So there I was in the Village an hour ago, one or more pints tucked under my diminishing belt. (Yes - I am going sober soon, very soon, but not today, as it turned out.)
This man came in, while A whom I'm not allowed to mention in any way - A - was outside sookin on a fag - so I got chatting to the new man. (Let's call him Ian, for that was his name.) Nice frame. Brownish skin, lightly not excessively tanned, as a queen would have done. Tattoos on both arms... really the sort of guy I would have made a play for in those days - long time ago - but you have to grow old gracefully.
I mentioned hillwalking to tattooed Ian. (Whenever I talk to a man in a bar I'm fully expecting a glass in the face at any minute. You have no idea - none - how wonderfully integrated gay people are. Not. I'm being ironic, if you're that fucking stupid.) This is why I almost never talk to anyone. Ever.
We talked about camping. About hillwalking, as I say. About his family, who sounded lovely. About anything other than my gayness, and the fact he would hate me the moment he got it sussed.
"He seemed an OK guy," said A, referring to Ian after he left. "Yes," I agreed. "You have no idea how nice it is just to talk to a straight man without being hated."
A laughed at that. I said what the fucking hell are you laughing at. What do you know about it.
They have no idea, the straights. They think cos it's OK for Elton John and Matthew Murdochboy Parris that it's OK for everybody else. Fuck off. Get real. Try being GAY AND 60 for five minutes. Just try it. Hatred from the straights because you're gay. Hatred from the gays because you're old.
Mardi Gras. Fucking Gras. Festival Fucking City.
Video Really Killed
Well that was an interesting few weeks on the radio, but now over. Trials go both ways. Thanks for your kind appreciations, both here and in other media.
It'll be nice to have Mondays to myself in future - spend more time with my family - but it's a shame for Meg, who was really enjoying her broadcasting. I hope they find her a slot.
You may congratulate me. Today was a day off, and today no - that is not one - drop of alcohol has entered my mouth. This is a world record. Guinness book of.
I've taken an inventory of my life, and the following has been identified as a problem:
I used to say, "If I don't drink then I don't talk." And this is at present true. But what talk do I get? Now there's the rub. Alcohol rub.
Half the time it's fending off moronic Constitution Street homophobe layabouts. The ones my poofy taxes buy the drinks for.
FOUR GETS IT WRONG AGAIN
And on that topic, someone told me Channel Four have been doing gay ishoos all week. Apparently there was a drama by him who did My Night With Reg. (Which was quite good, but then of course I was alive in those days.) But I hear the latest effort, Clapham Junction, was garbage. Garbage in, garbage out, they say in computing. GIGO.
So last night I dutifully tuned in to some debate or other. Chaired by a heterosexual, the heterosexual chairman told us. (Clearly no suitable poof could be found.) And full of the most unrepresentative gays you could ever imagine. Whole bunch of London media-luvvies. Matthew Parris. Julie Bindel. I mean what the fuck do they know about real life - gay or straight? Where was the gay postie, or the young dyke bus driver with Tom Cruise shades and gelled hair?
Silly, silly Channel Four.
HOST MY POST
I need a free audio hosting solution. (Love that word, solution!) Then you can hear me climbing Arthur's Seat!! It's a solution!!
Yes that's right. Leith FM have issued me and Meg each with our dinkie little Digital Voice Recorders, and today I even sat in sober and learned how to edit. There is now no limit to the interviews I can fake! Look out GMTV, is what I say.
Hosting Solution. In my comment box, pronto, s'il vous plait.
Castpost aren't taking any new subscriptions. There's a new outfit called One Dump, but I kept getting invalid file type, even though I offered two different flavours of mp3. Audacity on to LAME, for the technical reader.
And how are you all getting on, anyway? Kinda quiet round here these days. Although I've been no great shakes myself at getting out and about. Goes around comes around, as my etc.
Heroes got off to a good, if predictable start. The daft Japanese kid was a surprise. I'll never keep it up, though. All that time and attention to Lost, and then Channel Four lost it to Sky. Ironic. I see Matthew Fox is advertising face cream or summat. Hah.
Mebbe you can put audio on YouTube. Darling zoe has just sat on my false teeth.
