• 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


This is from my poetic friend who spent his childhood in South Africa

Nelson Mandela  July 18, 1918 - December 5 2013

Nelson Mandela July 18, 1918 – December 5 2013

AnElephantCant always be funny
And he can’t always write the best rhyme
But he can say thank you to Nelson Mandela
The greatest man in his lifetime

We remember the man in the green shirt
We remember the smile on his face
We remember he forgave the long hurt
We remember he united a race

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
The words stir this elephant’s heart
Lord, bless Africa
Oh, Nelson, you made a great start

Ardmore Point

Regular BLFP correspondent John O’Hare sends this after reading yesterday’s post.

Ardmore Point



The rusting hulk of the bulk sugar boat


stuck in the craw


fast in the rivers gullet where it narrows


turned turtle,a hostage to the whims of wind and


maritime law


by the shoreline of youth curving,misted


where buoyed-up by hope and stainless vision


each day came and went unquestioned,unasked


there,we would root in rockpools for those other life forms


closed,hermetic unlike ourselves, who would give up their secrets


only after


being boiled alive at campfire inquisitions



john o’hare






This is a reconstructed life sized ‘heid’ of Robert Burns we encountered at Mauchline on Saturday.


Going by contemporary descriptions and depictions of Burns, this is not what I imagined at all.

This ‘classical’ engraved image of the bard was by John Buego, a friend of Burns in 1787.


This image was commissioned for the publication of Burns’s Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published by William Creech that year.

It is said that Burns was very pleased with the print and that he wrote to Beugo to congratulate him on it. In a copy of the book given to a friend he wrote the following lines.


This image by Archibald Skirving two years after Burns death, bears a striking resemblance to the Buego work.


One wonders what Rabbie would have thought of the ‘heid’ in Mauchline?

Thanks to the excellent Alexandria Burns Club Website

Bletherin’ Bitch

BELOW thir stanes lie Jamie’s banes;
  O Death, it’s my opinion,
Thou ne’er took such a bleth’rin bitch
  Into thy dark dominion!

Robert Burns writing about his friend James Humphrey.

Epitaph on a Noisy Polemic

In fact Humphrey outlived Burns by 48 years so the epitaph was written well in advance of the event of Humphrey’s death in 1844.

I was at the Mauchline Holy Fair yesterday and noticed this in the churchyard:


Humphrey, a stone-mason from Mauchline who was employed at both Lochlie and Mossgiel.

He was interviewed by Allan Cunningham in 1834, and recalled Burns with affection, indeed he was flattered even to have been on the receiving end of his poetic dig.

Humphrey had a degree of education and would sometimes engage Burns in debate, hence the subject of the epitaph.

It was also included as one of the epitaphs in the Kilmarnock edition.

I found this on a search:


John Cooper Carke

He was on Have I Got News For You the other night and it was good to see he still retained his sparkling wit.

This is from 1982 when you could smoke on telly but you still cound’t say the F word…..

Oh God!

Let Sleeping Gods Lie

If God made us, in “His own image”
Does that mean he looks like us?
So I guess he’s bald, with long blonde hair
A moustache and a forty inch bust.
He’s black and white and yellow too
A hermaphrodite to boot
Wears stockings and suspenders tied
to the jacket of a pin-striped suit
And when it comes to language
well. from every single land
(s)he takes every other syllable
which is why we’ll never understand
a single word that’s been handed down
from book to mouth to book
the faith of each nation
so lost in translation
so the warmongers get off the hook.

Danny Reynolds.

Not the Pet Shop Boys


A duck-billed platypus and a fictitious rock ‘n’ roller

AnElephantCant live in a Pet Shop
Although it is usually a very nice place
Full of white mice and puppies
And tanks full of guppies
But AnElephant takes up far too much space

There is so much here you can buy for your doggy
A collar a toy a wee dish
If you have a cat
You can get him a hat
But you can’t grant his wish for a fish

They have all sorts of exotic foreign creatures
A chameleon a pink cockatoo
But never a giraffe
Or a hyena that laughs
For that you must go to the zoo

Now when you hang out at a Pet Shop
You are enchanted by the animation of noise
Here a coo there a caw
You might hear a hee haw
But there’s no music by those East End Boys
(Or West End Girls)

The Animals can set up a Rock Band
The drums played by an adroit octopus
Perhaps a bull with a horn
A lute-playing unicorn
And no Jagger but a duck-billed platypus

A Pet Shop can’t be confused with that old ship
Where the animals went on two by two
There is only one crab
And that is Big Rab
AnElephant likes to finish with a joke that is gnu

I wandered lonely as a (mushroom) cloud

Some snappy titles here……

FireShot Screen Capture #080 - 'News From KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY of DPRK' - www_kcna_co_jp_index-e_htm


This is yours Truly, flanked by two freens at Dumbarton Burns Club on Friday



AnElephantCant understand banks!

