Thursday 30 August 2012

Keep the customer satisfied

The feedback coming in from the focus groups suggests that you really want more fancy guitar playing, more smut and more reviews of the latest ultralightweight tarps.

Ok. Enjoy !

(C'mon. Two out of three aint bad)

Sunday 26 August 2012

Hair today..

Hair is, of course, as much an integral part of rock 'n roll as the guitar.
Hair are some examples of good rock but bad hair days.



I'll stop there. Once you start something like this the possibilities are endless

Actually, this weekend should have seen the first tentative and much anticipated venture back into the medium sized hills for over a year.However, months of low level trundling were in vain, as the fickle finger of fate struck again. Basically, I'm told that if I don't wish to figure in the Paralympic arse-kicking event, I should stay of my feet and hope that the latest wonder antibiotic does the trick.
Oh,bother !

Monday 20 August 2012

Queer Gear *

Or equipment for the elderly, the infirm and the skint.

An occasional series in which we will be discussing issues such as "Sternum straps - do they really get on your tits?" and "Montane's new Terra Incontinence Pants - are they taking the piss?"

Let's start off with a couple of items which I never see appearing on the kit lists of real walkers

Bridgedale Trekker Comfort Socks

One day, hopefully, you will get old and your circulation will start to resemble that of The Guardian, This will lead to fluid retention and you ankles will swell up. With conventional socks, this results in a sore red band where they dig in. Not with these babies. The holdie-uppie bit is "comfort fit". Dancer.
As well as allowing blood to circulate, they seem to perform all the other functions required of a knitted foot/shoe interface and dry quickly
Bridgedale also offer a version featuring Merino Fusion, but I understand these may be banned due to the laws concerning sheep and particle accelerators

Prakttica W14X25

195 gms , £7ish on eBay
Now I realise that this would be so much useless dead weight for the "further and faster" brigade, but for those of us with "time to stand and stare." , it's quite nice to discover if that's a buzzard quite close or an eagle far away  (Dougal!) However, if, like me, you are partially sighted they are absolutely essential for navigation.

Is that straightish line in the distance a road/burn/wall/fence/dam wall ? And where is the gate/stile/bridge

For the DIY people, I noticed Tresspass were doing BOGOF on monoculars !!. Just add some duct tape.....
The outdoor enthusiast in Stirling is very well catered for, as Poundland and Primark are right next door to each other in the Thistle Centre, so I'll be back with more goodies shortly.

* For the avoidance of doubt, on a family blog, queer gear is what the wholesalers at old Covent Garden used to call exotic (in those days!) fruit and veg such as mangoes and aubergines.

 I was in Royston Wood's flat the night he taught  Stevie this song.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Too insipid -

My previous blog template. Just experimenting a bit.

This version is better from an audio point of view, if you can ignore the shitty ad at the beginning

Friday 3 August 2012

Flanders (but no swans)

I had been waiting for a spell of bright sunny weather for this little jaunt, but it had seemed as if  Godot was more likely to turn up first.

However, I  got a text from Estragon last night saying Godot had tweeted that he had been delayed again, and that I should just go ahead and they would catch me up.

As it happened, it was a not unpleasant morning as a pair of Mr. First's  finest charabancs conveyed me to Thornhill. The Stirlingshire one, that is.

What can I say about Thornhill to make it seem interesting for you ?. Apart from the wifeswapping and devil worship, obviously.

Well, Thornhill started as a "planned village" in the late 17th century. It would appear that the "planning" consisted of drawing two intersecting lines and writing "Her be the roads. Build ye hooses along them. And send the feu duties to The Laird, c/o The Boozy Harlot Inn, Pall Mall, London"

They  have Wigwams. Hmmm ! Would you give your holiday money to people who can't tell a tent from a shed ?

And there is a camp site , although no doubt you could get B&B in the village for the cost of a single tent pitch.
Come to think of it you could probably get B&B and a boozy harlot in the village for the cost of a pitch.

If what we are going to see is "before" this is after - flat drained productive farmland.

Here's our destination.

