A week to go ….

…. until the eleventh celebration of Arrels de Vi, the annual wine fair in St Martí d’ Empuries, a must for oenophiles in Empordà and for those who simply like a good day out.

As always the finest Empordàn wine-makers will be offering tastings of their range, alongside other artisan products.


Categories: General

Where the sun never shines

Last Sunday, I flew out of Edinburgh Airport. I have this thing that when I travel I always like to keep my baggage within sight, but the security procedures there don’t permit that. There is no such thing as hassle free security but there are officials who see it as their job to be officious.

Anyway, as Rexie would say, a couple of hours later I realised on board the aircraft that I didn’t have my Kindle Paperwhite although I remembered taking it out for inspection. I also remembered an officious official rearranging items in the two boxes I presented and moving items from one to another for no obvious reason.

Next morning I reported the loss via the Airport website. Shortly afterward I had an email from someone named ******, described as a Sales and Retail Assistant at an entity known as Luggage-point. She said she believed they had my property, and that I could have it back, on production of photo ID. (It’s a Kindle dear, it doesn’t have my name on it.) She added that in addition to producing my driving licence, bus pass etc, I should also produce £12, the ‘Standard retrieval fee.’

When I pointed out that any citizen finding an item of property is normally expected to hand it to the police, ****** said that was not Airport policy and that I had seven days to cough up. At my request she attached a copy of the Airport Bye Laws (sic).

I am afraid that I advised her I could not comply with her requirements and that her organisation should place the item somewhere absolutely beyond the reach of sunshine. Let’s hope she understood.

Categories: General

Go Jim.

Last night I finished my current read, ‘A Higher Loyalty: truth, lies and leadership’ by James Comey, who was three and a half years into a ten year appointment as director of the FBI, until President Trump fired him, without hint of warning.

The latter part of the book was not new to me; the matter (a word I chose carefully, as those who have read it will understand) was well documented when it all went down. The rest is an account of Comey’s early life and career. During that time he served three presidents; the fact that he was appointed by Trump’s hated predecessor may have been the underlying cause of his dismissal. Or it may simply that Comey refused to surrender the essential independence of his office to the president, a concept that Trump’s seriously disturbed mind did not allow him to understand or accept.

Of course there are two sides to every debate. It may be that Comey is the deluded liar. However given Trump’s general behaviour, and his self obsessed, utterly boorish manner, and Comey’s emphasis on the ethics of leadership, that is not the way I would bet.

Let’s assume that the allegations of Russian hookers urinating, in Trump’s presence, on a bed once used by the Obamas, are untrue. Jesus, I hope they are. Even so, the fact that many, possibly most, people consider them credible is evidence enough that the minority of the US electorate who put him in office have made a very serious mistake.

Categories: General, Politics

Run its course

After a couple of seconds of contemplation yesterday, I have decided to retire my website. It was set up before this blog, and it isn’t self managing, so it’s well out of date. Also, most of the information on it is duplicated here; ergo, it was serving no useful purpose.

The site has gone, but to avoid confusing the hell out of Google, its address will stay. From now on any surfers who click on it will be redirected here, automatically and instantly.

Categories: General

Now this is funny …

Categories: General, Videos

Another TV ad ….

…. that annoys the hell out of me: Sixt Car Hire.

Categories: General


Being a Man U fan has been tough since Fergie left, but may his retirement be long and happy.

When Mourinho arrived he promised joy, but he always does. It hasn’t happened: two years in and he hasn’t a clue what his best team is. Okay, he’s won some silver but he’s been embarrassed by Guardiola. Being second in the league doesn’t cut it when United is also the second best team in Manchester. Lately he’s shown an aptitude for demotivating and ruining very good young players. To cap it all, two games left in the season and it’s clear that he still doesn’t have a clue about what his best team is.

The one thing he does know is that the face he sees in the mirror every day makes him very happy.

Categories: Sport

I wonder

I’ve just read a piece about Senator John McCain, and resolved to read his new book.

