Street View

Come and sit upon my knee

We’ll find the house where I once lived

On this googley earth

See there it’s moving

Just wait to see what we can see


No not the house I was a baby

But built the year that I was four

On this wriggly earth

As you are now

Look I think this is it…maybe


There’s no mistake that is the row

Thrown together by the mile

On this googley earth

Let’s try to zoom…

This is as close as we can go


Was not like that I’m glad to say

It’s sad to think that is the place

On this googley earth

When I was you

Where I lived and I played all day


The very last one of those four

Harled brick walls and concrete tiles

On that googley earth

Of cold grey clay.

Look they’ve put in a new front door


See paintless ugly wooden bars

Where our hedge was neatly clipped

On this googley earth

Of lost green leaves

Rose-bed’s now parking for old cars


Look over there by the gable land

There’s nought but weeds and idler waste

On this googley earth

No hothouse treat

That’s where our greenhouse used to stand


Well watered spaces left bare and dry

Where’s the doocot o’ white and green

On this googley earth

Or my white doves

That wheeled an’ whirled in oor sky


See here in front, this tar half-circle

Wi’ second- third- and fourth-hand cars

On this googley earth

Nae bairns now in

Oor auld play place, oor ‘grass roundel’


There we played tig and three-an’-in

It look’s sae drab an’ dreary now

On this googley earth

Oor playstation

Jist look at what they’ve been an’ din


All right, I ken, we’ve seen enough

It’s time to zoom back tae the present

On this shoogley earth

It’s your turn now

Tae take the smoother wi’ the rough.


Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

DOG’on It!

DOG’on It!

I woke up with a thud this morning, quite uncommon for me, and a headache. A black hairy headache with an orange street-hockey ball in front.  It was 3:20 a.m., Cooper wanted to play and it was my turn for the ball.  Yes, the title is a giveaway. My ‘Grand-dog’, Cooper, is here for a ‘sleep-over’, a misleading term as it turns out. I didn’t feel much in the mood for early morning practice and put my head back down.

‘Whoof, whoof’, feeble plaintive whoofs, the kind that warn you that ‘if you don’t play I’ll pee on the carpet’.  Then the assertive ‘WHOOF!  ‘I really do need to pee.’

‘Bad word’.  I got up and pulled a smelly damp sweater over my head.  No he hadn’t peed on the sweater.  It got wet just after he first arrived yesterday while I was lying on the couch watching Newcastle v. Everton.  Everton won 2-1 but that’s by the way. Cooper arrived at half-time and spent the second half lying on my chest with his shaggy head bobbing in front of my face.  I missed the winning goal. Cooper must have seen it quite well. He didn’t cheer or anything so I deduced that he was rooting for Newcastle.  The black and white stripes are his colours after all.  He doesn’t have stripes, just a small blob of black (that’s nearly all of him) and a patch of white on his chest. But I digress. He stank so bad that as soon as the final whistle blew I shampooed him in the kitchen sink with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo so it wouldn’t sting his beady black eyes. That’s how my sweater got wet. I have other sweaters but I decided to sacrifice just one per sleep-over.

Where was I? Oh yes, so we went downstairs, Cooper leading. I grudgingly opened the front door an inch. A fair night, clear starry sky, minus 8C, wind  north-easterly 50kph, snow and ice knee-thick on the ground.  I opened it just wide enough for Cooper to squeeze out. He raised his nose and sniffed the air. He was thinking.  He thinks very slowly. He can in fact be a bit of a ditherer.  I pushed on his backside with my bare foot.  Cooper dug his claws into the ceramic tiles. Feeling that he couldn’t get enough purchase he did a sort of half-pike and twist back over my ankle and ran back upstairs.

That seems like days ago now and it is still not mid-day.  After I got up at around my usual Sunday time, 7.30, Cooper remained curled up on the floor beside my bed. He lies in on Sundays until ten.   When he eventually waddled downstairs and strolled into the kitchen he gave a perfunctory wave of his curled up tail, spread his front paws out, stretched his back and yawned. Then, his callisthenics complete, he was ready for his morning ablutions.  After more dithering on the frozen threshold he ran out and washed his face in the snow, made yellow spots here and there; and finally built a dainty monument on a carefully researched foundation half-way down the path to the door.  That done to his satisfaction he ate a hearty breakfast of crunchy cereal and a goodly splash of water to recharge his run-down bladder.

So now here we are, still hours until his adoptive mother collects him. How to keep him entertained and amused?  I am teaching him to read so that when he has left my care he can pursue self-directed studies and develop an appreciation of those finer aspects of life, beyond bodily functions and primitive sports such as indoor street-hockey. There’s not much time so I decided to start him off with the vowels. (nota bene. vowels rhymes with bowels. It is important to start off with something in which the student has expressed some previous interest).

It’s been an hour now and we are still working on ‘A’. I’ll let you know how he progresses.  But now he has turned away yet again from the large card I am holding up and is heading to the door. ‘whoof whoof, …..WHOOF!’



Filed under Humour, Stories

Qadhafi’s Defectors

Recent headlines include:

Libya’s most senior diplomat in the United States, Ali Aujali, has criticised Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in a BBC interview

Libya’s envoy to the Arab League, Abdel Moneim al-Honi, announced he was “joining the revolution”.

