Sunday, 31 January 2010

Trafigura: Request for WSP Report

Having already asked for a copy of Trafigura’s Reply in the BBC libel case (which is now a public document) I have now gone direct to Trafigura for a copy of WSP’s report on an environmental audit in and around Abidjan.

Trafigura mention this report, and that copies are available, here (19 September 2009).  The relevant part is copied  below:

“In recent months, following suggestions of ongoing environmental issues arising from the Probo Koala incident, Trafigura commissioned WSP, a leading international environmental consultancy, to undertake an independent environmental audit around the Abidjan area. WSP’s report (copies of which are available on request) confirms Trafigura’s belief that, based on the work undertaken, there are no ongoing environmental issues arising from the Probo Koala material nor, therefore, any risk to health.  By contrast, WSP identified a number of other environmental issues, unrelated to the Probo Koala or Trafigura, which potentially pose a risk to health.”

Clearly both documents will be favourable to Trafigura but I do not see this as a problem.  The more information which is publicly available the better.

I’m sure I’ll get copies of all I have asked and I’ll let you know when I hear anything.  Thereafter I’ll post about my conclusions.

Earning Again

Just back from father-in-law’s having broken the mechanism of his cistern – again!

Got back to find kids had thrown a £20 note (son’s) out of an upstairs window and it had lodged in the rhone.  Five minutes lugging my heavy wooden ladder and the money was out and mine. Given their lack of care that folly has cost kids £20 - £10 each. 

So all-in-all not a bad days work. FiL with broken cistern and now I’m £20 richer.

Think I’ll go away tomorrow to see if I can cause more damage and “earn” more money.

Life is good!

Sunday Morning Coffee with John Martyn

Even a couple of months ago I could never have considered a post about John Martyn: I had rarely listened to him, had never listened to a track from beginning to end; skipped his tracks on compilation CDs.  How ignorant of me!  How wrong I was!

Now I am entranced by the man, his music, his songs and his guitar-playing : the words often unintelligible are irrelevant.  He said in an interview, in the second video here,”the power of the notes is very good for the heid. Sometimes you don’t have to sing a damn thing as long as you’re playing and something … an’ the music says it for you”

How true!

Music from his soul that reaches our souls too.

Sit back, relax, have a sip of your coffee now and again and enjoy John Martyn.

May You Never

In this version we hear John at Celtic Connections in Glasgow performing with Kathy Mattea and Danny Thompson (double bass).

John and Danny Thompson – an early member of Pentangle and fabulous talented bassist – toured for many years.

_____

John Martyn was the musical name of Iain David McGeachy, born in 1948.  We learn a little of his background in this short clip from a BBC Scotland documentary of 2007 and seeing him it is perhaps unsurprising that he died less than 2 years later.  We also see here the emotion that drove him.

There is such emotion in these few minutes that it is unsurprising his songs are incredibly moving.

Later, in fact the last video, is a complete rendition of this song.

_____

Excuse Me Mister

Here we have Martyn and significant others playing at Transatlantic Sessions 2.

Excuse me, mister, but that was fabulous. 

_____

Sweet Little Mystery

There’s a comment at the video which I copy here.

“Recall reading a story about . John Martyn, waking up after passing out on a hotel room floor, to find himself under a rug which Thompson had nailed down, leaving only Martyn's head exposed. Thompson went about his business, eating breakfast etc., ignoring Martyn's pleas to let him loose ..”

Who knows if this is true but from what I have read about Martyn it could well be.

Wonderful!

_____

We move so quickly onto the second last song which is taken from Transatlantic Sessions.

He Got All the Whiskey

Previously I would have walked right past this song but now …. over and over again.

_____

There is only one place to put your coffee down and that’s here with “Hurt in Your Heart”.

Hurt in Your Heart

A younger Martyn than we saw in the mini-documentary (2nd clip) but the feeling!!!!!

_____

John Martyn died last year in his 61st year and now, in my 61st year, I have found his music.  Thank God.

A man who lived his music and whose music lived and lives on.

As long as music is played his music will be loved.

Many play but few reach his heights!

_____

 

Well, that’s it for another week.  Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A Better Role for Blair!

After yesterday’s performance at the Chilcott Inquiry I decided to resurrect an old post from 2 years ago.  Then there were no comments and I expect the same will happen now but I believe I have found a role more suited to his skills. 

In the likelihood that you won’t get to the end of the post I’ll put my conclusion in now.

Yesterday he confirmed that as a salesman convinced of his product he is the best.

Yesterday he confirmed that as a human being he is an arrogant shit who cares nothing for those who have died as a result of his decisions. 

The entire post is appended below:

Today’s post comes with a warning.


If you are easily offended STOP here.

If you don’t have the same sense of humour as me, STOP here.