Update: Yes, you can put audio on YouTube, you just make it in to a movie.
Do NOT look at these pictures. This is meant for radio and radio alone. It is LIVE AUDIO, not an added commentary. (Just over five minutes, and really quite boring.)
Scene: Stewart and I in central Edinburgh, yesterday teatime, having just got off the country bus from the Pentland Hills where we'd been walking. Now we needed a further bus to Leith, where we both do abide. Along came a 22.
So there we were, getting on the number 22 bus. Rucksacks and bus passes. As usual at that time of day the bus was crowded. Standing room only.
Suddenly, a young man of around twenty stood up, walked right past Stewart - who must look 10 years older than me if a day - and beckoned for me to take his seat.
Clearly he didn't realise I was the fittest person on the bus! Evidently it had escaped his notice that backpack plus trekking poles equals strong legs! I was black affronted, I can tell you, but quickly regained my composure. (As a radio star I've learned to react very quickly. Not to say bingo caller.)
"Thank you, young man," I said back. "That's very kind of you, but I'll stay with my bag, thanks." (I'd dumped the bag in the empty Metro container.)
But I wasn't finished with him. Oh no. This was a life-stage. It needed milking for all it was worth. (Stewart was laughing and guffawing his head off... "oooh - it's you he picked, not me..." Gloating.) He said he was gonna say it on the radio today.
"That's very kind of you, really," I repeated to the young man, who by now had re-inserted his earplugs. "And do you know - that's the first time it's ever happened to me!" (Waspishly, at that part.) Stew stirring things up like a witch at a cauldron.
And that was the end of our day in the Pentlands. We did the rollercoaster. Five hours. I think I upset Stew when I said I normally do it in three. Hence his joy at the bus incident. Goes around comes around, as my bingo ladies say.
Work today, more hills tomorrow. Energy is boundless, without visible limit. You really must get off your ass and move. (Those of you who can.) Highly recommended. Doctors make you worse. Hills make you better.
Had a bit of a "day off" yesterday. A day of being me, rather than what others constantly expect. Well, except darling zoe, but all she really asks is some grub and lots of TLC.
Lovely to lie on the sofa, reading inconsequential manuals for this and that (mostly outdoor related) and not having to perform like a circus seal. Times I think my personality is all used up. Given away. Running on empty. You can see why showbiz people are such messes, rarely normal, hardly stable.
Bout teatime the desire for some non-feline company arose... accompanied a lightening of the hithertofore black skies, so off we headed to prepare for today's little show. "Prepare" in this sense means buy some papers and more tunes. Ever more tunes. Radio is a tune-gobbler extraordinaire. I got 101 Jukebox Classics from that shop in Ocean Terminal we never mention due to rudeness of the staff. Sixteen quid for 101 tunes, if I recall. (This is just as well, as Stew left an early message that the music computer is broken.)
I also got a Scott Walker collection, in which he sings loads of depressed songs by Jacques Brel and then commits suicide. Six quid just, for all that pain and angst. Bargain. (You could do an entire two hour show with just him and Dusty Springfield, and end Leith's mental health problem at a stroke.) They'd all have topped themselves.
Meg and I are meeting an hour in advance today, to thrash out some plan or other. Topics are bound to include the lying BBC and the pothead cabinet. Ofcom rules make it streng verboten to promote drugs, so we won't do that. But I'm sure satire and ridicule are still allowed. Harriet Harman. I ask you. Alastair Darling. It's not their drug histories that offend me - it's that they're such fucking nonentities.
Of course the Tories can say nothing, nada, as their own Hauptfuhrer has something of an undisclosed previous himself.
I'm so sorry I haven't read your blog for ages. But we're trying to keep up some output here, as you can read below, s'il vous plait.
First place I stayed in, after leaving home at 18. Lavender Hill. Mysore Road, off Lavender Hill, off Clapham Junction.
Full of fucking Londoners. They made a movie called Up The Junction. Black and white. Hated that too.
Got out of there ASAP, into Shepherd's Bush, which was marginally, only marginally more stylish.
