Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Fine and mellow

Over eaten ? Pummeled by grandchildren ? "Important work" to do on the computer (while the washing up is being done) ?

Chill out with some cool sounds. Man.

(There you go, Scott)

Monday, 24 December 2012

But seriously, though....

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog this year, and particular thanks to those who have left comments and who write the interesting, and sometimes inspirational, blogs listed on the side bar.

I hope you all have a really crackin' festive season and, more importantly, an enjoyable and rewarding 2013

Saturday, 22 December 2012

I'm not saying that it has been raining here..

but when I looked out the window this afternoon, Mrs.OM seemed to be having difficulty crossing the street to hand in Christmas cards to the neighbours.

Here's Stewart Lee Just to further polarise the readership

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

It's just physics, innit ?

A man walks up a hill without a pack. He uses x units of effort.

He walks up the same hill carrying a 10kg pack. He uses x+10 units

He loses 10kg of bodyweight (crash diet/liposuction ?) and walks up the hill again carrying a 10kg pack. He uses x units, Right ? And if so why does it not feel like that?

And why does the coffee and cheese buttie feel heavier in your pack than in your stomach ?  I think we should be told.

And still on the subject of mysteries of the Universe 'n that..
If it all goes pyramid shaped on Friday, you know who to blame

No not him ! Terence McKenna, who dreamed the whole thing up while doing mescaline in the good old '70s.
McKenna previously featured on this blog courtesy of Dangerous Danny, whose continued absence from the blogosphere detracts greatly from the gaiety of nations.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Wind of change ?

Interesting article in the Record today.(The Daily Record is Scotland's top selling tabloid and, naturally, Labour supporting)

The story itself is not new, but the tone is
Now, the wind energy policy is currently supported by all 4 of Scotland's major political parties ( and the Tories), but I believe that if Labour sensed a groundswell of opinion based on the "waste of money"/ "cost to the consumer" arguments, they might realise that there are votes in it.
Still early days.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tommy Cooper hand driers

A couple of years ago, some of us were asked by a trade publication to give our suggestions for the three best inventions of the late twentieth century, to be published in the Millennium Edition.

(Really ?

As long ago as that ?

Doesn't time fly ?)

Anyway, I was rather busy at the time, and, without giving it too much thought, stuck down the three most obvious ie, in no particular order

Luggage with wheels
Oral sex
Microwaveable porridge

This caused a bit of a stir among my more pedantic colleagues, who claimed that porridge had the potential to be microwaved before Mr.Spencer  invented his little box with the turntable and the light.

Honestly. Some people.

However, were I to be asked to update that list, a very strong candidate for inclusion would be the Dyson Airblade hand drier, which I find currently installed in many of the upmarket lavies which I frequent.
This machine features a vertical slot into which you place your dripping digits  before moving both hands up and down while involuntarily mouthing the immortal catch phrase ...........

And talking of innovative engineering....
I was killing time in the Victorian Booking Hall (Travel Centre) at Waverley Station ( the only main line railway station to be named after a novel ?), and spotted a plaque commemorating Sir Nigel Gresley. Now, if you think A4 is a paper size, and pacific is an ocean, then you never stood at the end of a platform in the snow and watched "9" go hurtling north in a clatter of Walschaerts valve gear.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Tote that barge, lift that bale

Just as I was beginning to settle in to life as a gentleman of leisure, I received an offer (which I could not refuse - Christmas is coming !) to give a few further (farewell ?) performances in front of the flip chart board.
This has taken up an unwelcome amount of my time over the last week or so, involving updating material, showering/shaving/tooth brushing, finding suitable trousers etc. And, of course, this means that I have been unable to get out into the hills and return with the photographs of mud which seem to be so popular.
Fear not, however. After another couple of days of up in the morning - out on the job, I will be back in recovering hillwalker mode (god willing and weather permitting), no doubt resplendent in new Arcteryx jacket, Haglofs fleece and Asolo boots, assuming that the cheque really is in the post.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Berghaus Kit Review

It is with regret that I announce that this blog will not be featuring a user test/ review of a bottom of the range item of Berghaus equipment.
This decision has been taken in order to preserve the unique character of the blog and it's place as an island of integrity in a festering sea of venal commercialism.

