• September 2021
    M T W T F S S
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 285 other followers

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Reviewers’ Comments

    "Great read every day. Makes me smile as Rab muses about music and his irreverent views on the EU. Tune in, you won't be disappointed."

    "Excellent 'Blog' which can be controversial at times, while maintaining it's humour. Keep it up Big Rab!"

    "Updated every day with doses of good humour, political satire, a running commentary on the progress of author's home football team and his life."

    "Pure brilliant, so it is - I never miss it, though God knows, I've tried."

    "An inspiration to start my own blog"

    "For dipping into it's better than pakora sauce"

    "Anyone who doesn't like the EU and has a soft spot for Albion Rovers can't be all bad"

    "Facile and False"

    "Populist,puerile and prosaic"

    "Utter pish! Keep it up, I love it!"

    "People may also find the Ben Lomond Free Press blog illuminating, interesting and/or amusing. It’s not mentalist as such but familiar themes emerge. I particularly like accounts of encounters with strange elementals (of course! ELEmentals!) from elfin safety. And the fact that the blog is run by someone who plays in a blues band called Harmonica Lewinsky."

  • Hit Me!

    • 1,399,169 hits since January 2008
  • Top Rated

We Never Forget AnElephant!

Those who remember AnElephantCant and his poetry here, should take a wee visit over to his blog. He’s based in France now and that seems to have really accelerated his creativity. He does ‘flash fiction’ which is a story in 100 to 150 words.

This is one he wrote recently:


The weak winter sunlight creates vaguely coloured beams as it struggles through the stained glass window.
I sit with bowed head, hands clasped, the bottle of redemption held tightly between them.
I pray to a God I no longer believe in.
My mind drifts back …..

I see her crossing Sauchiehall Street, the pedestrianised section, and my heart lights up.
She is my best friend, my flatmate.
We are twin sisters, everyone says, look-alikes who share a soul.
I hurry after her, almost ready to call out, but she is walking with unusual purpose.
Then I see him, my Al, outside Henderson the Jeweller.
He smiles widely, happy to see her.
She throws her arms around his neck.
I walk into a large woman with an umbrella, who mutters something rude.
Regaining my balance, I see them disappear into the shop.
I approach carefully and peek through the window.
They are looking at rings.
I knew it.
I should never have trusted them, she is so pretty, and he is such a swine!
I go sadly home and prepare myself.
They arrive much later, barely able to conceal their excitement.
Until they drink the coffee.
The card in her dead hand says ‘Congratulations, Sis, you two make the perfect couple’.
The ring is inscribed with my name.

I abandon my prayer and raise the bottle to my lips.

Adverts on WordPress

Can I just apologise to readers please? Friend and regular correspondent Glade Rover informs me of the horror of being confronted by some ad for Robbie Williams at the end of a recent post about Nelson Mandela.

I have no control over the ads that appear and I’m certainly not going to take the payment option to have them removed.

We Have Lift Off


The Loch Lomond Seaplane takes off at Duck Bay in July

I’ve missed the blog. Yesterday I wanted to link to an article I’d written some time ago and I couldn’t do it because I’d archived the whole thing by making it private. I therefore made it public again and thought I might give the whole thing another go. It might take off and fly or it may crash land – let’s see what happens.

The level of posting might not be so regular as previous but it’d be good if you could stop by occasionally and maybe leave a comment or two.

Stand by….

I think I might return to this malarkey…..


Yes ladies and gentlemen, all good things must come to an end.

I’ve enjoyed the experience but for a number of reasons have decided to hang up my keyboard.

Thank you for your attention and your comments over the years.

All things must pass.

Six years?

Aye, that’s how long I’ve been writing this drivel apparently……

FireShot Screen Capture #054 - 'The Ben Lomond Free Press I Flashes From the Archives of Oblivion' - bigrab_wordpress_com


Thanks a Million!

Sometime today this blog will receive its millionth ‘hit’ since I started it in January 2008.

With over 150 followers getting posts sent by email (I know it says 116 on the left there but the actual figure is higher) , the blog itself doesn’t get quite so many hits as it used to but I’m pleased that more than 350 visitors a day still look in.

I’m taking a wee break just now but should be back in a couple of days.

Thanks for visiting and if one of these daft wee flash things pops up saying that you’re the 1000,000th visitor and you’ve won an iPad, click on it.