The best one was Lexham Gardens, at the foot of Earls Court Road. 144. Russell Harty stayed in Lexham Gardens, but the News Of The World fitted him with a rent boy. Died soon after. Glad to be gay. Murdoch press.
Much Too Thin
I'm spreading myself far too thin. Once it was just the bingo and Naked Blog. Now it's six gigs at the bingo, plus what must be a triple shift with the outdoor group, and then a doubler (taking into account preparation before, and drinks afterwards) with the radio show.
A girl hardly gets a second to draw breath.
Thank you for your kind comments and emails, which I promise I'll reply to ASAP. It's totally bonkers at the moment, but this won't last - winter will soon be here, with 24/7 depression... then the computer (AND YOU) will be my only friends, and so on.
Wish me well (and darling zoe) so long as it lasts, which won't be long.
Hear us here tomorrow. Noon till two. Must get something on the sidebar, but there's ne'er minute to alter a single thing. The BBC will be there later today, talking to us, but they're just so discredited. Fucking fakers.
I'm going to say that on air, naturellement.
My air, which I can control - if not necessarily theirs which I clearly can't.
Oh dear. What's to become of us all? Someone once called it "the mass amateurisation of everything".
"A string of Cabinet ministers have owned up to smoking cannabis after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she had used the drug at Oxford in the 1980s. Chancellor Alistair Darling and Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly are among those to admit using the drug when they were younger." BBCi
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was among those to say they had never used it, before asking Harriet Harman to roll him a six-skinner on top of her despatch box.
Times like this doncha just wish there was still Spitting Image?
Here at Naked Blog we confess to never having smoked cannabis at university. No, we did it much later, in the nineties, which hereabouts were a sort of "second chance to see" the 60's.
Old enough to know better. Peer pressure. Everybody I knew, etc. Mea culpa.
Since then, about a dozen have died (including Gordon Edey, Percy, Ju, Big Al), and many more are fit only for the padded cell. Cannabis is not bad news: it is fucking lethal. Just say no. And I mean it.
Lovely afternoon yesterday with me ol mucker Babs. Started in the Port Inn, then to that new joint where the Black Swan used to be... Roseleaf, if I recall... in the heart of Benidorm country... then to the Village where Chav Gav and others were at hand for banter and amusement. No cannabis was smoked. Good time was had by all. Lovely to see Gwen again too.
Some intelligent commenter has taken to signing him/herself under various names of my regular and valued (real) commenters. Clearly a cannabis aficionado.
Yes it's true. Unlike their sister organisation, the BBC (Blatantly Broadcasting Cheats), Scotland's newest and brightest broadcaster, Leith FM, was today given a clean bill of health over all their phone-in operations.
"The blunt truth is that no-one ever phones in," confessed chairman Stewart Lochhead from behind a fourteen inch cigar. "Otherwise we'd be cleaning up bigtime. You better believe it. This is Leith, after all." He looked a bit startled by his own admission then, and pressed a buzzer - at which a pair of burly Polish security guards slid in to his plush office. "Now don't you go putting that in your report, my good chap," he said, menacingly.
New Stars on the Horizon
We spoke next to Pete n Meg, Leith FM's hottest new presenters. (They've already been compared to Posh n Becks on more than one occasion!) "Yes, we did have one fraudulent call," admitted Meg. "It was from someone pretending to be a police officer... PC Murdoch, if I recall." (Readers will note that PC Murdoch is a character in the Oor Wullie comic strip.)
"But I got the fraudster back," laughed Meg. "Next time we met I threw a pint of cider over him! That sure dampened his ardour!"
This illustrates, more graphically than words, the "zero tolerance" approach to fakery of Leith FM on 98.8 MHz. You really should tune in, you know. Especially on Monday from 12 to 2, for more cider-tossing, police-baiting fun and games with Pete n Meg!
You've got to be in it to win it!
Shock Update 2pm:
Guess who's coming to our studio to make a programme.
Yes that's right. The BBC. On Monday. All day. Meg's and my day. I knew our show would go places, but even I didn't think it would be that quick.
(They'll probably shunt us off to Tuesday. Too shocking.)
Even Shocker Update 8.30pm:
Just watching the Victoria Beckham programme on ITV 2 (yes, really - our knob does stretch that far on occasions) and thoroughly enjoying it.
