the true sense of the word, but there's a wee bit on just at the moment.

So sometimes you've just got to take a minute and listen to an old favourite.

Even if it's an old favourite that can make you greet.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Streap Alba

1. Click

2. Make sure you keep an eye on what Alan Sloman continues to unearth.

3. Speak to your sympathetic pals. I've a notion this is indeed a step too far, and it's possible that folk could make a difference to the outcome. There's an election imminent, remember.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Longest Ever Mamores Round

I was thinking about this earlier today. I've been hillwalking for roughly eight years now, and in all that time I've been at the top of seven different Mamore Munros.

Even disregarding my predictable reluctance to go anywhere near something that revels in the name "Devil's Ridge", that's still pretty slow going for someone who actually lives less than three hours from Fort William. Accordingly, I thought I'd better make public my avowed intention to finish the entire Mamore collection some time in early 2014.

When I'll be 50.

Hell's Bells.

Anyway, this unusual period of introspective gloom was prompted by a rather enjoyable wee jaunt up Mullach nan Coirean yesterday. I don't know - maybe something about the walk was giving me a subliminal message that it's time for a change of direction.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Like snow off a dyke

The Transport Minister's disappeared.

This is a bit of a poser. During the chaotic period from Monday morning to Thursday lunchtime last week, when the roads in Lanarkshire eventually got back to something like normality, everybody was looking for someone to blame. I know I was. Equally, I also know that there wasn't anything anyone could have done to prevent the snow falling in the amounts that it did, so the spat between the Met Office and the Government about whether the forecasts were plain enough is only relevant to one issue - what advice should folk have been given about travelling on Monday, and how should that advice have been transmitted.

The other issue, as far as I see it is what people should have been advised to do once they were actually caught up in the situation. Again though - how do you get advice to folk stuck in miles of gridlock? It's not as if people carry portable telephones around with them everywhere they go, and unless and until every motor vehicle is equipped with some kind of radio receiver, then there really will be no means of establishing communications in circumstances like this.

What we needed, I reckon, is for someone to have Taken A Decision. All this "police advise motorists against travelling unless their journey is strictly necessary" is worse than useless. Firstly, nobody knows whether it applies to them, and secondly loads of folk, for selfish reasons, regard their journeys as essential because it's a journey they want to make. (They're the same folk that think the reason that closed lanes on motorways are flagged up in advance is so that everyone else on the road can change lanes in plenty of time, thus enabling the tossers to swerve across just as they reach the cones.)

The solution? Police announcement via radio, television and emergency mass text message facility (it's bound to exist in times when the country's at war, surely!):

"The weather from 8am tomorrow will be atrocious and travel will be impossible. Do not leave your home between 7am and 10am unless you are involved in a life threatening incident.
Nobody will get the sack for being late.
It's the law.
This will keep the roads free of traffic, the snowploughs can get round and everything will be back to normal by mid-morning. BBC Radio Scotland is solely broadcasting updates on the conditions from around the country. No recipes, songs, banter or any other shite like that. Is this message tolerably clear? Good.
Now sit down and be quiet until we tell you different."

I tell you, things'll change when I'm elected Scotland's First Grand Panjandrum And Supreme Dictator for Life. And now that Stewart "Scapegoat" Stevenson's away, that's just come a step closer.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Built on seven hills.

Having more than a passing interest in the weather, given my occasional forays up hills, I've decided on balance that it's worthwhile recording for my own future reference that I've never seen snow like this in darkest Lanarkshire - certainly not in the last twenty five years. When I left Skye in 1983, to move to my first "qualified" job, I was due to start work in Glasgow just after the New Year, and there was such a dump of snow that I missed my first week altogether, travel being impossible, but I still reckon this is more widespread & causing more disruption.

Bellshill is bad enough. I think we've had about 15" of snowfall since last Friday, but when I ventured up to see my mother today, it being her 73rd birthday - Happy Birthday Martha!!! - I was genuinely astonished about the state of the area outside the town centre. The main route between the Stirling road and the wee housing estate where my mother lives is a big, busy route and today it's like some stockpile facility for cars that have been killed by excessive snowfall. There can't be a household in any of the sprawling schemes in the vicinity that hasn't chosen to abandon its motors out on the main roads rather than chancing getting them anywhere near a gritted thoroughfare each morning. This creates enormous havoc, needless to say; a half mile section of what is now effectively a single track, ungritted because the lorries can't negotiate past the cars, on a steep slope which joins a fast moving main road via a blind T-junction. Just down from a primary school.

