View from Harbour Street, Plockton, Highlands of Scotland.

Faded Memories

One of the view places on earth I have really felt at home and relaxed amongst the people is the Highlands of Scotland and none more so than the village Plockton.

Plockton, population 378, was one of those places I had wanted to visit for so many years largely as a result of the TV series “Hamish MacBeth” being filmed there and in the surrounding area. The main character had the dream job I wanted when I was 18. A rural Police posting where the biggest problem people had was broken down cars. Travelling around the Highlands in a Police Land Rover, accompanied by a West Highland White Terrier. Perfect.

Sadly it never happened for me and the plan became a faded dream as life’s realities took hold.

When I finally made it there two decades later, I was surprised to see palm trees on Harbour Street, the front street on to Loch Carron. This was the Scottish coastline. Palm Trees were for Florida I thought, at the time anyway. The people there warm and welcoming even though I tried not to look or behave like a tourist.

Of course the real star of the show in the area is the land itself.

The spectacular view across Loch Carron is so typical of the region which seems to have breath-taking scenery regardless of which way you cast your eyes.

Ah. Happy, happy days.

I really must head back up there before too much longer.

Culture – whatever that is?

Culture. It tends to be a word that is used a lot for so many different things.

To some it means opera, the arts, fine dining or over-priced wines. To others it may be the custom of using street cafés.

Most people seem to think it is something that you can put a price tag on.

For me I see it more about a whole way of life. The complete package. Whatever that package may be. It is about who you are, where you come from, what you do.

Everyone has a culture about them. I have always thought it a nonsense when some is referred to as “uncultured“. What is being referred to their is merely someone has a different culture to the person making the comment.

Having survive Black Friday, Silly Saturday, Cyber Monday & Tuesday, all imported from US retailers to the UK, one particular aspect of the US culture we really could do with bringing into the UK is “Pay It Forward”.

Take a look at the video below.

Wouldn’t it be great if that happened in every single town across the UK, every single day? Now that’s a culture you can respect!

Hexagon Diagram

This was weird

I’ve been really quiet on here these last few days as I was taking a little time out. However, something really weird happened to me last night which I cannot make sense of, cannot tell family or friends about, but I do need to write it out of my system.

So I’m trusting you.

Recently it has been really cold where I live, so I have taken to wearing a beanie hat in bed. (You’ve no idea how big a difference that makes until you try it.) As a result of wearing the hat, I unfold the edge and pull what would have been the turn-up down over my eyes. This makes a for a great blackout shield, without anything pressing on my eyes.

Also, due to one worry or another, I have had great problems in sleeping recently, so I have got into the habit of listening to audiobooks on my phone in bed before I go to sleep. I set the sleep timer to be 45 minutes and by the time the sound cuts off I am normally fast asleep. If I wake during the night, I will repeat this process. I will not name the author, but last night’s book was a crime mystery.

As I was listening my mind drifted and I began noticing the black. The lack of light caused by having the hat pulled down. Then I saw a bright white light come towards me.

It looked similar to the picture above. Now remember, all the time this was happening, my eyes remained closed and I could hear the audiobook playing.

Then the light disappeared as quickly as it had come.

I then saw head and shoulder faces which I assumed to be the various evolutionary stages of mankind, but it was simply the head and shoulders, no bodies were shown. There were three or four images before a modern looking human was shown. I do not know enough about the different stages to comment on which exactly I saw.

The next image that appeared was in the style of a copper etching.

Paula Modersohn-Becker Landschaft unter Bäumen
They were three altogether and the images seemed to cycle round three or four times with each displaying in turn. I remember thinking they all looked really beautiful.

One was a crowd of people who seemed to be celebrating and in the foreground was a man who looked like a king off a playing card.  His character moved and turned to the people celebrating, lifting his tankard aloft.

Then things got really weird.

I saw what I think was a forest, perhaps a jungle, but it was all through a dull, dark grey fog. Like someone had removed all the colour from a film, it was all shades of grey. Outlines of what I thought were trees or foliage were not clear but I could make out general shapes of things. A slightly lighter vertical band of grey moved across my view from right to left and at this point I got a really intense pain behind my right eyeball. Again the light vertical grey band moved across my view two or three times before stopping and my view returning to the foggy forest or jungle. I could see what I thought were heads and eyes looking at me from behind the foliage, but they were in dark grey areas of the picture so I could not make out any detail in terms of eyes, nose or mouth.

The monochrome forest disappeared and then I saw a rapid succession of diagrams that looked like hexagons, connected by dots and lines.

The diagrams were not all the same but the image changed so quickly I could not keep up with what I was seeing.

I can remember that where hexagons were connected, there were dots and lines as shown here.

