28 May 2017

Names awaited

A visit to the Black Watch regiment museum at Balhousie Castle is of personal relevance to me as at the age of 19 my father landed with the Black Watch in Normandy a few days after the D-Day landings and soldiered his way through France, Belgium and Holland until finishing deep within Germany. The most poignant moment, however, was standing in front of this memorial to the dead from much more recent and more questionable campaigns, and looking at that empty slab at the middle right that has been erected to bear the names of young men or women, currently still full of life, or perhaps who are not even men or women yet but are running carefree around Scotland as youngsters. The presumption that the names will inevitably arrive once the half-full slab at the middle left is filled is disturbing.


26 May 2017

You want a "Happy Face"?

I am the one on the left, without the fur, and just about managing to look cheerful while my friend is her usual enigmatic and I suspect somewhat disapproving self. She understands me, I am fairly sure of that, and she is similarly aware that it is generally best not to betray too much from within. She does occasionally approach me and dunt my forehead with hers, and we both understand that.

25 May 2017

Two time Tay

I increasingly realise that everything I need for pleasure and inspiration is at home, or very close, a thought that was thought while enjoying a Tayside walk today in glorious sunshine and a mere fifteen minute drive from my house.



And in such strong sunshine that I had to turn my cap back and raise my collar, preferring to look even more idiotic than usual than risk sunburn on the back of my virtually melanin-free Scottish neck:


That is my "happy face", by the way, even though it might suggest that I was contemplating throwing myself off the bridge.

24 May 2017

23 May 2017

The need to breed

Flowers exist because they successfully attract insects, apparently. Insects are attracted to feed, and inadvertently help to set and spread the seed, apparently. The seed is the reason for the plant, the weed, and the plant the reason for the seed, apparently. I pause and look because the flower pleases me, apparently. But why, beneath this sunny sky, do I like the flower so much? Is it because creatures that enjoyed what nature has to offer were more bothered to survive, and reproduce, and spread their own seed? One way or another it is all about the need to breed, apparently. To live and feed, to seed and breed.



21 May 2017

Walk on

Moving across the metaphorical page, are we writers or just readers as we go? A bit of both, perhaps? A mix of fate and chance and freedom... or just the dupes of an illusory feeling that we control the steps we take, while walking, writing, reading on? I have plans, so do you, but other things may have plans for each of us too. What to do? Walk on, write on, read on, go through.

20 May 2017

Another walk past the wall


Some of the worst of the worst, the baddest of the very bad, reside in Perth prison, including some who will never get out; but who can look out from those high windows, first constructed to hold Frenchmen captured in the Napoleonic wars, and who may see me, from time to time, wandering past on my way to the bridge across the river to play golf, past the unmarked graves of the last men to die on the gallows there: Edward Johnstone - executed 19 August 1908 for the murder of Jane Wallace (Withers); Alexander Edmundstone - executed 16 July 1909 for the murder of Michael Swinton Brown; Stanislaw Miszka - executed 6 February 1948 for the murder of Catherine McIntyre; then wandering back, then to the golf again, then, back, and to and back, again, again; past some of the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad, who must from time to time look out, knowing that they will never get out, and who may see me, wandering to the golf, and back, again, again, us all getting older, on opposite sides of the wall.

Mind the gap

Nowadays it is an image that stimulates thoughts of madness, of what the lunacies of belief and brain fever can drive some people to, yet however alarming it could seem out of context and with no indication of relative motion, it was just an incongruously parked truck in a pedestrian precinct containing two young men eating sandwiches with their coffee while taking sneaky glances at a pretty young woman on a bench. Moments later a young man arrived, took the pretty woman by the hand and they walked away, leaving the truck drivers to their sandwiches and coffees and dreams.