but that don’t make him no hero…

Things I discovered today:

This is veratrum virile aiton or the green false hellebore. It’s a highly toxic plant that was used by some native tribes in the area as a way of choosing their next leader. All of the candidates would eat the root and the last to vomit was the new leader. It’s growing in the woods.


It seems that this is as good a way of choosing a leader as any, as it requires you to be able to stomach the unstomachable for the longest. This seems to be a necessary attribute for the successful robber baron, president or PM.

The other thing I learned was that working from home is not as easy as I always thought it would be, add a pandemic on top and it gets harder. It’s hard work all those conference calls and video meetings. I almost wish that this had hit before 2005 and the advent of the smart phone so we could have had the excuse just to curl up and let the whole thing ride out. I also realized that I do not have a notebook here.

We seem to have hit some normalcy in all this, somehow. Or it is becoming normal to be engaged in the abnormal. I am not sure which is more concerning.

Into all this mayhem Rhyll’s finest The Alarm threw themselves at my subconscious and then my conscious mind as I fished out Electric Folklore. I could go on about the U2 like pomp and circumstance and earnestness, however Mike Peters may have one of the biggest and best smiles in all of Rock History. Big chords big singalong choruses, it’s all you really need at these times when an uplifting tune can make the day better. Also Spirit of 76 sone of the best songs about meeting your mates on Matthew Street ever written is on side 2.


Another thing I earned today, while playing with the toy animals is that we have more toy Rhinoceroses than any other plastic toy animal. This is fascinating and as I sat listening to The Alarm it occurred to me that the beautiful valleys of Wales and Rhinoceroses can only lead to one thing.

Namely, rhinos winos and lunatics by the great lost dual guitar heroes of Man. Deke is back and Micky Jones sounds happy again.


There really is nothing in this world better than the groove that Man can achieve when IMG_3124.JPGthey are in the zone and much of this album is in that zone. Probably helped along by the sustenance pictured on the cover. Side 2. particularly hits a groove, electric pianos, harmonies and guitars, what more can a groover ask for.

This is the year they took off on the 1999 Party Tour with Hawkwind. As a teenager Man, Hawkwind and Gong were the holy trinity of music, this may still be true in some ways.

Thanks to Lynda who may have messed up the sleeve but she really managed to look after the vinyl itself. This is not something that is common with Man albums found in the wild as they appear to have been something of a party going record.

Lynda was also somewhat out of focus it seems, I did my best but the chemicals got the better of me. All I cans say is bless you Lynda for not letting the partygoers roll things on the actual album, only the sleeve. I almost never bought this the sleeve is so dodgy but I really like this album so it was worth the risk.

but sooner or later it all gets real…

The weekend, well Saturday.

A strange day. No TV news today, this was a decision someone else made, I have become addicted to information. I did however read the Guardian online. No good news.

I went outside at 8:30a.m. and came in to eat lunch and to cook dinner. I sat in the yard, IMG_3095.JPGin the rain at times and tended the burn pile. I also moved some cedar bark chips we had delivered and shoveled. Syd played with a stick, every now and then he decided it needed to be thrown for him so I did.

At one point I wanted a new blade for the reciprocating saw, I walked to the car and turned around. These things need to go on a list nowadays, no frivolous trips.

Yesterday as I stood around in the pharmacy, constantly moving to avoid contact with others I picked up some essential items that we were missing, pencil sharpener, puzzles for my mother-in-law, new windshield wipers for my car. These things are mundane but heading out to get them comes with a risk that has never been present before.

New list started:

Wood blade for the reciprocating saw




The list goes on, it gets bigger and bigger, things that were just a car ride away a couple of weeks ago. The other day I drove by a thrift store, the parking lot almost empty and a part of me thought “I bet there are some great record scores there.” I pulled in and then pulled out of the lot, it’s not worth it too many people.

I sat in the rain and FaceTimed with my mum. She is holding up, doing small jobs, baking cakes for herself, talking on the phone to her friends and watching the afternoon movie, reading her books. I have managed to make sure she gets her food and stuff delivered, she sends me lists all the time and I add things to the order. It’s quite sweet really. 6000 miles has never seemed so far though.

IMG_3102.JPGI have been working my way through some of my essential records, a bit of fear that I will maybe not hear them again unless I do it now. This is fatalistic and just another excuse to play the damn albums.

