Category Archives: Rants

Error Message Hall of Fame

At this time of year good walks are in short supply so to break the gloom I thought I’d publish my Error Message Hall of Fame: see under the Miscellaneous menu.  This page is going to show my (growing) collection of great error messages I encounter.  Obviously this will only be of interest to the über-geek – Jazz just rolls her eyes – so enjoy yourself Fenton.

Maya – a BIG Disappointment

I had my hopes up today: I was looking forward to the cataclysmic event forecast in the Maya calendar as it would help expunge the long list of people I have in my Big Black Book of Gits.  Sadly, as is typical of the religious nuttery, it was a no-show.  And to make things even worse, the NRA’s post-Newtown press conference just added a few extra million entries.  Goodwill to all men? – aye right…

Q3 GDP Figures

You may remember my concern that taking a day off may have a negative impact on the UK’s GDP figures for Q3. Well, today they were published and the economy grew by 1.0% in the quarter.  Clearly I need to take more days off to boost the UK’s performance.  And if a German economics friend of mine reads this: economics is easy!

From Acorns Mighty Solar Systems Grow

We are up in Kenmore in beautiful Highland Perthshire for a week celebrating my 50 years’ continuous service to the planet producing greenhouse gases (mostly CO2 but significant amounts of CH4 and SO2 too: see recipe). The Brat and her boyfriend in typical student manner sniffed out a free weekend and food+drink so joined us for the start of the festivities. All very enjoyable and abstemious (ahem).  A no-presents rule had been universally ignored, and so I want to tell you about two in particular.

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Heatherstane Law

Base of wind turbine

Today for inspiration I opened Nick Wiliams’ excellent Southern Uplands guide with the intention of walking where it opened (so long as it looked interesting and wasn’t too far away, obviously).  So step up Heatherstane Law.  However, don’t try to find this on an Ordnance Survey map because there it is called  Hudderstone.  Clearly when the OS surveyor asked a local for the name of yonder hill their accent was a little on the strong side and the literal transcription made it into the database.  Whatever name you use, it was a nice day out, and a good example of how quickly a guide-book can go out-of-date.

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Sóller to Coll de L’Ofre


It’s back to Mallorca for a bit of spring-time sunshine, bird watching and walking with the Missus. This was our first foreign holiday without the brat and so we could do adult things like imbibing the occasional tincture and walking without having to deal with teenage sulks: all very enjoyable. In this post I’ll talk about the best walk we did: a part of the GR221 long-distance path from Sóller to the Coll de L'Ofre.  And I’ll throw in an anti-cyclist rant for free.

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Glen Trool

Looking east along Glen Trool

Normally when we are in Glen Trool we are heading along the glen to walk the hills at the east end.  Not today, and that was a great idea because we ended up with a 5-star walk (and they are pretty rare).  There was no real plan other than trying to do a bit of the Southern Upland Way at the west end of the glen and add on stuff that looked promising: one of those nice “Where does that path go?” days.  Let’s just say the route was very roughly a figure-of-8 centred around the visitor centre at Glen Trool 1. Continue reading


  1. Although it’s currently a building site as they refurbish it, which meant no shop, and hence no lovely Galloway ice-cream.  Update 12-May: full service restored.

Braised Bambi

With the distaff side giving my credit card a thorough workout in the “sales”, I was left to fend for myself. So I had a browse of the freezer and found a nice piece of venison that a parent gave me for fixing her laptop 1. Not just any venison, though. No, this was locally dispatched Roe Deer, so the provenance was first-class 2.  So what to do?  Well, a quick chat with Mr. Google and my good friend and TV food-pedlar Nick Nairn came up with something that could be adapted to my particular, exacting tastes.

So a great casserole that let this great piece of meat braise nicely for a couple of hours in that bottle of red a relative brought at Christmas that you wouldn’t want to ingest, let alone get on your skin.  Naturally, Nick was aiming for the popular market and needed a bit of enhancement: so in with the Scotch Bonnet chillis and some butter beans 3. And despite my best efforts there is some left over for the freezer and more flatulent fun in the New Year.

And on that happy image, I’ll sign off and wish you a Happy New Year.  Give your boots a nice clean because we’ll be off as soon as we see the sun (let’s say, April).


  1. As you’ll recall, Mater is granted this right so long as she keeps me in the will and provides local, organic venison.
  2. No, not road-kill.
  3. For texture and a promise of fun tomorrow.

In the Bleak Mid-winter

Dipper, © Brian Orr


I always find this time of year a bit grim: grey skies, incessant rain, Cliff Richard on infinite loop, school choirs torturing some awful carol, TV Christmas specials recorded in July, adverts for perfume, a shortage of sprouts.  But things are about to get better…

As it is the Winter Solstice, Jazz and I were up at the Standing Stones to welcome the sun back.  Jazz had even brought along a Bonio to sacrifice to its first rays. Sadly we were treated to the solar equivalent of an 7W energy-saving light-bulb that could barely pierce the gloom.    Continue reading

Clatteringshaws to White Laggan

Trees in Clatteringshaw Loch

Normal service is resumed. No more Android development this time: no, we’re back to Man+Dog wandering around the soggy uplands of south-west Scotland.  After this week’s storms we decided a good solid path was in order and so we ended up on a forestry section of the Southern Upland Way connecting up two previously walked sections: from Clatteringshaws Loch to the White Laggan bothy at Loch Dee. Continue reading