Friday, September 30, 2005

Farewell to the gadget man...

Tomorrow we were supposed to be taking my mum through to Paisley, as we did back in April, to visit Pat and Charlie, two of my mum and dad's oldest friends.

Sadly, Charlie died on Monday morning and today was his funeral. I can't make it but my brother in law, Andrew, is taking my mum through. I've sent a card to Pat. Charlie was like my dad in a way, in that both of them were very much into their gadgets. Charlie was the first person we knew to have a remote control for his TV - even though it was attached to the set with a long wire...

No CDs bought today (for a change) but I did buy Toastie Bags from Lakeland Plastics on the recommendation of my webmeister Craig Sutherland (see my inks for his blog)..

These are some kind of space age invention which allows you to make a raw toastie, put it in a plastic (probably not plastic) bag and into your toaster to produce lovely toasties. I look forward to using them tomorrow. Just the sort of things Charlie and my Dad would've liked!

A curious sky tonight on the way home. I took a few photos from the bus window and then some of the sky as I walked down the road from the terminus...



A quiet evening in with an Indian Takeaway. We tried a different place today as Anne wanted a change. Very tasty indeed.

I stayed up till 3, watching TV all night including episodes of "Enterprise" and "Law and Order" on video, "Rock School" with Kiss' Gene Simmons and a new sketch show, "Spoons" on Channel 4 and the second episode of "Heimat 3" on BBC4 until 1.15, then surfing the net and adding pictures of album sleeves to the old entries on my Albums of the Month blog...

A lazy day...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Turn that racket down...

Further to the recent debate about whether I buy too many CDs (which, clearly, I do), I was back at FOPP today....

The Dream Theater album I bought on Monday appears to be sold out but today on offer is the follow up, a 3CD set of their live show at Tokyo's Budokan in 2004....

It's £3 for three CDs...



I bought it and it is good.

Anne declares my headphones to be "too loud" as she laughs at the racket coming from my corner of the living room while we watch Hibernian FC going down 5-1 in the Ukraine and crashing out of Europe after just two games...

It's September still and, already Celtic, Hibs and Dundee Utd are out of Europe...

..and Rangers lost 1-0 yesterday in Milan but remain in contention in their group thanks to an unlikely home defeat of Porto by the Bratislavan team who unexpectedly ejected Celtic from Europe last month...

At half time, while wading through (and washing up) the mountain of dishes piled up in the kitchen, I thought to myself I might go along to Out of the Bedroom tonight just to watch and listen...

However, Anne reminded me that the new programme starring Rik Mayall was coming on at 9, followed by "Mike Bassett-Manager" and then "Spooks" on BBC3...

So I stayed in and watched all these instead...

The Rik Mayall series, "All About George" (I think it's called) was ok and could well bring him greater exposure but it is pretty mainstream and, for me anyway, a long long way short of the delights of "Bottom" or even Alan B'stard...but I will continue to tune in...

Mike Bassett is a spin off from the film "Mike Bassett-England Manager" from a few years ago and is reasonably funny - I believe it's one of those shows which will get funnier as it progresses and the characters are developed...

"Spooks" is probably my favourite programme at present and so cannot be criticised. Suffice to say, tonight's episode was excellent.

Another happy day....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Over the moon...

I couldn't keep away from HMV today and came across this CD which I hadn't seen yesterday. It's a 6CD set containing 100 Opera Arias from EMI's back catalogue. As you can see it appears to be a French release...



James Jamieson called today, mainly to comment on Jim Park's comedic reference to me in his blog and we had a good laugh about it. Jamie thinks I buy too many CDs and surely must never listen to them but just file them away and buy the next one. But I reassured him that I do indeed listen to them (hey, at least once - for example I've already listened to CDs 1,2 and 5 of this latest purchase) and I also load them into the jukebox....he said I should clear out all that "jazz pish" to make space...

He pointed out I probably have more music now than I'd be able to listen to even if I listened non-stop until I die...this may well be true. However, a large music collection is surely about choice rather than owning just the right amount of music?

Having said that, I do often feel the weight of all the unlistened to music I own bearing down on me....but I could think of worse things to have to be worried about...

Jamie and I are on the lookout now for an acoustic bass which we can share for recording and playing live...

In the evening I'm back at 5-a-sides...

I'd forgotten what a pain in the butt it can be trying to organise this. This morning we had eight players who'd said at the end of last week's game they'd play today. By this afternoon, two of those had called off, leaving me needing to find four players with just a couple of hours to go before kick off...

Guy LeComte, the French chap who works at the French Institute, where Anne and I had lunch a couple of weeks ago, stepped in admirably and managed to drum up four players to bring us to the necessary compliment...even though Guy himself wasn't playing - some man!

However, by kick off at seven we actually had eleven players as five of Guy's contacts turned up....

So, making sure I was in the six man team, we got underway with six blacks vs five whites....

Once again, I was in the opposite team from Jim Park (it's just the way the ranking system turns out) and I must say that, when he was in goals he played a blinder, making several excellent saves.

For my own part, I'm pretty sure I only let in two goals, but I also didn't seem to have to make as many saves as normal - but then again, I think I spent less time in goals than normal...

The game was fairly even until towards the end when the six man team pulled away as the whites tired. It ended 10-4 having been just 4-3 with ten minutes to go.

I managed two goals tonight, my favourite being where Jim kicked the ball out only to have it hit one of his defenders and fall nicely into my path. I took the ball round him, anticipating his famous"spread-that-body-Jim" dive and slotted home. Tasty...

In general, I have to say that, these days, Jim is more effective than me outfield, though I don't recall him scoring any goals last night - no I tell a lie, I think he scored a beauty early on with a cracker of a shot - no doubt he'll correct me - that is if his old and addled brain can recollect...

Many of the through balls etc which I just couldn't latch onto last night would have been no trouble to me ten years ago...and even then I was well past the normal retirement age for any self respecting footballer...

At the end of the day, though, I was over the moon John, over the moon...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Kiss the tower mushroom master...

In town today, I wandered into the latest HMV sale - they seem to have one a fortnight these days - I've been in before but not seen anything I wanted. Today however, I came a cross a few copies of "Kiss Symphony - Kiss Alive IV", a double CD of a live concert played by Kiss in Australia with a symphony orchestra. At £3.99, even for the one limited edition digipak copy, I'm afraid I could not resist...

It featurs much of my favourite Kiss album "Destroyer" from 1976, and, despite the presence of the orchestra and a half disc of Kiss "Unplugged", I can declare this 2CD set rocks...



On my way home I remembered that this Bell Tower (at Edinburgh's West End) has always been one of my favourites in the city. ...



I think it ought to be opened up to the public to allow us to climb to the top to experience the view....

Whenever we're in another city, we like to climb towers and I think there should be more opportunities in Edinburgh to do this...