I have also been indulging in comfort foods, hmmm Shredded Wheat, wow what a sensation, it’s been so long since I ate them, I bought large biscuits though none of this mini wheat shit. This stuff is the stuff of culinary legends, essential eating, lots of cold milk and some sugar, what else could you ever need in a breakfast experience? Apart form I just ate the at 9p.m.

So one of tonights gems is Neil Young’s On The Beach. It feels apt. I have no idea if the title has anything to do with Neville Shutes book but it feels a little apocalyptic at times. I have written about this before I believe. If our re interested it’s here:  BEFORE


After that I dug deep into my listening past, sometime in the early eighties in W.H. Smith in Huyton I bought Orange by Al. Stewart. Yes Al is the least convincing of the hipsters but for some reason I find his confessional slightly uncomfortable songs to be really engaging. His penchant for history is also fun. This is the last of his truly great confessional albums. I always wanted to have such romantic adventures with young women. My long  hair flowing in the wind as I wore my sheepskin coat in picturesque spaces with a body contemplative expression on my face getting ready to quote Rimbault.

IMG_3104I used to buy Al Stewart records along with other records in order to hide the shameful record behind something a little cooler. This time I think it was a copy of Marillion’s Real to Reel that hid my shame. Now some would say this is not cooler, but they are wrong. You would have to have cloth ears to think Real to Reel was not cool. So that wold make the shameful purchase of Orange in 1984, when I probably should have known better according to my friends.

Orange is full of songs about Spain, Amsterdam, deceit, love, treachery, washing the sheets and Jimi Hendrix, what more do you need to recommend it. It also has Rick Wakeman pounding the keys and Bruce Thomas from the Attractions, before there was an Attractions, doing bass duties. What more could the love sick teenager need. This was also the first time I ever heard anyone apart from the Byrds or Richie Havens cover Dylan, yes I led a somewhat sheltered life at times. Also Al could play guitar as there is the requisite guitar piece this one also involves a cello which makes it better.

Later on I discovered that those sheep skin coats smelled like Catweazle had peed himself in them, this is a direct quote from the beloved Annie who drank scrumpy and Owd Roger snakebites. She would therefore know this smell intimately. Also mens hair, no matter how long and flowey,  never blows attractively in the breeze unless you are Fabio or Robert Plant, this is actually the standard by which mens flowing hair is judged, are you bodice ripping Fabio or Rock God Planty? Anything in between or less than is not good enough.

So all of this talk of Real To Reel caused me to drag it off the shelf. Remember the Fame label? Damn side two may be all you need to know about Fish era Marillion.

Side two if you are a genesis fan you will notice was recorded at the De Montford Hall Leicester where Genesis Live was recorded. However Forgotten Sons and it’s anti-war theme summed up the Falklands war for many, Garden Party and Market Square heroes was always a party at Marillion shows. Good way to end the night I guess.



you shouldn’t take it so personal…

Here we are in our sheltered places.

I am in some sort of fog, wandering around and picking things up placing them down and moving on to the next thing. It’s sketchy, slippery difficult to grasp or understand. We started closing the gate at night, now we have a gate, not sure why but it feels better, as if we can keep contact at bay.

IMG_3087.JPGToday I ventured out to do the shopping for the week, it’s only Thursday but I couldn’t face the weekend again too many people. I wondered the empty aisles searching out basics to get through the week, for some reason I bought all the ingredients for hummus, not sure why.

There was no yeast or flour as if we are all going back to baking, the rice was gone but I got some unicorn shaped macaroni and cheese for the youngest member of the household. I have been designated the family forager, every now and then I head out to get what we need, mostly food.

My middle son is quarantined with his room mates, one of them had symptoms and was tested the other day, hopefully she is okay and they will all be fine. They are however having a great time, the never-ending game of D&D online is going on. I can hear my youngest in his room yelling down the internet to him. The other day we went over there to his house to drop some Ramen noodles off  and books, we put them on the step and backed away. He smiled and waved and grabbed the noodles and headed back in.

The eldest had some work today, he headed out with his tools and some wipes in case he had to use someone else’s tools. He managed to keep distance but tomorrow they pour concrete and he doesn’t know how that will work out. The middle son in quarantine has decided he is going to school to be a history teacher, this is a great move, he will be the cool, funny, moody teacher everyone loves. He says this has all made him realize how important history is. Strange stuff happens.