You never know!

Edited to add:

Almax – A snapshot

Here is a wee snapshot of the kind of thing that Alastair would post. Of course I respect his wish that his blog was private beyond the point at which he made it so but this post was published at a time when it was public.

It illustrates just how many interesting bits and pieces Al could squeeze into a few paragraphs:

(Click on the article for a better view)



A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a trip that a few friends and I had taken to Campbeltown to see an ailing friend. I referred to the fact that he hadn’t been too well recently.

That actually was a bit of an understatement.

He was terminally ill.

He knew that his chances of seeing out 2012 were remote indeed. Sadly the call came sooner than any of his family or friends had anticipated and I got the sad news that Alastair passed away early yesterday morning.

I first got to “know” him when he was a contributor to the fantastic “fanzine” The Absolute Game in the late 1980s. For those too young to know about these far off, pre-internet, simpler times, fanzines were underground publications produced independently of mainstream publishers and would invariably be based on music or football.

TAG was about Scottish football and was a breath of fresh air. Reading the irreverent yet highly articulate views expressed was the perfect antidote to the mainstream output of the monotonous, mediocre musings of aged hacks and ex pros which had hitherto been the stock in trade of sports radio and newspapers.

The influence of TAG and the like can still be detected in radio shows such as Off the Ball and the many websites and internet forums that have sprung up over the years.

With the advent of the Internet, sadly TAG folded. Alastair later recounted that one of the contributors had been Christopher Brookmyre. “He came in one day and announced that he was going to write a novel” Al recalled. “We all just laughed”.

Alastair later employed his writing talents on a blog called Alastair’s Heart Monitor. It was set up to keep family and friends informed of Al’s progress after life-saving heart surgery a few years ago. Later though as he recovered, it became a tremendous outlet for his creative talents. He wrote about music, football, politics, legal affairs and much more. It was on an internet search for something that I discovered the Heart Monitor and rediscovered the writer I knew from The Absolute Game.

Having recovered from his heart surgery, Alastair then resumed his legal career (the writing had always just been a hobby). An appointment to a senior position in the legal establishment meant that he felt unable to publish his sometimes radical and left field views on a blog with public access.

Thus he took the decision to make The Heart Monitor private. At the time he could only do this to include 35 readers. I was privileged to be one of these readers. The blog somehow became a community as readers, free of any wider public scrutiny could let their hair down a wee bit when commenting on posts. As many of Al’s friends were in the legal profession there were many very funny and poignant tales to be told.

Alastair then began to feel unwell again and a visit to the doctor revealed that another vital organ, his lungs, were the source of his fatigue and breathlessness. There were tests and more tests. There were trips to Glasgow and to Newcastle to assess his suitability for a transplant. Earlier this year Al received the cruellest of news that his physical state meant that in the opinion of the doctors he would not survive an operation.

This was when he was given the news that there was nothing more the medical profession could do and that the best they could offer was an oxygen bottle and the advice to make himself as comfortable as possible.

He was typically stoic and philosophical about the news and continued blogging right up until a few days ago when he posted a final “Bob on Sunday” piece. It was a weekly ritual of the Heart Monitor to feature a Bob Dylan track, often a rarity or a bootleg, on a Sunday.

I wonder if he perhaps had an inkling of what was going to happen. The very last words he typed on his blog were “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”

Although the Heart Monitor remains private, Alastair did publish some of his old articles from TAG on another, public blog for a while. It is well worth the trip here to read some of those, particularly if you have even a passing interest in the fitba’

The Heart Monitor introduced me to new friends I would never otherwise have known and was the inspiration for me to start this blog. Occasionally Alastair would link to an article I’d written or ask if he could pinch a bit or piece. This was praise indeed from the master of the art.

Farewell Almax.

You were an articulate,intelligent,caring and very funny man.

Everyone who knew you will feel a gap in their lives now that you are no longer here.

Four Years Ago

Four years ago (yesterday) I posted an article headed Harmonica Madness on the blog.

It was just me linking to an old video of a harmonica band I’d seen on Youtube. Since then this posting has brought old friends, even families together. People who hadn’t seen each other in years or decades.

In recent days two more replies were added to the post from relatives of Ken Howell an excellent harmonica player who once was a member of the Morton Fraser Gang and a man I was privileged to meet on several occasions.

Blogging does have its rewards and this posting was one of them.