The stolid citizens who live in the street parallel to my mum's had clearly been engaging in a collective shovelling extravaganza, because the Subaru was revelling in a pretty good grip as I took it up Tummel Drive, albeit through a narrow gap between towering banks of snow. That kind of gave me a false sense of confidence, because as soon as I rounded the bend at the top, it was as if I had teleported to the Yukon. About 4 foot of snow, just...well...completely blocking the road. Eight years I've had that car, and this is the first time it's ever actually been defeated. Bearing in mind I was only about 10 yards from my mother's hoose, I tried to press on a wee bit. Suffice it to say that I was inordinately pleased that I'd stuck my wee mountain snow shovel into the motor at the start of the week.

Eventually I managed to reverse along my own tyre tracks, and head back down Tummel. Whereupon I espied Martha walking up the hill, she having earlier decided she'd wander over to the shops a mile or so away because she was about to be reduced to using UHT milk. Well, if you want proper milk on your 73rd birthday, you shouldn't settle for anything else. ;0)

So it was that rather than the original plan to treat her to a nice slap up meal in a posh restaurant tonight, I was reduced to giving my mum her presents when she climbed into the passenger seat of the Forester for five minutes. And yes, I could have abandoned the car and wandered up to the house with her, but (a) there was nowhere within about a mile that I could have found a space to leave it, and (b) Martha wasn't having it anyway, because I was supposed to be at my work.

Thankfully the gifts went down well.

In all events, Airdrie's worse than Bellshill. It's higher up of course - hence the post title - and "worse than Bellshill" at the minute connotes a lot of snow. I'm putting a couple of photies up here to show what it's presently like around the house - so I can compare the conditions next year!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Answers on a postcard

...if you can shed any light on the thought processes that go into this.

Munros and long drives weren't on the agenda for this weekend, but I decided this morning that I'd take the dugs up Meikle Bin for their daily constitutional rather then heading down to the castle. It's no' even a two & a half hour walk, and if I'm being honest Molly kind of prefers that sort of thing to 12 hour Cairngorm epics. ;0)

On the way up it did occur to me that there was an uncommon number of discarded plastic drinks bottles which seemed to have been thrown into the path verges, but hey - it's a popular walk, it's close to civilisation, and if there are kids about, you'll get litter. I made a note to pick a few of them up on the way down.

The bit that I couldn't quite fathom though was what lay just beyond the summit, at the traditional oot the wind sandwich spot:

Four used teabags, arranged seemingly carefully in a semicircle, and left there.

Now. If you're organised enough to sort out tea at the top of an 1800' hill, then you've either got a stove together with a pot and the requisite water; or else you've trailed a thermos flask all the way up. In either case, you're probably an "outdoorsy" sort. Accordingly, what unearthly logic would then make you decide to save the weight of the teabags on the descent? Even leaving aside the basic common decency "don't litter" proposition. Who did they think was going to pick them up? The fucking Teabag Fairy? Who, if he exists at all, incidentally, would be me, seeing as that's exactly what I did.

Bastard tossers. Grrrr.

Still, on a brighter note, the dugs thoroughly enjoyed their wee day out.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Travails with my dug

Quiet on here for a number of reasons. One of them is that the hillwalks have been the entire impetus for posting recently and I wasn't out last weekend; another is that I've been having a rethink about the structure of the blog (with a view to motivating myself to get a genuinely regular posting routine going); and the main one is that the Wee Black Dug's been enjoying less than perfect health since we got back our holidays.
Nothing sinister, but - and at risk of offending her delicate sensibilities by broadcasting personal information on the internet - she's been having episodes of incontinence. It started just before the end of our week in Ardnamurchan; indeed that was the main reason we came home on the Saturday rather than the Sunday when the let was finishing. Very odd, in that she'd been fast asleep on the kitchen floor of the house, and when she'd woken up and changed position, as dugs are wont to do, she'd left a small puddle behind. We kind of thought it was just a bizarre one-off, but kept a very close eye on her and it happened again the next morning. It wasn't that she was struggling with her waterworks when she intended to go: you'd never have known there was a problem from looking at her when she was awake, it was simply good old fashioned sleeptime bed wetting.