Good, that probably means that I’ll be the only person to finish this post which I penned originally in 2006 for the Guardians CiF page but I didn’t have the nerve to send it. Probably that’s where it should have stayed.
Anyway, the post starts below:


Much has been made today about Tony Blair’s £500k part-time job with J. P Morgan Chase. Rather than working in the financial sector there is a role for him which is more suited to his skill-range. He could do something for women: he could market his own brand of sex toys.


For the loyal Blairites there are Tony’s Ticklers: guaranteed to press all your buttons; to hit the spot in double quick time. You’ll squeal and squirm with delight and never ever want to get rid of it. You’d be horrified if you lost it or if someone suggests you throw it away because, for you, your Tony is the best ever.


For the non-believers, Blair has a product: The “Trust Me” range. Only too late you’ll realise that what you were sold has grown into a great big Whopper: much much bigger than you can cope with but you’ll be stuck with it no matter what you do. However desperate you are you just won’t be able to get away from it. There is no pleasure only pain. It goes on forever whatever you do. You pray it will stop, you beg it to stop, it says it will stop but it goes on and on and on….. and then, just when you were convinced you will die first, the toy stops and says,” I’ve shafted you for long enough.”


Then the toy’s appearance changes ....... into a great big useless clunking fist!!

The Worst Reflection Photo in the World

Over the years I have posted some quite good photos but today, as the title suggests, I post one of my worst. 

P1020124

Yes, that is I, the fat Calum, taking a photo of the sky reflected in a trough.

Just in case there is a doubt about the receptacle being a trough here is another “disaster”.

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What an idea!

What execution!

But I survived to shoot another day.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Advice for John Terry

John, had you listened to Connie Francis you wouldn’t have needed an injunction!

Remember, John, with all the cameras now it’s much easier to spot a cheat.

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

The performance of a star?
Every word - pored over;
Every movement - dissected
Endlessly
But no result.

Nothing changed.

One walks away
Untouched,
Untroubled,
Pockets bulging
Certainty of much, much more
But still we despise
One above others
Tainted forever.

No proclamation of beliefs,
No immersion in the church of God
Removes the stench.
He (small 'h') knows the lies, the deceit.
He (large 'h') knows the lies, the deceit
And He (large 'h') will forgive
But those who heard and saw
And were deceived
Will not forgive
The deaths.

Nothing changed.

The epitaph already chiselled,

"Anthony Charles Lynton Blair
Born 6 May 1953
Died Damned Forever
"

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Blow Me!

Incredible!  Surely this story can’t be true.

The headline in today’s Scottish Daily Record says:

Motorist receives £50 on the spot fine .. for blowing his nose in stationary car

The story goes on:

‘…. was driving in nearby Ayr and suffering from a runny nose when he got stuck in the traffic jam.  He said: "I needed to blow my nose so I put my handbrake on and took the car out of gear.  "I noticed four police officers standing around near the Wallace Tower but I didn't think anything of it. Then one of them waved me over.  "I still had the tissue in my hand and was totally stunned when he said I was getting a fixed penalty notice for not being in control of my car.”

Michael said: "I thought it was some kind of Beadle's About moment - a wind-up. The traffic was at a complete standstill and I had my handbrake on.  "I tried to explain that to the officer but he wouldn't listen." ‘

The driver is refusing to pay the fine and he will have his day in court.

Surely there must be more to the case than meets the eye. 

Possibly not ….. because there is more and it gets worse.

The report goes on:

“The incident happened just after PC Gray [who fined the driver above] doled out a £50 fine for littering to unemployed Stewart Smith, who accidentally dropped a tenner out his pocket as he left a shop.”

Incredible!  Surely this story can’t be true.

“Last night, a source said: "Total nonsense like this is the very opposite of good policing. This officer is known as PC Shiny Buttons for his lack of a common sense approach to the job.”

PC Gray is making a mockery of police and policing but is he being disciplined?  I doubt it.   The sledging policeman from Oxford – who was disciplined - was doing a much better job of policing than PC Stuart Gray.

In case you have forgotten Superintendent Andrew Murray of Thames Valley police said, "

"I have spoken to the officers concerned and reminded them in no uncertain terms that tobogganing on duty, on police equipment and at taxpayers' expense is a very bad idea should they wish to progress under my command,"

PC Gray and Superintendent Murray are complete plonkers with a total absence of common sense. 

They’ll go far.

 

 

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Where Lies Truth?

How do we find the truth of a situation?

Is there more than one truth?

Is truth like a UN Resolution which is written so that parties can take out of it / read into what they need but such that no-one can say, “This is the truth.”

Why do I pose these questions? 

I am involved in a “situation” between a roofer and residents of flats – not my home I’m pleased to say –  with each party disagreeing markedly on what was asked for and, therefore, provided.  Each side is adamant that their “story” is the absolute truth. 

Because I am closer to one side than the other and need to get work done I tend to believe the residents.  They wouldn’t tell less than the truth and the roofer must be ducking and diving to avoid his responsibilities.