The tower itself has a certain Venetian look about it....

This evening, after I'd created and consumed a culinary delight involving Portabella Mushrooms, Mozzarella Cheese, Shallots and Sweet Red Peppers, my nephew, Andy, came round with his musical chum Alan and a nice young girl, whose name now escapes me, to master onto CD, three tracks they'd been recording at the weekend with twins from Yorkshire, Heather and Elissa (no surnames forthcoming)...

The songs, "Goodbye", "Rather Blue" and "Welcome to Our World" sounded pretty good - certainly miles better than anything I was doing at age 19 - and Andy is looking to send them here and there with a view to getting a publishing deal...

Other than that, a good new series started on Channel Four tonight, called "The Closer" - about a left-field ex-CIA profiler lady who takes charge of a discredited murder squad in LA - ok, I know it sounds cliched, and it is, but it's entertaining fayre for late on a Tuesday evening...

I got a mention today (though it's dated 20/9) on my old Chum Jim Park's blog (there's a link in my, erm "Links" section). In his capacity as a Stand Up Comedian, he ruminates on my propensity for uploading pictures of, and talking about, the everyday minutae of my life...including my shopping and the inside of buses...

Excellent stuff Jim - I like to show how mundane my life can be - even if I'm supposed to be a musician and an artist...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Intense and dense...

Maybe I should keep a tally...

Time spent on my music today - nil

Time spent on art today - nil (other than taking a few photos)

I did however stop by FOPP and bought prog-metal band Dream Theater's 2003 album, "Train of Thought" for £3....

I gave it its first listen tonight. It's incredibly intense and dense and will take a few listens to come to terms with....



I was also on the look out for a new sieve, having ruined our last one at the weekend while doing the dishes...

I got a rather heavy black metal sieve/collander for a couple of pounds more than a normal stainless steel seive and used it to drain my tomato and basil pasta before adding some red pesto sauce, parmesan and black pepper...

It was a horrible windy, rainy, wintery day today so, this evening, the fire went on...



...and, after some problems with a slow moving computer which I left to be cleaned up by four separate programmes, I watched Jack Dee at the Apollo - some superb funny stories and observations - he opened his act by reading headlines and personal ads out of the local paper - in his hands, a comedy feast..

Then the highlights of Hearts v Rangers - incredibly one of the lines in the programme was "Celtic must be pleased to have pulled six points clear of Rangers"....

Pardon me for raining on the 'tic's parade but the Jam Tarts are a further six points ahead of the inhabitants of the potato bowl that is Parkhead...

More dense than intense...

But Dave, I hear you cry, what of the mighty Doonhamers? The veritable Queens of the South?

Well, sad to say QoS remain rooted to the foot of Division One with two points from seven games, having scored only their second league goal of the season in Saturday's home defeat by Hamilton Academical..

Still, as Sir George Burley of Tynecastle would say, we're still less than a quarter of the way through the season...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Shopping, gardening, surfing, singing and doubting...

Sunday and, after coffee and croisssants, we're off to (cliche time) a New Cathedral - Sainsbury's - for the weekly shop...we don't go to church...here are some lovely provisions for the week ahead...



Mmm - tasty stuff...

Anne did some gardening today while I mainly buggered about on the internet....

Then I sang a few songs from these Cloudland Blue Quartet CDs to no-one in particular (in fact to no-one at all)...



The top two, "Deeperdown" and "Anthology" are as yet unreleased, indeed "Deeperdown" isn't even finished....I was talking about finishing it when I started this journal back in March...

Today's session was the first time I'd picked up my guitar since the gig on 25 August - exactly one month ago - how can I call myself a musician if I don't play any music for a month??

Idiot!

Maybe if I didn't spend so much time writing this nonsense I'd do more music?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pictures and footie...

Today I've added a new link - to "Pictures Of The Day", which documents shots taken with my £25 Praktica Slimpix camera - which, when I bought it, the man in the shop said was "rubbish"....

I think it produces reasonable results - take a look by clicking on the link....http://crispycat-pics.blogspot.com/



I hope you like it...

Now - we have a situation here - the mighty MIGHTY JAM TARTS today THRASHED the current Champions, Glasgow Rangers 1-0 at Tynecastle..

Hearts have now won a club record equalling* eight games in a row since the start of the season and are 11 points clear of the boys in blue...

The joint record is held by the Hearts team of 1914/15 season* who started off with eight wins but who's squad was eventually decimated by the First World War, ending the season second to Glasgow Celtic...

Well done the JTs - you are a credit to your Heart of Midlothian forefathers!!

Now let's just hope it doesn't all go tits up next week against Falkirk...

The ELO CD arrived this morning and "Oh No Not Susan" is as good as I remembered...and, despite being a Russian pressing, it doesn't seem dodgy at all although it probably is somehow...

Spent the entire day at the computer creating the new blog and posting all the pictures and uploading back catalogues of Peter Gabriel, Genesis (only up to "Duke") and Gentle Giant onto the jukebox, whilst wiping every track on it (probably around 500) which was unidentified in one way or another- the net result is just under 1,000 albums and just over 10,000 tracks now stored for my listening pleasure...it was a nice day outside but I did not venture forth..

Our neighbour tore up his front garden (or rather one of his minions did) and replaced all the lovely (but, by now, neglected) plants our previous, now deceased and no doubt spinning in his grave/urn, neighbour had lovingly planted and tended with....some stones...

At least he kept the tree I suppose....

*apparently the team of season 1894/95 won 11 games in a row - but not from the start of the season - Hearts, not surprisingly, won the league that season - Hearts also won the league in seasons 1896/97, 1957/58 and 1959/60 - since 1960 only Dundee (1961/62), Kilmarnock (1964/65), Aberdeen (1980/81, 1983/84. 1984/85) and Dundee United (1982/83) have beaten either Rangers or Celtic to the title - in fact the Championship has only ever been won by teams other than Rangers or Celtic on 18 occasions since the League's inception in 1891 (although Dumbarton did share the first ever title with Rangers)...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Epiphany perhaps...

I wanted to upload all these photos separately because I feel they are good - but there's some kind of problem with "Blogger"...

So I collaged them and took one last go after numerous failures and here they are....



The black dot in the middle pic and the one to its right is a helicopter...

These cloud formations were stormy and fast moving in a deep blue sky...

Anne went out tonight with her sister, Jane, for a meal and to the cinema to see a film in which surely only girls would be interested...

I had predicted that I would switch on the TV and get sucked in by pish that I didn't even want to watch instead of doing something "worthwhile" (which is subjective of course) like recording the vocals for my new album or perhaps creating a soundscape, or doing the dishes, or updating the journal for the days we were in Austria...

However, my MP3 collection of "Now That's What I Call Music Vols 1-61" arrived today..

