Approaching normality.

Well, I am home. Holiday is over. The sky is just as I left it, slate grey with no features at all. Currently it’s charcoal grey, that normally means it’s night time but that’s not a guarantee, it might just be about to rain even more than usual. There’ll be no more moon pictures for a while, we don’t often have celestial objects here. If the sky turns blue, everyone blames Thatcher.

All plants are alive but all have made disappointing progress. Even the grass has barely managed to show any enthusiasm and the tobacco plants are paltry compared to this time last year. Even in the greenhouse, my tomato plants are half the height they had reached by the beginning of last August. The gooseberries are thriving, the blueberries might almost produce a handful but the rest of the plants have taken to hanging around street corners, drinking, smoking and whistling at passing dandelions.

Those red lily beetles have done horrible things to the white and yellow lilies but seem to have largely left the red ones alone. Tomorrow I will oil up the Gat and look out my .177 pellets. The holes I’ll make in the leaves won’t make any difference now.

The sparrows have eaten most of the raspberries (which is only fair because they planted them), the slugs have been at most other things and a baby seagull had taken charge of the garden. This was, on my return, busy adding a coat of white to the patio but at least it scared away every other bird (and all the cats too). I fed it a broken-up fat-ball then shooed it out of the back gate. It can’t get enough of a run-up to take off in my garden. I don’t think it needs to worry about cats. It’s bigger than almost all of the local ones and it could make most of the local dogs think twice.

So, normality is almost here. Once I make a dent in this bottle of Highland Park, I expect everything will resume just where it left off – deep in the arms of chaos.

I’ll resume eBaying tomorrow. The finances don’t really need it yet but I have the bug now and want to get some practice in before the run-up to Christmas. I think I have decided to take up most of the N gauge layout but leave a single track around the attic with a passing loop at one end. Then have OO gauge in the foreground but have N gauge long trains in the background. I only need to keep a coal train and one rake of coaches, a couple of engines and no N gauge scenery. If I get it right it will look far away. If I don’t get it right, well tough, it’s in the attic so nobody else will ever see it anyway.

I found something interesting in Prestwick (West coast Scotland, below Glasgow, just north of Ayr). A pub called the Prestwick Pioneer, selling the Penderyn! I’m going to have to investigate the local pubs here to see if they’ve heard of it. it wasn’t a proper pub, it was a Wetherspoons but we have one of those here too. I have never entered, but will soon test the extent of their standardisation.

Had many chats with excluded smokers, passed out many, many seeds, found a lovely little sheltered glade where nobody goes and spilled my seed upon the ground (fnarr), have some addresses to send out more seeds, told lots of people about sites like Nothing2Declare and Frank and Junican and Dick Puddlecote and more. Almost every smoker I met moaned that there was no organisation among smokers. There is, they just didn’t know about it. They do now, and I was only able to remember a small part of it all. What I need to do is to set up a page here with links and descriptions, and attach a tiny URL to that page. Then I can hand that out on a card (nicely printed, obviously) whenever I hear ‘Oh, smokers never bother fighting back against all the crap’.

I also noted a few interesting things on the way home. Near Glasgow, there was a statue of a four-armed mermaid that appears to be made out of squashed and polished Tennents’ cans. At the roundabout at Perth, there was a huge wire-frame bird. So, while councils cut back on frontline services, it seems they are quite happy to spend money to baffle future archaeologists with mysterious idols.

It made me wonder about things like the Sphinx. Was it really some kind of worship thing, or did the Council put it there? Did ancient Egyptians pass it and think ‘What the hell is that thing, and how much did it cost? I suppose it’s a bit more interesting than all those modern art pointy-triangle things they’ve stuck up lately.’

Perhaps the Coliseum in Rome was a multi-storey chariot park and Angkor Wat was a proto-Wetherspoons. I must find an archaeologist soon and upset them. Preferably an antismoking archaeologist for a double blast of disturbing imagery.

Anyhow, normality is fast approaching. Soon I will open the Daily Mail website and then the blood pressure will exceed my daily blood pressure allowance for sure…


21 thoughts on “Approaching normality.

