Greyfriars  Bobby

You may have heard of this pub. Outside is a statue to the memory of Bobby, a Skye terrier which (who?) stayed close to his master’s grave in the adjacent churchyard for 14 years in the 19th century.

People rub my nose to bring them luck- people are strange

We ended up here because we were celebrating the boss’s birthday. We thought we would check out the Hotel du Vin which was just a stumble away from our booked restaurant. Big mistake. Bottled beer only and gin selection poor to average. ( was there not in a clue in the hotel name? Ed. ) So we ended up in Greyfriars Bobby and it turned out to have a great atmosphere, wide selection of beers, and lots of returning customers prepared to wait quite a while to get a table for supper.  It is a Nicholson’s pub and they seem to pride themselves on delivering a really good quality beer. Half way through my pint the glass still evenly retains some of the head as the volume is reduced. This just does not happen no matter how good the beer, if the glass is not clean to start with. A good sign. I often think it’s the attention to little things that separates the average from the outstanding. In people even more so than in business. – Phil O Sofar has snuck in there when I had my guard down.


I have been thinking a lot about how the advent of the Internet has radically altered our lives.

It was a huge benefit to me when I ran my own business. I learned quite a bit about myself of which I had not been aware. What I discovered was that I was far more particular about getting things ” just so” than I would have imagined. This is reflected in the amount of time I’m now taking to getting my blogs out! Part of the problem / reason is that email is so impersonal and it can  be difficult, if you use it a lot, to maintain the human element. As usual I digress!

What I really wanted to have a bit of a look at was how it is being used to influence how society is evolving.

I have selected only one particular area.

Campaigning websites:

The hoi polloi are revolting.   It used to be that the peasants were revolting – where did I put my nose gay?- I have supported quite a few ( is that the same as quite a lot?-Ed.) projects promoted by 38 degrees over past couple of years here in the UK and a couple by Avaaz worldwide.

Websites such as those attract all sorts of weirdos, sados and other assorted derailed souls. But what they thrive on most is input from middle class wankers like me. And others, who simply want to make a difference.

Such sites seem likely to be able to have an absolutely massive influence on the decision makers throughout the world. However, like many other big ideas that come along, when they get over excited about life and overextend it’s not long before they get into soapy. That’s soapy bubble ( trouble, for you non-rhyming slang folks) Last week a campaign which 38 degrees were supporting ( totally wrongly in my humble opinion ) had to be taken down because the sados and weirdos had got a day pass.

I have particularly enjoyed the response of Tory MPs who, when challenged by the proles, have responded by dripping vitriol and condescension in equal measure from their quills. Further to that,  it seems that TTIP  ( proposed US/UK  trade deal ) which to me seems like a castration of the common good is, thankfully, facing major challenges from campaigning websites throughout Europe. If you are of the opinion that we should just keep our mouths shut and be ruled by a dictator then you are probably horrified that voices are being raised against the prospect of multinationals not being allowed to sue our government if laws are passed which are detrimental to corporate profits. Plain packaging of cigarettes etc. etc. 

I actually know someone who thinks we would be better off with a dictator. But then I also have a friend who used to be in the Hitler youth. And I’m not joking on either account!

Bobby’s Story

This week’s big stories:  The hottest April month ever recorded, by a long way. NASA.

An almighty battle is brewing with people ” taking matters into our own hands now”

Over the past couple of weeks there  have been protests by environmental groups in many parts of the world. Whether you are an ostrich or think I live in cloud cuckoo land  -unintended ornithological pairing!  these events have only been possible because of the Internet. The big question is, has it come along too late to allow us to save us from ourselves.

Without wishing to be seen as flippant on an issue of such fundamental importance, if it hasn’t arrived in the nick of time I would have to agree with Private Fraser from Dad’s Army

“We’re doomed Captain Mainwaring, doomed”

What I’ve learnt doing this blog:

Delhi is the most polluted city in the world ( kills about 10 thousand per year according to one estimate ) and suffers from smog which is a portmanteau. First used by Humpty Dumpty in “Through The Looking Glass” when he tells Alice “You see it’s like a portmanteau- there are two meanings packed up into one word”  A clever reference to it’s other meaning as a two section briefcase.

Canada only adopted it’s present flag in 1965.

The BRUCE nuclear facility in Ontario is the largest working site in the world. Old hippy mortification.

Gog time:  Don’t you just love fashion. Isn’t it amazing that so many people lead such stressful lifes that they don’t realise they are going around in jeans that are ripped at the knees?  And what does that say also about the quality of workmanship nowadays? 

When I was about 16 it was the fashion to have tight fitting trousers, especially at the ankle- the wonderfully ridiculous bell bottom era was yet to arrive. With money from my summer job and after a bit of negotiation and customer is always right, I got a tailor to reduce a good but to my mind baggy pair to 10 inch at the ankle. Man was I ever going to be cool !