I have been working at home, doesn’t feel like work though. I Zoomed into our residential program and saw all those smiling young happy faces of the brave staff, getting up and coming to work every day. I have been searching for P.P.E. for them all day, we have no masks, no gowns and no hand sanitizer left, luckily we have no sick kids either, yet. Everything these days is followed by a big YET, it’s almost a shout of fear, anger, horror. Our state partners are not a help, in fact their insistence on carrying on as if everything is normal will end up badly.

I long for a time when I did not know what P.P.E. meant.

Tonight I sat down with Blonde on Blonde, it seemed apocalyptic enough for the evening.

Rambling, rolling, strolling and cajoling, loves songs and fury, anger and lust, humor and pain, spiritual and earthy it’s a freaking trip.


Has there ever been an other album this extraordinary? Some of it sounds amateurish and a bit shambolic but it all makes sense, and then it ends with Sad Eyed Lady Of the Lowlands so what more do you really want?

don’t give me that do goody good bullshit…

I’ve started a few posts over the last few days and given up. This all seems a bit surreal as we move through a pandemic.

In a sense I have been preparing for this since first reading The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham as a child, a book for some reason I read every year. Of course there are as far as I can tell no poison bearing flesh eating plants roaming the earth. Instead we have the obligatory and inevitable useless governments making it worse for all of us. Over here in the good ole US of A we have a man in charge who is unable to take advice from doctors and scientists and seems intent on making decisions on instinct and hunch or the almighty dollar. He may actually be willing to sacrifice a large proportion of his citizenry for the the market, I should not be surprised I suppose.

In a world that has become one long video conference I am becoming more and more isolated in my own head and I live with five people and four generations in one home.

We have been instructed to work from home, our governor has been far too wishy washy in her approach, not surprising in a state like Oregon that’s liberal valley is surrounded by conservative ranchers and agricultural workers. Everything is a compromise to be taken or avoided.

It’s hard to work from home when you work in social services and children’s lives are at stake. It is however no longer my job to the the focal point for our residential programs, that is now someone else’s job and she is excelling. It is now my job to be a cheerleader and deliver the paychecks. I do Zoom meetings, I Zoom here and there, supporting cajoling and hoping that we can all do our jobs for long enough to get through all of this.

So what to do in the case of a pandemic.

The obvious answer is to listen to Pink Floyd.


Now the definitive review of this has already been done. There is nothing left to add, say or do.


I guess in case of pandemic one should revisit the classics in case it’s the last time you get to do it. So over the next few days/weeks/months thats what I am going to do, and som not so classic as well but classic for me.

Of course according to the great orange baboon the US will be open for business by Easter go figure!!!!

I’m a derelict dweller.

Well we knew it was coming and there was the usual inadequate response  from our menagerie of leaders.

Day 1 of panic stations:

It’s like being in the first five to ten minutes of one of those post apocalyptic movies. Everything is in slow motion, the discomfort and the surreal nature of the stock piling and panic buying. I passed a lady in the store today, six packages of toilet paper, six packages of paper towels and a bag of Doritos, I am not sure what is going on.

Am I supposed to be stocking up, and if so what should I get? Water? Noodles? Rice? Flour and other staples? What to do?

The other shoe will drop I am sure.

I have been feeling unwell, I am pretty sure it is not real but still.

I woke up concerned for my mum, six thousand miles away, she is aging and with Lymphoma, alone and fearful. With the travel restrictions in place I am not sure if I went to see her they would let me back. I am not ready to be an orphan and I am passed fifty. Do you take off to help the aging or stay to look after the young?

They had a news show, facts versus fear, it was sensationalist. Like the T.V. in the background of that movie, mumbling away as people attempt to go on as normal. This is where CNN has ended up, Ted Turner would be shocked I am sure. Fox is worse still no real news just opinion. We have been watching PBS and listening to NPR to try and stay aware.

It’s a little odd to be finding out about shows I would have liked to see because they are postponed, I didn’t even know Califone were in town, now they are not.

There’s going to be an outbreak of reading and talking to each other as sporting events and concerts and theater is being cancelled. If I was paranoid I may think the government are out to control us, we will see if the election is postponed!

Day 2.

Its official it’s a national emergency, and the UK may end up on the ineffectual and half thought out and ill considered travel ban. Any chance of getting back to see my mum is now lost. She is doing okay but is lonely.

The entire day has been taken up with planning for the Corona problem. Staffing, looking after clients and then the need for people to work form home. Luckily their is not much apparent sickness amongst the staff so far.

