Tuesday 28 July 2020


This is just a brief post partly to apologise for some missed comments and partly to simply get it off my chest.

This morning I went to comment moderation in settings to do some housekeeping. I thought I did it most days but I've obviously slipped up in the last week or so. 

In moderation there were 166 spam comments to be deleted and 3 comments for allowing through that I had missed. I apologise to those whose comments I'd not moderated. The trouble with so much is that the good gets lost amongst the bad,

I have to say that some of the spam I've had recently has been of a nature that even I found offensive. 

Given that I presume we all mark these as spam I cannot fathom why Google's algorithms don't pick them up and automatically send them to junk. Particularly as some of my incoming ordinary mail gets occasionally sent to junk for no apparent reason.

Sunday 26 July 2020

Some Garden Thoughts

It's been a bit of a battle in the garden the last few weeks. The weather has been distinctly unfriendly and today although the sun has now come out the wind is very strong so the plants are suffering a bit if they are in full bloom. Midsummer weather it ain't, even in the Outer Hebrides.

The yellow pansies have been putting up a good show for many weeks from my kitchen window even though some of the plants were actually blown out of the ground in one gale and the heavy rain has given them a real battering. They are hardier than I could have imagined.

I have said before that one of the thing that has helped me to enjoy isolation has been the garden. It's not only working in it that is a pleasure though. Just looking out of my kitchen window as I type this I often just sit and gaze at the view and admire the plants, the birds and the sea and mountains of the Mainland in the distance - hidden by haze in the pictures on this post taken today during a sunny few hours in between the rain.

One of the joys of a garden, though, is getting to know the individual plants.

My little wild strawberries would take over the garden given a chance, creeping around under all the taller plants and popping up wherever there is a chink of light. 

It's always a good idea to look at both the whole plant and then marvel at the the flower heads. This Persicaria campanulata or Lesser Knotweed is not much to look at in the garden because it's straggly. However if you look at the individual flowers they are pure works of art.

I am hopeless at remembering names off the top of my head even if I know the names somewhere in my memory banks. So I have started keeping photographs of those in my garden with names on them in the hope that they will eventually be recalled more easily. Two tiny flowers of great great beauty are:

When we look closely there are all sorts of creatures living off and on the flowers. In this case these were all on the Leucanthemum: 

The first is, I think, a Myrid bug of some sort, perhaps a Common Green Capsid.

And these two are a fly (and don't ask me what sort) and a bug (a Myrid Bug again perhaps):

Hopefully Adrian or CJ or someone else who knows about bugs and flies can identify them although I know from my brother (CJ) that flies can be extraordinarily hard to identify without a very powerful microscope to look at parts no self respecting reader of this blog would look at.

Friday 17 July 2020

A Good Honest Burglar

I am not sure how many readers will know what burglary is. In case anyone does not it was, in English Law at the time of this incident, it was the act of breaking into a dwelling-house by night with intent to commit a felony. In short it was usually prosecuted where there was breaking and entering into a house to steal something at night. The term 'burglary' does not appear in Scots law. It is probably understood in most countries inheriting the English Legal System.

I was walking into the Stipendiary Magistrates Court in Liverpool back in the early '60s  with a police sergeant for a case about which I remember absolutely nothing.

On the way into the courtroom we bumped into a man of completely forgettable stature and demeanour ie he would not be noticed in a crowd of three. I will refer to him as Fred. The conversation between the Sergeant and the Accused (for that was what he turned out to be) went like this:

S: What are you here for Fred?
F: The ??? job in Childwall.
S: Did you do it?
F: What do you think?
S: Can we prove it?
F: Nah. Don't think so.
S: Good luck.

In my inexperienced naive youthfulness this exchange was an eyeopener of major proportions.

I asked the Sergeant what all that was about? 

"Fred is one of the good, honest old fashioned burglars. Breaks in cleanly. Finds what he wants without creating any mess and leaves. If we can prove it he accepts the punishment and if not he's on a winner." He then went on to describe what he thought about the sort of burglar the police were now concentrating on who were the scum of the earth who broke in and wrecked the house in the process of looking for anything they could sell. The difference was that for Fred and his ilk it was his trade and he was proud of it. With a bit of luck it might be days or weeks before anyone realised something was missing.

Thank you Ursula for the idea you gave me for this recollection in your comment on my last post.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Only On Lewis

could you see this:

When I came to live in Lewis in 1975 leaving the beautiful Cheshire village of Lymm and my excellent job in the Manchester satellite of Trafford (and with a membership of the Lancashire County Cricket Club which was right opposite my office), never did I for one moment think that the Outer Hebrides would end up being where not only my body but also my heart would end up. After all I only intended to come for two years.

Back in the 70s no one locked doors or took ignition keys out of cars. Theft of something from a private individual was a rarity. Okay it's true that occasionally sheep went missing from the common grazing and were 'found' in another township. Sometimes a car left in Stornoway's main car park in the town centre would disappear on a Friday or Saturday night when someone needed to get home.  I recall one chap who regularly took a car and parked it outside his house. 

It was an interesting peculiarity of the law that it was very hard to prove the theft of a motor car. Theft involves an intention permanently to deprive someone of something. A person who 'stole' a car would always argue that it would have been returned the next morning. So the only thing actually stolen was a few bobs worth of petrol which was hardly worth a prosecution. Of course all that's changed now and the loophole has been closed.

However theft of personal property is still relatively rare.  Where else could you leave a parcel for collection by the Royal Mail propped up against the township post box?

Sunday 12 July 2020

Compressed Reconstituted Meat

Well there was no way I was going to use the 'S' word was there? That would really get the bot[toms]s going wild. So instead of the 'S' word I'm going to use CRM. I was going to use 'corned beef' but thought that was just a bit too silly even for me.

During the last couple of weeks I've had 98 CRMs posted to my blog. That doesn't count the odd ones that have been deleted when I've seen it on my phone first. Nor does it include the dozens and dozens which I have deleted in my emails because I have ticked the 'Notify me' box in the comments section of other blogs. I always click it because I like to know what going on. I know some people don't because you get a lot of emails and as someone once said to me 'Once I have commented on a post it's mental history. I never go back to that post'. I do and I know a lot of those who read the blogs I read do as well.

I have always had comment moderation activated for posts over 14 days old. That is mainly so that I could make sure that I don't miss comments made a lot later than the post. Nowadays I don't usually post more than once a week. I have noticed that most users of CRM and their bot[toms]s do not usually post to the current post. So to ensure that you, dear reader, don't also get inundated with CRM I have now reduced that. Not many genuine commenters will be inconvenienced but, hopefully, you and I will be spared the majority of the CRMs actually appearing (other than in the Blogger interface comments section).

On a happier note it's this time of year again. I've posted about the Damselflies before on several occasions with much better pictures, so I'll just leave this as a reminder.

The garden is doing exceptionally well at the moment because my social life was curtailed by lockdown. I rather thought that these orange lilies would bring a bit of cheer to the post too. 

Tuesday 7 July 2020

A Face

Rachel recently re-posted some art from the Odessa Museum of Modern Art in the Ukraine. One of the works was this portrait:

On several occasions I have posted this picture by David Gauld which hangs in the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.

My comment on Rachel's blog was to the effect that I could stand in front of it for a long time. There is so much in those eyes staring at nothing and that expression - such loneliness they seem to have gone beyond pain. It occurred to me that there is a great similarity in the expression in the two painting yet I've never felt pain in Gauld's portrait before. Now I'm not so sure.