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Yesterday, after twenty-six years of occupancy, the good lady and I signed the missives for the sale of Son of the Rock Towers. It was put on the market at the end of June and we accepted an offer in early January.

It’s just as well I photographed the sign when I did as the estate agents (I assume) whipped it away sometime on Friday evening when it was dark.

What this news means, of course, is we’ll have to find another house to live in.

So far the search for a new home has proved almost as frustrating as the process of trying to sell this one was.

Serendipitous Answer

One of the exasperating – or (occasionally) amusing – aspects of being a member of the teaching profession is the unexpected answer.

Some of these become less unexpected as time goes by. I lost count early on in my career of the number of times I read of a “bouncin” burner in a pupil’s responses. This is of course due to how Fife kids pronounce “bouncing” – and to the way Scots say Bunsen with an “oo” sound as in the original German rather than the “uh” English folk use.

Often a written answer can be baffling (where on Earth did they get that from?) but on extremely rare occasions one of these slightly wayward attempts is startling or even utterly brilliant in a surreal kind of way. I had one of these last year as an answer to the test question, “What name is given to someone who is dependent on alcohol or drugs?”

I can write about this now as the relevant course and question is no longer part of the Scottish curriculum.

The response of this particular pupil was misspelled compared to the marking scheme’s wording (but that was obviously what she intended and so I had to give her the mark – not that what she actually wrote could be said to be wrong in itself, as it is in many ways a totally accurate description.)

So what was this unintentionally magnificent reply to the question, “What name is given to someone who is dependent on alcohol or drugs?”

“a dick.”


On Saturday (9/11/13) I was once again at an antiques fair at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh.

One of the items for sale was this impressive object:-

Life Size model of Stonewall Jackson

A life size model of American Civil War Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Yours for £600!

Also for sale was this extremely ancient piece of technology:-

Antique Computer?

What? Computers are antiques now?

Also some Soviet iconography:-

Soviet Memorabilia

Two models of the USSR memorial to space exploration, a huge badge in the shape of a Soviet tank plus a tower of some sort.

Art Gallery in Kelso

I just remembered today that I hadn’t posted this photo of a weird looking art gallery in the shape of a ship, with statue of a dolphin outside, that I took in Kelso during the summer.

Art Gallery, Kelso

Grounds for Complaint

I was in St Andrews last week and spotted this notice in a cafe’s window.

Coffee Grounds to Sit in

Sit in coffee?

I’d rather not.

The Weirdest Languages

English is an idiosyncratic language, especially when written down. Think, for instance, of the different ways the letter combination “ough” can be pronounced (eg in cough, enough, through, thorough, bough and brought.)

It is apparently, however, only the 33rd weirdest language in the world, though.

The weirdest, Chalcatongo Mixtec, is spoken by about 6,000 people in Oaxaca, Mexico, but strangely (you might naively think) German, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish and Mandarin are pretty weird.

One of the weirdnesses of Chalcatongo Mixtec is that it doesn’t do anything at all to signal a question; no inversion of word order, no change in inflection, no pre/suffixing.

The least weird language is Hindi, but surprisingly both Hungarian and Basque, which are generally considered to bear little relation to other languages, are in the bottom ten for weirdness, as is Cantonese.

See the link above for the top and bottom tens and the arguments for the ratings.

Dry Stone Housing

I noticed in the Lake District – Grasmere and Ambleside in particular – on our trip down there in April that not just boundary walls between fields are built with the dry stone method, the houses are too.

The photo shows a few such houses in Ambleside.

Dry Stone Walling

Peace Garden

This appeared in Kirkcaldy’s Beveridge Park a year or so ago.
It is a fairly secluded space deep in the Park, well away from the pond and the playing fields.

Peace Garden, Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

The symbols and wording on the sign – which is some way away from the seating area and obelisk – relate to different religions.

Peace Garden Sign, Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

An inscription appears on all four sides of the obelisk. I assume the meaning is the same in the four different languages.

Wording on Peace Garden Obelisk, Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

Fungi in the Park

Last week in the Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, I noticed this growth on one of the trees. It’s huge.

Giant Mushroom on Tree

From the other side of the tree you can see there are two growths.

Two Giant Mushrooms

This is a close up of the first fungus from underneath.

Close Up On Giant Mushroom

Very textural.

Blog Silly Beggars

You may have noticed a lack of postings here recently.

The blog has been playing silly beggars again; something to do with hosting. There are plans afoot to move it to another host.

Fingers crossed.

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