Monthly Archives: March 2018

…from Goonhilly Downs… to the WURLD…

11th July, 1962… prob’ly not a date that gets instant recall in the minds of most people… I remember the occasion, but not the date itself… the first ever transatlantic satellite television signal between  the USA and Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall on the West Coast of England… black and white television of course, with gradings of grey in-between… the satellite was called Telstar, and among most of us back then its name was associated more with the instrumental recording by Hank Marvin and the Shadows  beat group, who were the backing combo for Cliff Richard...

…if mem’ry serves me correctly, the image on the signal was the representation of an Indian chief’s face, wearing his tribal feathered headdress… and how far we have come, Mabel… a mere 40 years later, I was engaged to go to Denver in America from the Philippines, where I was WURKING, to undertake the due diligence exercise for a potential buy-in to a company called EchoStar, arguably at the time the biggest satellite television network provider on the planet… part of that project had me chauffeur-driven from Denver in Colorado, on a five-hour journey into the desert to the massive base station where satellite channels from all over the world were received and re-transmitted on giant dishes…

 

…the enormous building housing the various screens to monitor these captured channels covered a huge wall… there must have been at least 5,000 various global channel screens on that control wall… all in colour… I was shown the backroom supporting the technological backup systems, and recall being amazed at the miles and miles of different-coloured cables, tidily herded into metal tracking, running up, over, and through walls… what a mind-boggling compression in such a short time from a single black and white satellite pulse in 1962, to the labyrinth of channel offerings I witnessed forty years on… and to think we used to be confused with merely two channels, trying to decide whether to watch BBC or ITV…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…it’s nice when I have visitors… I get to see sum’thing of the places where I live…

…my claim to Jurassicism stretches to more than compootery stuff… apart from these fidgety things on my mobile phone which keep taking pictures of my leg, toes, and sum’times surrounding floor carpeting, I’ve never owned a proper camera… which fits in admirably with my phenomenally outstanding failure at ever being a tourist…

…the only times I ever get to see the sights, wonders, and cultural centres of interest in any of the multi-geographies I’ve lived and WURKED in, is when sumb’dy comes to visit and wants to be ‘shown around’… today’s adventure embraced a visit to the ancient fort of Qal’at Al-Bahrain in Manama

…my residence is a five minute Uber-Camel ride away from the place, and until now, I’ve been totally unaware of its presence… but what a pleasure it turned out to be… the place is an archeological site, dating back to 2,500 B.C., making it over 4,500 years old… a bit of a fellow-Jurassic in its own right, if yeez ask me… the diggings have been ‘tidied up’ a tad, of course, but the remnants of  dwellings and the actual fortifications have been preserved and now carry the U.N. World Heritage Site label…

…as darkness falls, a laser light show is cast onto sections of the ramparts, tracing the history of the place from ‘way back… since the days of the Dilmun civilization… the light show lasts about half an hour, and as a writer, I found myself totally absorbed in the voice-over story… it has seen the march and declines of intruders from Portugal, Greece, and what once was Persia… the attendant music during the presentation is equally fascinating – the lilt of the Arabian instruments transports the listener across centuries, through the sands and seas that embrace the island of Bahrain…

…if any of yeez ever get out this way, I shall be happy to escort yeez there, so that I can see it again, ‘coz I never go anywhere on my own… I really have to get out more, Mabel… I really have to get out more … see yeez later.. LUV YEEZ!

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…poems every Witch way… (y’mean, ‘which way?’)… no, ‘Witch way!’…

…one of my Scottish-based friends, rejoicing in the glorious nom-de-plume, 2nd Witch, and demonstrating the usual Caledonian penchant for self-effacing, offers a Guest Blog piece pointing toward a maiden offering of a book of poems… the link is easily clickable (go on, yeez know yeez want to!)… have a wee dip into the Kindle sample… I know yeez’ll like it!

From 2nd Witch:

This is NOT a poem!

