Cloisters Bar

It’s been a really tough past few weeks waiting for a dear friend to succumb to cancer. It seems strange that when you lose someone particularly close to you that that is one of the times when in a peculiar way you feel most alive.


Here we are in Cloisters Bar on an absolutely gorgeous April day.

Our recently out of hibernation tortoise had her first foray into the garden this morning. The boss is also out for lunch so we had to bring the tortoise back inside because she has been known to go into the pond when she thinks she is a turtle. I think tortoises can survive quite a long time in water hence their ability ( by chance?) to move between islands such as in the Seychelles and the Galapagos. Tortoises and turtles are both in the order Chelonia. There is one other in there. Do you know/ can you guess what it is? A clue– it begins with T as well.

Diversion over.           A picture is worth a thousand words so —



The beer selection blackboard.  Impressive!

You probably know that Cloisters means a covered walkway in a convent or monastery with a colonnade ( w t f ?)  and entablature ( W T F ?) the latter divided into architrave — (   Stop it ! Just stop it! Ed.)

The World : The Middle East has won out and Climate Change will have to wait ( if only ! ) ’til next blog.

In Iran people who want to put themselves forward for election have to be vetted by a guardian council, an unelected body of jurists ( who/what? ) and clerics. A newly elected female MP has been barred by this council from parliament. Her crime?

She ” might ” have shaken hands with a male non-relative on a foreign trip.  With a glove would have been ok. ( eh who shakes hands with a glove? Ed)

On a positive note more and more females are being elected.

Having grown up with the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland murdering each other in the spirit of brotherly love I’m now trying to get my head round this Sunni / Shia love fest. These guys just seem to hate each other’s guts. You don’t need to look far for religious intolerance. Some things never change.

Snapshots from the 2016 Arab Youth Survey:  ( 3,500 from 16 nations )

The point which registered most deeply was that most young Arabs reject ISIS.

50% thought ISIS was the biggest problem facing the Middle East.

However, lack of jobs was considered a stronger reason for young people to join rather than strong religious beliefs.

The International Labour Organisation, whoever they are, reckon about 75 million young Arabs are without a job.

53% thought that maintaining stability in the region was more important than promoting democracy. This hit me because in 2011, following so called Arab Spring, 92% of Arab youth said ” living in a democracy” was their most cherished wish. How views can change!

22% said they would most like to live in the UAE and 23% said it was the nation they would most like their country to emulate. Get your head round that. The UAE is an hereditary sheikhdom with no elected institutions!

What also challenged my perception, was that 63%  thought the US was an ally.

32% get daily news online, 29% from TV and only 7% from papers. A fair assumption might be that most young people worldwide are doing the same and no longer rely on the printed word. Expect lots of other newspapers to go bust or to try to extend their life as an app. The U.K’s Independent has tried that – but I think that it will hit the buffers fairly soon, although how that is possible if you have already gone off the track I don’t really know.

Headline in the Scotsrag today – ” Schools survey to contine  this week ”

Where were “u” when you were needed?

We are moving toward a cashless society and a newspaperless ( bagsy new word! ) one as well, it would seem.

Gog time:  You go to the leisure club for a swim. You take a shower at the side of the pool as requested before entering the pool. You enter the pool without diving because that is frowned upon. So why the fuck did you leave the shower running, pal?

Do you think ( mixed metaphor ) water grows on trees?

Tragedies waiting to happen. We already have cretins shining lasers into cockpits and now we have morons unleashing drones into flightpaths. Mark my words it will not be long before innocent lives will be cut short.

Coincidence or what!!!   Yesterday at Heathrow an Airbus 320 was struck  by a drone.

The “West” is already using drones against terrorist targets and it’s not difficult to see that rôle being reversed. Not just terrorists though because we have plenty of other non aligned deranged fuckers to worry about as well.

On that theme check out “Eye in the Sky” the late lamented Alan Rickman’s last film.

Ups and downs:  👇🏿The Australian Barrier Reef really suffering from effects of El Niño.

(Did you see the photo of our coral table which I recently added to Back Home? )

🖕🏿The fund that the Norwegians cannily accrued from North Sea oil and gas and put into an extremely large piggy bank  ( about £610 billion !? ) to support their welfare state, has tightened up legislation about where those funds can be invested, and with a wonderful and delicious irony the fund must be pulled out of companies who get 30% plus of business from coal. Petroleum and natural gas accounted for about 59% and coal about 27% of world energy in 2007. Coal though, seems to get the worst press despite the fact that all three are fossil fuels. Compare the Norwegian ” put something aside for a rainy day” mentality with what happened in the U K where we just pished it all away, borrowed huge amounts that we had no hope of paying back and we now find ourselves in a situation where we cannot even pay the fucking interest on the loans never mind the loans themselves! What our current Tory Chancellor is attempting to do should have been faced up to a long time ago. However, trying to eliminate the deficit by kicking shit out of the most vulnerable in society brings you back to the default Tory position.

