Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Dying mothers

Some time ago I posted a description of a piece of music: desolate, lovely, warm, haunting (and so on).

Sometimes it's just the right thing to listen to - like now, for instance.

Here it is again.

Saturday, 27 March 2010



Not because I don't have anything to write about. Suddenly, there are plenty of things - but they're underpinned by uncertainty, worry, and anger. Most of all, the fear that positive developments (blogged about fairly recently) which are so close as to be practically under my nose, may slip away.

I honestly don't know how things will transpire, nor how much influence I may have over any of it.

I'm a little lost and lonely at the moment.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Misreading the signs (7ish)

Seen/misread on a toybox left outside a neighbour's house:

Patio Controlled Helicopter

I was genuinely puzzling over that when I saw it yesterday, though I read it correctly today.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


>10 PRINT "Airports give me OCD";

>20 GOTO 10

Monday, 15 March 2010

Softly through snow

I was having a walk round just earlier - another pleasant couple of hours spent striding beneath a dusky but clear sky, with the temperature mild and the subtle atmospherics all serving to advertise the fact that we're now well into the swing of Spring.

I'll soon away for a couple of days for a social visit to friends in central Europe. I haven't checked this week but last time I looked at the forecast it was still pretty much freezing over there.

As I was mid-stroll, before, I was casting my mind back to a specific memory from one of numerous holidays spent in Scotland. A bunch of us used to go at the height (or in the depths, if you will) of Winter: a different location each time, but with constants such as the degree of beauty, and remoteness of the surroundings.

The memory in question must have been almost exactly 10 years, 1 month, 6 days and 4 hours (the operative word so far is clearly almost..) ago. I loved being on holiday with this bunch of friends, but would always enjoy a short spell of solitude most evenings: half an hour or so, just to get some air, gather my thoughts and to takein the overwhelming silence that is part and parcel of being in the middle of nowhere.

This particular year it was so snowy that we'd bought a sled: already it was out of use since it wasn't designed for people of our size and weight. It lay in the middle of the grounds outside our cottage looking like a brightly-coloured coracle, half-obscured by another fresh fall of the white stuff. It was late at night - later than usual - when I excused myself, wanting to clear my head of the conversation, the music, the whisky, the smell of woodsmoke. Outside was a clear sky, the temperature plenty degrees below freezing.

I put on several layers beginning with thermals and ending with waterproofs and windproofs and went outside (not before quaffing a warming dose of Royal Lochnagar, bought direct from the local distillery), scooping the snow out of the sled and immediately lying down on it on my back.

The silence was almost shocking, the darkness would have been absolute but for the pinpoints of the stars which seemed to slowly multiply as my eyes adjusted. The deep snow served to dampen further any naturally occurring sounds.

The night sky - me under it, lying down looking up. I recall how my senses, previously dulled (not without good reason), felt very alive in appreciation of the scene. It occurred to me just how potentially hostile this environment could be. Yet here I was - insulated, cocooned, protected.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Change Wechsel Cambio etc

The last couple of weeks have been rather testing. Tense meetings, unmeetable deadlines, a heavy workload and a dollop of expectations on top, plus a garnish of uncertainty and unclear information.

It's been stressful at times. Two nights during this time, I've either turned a few anxious thoughts over in my head in the early hours, or have woken up early and done the same (we'll leave out last weekend where I just did the plain annoying "wake up at work time even though I don't have to and not manage to get back to sleep" which was not about stress) - something I've mostly avoided for a long time now, even in some very exercising circumstances.

But I think the real stress is less about the first couple of sentences above, but about what they stem from: change.

My job is changing and, if all goes well, it's a definite, dead-cert change for the better.

Change is by its very nature unsettling, on so many levels - even though it may be welcome. I realise that so many of my posts, particularly in the early days of this blog, dealt with the fact that I felt like I was in a rut and that I needed things to change - not least my work. At the time I was expecting that this would come from seeking new employment that would help me to head in my desired direction.

I've previously (several times) recorded the fact that my job has, against all my expectations (though in line with all my protestations), nudged in more of a "me" direction: each stage being simultaneously scary - not least the fear of failure - and welcome. Well this time it's less a nudge, and more a big kick in said direction. Thus the fear levels are so much more amplified.

One should be careful what one wishes for. At the moment it's at the (necessary) stage of all effort and no reward. With all the raised anxieties, self-doubt, displacement activity, coping mechanisms good and bad - and hopes - that serve as companions.

Still, as I write this, I feel calm and quiet.

Oh and I bought myself a new mobile phone at the weekend.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


...ah, that's it, I click on "New Post".

Anyway, whereas I felt like I'd woken up from my torpor in early February, now I feel like I'm rather more properly starting to wake up: because I have to. To echo that previous post, things don't just get done on their own. I have many things to organise and co-organise at work, in a very short time-frame: changes are now happening, and I will be doing much more art-related activity (in the form of sessions, workshops etc), possibly on a daily basis. There's a whole slew of structural and administrative things in place before that can start, and start it must.

Years ago I was desperately trying to change jobs to something more arty, and oddly enough my job has changed right under my nose without me going anywhere. It's exciting and daunting and there are so many things to do. So far it feels like a sense of urgency rather than outright panic, though I'm sure I'll have moments of the latter.

Also this week I've re-established a couple of valued connections: people I've known online since the earliest days of this blog and, in fact, since before then. Not that those connections were ever lost, nor even in need of urgent maintenance: but it's good to affirm that they're still there and as strong as needs be.

Despite my increased time offline (and my poor responses to blog comments and so on) of late, I hope to maintain my bloggy connections round these parts too.

Addendum-di-dum Oh yes, I forgot to add: today, I've decided, marks the official beginning of Birthday Season, in that there's a veritable cluster of them amongst people I know - friends, relatives, alive or not - cropping up with some regularity over the next couple of months (mine included). My grandad was born 99 years ago today - no longer with us, though he did reach the more-than-respectable age of 84.