When I got them home I couldn’t get my feet through the fucking holes!

Of course I was too embarrassed to take them back and I hid them in the back of a wardrobe where they were eventually discovered by my brother Barclay, who gets the sewing machine out and in no time at all has another pair of pants for himself.

Not many dogs get a headstone unveiled by royalty!

Lastly: This week I was trying to insert my iPad into an old video mount which was designed for an earlier model and succeeded in smashing it on the tiles. Have now invested in new mount and iPad. The reason for this o.t.t. expense is that I have decided to record some of my own songs and maybe put them in here.  You have been warned.





The Southern

First out, apologies for length of last missive. Little and often is usually a good philosophy. However, have been fairly spaced out over past few months. Once in a “blue moon ” ( off  Marcels 1961 debut LP )  may be the other extreme? So somewhere in between hopefully.  Doo- wop! Now there was a great new word. Who invented that I wonder?

A blog just with song titles or lyrics ? – now that would be a challenge.

                                                                  12 Fonts with 4 of them cask  

You join me in the Southern, owned by Fuller Thomson with sister pubs Ox184, Holyrood 9A and the Red Squirrel in Edinburgh. Choose from 24 fonts, 4 of which are cask beer. Most are rotated and in interest of research I have had pints of Vienna Lager, Pale Blond and Long White Cloud all of which were in very good condition. Especially the pale blond.- ( in your dreams! Ed)

The pub reminds me of Barhop in Toronto which last year had 36 beers on offer whilst still retaining an authentic pub atmosphere. Good, but not over intrusive music with an unusual sound quality, the reason for which was revealed as we left, as we saw the barman put the next LP on the turntable.Vinyl!  Check out LP, vinyl and turntable in last century.

                                                                                           The other 12 options

What’s happening in the world this week?

Well, we have Alberta on fire. That is a devastating and life changing blow to tens of thousands of folks. Coincidently I had been reading last week about the broad support in Canada for an initiative to push the country into deriving much more of it’s energy from sustainable sources. I’ve visited Canada quite a few times since the early 70s and I can confirm to the outside world that unless you are a snow sport enthusiast then you really don’t want to be there in the winter. Canada must spend the equivalent of the GDP of a small country just on trying to keep it’s “trains and boats and planes” ( Burt  Bacharach / Hal David hit in 1965) functioning. Gene Pitney, whom I’ve featured in a past blog turned down the offer of the song  but “do you want to know a secret” Billy J Kramer didn’t and had his last hit with it. Fountains of Wayne, who I only heard of a week ago through an old CD that someone must have put together for me, covered it in 2003. Check out their “Girl I can’t forget ” if you like pop with a capital P. ( Neat lyric, but sounds more like session musicians rather than a group?  Ed.)

James Taylor started a tour of Canada in Ottowa in early May ( we’re going there in July- yippee ) and has offered to donate all profits from two of his gigs to the Canadian Red Cross in order to support the relief effort in Fort McMurray region.   Good for you James, though I would have hoped that the Canadian government and the fuel companies would front up big time on this one.  Haven’t had the time to follow through on how the fire started. 

What is guaranteed is that there is going to be a huge amount of recrimination. It’s already started and I expect a lot of bitterness will surface. 

I’m an old hippy so I reckon you can guess my views on the tar sands exploitation and I did promise to keep this blog shorter, so full stop here. 


Well if you are ill or injured in the Syrian hell hole don’t seek sanctuary in a hospital.

Today we received our pamphlet from the UK government detailing why the country should not vote to leave the EU in our June referendum. Couple of thoughts here. The Tories are as divided ( and probably more so ) as every other party on the issue, so how can they claim to represent the ” government ” ? My main gripe though is that by so openly spending my tax payer’s money on promoting something with which I so strongly disagree that it is abusing and belittling democracy. Actually, just kidding, but the point is fundamental. If they had been promoting leaving, it would have been equally as big an abuse of power. 


Recent report says in the UK young people are the least likely to recycle. Over 55s take a bow – but only if your lumbago is ok today, as you may not get back up straight. However the bright side might be that overall we are moving to a ” circular economy” File that under new jargon.

Cautionary Tale Gentlemen

Ok, how did the wall come to such an unfortunate condition? 

Seems like Mr had finished work at the property, and wanting to go off somewhere had asked Mrs to come and take the truck home. Sorry girls. True.

To finish:  Scotland’s National Rag puts another couple of nails in the coffin of our supposedly wonderful education system.

Headline recently:  Misubishi offices raided over fuel data. Maybe the workers were having a “t” ceremony?

Headline today: Turning vegitarian on a flexi-time basis.

Until the next time.