Needless to say we were straight down to the vets on our return with the detailed history. The first positive was that we knew it wasn't that she was wetting because of stress, or anxiety, or as a result of getting left too long in the house. That saved a bit of time. Genuine incontinence - ie when the animal doesn't know that she's lost control - is something that they can treat, rather than having to isolate a cause for it first. Admittedly it's an unusual condition in a dog as young as Jorja, but it's not uncommon in neutered bitches a few years older than her, and our vet had come across a couple of cases in dugs of a similar age.

So she was put onto Incurin tablets, which the vet said was one of two possible medications that they would try. It's a hit & miss approach to dosage with that one. It's not based on the size or weight or age of the dug. You start off with one pill a day and if that works you reduce it to half a day and if it doesn't you increase it to two a day etc, etc, till you find the minimum effective dose. Largely irrelevant in our case because it wasn't making a blind bit of difference to Jorja, no matter how many we were stuffing down her neck.

The return trip to the vet resulted in a prescription for Propalin, which we were told worked in pretty much the opposite way (or on different types of muscle, at least) to the first drug. Incidentally, if anyone's been having difficulty following the nature of  the WBD's problems, that link has an impressive representative graphic.

Anyhoo, the Propalin dose goes by body weight - 25kg - and since last Friday she's been getting three 0.5ml shots of it each day. The bad news is that it tastes so vile that even Jorja is spitting out the food that we initially tried to hide it in. The good news is that since she started taking it she hasn't had any more accidents, so fingers are duly crossed.

The problem has necessitated a (hopefully interim) reorganisation of the sleeping arrangements, for much as I love her it's not fair to have an incontinent dog continuing to share your bed. She needed to be confined somewhere in the house with a tiled floor, for ease of cleanup operations. She simply wouldn't settle in the kitchen at night, even with Molly to keep her company, so the short term solution has been that we stick her in the wee ensuite in our bedroom. I feel a terrible heel each night shutting the door on her, but it means we all get a bit of sleep, which wasn't the case when she was downstairs. If she gets through another few days I reckon we can think about getting things back to normal.

And just to add to her woes, the day after she started on the Propalin she got a recurrence of her limber tail/broken tail syndrome which meant she couldn't wag it, or even sit down too fast(!) without causing herself significant discomfort. So all in all the poor wee thing's been through the mill a bit.

She must be feeling slightly better within herself though because today she formed a view that she could probably chew her way through an unopened tin of cat food which had been carelessly left in a kitchen cupboard. I'm not quite sure why she gave up when she did, because success didn't look to be that far away:


Certainly, her unfortunate ailments aren't affecting her wholehearted pursuit of anything edible.


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

This week, I has mostly been...

...standing on my hind legs in court, unfortunately. Something has to have gone badly wrong when I've got a 5 day Proof running this week, and a 3 day yin starting next week. It's no' very good, this actually having to work for a living.
I knew it was going to be hectic so I treated myself to some new CDs to cheer me up while driving to work in the mornings. I felt ever so slightly guilty getting four separate wee packages from Amazon through the letter box on the one day - it's ages since I've blown a whole £20 on music. ;)

There's a certain genre evident in three of the four discs, I suppose. The fourth is very much "left field" in comparison. Left field in a "middle of the road" sense, of course.


And out of all those riches, this week I has also mostly been listening to the Shinedown lads. Nae idea what Lara Croft has to do with the price of cheese, mind you:

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Reality Cheque

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I got stopped for speeding on the way down from Killin. Now, I've been driving for nearly thirty years, and I was actually quite proud of the fact that I'd never had any penalty points before. Never having had to produce my licence (as far as I can remember, anyway) and being inherently idle, meant that I still had the original green paper model - albeit three addresses out of date.

Anyway, the one time I need the thing I (predictably) can't locate it, so I had to avail myself of the Government gateway online service to get an ID number and then a replacement photo card version. And you know what? As if the pain and embarrassment of three points and a £60 fine wasn't enough, to add insult to injury there's a picture of some old fat guy on my new licence!


Saturday, 28 February 2009


I was supposed to be getting away for a walk today but I've been feeling under the weather since I got back from holiday. And of course during the holiday, now that I think about it.