Justice Minister Mustapha Abdul Jalil quit the government because of the “excessive use of violence”, the Quryna newspaper said.

from Guardian Newspaper 26 February 2011

“The encouragement of defections and the threat of punishment to come for those who use deadly force seem, as William Hague stresses the best instruments…”

Encouraging defections may be a reasonable tactic but the final end must justify the means. Encouragement should not include amnesties against future prosecution for crimes.  These defectors were appointed by Qadhafi and had no qualms about the plight of their own people for decades.  They defect only for their own interests and survival, not from morality or feelings for the Libyan people. They may hopefully receive fair payment for defection when handed over to a future regime. If the prospect of that happening terrifies them then, fair enough, they earned it.

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Politics

Pro Gadaffi Demonstrations

We don’t seem to get good information in the news reports on the scale of the pro-Gadaffi demonstrations.  For what it’s worth, over the period 1974-1982, I occasionally witnessed the pro-Gadaffi demonstrations or anti- everybody else demonstrations that took place frequently in Green Square, Tripoli.   A few dozen men were crammed into a corner of the square in front of a camera.  Later that day you would see them on the TV looking as if there were hundreds of them.  A good sound recording of the current demos would be useful as that used to give away that there were not all that many people taking part. A really big crowd makes a sound that fewer people can not produce regardless of the sound volume. It was also noticeable that they were having to be herded and directed like film extras, and perhaps that is more what they were than committed supporters. The rumour was that they were herded there from a nearby factory.  Demonstrate or lose your job.




Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Bid for QADAFFI ! going, going,…

“Pick a window, yer leaving”

Do you remember PANAM Flight 103?  Certainly.

Do you remember the people of LOCKERBIE?  Probably.

Do you remember PC YVONNE FLETCHER?  Hopefully.

Do you remember a Berlin Disco bombing?  Perhaps

Do you remember UTA Flight 772 bombing?  Probably not.

Do you remember the invasion of Chad? Probably not.

Do you remember the Libyans bombed in 1986? Probably not.

Do you remember the ‘disappeared’ Libyans?  How can you?


Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

The Martyr’s Lament

The Martyr's Lament

My last post about Bannockburn does not appear to have entertained one reader who left a comment.  I have also been advised by a close family member that the post indicated that I “have reached a new level of NUTS”.  Well you “aint seen nuthin’ yet” so watch out.  I have much NUTTIER pieces awaiting early release.

Meantime I will leave humour off the menu and serve this cheerful painting and a poem.  Have a nice day.


How long have I waited?

Must be years…

That cheering throng

Bore me on

And ran with tears of joy

Running my race

To this dark place

Wherein the door to Paradise

Why that rush?

The throng long gone

While yet I lie

Alone and wait.

How long?

How long?…


(P. Bogle/Feb 2011)

1 Comment

Filed under Artwork, Poetry

The Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and my part in it

The Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and my part in it

I had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents, …you see the pattern.  It is a mathematical geometric series.  Each generation ‘n’ consists of Pn (for parents) individuals and Pn equals 2 to the power of n.

In symbols, Pn = 2^n.    If you make a running total of the parents, you can calculate how many ancestors you have in total back to any given date in history. A simple way to calculate and illustrate this is on a spreadsheet as below.

For myself I have started at the year 1966 when I was 20 years old.  The interval between successive generations is assumed as an average of 25 years.  I have indicated historical events that roughly correspond to some of the generations.

So for example around the time of Napoleon’s downfall at Waterloo (1815) there were 128 people around that time that I am related to.   See how rapidly the numbers rise, at the time of Cromwell there were over 8000 of my parents living.

Let’s go back further to 1314.

The calculation shows that there were over 67 million of my parents living. In 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn roughly 8000 Scots fought 22000 English.  There is no doubt that I am of mainly the European race, neither aboriginal American nor Australian nor African, nor Asian, at least after 1314. Now the total population of  Europe in 1314 has been estimated by the experts at about 60 million.  Consequently I am related to every single one of them and therefore particles of me fought in the Battle of Bannockburn, on both sides!  And if you are of the European race so did you!

How exciting, some of your little thingummy jigs were slashing and hacking away with sword and axe doing their and your bit for the history books.

Convinced so far!

If you extend the calculation back just another 5 generations to around 1215 and the time of the Magna Carta, I had 1,073,741,824 parents alive.

Over one billion of them!  Hold on! there’s something wrong because the total population of the whole world was only 400 million and Europe less than 60 million.

Can you see the solution?  The 25 year generation gap assumption?  Each child definitely requires two biological parents. The mathematics is unquestionable.

Well it turns out that (this will be very surprising to you) I am not the first to come across this problem.  People have made academic careers out this little problem.

You can read all about it in incredibly unreadable reams of theories and mathematical formulae available elsewhere. Yes, you can Google it or I could give you references but I know you are busy and not cabin bound in the snow as I am so I will save you the bother.

Love thy neighbour

Here is the solution. We are all inbred!  Even those of us not considered members of the monarchy.   Back there through the generations some of your ancestors were taking shortcuts in finding a mate, too lazy to walk more than a few miles for a date and marrying second and third cousins willy-nilly, with no regard for the effects it has had on my spreadsheet and subsequent generations.  The barbarians.  Of course those were the days before phrases like ‘sustainable development’ were being bandied around the stable door or duck pond.   The lazy beggars were just marrying whoever was handy that could hoe turnips or herd sheep.

(This all started with that poem Joker’s Deal)

1 Comment

Filed under History, Humour, Scots, Stories