This Norwegian action is, I think, the tip of the iceberg ( the possibilities to explore the metaphorical and literal implications of that phrase in it’s present context are immense!   (Maybe next time Ed. ?)

🖕🏿Burma starting to release it’s political prisoners.

🖕🏿The Cambodian lawyer who is risking his life to limit illegal logging operations.When I read that article I immediately thought of Chico Mendes whose efforts to prevent the exploitation of the Brazilian rainforest inspired social activists the world over but who was ultimately gunned down for his trouble. Check out his story and if you like music of the pan pipes then have a listen to Allpa Kallpa which apparently translates into ” the inner force of the earth ” in the Inca language.

Time to go!!

Third T is Terrapin.

Colonnade : Series of regularly spaced columns.

Entablature: Mouldings which lie above columns.

Architrave: Lintel or beam which rests on the capital of the columns!                      Sorry!


A righteous Tam empties a bag of plastic which we beachcombed in about an hour whilst out enjoying a walk in Aberlady Nature Reserve yesterday.   Until the next time.



Ye Olde Golf Tavern

Here’s a question for the oldies. What was Jagger/Richards first song to reach the U K top ten?

This week’s pub is only 7/8 minutes walk from home but I have only been in it a couple of times and that was back in the 80s. Check out it’s golfing history here.

Tonight the boss and I strolled over to check it out. It has a lot going for it. Location. Lots of wood. Comfy seating. Clientele with wide age range. Pleasant staff. Good pub menu with 3 veggie options- that is unusual.  Botanist gin!

Not so great: Uninspiring draught beers selection. I had a couple of nice pints of  Innis Gunn lager but at 5p short of a fiver that’s top end pricing. The pub promotes itself -as so many do now- as a Sports bar and the boss counted 5 screens. There is an absolutely ginormous one on one of the walls. For many years I made my living through sport and loved playing but I now have a more jaundiced view. I’ll come back to that topic another time as the Editor has just tapped my shoulder!

Ye olde golfer tavern door

If you visit which one of the above are you!

Thought you might like to come with me as we have a wee look at how the English language has changed over the last 50 years or so. I love how words can be put together in differing ways and how they can be moulded with so much invention. Sort of like notes on a stave.  Outside of my personal relationships language and music are two of the things I most like. Why might that be? The ability to inspire and uplift certainly. Both have an oral tradition but the vast majority of each is annotated in some way – not necessarily “written” –  as I was at first going to put it.

Both are vocal. Yes we give even the written word a voice as we lift it off the page and say it, albeit silently, in our head. So here we have stumbled on one change already even before we get to the theme!   People have little need for a pen or pencil nowadays. Having used a computer to help me run my business for many years I now find my writing is shocking! This would not have surprised my primary school teacher who on inspecting one of my efforts commented that “It looks like a hen has just run all over your page!” A friend of mine recently told me that in a few years time, children in  Finland are not to be taught to write. Probably catch on big time if it hasn’t already done so.

Right, the theme. It’s Gog time!

In a nutshell. It’s the use of verbs as nouns. And vice versa and other corruptions! The first time it jarred with me was ” the commute” Not many others came along for a while ( was there a strike? Ed.) but then the floodgates lost the battle.  I am getting a migraine even thinking about it so just let a couple come to me. Ok, here in Edinburgh a wall collapses in a recently built school, and we now have 17 schools built by the same contractor under PPP closed, whilst safety checks are carried out. PPPs are essentially a contract between public authorities ( who don’t have enough disposable income – you decide why ) and private finance ( who can spot a dripping roast a mile away) to provide new infrastructure. In this particular instance a fund registered in a Guernsey tax haven has a 20% stake in the schools under survey, in which ” similar issues” have been identified. Panama papers anyone!!

The main problem often seems to stem from the fact that the maintenance contracts bleed the public purse dry for 20/25 years. Now I don’t know if this is because the public authorities don’t have enough civil servants to say to the decision makers, “hey wait a minute we are being screwed if we sign off on this”  or if the politicians don’t give a flying duck if they put future generations into hock.

Anyway this is happening throughout the world and it is costing Citizen Kane and Citizen Smith a fortune. There is a phrase ” a small fortune ” but the adjective is inappropriate in this instance.

We ( you and I ) really need to sort out our “spend” on this. Because we are paying through the nose for it.

On the front page of Scotland’s National Ragpaper today, 13th April ( as a follow up to the school story above) a part of the headline is ” school build projects” I just hope that once they are in fact made safe that the English lessons that are delivered there are on strong foundations.

But I know it is too big an “ask”

Ok, the Jagger Richards question.  It was a song entitled “That girl belongs to yesterday ” by Gene Pitney which charted    -HEH!!!!!!-    at number 7 in 1964.

More trivia: Pitney never made it to number one in the US singles charts. His “Only love can break a heart” at number two was kept from the top spot by The Crystals version of “He’s a rebel” Guess who wrote that!

Join me soon at the next watering hole.

Peripatetic pub person.        (A better take on PPP ?)