Tuesday, 21 May 2013


I have returned to Rural Perthshire from a short trip south of the border. I can't possibly go into details, but my experiences whilst away included some prunes, a secret rendezvous in Penrith and meeting the Kendal Cairn Deconstruction Society (a one-woman crusade).
It was a bizarre weekend, even by my standards. In pursuit of some light relief, on Saturday night I switched on the Eurovision Song Contest.(Conversing with mine host was like trying to get a wet sock out of a milk bottle). The evening went from dull to dire. As if the ordeal of a two hour assault on the eyes, ears and psyche wasn't enough to bear, mine host insisted on commenting on each 'performer' (I use the word advisedly) in a crude and inappropriate manner. 'Hasn't she got a BIG ARSE' was a particularly well-used phrase, repeated - as it was - 35 times.
Mine Other Host was neither use nor ornament as he lay comatose on the kitchen floor having consumed a catering pack of lager. "It may have been your 50th birthday," I said, tetchily (on the Sunday morning), "but that doesn't make inebriation, coarse language and acute flatulence even remotely acceptable. Does it."
"I'd love you to  come up to Rural Perthshire soon," I lied, as I threw my duffle coat into the car.
Driving off, I smiled and waved.
When hell freezes over.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


So last Sunday, I completed my first Triathlon. Sprint distance: 30 lengths in the pool, 20K (25 on this occasion) bike ride and 5K run. I did it all. By myself. And let me say here that I'll not see 50 again. Being last out of the pool is quite interesting. Everyone stares at you. Not good if you're not the centre of attention type. The applause though (encouragement tinged with perhaps just a hint of what were you thinking?) is rousing. I got the stylish white cap off my 'ead and made for the transition area. Sheeting rain outside, obviously. I wondered how many people had noticed my bike - a sturdy hybrid thing complete with mudguards and luggage rack - and thought What was she thinking? (Glad I took the picnic basket off). Anyway, I was  up hills and everything, head first into a ferocious wind and going pretty damn well, I thought. Apparently I was out for hours and passed by 179 competitors (of a field of 180 entrants). So, the 5K run was the last bit. I'm more about endurance than speed, to be honest. I did finish the course. No matter that the post-race soup was cold and all the marshalls had gone home. What did I care that the sports centre was deserted and my bike clamped? Yes I was cold, wet, exhausted and alone. I was muddied, hungry and mentally confused. It was a right grand day out.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Well I've had visitors from South of the Border as we say here in Rural Perthshire. My brother's  chronic flatulence shows no sign of improving. Unfortunate for him and pure disastrous for those of us in the firing line.
Turns out he's also developed intermittent Tourette's since I last saw him. (1963). This has only marginally worsened his behaviour in polite company,  habitually outrageous as it has been since he was six.
I was surprised how easily he accepted the challenge of  'The Authentic Bothy Experience.' With him in the shed for three days equipped with sleeping bag, two candles and a packet of fig rolls, the rest of us were laughing.
My sister-in-law, as ever, was easily pleased. Plates of pie and chips, unlimited red wine and 24-hour retail opportunity kept her in pleasant mood. Useful only because she has a fearsome temper on her if crossed. She'll have a pan of baked beans on your head before you've had the chance to say "Any more sausages?"
My niece, up with them from London, had most of her luggage freighted up. I suggested she may have slightly misjudged her clothing needs for a three day stay, but what do I know. We took a drive out in Rural Perthshire. She was very impressed.
"We call that a field," I said. "And those are sheep." She'll not be back any time soon.
Summing up then, we had a great time together. We're planning another catch-up South of the Border. In 2018.