Some of the hexagons were not complete and perhaps only had four or five of the six sides drawn in, but those sides followed what would have been the path if the hexagon were to be completed. The hexagon diagrams were all in black on a bright white background.

Finally I saw neon blue lines, similar to fork lightning, but not as angular. The lines were very smooth curves and went from the two thirds of the way up my image down to the bottom. This happened a couple of times before I opened my eyes and lifted my hat.

Throughout the whole experience I could hear the audiobook which I had restarted just before 3am and when I checked my phone at the end it was 3:21am.

At no point did I feel frightened or in danger. It has left me curious as to what it was all about, but not in an obsessive way.

The only discomfort was the pain in my right eye.

I have no idea if I was in some sort of dream-state between being awake and being asleep, but the content of the audiobook did not relate at all to what I was seeing.

The folded down hat was not pressing against my eyes. (If I close my eyes and press against an eyeball I can sometime see a circle or white lines.)

So I am really at a loss to explain what the whole thing was all about.

I just wanted to see what people thought and if anyone else had experienced something similar. Please let me know in the comments.

An old aeroplane wreck

The wreckage that is my life

As we move towards the close of another year, I can safely say that 2016 has not been a good one for me. My quest for work has yet to be sated, and this remains my number one priority. My obsession if you like.

I have become withdrawn. I now shun social interactions, preferring to ‘speak‘ via this blog. The problem is, I know this is the exact opposite of what I should be doing. I should be out and about, mixing and mingling, meeting new people, forming new connections, yet some days it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed to the job listings on the computer.

In short, I need a right royal kick up the backside to get me motivated again and get that habit of winning back.

However, I think I have found my way.

I am giving up social media.

Now I know that may sound a bit odd, almost counter intuitive. Having had the time to think about it, really think about it, I think that using social media is anything but social.

I could be that guy in the video. Except I didn’t get the beautiful lady. I think the 59 million plus views really show the power of the lyrics of the poem.

Friends think I am  mad when we eat out (which I haven’t done in such a long time) when I suggest all our phones should be set to silent and not touched until after the meal. The only time they agreed conversations flowed like a dream and everyone around the table seemed to have a good time.

So it is time for me to get up, buck myself up but most importantly look up.

Crowded narrow back street

Chaos and carnage

Black Friday they call it. The day after Thanksgiving when people who are perfectly rational the rest of the year go absolutely nuts.

There are a few videos on YouTube showing chaotic, crazy scenes in shops across the USA. Fist fights break out, a stun-gun is used, pepper sprays are fired and Police carry out arrests.

Its utter madness.

Remember, you don’t actually need most of the crap they’re trying to get rid of at knockdown prices.

Just pause for a moment and think about that in tranquility.


Library books on shelves

Public Lending Libraries – gateway to adventure

As a child I was dragged to the local library once a week, every week by my mother. “Books are good for you” she would tell me and as she was a voracious reader, it all seemed perfectly normal.

That was until I ran out of books.

You see, back then the local library was split into a children’s section and an adult section. I was pretty fed up with all the stupid kids books. They didn’t inspire or amuse me. So I ended up in a constant battle with the librarians.

You can’t take that book out on your ticket. It needs to be a children’s book.

Back then the “ticket” was a little cardboard sleeve with the top right corner clipped off, so that the cards that were tucked into pockets in the front of the book, could be inserted. This was how they knew who had what book.

Where I grew up we were around 10 miles from a provincial airport so there were always plenty of aircraft going overhead and I wanted to know how they worked. So I grabbed this huge book from the shelf and had taken it with my card to the counter I could barely see over. I was around seven at the time.

That’s when I heard the line once again. “Not on your card. Please put the book back on the shelf“.

OK I thought. I put the book back on the shelf and stomped my way out of the building. I knew I had a plan and would be back tomorrow.

The next day I turned up with my dad’s card. An adult card. That should fettle them!

Sure enough, I took the book to the counter once again. “I told you yesterday. You can’t take that book out with your card” the now stern looking librarian told me. (Remember this was back in the day when tweed clad Librarians spent most of their time saying “SSssshhhh!” at people.)

With a look of victorious triumph I presented the librarian with my Dad’s card and lied through my teeth, “My dad wants it. He told me to come and get it for him”.

I suspect the librarian knew exactly what was going on. She turned to a colleague and they had a short, but very quiet chat.

I am pretty sure when she stamped the return date in the front of the book she did it a lot harder than she normally did.

The next seven years saw my dad reading a lot of adult category books. Trains, Planes, Cars, Stamp Collecting, the armed forces, spies etc. ‘He‘ was into everything despite working all the hours God sent.

Every time I would get the scowl off the librarian. She even commented one time “Your dad reads a lot“. It was all I could do to keep the smirk off my face.

Public lending libraries. They’re important. Support them. They’re more than just books these days.