So, after cooking some pasta for tea, and watching an ever so tiny wee bit of TV (around two minutes), I listened to a few tracks...

Much of this music is surprisingly good - especially the more recent stuff...and the strange thing is that, since the MP3 files are just listed as "track01", "track02" etc I don't even know who's singing them or what the songs are called...of course eventually I'll look at the artwork that's also stored on the DVDs which hold the MP3s...

These are things I would never have bought at the time they were popular but many of them are quite excellent - superb production - good lyrics - good music - why am I so prejudiced against what is, after all, just pop music?

Is this an epiphany for Mr Quartet?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spooks bus and Susan....

Using Public Transport, when you have a perfectly good car for which you're paying quite a bit of dosh, is very annoying when you can't get a seat....

I just wanted to say that. Very annoying...

I suppose though, that not being able to get a seat when Public Transport is your only option, may very well be even more annoying..

Anyway, here are some views out of a bus window - by the time these were taken, I was nearing the terminus and so I finally had a seat...



I took all 26 pictures available in the memory of my camera as we approached the terminus. Here are some pictures of the inside of the bus...



..and here's a collage of the photos which turned out a bit blurred - this is my favourite of the three collages...



Hurrah! Two episodes of "Spooks" tonight - the wonders of Freeview and BBC3....

According to Anne, by watching next week's episode on BBC3 a week early, rather than waiting on BBC1's showing next Thursday, I am apparently avoiding a potential three-way clash...so that's a good enough reason as any...

Another purchase on e-bay today...

ELO's third album "On The Third Day" which includes a great track I've not heard for years, "Oh No Not Susan", which was the B Side of a minor hit from 1974 called "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" (no relation to the Cathy Dennis-penned Kylie hit of a couple of years back which was, I think, "Can't Get You Out Of My Head")...

It's a dodgy Russian issue which comes with the album "Discovery" in a 2 on 1 CD...

Looking forward to that....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A strange purchase....

This is a picture of the sky near FOPP. Went there today but bought nothing....



Instead, on e-bay, I made my first purchase for a while and an unusual one at that - for £5 I am shortly to receive a 3 DVD Set which contains every song from "Now That's What I Call Music" from Vol 1 through to Vol 61.

That's 122 CDs on 3 DVD's - all MP3's of course and, no doubt this will include a mighty amount of aural crap but for £5....it's the history of British Popular Music over the last 22 years (I think NTWICM started in 1983) for heaven's sake...

Tonight marked my return to 5 a Sides after three months "on the sidelines" due to my toe being sore "owya".

Last time I was at the podiatrist, she told me the infection appeared to have gone. This is true enough but there is still a certain level of pain if I blooter the ball too hard - as I did on several occasions tonight..indeed, once hitting my good old chum Jim Park right where it hurts most..."owya" again!!

I managed to score just one goal - a superb shot, bent round a defender and the goalie into the corner of the goals - quality by the way...

However, this was balanced by the fact that, during my early stint in goals, I did let in rather more than I (and, I would guess, my team-mates) would have liked by using my trademark little old lady goalkeeping style..although, towards the end of the game, I managed to save at least four certain goals by having the ball fortuitously hit off me rather sorely....

Kudos to Jim too for his excellent save during our one-on-one encounter - though he didn't even see my shot just before that which went past him like a bullet and clattered off the corner of the goals where the post meets the bar...

I am the organiser at present, as I have been on and off at various times over the last 25 years or so (sometimes for as long as a year) - and so I am guaranteed a game - which is good...

I also get to choose the sides - which is also good. I like to rank the players 10 down to 1 and then balance the sides as much as possible. Sadly, these days, I am number one...

This "ranking" of the players leads to a fine balanced game as was the case tonight - with neither side ever being more than two goals in the lead. In the end, my team (the blacks) lost by one goal - although really we should have won by one goal as we very kindly decided not to count two goals scored whilst one of the white team left the field for a couple of minutes to change his footy-slippers...

So we won really.

In "real" football, the mighty Jam Tarts lost their first game of the season to bottom of the table Livingston 1-0 in the League Cup (the least significant of the three domestic competitions in Scotland). Hearts fielded a strange team as they want to be at their strongest for the toughest test of the season so far, Saturday's visit to Tynecastle of Glasgow Rangers. Still, it must be a psychological blow to have at last lost a game...

We'll see on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Highlights...

Here's a highlight of today - it's picture of the moon this morning (I have no zoom facility on my camera)...



At the start of 2004, I instigated a personal listing entitled "Highlight of the Day". This valiant attempt lasted just 8 days...

Thursday 1 New Year’s Day Concert in Amsterdam; Finding Nemo
Friday 2 Visiting the Van Gogh Museum
Saturday 3 Visiting the Cat Kabinett Museum
Sunday 4 Ordering a DVD player and Freeview Box from Amazon
Monday 5 Lunch at The Howgate after a visit to Ikea; Scoring goals at 5 a sides
Tuesday 6 Finding Grand Funk and Isaac Hayes CDs at Fopp
Wednesday 7 Copying every Beatles track to the Hard Drive
Thursday 8 Indian Takeaway

It then stuttered back to life slightly in February...

Saturday 7 The 2nd half of M’well vs QoS
Sunday 8 Going to Glasgow with Anne and Phil
Monday 9 No entry
Tuesday 10 Recording the artists at OOTB

..and then petered out for good - I suppose until I started this journal in March this year...I wonder what my highlights were from 11/02/04 to 04/03/05?

Don't know if I'll ever hit the dizzy heights of Thursday 8 January 2004's highlight of "Indian Takeaway". Can I hear a "woo-hoo"?

Anyway, last night's highlights were CSI:Miami followed by CSI:NY. After these two delights, I chose the photos re the trips to The Mosel in June and this month's holiday in Austria. I then sorted them and applied them to the album and very nice indeed they look too...

The last spool from Austria was completely blank so I need to get my camera fixed. Nonetheless, Anne took a quite beautiful shot of the main square in Linz which looks just like a painting...

Finished up at 1am and retired to bed listening to the Jukebox on shuffleplay...

Monday, September 19, 2005

The big day....

Nothing much happened today....

I took the last spool of our Austria holiday to have it developed - I'll find out tomorrow if the camera's knackered as I suspect, following the virtual wipe out of three of the five developed Austria spools taken with it thus far....

Other than that, listened to a few records tonight and watched the build up to Charlie and Shelley's wedding on Coronation Street....

Those were the highlights...shoot me now....

No, wait, I also watched Jack Dee and Dara O'Briain Live at the Apollo. That was very funny indeed and obviously made a lasting impression on me...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lethargy vanquished...



After yesterday's lethargy, we were determined to do something today...so we went for it big style by, erm, going to Patisserie Florentin for breakfast but, to make things a bit interesting, rather later than usual, at around 10.30....