If, however, I was employed by the roofer I would side with him and see the evidence as clear.  My company tells the truth and the residents are pushing for much more than they are due.

Both can’t be right, can  they? 

Could it be that there was sufficient vagueness about the initial contract that each was happy with the outcome until the problems started?

I’m not looking for solutions to the roofer conundrum but this situation does highlight the difficulties in all areas of life with “This is the truth”.

How can we ever know the truth?

Where lies truth?

Trafigura: Interesting Comment

After last night’s post this blog had a visitor from Dubai who read all my Trafigura posts but more interestingly, (s)he left an anonymous comment which I copy in its entirety.

“Anonymous said.…
Apparently the Trafigura argument for sealing the papers was that they included confidential information that Looney copied/printed while he was in their building/on their network which was completely irrelevant to the contractual dispute.  The claimed analogy would be of a plumber and client disagreeing about the bill and the plumber including in his statement of claim photographs he took while in the house suggesting that the client was having an affair/evading tax or somesuch.  Without specific facts, we cannot tell whether either party was being reasonable, outrageous or something in between.

I am intrigued at how the losses on such a dispute by a training consultant could reach six million.
27 January 2010 04:54

I haven’t heard this story before. 

Does anyone know if this WAS Trafigura’s rationale? 

As regards the £6m claim I replied as follows:

‘The Guardian states that "The claim says Looney was hired to rectify management problems and mistakes at a fee of £3m a year for three years."


I imagine the claim for £6m comes from this £3m/y fee. Of course, we don't know if this is correct.’

Is there any more information out there? 

If you don’t want to post it you can always email me at the  address at the very bottom of the right-hand column.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Trafigura: An Update of Sorts or Nothing

Since my last Trafigura post of any import (if any were) two weeks ago I’ve had quite a few visitors pop over looking, I assume, for more information.  Unfortunately I have nothing extra but ….

I have re-contacted some sources but have as yet had no additional feedback.

A fellow blogger (from London) has very kindly offered to try to get for me from the High Court in London the Statement of Case for Kieran Looney. If successfully obtained this would show that Trafigura had definitely lost in their attempt to have these papers sealed from public access.

I noted whilst reading about Trafigura and Abidjan that Trafigura’s Reply in the libel proceedings against the BBC was now a public document.  A Statement from Trafigura stated:

Trafigura’s Reply in these libel proceedings reflected extensive input from the same leading, independent experts instructed by Trafigura. They included experts in pathology, obstetrics, toxicology, oil chemistry, modelling and epidemiology, all of whom expressly approved the analysis set out in the Reply, the conclusions of which have today been accepted by the BBC. The Reply is now a public document and a copy can be provided on request.”

I’m interested in reading the analysis which was expressly approved by all of the experts.  In a case as serious as the Abidjan “incident” I believe it important to read as much on both sides of the argument.  It is far too easy to be intellectually lazy and read, and therefore agree with, only the one side.  

The Reply is available through the High Court but I have tried a more direct route and have asked that a copy of the Reply be forwarded to me.  I’ll say no more about that route just in case that prejudices my chances of success.

When I have more I’ll post again.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Not Only Scotland

So often do I post photos of Scotland that you may wonder if I have something against other parts of the UK.

No!

and so here’s a photo of some gorgeous houses beside the River Exe near Bickleigh in Devon.

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and this a close-up view of garden and river.

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Glad that’s settled then.

 

Many (well four I think it is) holidays we’ve taken in Devon driving through the night to get quiet roads and to have the kids sleeping.  Worked a treat except the car was full of my empty cans of Red Bull!  The holidays were magic.  The first year we were down for 4 weeks: static caravan then camping for two weeks and the 4th week was back in a static again.

The children want to go back this year but expense will keep us much closer to home.

ROBERT BURNS

 

Burns

Came to us on 25 January 1759 in Alloway

Left us on 21 July 1796 in Dumfries

but also left us a magical collection of poems and songs.

On this the 251st anniversary of his birth I bring you Dick Gaughan singing “Song Composed in August”.  This is the formal title but I have never heard that used.  Gaughan calls the song by its very common name, “Now Westlin’ Winds”.

Now Westlin’ Winds

Enjoy Burns and enjoy Gaughan on this Burns’ Night

I’ve appended the words below the video.

 

“Now westlin winds and slaught'ring guns
Bring Autumn's pleasant weather;
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Amang the blooming heather:
Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain,
Delights the weary farmer;
And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night,
To muse upon my charmer.

The partridge loves the fruitful fells,
The plover loves the mountains;
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells,
The soaring hern the fountains:
Thro' lofty groves the cushat roves,
The path of man to shun it;
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush,
The spreading thorn the linnet.

Thus ev'ry kind their pleasure find,
The savage and the tender;
Some social join, and leagues combine,
Some solitary wander:
Avaunt, away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man's dominion;
The sportsman's joy, the murd'ring cry,
The flutt'ring, gory pinion!