 As a rule, and I am big on rules, I only post poems on this blog.

However, I have taken the plunge and created and published an ebook of some of my work on Kindle. None of the poems in the ebook are available anywhere else, however some of the photographs have been used elsewhere. (All the photographs are mine as well.)

If anyone is interested, it can be found at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/slim-Poems-pictures-wand-witch-ebook/dp/B07C93T6RJ/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=D541DC03QDR1DZAZFFBZ

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…nil desperandum parum backup-erum… listen to Authoress Una Tiers…

…one of the earliest people I was privileged to know on the Web was my dear friend and Authoress, Una Tiers, who rendered the following Guest Blog Post here,  back in October 2012…. it’s well worth another read …enjoy …

…fronting up about backing up…Guest Blogger, Una Tiers, with a wee pre-WURD from myself…

… we’ve  all had them… those moments when your heart stops and your brain goes into panic meltdown… the unexpected, horrible instant of realization that we’ve done something that seems irreversibly wrong… like inviting both sets of in-laws over for Christmas holidays at the same time… mine came during the writing of my first novel… I clicked something on my laptop (who the hell knows what?..), and Hey Presto! three months of work disappeared from the screen… I was so stricken, I couldn’t even scream… happily, the sensible part of the household recognised the terror in my face, stepped up to the scene of the disaster, and with a simple click of the fingers reversed the action… and I got all the work back… (How do women know how to do stuff like that?)… life-shortening as the episode undoubtedly was, it taught me the basic lesson… BACK UP YOUR WORK… now here’s my Guest Blogger for today, Una Tiers with an even more relevant message… enjoy… and learn, lads and lassies… thanks, Una

Saving Paper by Una Tiers (author of Judge vs Nuts)

Occasionally I write and then hunt for the document, which, when missing, gains in brilliance as my panic escalates.  When will I learn to back up and be organized?  As my general disposition is to teach about the law, especially in my writing, I’ll give you an example of saving an important document, written by a third party, wrapping up your financial picture.

The most important document that likely will be ghost written, by an attorney, is your will.  The exact document signed by you and the witnesses needs to be located immediately after your demise in order for a court to recognize it and distribute the wealth.

Mama Cass Elliot, a brilliant singer with the Mamma’s and the Papa’s in the 70s, died in 1974 at age 32, leaving behind a minor daughter, mother, sister and brother.    She also left more debt than money.  Although she executed a will, it was not located when she died.

A few years later, a resurgence in her music caused the insolvent estate to turn into a healthy estate.   Her entire estate went to her minor daughter.

In 2011, the Last Will and Testament of Mama Cass was located by an archivist at the law firm where the will was prepared.  I have no idea what an archivist in this context means.  Her brother and sister sued the law firm that wrote and stored the will, (and conducted the probate administration) alleging that had they produced the will when she died, their mother would have received a share of the estate and when their mother died, they would have inherited that money.

Not much has been in the news about the story after the suit was filed, suggesting an out of court settlement in the malpractice matter.  The lesson you can take from this is that when you write, you need to back up and identify the file to locate it another day.  When you write a will, you must share the location with your friends or family so that the hard work will surface if and when you go to that big bookstore in the sky.

Website

E-mail Una@unatiers.com

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…to what depths in Hell has Humanity sunk?

…apparently from April 16th, 2018, in certain parts of England, it will be officially a crime for homeless street people to ask the public for help or for money… please read that again, and let it sink in… IT WILL BE A CRIME TO ASK FOR HELP OR FOR MONEY WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE NUTHIN… and I ask myself, to what depths in Hell has Humanity sunk ?… in a society where millions are but one or two pay packets away from being in precisely the same bracket… in a society where building owners put spikes in parts of the exterior of their properties to prevent anyone from sleeping there in the cold dead of night… in a society where the government elects to spend billions on nuclear warheads, which, if they ever are needed, would only be a tit for tat match-up of deaths for many millions of people on either side if a nuclear conflict were ever triggered… yes, yes, yes, I know there are the arguments that  ‘some’ of those on the streets ‘choose to be there’… yes, that ‘some’ of those on the street are ‘druggies’ and ‘alkies’… yes, that ‘some’ of those on the streets are ‘dropouts‘ who don’t want any part of society… BOLLIX TO THAT!!!

