15 September 2006

The edge of the world. Or North Fife & Perthshire.

The weekend beckons. It starts with lunch today and ends sometime Sunday. I'll have something at the end of it that I didn't have at the beginning: a car.

And probably a hangover.

If there's a post before Sunday night, then something's gone wrong.

14 September 2006

Pictures on a rainy day

When it rains in Scotland it's hard to imagine than anywhere else in the world has sun. Or that it still exists at all. But it does.

Didn't have to fix the pipe this morning. Joy.

Today I'm catching up on unheard podcasts & unwritten pages.

Listen to Snow Patrol - Eyes Open.

Rocks at low tide, Crail
Fishing boat coming home, CrailSea wall & tower, Crail
Low tide and mist, Crail
The viaduct, Linlithgow Bridge

13 September 2006

earning beer, wine & opinion

There are certain life experiences that you can't put on your CV, no matter how much you feel the effort and suffering have made you better for whatever challenge future employment may lay at your feet. Sometimes these things are dreadful. The epitome of why you chose a life other than that which would have lead you to willingly do that thing as a career, or even by accident. Today I helped clean a victorian septic tank. The heady, pastel-imagery of yesterday replaced by, well, shit. It was awful, and the selfish brat in me wants a medal and a parade for dealing with it. I grasped at the straws of consolation - building character, the beer tastes better afterwards, working in the sunshine, earning my keep, et al. Nothing helped. But I endured, a small sense of accomplishment mingled with disgust and feverish need of a shower ensued. There's a reason plumbers earn vast amounts of money in the UK. Because no one wants to shovel, rod, drain, or have anything to do with shit. And they're right, and I feel that we should keep paying plumbers vast amounts of money. And I can stand on my soapbox, ranting, because I've earned that opinion. And a beer. And a glass of wine.

Tomorrow we fix the pipe that leads to the tank, whether it rains or not. Joy.

12 September 2006

several seasons

The water smouldered with the ghost of the early morning haar, wisps and tendrils reaching up towards the shore, the bridges and the sky. I was late, so the camera stayed in the boot. Above, charcoal smeared clouds edged with brass loomed, to the north the rest of the haar lingered, obscuring the cliffs behind North Queensferry. The odd bit of pastel blue poked through, looking lonely. It looked like another world. Across the bridge, in the other world, the light and sky continued its show. And those in the right lane on the M90 refused to reach the speed limit. The Redhouse Roundabout smelled of peanut butter. Clouds the size of counties battled the sunlight, neither yielding, giving rain, rainbows, glorious summer warmth and the chill of shadows. My partner in crime for the day collected, we headed for the coast, wary of the rain, thirsting for the light and hungry for lunch. Soup and a sandwich in a quiet pub in a quiet village, nestled in front of a deserted beach. Sated, we wandered the beach, seeking crabs and the odd minnow. The tide out, the pools of the sea's leftovers enjoying their temporary independence, we sought new life and talked rubbish. It started to rain, but stayed warm, so we headed back to the car but didn't rush. Crail next, as postcard a seaside village as you will ever get, and the misty haar still lingered on the water in front of Bass Rock. The sun dazzled through cartoon cotton clouds and the lobster shack was typically closed. We walked the pier and I snapped some pics. St Andrews next, for a beer and a natter. It's all different and the same. West Sands then, for a beach walk and more talk, the sky ceaseless in its entertainment. Deposited the partner in crime and sped south, the cats needed fed and so did I. Crossing the bridge and fissures in the cloud to west erupted with the molten evening sunlight, bathing the water and the shoreline.

The cats needed fed, the camera stayed in the boot.

curry, cars & Steve Irwin

Solitude's a funny thing. I like my own company. Writing is about as lonely a career as you can choose, so it's just as well. But every once in awhile, you just need to be with your mates. You need company. I'm alone in the house for a couple of days and last night I genuinely felt a bit lonely. I phoned a lot of people, caught up a bit, started the 'agent hunt', but when I hung up, I was still in a big house by myself in the middle of nowhere. Normally, this would be a good thing. Many pages get written in such situations. So I finally settle down to do some writing, pour myself a beer and re-read page 140-odd. But I wasn't ready yet, so I checked Messenger to see if Irony was about, as I hadn't chatted with her in ages and she was grumpy the last time. Irony was about and on spectacular form, with all sorts of good news. Friends with good news are a much underrated wonderful thing. Chat turned to dinner. There was food in the house, but I fancied a curry. I mentioned this and was told I was a bastard because I could go to the Balaka for a curry. The Balaka's in St Andrews, just over an hour drive away. I dismissed the idea at first, citing the distance involved and the general extravagance of traversing a couple of counties and a firth for a curry. It was the non-driver in me. It just didn't occur to me that I could drive to St Andrews to eat dinner and drive back. It wasn't even seven yet. And I'm the one who harps on about needing adventure in my life. So I phoned Pete W, mired in a stocktake in St Andrews, and told him we were going for a curry - I'd be there in just over an hour. And with the Kaiser Chiefs as my theme music, bounding over the Forth Road Bridge, that's what I did. It felt good, the company was good, and the curry was ace.

Off to Fife again today, to whisk a gorgeous young student away from her dissertation to buy her lunch and see if her incredibly fit friend still fancies me, or at least remembers who I am. There's a picture of her draped over me somewhere on this site - the friend that is.

In other news, an old friend, deeply upset at the loss of Steve Irwin, has started a poetry tribute to him. The best will be sold to raise money for his conservation fund. So, without further ado, I give you Steph Lunn's tribute, penned in a moment of grief last Friday.
Golden crinkly spaces of time will pass
But your khaki-tinted memory will last

And when we watch you handling snakes
What hearts your memory will break

How odd that we still fancied you a bit
As you rolled around in crocodile sh*t *(no swearing in the office)

But all good things must come to an end
Someday our sad little hearts will mend

So next time I’m chasing Komodo Dragons up a tree
I will close my eyes and think of thee

And while with your memory I’m smitten
I will try my best not to get bitten….

And with a bottle of wine so white
We’ll drink to you and your crocs tonight

RIP Steve xx
If you'd like to submit a poem (no time wasters please), email stephlunn@msn.com with the subject line "croc poet." I think she had a bit of a crush on him, poor thing.

11 September 2006

Intelligent Life (& cows)

We drank in the sun while we drank in the sun yesterday. To call it the last bbq of the summer would be depressing, but it may well have been. The spaniels presented everyone with rocks, sticks, bits of coal and copious quantities of slobber. The cows from the field next door got curious and had a look in. We got curious and leapt the fence, wondering if it was possible to ride a cow. There had been much drinking in the sun by this point. The cows, smarter than drunk people, ran away. I ate too much Thornton's toffee cake.

Today I feel as though I'm made of cotton wool.

Cows: smarter than drunk people