Sunday, 19 May 2019


Kirkintilloch is not the most interesting place in Scotland, nor the prettiest, nor, indeed, does it possess the most of any particular quality. It's not even the most depressing. The High Street does, however, have a splendid assortment of charity shops. Apart from, perhaps, Ayr I know of no finer collection in one street.

The first known settlement on the site of what is now Kirkintilloch was a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall established in  the mid-2nd century by the Romans. Today it's only claim to fame is housing the headquarters of the East Dumbartonshire Council.

Apart from the fact that it's not very far from Bishopbriggs which is where I stay when I come to Glasgow for my cancer scans and reviews, Kirkintilloch would never figure in my thoughts but for the fact that my wife's Godmother, Jenny Coutts, was it's first female Provost back in 1964.

However the reason that I am wriiting this post has really got nothing to do with Kirkintilloch itself but because when I was there yesterday to get a new battery for a watch I met the rudest and the least rude shopkeepers I've met for a very long time. I walked into the first shop and there was a woman reading a book sitting down behind the counter in a huddle under a headscarf.  After I coughed discreetly and without looking up to see if I was potentially more interesting than her book obviously was she grunted "Yes?" "Do you fit watch batteries?" I asked which was unnecessary given that I was standing next to a large sign offering that very service?  "Yes." I took my watch off and placed it on the counter. After a while the still buried face imparted the information that "Boss back in 10 minutes."

Further down the road there was a Timpsons - the 'we do everything' shop. There was a chap working away with his back to me whistling loudly and mending a pair of shoes for a lady who was sitting on a chair waiting surrounded by more shopping bags than she could possibly have carried. He turned to acknowledge my presence with a cheery "Be with you shortly" and finished mending the shoes. Whereupon, whilst shoe glue was drying, he put a new battery in my watch and managed to have a three-way conversation about life, the universe and everything whilst still being cheery (though not actually whistling at the same time). 

He probably charged considerably more (with a year's written guarantee) than the little 'general hardware store' down the road but I know where I'll be going next time.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Sun Doth Shine

Who would believe that this was taken one hour before midnight yesterday from my conservatory? Yesterday Stornoway was the sunniest place in the UK with 12.5 hours of sunshine. Having said that it was also very cold with a bitter northerly wind making going outside less than a joy. 

My internet hasn't been too bad although the engineer told me that 'when' not 'if' it goes again then that's it until the new cable is laid because I'm occupying the last working line within the cable. Memo to self - ring BT for update.

Once I'd been discharged from hospital it took a few days to get back up to speed but I'm back with all cylinders working now (I hope). So I have managed to read some of your blogs and hopefully I'll be back to commenting properly soon. Frances Garrood one remarked that there were few things as irritating as retired people saying that they were so busy that they had no idea how they ever managed to fit in work as well. Well I've been retired a good few years now and I marvel at people like YP and Cro who manage to blog every day. I think my mind must work too slowly or, perhaps, I just don't have enough of interest to share with the world.

More soon.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Life Update

After a week of intermittent internet which has curtailed my time in Blogland, it has been decided that the cable in the road verge has to be renewed which needs specialist equipment and possibly a road closure. So it’s not a straightforward half a day job. 

Anyway my blogging might be curtailed yet again for a short (hopefully) while.  I’m writing this on my mobile/cell phone but blogging on the phone isn’t easy nor fun. 

Yesterday morning I woke (I always say that that’s a good start to the day) early and was feeling A1+ which is generally speaking how I feel anyway. I went for my usual morning walk in the Castle Grounds and, having stopped and chatted to half of Stornoway, I went to The Woodlands for morning coffee. 

Within an hour I had all the signs of another bout of sepsis. Within another couple of hours I’d been admitted to hospital where I was pumped full of the appropriate antibiotics. Because it was caught early I’m hoping to be home on oral antibiotics within another day or so. 

Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I miss you all.

Saturday, 20 April 2019


Coming home from time away always means a lot of faffing around catching up and getting things straight. It's been that sort sort of week. Add to that my telephone landline was faulty and my internet connection was thus interrupted too. I managed to beat the lawnmower into submission and it eventually roared into life and the grass has been cut. With two windless days of glorious, warm sunshine I managed to clear eight builders rubble sacks worth of vegetation etc from the garden in addition to a large wheelie bin of grass cuttings. The pond has been cleaned and the stream is flowing and aerating the water and allowing the birds once again to drink and bathe. 

This morning I popped into town for odds and ends and a coffee at The Woodlands. Afterwards I was in town looking at the bikes for the Harris Tweed Bike Ride 2019 when I met friends. We stayed chatting for a while then decided to go for coffee at The Hub at BeSpoke Bicycles. Excellent coffee in excellent company. The rest of my day was equally ordinary and enjoyable. 

So I have arrived at this evening feeling that the week has been one of happy achievement. Can one ask for anything more?

You, too, can play the bagpipes on the back of a tandem
A bevy of cyclists?
What no lycra?
Now I've never seen a bike like that before.