I laughed out loud at this. Even funnier when you know the poet!

AnElephantCant keep it a secret
There is a whole lot that AnElephantCan
To stop folk unravelling
Wherever he’s travelling
AnElephant sometimes likes to pretend he’s a man

Your second favourite Elephant wears cute disguises
He has grey hair and staggers unsteady
You would not want to be him
But if you did see him
You’d think he was some wee laddie’s grand-daddy

He has an International Cash Passport Currency Card, VISA stamped.
This allows him to put real money, i.e. Scottish Pounds, into an account via a UK agent and withdraw fun money in US Dollars at any ATM in the USA.
This is a clean, simple and cost effective method of getting cash as required.
Safer than carrying large amounts, easier than TCs and not as extortionately expensive as using his Credit Cards for spending money.

So yesterday he needs cash.
He is in a strange town perhaps 20 miles from his hotel.
He pops into a gas station to use the ATM.
Insufficient funds for his needs.
He tries the next gas station.
ATM Out of Order.
He gets directions to the nearest bank, perhaps a mile away, from a friendly local.
He puts in his card and his PIN.
His requested amount is over the maximum (which is significantly less than $1,000 dollars).
He requests the maximum.
It gives him the cash and a receipt.
It does not return his card.
He enters the bank.
There is a host of pretty young ladies behind the counter.
He explains his situation.
They are friendly and sympathetic to his plight.
One offers him candy, to all round laughter.
The Assistant Manager is called.
ID please.
He has credit cards and other picture ID but does not carry his passport.
Cannot get card back without passport, he is told.
Bank rules.
He points out that he is here, he has withdrawn cash, he has receipt, he knows card is in machine, who else can he be?
Bank rules. A form must be filled.
He asks for, and is refused, a receipt for his card.
So at 16.30 on Friday evening he has to drive 20 miles each way to show a lady his passport, to retrieve his own card, which the bank’s ATM has erroneously snaffled.
He does this.
Not being very au fait with the area or the town he is in, this is just a mite stressful.
Traffic is heavy and, understandably at the end of a working week, just a little impatient.
But he returns triumphantly with his passport.
To be told:
We cannot give you your card.
Why not?
It is not embossed with your name.
It is a BANK RULE!
It is not embossed with your name.
Why is it a Bank Rule that you cannot return my card if my name is not embossed on it?
It is in the Procedures.
He explains very patiently that the machine accepted his card, and his password, and gave him cash and a receipt.
It is the fault of the bank’s ATM that they have what is clearly his card.
And now they will not return it?
It is a procedure.
A computer screen is turned towards him.
He points out that he sees a computer screen filled with many words.
Proof of nothing.
He asks for the manager.
She can’t help you.
He asks for the manager.
She appears, beautifully groomed and quite charming.
They retire to her office.

The above conversation is repeated ad nauseam.

The manager is now very charming.
It is a procedure, she smiles.
AnElephant is also charming.
Facing an increasingly Kafkaesque situation, he resorts to logic.
Then I would like to speak to the person who makes the procedures.
She laughs.
Then I would like to speak to the Bank President.
She stops laughing.
He removes his jacket and settles down in his chair.
He asks her:
Are you planning to leave me homeless and hungry in mid-winter on the streets of a strange town?
She summons assistance.
Get Sylvia on the phone.
Sylvia is apparently the Area Manager or something.
She is on Speaker Phone.
AnElephant once again explains the situation, politely ignoring the manager’s interruptions about procedures and rules.
Take me off speaker and let me speak to the customer.
She asks if the card number is on the receipt.
He tells her the card is apparently under armed guard.
She laughs, and asks to speak to the manager.
The manager listens, very briefly, then summons assistance.
The card is produced, and compared to the receipt.
The numbers, unsurprisingly, match.
Give him his card, says Sylvia.
He thanks her.
A form is slapped loudly in front of him by the lady who was summoned.
Sign here!
Did you forget the ‘please’, he asks with a smile.
Face like thunder, his card is slapped before him.
Thank you, he says, as she storms out of the room.
He looks at the manageress, who has the decency to be embarrassed at this.
Em, she can be a bit ….
She searches for an appropriate word.
Rude, he suggests.
She looks aghast.
Is this the American way, he asks her.
She shakes her head.
He tells her he agrees.
In some 6 weeks in the USA, he has been treated with courtesy at all turns.
People are unfailingly polite and friendly, fascinated by his accent and interested in his tale.
No, not his tail!

You all know that he does like to wander
He is cheerful and not at all dour
He really loves life
Perhaps because he ain’t got no wife?
He treats every day like another adventure

He hopes this is just a wee hiccup
And he can continue to withdraw his own money
It will be a real pain
To go through this again
And he might even stop being funny