There was an annoying, yet entertaining, trio at the table directly behind me. Two (by the looks of them) rather privileged American students (designer clothes and spectacles) and a Scotsman of the Chattering Classes all talking, rather too loudly really, about what they did during the great Anti G8 Marches and Demonstrations of 2005.

They were also discussing how best to "radicalise" the people living in the, shall we say, "poorer" areas of Edinburgh in a rather condescending tone. You know the type I mean? The "that's all very well, but we're intellectuals you ought to listen to us because we know what's best for you" type who are usually socialist in outlook but middle class of origin...pathetic

Despite this, breakfast was fine (if a little funnier than usual)...

Afterwards we went up to Waterstone Books in George St looking for a book Anne had heard about and been intrigued by. Turns out it's not been published yet, but she now has the title and it's been added to her just started "Christmas Wish List". Instead we decided to buy Rik Mayall's spoof auto-biography, "The Rik Mayall : Bigger Than Hitler, Better Than Christ" which, from a quick flick through in the shop, looks as if it'll be a corker of a laugh in a Richard Herring type way...

Then we split up briefly as I headed to FOPP and Anne to Princes St on the pretext of some errand or other which ended in the purchase of a pair of (very nice) shoes...

She met me in FOPP. I had two CDs in my hand, "Harvest Showdown" which is a just released disc of a mixture of both well known and rare tracks by Roy Wood, Wizzard, The Move and ELO - and the last album by Four Tet, "Everything Ecstatic"...

Anne was intrigued by the low prices of DVDs in FOPP and pointed out that, perhaps she had found the solution to our oft wondered thought of why on earth anyone buys a DVD of a film. The DVD cost less than the price of admission for two to the cinema and so is "worth it". The fact that it then takes up space on a shelf and will probably never be watched again, is neither here nor there...

Accordingly, we left the shop with "Shawn of the Dead", "The Shipping News" and "Dark Star" and I added a third CD to the pile, Laura Veirs' just released "Year of Meteors"....

Back home I spent time on the net looking at various ELO and Roy Wood sites whilst listening to the CD I'd bought and then to the Laura Veirs disc. Both are superb. As is the Four Tet disc of which we heard the first few tracks in the car on the way home.

Then, joy of joys, the fourth season of "Enterprise" started today on Channel 4. An intriguing storyline in the first of a two parter concerning, time travel, the Nazis being aided by aliens to invade the USA in 1944 and other longer running threads left over from the previous series...Tip top.

Hmm - what a shallow life I lead - take a look here for the real deal...http://cunningrealist.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Catalogues and cream...

Today, we finally got round to sorting out some of the many photos waiting to go into our albums.

We've been lucky enough to have had six holidays over the last year (of which, I would point out, several were what might be termed "long weekends") and the photos from these remained uncatalogued prior to today but we're now down to just two...

We may well take far too many photos but, generally, after a week long holiday, we'll often return with up to ten spools of photos, almost 400 shots, of which perhaps 50-60 will make it to the albums. That's why our photo albums are so good, if I do say so myself. Quality control.

So, lovely, colourful photos for the following have been added to our vast collection of photo albums which stretch back to the 1970s:-
Foix, the French Alps, Andorra and Girona (Sept 04)
Amsterdam (Oct 04)
Barcelona (Dec 04/Jan 05)
Nerja and Southern Spain (Mar 05)

Still to be sorted:-
The Mosel Valley (Jun 05)
Austrian Lakes and Mountains (Sept 05)

I've added a few from the trip to Nerja to the journal entries back in March - there're more to come and I will try and do the same for The Mosel once they're sorted out...(note that those included in the journal are there to illustrate the entries, they may not necessarily be good enough for the final albums...)

Other than that, we didn't do anything today...in fact I only ventured out of the house once because Anne had a hankering for some Fry's Chocolate Cream...



This is a particular type of chocolate bar we have in the UK.

On researching it for this entry (hmm, nothing to do today by any chance?), I got this piece from the Cadbury's website...

"In 1853 Fry's introduced a really new product - chocolate-covered cream sticks, the first chocolate confectionery ever to be made on a factory scale.

In 1866 the Cream Sticks became Cream Bars: the mould designed by Francis Fry in 1875 is the same today, and the recipe of the Famous Original remains a secret")

So now you know...

...and of course I bought our lottery ticket - one number came up (which, believe me, is better than usual)...

Hearts maintained their unbeaten run at the top of the league with a 1-0 away win at Inverness whilst QoS got their 2nd point of the season (2 points from six games) with a 0-0 away draw at local rivals Stranraer. QoS have only scored one goal so far in the league this season.

Surely it can only get better?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Blank Frank is the messenger of your doom and your destruction...

This morning I was enjoying a nice comfortable sleep having one of those good dreams that you can never seem to remember within a couple of seconds of being woken (other than that it was a good dream to be having) when I was rudely awoken by some arse driving at a frankly stupid speed down the road near our house. I thought it must be something like 4am...

I could only have been asleep for a couple of hours as I'd gone to bed at 1am and listened to the jukebox for what must have been nearly an hour before drifting off...

At first I lay for a while imagining what I could do to pay this inconsiderate twat back - like filling a bucket with quick-dry luminous paint, going to the end of the road and lying in wait for him (I say "him" as surely only a rather immature male would drive like that?) and throwing it over his car - no doubt his pride and joy if he was driving it around at 4am like a maniac - as he drove back past (the road is a dead end - what goes down must come back)...

Of course I had no way of obtaining quick-dry luminous paint or indeed a suitable empty bucket at 4am...

Anyway, he didn't come back (which means the idiot may well actually live down there and is endangering the local cats, squirrels, foxes etc with his nonsense) and so I was drifting off again when I heard the faint bleep you hear when the battery in your smoke alarm is running out...

Bleep, bleep...........bleep.............................bleep...

I noticed the bleeps weren't all at uniform volume and that the time between the bleeps was also somewhat random....

I thought "what clever people these smoke detector people are, if the noises were all the same volume and repeated at regular intervals, the human mind may well initially register them but soon switch off"...

I could hear Meg the Black Cat somewhere in the pitch black room licking herself the way cats do...

I decided I'd have to get up, get a step ladder, undo the smoke alarm and replace the battery - all in the dark and all without Anne being woken up....

I got out of bed and then I realised what was happening....

Meg was sitting in the corner round at Anne's side of the bed, drinking, or trying to drink, from a glass of water Anne had put down there in case she needed it in the night (she's suffering from a bit of a cough at the moment)...

Occasionally, as Meg tried to get deep enough into the glass to get a drink, her teeth were clinking on the glass...

Clink, clink...........clink.............................clink...

I grabbed the glass took it to the bathroom, emptied the contents down the sink and went back to sleep.....



