Going Nuts

Well, there’s been a bit of a thaw, at last … and the torrential dripping of icicles and burst pipes is music to my ears, as I’ll be gigging at the weekend without the worry of cannibalism being an issue, as my driver for the journey is one, big, hungry looking fukker to be stuck in a snowdrift with … if ye get ma snow-drift

The thaw, and the replenishing of nuts in the garden, has brought back the squirrels … hooray … they survived the extremes of temperature … and with an astonishing agility, and an arrogant confidence that makes me wonder if peanuts are the woodland equivalent of cocaine, this wee fukker simply stared me out, motionless, when I approached him in the garden

Balls of steel … well, fat and sunflower seeds to be more accurate!!

Sandra Claws – A Xmas Story


Bah, Humbug … and Bother!

I’m not a fan of the Xmas season … and “season” it most certainly is, starting in October and finishing in January, when the last of the Xmas parties jingle to an unseemly end, and Roy Wood and Noddy Holder’s caterwaulings are finally laid to rest for another nine months or so.


Being neither Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Druid, I have no notion whatsoever to celebrate bizarre religious-based festivities, especially ones which have become the very epitome of the hypocrisy that exists in our world today.


I don’t call you a retarded, superstitious, brainwashed moron for celebrating this economic extravaganza, so please spare me your Scrooge-like comparisons in return.


Xmas ISN’T a time of peace and love, and doesn’t even make an attempt to be so. In the majority, it’s a time of greed and over-indulgence for those-who-have, and a time for worrying, for debt, and for disappointment, for those-who-haven’t


Twenty percent of the UK population live below the poverty level, and at least the same percentage find it fukkin tough-going to merely survive economically, without this yearly, spending extravaganza that is socially-enforced through constant advertising and media drivel exhorting us to buy to show you care.


To be homeless, and separated from any family ties at this time of year is made doubly painful, as you stand in doorways begging for help and sustenance from busy shoppers who are spending a fortune on utter, self-indulgent, useless, disposable, over-priced crap … and that’s what makes me most sad, every year without fail.


So … I’ve established a wee tradition of gifting my excess coats and jackets for that year, the old CD players and Mp3 players, books, and whatever, into Xmas parcels that I give to Big Issue sellers


In addition, I take at least one of them to a café or restaurant for a wee Xmas meal …. Spend half-an-hour or so in their company, paying the bill. and leaving maybe £10-20 at the till for them, for when they finish their dinner. This ensures that they’ll definitely get some food, and don’t just spend the cash on dope or bevy … which I’d be tempted to do myself if I was in their situation, I can assure you!!


It’s not a lot to do, really … and I’m saying this in the hope that maybe others will do the same, whether or not you’re Christian, celebrating Xmas, or whatever


It’s the WORST time of the year for the homeless, and in these extremes of weather, it must be a nightmare, both physically and mentally.


Some years back, I expressed these feelings to a really “good” Christian friend of mine, in explanation for why I wouldn’t be exchanging Xmas prezzies with her and her man, but using the cash to feed some homeless dudes instead.


A half-hour later, I received an email, addressed to her man, but mistakenly sent to me as well.


In the message, she derided my bullshit, do-gooder attitude, and expressed the wish that one of my “pity-cases” would stay with me and Maggi at Xmas, and “rob-me-blind” in the process, to show me what these lazy ne’er-do-wells were really like.


I’d never, for a second, thought she harboured feelings like that, and was gutted.


Totally gutted.


Some time later, in the following year, after doing a corporate gig in Leeds, I was holding-court, telling jokes and talking shite, at the function’s bar with a group of very, well-to-do businessmen and civic dignitaries.


One guy, expensively dressed and groomed, was hovering at the edge of the group, and he eventually cornered me for a chat.


“Do you remember the filthy, ginger-haired, matted-bearded, foul-smelling jakey who used to beg on the forecourt of Glasgow’s central Station many years back” he enquired.


“I certainly do … in fact, I do a story about him in one of my stage-shows … he was legendary, and I used to see him regularly at the railway station when I was heading for trains, most weekends, to gig in London and the South … why do you ask?” I replied


“Do you remember taking him for his Xmas dinner into The Burger King in the station, and leaving money for him at the till?”

 “Aye.  How did you know about that?”