Monday, 1 April 2013


So what happened to March. In Rural Perthshire, it came in with sub-zero temperatures and left with a baltic blast. I took to drinking a heady mixture of Baileys, Cointreau and Amaretto just to keep the hell warm. It left my head somewhat fuzzy, I have to say, and this does have something to do with the lack of inane comment on this blog.
No loss there then, I hear you say. But, if you have a morsel of compassion, think on this. For six months now, Notes from Rural Perthshire helped to quieten my raging existential anxiety. It had given my life intrinsic meaning. Note the past tense.
March was a wilderness - within and without. I struggled with sobriety and identity. I battled with invisible demons and persistent split ends. I lost what small sense of proportion I had. I was bereft. That's such a good word.
Finally, I knew what I had to do.
Yes folks! I'm back!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I know someone - an intelligent, emotionally-stable woman, incidentally - who has applied to be on 'Come Dine With Me.' I said to her: "We need to talk."
Did she realise, for instance, that most of the people on that show are argumentative, opinionated cretins?Was she prepared to admit into her home a bunch of random types who would rubbish her beautifully prepared meal, rummage around in her underwear drawer and possibly lift the family silver?
She said she knew all this, but was going ahead with it anyway in the interests of broadening life experience and extending her skills in the support and management of socially deviant people.
I wondered whether this second objective might be considered just a tiny bit unethical.
"It's T.V. entertainment," she said. "Ethics are out the window." Interesting.
My other concern was that one of the 'guests' might provoke a massive kick-off in her dining room - the place could be trashed. This didn't worry her either. "I'm a black belt in karate," she said. "Believe me, they're all going down."
A little too much enthusiasm in this last statement, I felt.
Can't wait to tune in.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Think you've had a bad day? Hold on a minute. Imagine you were on the jury that got thrown out by the judge. You turn up at work and your colleague says: "What are you doing here? I thought you were on three weeks' jury service." And you say: "We got dismissed for being thick as planks in a bucket of pigsh*t."
Let's picture the scenario. Twelve strangers sitting round a table. Water is provided, as are pens and notepaper. Pastries, unfortunately, are not. I know this because I was on jury service once somewhere in Cheshire. I so wanted to be holed up for days and have the opportunity to send a message out to the clerk: Send in sandwiches and cakes: we may be some time.
Anyway, back to the cognitively challenged jury. Someone with a smidgen of ingenuity says: Shouldn't we be talking about what just happened in there?  Mr Gormless chimes in: How long is this gig going to take? The brightest spark offers: Let's write a list of inane questions for the judge. That'll show we're totally on the ball.
Is it too much to ask that prospective jurors provide written evidence of measurable neurological functioning?

Friday, 15 February 2013


Enough already with the horse meat. Horse in  your beefburgers; horse in your lasagne; horse in your cornflakes. Get over it. Eat the horse. I'm vegetarian myself. My strategy is to stay away from anything with a face. Unless it's a gingerbread man or a chocolate Santa. No, it's still not O.K.

Years ago, in a pub somewhere, I was having a bizarre conversation with two people.
It went like this:
Me: Would you eat a mouse for a million pounds?
Person A: Definitely.
Person B: I'd do it for ten grand.
Me: I couldn't eat it.
Person A: You could cut it into little pieces.
Me: Gross.
Person B: I'd eat a worm for a million quid.
Me: I couldn't do it.
Person A: I'd do a worm for a fiver.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


What's your take on the Ideal Interview Outfit? (IIO, as I like to call it.) Are you a smart-casual? A beige blender? Perhaps you rock up in Galliano or Chanel. Let's face it, if you're a total airhead, the clothes you wear won't help.
But consider this scenario. A candidate who stands head and shoulders above the rest in presentation, experience and intelligence has dressed as a Klingon Warlord. It's a tough one.
Is s/he eccentric? Probably. Deal breaker? No.
Does s/he realise that a Klingon Warlord outfit could freak out prospective colleagues? Unlikely. Deal breaker? Not necessarily.
Is this just the tip of the iceberg? So easy to visualise this candidate on Day 1 dressed as Captain Kirk. Go, Klingon Warlord. You'll not find the creativity you seek in this stagnant dump.
Let's recall slick-suit-but-dim. He'll buckle under no problem.
Choosing  your IIO, I would suggest, is an onerous task.

