Update and Blog Changes

As you will notice, I have written very little over the past year. Upon moving into our rented cottage in the Scottish Borders, I finally got ‘a life’.  By that I mean, I walked away from digital screens and started to really look at the world around me. I must confess I found every excuse to avoid creating blogs, art or editing photos. I decided to do some hard graft even if this was not my property, (it belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch as does most of the land around here) I was going to tidy it up and bring it back from it’s overgrown and uncared for state.  I surprised my wife and myself a little that my 50 year old body, that was once like a fighter jet and now more resembled a Boeing 747, could still manage a full day of manual labour. For me the work was refreshing and far more rewarding than sitting typing or clicking my way through the day.

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Getting back to Nature – Taken with Google Pixel

Once I had cleared away the weeds, long grass, broken down sheds and buried piles of dead animal bones I kept discovering, (this had been the gamekeeper’s house for years.) I set about planting the willows I had brought with me. Also I started encouraging the wild birds back to the land with seed feeders and food tables. I proclaimed to all the local creatures, ‘You have nothing to fear for I am a vegetarian, I will help you if I can!’  I then had to backtrack a little and apologise to the sheep that surround the cottage on all sides, sadly as much as I wanted to I could not afford to be their Saviour as well.

The fact I had not eaten any meat for over 13+ years and was now living in what is basically a beautiful open air meat factory is ironic not to mention troubling. However I’m an outsider a ‘southern softy’, be it one with CeltIc blood in my veins, It is not my place to comment on local traditions and livelihoods even if they conflict with my beliefs. I’m comforted by the fact the farmers around me seem to care about their livestock and I have never seen them treated badly. Be sure I will never simply stand by if I witness blatant animal cruelty no matter who I upset or alienate. For the most part i’m a pragmatist, I would much rather the animals live here, than dwell in some unnatural hell hole factory farm or abroad where care standards are often far lower. Yes the vile traumatising trip to the slaughterhouse awaits all my beautiful friends, but they no nothing of that now. Despite all our best Walt Disney notions death for any of us when it comes down to it is seldom pain free or dignified.

But sorry I digress, within a month or so, many wild birds and animals started to show up and take advantage of our hospitality. T and I derive much joy from them doing so. We know little about birds beyond the injured Jackdaw and Dove we hand raised from little ones. Personally, I like to keep it like that.  Looking in books and knowing the human names for all the birds seems to take all the wonder and fun out of it. Watching the TV seems dull viewing compared to the bird table and the going on in the surrounding fields, this is real life drama, live, unedited and unscripted.

This Blog Going forward.

I must confess I was on the point of letting this blog out to pasture, I couldn’t think of anything else to write, but now the direction is clear, I’m going to focus on what I love, the Natural world. I will give no more of my time to gutless lying politicians, political correctness gone mad and tradition killing mass immigration. The Britain I was born into may be going to hell in a handbasket and men like myself going the way of the Dodo, but selfishly it’s not my problem. Nothing I can say about these subjects that trouble me matter anymore, as far as the kids of today are concerned I’m just a negative old fool. I do take much joy in the knowing that society in no time will see these young ‘radicals’ in the same light. Fortunately I have no children to worry about so I can sit back and laugh as it all goes to shit. By the time they are beheading ‘infidels’ in Edinburgh I’ll be long dead, thank the Gods.

I may at best only have a few decades left, but I intend to dedicate my time to trees and creatures that possess four legs or wings. If do interact with humans it can only be with those that share my love of Scotland, nature, woodwork and sculpture. I doubt any such people will share my political views so I will bite my tongue and agree to disagree…as we are all a long time dead.

I will no doubt create the odd (some would say very odd) piece of digital art from time to time during the long Scottish winter nights, but I believe that side of my life has almost come to an end. It seems everyone and there dog thinks they are a 3d or photoshop artist now, what was cutting edge for me 93 is now commonplace. I gave up keeping on top of new digital techniques about 6 years ago, I just stopped enjoying it.

So the style of my blog is changing … I’ve deleted a lot of my political posts and irrelevant junk and going forward I want to avoid writing these large posts. I’m sceptical how many people ever actually read them. It takes my bipolar/dyslexic mind hours, sometimes days to produce these posts. We now live in a time where a tweet or picture gets far more attention than a paragraph of well considered thought ….So going forward there will be more pictures less text and hopefully for me much more joy and peace.

Thanks for reading and sticking by this ever-changing blog.

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2 little Thoughts.

Wrong & Right get into a fight, what if Wrong wins, does he become Right?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Right, but maybe this time he wasn’t. – A Voss

They said DOWN was banned and that from now on everything was UP. UP looked down, saw nothing below it and in that moment UP became DOWN. – A Voss

Time for Farm Animal Owner contact Info ?

Yesterday while driving around the borders I drove past a goat and then later some sheep that had got through their fences and onto the road. Now as a person who cares about animal welfare my first reaction is always to help. However getting animals back to safety, on a busy road is not always possible and in fact sometimes you can make matters a lot worse. It is the farmers duty to care for his animals, but who are the farmers or owners of all these animals in these fields? I don’t think it is asking to much that every field should have a contact number plate on it, so if animals escape on to the road or are in destress, people like myself that actually care about our four legged friends can contact the farmer to let them know.