Flanders Moss is a raised bog, raised above the surrounding land by successive growths of sphagnum and it's decomposition to peat.At one point after the sea retreated, all the flat land of the carse was an impenetrable boggy barrier to North-South travel apart from the Long Causeway (Causewayhead) leading to Stirling Bridge. To get at the fertile alluvial land underneath the peat, the landowners offered rent-free plots to displaced highlanders. All they had to do was  strip the peat by hand and then drain and cultivate the land.
The locals laughingly referred to these poor sods (!) as "moss lairds"

The post shows the levels of the peat at various times in the past.
As I was taking this photograph, a couple walked over from the car park. Now, I don't like to stereotype people, but....shaven head, tattoos, calf length shorts , white trainers and Engerland top !!
And the bloke was a bit rough as well. I said good morning, as you do, and from two feet away they studiously ignored me.

Cards on the table. This is not a fun day out for the kids.\it's worth seeing, but you would need to be seriously into natural history/ecology to spend much more than an hour there, although I am sure it is worth visiting at different time of the year.
I'm unsure about the conservation/management of living ecosystems like this. But I don't really know enough about it to express an opinion. (Whadya mean "It's never stopped you before"?)

As I was approaching the footbridge exit, I saw a prone figure in the recovery position witat  rucksack, poles and jacket strewn around him. At last - a chance to use all these years of first aid training! DR ABC was running through my head as I approached, but it was a young fellow with a fancy camera taking a close up photo of some resting lepidoptera. An interesting chat went some way to restoring my faith in the human spirit

All around the air was blue as farmers struggled to make hay in extremely unfavourable conditions.

This had me puzzled for a minute. It's a crop of Salix (willow) presumably for coppicing for biofuel.

And so back to Thornhill, where the populace remained determinedly engaged in their nefarious pursuits  behind firmly closed doors

I had thought, perhaps, something romantic for tonights musical divertissement.

Maybe The Dropkick Murphys' Kiss me - I'm shitfaced"

But instead I settled for an old favourite of mine.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Loaded for bear on the Shirra Muir

Time has weighed heavy on me since my application to be a touch judge at the Beach Volleyball was turned down. If I had known the hassle it would cause, I would never have signed that bloody Register in the first place.

So, nothing else for it. I went for a walk.

Sheriffmuir is the western scrag end of the Ochils, where they meld into Strathallan.It's bounded by Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, and Auchterarder, and used to provide a short cut for drovers and others from the North and East heading for the choke point of Stirling Bridge and the markets of the Central Valley.

I went up the steps by the  walnut tree and along the old coffin road to where Pathfoot village used to be.

Up through the ravine and out onto the moor. It's a steady pull uphill from here.

On a previous post i made a facetious reference to this car park and "d*****g" Boy did that bring in a lot of unexpected traffic and page views from people googling exotic outdoor activities.

The Heilandman's Well - cattle watering point for the drovers and now parking area for the easy approach to Dumyat.

When I was up here last year, they had just start extracting the timber. It's strange how disorientating it can be when forestry areas you have watched grow up suddenly disappear completely.

At this point I left the road to go cross-country as there was something I wanted to check on.

The white building in the distance is the Sheriffmuir Inn.I may take you up there sometime for a sarsaparilla. It used to be owned by a wrestler called Andy Robin who also owned Hercules the Bear.For those of you too young to remember Hercules, he featured in a series of TV commercials for toilet roll - The Big Softy ! He lived in a cage in the pub car-park where Andy would wrestle with him and feed him crisps and pints of beer for the amusements of the lieges. We made our own entertainment in those days.

This is what I was looking for. I'll put all the bits of the story together some time in a single post.

As  every Scottish school kid used to know, It fell aboot  the Lammastide, whem the muir men win their hay. Spooky.

I've been toiling a bit lately, particularly with uphill, so this  was a bit of a "push the envelope" (what a stupid expression!). The Walkhighlands GPS thing says 8 miles and 300 metres up.I'll settle for  that. Took me 5 hours which is about par for me these days.

Now, apparently we have been a bit raucous in the rock n roll department lately. There have been complaints from some of the old farts in the blogroll over to the right
So here's something soothing