    • I have a .22 pistol too (sold the rifle to the Moose because the garden is far too small for it to be any use, and because Scotland is likely to ban them soon anyway). Lead is the only slug pellet they can’t develop immunity to. The Gat used to be a wasp-killer but I haven’t seen many of those in our cooling climate, so it’ll be pressed into action as a beetle-basher.

      They aren’t quite so pretty when you see their young. The grubs hide under a pile of their own shit. Shooting through the leaf from above is almost a mercy killing where those are concerned.

      There is also a BB-Colt and a BB-MP42, both of which are far too realistic to risk taking outdoors these days even though they are plastic.

      If all else fails, the swords might be overkill but possibly worth it just to see the neighbours’ faces. The Plastic People get upset when I use the sickle on the weeds…


  1. Welcome home Legs!

    Might I be so bold as to enquire if the persons you met on your travels were:





    In short did you find that perhaps how we’re portrayed by CRUK, ASH, S. Williams MP, Lansley MP et al is 100% accurate and on the barrelhead?


    • Funnily enough, most of the smokers were self-employed and doing rather better than me. They were builders, window fitters, plumbers etc, essential services and therefore less prone to being dumped than my own specialisation.

      My brother has a piece of paper he has to carry on flights that says ‘If you want to check what’s on this laptop, you have to phone the MOD for clearance’.

      The last two non-smokers I met were utterly dull morons who knew everything. When I left they knew a few more things, including some interesting facts I made up on the spot.

      In fact, I’d say smokers are a threat to the control freaks and that might well be why they hate us.


      • Oh dear, yet another myth busted!

        Tend to agree that “they” don’t much care for “us” on account we rather enjoy extracting the Michael and, once in a very blue moon, have the audacity to state in public that they’re a joke.


  2. Hi Leggy

    Welcome home, I’m sorry to hear about your half sized tobacco plants, but if it’s any consolation , mine are much the same – except one.

    It’s descended from a packet I bought in 2005 and despite the conditions this year,it’s grown to full height outside, but with an unnaturally thick stem, thick leaves, even the sepals are unnaturally thick and if ever a tobacco plant was suited to brave the perils of Scotland, this surely must be it.

    I know that its genetic advantages may not come through in it’s seeds, but it is self pollinating as none of it’s companions are flowering yet, please email me if you would like some of it’s seeds.


  3. “What I need to do is to set up a page here with links and descriptions, and attach a tiny URL to that page. Then I can hand that out on a card (nicely printed, obviously) whenever I hear ‘Oh, smokers never bother fighting back against all the crap’.”

    That’s actually not a bad idea. If you do it, I may print up some cards of my own to distribute.


  4. Glad you are safely back home, Leg-Iron. I like the sound of your plans for the loft. My Dad is doing much the same thing. I think it’s his version of a shed…


  5. Like you I planned a “layout” once….about 35 years ago: still have all the drawings and circuitry plans in my library! Trouble is, it needed to be a mythical scale mile (about 70 feet, visible, and bent into a sort of plain horseshoe) of four-track main line in OO gauge, with tunnels and hidden dumbells at each end: long exprerss trains would disappear, and some longish time later would be meant to return from the same place, facing the other way. The scenery was to be modelled on Exmoor between Wheddon Cross and Ilfracombe (Wheddon Cross was to be modelled approximately faithfully from photos and the OS, and there was room in the middle. I even scratchbuilt a few of the buildings….) it would have automatic 4-aspect coloured-light signals, and I half-built a nuclear-powered 2-8-2 based on a whitemetal kit of a Gresley-Bulleid LNER P2, with a reactor (not modelled!) instead of a firebox. No coal on the tender: only water and more water. Everything was to be in Southern Railway livery of the “1970s”…as if the railways had never been nationalised! (You’ll of course know about all this kind of thing.) This was all to be befroe the days of DCC onboard lomotive control…


    • Never bothered with DCC control. I had the feeling it could quickly get out of hand. I’m wondering if I can get a single track N gauge around the outside with a single track OO inside that. Might have to widen my shelves.

      The good thing is there’d be almost no pointwork on the N gauge line, so not too many chances for derailing.


First comments are moderated to keep the spambots out. Once your first comment is approved, you're in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.