FYI: Mrs Beckham knows what planet she's on - a very lucky planet indeed. What planet is Lucy Mangan on? What life would she have without TV personalities such as la Beckham? Very, very little, I declare.
And there we were today, Meg and me. Meg was wearing a cowgirl hat she'd bought in Oregon, and I - me - well I was sitting wondering what the fuck was going on.
Prosaically I was looking for a copy of yesterday's show so I could forensically see where it'd gone wrong.
Big hairy Dave was there, and he worried with the timings, back and forward. Our show had started with Killer Queen - that bit I did know.
And suddenly there we were - suddenly Killer Queen ending and my voice, my unbelievable voice was there... the glory.
I'm sorry - that's what it is. That voice. It's unbelievable and I've had decades to get used to it to it. Decades. Critics can just fuck off. Meg and me gonna work OK I think. What a fucking voice I got. My dad was the same but then he got prostate cancer and died.
Sorry for the break in transmission. This was due to nothing more dramatic than getting a life, I think they call it. That and Computer Avoidance Syndrome. (I just invented that one. You look at the computer and think... would the world end if I avoided switching it on?) The answer is obvious. So you stroke the cat instead - the cat you feel guilty for neglecting due to being outdoors so much. The outdoors you feel you have to immerse yourself in because there's a hint of blue in the sky, and it might not last for much longer. One swallow doesn't make a summer, sort of thing.
Sunday I walked with the group, which it's not policy to write much about. Hills near Peebles. Black and White Meldons, to be precise. Fun enough, but not desperately taxing. So Monday dawned nice again, and faced with the choice of walk or do something useful like Council Tax, then the answer was obvious. Again. Walking has become my Pain Avoidance Syndrome. I did the Pentland rollercoaster, then chatted to the handsome and friendly young barman in the Flotterstone. No rush. No "must get the half past one bus".
Tuesday really should have been resting, for the feet in the new boots if nothing else. To wear them three days running would be the height of stupidity. So I wore them three days running. This time a deliberate low level walk... West Linton to the Covenanter's Grave.
Remember my visit to the site of the Battle of Rullion Green? Lots of Covenanters were killed. One who was almost but not quite killed struggled some miles west to the cottage of shepherd Adam Sanderson, where he died. The shepherd took his body up into the hills, and buried him in sight of Ayrshire, his home. It was that moving, perfectly complemented by the heavy grey sky. Leaden. Nowadays the only people prepared to die for their beliefs seem to be suicide bombers. Not that I'm advocating that, of course, but it makes you think.
You can read about the Covenanters here. I had thought it was just Protestants v Catholics, but it's more complex. Presbyterians v Episcopacy, to be exact, but you don't need a lecture on the Scottish Reformation.
(Things were simpler in England. They just swapped Rome for Canterbury, got rid of transubstantiation and the Apostolic succession, named the new entity the Church of England, and then continued much as before. With nae mair Hail Marys.)
That really is enough religion. Mobile phones are the opium of the masses nowadays. And iPods. And fast food outlets.
A rewarding day, moving. The Covenanter's Grave is a famous Scottish landmark, the more dramatic because of the remote location, difficulty of access and equal difficulty to actually find on a bleak and featureless hillside. The day was marred later by some homophobia in the Gordon Arms Hotel in West Linton, by four gentlemen who seemed to find my shaved head (alopecia, if you recall), objectionable. Not quite sure what to do. I should return and face up to them this time, for closure. Strange. I'd thought of West Linton as a wholly pleasant place. Muttered remarks like those on Tuesday wouldn't have been out of place in Constitution Street.
And apart form that, not a lot. Stewart rang on Wednesday to offer a trial run on the radio, which you can read about below. Clearly my main duty is to turn up - something I'm fully aware of. I said I'd like to have Meg as co-presenter, and there we are. Bob's yer uncle.
Thanks for all your kind concerns over my absence, and you may if you wish read last night's little melodrama below. Meg and I had been celebrating our coming stardom. We went to the Regent, but she didn't throw her drink over anyone. Me I got wasted on Scrumpy Jack. Wasted on one bottle. But all I'd had to eat that day was toast.
