Archive for February, 2013

Who gives one?

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

One for the more intense followers of Scottish football; Lord Nimmo-Smith (who he?) and his ‘independent’ commission have imposed a fine of £250,000  on a company that is on the verge of liquidation, with minimal assets and a long queue of creditors. My thoughts: 1) Who gives a shit? 2) Was the unc0llectable fine Lord N-S’s way of justifying the costs of his pointless investigation? 3) Can we all get on with our lives now?

Categories: Sport

Bad and good

February 27, 2013 5 comments

The bad news is that Death in Paradise series 2, ended last night. The good news is that series 3 has been commissioned and will be on air next year.

Categories: General

No shame, Esther?

February 26, 2013 4 comments

I’ve just been revolted by this ad which popped up on a page I was reading.

My first  thought was that dear Esther might have been a victim, but no such luck.


Categories: General

Edgy drama

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Around a month ago, I was in a production room at BBC Scotland, waiting to be a guest in Fred Macaulay’s radio programme. The show was on air and I was able to listen to Stephen Poliakoff promoting his new project, a five part drama, Dancing on the Edge. My thoughts at the time were that SP is a genius when it comes to plugging his own work and also that ‘Dancing’ would have to be exceptional to live up to the BBC hype.

Now that it’s over I can report that it was exactly that, a brilliant piece of original drama with a star cast on top of their form. If you haven’t been following it, or you haven’t been able to, the DVD will be released next month.

Categories: General, Videos

He cannot be serious

February 25, 2013 2 comments

Does Vince Cable really believe this?

Categories: General, Politics


February 24, 2013 3 comments

This should also be a requirement for people working in call centres operated by UK financial institutions. Ever had one of those calls where you couldn’t understand a word the person in Mumbai was saying?

Categories: General, Politics


February 24, 2013 4 comments

I’d like to go back there. I’d better start saving

Categories: General

Farewell, young Tom

February 21, 2013 2 comments

And so farewell Richard Briers. God speed on your journey to The Good Afterlife.

I have often wondered why he didn’t really build on his early success with that seminal and much loved TV series. My best guess is that it was down to having his teeth capped. Somehow, it changed his appearance, and made him look less like the nice guy next door, and more like the bank manager you really don’t want to face across his desk.

Categories: General

Hanging on the telephone

February 19, 2013 2 comments

Ever wonder how much of your life you spend hanging on the phone waiting for call centres to answer, listening to Godawful music and beng told periodically that they really are working very hard to answer you?

Yeah, me too. It’s as well I don’t know. 

Categories: General

Toddlers kept off public beach by elite golf club

February 19, 2013 2 comments

This is Gullane West beach; it’s beautiful, it’s public, but it’s a longish walk to reach it and the footpath is rough and very difficult for those with small children. It is possible to reach it by car but the only road runs across land owned by Muirfield Golf Club, and is strictly private. Thus, only members and their kids have easy access. To me, this is unfortunate. Hell, it’s a damned shame; surely it’s time that road was opened up, or another way found of making it more accessible.

Categories: General, Sport


February 17, 2013 2 comments

Another reflection from my beach-walk. I’m not a dog owner but I borrow one occasionally, so I’m aware of the social and legal pressure that is put upon us to clean up what we must now call, it seems, our pets’ ‘poo’.

That is all well and good, but having just negotiated a public path on a popular walk, I find myself asking, fairly loudly, why the same duties are not imposed upon people with horses. We may not fancy them in our Tesco Spag Bol, but they can crap anywhere they like? Excuse me?

Could it be that while the dog is the common man’s best friend, laws and attitudes are still framed largely by the horse-owning classes?


Categories: General, Politics

Tory lapdogs

February 17, 2013 2 comments

I’ve just returned from my lunch-break walk, down to the beach. There were hundreds of people there enjoying the unexpectedly fine day. No surprise then, that the car park was full. But pretty soon, if things go according to plan, East Lothian Council is going to charge motorists for parking in ten coastal leisure areas, hitherto free, and among them will be Gullane beach.