…the vast majority of those on the streets are there because circumstance has brought them there… they are not armed robbers, rapists, murderers and organized crime bosses… and yet much energy, money and time is invested by having the already over-worked police forces ordered to hound them from what scant means they try to stay alive, and to get a decent (‘decent?- meaning, ‘not to die tonight’) night’s sleep… not for the first time, and I’m sure not for the last, I am truly ashamed of how my home country’s priorities are measured… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…how time flies (or doesn’t) when you fly (or don’t)…

…the average flight time from Dubai to Bahrain is clocked at 57 minutes… not bad, one would think, for travel time within the Arabian Gulf… less than an hour to be transported across part of the Middle East… not bad, indeed, if the rest of the peripheral ‘time’ of travel is thrown in… today, Friday, March 23rd, lapsing ever so laboriously toward Saturday, March 24th, is proving a bit of an Albert Einsteinian/Stephen Hawking-ian sort of ‘bending’ of that oft-bruited ‘travel-space’ thing… let me explain in more ‘Master-Gallacher-of-this-world’ timing… getting packed and ready to proceed to the airport can take anywhere up to 45 – 60 minutes (just where did I mislay that toothbrush, Mabel?)… comes the taxi or Uber-camel, or other chariotly means of driving to the airport – journey time (dependent on traffic) say, another 40 minutes — disembarkation at the departures terminal is fully 90 minutes before flight time… proceeding through check-in, passport control, and wending one’s way to the boarding gate, then to get on a bus (yes, a bus) as there seems to be a lack of airbridges (sum’thing the airport planners seem to have missed in air termini planning these days)… now the aircraft has the door closed, and is taxiing back from the gate, only a further 20 minutes later than scheduled flight time (not bad for a busy airport)…

…another 10 minutes pass, and the engines up-whine switches to engines down-whine, and the plane trundles back to the gate… the pilot has noticed sum’thing amiss and, quite correctly takes no chances with passenger safety… wants the ground engineers to have a peek at sum’thing in the cockpit… 115 minutes later, with no further ‘this-is-your-pilot’ chat to enlighten us as to what gremlin is frustrating the take-off, and having sat amidst the discomfort of growing passenger grumblings and latent outbreak of hostilities toward all things airline company, the cheerful announcement is made that we’re going back to the terminal proper… on the trusty bus… and the flight will not be on this bird… the next flight will be 4 and half hours later… as I sit here typing this, the clock is ticking inexorably toward that revised flight slot… and so far the original 57 minutes travel time quoted above in my blog opening has expanded to 550 minutes, or 9 and a quarter hours, and we haven’t taken off yet… it’s at times like these when its REALLY good just to stay at home… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…scoff not at the honest endeavours of others…

…to every man, woman, and child who ever picked up a pen or pencil, tapped at a typewriter, clicked at a keyboard, in an effort to WRITE SUM’THING out of their own imagination, I salute yeez… each and every one of yeez… heroes and heroines all… lately, I saw a Facebook exchange about what constitutes a ‘good’ writer, a ‘successful’ writer, a writer ‘of note’, which discussion also included some gratuitously offensive commentary on certain scribblers whose material didn’t ‘meet the expectations’ of some readers… I call those sniper ‘critics’ cringeworthy carpers, pedantic peddlers, humbugging hussies… I wonder how many of those, so quick to relegate so readily to the dustbin the literary effort of others, have ever written a book themselves?… I recall the time this ol’ Scots Jurassic completed my first novel… my maiden sortie into the universe of the wordsmith, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… it was a decade ago, but I will never ever lose the feeling of unmitigated elation when I wrote those two magical WURDS, ‘The End’...  I was on the proverbial pink cloud for weeks afterward… I had written a novel!… all by myself!… without a safety net, Mabel!… from start to finish… I wonder how many of my scribbler friends can remember that glorious feeling, the first time they reached that last sentence of their initial book?…