What's been happening in blogland? I'll pay you all a visit soon, but right now it's work, then more work, then walk, then radio. Days on end. Never a dull moment when you're sixty.
Sponsor our show why doncha. You know you're loaded. Go to Covenanter heaven.
(Oh and yes - Darling Zoe has been getting loads of TLC. Loads. She sends a happy miaow to you.)
"You've just missed Meg!" Alan in the Regent declared yesterday evening. "You should have had your camera - it was amazing." Turned out Meg had thrown a pint of beer over PJ, a male customer of the hetero persuasion. "Oh that's so wonderful..." I replied discreetly, watching PJ dabbing at his wet torso. "The times I've wanted to do that myself..."
PJ doesn't seem to be a desperately bad man, but he would be the first to admit to being "aggravating". Extremely. Aggravating. So good on yer Meg. I texted her to offer congratulations, the first ever text on me new fern.
Like A Virgin
Remember charming Richard at Virgin Mobile? Well, charming he might have been. Aggravating not at all. But young Richard completely got my forms wrong, with the result that I waited in all day yesterday for a phone which wasn't even on its way. Jose.
(I only found this out when I phoned Eliza at four thirty. She was that apologetic. But apologies don't do Send To Many.)
So I trotted up to Virgin Megastore in Princes Street. Or "Princess Street", as Eliza eagerly described it. No honey - I'm the princess, that's the street. Up to Virgin Megastore, where I met Singhi, who was desperately trying to cope with a gentleman of about 80 who kept speaking when she was trying to tell him things. Funny or what! Then another woman turned up and I told the two of them I'd never seen such a stressful job. And foul blaring "music" all the time, with it being a "record" store.
Singhi had the most lovely white tips to her nails, which contrasted beautifully with her skin tone. I considered telling her that, but held back, in case of misunderstanding.
Long story short: she got my SIM card installed, and I was that delighted to see my Phone Directory again, now called Contacts, that I asked her to marry me. She wasn't that impressed I could tell, and told me to leave the shop. Oh dear. I was only being friendly I thought.
One of the salesmen was speaking in Polish to a young couple. (I'm seriously thinking of becoming Polish. It's hugely fashionable. Can't be that hard to pick up the lingo.)
Off to the Grosvenor to get the knack of the new fern over a pint of foaming Tennents. It's got a radio, which was an IMMENSE BOON on the bus later. Moonlight Sonata versus Loud Schemie Talk. Which would you choose, eh? (Bus passes are all very well, but you do need sound-proofing. I take it all back what I've said about iPods. Every word. But only on buses, though.) Leith FM was broadcasting in Polish, which is exactly what a Community Radio shouldn't do. But I'm not the boss - just his favoured walking companion.
Talking of which, I wore the new hillwalking bootees throughout this shopping trip. Plus walking socks which cost ELEVEN POUNDS! For ONE PAIR! (Normally I get a six pack for a tenner from Debenhams.) Planned on a jaunt up Arthur's Seat after the phone business was fertig, but it started to rain (what's new?) and I truly didn't fancy drowning Meg the new phone on her first outing.
Thank you for loving yesterday's little essay on blogging. It was a pleasure, darlings. I've got nothing better to do now I'm retired :o)
Sitting here waiting for my new Nokia phone to arrive.
Thinking about a couple of things, apropos blogging, probably my third biggest interest. (You can maybe guess the first two, but don't get too sure of yourself.)
Mike TD, who is, incidentally, my longest-surviving blogpal, has just given a talk at a book festival, on the matter of blog-to-book conversions. Now, every kudos and respect for the gig, and of course that is what a blogger would reasonably talk about at a book festival, but blog-to-book is really a non topic.
Por qua, Peter?
Let me tell you...
How many bloggers are there?
No-one knows, but it must be in the hundreds of millions.
Of those, how many... (you can guess the question, too.)
Ten? Twenty, tops? In the whole world?
This means, dear blogger, that your likelihood of ever appearing on the front of a book is < 0.0000000000001. Give or take a few zeros. As I say, a non topic.