But, Peggy dear, the ev'ning's clear,
Thick flies the skimming swallow,
The sky is blue, the fields in view,
All fading-green and yellow:
Come let us stray our gladsome way,
And view the charms of Nature;
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn,
And ev'ry happy creature.

We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk,
Till the silent moon shine clearly;
I'll grasp thy waist, and, fondly prest,
Swear how I love thee dearly:
Not vernal show'rs to budding flow'rs,
Not Autumn to the farmer,
So dear can be as thou to me,
My fair, my lovely charmer!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee with Eric Bogle

This week I bring to you another Scot: a man who is a master songwriter, a craftsman.  Eric has written two of the most powerful anti-war songs ever and I  bookend this session with them.  Between them are 5 other songs on various themes but all worth listening too very carefully.

Whatever else you listen to please hear the first and last.

A Scot though he is, born in Peebles in 1944, he took himself off to Australia in 1969 and it is from there that he made his mark.

My first choice is the anti-war classic, “No Man’s Land” although more commonly recorded under the title, “Green Fields of France”. I’ve chosen the Furey’s version.

No Man’s Land

The ability to write with such power is given to only a few.

How can war ever be the same after this? 

Unfortunately, death is irrelevant to those who profit from war!  For the rest of us no death is irrelevant.

______

We continue with death now but a tribute to a life cut short – Stan Rogers, a Canadian folk-singer - “Safe in the Harbor”.  As Eric says in the introduction, Stan was killed in a ‘plane crash along with 42 others.

Safe in the Harbor

If you watched this in YouTube itself you will have seen the lyrics provided.

A fabulous tribute,thank you Eric. I hadn’t heard this before I was looking for videos.

_______

My memory is playing tricks on me.  I have heard Eric Bogle live but I’m not sure if it is once or twice.  Almost twenty years ago I saw him in the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh and before this I think I heard him at Stirling Folk Club.

Another gentle song, “Glasgow Lullaby” but don’t be fooled: this is a lullaby with a message “Wha would be a drinkin’ man’s wife?”.  That’s enough.  The song tells you much much better.

Glasgow Lullaby

Indeed!  Love, parenting must go on despite ……

_____

“The older I get it seems the more wishin’ takes the place of dreams”  Yes!  Another lovely song, again sung by Eric and again with a deeper meaning.

If Wishes Were Fishes 

Bogle conjures up such great images from apparently simple words: the mark of a master craftsman.

_____

We return to leaving behind: not people this time but the land.  The land that was looked after, that was their life and now they’re too old to keep going and so they are “Leaving the Land”.

Leaving the Land

Evocative!

_____

We stay with the land to hear about the life of a man who worked the land for his whole life and had to raise his children on his own but now he is easy about the end of his life too.

Now I’m Easy

By the way the 8th word you’ll hear is “Cockie” which is slang for a farmer.

_____

Unfortunately I’ve only got one more song and I’ve had to leave out quite a few crackers.  There could, however, be only one song with which to finish up an Eric Bogle set: “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.  The anti-war of all anti-war songs.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

I’ve chosen the Dubliner’s version. 

Again I ask, “How can war ever be the same after this?”

If only the warmongering bastards were on the frontline! 

_____

Every time I hear these songs I am in awe of Bogle.

Every time I hear these songs I am moved hugely.

I’m fairly certain that you too will have been moved.

Such is the skill of Eric Bogle!

_____

Well, that’s it for another week.  Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

What Car?

A teaser.

Below is a photo of a small part of an old car of mine. 

RIMG0454

To help I got the car in 1997 and got rid of it in 2007.

Answer is hidden here.  Citroen Xantia

Friday, 22 January 2010

Hurt and Pain

I have abandoned all my work plans for this morning: I’m hurting too much.

It’s hard enough admitting one’s failings to one’s self but having a loved one catalogue these failings and say that it isn’t personal is more than I am able to cope with.  Being blamed, through my failings, for all the ills of our family is more than I am able to cope with.

I have known for years that my love was not reciprocated and that has never bothered me but, perhaps I’m a sensitive wee soul, these one-sided “sessions” just wipe me out.

This is probably another of my failings, as yet uncatalogued: I need a time out.

But what if this person is right?

 

I am hurting!!!

 

UPDATE@15.40  Am on an even keel now!

Shuttle

I wrote this poem 19 years ago now whilst holed up on the tarmac inside a Heathrow to Edinburgh BA Shuttle flight.  I couldn’t hack delays or queuing and this particular day the words flew faster than the plane.

I may have posted this before: can’t remember.

SHUTTLE

I'm churning, turning and bubbling inside
I'm late, I'm delayed  -  the anger I can't hide
My heart is thumping, rushing and pumping away
My mind is racing and twisting about the delay

I want to be quiet and peaceful inside
Then I'll be free with nothing to hide
Free to be nothing or everything around
Free to be peaceful  -  letting love abound

Let the mind-game manoeuvres all come to an end
Let stillness  -  yes stillness  -  grow in me
Then peace, and love and rightness will be
All around me, all in me  -  now till the end

The end never ending
The start ever starting
Just life as life is
Just love as love is

Thursday, 21 January 2010

We’ve Won the Cup!!!

