After my rant about the petrol tanker that bore the words ‘Carbon Neutral Delivery’, I bring you this:
Note the stylised windfarm motifs on the side of the tanker. Does this mean that the firm has developed a way of producing petrol from wind energy? It was filling the tanks at my local supermarket, and it confirms my suspicions that I am indeed living in la-la land.
My recent posts seem to have been very pastoral, what with pigs, dogs and ducks (I’m not sure moths count as pastoral but if they do, then moths as well. Oh… and don’t popes count as pastoral? But not popemobiles, okay, I understand…). Because of this I thought it was time to give you a bit of heavy engineering – and you don’t get engineering much heavier than this.
It’s the Forth Bridge of course, though not a view you see very often. Like never, unless you take the beaten track near Gordon Brown’s house (remember him?).
We have just had over THREE inches of rain in twenty-four hours. That, according to the meteorological office (try saying that after a few glasses) is more than we would normally get here in the whole of September. ‘Nice weather for ducks’ is an expression I was brought up with. I know ducks like water, but I had assumed that they like sitting in the stuff and floating around, not have it falling on them from the sky. I was wrong. During the heavy rain I called in at Whitmuir. Their ducks were going crazy. They had discovered the (normally gently flowing) feeder that leads to their pond and they were all there, swimming against the flow like kids in a waterpark.
I know the graph on the left shows less than 2.5″, but I took the pic 24 hours after the rain started the previous day, so add both columns. And yes… I really do need to get out more. More ducks here.
Today I followed a large diesel oil tanker. On the back it said ‘Carbon Neutral Delivery’. Is it just me, or has the world gone stark raving bonkers? Do these firms think we are idiots? I’m no ranting green activist (I hate the thought of covering the countryside with state-subsidised windmills that probably use more energy to plan, make, assemble and maintain than they will generate in their lifetime) but lunacy like this is unacceptable. It doesn’t matter how many trees you plant to so-say ‘offset’ carbon, or how much you use political mumbo-jumbo like ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘carbon trading’, it does not alter the fact that you are producing the stuff. Note that I am not going as far as to say it’s wrong to produce so much CO2. What I am saying is that it is wrong to use weasel-words as a substitute for action.
Spotted in window. Don’t all rush.
If you are down this way (from the north, where the mountains are high) or up this way (from the south, where there is only one mountain and therefore much lower, statistically), then call in at the farm up the road from us. If you have kids with you then so much the better, as there are things for them too. As well as a well-stocked farm shop there is a superb restaurant / cafe / coffee shop. Ducks may well follow you around, as probably will Lily the sheepdog, who in the absence of sheep likes to keep her hand in by rounding up the free-range chickens.
Sometimes I cook. I have even been on a one-day Nick Nairn course, which made me into an expert fish cook. Well okay, not an expert… the filleting of that white fish didn’t go particularly well, but you can ask fishmongers (do they still exist?) to do that for you. I did manage to open scallop shells without cutting off my fingers. I also killed a lobster. I didn’t plunge it into boiling water, that isn’t the best way, apparently. No, you don’t want to know… you really don’t.
Where was I?
Sometimes I cook. I am (really!) a dab-hand at small soufflés, but they have never looked as good as those I have made lately with the fresh eggs I get from Whitmuir. They have hens with attitude, I’m told, which is probably why my soufflés rise. Compared to the chef at Whitmuir I am a mere infant, of course.
In a month or so the Princess Royal (Princess Anne to those of us over a certain age) will be dropping in at the farm to look around. She will arrive by helicopter, but that’s not compulsory because you can also visit Whitmuir by car. Let’s hope Lily doesn’t attempt to round up the PR and her protection officers. Stick to the chickens, Lily, there’s a good girl….
* other Whitmuir posts:
The bogwheel and the TYO…
He climbed on to it and said he couldn’t touch the pedals, which didn’t really surprise me. Then he told me he had managed to find some – he had his feet up on the spark plugs and looked like Dennis Hopper in ‘Easy Rider’ (not that I ever saw the film). Or Snoopy, who also appears to have his feet on the spark plugs.
The bike is 40 years old, a 1969 Triumph ‘Mercury’ (a police T100P for those that are interested). For reasons I won’t bore you with I am sure it once belonged to the City of London police, but somewhere in its history it lost its documents (‘ello ‘ello, lost its documents, you say? A likely story. You and me had better go down to the station…). A few years ago I stripped it down to its last nut and bolt and rebuilt it.
Anyway, it isn’t the police bike I’m currently rebuilding, that’s another one. At the moment that one is a garageful of bits.
So why ‘bogwheel’? I think it is a WWII army term. I first heard it in the police, from an ex-soldier who had been in Burma during the war. For motorbikes used out there I’m sure that ‘bogwheel’ was an appropriate term. Policemen who had been army despatch riders also called our bikes bogwheels.
TYO, not the spark plugs, okay? …please take your feet off the spark plugs…
In the photo he had done that.
Popemobile spotted in Edinburgh
More here. If you’re interested…
I like the 1979 Polish firetruck conversion best.
I am half-way through writing a new novel and it’s going well, I am on a roll. For several reasons I want to finish it in the next few months so it’s busy-busy, what with making a new pond and rebuilding the old police bike I rode back in Medieval times. The police bike rebuild is going well but I haven’t yet tackled the engine. The pond has no fish, just water, plants and a resident frog. Where do these things come from? (the frogs, I mean – I know where the plants and motorbikes come from). As soon as you put a hole in the ground and put water in it you get a frog. The one in our new pond comes to the surface and looks at you as if you have no right to be there. Oh yes, the book… I have been writing novels for over fifteen years. At first I wasn’t serious, it was like practising. Slowly I realised that I wasn’t that bad – especially when I got shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award in 2002. I made the mistake of thinking that because someone else (apart from the MD of Random House) seemed to recognise that I had talent it would only be a matter of time before I got published. I am still waiting. I have been told that getting published, even if you are good, needs a lot of luck. Maybe I should get a rabbit’s foot. I seem to have tried everything else.