Now I know that their are many farmers who think their animals welfare is nothing to do with us, however on the flip side their are farmers that are only to grateful for a little help or info. I’m not saying that it’ always the farmers/ owners fault that animals get onto roads or stuck in fences, or end up confused and in the wrong field. Some Sheep are very good wall jumpers and simply refuse to stay put, walkers don’t close gates or often it’s simply a case that over time fencing breaks down.

I guess many people would call the police or RSPCA, but in truth often they will be just as clueless to know who owns what. Sure some animals are tagged, but lets face it these animals are never going to let us get up close enough to see what they say because their first impulse is always run away from ‘the stranger danger’. So a simple small plate on every field with basic info of owner, animal type and contact number should be required by law. Obviously in cases of neglect the RSPCA or police should be called straight away.

So that’s it really I think all animals should enjoy a safe and stress free life even the one’s that will end up on meat eaters dinner table. I for one will always do my best to help animals in destress if I can,  some simple info on who owns what, would make that whole process of getting or giving  help a lot easier.

I quit Facebook Again

Not really a post, just a quick statement to say I have quit Facebook, again. I really can’t understand what people find so fascinating about this site. It has always been my least favourite Social Network, it really just creeps me out, very much like Zuckerberg himself. I hate the way everything in life seems to require you have a Facebook account from shopping to apps and games. I think everyone who believes in freedom of speech needs to be very afraid of corporations that think they are the web. Both Google via youTube and Facebook are overstepping the mark daily, dictating how we should see the world and what’s love and what’s hate. So I’m off Facebook. I’m also taking a break from Twitter. I really can’t stand all the shouting and screaming which will only get worse now a general election has been announced. Basically, I’m just getting to old to listen to politicians and CEO’s that say what they think we want to hear and then deliver on nothing they promised.

I will continue to post articles and embed videos that offer up alternative views to those pushed by the PC far left.  Well, at least as long as WordPress.com decides it can continue or is permitted to support freedom of speech which conflicts with the group thought of the moment. Once the West starts cutting off access to ideas that are deemed to rock the political and cultural boat ‘Free’ ‘civilisation’ is over for everyone, and Orwells 1984 is finally fully engaged.

Make a stand,  even if it is just taking your life back from Facebook, or better still just go outside and enjoy the fresh air, while you can.

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Love is in the Air

It’s Valentine’s tomorrow and don’t worry if you feel like Charlie Brown or even look like him, you will most probably meet someone eventually, trust me I know about these things. And ladies I’m sure somewhere out there is a man who looks just like the guy out of that TV program you fancy. When your not Mr or Mrs popular days Like Valentines can really suck, but don’t worry, all the beautiful people hate Halloween and that’s our  favourite day is it not? :). So no matter what happens tomorrow make sure you have a laugh because finding a mate takes time especially if you are a tortoise.

Here is my image for tomorrow which you can share if the mood takes you on your social Network of Choice.

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Picking up litter in the Scottish Borders

‘Hell, sheep in the Scottish borders sure do consume a lot of beer and energy drinks’

For quite some time, I have noticed an increase in litter whilst walking my dog. But last week when a large plastic sheep feed bag appeared up a tree I declared enough was an enough. I have no doubt the bag arrived in the tree because of the elements or negligence, rather than malicious intent, but however it got there I knew I was going to be stuck looking at it until the council removed it or I died of old age. So, this Sunday I decided to do something about it.  Armed with my extending camera stand, I waded across the river and after a few attempts freed the bag from the tree. I did it not for praise but simply because I could not stand to look at the bloody thing it anymore. Below is a quick animation of the events taken by my wife, I think she was hoping I’d fall in :).

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Once I had got the bag out of the tree, I thought I may as well put it to use and see how much rubbish I could collect on our walk. After a few miles, it was full up and both my wife and I were amazed by how much litter there really was. Now as I have said before I don’t live on a particularly busy road, but we do get a lot of cyclists in our area and 80% of the litter was energy drinks. Therefore, I’m going to make possibly an unfairly assumption and put the blame on them first and foremost: –

‘Dear cyclists in the Scottish borders, this is not the bloody Tour de France there is no support team coming to pick up your rubbish!!! So, take it home.’

After energy drinks, it was coffee cups and beer cans, both probably tossed from the car window because they can’t bare the sight of litter in their car but it’s perfectly fine on the side of the road. Again, this is not Trafalgar Square people there are no sweepers coming to clear up your junk.  In fact, in 6 months, I have not seen anyone come along from the council so it’s just me and anyone else who cares. Exactly why you can’t put a bin in your car and take it home is beyond me. As for those bloody beer and cider cans, well who ever said drinking and driving wasn’t still a thing. I guess if you care so little about your own life and the lives of other drivers, you’re not going to give a toss about littering the country side.