Sunday, 10 February 2013


I'm experiencing a troubling loss of clarity. I think it's connected with my spoof writing. Is it normal to write entirely fictitious stories and articles? And to develop initial scenarios episodically? What about interviews with celebrities? Is it normal to invent questions and then answer them as Louis Walsh? I don't know any more.
Wait a minute. This is my blog. No spoofing around here. Notes is about genuine people who are just trying to get on with their lives with as little hassle as possible. I myself have done a load of washing today. I cleaned the kitchen floor. No it's not interesting, is it.
Do you see how I'm answering my own questions here.
Back to my life of spoofery.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


It's slovenly and it's not good enough. There's enough going on in Rural Perthshire (and in my shambolic life) for me to be able to update you on a daily basis, but I haven't, have I. On the other hand, who actually gives a dog's monkey? Today, I've decided to accept the reality of my blog statistics. There have been around 1300 views so far of Notes from Rural Perthshire. This blog has had hits in a shedload of countries including India, Canada, Malaysia, Brazil, Ireland and Croatia. Who knows why. I was so impressed. But I've given myself a good slapping now. The fact is that I am a good few million hits away from international notoriety. Does this make my blog any less valid? Impossible. There is not a shred of validity anywhere this blog so the question is thoroughly absurd.

Friday, 1 February 2013


If  you're thoroughly at home with grammatically correct English, you'll appreciate the necessity of  technically flawless prose even if, as in my blog, its content is utter dross. I can express my vacuous ideas with accurate punctuation and balanced sentence structure. Such a shame, really, that I'm so cognitively challenged.
How does this work. A student is offered a place at Cambridge University. I know. Prestigious academia: impressive. But apparently not necessarily so. Some of these people are required to take remedial English lessons because their literacy skills are so poor. I'm sorry? In what sense are these  aspirants supposed to be the academic elite? If grammar, spelling and sentence structure are beyond the reach of such candidates, how will they manage a critical essay let alone a fracking dissertation?
I'm outraged, frankly.
If you can't use spoken and written English with grammatical competence and a mature individual style, you can't go to university. Get off the bus.

Thursday, 31 January 2013


And so, goodbye to January. To diets, exercise regimes and other assorted promises to self. It's rubbish, isn't it. Be honest. Goodbye to all that. If you read my New Year post, you'll know of my big plans (for January). A tad unrealistic, you say? Very understated of you, I'd say.
Here's my February blogging challenge: GET A GRIP OR EMBRACE FANTASY.  I sense my blog is going to go full on fantasy mode. Let's face it, this has been a strong undercurrent since Day 1. As long as I can maintain a firm boundary between the reality of my life and the blurry, marginal realities of my blog, I'll be fine.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


It's a relief to be back on my blog. I've been distracted by a Spoof writing website for the past few days. I say distracted. I mean signed up, committed and in cahoots with the most outrageously silly writers I've ever come across. Not one word of logic, meaning or gravity is expressed; not a single author has the slightest notion of what's going on. I like it. It feels like my spiritual home. So, like the back end of a pantomime donkey, my pointless writing pursuits are about to go *rse up. Who knows where my creative spirit will take me? I can write a "news" story for The Spoof about any famous numpty at all, knowing that the final statement will always be: This article is entirely fictitious.
Notes will continue of course, bringing you a true and accurate picture of the day-to-day catastrophic events of my life in Rural Perthshire.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


How many blogs are there on the whole damn interweb? I estimate 35 trillion or billion, or possibly even more than this. I've looked at a few recently. From this limited vantage point, I'd say that all of life (mostly humanoid) is out there in Blogland. You can find a blog on just about anything. No doubt many are informative, life-enhancing, challenging. Acknowledging this, you may think I'd measure  the deeply pointless and intellectually bankrupt nature of my blog against these worthy commentaries. Don't be ridiculous! I'd have to face the sad reality that I am a moron a of monumental proportions and I'm simply not mentally equipped to deal with that. So, my blog will rumble on with characteristically vacuous comment. It's all I know. Even though I know that you know that it reveals that I know nothing.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Perhaps like me, you thought that allotment owners were gentle sorts. Thermos flask, ham sandwiches and The Archers in a derelict shed. But no. Allotment Wars, apparently, are raging across the U.K. As we speak, elderly women and men are devising spiteful and underhand plans to sabotage the work of their green-fingered neighbours. Decapitated tomato plants, poisoned parsnips, waterlogged onions. These are just the preliminary skirmishes. More sophisticated (deranged) attacks feature: digging up a competitor's entire potato crop then planting weeds in its place; firing dirt bombs at competitors as they haul loaded wheelbarrows up a rocky path; informing local press that cannabis plants are rampant on 80% of the plots. Attacks and counter-attacks gather momentum; the old folk break social, moral and statutory laws with audaciously bad attitude. We can't be far off a spate of torched allotment sheds and the mugshots of random grandparents in the national press.
I used to work damn hard on my allotment. I gave it up after my fourteenth disastrous year. Sometimes you have to let go.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