Later this morning I drove out to Penicuik to hand deliver (two days late) Alastair's card and gift - well money actually - what else do teenagers want these days? - in my day you got what you were given AND you had to hand-write a thank you note...

Alastair wasn't in - he's sitting some test or other to allow him to ride a scooter whilst displaying L Plates...

On the way I nearly crashed the car. I was foolishly taking the photos to accompany this entry by holding the camera out the window...



Popped in to see my mum in Loanhead on the way back to town. She's looking well and has recently been told her organs are in better condition than those of many people younger than her.

Just a pity her back and legs are pretty much bollocksed up then...

Back to Edinburgh and to Jessops to pick up the eight sets of pics handed in yesterday at £6 a pop - it's an expensive business this going on holiday lark...

Even more so when you're told that the majority of the negatives on three of your eight spools are completely blank - how the f*** does that happen?

Random pictures mid-spool surrounded by blank spaces where all my lovely colourful shots of lakes and mountains ought to be???

To cap it off, I'm offered a refund of £8 for the £18 I paid re the three spools in question. Their excuse?

"Well we DID process the blank films"???

The last five or six times I've taken my films to Jessops something or other has gone wrong (but nothing as bad as this). Trouble is, they are the best "value for money" by a mile re the processing costs and they give you free films - we have a whole drawer full of 35mm film...

Notwithstanding this hoard, we have decided the time is right to move to digital...

The photos we did get will shortly be gracing the entries below re our holiday....

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Amazing recovery...

Amazing recovery...

Last night (and indeed most of yesterday) I was absolutely zonked and whacked, feeling like it'd be good if someone just put me out of my misery...

After a night of not much continuous bouts of sleep and an awful lot of sweating (yeuch) I awoke this morning feeling better...

Meg the Black Cat kept me company in the "sick room" for most of the night...

The weather's been pretty crappy too since we got back but today the wind had died down and it looked like it might brighten up later but autumn has definitely kicked in now...



So I was feeling ready for action this morning and Anne and I headed uptown to hand in the spools from the holiday – we really must invest in a good digital camera to save on all these processing costs....

To HMV and I buy a CD of some of Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concertos while Anne heads to Next and emerges with some things she likes...



Then to the French Institute for lunch – as recommended by Julia when we were round at hers the other night picking up Meg...

The reception there is manned by Monsieur Guy Le Compte, one of the more talented footballers with whom I occasionally play 5-a-sides...



We partake of : Lovely soup and bread – Wild Rabbit – Broccoli Tart – Various Vegetables – Salad - Poached Nectarines with Ice Cream and Raspberry Coulis – Lovely Coffee....

Back home and Anne spends some time in the garden as the weather, which hasn’t been of the gardening kind the past couple of days, has turned out to be quite fair...



Meanwhile I start the updating of the journal re the holiday while listening to Vivaldi, transferring CDs to the Jukebox and organising next week’s 5-a-side game....

In the evening we watch Hibs draw 0-0 in the Uefa Cup – it goes against the grain for us to support them, even though we know if they do well it boosts Scotland’s standing overall...

To be fair, I think they deserved to win, hitting the post twice and without a single meaningful attack by the Ukrainian opposition in the second half – but there we go...

They may well struggle to go through now but I suppose I hope they do...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Under the weather...

Spent today in bed mostly due to onset of some kind of debilitating illness...not feeling great....so much so that I have not listened to any music today for fear of anything I were to listen to becoming forever tainted with the way I feel right now....

Forgot I'd signed up for indoor 5 a sides tonight but not to worry as it was cancelled due to lack of numbers...

Day brightened up slightly by receipt of the review of Jamie and my's last appearance at OOTB...

"One of the most melodic songwriters I’ve heard at OOTB, James Jamieson, started his set tonight with “Ribbons of Pride”. This was a new song about moving on and letting go of the past and, typically of James’s material, was full of hope.

James said that he was roasting hot on stage and a shameless female admirer in the audience asked him to unbutton his shirt, though JJ did not oblige. As if to heighten female passions, Cloudland Blue Quartet joined on second guitar for James’s “King’s Country” and “Trashcan Secrets”.

The former was a brilliant song about a First World War soldier reflecting on the war and the latter about secret extra-marital affairs.

The mighty Cloudland Blue Quartet started with one of the rare light moments from his canon in “The Crocodile Song”. Featuring nephew Andrew on keyboards, this was a very fine performance of the song indeed. James Jamieson also returned CBQ’s earlier favour by playing guitar and providing backing vocals.

The keyboard and extra Jamieson guitar really fleshed out CBQ’s ‘Very Small’, which is not, as the legendary heckle back in the day by Willie Fyfe goes, about the size of his manhood.


‘Half a Lifetime Away’ would have been great with some percussion to bring out its full goodness, but really, CBQ’s voice has never sounded so rich. He certainly knows how to structure a simple pop song with no unnecessary frippery."

..so that was nice...

And today is my nephew Alastair's 16th birthday - so that's another reason to be cheerful - though I won't see him for a couple of days now due to me being under the weather...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Back to Crispycat Towers...

A good holiday...here are some pics of the places we visited - I would stress that these are not my own pics but the product of an internet trawl to steal other people's images...our own photos will replace this collage in the fullness of time...



In the morning I went shopping for essentials i.e. croissants and milk to allow us to breakfast and rolls for lunch - forgetting of course to get anything at all for the longer term...

The petrol station at Tesco was closed due to idiots panic buying over the last couple of days...lemmings...

Tonight we drove to Armadale to pick up Meg the Black Cat from her former mum, Julia. Meg was in fine fettle, having been allowed to stay out till all hours of the morning by Julia as befits the latter's "house in the country" situation...

Anne and Julia shared rather too much red wine, both becoming rather tipsy whilst I enjoyed regulation Diet Cokes - but from the nice wee bottles with ice and lemon - tasty!

On the way home we listened in to Rangers beating Porto 3-2 in the Champions' League - a good first result and, as Anne opined, good for Hearts too as it will keep the Gers' concentration elsewhere for the time being...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mondsee



Up at 7:30 today, just in time for sunrise...

I wrote up my notes on the balcony, sipping an orange juice, then checked the map for possible destinations for the next four days....

Wildpark? St Wolfgang? St Gilgen? Mondsee? Steinbach? Attersee? Wolfgangsee? Zell am Moos? Linz?

For breakfast this morning we had toast with background music provided by Eno's "On Land" and a Schubert String Quartet...

We decided to drive down to St Wolfgang via Ebensee...

The countryside was stunningly beautiful as we drove all the way to the far end of the choppy lake of which I took a quick photo...

Then we parked up and queued for tickets for the famous St Wolfgang train that takes you up the mountain...

Most people queuing were OAP types on bus trips and we spent around an hour all told in the queue before finally getting on the train. We managed to get good seats with spectacular views as the steam engine pulled the few carriages up the mountainside on a twisty windy track...

