Friday, June 26, 2015

Yesnaby, Oh Yes.

Yessnaby, Orkney.
So, Orkney was quite a ride. 

I loved walking up this cliff at 10pm at night (still light) with Michael Hough and Kate Tough. ( A bit of Huff and puff with Tough and Hough?) We lay on our backs, like teenagers, and looked at the sky. 

Lots of things reminded me of being young: the smell of the sea and farmland on the wind. The way the peaty ground has a small bounce under your feet. The squeal and squawk of sea birds. Those pinky clover flowers near the shore, beating the odds: wee bobbing balls of fluffy triumph.

The Writers' Course was good, even if I didn't get as much written as I had hoped for. Mea Culpa. Perhaps I am distilling it for later. 

Our course tutors, Pamela Beasant and Jen Hadfield were supportive poetry Maters, always packing a Writing Exercise and a well-targeted Sandwich Selection. 

We saw Damien Hirst's suspended sheep at the gorgeous Pier Arts Centre (apparently local farmers wholly disapproved and, yup, I get that...). 

We loved poet, Stewart Conn. What's not to love? Is it wrong to want to hug the man?

We watched the brilliant James Runcie give a spell-binding talk on Music, Poetry and Silence, elaborating on the power of all three to guide us through this random, turbulent miraculous thing called life. 

Job done, Orkney. Oh, Orkney of Standing Stones, Gore-tex and women who decide not to colour their hair any more (my people!?)

Stromness Hairdressers, Orcadia Cuts had photos of many's a lavish 'Up Do' in the window. Never mind the Bridal Hair, I just loved the phrase Orcadia Cuts (it for me).

I will look out for my fellow course mates in future years. I'm sure they'll have more to say.




Sunday, May 31, 2015

First World Dilemmas - is there any way to go gracefully grey?

Indulge me,  dear readers, with my first-world preoccupation -  my 'problem' grey-area.

I am 47 now and have been sticking 'a wee semi permanent' in my hair for about 5 years to cover emerging grey. (By the way - there is no such thing as grey hair - only white hair mixed with dark, giving the impression of grey). But I am weary of it. It is faff and a kerfuffle and the roots come through so quickly. I forget which colour I bought and get piebald 'brassy' tones. I wreck the towels and the bathroom lino.

Most of all, it does not feel authentic. It feels like a cheat - pretending to look younger than you are.

It's gender biased too. Men look fine with grey hair and silly with dyed hair. How did they escape? I am toying with getting it coloured regularly at the hairdresser but it costs a fortune, takes hours at a time, and guess what - 6 weeks later you have a big white/grey line where everyone knows you need to get your roots done. Again.

But it's amazing how many woman gasp and say. 'Oooh , nooo, don't go grey! It' so aging!  You can't!'   Hairdressers tend to just shake their heads in silent horror. Lots of my pals colour their own hair in the bathroom, and seem to be much better at it than I am, (as they are better at baking and similar things for which I have no ambition).

I am swithering and swithering, preoccupied with the vain trivia of it all - yet still lacking in my conviction to 'go for it'. I just found this online and felt like I had found a support group. 


If I'm going to 'go for it' I have to get through the awkward 'growing out' phase, knowing that the playground mums are thinking - isn't it time you had your roots done?

Will a splash of red lipstick distract from follicular hara kiri?  I doubt it. Time will tell which way I jump. 









Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pace Yourselves in the One Direction.

I'm pleased I've managed to download a free pedometer app on my phone - called Pacer, if anyone is interested. I don't have the time or the nouse to discover these things myself, but a friend-of-a-friend told me she was newly 'obsessed with it'. So I'm joining in.

I still can't believe, years on from the other side of ME, that I can walk as much as the next person. In the bigger picture, it's still a thrill and feels like a random, miraculous accident. None of my friends here knew the illness years. I still wish others trapped in ME could escape like I did.

So, it's nearly the end of May, although nobody's told the weather. Despite my new 'mastery' of apps, I am low tech when it comes to calendars. I love our  (Gruffalo) Family Organiser on the wall, with columns for each person. I get twitchy at the end of the month, wanting to flip it over to the next month, so all the new events are laid out fresh. 

Still, there is one more day to go before flicking it over to JUNE with a reassuring satisfaction -like hanging my coat on the brass peg in the front porch, or flicking off the bedside light each night. It's a kind of ah, there we go, feeling; pleasing for its small familiarity and unstoppable nature. We're all moving in the same direction, folks... the 'gither, as they say here in Scotland.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Bargain misery for only £1 !

Today I am reminded why I usually don't allow my kids to have random presents on a whim - no matter how cheap. Earlier I weakened and gave in to Hugh who wanted a polystyrene plane. Well, it' s only a pound, I thought!

Tess (reasonably) then wanted her pound's worth but couldn't find anything in Asda's 'cheap crap' section to satisfy her. I said I had a 'wee thing' at home and would give it to her.

Cut to: We arrive home. Tess decides that the Snoopy lip balm I had in a drawer was not up to standard and 'not a toy'. She falls into wails of sobbing and crying. Meanwhile Hugh's plane snaps in two on it's second  test flight about the garden. He too joins in the histrionic wailing. The combined wailing - peppered with 'it's not fair's - goes on for the best part of an hour. Quite a bargain for a £1 coin. JUST STAY STRONG. The pound shop is a bargain with the devil.





Friday, May 08, 2015

Where do we go from here?

Of course I should mention that I'm gunked by the election. We all are. 

I voted Green as they are closest to my heart, but even the SNP's success can't save us from the grim Tory plans: TTIP, more privitisation of public assets, NHS dismantling, tax cuts for the rich, fracking, leaving Europe, cutting public services and pursuing profit for the elite above fairness for all.

How is Scotland going to bear such selfish politics for another five years?

Go Nicola. Do your utmost to make us understood.


One Sunday, We Were Dancing Hippies

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Duped by Google, Twitching for a Skip, Voting and Running.

I want to take a day trip on the train tomorrow and I have spent hours, hours, rummaging through the house trying to find my family railcard. It would save me nearly 20 quid.

I keep turning to the computer, fingers hovering above the keyboard, thinking, why can't I just google it and google will guide me to it? Google will tell me where it is! The physical urge to have google save me, yet again, is over-riding my rationality.

Where, oh where are you hiding, pink rail card? I have vowed to clear out more clutter - or as much as domestic harmony will allow. Nice Man never throws out anything. Occasionally I start twitching for a skip. 

PS - I think a skip is called a dumpster in the US?
PPS - Yes, I know it is election day. I will vote and run.