…so, when I see or hear of ANYONE who has gone through the process to complete their tome, I am filled with admiration… it takes stamina… persistence… and in many cases, sheer, dogged determination and guts… next time you see sumb’dy having a dig at an author’s WURK on Facebook, or any other slug of MEDYA, spare a thought for what it took for that Author or Authoress to produce it… the time, thought, love, angst, caring, and imagination to plough through page after page of crafting their story… they deserve a bit of respect… and from me, I give them that  in barrowloads… well done, that true and trusty pensperson!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Hi!… my name’s Hieronymus… and I’m an eyeball!…

…it had to happen sum’time, I s’pose… I had a wee inkling recently that certain parts of my body were getting involved in stuff that I had no clue about… those of yeez who’ve followed my ‘Guess what bits of him are falling off, this week?‘ saga of late, will know that so far, since February dawned six weeks ago, upper parts of my inner thigh were attacked by an Angry Alien Abscess, which created the new Black Hole of Govan, perched on my inside leg… my meagre immune system railed manfully against that onslaught, but succumbed to an attack of the Shingles Squad, converting the left side of my face to a doppelgänger of the Phantom of the Opera, mask an’ all… that fusillade from pain-hell managed to infiltrate my left eye, blurring the vision so much I couldn’t properly see SKYNews on the television (a blessing, indeed, some cry!)…

…that infection was cleared up, to be instantly substituted with another infection of that same cornea… hum ho… this morning, the opthalmist tending my orbit disaster area declared the secondary infection vanquished, but says the cornea will now require ‘rehabilitation’... rehabilitation???… now it begins to dawn on me… that sneaky eyeball has been ‘at it’... rehabilitation from what?… drugs?… highly likely, as the peeper had been battered with drug-filled drops for weeks?… alcohol?… a strong possibility that the said drops had booze as a base constituent in them?…  whatever the cause, the eyeball has been eyemarked for rehab… I can mentally envision the picture (even if I can physically envision little else at present)…  a smoke-filled room in the basement at the back of some alleyway… a discreet notice on the door… ‘Eyeballs Anonymous’… my fella rolls in… ‘Hi,… my name’s Hieronymus… and I’m an eyeball!’

…and a posse of staring socket-fillers answer in unison, ‘Hi, Hieronymus!’… I really must get out more, Mabel… I really must get out more… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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..a thought or three on Gaeldom… the people, the community, the music, the essence of the Celt…

…as many of yeez are prob’ly aware by now, Master Gallacher was born and bred in the slums of Docklands Govan in Glasgow, and I write that with no chip on my shoulder, nor stupidly inverted pride at having come from a comparatively humble background that gave the world so many terrific Glaswegians, including Sir Alex Ferguson (he and I were born in the same street in the same era in what now seems like a thousand years ago)… therefore, I have no inclination to discard one iota of my roots and upbringing, but the life-changing move came when, as callow lad of barely fifteen years, I was transferred to work in a bank as a Trainee Master of the Financial Universe in Tobermory on the beautiful Isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides… the transformation was due in no small part to the immersion in the Celtic environment and to be permitted to imbibe the language and music of the Gods, in the Gaelic tongue…  for some of us, as the realisation of our own mortality is that as a fleeting glimmer in the immeasurable span of the centuries and millennia… a blink in the cosmic eye… whatever survives of our being may well be that elusive thing called a ‘soul’… and if mine is to be thus, I want it to be attached to that part of my life and existence which came truly alive in Gaeldom… the people, the community, the music, the essence of the Celt… all of it, not one part omitted, is at the centre of me… now, go back and listen to the piece above, live, from Runrig, and the words of Donnie Munro… and I dare you not to be able to feel the unique character of  the true highland Celt… and I wish yeez all a part of it… yeez’ll be the better for it, I promise yeez… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…