No!  Not yet anyway.  [Last time was 42 years ago and I was there!]

I posted twice last week (1 and 2) about the incompetence within Dunfermline Athletic.  Having won their Scottish Cup match against Stenhousemuir 7 – 1, Dunfermline were thrown out of the cup for having brought on as a substitute an ineligible player and for other administrative errors.

Today we’re back in.  Our appeal was successful.  Now we have to replay against Stenhousemuir with the prize to us – because we’re going to win – being a home match against Celtic.

That’ll be the end of our dreams for another year but, at least, we’ll get some cash from the Celtic game.

There is still major incompetence in the club but the punishment is fair now.

Trust David Cameron!

Just this once, trust him.  This time he IS right.

CameronPoster2

But you’re here already!!!  

You could always pass this on but only if you think someone will believe Davy-boy.

Power and Grace

Not from me! 

Still I struggle to get my head around anything serious and so I continue to trawl my rapidly diminishing haul of unused photos. 

Today we have horsey pictures from The Royal Highland Show at Ingliston which is next door to Edinburgh Airport.

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RIMG0060

RIMG0063

allied to a hell of a lot of rider skill.

 

Sometime …… there will be a change and I’ll post properly.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

How Not to Make Toast

Strange happenings in the Carr family!

P1000314-2

We’ve all seen bonfires but a bunfire?

OK.  If you look closely they’re baps not buns but “bapfire” doesn’t work, does it? 

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Ageless Love

I have had to move on.  For a few days I’ve been trying to get my thoughts together for a post on the Stigma of Mental Ill-Health but I have failed.  I’ve had neither the time nor the brain power to achieve my task. 

Put simply, “My brain is mush!”, a description I’ve used a few times before.  Hopefully, this time our science reporter, Adam Scott [UPDATE: I'm getting old.  Should, of course, be Alex Scott.  Sorry, Alex], can tell me the science behind brain mushness.

Surely sometime I’ll find myself able to write a serious post but, in the meantime and in place of my original idea, I have changed subject massively and post in support of “Ageless Love”.

I leave you with Joshua Kadison and an unusual love song with a cute video.

Painted Desert Serenade

Monday, 18 January 2010

Body Shapes

I’m sorry but I was certain that I’d have posted by now about the stigma of mental ill-health but, strangely for me, I’ve been too busy.

Both yesterday and today I’ve been putting my body in shapes it’s not meant to reach.  This wasn’t a new exercise regime but much more serious than that.  Mrs Carr’s top floor flat roof has sprung a leak and the only way onto the roof, other than hugely long ladders, was to clamber through the velux window of a neighbour’s flat which opened onto the flat roof. 

My elder child did this clambering without problem but my ample obese frame and ageing and weakening muscles struggled and struggled.  Eventually I made the roof - not before I had cuts and bruising - to find a massive pool of water probably 2 inches deep but from the wet marks on the felt had obviously been about 5 inches deep at one time. I need to say here that coming down was only marginally easier.

Fifteen minutes brushing had cleared the water and so with a dryish spell forecast there is a chance that the roof will dry and I’ll be able to effect a minor repair.

Can I make it through that window again?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Delicate

Another photo post while I organise my thoughts for a post on mental health stigma.

No more words are needed.  Enjoy!

Garden 5

RIMG0067

Sunday Morning Coffee with Ry Cooder

Rylance Peter Cooder was born in LA in 1947 but I only got to know him in the early 1970s.  The same flatmate who had introduced me to John Prine had Ry’s 2nd and 3rd albums (Into the Purple Valley, and Boomer’s Story respectively).  In those days albums were LPs and, when I got my first stereo in 1974, I think, I recorded these LPs onto long gone cassettes. 

I loved his music.  I didn’t know of his virtuosity on guitar: I just loved the songs and the sound.  Songs of the Dustbowl (1930s), the Depression, hobos.  Unfortunately many of the songs I love aren’t on YouTube but there is enough.

I start with Leadbelly’s song, “Vigilante Man”

Vigilante Man

This video is from “The Old Grey Whistle Test” which was BBC2’s brilliant 1970’s music programme introduced by Whispering Bob Harris.   I don’t remember this song on the programme but I do remember being excited because I’d heard he was appearing.

I stay with The Old Grey Whistle Test for my next choice.

Dark End of the Street

It’s worth waiting until about 2m 47s in to see and hear his brilliance.  Lie back and close your eyes.  Put your coffee down first, though.

Brilliant, wasn’t it.

We go back to his first album (“Ry Cooder”) for this next vid.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live

Recorded at an 1987 concert, this has Cooder looking as though he’s on something he shouldn’t.