I apologise to those of you who are considering buying a fleece/hoody/rucksack, but feel you  need just one more opinion before you make your purchase.
How about some rock n roll instead ?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Glorious Devon

Seeking a change from damp soggy old Stirlingshire, I decided to visit the land of clotted cream and scrumpy.
Yes, Clackmannanshire. (note to self - check this before publishing)

And, as eny fule kno, Clackmannanshire's major river is the Devon.
So I spent the morning squelching around the Muckhart/Crook of Devon/Rumbling Bridge area. The cloud was right down and it drizzled steadily most of the time - not conditions for the high quality photography for which the blog is renowned.

Here's the Devon

and here's a bridge

and here's another bridge

And that's about it, really. It was depressingly wet underfoot. Despite being on paths or tracks, the mud was calf deep in places.

It was the sort of day where, having soaked in a hot bath and changed into dry clothes, one feels like taking up Joe's invitation.

Henry McCullough seems to be critically ill at the moment. Hang in there, fella.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Some folk, eh.

I was out today in the Ochils. Walking along a narrow path, I was accosted by an enthusiastic little fox terrier. As I was hunkered down and engaged in conversation with the wee fella, his owners brushed past without returning my "Fine day" or even acknowledging my presence by as much as a raised eyebrow.

This  happens a lot these days. I used to put it down to the wrap-round shades and bandanna brigade, but ordinary folk seem to be doing  it as well.

Was it always thus ?

Mrs.OM says I should stop going out wearing a ski mask and carrying a samurai sword, but I believe  that this is only part of the problem. I blame the Daily Mail.

However, on a happier note. About this time last year I wrote in a blog post about how disappointed I was at the poor Autumn colour and how my poor health at the time and in particular my fading eyesight might mean that it would be the last Autumn that I would see.
Well, a year on, and obviously I'm still here ( The Creaking Gate), and while my eyesight has deteriorated, the rate has slowed down considerably. And of course, as a result of the October frosts, this has been a particularly good Autumn for colour.

So, all things considered, in the circumstances, allowing for inflation and the curvature of the earth, this has to be adjudged a Good Thing


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Yin and Yang..

Light and shade, good and evil, hill and glen - it's all a question of balance as the Moody Blues observed.

So today it was a glen - Alva Glen if you must know.

The burn, which cuts through a line of weakness in the Ochils scarp, provided drinking water and power for the mills in the town.

Smashin' wee walk with quite a steep climb up out of the glen to the viewpoint

The top of the path and a view of the cave. You can loup the fence here and continue up the pass, but I opted for deferred gratification on that one

The information board says 45 minutes up and 30 minutes down. I did the round trip in a leisurely 2 hours. What is this life, if, full of care......... . Indeed

Monday, 29 October 2012

Top Gear

Attentive followers of this blog will have noticed that it tends to display a less than reverential approach to gear in general and gear reviews in particular.
They will be surprised, therefore, to hear that I am frequently (  ok, four times and counting)  offered items to test and review on the blog. No shit !
My response (to date) has been along the lines of "Have you actually read the blog ? If so get back to me and we can talk turkey"  None of the "Internet Marketing Consultants" has taken the matter any further.
Which is a pity. I wouldn't be averse to trying out a £400 jacket or a titanium whistle, as long as my artistic integrity wasn't compromised.

But then, as our first guest said in the intro to the wistful "Screw you, we're from Texas" previously on this blog..
"The trouble with irony is - not everyone gets it".  Amen.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Where did everybody go ?

Yesterday was a little walkfrom one of the council's excellent Community Paths leaflets. Dunblane to Kilbryde and back.