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…the imperious Author, my pal, John Holt, lays out a smorgasbord of detectives for yeez…

…the notable detective-creator, the imperious Author, my great pal, John Holt, offers the following smorgasbord of sleuth molds for yer deliberation, plus, of course, his very own Detectives, Tom Kendall and Jack Daniels… enjoy …

FICTIONAL DETECTIVES

How do you like your detectives? I mean, do you like the tough guy type like Sam Spade, or Mickey Spillane. Handy with their fists, and a gun, and quick with the wise crack. They are tough talking, and hard hitting. Or perhaps you prefer the more methodical type, the ones with the little grey cells, who work on psychology. Nothing and no one can fool Poirot. Nothing gets past him. It makes you wonder why anyone would even consider committing a crime knowing he was in the same house, or at least close by. But they always do whether it is at a county house called Styles; in Mesopotamia, or on a Nile cruise.

How about that deceptively quiet and unassuming, Miss Jane Marple? An irritant to some maybe, but she would always outsmart the cleverest policeman, and solve the most complex crime imaginable. And all while she carried on with her knitting. Then there is possibly the greatest detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes. Logic and deduction are his watch words. Give him a few strands from a man’s scarf, and he will not only deduct where the scarf was purchased, and how much it cost, but will also be able to tell that the man was thirty-eight years old, with dark wavy hair, six foot two in height, walks with a limp, and had kippers for breakfast, named William, (the man that is, not the kippers. I don’t know what their names were).

How about Inspector Jacques Clouseau? “I suspect everyone, and I suspect no one.” No matter how bumbling he was, or how silly, he still, somehow, “Solv Ed” the crime. Generally by accident admittedly.

Then, of course, there are a whole plethora of television detectives. Who can forget Kojak, and his lollipop, with his catch phrase “Who loves ya baby?” Or Sergeant Joe Friday – “Just the facts ma’am.” Or perhaps Columbo is more to your taste, with his “Just one more thing.” We all know what that meant don’t we? There are a whole collection of them – Magnum; Jessica Fletcher; Rockford starring the late great James Garner; Ironside; Cagney and Lacey; Morse; Starsky and Hutch; to name but a few.

Then, of course, we have Tom Kendall, private detective. He really wanted to be a Private Investigator, but that was judged to be far too long to fit on the office door, so detective it was. Kendall is a down to earth guy, slightly over-weight, far from fit, and suffers with hay fever. Stubborn, who once he had an idea, he would never let go. He is ably assisted by Mollie, his secretary and business partner – their relationship is purely platonic – and first appeared in “The Mackenzie Dossier”, a story of political corruption, blackmail and, of course murder.

The latest in a long line of detectives, is Jack Daniels. That’s right, just like the whiskey. Jack likes Chinese takeaways, from Mr Chang, or maybe a pizza from Mama Dell. His favourite pastime is to put his feet up, a large scotch in his hand, and then put on some blues records, John Lee Hooker or some Big Bill Broonzy. Or maybe he’ll be down at the 51 Club, watching a blues combo.

Jack has been a detective for quite some time. He’s laid back, and world weary. He’s seen it all before. But he can’t help forever butting his nose into places where perhaps it shouldn’t go. But sometimes that can end up in a whole lot of trouble. That’s what happened to Jack when he went in search of “The Candy Man”.

To date Jack has appeared in three short novels – “The Candy Man”; “A Dead Certainty”; and “Trouble In Mind”. All three are available on Amazon, and all three are now available as audiobooks.

 

…thanks, John… there yeez are, readers… whetted yer appetites, I’m sure…

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