Nine minutes of magic.  Hope you agree.  It’s time to say Good Night not to me or you but to Irene.

Good Night Irene

Ry says much more than simply Good Night!

Where can we go now after this?  We’re going to the end with another girl.

Maria Elena

Ry goes acoustic for this 6min instrumental of solos.

Maria must have been some girl to have this written about her.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed your coffee and the music too.  I have absolutely loved putting this together: the most fun I’ve had so far.

Well, that’s it for another week.  Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

More Black Birds

After yesterday’s “Hot Birds” a few more pics this time, as the title says, of black birds.

Firstly we see three photos of black guillemots each taken from the Corran in Oban. 

P1000153 P1000152-1

The young were in drain outlets in the sea wall.  In the pic below the young is in the drain waiting for its parent to return.  I tried and tried to get a photo of the young bird with its beak open to reveal the bright red inside – same colour as their legs -  but failed.  This is the best I could get.

P1000154 

I finish with a photo of a black swan taken at the now closed Rare Breeds Park, near Oban.

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Friday, 15 January 2010

Hot Photos of Birds

Ah!  Are you where you thought you’d be? 

If not, apologies but hang around for a few minutes before you disappear elsewhere.  I wondered what would be the effect of a deliberately tempting title to very simple photos taken in Devon during the very hot summer of 2006.

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An angry looking blackbird.  What I found so interesting when I relooked at these pics was the detail, wonderful detail, that even some of our commonest birds display.

Below we see our blackbird again but this time with a house sparrow.

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and on his own this time.

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A very detailed “something” below having a cold bath.  May I suggest that any visitors who expected other birds, and are still here, have one of these too.

RIMG0139

I should know who (s)he is but I don’t and to compound my failure another of the same, this time showing brilliant variation on a brown theme.

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A pretty chaffinch nibbling a crisp, I think.

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How colourful the male is!

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Whilst the youngster is very plain.

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I hope you have enjoyed my little themed wander through some of my old pics.  At the rate I publish photo posts I’ll run out soon.

Trafigura: The End for Me?

More nonsense verse.

I’m finished, for the moment, with Carter-Ruck
Trafigura too can go and *uck
Muck out (Ha!) their slops in places where
Such tasks are fulfilled with duty and care

Now I can stay safely at home and sleep
Not bothering about issues troubling and deep
Until the web's anger rises and then
I'll waken, write furiously and sleep again

Believe this about me and you’ll believe any old cock and bull story.

Knowledge or Nonsense

I woke this morning with the gist of these lines floating in my head.  All I had to do was to sit and type.

I walk up and down the busy street
Of knowledge: drops incessantly at my feet.
I climb, clamber and struggle through
For knowledge isn't what I do.

If knowledge, understanding you do yearn
Then don't look here for you will learn
Only the random thoughts of a fat old fool
But for arrant nonsense let this be your school

I’ll let you judge the truth of this or even if I believe my own words but, whatever, don’t take them too literally.  Of course I want you to keep calling!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Star to End the Day

Two years ago in December 2007 I found this fungus in the border between our front grass and hedge.

I think it’s an earthstar but which one I don’t know.

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Only once did I see this star.  Each year I check but no star appears.

Sports Quiz Question of Future

What team won a cup-tie 7 – 1 and wasn’t in the next round?

My team, FFS!

I mentioned on Tuesday that Dunfermline Athletic might have to replay their tie with Stenhousemuir after fielding an ineligible player.  That was bad enough but they had also broken another rule about having at least two under-21 players listed.

Today the Scottish Football Association tossed us out of the Scottish Cup …. and it hurts …. but the club only has itself to blame.  Two club officials checked the official list of suspended players but neither saw the Dunfermline player’s name.  Despite emails and phone-calls to the club nothing was changed.

I slagged – a teeny wee bit – Carter-Ruck’s Cambridge office for their lack of accuracy because someone there did a Google search for me but put 2 ”L”s in Calum. 

What has happened with Dunfermline is much much more serious! 

Heads must roll and the poor Carter-Ruck employee who’ll be losing their job in Cambridge can move North and run the administrative section of Dunfermline Athletic.  They can’t screw up in a bigger way!

 

Legal or Not?

A site, which will remain nameless, has highlighted an official EU written answer, which will remain unpublished here, to a written EU parliamentary question, which will remain unpublished here, asked by an MEP, who will remain nameless.

I assume the answer has Parliamentary privilege but is any subsequent publisher safe?

I have read the original question and answer and I’m not taking any risks.

UPDATED@16.25   The MEP’s own website carries a letter (on the same subject) to the appropriate EU commissioner dated about 6 weeks before the the official EU Parliamentary question. The Commissioner’s reply is also carried. 

Note: This question and answer are much less detailed but are on the same subject to which I was referring above.

Legality?  No idea.  Therefore, still no risks being taken.