What's your position on dressing up pets? Is this a socially acceptable pursuit? Is it ethically questionable? Does the ensuing hilarity for you, the human, justify the abject misery expressed through the eyes of a doggy-style Batman? I've seen quite a few pooches trotting about in Rural Perthshire and looking very comfortable in  tartan trews, cable knit sweaters and See-You Jimmy hats. Perhaps there are a number of attention-seeking critters who genuinely enjoy dressing up. So there's no harm in it, is there? I've also seen a number of dogs-with-owners sporting matching outfits. Clearly this is a completely different issue, and one which needs further scrutiny under Animal Protection and Mental Health legislation.  
Tartan trews chaps? I don't think so         

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Apparently, the legacy of Team GB has been much weightier than we thought. Not just the impressive sporting achievements from the toned, lycra-covered people. No. Everyone in the whole world now thinks that we Brits are warm, welcoming and wonderful. This evidence - as far as I can tell - comes from two Polish women, a Spanish couple and an Armenian window-cleaner interviewed (in London) on the news tonight. I say interviewed. Some numpty of a reporter shoved a microphone up the nostrils of these individuals and said 'Are we warm and welcoming here in the U.K?' Some pointers for Mr T.V. Numpty Reporter. Try to remember that open-ended questions are more productive. Have a look at a map of the United Kingdom. See if you can find Wales. Or Up North. Or Scotland. We're all half-cut, miserable gits up here. Send your visitors up. We'll give them a holiday to remember.
Those Games Makers were brilliant though, weren't they?  Who knew we had such downright cheerful sorts walking among us? The happy pills must have worn off by now.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


I may be about to go visual on my blog. It'a big decision of course. For months now, this has been a purely verbal affair. Adding photographs will alter the dynamic altogether. What pictures will I use? Will I disclose too much information? What criteria will I use to judge whether the addition of a photograph will enhance the text? Being me is utterly exhausting on a day-to-day basis. Deciding whether to have tea or coffee at breakfast provokes an unacceptable level of anxiety every morning. The dilemma of should I/shouldn't I use pictures on 'Notes' - well it's challenging. It's true I do take photos on my travels around Rural Perthshire. I have images of the most unlikely things set in the most unlikely places. Most of these pictures would probably bore or bemuse you. They certainly underwhelm me. I have about as much talent with a camera as I do with basket-weaving. Don't ask. I''m curious though. I'm off to browse my pictorial collection of Scenes and Events in Rural Perthshire. I do remember catching an Outdoor Easy Grade Plank.....

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Let's get this straight at the get-go. I'm going to run this by you from the top. From aesthetic, ethical and humanistic viewpoints, the only person, I mean the only person, who should ever wear trunks the size of a stamp is Tom Daley. This surely needs no explanation. It's just the  Law of the Universe. I do have back-up evidence, however, for this assertion, and yes, you're going to hear it. I go to the pool and the 'health suite' to relax and mind my own business. Frankly, I don't need to see middle-aged men pratting about in lycra with huge great bellies flopping out all over and (this is distasteful) builders' bottom syndrome dominating the rear view. Stop it. It's shocking, it's wrong, and it should be illegal. Get dressed. The steam room will be a more pleasant environment without you. Go down the pub for some serious training, and then hang out in your spiritual home and eat burgers. Harsh? I think not.