It was raining for most of the way, so not many piccies. (Altogether now.....)

Initially I had to travel from The Spa Town to The Cathedral City, as the local paper would put it. This unfortunately involved travelling by Stagecoach, and so, indirectly funding evil christian bigot Brian Souter's impending purchase of a peerage. but needs must, eh.

The walk initially follows the Old Doune Road, starting at the historically significant Tesco site.

At the top of the hill the path crosses a footbridge over the A9 dual carriageway. Yo will have travelled this way if you have driven from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Perth /Dundee/Inverness.

Murdoch's Ford. Once upon a time, as Simon Schama would say, the Scottish king was captured and held to ransom by the perfidious English. Murdoch, Duke of Albany was appointed Regent and began to enjoy all the privileges and appurtenances ( especially the appurtenances !) of the sovereign. The king would send messengers to ask when the ransom would be paid and Regent Murdoch would reply that he was waiting for a cheque to clear etc. This went on for 12 years, and when James was eventually released, he came hunting for Murdoch. Legend has it that he was arrested at this very spot, taken to Stirling and beheaded on the  Heading Stone on the Gowan Hill. His son was also executed despite his protestations that he had known nothing about it, and had never seen any e-mails relating to the governance of the realm.

Kilbryde Chapel. All that remains of a village and community of 700 people in the 19th century

So, where did they all go ?

Well some of them went here, obviously. But the rest .....

Did I mention that it had been a bit wet around here ?

A bit of nostalgia on the return route. This is the track bed of the old Dunblane to Crianlarich railway. For me, and many others this was the way into the Southern Highlands. Callander, Strathyre, Balquhidder Station ( sodding miles from Balquhidder village and the youth hostel !) and Lochearnhead. The line up Glenogle washed out in the '60s and was never reinstated although it now operates as a cycle track and is part of the Rob Roy Way

All good stuff

Friday, 19 October 2012

Broadcast media edition

Some good advice from Kilgore's young brother.


BBC accused of shortism

Monday, 15 October 2012

A week is a long time...

..in wet socks, as someone once said. And who am I to disagree ?

As someone once sang.

Monday started not too badly.It's always a bit  soggy going round Cocksburn, but nothing outrageous. The trade route up Dumyat is mainly nice and dry apart from two soft bits. Wide diversions from the path and careful placement avoided the shoes topping over.

The way down to Menstrie was not boggy but slippy in places.

Wednesday was Pendreich Moor. Now I always knew that this was going to be wet, but the few dry sunny days had convinced me that it was unlikely to get any drier before June.I was looking for a wee piece of local history that I had deduced was up there.

It's a tricky little area to navigate with an awkward combination of bogs, fences, thick clumps of gorse and steep slippy gullies.

I squelched around, at times knee deep, for a couple of hours. Didn't find what I was looking for, but worked out a route for further investigation.

Friday. To Tullibody by bus. As I walked along Park Drive (?) I remembered that probably the last time I had been in this particular 1km square had been about 50 years previously when I had attended a four police car party. Sic transit...

My route lay along the top of the golf course with some unusual (for me) views of the Ochils and the Forth

The Red Well. I'm sure it has fantastic story to tell, but you'll have to Google it as I can't be arsed You can't expect me to do everything for you, You'll need to stand on your own feet someday..

And here too, there was mud.

A kissing-gate with a bit of wrought iron embelishment.Probably Victorian, so no tongues, then.

A "bracing" walk along the "sea wall" with views of the Forth and The Ochils. Again.

The cauld on the Devon at Cambus just before it flows into the Forth.

Iron Bridge . No longer in use and recently restored.

And today, Monday. A lovely day with a typically crap forecast for the rest of the week. I fancied a change of mud, so across the valley to Gargunnock.

Up the glen, through the quarry and up onto the escarpment.

The Carse and the start of the Highlands

And again it was really muddy, over the shoe stuff in many places.
Tarmac only for me until June, I think