Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sky lights in Perth

Report on Sample 717 Continued (Part 2)

Following on from here:

Just a short walk from the station Edrig noticed a Vacancies sign in the window of a small hotel and so he wandered in to attempt to book a room.

He showed the note about his voice to the lady behind the counter at reception. A nice lady, he thought, about the same age as he must appear to her, and then he managed to say, 'A room please.'

'We only have a double. Is that OK?'

'What is a double?'

'A double room. A double bed. No rooms for one only.'

'Oh... A room for two?'

'Yes, a double bed.'


And Edrig thought for a moment, feeling rather uncomfortable at the same time as somewhat intrigued, then, uncertain about his language, he wrote in his notebook:

Who will I have to share the bed with? A lady?

The lady behind reception looked at these words, then looked at Edrig, taking in his rather odd clothing beneath the dark jacket.

'I think you might be best to try elsewhere, she said. Along the road.'

'Oh? Elsewhere? Ah...'

And realising what she meant he turned to go before he stopped, looked back, and asked, 'Pole dancers. Do you have pole dancers in Perth?'

'Try elsewhere,' the lady said very firmly, pointing along the road.

So he wandered along in the direction she had indicated until arriving at what appeared to be another hotel, which he entered.

There was another lady behing the counter at reception. Another nice lady, he thought. And so he showed her his note and then asked for a room.

'Have you been referred?'

He didn't understand this, so just looked puzzled.

'Referred,' the nice lady repeated. 'This is a hostel hotel. Our clients are generally referred to us. Have you been referred?'

Edrig had no understanding of what the issue was, but suddenly he had what seemed like a good idea. He pulled off his rucksack, reached inside, and pulled out a wad of 20 pound notes.

'I have money,' he said. 'Do you have a room?'

The lady looked at the wad of cash, perhaps a thousand pounds or so, and then she looked at Edrig, pondering that he was either simple or foreign or perhaps both.

'People here don't have money,' she said. 'Are you sure you want a room here. It is very... eh, basic.'

'Yes, a room please.'

'You will have to share bathrooms and toilets.'

'Share? With ladies?'

'No. We have Ladies and Gents, but nothing in the rooms.'

'Do you have a room?'

'Do you want a single room for yourself, or to share?'

'Yes. Myself. A room for myself.'

'OK. Said the lady. How long for?'

'Don't know.'

'Well give me two hundred... eh two hundred and eighty in advance for the first week and I will give you a room.'

'Two hundred and eighty?' Edrig was trying to figure out what that meant, but he just offered her the wad to take what she needed from it, which she did.

Then came the issue of filling out the residency form, on which he could just about figure out what was required.

For Name, he wrote Edrig Man.

For Nationality, he wrote Arab, remembering what the man in the train had said to him.

For Previous or Permanent Address, he wrote No

The nice lady looked at this and furrowed her brow, then she just sighed a little, placed the form in a drawer and said, 'OK. Here is your Key. Room 7, up these stairs.' Then after a pause she added, 'Many people have problems here you know. Drink. Drugs. Problems. You take care with your money.'

'Ah yes,' said Edrig. I will,' while not at all clear about what he was agreeing he would do.

'Oh well,' said the lady, rather giving up. 'Good luck.'

'Thank you.'

And Edrig thought of the question of pole dancing, but he decided not to ask. He was feeling very pleased with himself at his apparently successful command of the basic language. Given the large capacity of his young brain, he was learning very quickly. It all seemed rather easy, he felt.

Edrig found his room to be small and shabby with a thin layer of dust almost everywhere and a musty odour in the air. He opened the window that looked out onto a small and untidy grass area at the rear of the building and he pondered that the standards of cleanliness on Sample 717 left much to be desired, at least in this hotel. He noticed a small television with approval however, realising that watching this might be of great assistance in his learning of the language. In the small wastebasket he found a green bottle with an orange label that read Buckfast Tonic Wine. He made a mental note of this, for he felt he might be in need of some sort of a tonic.

Meanwhile... far away, Adrig was looking at his location monitor screen and muttering, 'Perth? What is Perth? Why Perth?'

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

By The Tay at Twilight

Report on Sample 717 Continued (Part 1)

Following on from here:

In the morning of his escape from his exhaustive servicing of the Lady Lord, and after receiving a report from Macrig that the pod had returned empty, Adrig's first act was to start up his Sample 717 monitoring system and try to find out what Edrig was up to, for the rather crucial detail that Edrig did not know about, due to his lack of participation in the basic training programme, was that every field-tripper had a locator chip inserted into their footwear. Adrig's ability to visually monitor and record events on 717 was less flexible, and required complex maneuvering that made real-time observations impossible, but Edrig's location remained exactly plotted as he made his escape.

Oh, my boy, my boy, my boy, what have you done?

Adrig was thinking fast as he monitored Edrig's movement northwards at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, and the realisation soon dawned on him that the Lady Lord would probably not know about the locator chip either, due to her disdain for the details and the value of basic training, and her general lack of attention to detail about pretty much everything other than her own comforts and needs.

Hmm... That may save the day for him, if we play this right, pondered Adrig.