A highlight of the 40 minute trip was the dog which rode on the engine platform and kept sticking its head out to see what was going on...

We alighted almost at the summit, from where we had a panoramic view of the whole mountain range...

Then we climbed to the top where, at the back of the main building, there was a sheer drop. From this vantage point we could see the Mondsee, the Attersee and several other lakes and mountains - the weather was clear and bright...

Birds were jumping off the fence into the abyss and I had an idea for a children's book - "The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights" - that wouldn't do...

We had a drink on the terrace as there were no seats at the small cafe - then we headed to the main restaurant and secured an outdoor seat. I enjoyed a baked potato with roasted veg and sour cream while Anne partook of the Gulaschsuppe - both were declared very tasty indeed...

Then it was back to the train, where a few of the oldies were already onboard, claiming their seats early - we managed to get the same seats as we had on the ascent but the trip back down wasn't quite as exciting - I suppose it never is...

It was very hot though...

We got back to the car at 14:50, around 4 hours since we first boarded the train, then we drove all the way round the lake to St Gilgen where we had some difficulty in finding a place to park...

Having eventually succeeded, we walked down into the town and sat by the lakeside enjoying a better ice cream than yesterday's as we watched a heavily pregnant girl hiring out motor boats to tourists...

From here we could also see the building way up at the top of the mountain where we'd been lunching a couple of hours before...

We walked back up through the town taking a different route - the town has a Mozart connection in that his grandfather worked in St. Gilgen, his mother was born here, and his sister moved to St. Gilgen after she got married...

We drove on to Mondsee - a bigger town but less touristy than St Gilgen - we parked at the North End and quickly found the Mondsee Schloss or palace, where there is a large Music School. A choir was singing some works by Schubert tonight but the tickets, at 40 Euros a pop, were a bit on the expensive side, so we passed...

The Mondsee church above is the one used to film the wedding in "The Sound of Music"

Again we walked down through the town to the lakeside and had a relaxing seat on the water's edge while a child had fun jumping into the lake...

We could see the top of the mountain again...

We decided not to stay in Mondsee but to continue on round the lake taking a different route back "home" to Traunkirchen, where we would eat...

So we drove back via Attersee then up via Ebersee and reached Traunkirchen at 7pm, parked and made our way into the restaurant of the poshest hotel in town...

I had a Weissbier while Anne had a large glass of local wine. We each had soup - Anne had chicken while I opted for mushroom. Anne's main dish was a schnitzel with potatoes and salad while I enjoyed Gnocchi with Creamy Mushrooms and green salad (mushroom overload!!)

We were accidentally overcharged for drinks but the staff were very apologetic when we brought it to their attention...

Back home, whilst drinking more wine and beer, we watched some football, Germany beating South Africa 4-2 and Hungary losing to Sweden 1-0 - although we missed 3 of the 7 goals while flicking through the channels...

Finally, we got the results from around Europe tonight. We saw highlights of England losing 1-0 to N Ireland and then, after 3 hours of watching, we saw highlights of Italy beating Belarus 4-1, after which they showed the table - Scotland beat Norway away 2-1 - but we're still 4th in the table.

Off to bed happy nonetheless...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hallstadt

I’m up at 6.30 and again I go straight to the balcony partaking of a glass of orange juice as I wait for sun-up. There are no clouds over the lake today and I take some more photos of the view. While I’m compiling some new playlists on the jukebox, I notice some movement over the meadow...

Three deer are out for an early morning graze...

I take the car down into the valley to buy some rolls for breakfast. I buy some cake too for this afternoon. Then I go for a drive up the neighbouring valley whilst listening to Berlioz again...

By the time I return to the house, Anne is up and ready for breakfast. Today’s accompaniment is Beethoven’s Oboe Trios...

We leave the house at ten and this time head south towards Ebensee. Here we take the cable car up into the mountains – it’s an eight minute journey which makes the ears pop such is the steep climb. Yesterday there was an accident involving an Austrian cable car. A helicopter accidentally dropped its cargo onto a car which plummeted 200 metres to the ground. All the occupants were killed. We put this to the backs of our minds as we admire the spectacular views out over the Austrian Alps...

Once at the summit, we take a walk around. There are a few walkers up there but, once they’ve headed off into the distance, the silence is amazing...broken only by the occasional lowing and bells of a herd of cows nearby...

After 90 minutes, and again, much photography, we take the cable car back down the mountainside – it seems much higher up on the way down for some reason...

Back into the car, we drive to Halstatt, a World Heritage Site. It is quite simply gorgeous. A little town perched o the lakeside surrounded by steep mountains. Our intention was to drive on to the Dachstein mountain and some ice caves we’d read about there but Halstatt was too beautiful...



After lunch, during which I had the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted, we walked around the little tow, had an ice-cream and considered hiring a motor boat. In the end we settled for a trip around the lake on larger boat purely as passengers...

It was very sunny and very hot...

The boat takes us right around the lake. If you travel to Halstatt by rain, the station is on the opposite side of the lake and so a boat ferries the passengers from the station to the tow...what a way to arrive...

As the sun disappears behind the mountains we drive back north to Traunkirchen and Anne reads about Linz – we’re planning a trip there towards the end of the week...

Back home we sit out on the balcony listening to some lady singer-songwriters and drinking win and beer before having an evening meal which consists of open toasted sandwiches and coffee – we’re leaving the cakes for tomorrow...

Once it gets a bit cooler we go back inside and find coverage of the U21 International between Germany and England – it ends in a 1-1 draw. England are dirty, Germany are skilful – Germany remain top of the group apparently....

Tomorrow we’ll be going up another mountain...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gmunden

I am up at 7.15 and out onto the balcony to enjoy the sunrise coming over the mountain. I write up my notes for the journal whilst listening to a selection of classical music on the jukebox...

At first it’s quite misty over the lake, in fact it looks like there’s no lake or mountain there but the clouds are soon burnt off revealing the view...

I go shopping for provisions – the essentials – coffee, juice, rolls, cheese etc for breakfast and some beer and wine for us to consume of an evening in the house...

I prepare everything while Anne gets ready and then we have a leisurely breakfast out on the balcony to the sound of Mozart’s string quartets accompanied by the birdsong from the meadow...

After breakfast we drive up to the main town on the Truansee, Gmunden, park over on the East side by the railway station and walk back round the lakeside to the centre of town...

The views are superb – the scenery on this holiday takes some beating. Out on the lake there’s a spectacular fountain which goes off around ten minutes to the hour every hour for about fifteen minutes...

After taking a stroll around the old town, we start out for the castle which is built out on an island on the south side of the town. It’s used as the setting for a famous German soap opera apparently, where it doubles as a Hotel. In reality, it’s still a castle and Germans are often disappointed to find you can’t actually spend the night there...