That’s right; a peaceful place of public pleasure and if you need a car to get there and don’t have a blue badge, you’re going to have to  pay to get in. A council whose stated policy is to improve the visitor experience is in reality going to drive those visitors away. Why? Please tell me why. Given the nature of our weather, the money raised is hardly going to fund new schools and hospitals. Indeed, it’s likely to be one of those taxes . . . and make no mistake folks, thats what it is . . . that costs more to collect that it brings in.

This is the council’s statement:

The parking fees will be collected by a combination of automatic barriers and ticket machines. It is expected that work to install the necessary infrastructure including electricity and road works will cost around £700,000. The work will be carried out in phases from 2013 to 2015. Council estimates that following the introduction of charges there will be an initial drop in visitor numbers but a recovery soon afterwards with an increase in visitors of 10% over a 10-year period, yielding an average net annual income of £440,000.’

I would like to know the basis of that income forecast, but I can bet you that it does not take into account a very likely circumstance, that at the next Election, which will take place the year after the infrastructure work is complete, the present administration will be booted out and replaced by a party, or parties, whose manifesto will include a pledge to abolish coastal parking charges.

The current administration, whose spiteful policy this is, is a coalition of Labour, a minority party on the council, and their traditional arch-enemies, the Conservatives. The councillor returned by my village is one of those Tories, which means, presumably that he voted for a step that is manifestly unpopular with the majority of the people who chose him to represent them. I can tell him that the last thing expected by  the blue-rinsed ladies and suited gents who ticked his box at the last election was that they would have a Labour council as a result. The second last is that when they drive down to the bents to exercise their pets, it would cost them two quid a time.

I’m for hanging Councillor Day and his colleagues up by their thumbs, but that might be a little extreme. Instead, I’d happily sign a recall petition to remove them from office. Sadly such machinery doesn’t exist. It’s time that it did.


Categories: General, Politics


February 17, 2013 2 comments

I’ve thought for some time that WADA needs its wings clipped. Seems that I’m not alone.

Categories: General, Politics, Sport

Simply the best

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment

For those of you who are beginning to tire of jokes about Oscar Pistorius having tried to hop it, or done a runner, proceed directly to the front page of today’s Telegraph and the Matt cartoon.

Categories: General


February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

I cannot be the only red-blooded man in Britain who recoiled in horror after switching to the athletics coverage on BBC1. Diane Lewis, what the hell have you done to yourself? Your hairdresser should go into hiding.

Categories: Sport


February 15, 2013 10 comments

Sixteen years ago, Carles Pallares, my best pal in L’Escala, visited us in Gullane. I took him for a run in the car to show him the sights. We weren’t long into the tour before he turned to me and said, ‘My Gott, you live here and you come to Spain? Why?’

He’s gone now, but his question lives on in my mind. On days like today, walking on the bents, through the woods and along the beach at low tide, I struggle to come up with a satisfactory answer.

Categories: General


February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Going back to my post a couple of days ago . . .

Categories: Sport

Breach of privacy

February 14, 2013 5 comments

I’d like all my friends, Facebook and otherwise, to note that I dissociate myself completely from all material on the page under my name in Wikipedia, and on the Facebook community page which has been created automatically by material copied from that page, without any reference to me or without permission having been given by me.

This insidious new Facebook practice, which is being permitted by Wikipedia, is in my eyes a serious breach of privacy and potentially of copyright. The following link explains what they’re doing.


Categories: General, Website feedback

Private Fraser

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

‘We’re all doomed!’

The economic saboteur strikes again. Thank God he’s going soon.

Categories: General, Politics

No’ fair

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Not being a Celtic supporter I shouldn’t care too much about last night’s result, but I do. There is silly money involved in the Champions’ League. It is meant to offer and showcase the best that the European game has to offer. Too bad then, that matches are occasionally disfigured, as last night’s was, by officials whose understanding of the rules is at odds with that of the players, and indeed at odds with the rules themselves.

Categories: Sport