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.


By tamtennis

Retired. Working life split first in molecular biology then as pro tennis coach.
Hobbies: playing guitar, cooking, spending time with friends, eating out, attending concerts.
Interests: The world all around us- where it's been and where it's going.