Below is the sheep feed bag at the end of the walk.  Now I must use my own wheelie bin for other people’s rubbish, but that’s fine the council will me giving me a discount on my council tax …. lol will they hell!

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For me there are few things that piss me off on a local level as much as litter. The amount of litter I see in an area is simply a marker to how much people care about where they live and the people they live with. Now I must confess that compared to some places I’ve lived the Scottish borders has a relatively low litter problem. However, let’s be honest if what I collected above was just from a short walk it’s far from perfect. So why do people litter, I thought about this a lot over the years and I can only conclude it’s linked to low self-esteem, laziness, poor social discipline and I guess to some stupid buggers deemed it cool.

Fines don’t work as police are too far and few between and would probably rather avoid the paperwork.  I’m personally for public flogging, but once again you’ve got to catch the buggers. So, I guess it comes back to good parenting and schooling, but we can’t just blame it on the ‘younger generation’ because it’s not just them. Many people simply just don’t care about anything other than their own small world and most of them don’t even care about that. Maybe I’m a fool to get so angry about litter, maybe humanity is just too broken to understand why wading through other people’s crap isn’t normal or a good thing .

Update : We have seen a council  litter picker on our road a few times since this blog which is nice.

Update 2: It now June 2017 Litter is beginning to build up so I guess I may have to do another litter pick up

At Home in the Scottish Borders

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The lower garden as yet untouched shot on iPhone

I must apologise for being away for three months, getting off the computer and doing lots of real world tasks has been very nice indeed. As we now live in the beautiful  countryside coming inside to sit and type is going to get harder and harder. As today it’s pouring with rain, that will happen here a lot. I thought it would be nice to catch you up on what has been going on lately.

First and foremost we (wife, me, dog and jackdaw) are now fully relocated in a ‘remote’ cottage in the Scottish borders. My nearest shop is about 6 miles away, my nearest supermarket 13 and the City of Carlisle is about 30 miles from here back down in England. The English border wraps around us and is only ever a few miles away but I’m most definitely in Scotland and very happy to be here. Just in case you were wondering  my nearest Scottish city is Edinburgh and that is 68 miles up the road and Glasgow is about 100 + miles depending on what route you take.

Some have described the valley we are living in as ‘bleak’ but the  sheep of which there are many here and me don’t see it that way. I’m Sure I’d be a happy man if I could  live here for the rest of my life. While I see very few people which suits me just fine, I am on the main single track road to the local town. So I do get traffic passing by ,but I’d call it a busy day if I was seeing more than 15 to 20 vehicles an hour, after 6 pm you can downgrade that to about  0 to 10.

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Damn look at all this traffic  – iPhone image

We are renting our home from one of the large land owners in the area they seem very nice and have no problem with us having a dog (see past blog) . I can honestly say I doubt I could have found a nicer place to live from the garden sizes to how the rooms are laid out. I still have to pinch myself that we’re living here and every now and then I really belive I’m on holiday. That said I don’t recall ever working this physically hard on a holiday. I’ve been weed whacking and cutting grass for what seems like months lol. I’ve build fences, gates sheds and yes planted my beloved willows all around the property. I think we are sitting on just over an acre of land which has turned out to be more than enough for a 50 year old man who was out of shape. Getting a piece of land and working on it has to be the most enjoyable fitness program I’ve ever subjected myself to. I have long given up weighing myself, but lets say my clothes all have a lot of space in them. The downside is my back is killing me and muscles I never Knew I had, scream out at night to me ‘WTF do you think you’re doing’.

Obviously having space, quiet and lovely views does come with some trade offs. I can not receive a mobile signal anywhere in a five mile radius of here. Our ‘broadband’ seems as slow as I First used in 93. Some years ago this lack of speed would have driven me crazy, but in all honesty I’ve very frustrated with the way the internet is shaping up it is no longer the free thinking, open minded space it once was. If anyone needs to contact me and thank god they seldom do we have a landline not that I’d answer it as i hate phone conversations. The only Tech entertainment that really works here is the Sky Box (satellite tv) and while for years I had a love hate relationship with sky its nice to have, as streaming anything more than 420p is almost out of the question  which is kind of shocking in 2016. I see no reason why everyone in the UK shouldn’t have access to low-cost superfast broadband as ‘They’ have deemed we must all work, play and shop online. Shame on BT and the government for dragging their feet on this, but that’s for another blog.

As the nights drawn in I really need to find something to occupy me other than just staring at the TV. I know I have my guitar and my Digital art, but in truth I have grown bored with creating on a computer I feel I need something real world to do with my hands. I’ve been thinking about revisiting something I did with my hands as a teenager and was rather good at …..no not that Lol, Sculpture you rude person. I will probably get back into it in a small way at first using some of these new fangled lol Polymer clays and see how it goes. I have some creatures I created in the 80’s as Acrylic art that would look brilliant in 3d, I’ll keep you up to date with my progress on that.

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Sunset on the borders – iPhone image

Anyway I won’t waffle on anymore and the dog seems to want to go for a walk in the rain, so till next time whenever that may be take care friends.