I gave in and actually went to the doctor yesterday morning, and unfortunately as well as stuffing myself full of drugs I've to rest and let things take their course. It's some sort of viral infection, and it certainly ca's the feet from you.

Uber-wabbit, that's what I am. And that's not a phrase I use every day.


Suffice to say that I woke up about 5am, and started to feel colder and colder. I ended up lying in bed wrapped tight in the duvet wearing tracky bottoms, a vest, a long sleeved merino baselayer, a sweatshirt and a fleecey hat and I was still shivering uncontrollably. Big cartoony shivering, with chattering teeth and everything.

And when I'm not doing that, I'm sweating bullets.

The doctor said I'd to 'keep my fluids up' though, and I expect she meant by that 'drink lots of beer', so it's not all bad news.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

It's probably an age thing...

...but what with getting excited about the Gurkhas, and stuff annoying me generally, there seem to be wee bits and pieces cropping up everywhere that start inexplicably becoming issues.

You wouldn't think it was possible to find a downside in ordering a nice wee merino wool hat at a bargain price, would you?

That's the hat. Although mine will be blue. Only £12.94 inclusive of postage, which I think is pretty good in this day and age. British made, and everything. But then when I was reading the wee company history bit - here - well, I don't know, but I found it faintly depressing.

I doubt they employ as many folk these days.

Mind you, if the hat turns out to be shite, all may become clear.


I'm confident it won't however, and upon receipt, and following intensive testing, I hope to be able to recommend the headwear of the good folk at Messrs Peregrine to the great internet-going, ripped-off by snazzy marketing, long-suffering hillwalking public.

Oh, and just after I've done that I'm going to start a lightweight backpacking backlash. So watch this space.


About Fucking Time

The only time I had ever felt motivated enough to write to an MP was in the lead up to this relatively happy resolution to a story.

Let's hear it for the lawyers, eh?


Thursday, 2 October 2008

My heid hurts

Nothing to complain about in the big scheme of things, but this appearing in Court 3 days in a row is a bit of a bind.

Imagine actually having to work!

I thought t'other side were being astonishingly pessimistic when they said they thought we'd get through three witnesses in three days. Only three witnesses? Unthinkable.

Ahem, so here we are on the evening of Day two...and we're no' even finished the first one.

The're talking about giving us another five days. Oh joy.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

No Dogs Allowed

So, we're trying to organise a wee camping trip at the weekend. Plan is to go to Bunroy campsite on Friday, walk up a hill or two on Saturday, and stay over again that night. The campsite takes dogs, but I thought I'd better phone the hotel in Roy Bridge, just along the road from the site to check if I can take the dog into the bar.

Now I can completely understand - well maybe not completely, but I can understand - if a hotel simply takes a decision not to permit dugs in. But when the lady says that the hotel isn't "allowed" to let dogs in...well that's just nonsense. It's clearly meant to be a broad hint of all kinds of health and safety, or hygiene mayhem that would ensue if they broke that rule imposed upon them by, er, well the hotel polis, I suppose. Why don't they just tell you they don't want dugs in their pub?

Anyhoo, feck 'em. We're going to Fort Augustus instead.


Gratuitous Link.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Another useless performance

I wasn't actually that late getting up, but it should have been much earlier given the intended destination was Buachaille Etive Mor.
First off, the forecast was way, way out which took the edge off the whole thing from the outset, as I really wanted good weather for the hundredth - I'd probably have repeated the set-up from last week, with one dug and one hill if I'd known it was going to be wet & misty & fairly cold.
Anyhoo, left the house by 7:15. No particular traffic problems, Slade on the CD(!) and stopped for petrol at Tyndrum.
I had a notion funnily enough, just as I passed the snowgates that there was something awry.
Still, only an extra 60 pointless miles added on.
The layby at Altnafeidh was packed to the gunwales at 9:30. There were spaces at the bit on the left, but the place was heaving. I drove past to another layby about 450 yards further up, to have a look back down. It looked a long, wet grassy way to start the walk. I drove back down & went into the offroad section, but it was full of - well, people. It just wisny happening. Another thoroughly miserable, feeling sorry for/fed up with/myself drive back down the road. I'm no' imagining the headache, mind you but that's neither here nor there.
It's been a blast from the past week, what with the consultation with Lauren & the meeting with Gilles earlier on.
Things really must change, because I'm not functioning the way I should. And time is slipping away.