It planted a scenario in my mind that I will turn into a novel one day: be warned, copyright now applies. It begins with the birth of a black boy, the latter day Christ, in one of the flyover US States. He grows, performs a few miracles, the most spectacular involving turning all domestically held firearms and ammunition into soap, heals someone resembling John McCain, and his authenticity is beyond doubt.

How does it end? I have my vision but I will keep it to myself in advance of publication. Perhaps you have yours.

Categories: General, Politics


The story says that one third of the jobs cuts will take place overseas. I guess that whoever wrote the press release felt the need to emphasise that.

You don’t have to be much of a mathematician to work out that two thirds of the 13000 will be lost in the UK.


Categories: General

That’s it, he’s done

Categories: General


TV ad people who get on what Mia calls my boobies: that Aussie woman in the Trivago commercial.

Categories: General

A bowl of cherries

April 21, 2018 2 comments

Later than usual but worth waiting for.

Categories: General, Pics


I have just binge watched the fourth series of Bosch on Amazon Prime.

For me this is one of the best TV adaptations I’ve seen, possibly because Michael Connelly has been closely involved. From the beginning it was clear that the TV Harry is a couple of steps away from the print version. He’s of a different generation for openers; still a war veteran but of more recent conflict. His back story is slightly different too, more conventional and requiring less explanation.

The best way I can explain its success is by saying that the Titus Welliver Bosch doesn’t impact at all on the image of Harry that is with me whenever I read the books.

Categories: General

Alexa …

Lying in bed this morning trying to wake up, I asked Alexa to play me music by Oscar Peterson. Just like that, she did.

Worked a treat; I went back to sleep.

Categories: General

Enough is enough

April 20, 2018 2 comments

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

In any organisation as massive as our NHS there will be incidents of mistakes and mismanagement. It’s all too easy for ambitious politicians and profit seeking media to seize on these and highlight them for their own gain. I can only speak as a lifelong user of the service, and my experience may not be mirrored by others, but it has been excellent, beyond reproach and on a few occasions life-saving.

Eighteen years ago I collapsed, for no obvious reason, and was taken to hospital. There I had another incident; I was wired up at the time, and the cardiologists were left with a nice record of me flat-lining for a few seconds. Very quickly it was established that I had a condition called sick sinus syndrome. A pacemaker was fitted and I was able to resume my abnormal life.

More recently, my wife has had two Brushes with Death, to borrow from the title of my new book, (published yesterday and available in all good book stores). Each required major surgical intervention, the kind that has you holding your breath until you have the good news call from the team. Twice her life was as in serious danger, twice she survived, thanks to people who will forever be heroes to me.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to thank them publicly by dedications in books, (back to A Brush with Death, and Private Investigations) but mostly voices like mine are drowned out by the cacophony of negativity that dominates today’s society.

Yes, the NHS could be better, and it knows it. The day it stops striving to improve we will have cause for concern. But that mustn’t blind us to the truth that for the majority of us who shelter under its umbrella, it is already excellent.

If you agree, feel free to share this. If you don’t, all I can say is that I hope you never have cause to realise that I’m right.

The Herald Digital
— Read on theherald.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/iphone/showpage.aspx

Categories: General, Politics

Today’s playlist

March 16, 2018 5 comments

This morning’s backing tracks are by Amanda Marshall. Where have you gone, woman? Get back in the studio, please, and make more stuff like ‘Dark Horse’ and ‘I’ll be Okay’

Categories: Uncategorized

Random thoughts

Categories: Uncategorized


March 15, 2018 3 comments

Yesterday I attended the first of what we all intend to be a series of lunchtime gatherings. Eight survivors of the Thursday Legends (check-out the Skinner title of that name) got together in the Nether Abbey, North Berwick, for the senior citizen menu, a few beers and a general update. Great time, great times, and we are agreed that our successors aren’t a patch on us.

Categories: General, Sport


Music while I create: I’ve built myself a Hugh Masekela playlist on Amazon Music. Although he spent some of his life exile, Hugh was prolific.  If I chose I could listen to him   for just short of 24 hours.

Categories: General

Me and Amy

Moved on from Keeping Faith, I’ve built myself an entire Amy Wadge playlist. She’s  been keeping Sir Robert and me company all afternoon.

Categories: General