 “That was me” he replied

“No way!!!!!!!!!!!”

 He explained that his wife and two kids had been killed in a car-crash. His business had gone tits-up, he’d gone totally doo-lally, and eventually become homeless, filthy and incommunicative.

“You gave me money and food, but the important thing was that you talked to me, helped to stop me feeling invisible, and that no-one cared … the money you left got me cleaned up for the first in a long time, I went to my brother’s house for Xmas, after many years of being alone … and it was my brother, not you, that got me back on my feet again, but that meal, that money, and that wee chat, was what set me off again. Thanx.”

 He was now running a very successful business and, coincidentally was a major contributor and organiser for a charity … for the homeless.

I’m telling this story, not looking for any credit … what I did was the least I could do.

I’m telling this story in the hope that it might just make some other people buy a homeless person their Xmas dinner, and spend 20 minutes in their company

You never know the outcome …. It might be more important than you could possibly realise

Love’n Peas





Snow Funny

It’s Friday, and it’s STILL snowing for the 6th consecutive, shivering, blizzard day.

I’ve cancelled my gig in Aberdeen tonight, as even attempting that journey would be nuts, having talked to a driver who took seven and a half hours travelling from Dundee to Perth, and that would be only a third of the distance I’d have to travel … sorry Aberdeen crowd, but safety first is the order of the day.

Maggi actually got quite forceful when I suggested yesterday that I might be attempting the journey, stating she’s sit on my head, if necessary, to stop any stupidity of that nature

Now there’s an offer I couldn’t refuse!

The garden is under three feet of snow in places, the archway which supported my clematis has collapsed dramatically, and I imagine irreparably as the plants will be totally frozen to the root … and so it goes.

Maggi and I are attempting to keep the garden table clear and covered in seeds, bread, and fat balls for the birds, who are flocking to our avian restaurant with large queues and tempestuous squabbling being the order of the day … the blackbirds being particularly aggressive towards other diners, except if they’re tiny wee birds, strangely enough … the blue tits being allowed to feed beside them whilst chaffinches, robins, and sparrows are chased off loudly.

Strangely, there is no sign of our regular magpies, and the squirrels have obviously had enough of all this white nonsense, and are now kipping through it



For the past four days, the car-owners in the street have been manfully, and womanfully, digging out their cars and attempting to clear a channel through the packed snow for hours upon end …. with one 6 hour shift for at least a dozen of them making the most impact on the constantly worsening situation.

If I was fit to do so, I’d have been out there with them, and was impressed by the community in action … I’ve got damn good neighbours, and that means a lot nowadays


Eventually, on Thursday, some enterprising soul managed to persuade the driver of a JCB tractor to leave his work down on the main road, and for a small recompense which involved cash and a bottle of whiskey, to spend half an hour digging out a channel to the nearest main road … at last!

Within an hour, someone had abandoned a car at the entrance to the road, blocking the slim channel of access that had been laboriously achieved …. aaaargh!!

On the plus side, it’s been great to see all my neighbours rallying round and working together, and as a friend remarked:

“The snow has turned out to be a bit of an ice-breaker”

The large mound of snow in the foreground of these fotos is now standing some seven foot high, and the potential flooding that we’ll face when this all melts is a new concern, but looks to be some weeks distant, if forecasts are correct

Dear oh dear!


And it’s now Wed, Dec 8th, and the snow is even deeper,

and turning to hard ice, as we’ve got temperatures of -15

Brrrr !!!

More Snow !!

Maggi and I decided, insanely, to go for a walk doon The Glen, in a snowstorm, in temperatures of -10 …. Mentaaaaalll!!


It was stunningly beautiful, and the few people we saw were friendly, as they were undoubtedly equally mental


As we were heading into snow that was above our knees, I decided we should cut through the woods, as the snow looked a bit less deep … as we came through bushes we chanced upon a large group of people crouched in a circle in the snow … !!!! … Turned out be a film crew doing scenes for a movie … how weird!!


To answer a query …. I take these fotos using just a daft wee compact camera, and I then “stitch” 3 or 4 together to get a panorama … I take 60 to get 6 good yins …. Maggi is VERY patient with me when we’re out walking!!


Ok , query … question answered


Click on the foto to enlarge