I am coming to terms with a strange fact. I may not be able to just push through this like other emergencies. If you get sick you have to stay home, can’t push through work it out or any of the other idiotic and silly ideas we have had in the past. It is also outlining the problems with the American need to work when sick.

To top it all off it’s snowing/raining and my windshield wipers have stopped working.

Day 3.

No soccer, snowing still, very weird.

We engaged in some stocking up at the grocery store, probably a bad decision for four of us to go, and made only half joking statements about buying a gun or two. The decision was pushed down the road.

Day 4.

Still thinking about the gun, been binge watching the Walking Dead and realizing how disappointingly dangerous this all is.

The president has “tremendous control of the virus” we are now officially doomed.

Figured out how to online shop in the UK for my mother, at least she will get to eat now and won’t have to go out.

It was fun watching Anthony Fauci basically contradict the president with science in front of him, oh how we howled.

Day 5.

Gun sales have increased in the USA, only in this country would we decide to do this.

Off to work  and dropped the jeep into the shop to have the windshield wipers fixed, typical jeep shit going on have to wait three days for the part, if I had done the work myself it was a two week wait for the part, go figure. The jeep however is essential for the coming apocalypse.

My mum has decided that she needs so many things, that online order is really getting out of control, she is however stocking up for something that looks like it may be a long wait indoors, I hope she can stay healthy.

The Great Orange one has finally come to some sort of realization of the shit show, no longer is he in control but he is also not accepting any responsibility for the mismanagement of a crisis.. Let’s face it he usually gets to lie and run away from responsibility, history will not view this man well.

I have been binge watching the Walking Dead, well an episode a night is not a binge but it has dug into my listening time. So tonight’s fun is this German compilation of The Hawkwind Collection with some dodgy and odd versions of Hawkwind classics. Lets face it all of the songs are here but they are never the versions you want, sometimes abridged, other times just pointless, released in 1986 it manages to encapsulate everything bad about Hawkwind collections from the eighties. However I have to admit I got a little excited when I found it as it took me back to those original days of buying Hawkwind vinyl, then as I played it this evening I was reminded of the huge disappointment buying Hawkwind vinyl could be in the eighties. The best things about this album are Dealing With the Devil and Bring It On Home. I also like the frantic version of Urban Guerilla as well.

As you can see it also has  one of the worst album covers ever.


when the sun shines…

I bought this album for one song.


Yes obviously there are other great songs on this like well all of them not to put it too lightly. It was 99c and a little crackly but that adds to the charm I am sure you will agree. Even Lady Madonna is good.

Rain by the Beatles is one of the greatest moments in psychedelic music on any continent. There is backward stuff, snappy snare drums, wacky lyrics and nasally vocals, it’s a fun filled ode to rain.

I have nothing more to say than it is almost as essential as Tomorrow Never Knows in the world of perfect psychedelia.

Don’t fence me in…

Building fences and gates and other stuff.

Every now and then Syd the dog takes a run up the road to the neighbors house, they give him a snack and he comes back, pretty innocuous apart from the fear of the idiots driving on a country road at 90 miles an hour. Added to this list is the person who pepper sprayed the poor dog in the eyes because he had been bitten once by another dog, a sign of aggression would be one thing but the big lolloping idiot that is Syd is hardly fear inducing. I get it he has no idea that the Syd dog is friendly and will leave him alone. I am just a bit fried by it.

So we built a fence, we were going to anyway but the importance became higher on the agenda.

First of all we had to rent a cool tool as digging those hoes by hand was a joke.


There were 24 holes to dig and this made it so that they were all done apart from the corners in four hours, hours of back breaking work avoided although it was a little tough to run for a long time good job there were three of us I say.


Concrete got mixed and posts leveled etc. all very proffesional.


This is not an OSHA approved cutting technique.


Somewhere in all that is a string line being used. Very exciting.


I am not sure if this was necessary but who doesn’t want to hit things with a sledgehammer.


As always tractors were involved.


Gates were added. It’s not a perfect answer and I bet Syd could get out if he really wanted to but it’s something. It is important to know that there are three generations working on this.

I think I just blew my entire budget for fencing the garden in this year to stop the deer having a buffet in our yard.

An added bonus is this was completed just as the whole pandemic world blew up in our face so we have an added barrier to increase the social distancing defense.

The important thing is that Syd is fenced in.