01 July 2006

chichester and other things

Well, I went to see a friend ordained as a deacon today. The setting was Chichester Cathedral, the sun shone brilliantly and apparently there was a football match on. It was a crowded cathedral, and because I forgot my invite, we wound up sitting watching the whole thing on television. Yup - so popular it's televised. And yes, there were several chuckles when every third bloke asked if they could turn the footie on.

This wasn't your average ordination though. If such a thing exists. But this was a bit different as it was a Shinty Boy getting ordained. Shinty is a traditional Gaelic sport, similar to field hockey, noted for its violence, lunacy and gross consumption of alcohol before, during and after play. Well, that's how it's done in St Andrews at least. Which is why St Andrews has the worst shinty team ever. They never win anything, other than the party. This has led to the occasional ejection from the Athletic Union and police trouble. Someone who not only played this sport but served as a facilitator of mayhem within it is an odd choice for the Diaconate. That he intends to become a priest subsequent also raised some eyebrows.

I have no doubts though. I remember Huber (also known as Tim) from his 1st year and had many a chat, sometimes accompanied by a whisky or two, about faith, morality, the world etc. Huber never sought to convert (thank goodness), but to understand and help in whatever may need to be understood or helped. He's as brilliant a person as you could hope to meet. The church has gained a valuable addition. And should consider itself lucky that of all the Shinty Boys they could have got, they got him.

Bless y - oh, it's you, never mind.

You can take the boys out of St Andrews, but you should probably put them back.
After his 3rd dreadful chat-up line, Doris turned to find one of those sexy new Deacons she'd heard about. Bowker, defeated, put Chicago's Greatest Hits on full blast and turned to the bottle.

buttercups, lazy cats & a new garden

Just a few pics from the recent Scotland jaunt. Some because the light was good, one because the cat was cozy and the light was bad, and one because there's a garden where there once was jungle.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Bagel, the eternal kitten, chillin' in front of the fire (in June?)

A civilized picnic in a garden that used to be a jungle. This was the legendary Watkins's final day at work, and working hard he was. Honest.

30 June 2006

do not disturb

I'm back in the Belfry and I'm going to bed. Fingers crossed that peaceful sleep follows.

Tomorrow, I'm going to an ordination. Never been to one of those before.

29 June 2006

nap, interrupted

So I went for a nap and managed to sleep for almost a minute before I got woken up by loads of old family friends.

So it proves that I can fall asleep in short time. Just not at night.

So I cooked a nice meal and drank some nice wine and hopefully will sleep with a belly full of nice food and nice booze.

I'm going to start counting sheep. There are quite a few out there. And they're all really, really, stupid.

insomnia hither & thither

I haven't slept properly since Sunday evening. I'm not sure why. But Monday, my first night of little sleep, saw me lying on back, eyes wide staring at the ceiling until about 430 or 5 in the morning. When sleep did come, it was brief and followed by a 400 mile drive. Tuesday, exhausted from the drive and lack of sleep, I went to my bed early and attempted various contortions for about 3 or 4 hours before finally passing out. Yesterday was the yo-yo between Fife, West Lothian, Perthshire and Edinburgh - back and Forth (geddit?) to touch base with as many of the gang as possible while still making it home in time for dinner. I was late for dinner. And after dinner was out again for a cup of tea with someone whose wife I'd rather have had a cup of tea with. Again, pretty tiring. Again, hours before Morpheus grabbed me.

There's quite a lot on my mind at the moment, and I have a stiff knee. I massage the knee and stretch it to subdue the stiffness. I try the same with the stuff on my mind, but have more luck with the knee. Any one of the things on my mind could be hindering my zzzz's and I do go through all of them a couple of times while staring at the ceiling, wall, window or pillow - I'd probably be better counting sheep.

I said goodbye to a beautiful girl yesterday. It was an odd parting. For a brief time we were inseparable, much to the chagrin of her then boyfriend. She played a large part in me wanting to rediscover adventure and look back to goals long forgotten. Sadly, running alongside her own sense of adventure was a naive, blind conformity to the people she felt she had to run with and the direction her life should take. For such a passionate person to be so dispassionate, yet focused, about the course of her life broke my heart a little. Maybe she's right, and corporate finance, MBA's and no vacation time is right up her alley. But there's no excitement or even trepidation when she talks about it - just a shrug of shoulders and a blank look of inevitability. Apparently it's what all the cool kids are doing. I mentioned this a few times but to deaf ears and we grew apart in as little time as we'd been friends in the first place. Yesterday's meeting was cordial and affectionate and we drank our sparkling water with smiles, but I fear it really was goodbye. There were no silly squirrel impressions and no fond recollections, just a recital of brand names purchased and luxury holidays to be booked for the future.

I brought film with me to get developed in St Andrews because people in-the-know know that it's the place to get film developed. Sadly, as good a developer as Ian Joy's is, they are only as good as what they're given and not since I started taking pictures have I snapped such rubbish. Maybe 2 pics in 3 rolls worth looking at, but certainly not posting. Oh well.

In spite of all this, Scotland has once again fit like a snug glove, the cats are in excellent form and even the weather's been good. On my run this morning I found many a toad and even some wild borage - a perfect Pimm's garnish - growing on the banks of the Union Canal. I'll be sorry to leave tomorrow but may be back sooner than planned.

Hopefully with more sleep. It's bothering me, the lack of sleep. It's sort of like the twitch I had last year. If it's some sort of response to stress and fatigue, then it's a bad one - it just makes me more stressed and fatigued. Sometimes it strikes me that I'm angry about something, but it eludes me as to what that may be. Perhaps I'll try a nap.

26 June 2006

no flowers in the attic

There's something about children and attics. For kids, attics are unknown frontiers - danger and adventure waits in every dark corner and a box of old clothes may be hitherto undiscovered treasure. Omnipresent dust conveys atmosphere and there may well be a treasure map jammed between the rafters. It gives you an excuse to play with flashlights. The prying eyes of adults are easily avoided in attics, making them both mysterious and a refuge from the rest of the world. They ignite imagination. Some of the greatest children's adventures in fiction kick off in attics: The Famous Five, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Magician's Nephew - attics abound and play an integral part in everything from solving crimes to discovering new worlds. The Goonies kicks off in an attic. As a petulant youth I felt our lack of attic (condos are not attic friendly) a sign of terrible deprivation and as such any friend with space between the ceiling and the roof was a friend indeed.

I keep in close contact with my inner child. I still watch cartoons (good ones - Pixar and the like), I love the snow and sometimes I just need to be silly. I wish they built playgrounds for grown-ups. Pirates are still cool and part of me still thinks it's not too late to be Indiana Jones. I still love Star Wars - the originals, of course.

This weekend we cleared out our attic and part of my inner child died. Or was in a very deep sleep. I'm hoping for the latter. An attic for an adult is a place to throw shit you hope never to have to move again, which then attracts dust like Charlie Sheen attracts hookers. In the summer, which it is at the moment, it's hot enough to roast chicken in and that, combined with the disturbed dust (which as a child was atmospheric) chokes you rotten while you're hunched over trying not to smack your head against one of the beams, chucking stuff down the ladder as fast as possible so that you can get the hell out of there and breathe again.

So what was up there? Well, lots of clothes, boxes full of copies of my dad's book, boxes full of some strange business literature no one will ever need, more clothes and enough luggage for the wives of the England football squad (though not quite up to their strict fashion standards).

No treasure map
No treasure
No clue to a crime
No doorway to another world
No fun

That's more dusty luggage than anyone will ever need, ever.