Seumus the dog: a tale of three pies and a pint

Originally posted 2017-02-16 08:26:46.

A long time ago, when I was a young lad, I had the acquaintance of a dog called Seumus.

Now Seumus was of, shall we say, indeterminate lineage. There seemed to be a fair bit of black Labrador in there, but it was mixed with some distinctly non-pedigree characteristics, including a tail that curled over his back. When Seumus was feeling full of himself, he carried this high and showed to the world his anal sphincter. I’m sure that’s not in the Labrador breed book.

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Arbroath January 1972

Originally posted 2016-08-16 17:43:12.

Arbroath January 1972 . I was living in the house at 9 East Grimsby. My Dad had died the previous year and I was still struggling with it.  But I had a few things going for me: music, a camera and my books. It wasn’t a lot but it helped.

Russ Black, the art teacher at school encouraged me to use its darkroom. I had lost my own a couple of years before when we moved house. This is one of the earliest rolls I still have from then.

The camera was a Leica Model III fitted with a Ross Xtralux 50mm f2, an excellent lens. I used the name ‘Xtralux’ for a band some years later, in Exeter. Film was Ilford FP3.

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Archaic Humans Discovered in Scotland

Originally posted 2014-02-26 19:41:18.

Scientists all over the world are turning their attention to Scotland in the wake of a shock discovery that ‘archaic’ humans may be alive and well and living there.

The discovery came when one of them was filmed saying that they ‘were not evolved to make political decisions’.

Professor of Anthropology Farquhar Mc Farquharson of the University of Aberdeen explained: ‘All modern humans – Homo sapiens – have evolved highly sophisticated social behaviour including the ability to arrive at complex decisions within a formal political framework. The discovery of a population that lacks this ability, apparently living alongside more developed hominids, is very exciting.’

 

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Wot? No Rabbits? – The Brither

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Originally posted 2014-01-17 22:11:42.

Wot no Rabbits?

Now my brother was a bit of a character. I’m not talking about my wee brother, here, or the big one I suddenly discovered I had  in 2004 that no bugger ever told me about before (aye, we’ll get to that.) I mean my other big brother Sandy, AKA Sye.

Now Sandy did things his own way. He ran a car breaking yard—and trust me, there is no more joyous place to spend your school hols than in a place like that—and he lived in a wee cottage in Arbroath, one of those sandstone ones. Sandy’s wife was called Toos and she was Dutch.

Sandy was always coming up with schemes and one of these was inspired by Toos, who told him that people in Holland raised rabbits for the pot.

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Sticks, Ice-Creams and Specks of Dust

Originally posted 2014-01-09 22:58:50.

A long time ago, when I lived in Arbroath in Scotland, my role before opening up the old Fleming Partners office was to do the school run. Our kids went to a small village school just outside the town itself and there was no bus.

On these runs I always tried to entertain the boys by talking about whatever came into my mind (and would not take more than 10 minutes.) So one day I explained why humans can see in colour and many animals can’t. This is because, I said, there are two types of vision receptor cells, rods and cones. Cones see colour and rods see brightness—monochrome, in other words. (I do know it’s a bit more complex than that, but these were primary kids.) Humans have both rods and cones, and many animals, like dogs, only have rods. So we see colour and they don’t.

This went fine and was met with all the usual approval that could be mustered from a 5-year old and an 8-year old.

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Ma verra first deider

Originally posted 2019-09-26 09:59:36.

I canna hink A wis muckle mair nor fower or five year auld the verra first time A clappit ma een on a deider. Noo ye maun hink yon’s a gey queer-like wey tae open a bookie siccan this een, an hink tae yersel, by, whit’s this lad hinkin aboot? But A says to youse, that gin a bookie’s tae be an honest bookie, an no jist a pile o havers, then we maun set aff on the recht fit, an be honest wi wirsels fae the aff. An sae it is; fan A hink on ma childheid, death aye seems affy close. But this parteecular deider, A’ll hae tae explain mair aboot.

 

 

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If you like this writing in genuine Scots from Angus, you’ll just love Poaching the River, available in paperback and as an e-book!

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Maryhill, Glasgow, May 1974

Originally posted 2018-09-18 07:57:20.

Maryhill, the poor part of Glasgow’s West End, in 1974, was a different world. Looking back on these pictures, forty-five years later, I am still moved.

When I came to the Philippines first, a kind but unaware French friend told me that I would see poverty such as I had never seen before. I had not the heart to tell him; I had seen worse — in Maryhill, Glasgow, for one.

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maryhill glasgow
Maryhill, Glasgow in 1974

Yet on the other hand I have so many memories of Maryhill, Glasgow and most of them are good. I was never robbed, beaten up or threatened there. Nobody ever asked if I was a Catholic or a Protestant — a question I would get used to later. People were poor, yes, many had no shoes; but they had community and mutual respect. I see that today in the Philippines. We lost a great deal when we lost that.

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Arbroath January 1972

arbroath-1972

Originally posted 2018-09-19 09:00:47.

Arbroath January 1972 . I was living in the house at 9 East Grimsby. My Dad had died the previous year and I was still struggling with it.  But I had a few things going for me: music, a camera and my books. It wasn’t a lot but it helped.

Russ Black, the art teacher at school encouraged me to use its darkroom. I had lost my own a couple of years before when we moved house. This is one of the earliest rolls I still have from then.

The camera was a Leica Model III fitted with a Ross Xtralux 50mm f2, an excellent lens. I used the name ‘Xtralux’ for a band some years later, in Exeter. Film was Ilford FP3.

(Pictures after the Read More link)

poaching

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West Coast Road trip with Charis

Originally posted 2017-07-23 15:55:47.

This was a crazy trip in which the weather did all but defeat us. But we still had fun.

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