The castle itself is quite beautiful and the white walls are offset today by the brilliant bright blue sky overhead...



After a relaxing look around and much photo-taking, we hop on the “fun train” back to town and search for a cake shop which isn’t being overwhelmed by wasps. We find one at the third attempt and I select a raspberry cream cake while Anne goes for the classic Apple Strudel. We decide we’ll split both and each eat half of each cake...

We drive back home and have coffee and cakes on the balcony then spend some time just lazing there reading and drinking some fine Austrian beer. I’m back into the Miles Davis biography I started on our trip to The Mosel in June and the soundtrack is a selection of Mr Davis' music from the jukebox...

Once it starts getting dark, we hop back into the car and drive to a nearby pizza restaurant we saw on our way to Gmunden...I return to my veggie status with minestrone followed by a veggie pizza while Anne has another big salad and a lasagne. Anne’s on the wine again while I revert to diet Coke...

We’re back home by 9:30 – we're never really late night people when on holiday – and Anne tries to find the weather on the TV – I advise it will be scorching – the same as today....

After some more beer and nuts, its off to bed - we’ll be going up a mountain tomorrow I think....

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Traunkirchen

I am woken at 5.18 by the sounds of moaning and grunting from the room above us. Three minutes later it’s off.

Hotel porno...

We eventually rise at around 8 and are leaving the hotel by 8.30 as we need to be at Liverpool Street Station by 9.20 to get the bus we’ve booked in advance to take us out to Stanstead. We make it by 9.05 but no-one seems to know anything about the where the bus leaves from....

We're using Terravision, a new Italian company which only seems to sell tickets over the net and undercuts every other provider. But they don’t have an office at the station. Information people say they’ve often been asked about the departure location but can’t help us...

It’s an anxious twenty minutes or so spent combing the area surrounding the station for any sign of where we ought to be. Then, suddenly we see the bus pull up a block away and round a corner. We rush along and make it to the bus feeling a bit foolish for having doubted the situation and thinking perhaps we’d been ripped off....

The journey to Stanstead is quick and comfortable and I’d recommend Terravision to anyone heading to that airport from London for a flight. At present the departure point is from behind the large crane you see when you exit the station at the door beside station for London buses...

At Stanstead we have a hearty breakfast and then head for check in. I remark to Anne “Nobody’ll be going to Linz on a Sunday...”

However, the desk is stowed out with a queue in front of us of around 100 Austrian school children who’ve been over in England at a language school. This is rather tiresome to say the least though the jukebox helps me through...

After taking around 40 minutes to check in, we go immediately to the gate and are first in the queue. In ones and twos and finally a flood, the Austrian kids join us there. They try and push in front of us but I’m having none of it....

After the old people, cripples and parents with small children (have I mentioned before you should always travel with a small child when flying), we are first out onto the tarmac – though at least a couple of teenagers run past us (and the old people, cripples and parents with small children) and get on the plane first...

We are close to the front for the 95 minute flight and it pases quickly with nothing to report other than the annoyance of kids in the aisle looking at a laptop one of them has brought on board – apparently the only thing on the hard drive are pictures of cars?? Nonetheless these prove popular...

At Linz, it’s scorching and we collect our bags very quickly indeed and are soon in the Hertz building just opposite the main concourse. Five minutes later we are in a bright yellow VW Polo heading for the lakes and mountains...

We realise we may well have wasted the money we spent on atlas back in June as the Hertz people have supplied us with several maps of the area which have much more detail than the atlas...

It’s a good uneventful drive and we listen to the first of the CDs I bought in London – Alice Martineau. Excellent pop fayre from this singer who sounds like a cross between Dido and Bjork.
I have a sneaking suspicion I’d read somewhere that she had died not long after the CD was released.

When we came home I checked up on this and, sadly, found I was correct.

Considering her situation - she had suffered from cystic fibrosis from birth - the album is quite an achievement. She had to use an oxygen mask virtually all the time and had to be hooked up to machines daily to clear her lungs. She was continually short of breath. She didn’t like to be thought of as brave – but she certainly was. You can read more about Alice Martineau here: - http://www.alicemartineau.com/

At just after 5pm, a few tracks into our second listen to the CD, we arrived at the house. It was up a hill in a small village overlooking the Traunsee. We were given the top floor of the house and, from the balcony, had a quite breathtaking view of the meadow, the lake and the Traunstein mountain all stretching out before us...



We unpacked and I took my first photos of the holiday. Then we drove down to the nearby village of Traunkirchen and took a stroll around the lakeside. By seven we were sitting at an outdoor café having our first Austrian beer of the trip...

Then we took a look at the menus of the two restaurants in the town and decided on the “stand alone” place rather than the one connected to the main Hotel in the town...

I had another beer (drink driving already – but it was only five minutes up a twisty windy road in the dark to the house...idiot!) while Anne had a large glass of the local white wine.

I ordered a starter which consisted of breaded mushrooms with potatoes and tartar sauce – delicious, while Anne went for a salad followed by a Wiener Schnitzel (which is a pork cut, flattened and cooked in breadcrumbs) and I thought I’d ordered some kind of onion roast from the description on the menu.

However, it turned out to be a lamb stew with onions.

I ate it anyway.

It was tasty.

I figured the lamb was already dead whether I ate it or not and, if I didn’t, it would end up in the bin and its life would have been taken in vain.

This is a re-run of why I turned veggie in the first place back in 1989.

I’d been considering my stance for a while and finally, in an Indian restaurant, found I just couldn’t finish my meal. I vowed not to have another animal die in vain and end up in the bin on my account – of course, in hindsight, I suppose I could’ve just taken a vow never to not clear my plate...

Driving back up to the house, we had Berlioz blaring in the car. From the balcony, the night view was spectacular with all the little lights twinkling over the lake at the foot of the mountain. While Anne researched things to do and places to go I flicked through the TV channels and found a jazz station...

Then it was off to bed having made a shopping list of provisions to buy in the morning....

A good start to the holiday proper....

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Yodel-ay-ee-hooo (hang on, we're still in London...)

We’re off on holiday to the Austrian Lakes today...here's a map of the region we're visiting...the place we're staying in isn't big enough to be on the map though - it's Traunkirchen and is just south of the place on the map called Altmunster...



But before that we're spending today and tonight in London...So, it’s up at 3.45 for a taxi at 4.30 and we’re at the Airport by 4.40. The flight’s not till 6.15 though...

After using the swift auto check-in service provided by BMI, whereby you just enter the Credit Card you booked your flight on into their machine and your boarding pass pops out, and quickly dropping off our bags, we’re in the cafeteria for breakfast by 4.50...amazing.