And while Edrig traveled north in the swift train he studied Adrig's English language pack intently, and then began to write in big letters on a little notepad that he had bought at the station:

I have a damaged voice
Cannot speak much
Please be patient

Ah yes, he thought, that will be a help while I get to grips with the language, and practice the low pitched voice. But he had overheard a couple of men in the station toilets speaking to each other in a rather high pitched tone, which had reassured him. The fact that the high pitched tones seemed to be coming from the same cubicle puzzled him, but he thought their squealing was at a level he might just manage to get down to, with practice.

And he was quite calm, settled into his seat in the train carriage as it trundled over an impressive bridge in a town called Newcastle, and then halted by a crowded station platform where many more people got on.

A large man sat down heavily beside Edrig, looked at him, and began to speak.

'Fancy dress party?'

'Edrig understood the 'fancy dress' reference, having heard it before at the club, where Adrig had explained it to him, and so there and then he resolved that his next priority must be a change of clothes. In the meantime, he smiled at his new companion and showed him his little note.

'What's this man? Oh... so ye canna speak man? Oh that's a shame. Never mind. Will it get better?'

Edrig recognised the questioning tone, but just looked puzzled, so the question was repeated to him, very slowly.

'Will... It... Get... Better?'

Edrig figured out the meaning, so he nodded and smiled.

'Oh, that's canny man. That's good. And I hope your dress sense improves too man. You're not going to pull any ladies around here dressed like that I doubt.'

Ladies? Pull ladies? Edrig looked down at his language pack and remembered it was open at a section entitled 'Interactions with Ladies', with English phrases interspersed with instructions in his own language.

'What bloody language is that man?' asked his neighbour. 'Just a load of squiggles. Are you an Arab. You don't look it?'

Edrig went to his notebook again, and wrote:

Foreign. Far away

and showed it to his new companion.

'Ah well man. Good luck when you get to Scotland, wherever you're from. They're all bloody foreign up there.'

And then the man fell silent, and Edrig studied his language pack some more as the train sped on.

And as he traveled farther up the South-East coast of Scotland Edrig looked at a leaflet displaying the railway map and considered his options. Up at the top there was the place whose name was on his ticket. In...ver...ness... A bit of a mouthful. Much farther south... How was that pronounced? Somewhere in-between these options he saw Perth. Ah... that seemed to trip off his tongue easily enough.

'Perth,' he enunciated clearly, practising getting his voice pitch as low as he could manage. 'Perth... Perth. I... am... going... to... Perth. Yes... Perth... Perrth... Perrrrthhh... Perth.'

He liked the sound of it, and then he noticed that the man beside him and some of his other traveling companions were looking at him.

'You going to Perth mate?' the man beside him asked, and in that instant, feeling the need to avoid appearing uncertain, Edrig's decision was made.

'Yes,' Edrig decided to attempt to say. 'Yes... to Perth.'

'I can see what you mean about your voice mate. I'd give it a rest instead of trying to speak like that.'

'Yes... But... You... Understood?'

'Yes I did mate, though it sounds as if an angry woman is squeezing your balls, ha ha!'

'My... balls? A... woman?'

'Sorry mate. I shouldn't laugh. Yes. I understood you.'

'Good,' said Edrig. 'Progress.'

And then he wrote:

Thank you very much. Are there nice ladies in Perth? 

and showed it to his neighbour.

'Nice ladies?' replied the man, somewhat bemused. 'I suppose so. As nice as anywhere. There are all sorts.'

Edrig scribbled some more and offered his notepad again, showing:

 Pole dancer ladies? Not men. Not naked pole dancer men. Ladies?

His companion squinted at this, sniggered a little, and offered, 'Oh I don't know mate. I don't know about that. I don't know Perth well.'

The man fell silent, looked the other way, and a few seconds later got up from his seat and walked off. To the toilet, Edrig presumed, but he never returned.

'I am going to Perth. To find ladies,' Edrig mouthed quietly to himself, as he looked out of the window at the countryside on a pleasant summer evening.

'To Perth... To lovely ladies...'

And the train sped on.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Last bus leaving


"You are going to leave me out all night in the pouring rain?"

Bus stop, building, berries


Top image courtesy of daughter. Lower snowman built by me and daughter, and photographed by me. Snowman's orange nose courtesy of good lady wife, because she didn't have any carrots. I think that covers all the legal issues, unless the snowman has any complaints to lodge with us for creating him in a mysterious world without asking his permission. Happens to us all mate. Get used to it, and the melting has already begun. Top snowman built by Mum and Dad, who were built by Grandmums and Grandads, who were built by... (etc. until the answers run out). All melted and/or melting away.


Beauty in McDonald's?

Dark and green

After midnight
days old
and looking at leaves
awaiting another day of sun
21082 awakenings
if awakening in the morning
and 21081
if not
Or really
just 1 again
or none
awaiting the sun?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Snow hedge

Lights will guide me home?

It has been a strange day
in a strange week
in a strange month
in a strange year
in a strange life
in this strange place

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Triggering security lights

while wandering around in the darkness and wondering why...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

St John's in the snow

Photo by Alison Scott, of snow falling in St John's graveyard, Edinburgh, and, below, a presence?

Dark snow