Comedic Genius

No!  Not me clearly … but Chic Murray, a droll Scot, who died 25 years ago.  There is no doubt that Murray’s style is very dated now but I still laugh – probably because I’m dated too.

I remember Billy Connolly telling this Murray joke  - may have been on Parkie:

“Woman to man in street... ‘Did you fall?’

 
’No, I was trying to break a bar of chocolate in my back pocket.’  “

If that hasn’t put you off then here are 3 videos.  The first is of Murray himself in 1984.

The other two are of comedian Doug Healy in his Edinburgh Fringe show about Murray.  [Note: In these 2 clips the video is way out of sync with the sound.] 

Classic comedy indeed!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Simple Photo Post

…… with no purpose other than it has nothing at all to do with Trafigura etc.

A few pics chosen, not quite at random, but ….

Firstly, a sea eagle with its white tail and tag clearly visible.

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The best view I’ve had of sea eagles was more than 20 years ago on Canna.  While walking along a cliff top, a pair of sea eagles took up from just below our feet.

Magnificent!!

 

Now a pair of much smaller animals.

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What or who were they watching?  Clearly I wasn’t a threat.

 

And I thought Scottish country roads were narrow but this one in Devon was incredible.  By the time we were organised to take this pic the lane had widened to this!!

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Imagine meeting this.  There was nowhere to go.

 

I’m sad!  Imagine taking a photo of a buoy!   This one is in Oban bay.

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Finally – thankfully you say, I’ve often said my humour was lavatorial and after this photo in Totnes ……

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…… no wonder! 

Lessons from Trafigura Posts

There is learning for me from my long series of posts on Trafigura, Carter-Ruck and Looney and I guess this is a good time to think about it because I don’t expect to get any new info any time soon.

The biggest lesson is undoubtedly my realising that I don’t have to be a reactive blogger waiting on information to be made publicly available.  Other than my long series of posts concerning mental health services and the Carr family, every serious post has arisen from my reading an article and commenting on it.  I may have searched the web for info and included this BUT I never went ACTIVELY SEEKING information from PEOPLE.

I did for the Trafigura posts. 

Initially I didn’t see how I could get any information but the more I looked the more options I saw were available. Although my investigations, if I may call them that, didn’t add to our knowledge I did get confirmation that Trafigura had lost. 

A door had opened.  I don’t need to be reticent.  I can phone or email people asking for information. They can only say, “No”. 

God, what an eye-opener.

The possibility of being proactive.  Yeah! I like that idea.

______

Other lessons, or rather thoughts, are much much less important  and concern blog visitors and comments.

Since Friday night when I first posted about Trafigura my readership has quadrupled from a miniscule number to a tiny one but the number of comments has dropped significantly.  Clearly Trafigura was an interesting enough subject to bring visitors to the outback of blogging.  Hopefully many (well, some) will return again and again.  Blogging, however, is also about engaging with others and clearly these posts didn’t engage with others or didn’t require any comment but I don’t think this is a reason for reverting solely to my normal style.

I think I’ll continue with my normal blogging but, if any other story grabs me, I’ll go investigative again.  I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed blogging in a quick update mode but not as routine.

I was aware that I could have held back some info and posted less frequently but I don’t think that would have generated the same traffic but the effect on comments I imagine would have been the same – a reduction.

_______

In summary, I’m delighted I discovered another more positive way of approaching blogging.  I feel good about that.

The effect on comments and traffic …. well, I’ll live with that.

What’s important is that I enjoy what I blog and I have  enjoyed the last few days immensely.

On a Par with Iain Dale?

Iain Dale reports that, at the end of January, he is to speak at a Conservative Association’s Supper Club the fee being only £15.  The Club is clearly delighted to have “captured” Iain.

Not to be outdone I can announce that on Thursday, 21st January, I am speaking at supper-time in my front room with tickets costing me £5 for each person who attends.

I have “borrowed”  and tweaked from the Curzon Supper Club’s blog a few words to entice you to visit.

 “This is something of a coup!  Leading (from the back) left-wing blogger and newly self-appointed investigative reporter Calumcarr has agreed to speak at the next Calumcarr Supper Club event at 7.30pm on Thursday 21st January.

CalumAvatar1


Calum is highly sought after by Trafigura and Carter-Ruck so we are very fortunate to have secured him for the evening.


Calum is the highly disputed master of left-wing political blogging. His blog, “Calumcarr on …. Whatever

is read by over a million people each 50 years!  It combines extraordinarily poor political insight with width, warmth and nonsense opinion.  Calum regularly appears on television on programmes such as “Get off the TV! It’ll Fall Over” and a range of other political television and radio programmes yet to be broadcast.

Calum has spent almost his entire working life working for scant reward, never having worked with any thieves MPs. He ran his own unsuccesful(sic) leadership campaign for the “Calumcarr is Left” party, stood for election himself in 2005 – well, would have but didn’t know what to do - and is currently hoping to become a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the newly formed “Calum is a Failure” party in the coming General Election.