Now I'm more your Jungian than your Freudian when it comes to dream analysis, so let's give it a go. Last night, I dreamt I was hitting people over the head with the slack end of a roll of Christmas wrap. Excuse me? It may sound fatuous and pointless to you, but it's my unconscious process so show some respect and let's move on.
Here are my current Jungian-based observations:
Me: embedded, unresolved anger issues about feeling marginalised and misunderstood;  ongoing incandescent rage about the price of a roll of Christmas wrap.
Other: embedded, unresolved feelings of inadequacy; passive-aggressive issues; ongoing self-flagellation for forgetting to buy Auntie Betty's Christmas present.
Dreams - as you know - can be terrifying, perplexing, meaningful. This particular one (I'm calling it Identity and Christmas Wrap Matrix) will no doubt tax me for some days yet. Jungian analysis can't possibly be rushed.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


I've been de-cluttering again. I've cleared out an assortment of home furnishings, a shedload of kitchen items and eighty-five per cent of my summer wardrobe. All recycled; out of my life forever.Without deviation, hesitation or the merest hint of thinking through, I get consumed with a mega-burst of energy and charge about in a frenzy of chaotic activity. The consequences of this behaviour are usually problematic. You may recall my episode of going minimalist which left me without basic furniture. No, apparently I don't learn - thanks for the observation. At least this time, I inadvertently forgot to throw out a sleeping bag, a camping stove and a selection of all-season thermal underwear. There are two tins of beans and some leftover mulled wine in the cupboard. So I'll be comfortable tonight, thanks for asking.

Friday, 4 January 2013


Competitive International Beer Swilling - mark my words - will be the next big thing. I know this because it is surely only a swift half away from Darts: An Olympic sport. I'm sorry? In what distorted world is chucking a small pointy thing at a board even a viable option to combat chronic boredom? So let's think this through. Six fat blokes (be honest) make the elite team following a series of rigorous selection procedures. They get sponsored by Spud-U-Like, polish up their top of the range miniature weapons (training never stops) and - Go Team GB...er, Darts. The excitement, the tension, just thinking about the intensity of an Olympic battle for Gold....I think I might pass out. Outdoor Darts on Horseback - now there's an option.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


You should have heard me on Boxing Day (on passing that monstrocity of retail madness that is the Trafford Centre) ranting on about  "the immorality of those feckless, avaricious airheads" who, THE DAY AFTER THE MOST INTENSIVE STUFF-ACQUIRING ORGY OF THE YEAR, decide that the thing they most need to do on Boxing Day is to go out and BUY MORE STUFF. I was enraged. But here I am again.....lurching in an unsettling personality-disordered way. Confusion/clarity/irrational behaviour. Two days into the New Year and I am totally without direction. I've been pratting about in Rural Perthshire doing a spot of sales shopping. I know. Not Boxing Day, but pretty damn soon after the acquisition of much (useless) stuff. I was restrained. I picked stuff up, I put it down. I picked stuff up again, I stepped away from another retail opportunity. I'm telling you, I was having an almighty struggle with my conscience every time I handed over my credit card. I threw those bags (there were several) into the back of the car and got the hell away from the pretty sparkly things. I sat down with a cup of tea and a jaffa cake, and tried to reflect. "Think on," I said to myself. "Are you feckless? Are you avaricious?" Going to bed tonight with a heavy heart and a bad case of gut-ache. Remind me to get more jaffa cakes.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


No New Year Resolutions for me. Get to my age and you know full well you're still going to be semi-literate and eating doughnuts for breakfast by the end of the year.
Why so negative? Why such a small-minded, short-sighted, downright half-arsed approach to life? You're right. Four months of ranting in cyberspace and I've learned frack all about myself. So, as I write, I'm forming a plan. If you've read my blog, you'll understand when I say: I've got principles, but if you don't like 'em, I can change 'em. If you're new to my blog: welcome to my world.
2013. The Year of Extraordinary Challenges. Here are January's.
1) Lose two stone
2) Read six books a week
3) Knit two jumpers
4) Walk the Fife Coastal Path
5) Learn Russian
Thirty days. Extraordinary challenges. I'm a changed person. It's all good. I'm off to learn how to knit.