The worst part of flying is checking-in...that and, of course, the possibility of the plane crashing and you meeting certain death in a horrible no-chance-of-surviving-this-at 30,000-ft kind of way...”hey Certain Death, not good to meet you”...

I always have the feeling when at an airport that everyone else waiting to fly is an incompetent idiot who’s never flown before...despite this prejudice against all my fellow flyers (apart from Anne of course) the rest of the flight is equally as smooth as this morning's check-in and uneventful other than a couple of circlings around Heathrow as we wait to land...



Rather efficiently, we have our bags within around 15 minutes of touching down and, due to engineering works today, are allowed to use a £6 All Day Travel Card for the Tube on the Heathrow Express which takes just 15 minutes to deliver us non-stop to Paddington and would normally cost £14 for a single journey...result.

We get the tube from Paddington to London Bridge which involves a couple of changes and much wandering around in the stiflingly hot pedestrian tunnels below the surface....

This, coupled with the fact that we’re each dragging a fully laden case means that, by the time we’re in front of the receptionist at the Hotel checking in, sweat is dripping off my nose onto the documents...how appealing...



After a quick shower and change we’re back out on the street by 9.55 – the weather is overcast but very soon today becomes a scorcher...



We head to Borough Market, admiring the stalls of fresh produce and end up having a mid morning coffee and snack (ok a second breakfast...) before walking over London Bridge to Monument Tube Station and travelling from there to Tottenham Court Road....we are making a pathetic attempt to find Covent Garden (which of course has its own Tube Station)...

We find ourselves in the area around Neal Street and we like the shops and streets here – it’s a bit like Amsterdam...loads of shoe shops for some reason and a branch of Fopp – I resist the temptation though...



Finally we make it to Covent Garden and take a wander around the various stalls – it’s nothing exciting to be honest but we partake of a freshly squeezed orange juice and a smoothie to try and stave off the sweltering heat.



A particularly good pitch from a Big Issue seller with a wee old dog coaxes a couple of quid from me for his mag, then after a sit down we’re back on our way and wander into Old Compton Street and over to Soho where we stop in Dean Street at “The Couch” for a drink – bloody Hell £9 for a pint of Kronenbourg Blanc and a large glass of wine – comfy big sofa though....

An hour or so later we’re back on the street in the heart of Soho and Anne heads to Oxford St while I browse the many CD shops in Berwick St....

T Shirts are bought from GAP by Anne while I'm making my first CD purchases of September – The Orb, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Berlioz, Alice Martineau and Erin McKeown ...in total I paid just £10 - (on Amazon they'd have cost £62 - I know, I just checked).... of course I have no way of listening to them at present...



People are spilling out onto the streets from the pubs, pints in hand, as England v Wales fills many a large screen...a ground-out 1-0 win by all accounts for lucky England....

I have only brought enough T shirts to last the number of days we’re away and at this rate I will be using two a day, so I too head to Oxford St and pick up a few T Shirts then we walk thru Chinatown to Leicester Square in hope of finding a seat but to no avail...

So we decide on an early tea and head back to Frith Street to an Indian Anne spotted earlier which is next door to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club where, incidentally, Jamie Cullum is doing a week’s residency and it’s about £30 to get in of an evening – unbelievable...

There’s an Italian café opposite called Bar Italia – in a house where Mozart once lived and where Logie Baird first demonstrated television – they are showing Scotland v Italy on their big screen TV and, as a cheer and then a groan go up in the first couple of minutes as Craig Gordon saves point blank, I realise the people in the café are Italy supporters to the man....

Suffice to say, we are both a little distracted from our food as we try and catch the action thru the window of the café opposite...and while well known Irish Comedian and TV star Dylan Moran (Black Books anyone?) sits outside drinking a beer (or two) at the café next to the Italian one...



Amazingly, Scotland take the lead after around a quarter of an hour thru what looks like rather an impressive header from Kenny Millar...of course thereafter it seems to be one way traffic from where we’re sitting...

The meal is excellent and we head back outside and decide to go back to the hotel to watch the rest of the second half there.

At half time Scotland are still one up.

After a long hot journey back from Tottenham Court Road to London Bridge and then a walk back to the Hotel, we find the game’s not on any of the channels on the TV in our room...but it’s showing upstairs in the restaurant on the top floor...

Soon after we arrive and order our drinks, the inevitable happens and Italy equalise with around 15 minutes to go...so a draw it is but a pretty good result and one the team and supporters would no doubt have taken at the start – but to have lead for so long and then lose two valuable points at the end was very frustrating...

We watch a bit of the following Poland v Austria game – up until Poland score I am watching the game under the misapprehension that Austria are in white and Poland in red whilst it’s actually the other way round...

So having had enough of watching football on big screens but from just too far away, we head to bed at just 9.45....

Friday, September 02, 2005

Intermission...

Worked my buns off today doing nothing of any import....but worked so late that Anne had to take Meg the Black Cat out to Julia's in Armadale on her own...

The weather was fine today...



We're off on holiday tomorrow and so, due to circumstances entirely within my control, there will be a short break in transmission.....



Here are some pictures to look at in the meantime....



Back soon...why not visit the archives...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Frippery...

Just when it looked like the good weather was away, the sun makes a comeback...



Tonight I picked up the book "In The Court of King Crimson" from the coffee table and delved into it. It's a book about one of my all time favourite groups, King Crimson (as you might guess from the title). It was written by Mr Sid Smith (real name Colin).

The book tells the entire history of this band and includes a track by track analysis of every composition from their official studio and live LPs. Just the job for a list man like me....



I posted something recently about Roy Wood and it turned out this self same Crimso Book writing Sid was visiting at precisely that moment and he left some very kind comments.

Of course I rushed for the book and showed it to Anne and said something like "the guy that wrote this book has left a comment on the blog". She was mightily impressed as you might imagine....and that's why the book happened to be on the coffee table tonight.

I got caught up in it, in particular the period in the late nineties when the group split into smaller groups and started improvising everything in the search for a new direction. During this period, guitarist Robert Fripp and bass/stick player Trey Gunn were in Seattle visiting ex Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and recorded some improvisational stuff which wasn't intended for release but turned out so well it just had to be....

Sid's recommendation of this session led me to select the CD by Rieflin/Fripp/Gunn, "The Repercussions of Angelic Behaviour", in fact one of my top ten CDs obtained in November 2004 (check My Monthly Top Ten CDs link) and put it on the CD player....



It's a cracking CD containing some wild Fripp guitaring...

Fripp is my favourite guitarist...and Allan Holdsworth comes in a close second...

To round off the night, I put on "A Blessing of Tears" which I consider to be Fripp's best Soundscape album. It was recorded live in California in Jan/Feb 2005 and is dedicated to his mum...



So thanks Sid, for providing me with some much needed entertainment on a quiet Thursday night at Crispycat Towers...