Tickets are already selling fast - so please don't delay or you may miss out as tickets are limited!”

 

Now admit it, you’re tempted!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Trafigura Lost!

I have just been told unequivocally that Trafigura lost their attempt to seal from public access papers from the case of Looney v Trafigura Beheer BV. 

Clearly there is still no proof that this is so and there won’t be until one of the parties speaks or until the applications under CPR Part 5.4C(1)(a) have been processed.

I hope my informant is correct!

Previous posts are (oldest first):

Trafigura, Carter-Ruck and Looney [@17.12 Sorry, had problems with this link.  Should be OK now]

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/silence-on-trafigura.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-gag-silence-goes-on.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-update.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-why.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-next-steps.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-two-emails-one-reply-no.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-obsession.html

http://calumcarr.blogspot.com/2010/01/trafigura-v-looney.html

Trafigura v Looney

I have been advised that there is one way to find out for certain the outcome to Trafigura’s attempt to have sealed the public documents in the above case. 

Apparently under the Civil Procedure Rules Part 5.4C(1)(a) a person not involved in any case can apply to see the Statement of Case.  In the case of Looney v Trafigura, having made application, if the documents are not available -  i.e. sealed - then we would know that Trafigura had won.  If they are available then Trafigura lost.

I am looking into how I make such an application.  I daresay that there are others who know the system and are well ahead of me in the queue.

I still await replies from Carter-Ruck – doubt one is coming – and from a few other parties.

Eventually we’ll hear.

An “L” of a Difference

Since I started posting about Trafigura and their lawyers, Carter-Ruck, I’ve had a few visits from the Cambridge offices of Carter-Ruck.  I don’t read anything sinister or threatening in their visits but I do have some advice for the company.

Sack the person responsible.  (S)he is incompetent!  They may be bright, keen and destined for the top but they lack one basic quality.  Now I know you can think of many qualities but “ACCURACY” is what is lacking.

How can employees of such a prestigious company where accuracy in deed and word must be writ through like “BLACKPOOL” in rock be so inaccurate?

What have they done?

Having already visited my blog and seen my blog header they did a Google search for me as follows:

www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4GGLL_en-GBGB351GB351&q=callum carr&meta=&aq=f&oq=

“callum carr”  There’s only one bloody “L” in Calum!

Now as it turns out I did come out top in the search but that isn’t the point.  How can one trust a company where an employee displays such lack of care?  Would they be so understanding if I added an extra letter to their name or in a descriptor of them?

Imagine if one was asking another if they had brought the appropriate headgear.  Instead of Have you got the cap? you’d get ……   OK, you get it.  Big difference from a small error.

You ranked well doesn’t sound so good with an extra L

Imagine if they inserted another letter into, for example,  You’re the pick of the bunch!

Carter-Ruck, this is not good enough!  Sort out this problem now!  Accuracy is what you need.  All those who fall short must be sacked … now!

Standards, aren’t the same as in my day.

UPDATE @ 12.40  Having poked a little bit of fun at C-R for adding an L to my name what do I find but another inaccurate searcher who has done exactly the same.  For f’s sake, it is “C… A… L… U…M”!  You’re fired too whoever you are!  Who needs Sir Alan?

 

Replay after 7 – 1 Cup Victory?

Amateurs!  Fools!  I could say worse but I’d better not.  My team, Dunfermline Athletic, won their 3rd round Scottish cup-tie last Saturday 7 – 1 against Stenhousemuir but yet they will probably have to replay the tie.  Expulsion from the cup is possible, if unlikely.

Why?

The silly buggers listed as a substitute, and brought him on at 4 – 0, a player who was suspended.

How could this happen?

Two club officials, neither the manager, read the official list of suspended players from the Scottish Football Association but didn’t read to the bottom of the list where our player, Calum Wood, was mentioned.

Apparently the club received 25 emails from supporters, some received before the game, pointing out their error.  Clearly no action was taken.

This was not the only serious administrative error made by the club on Saturday.  Today’s Courier states,

“They were very nearly in even deeper trouble, for on the original team-lines submitted for Saturday’s game they included just one under-21 player when two were required.

When that error was pointed out to them by match referee Bobby Madden they hastily drafted Paul Willis on to the bench in place of Graeme Holmes.

Had they compounded the Woods blunder by further breaching the competition rules there seems every likelihood they’d have been thrown out of the cup, potentially depriving them of a money spinning fifth-round clash with Celtic.”

Playing and winning football is difficult for any cash-strapped and debt-heavy club but having incompetents making such errors makes life virtually impossible.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Sir Patrick Spens – An Early Version

After my recent post with my McGonagall-esque version of this poem here is Nic Jones singing an early version which I prefer to that of Fairport Convention.

The lyrics are shown in the video.

I’m sure I heard Nic at Stirling Folk club in  the very early 1980s.  Unfortunately a car accident ended his singing career.

 

Still prefer my version !!!!!!"