I forget who it was who observed that in blogworld, success is defined as escaping from it. Well no, it isn't. Not here, at least. And we MUST lose that worldview.
It's natural to think in existing terms, not to bother stretching those mental wings! But I'm not going to let you vegetate. The first big advance in writing was when it left clay and went on to paper. Then came Herr Gutenberg and his clever printing machine, and with it moveable type.
Then came nothing at all for several hundred years. Type, type, moveable type. Books, newspapers, magazines... shareholders and profits. The expense of production too great for the amateur. You wrote for someone else's profit, or you wrote a diary which stayed in a drawer.
For a time there were Roneo machines and Banda machines. Paper zines came. But then...
Tada! The thing you are reading now. Free for you to read. Cheap for me to produce. The internet has changed the face of opinion, bigger than the biggest bang ever.
The production of writing in previous centuries was a calm affair. Scott banged out his now unreadable guff, and was feted and lauded. South of the border, Dickens told his stories as magazine serials, them only later appearing as bound books. Newspapers thundered their aristocratic and wealthy owners' points of view. The world was stable.
But now, all hell has broken out. Nothing will ever be the same again. We have the "writing as business" people desperately trying to cling on with their newspapers and magazines, whilst the "give it away, there's plenty more" folk, bloggers and others, churn out more in a day than you could read in one lifetime. Free.
Who needs a phone magazine, when I can learn all I want to know about phones, free, here in my own home. (Something I did just a few moments ago.) Who needs to know what a wealthy stranger in Fleet Street thinks about a matter, when I can click on a dozen people whose work I respect, and - crucially - I feel I've come to know and like.
Newspapers talk down to you. Bloggers talk across.
Google THIS, Sucka!
Blogs Google gorgeously. Newspapers don't at all. (Unless they put them online, of course, at which point you might reasonably say they're no longer a newspaper.) Paper simply doesn't Google.
So a printed medium could never achieve this, my comment on a building development I dislike. This Google placing has caused the company more than a little grief, I hear on the media grapevine
And of course Serenata Flowers, the first co-ordinated UK "blog-attack", back in December 06. Early days. All is in change, in flux, and no-one knows where the arrow will stop. I sense some co-existence of
online for the serious stuff, and
free newspapers, a la Metro, for buses.
And that is enough of that. Me, I blog by the clock. When the big hand has gone round almost once, I know it's time to stop! Well - whadya expect for nowt? Click on my ads if you enjoyed the piece. Comment is free. Food costs money. (And that's a topic for another day.)
Now where's that damn phone?
And of course you just can't beat a good rant. Get it off your chest, Stuart. That's what blogs are for. Post Of The Week, or there's no justice.
This being the date, in 2003, when I last smoked a cigarette.
The end. (Getting free from nicotine is probably my finest achievement.)
Who would have thought, in 2003, that four years later I'd be sitting here typing this? Still clean. And climbing bloody mountains to boot. (Well, big hills.)
MADE FOR WALKING
Had a couple of nice pints in the Port Inn, chatting to the staff. Ollie the chef and Suzanne. Nice people. The bevvy was to get up a little Dutch courage before spending a hundred-ish quid on boots. (I find shopping intensely stressful. Do you?) But of course, if you drink too much then you just buy the wrong thing. Balance.
I'd have happily just renewed my present brand, Raichle Scout, which are as comfy as old slippers, but they didn't have the right size. So I thought to try Brasher, an English company manufactured in Portugal. This name was recommended by a dude in the walking group. It's the best selling hillwalking boot in Britain, apparently, but I only discovered that when I got home and checked the website.
They're leather and Goretex, rather than the soft suede I'm used to. The fit is great on the feet, but I can sense some pressure, some presence, at the front of the left ankle, which you can ease by loosening the lace a bit. I'll continue the indoor wearing test, before hopefully venturing into the Pentlands tomorrow, weather permitting. (I noted wistfully that on my July 2003 post Edinburgh was 23 degrees, making us the hottest spot in the UK.) What has happened to the weather? Is it really Tony Blair's fault?
That Diva's been at it again. Lots of interesting blogstuff for you to chew over. I'm that interested I might even respond.
Memo to self for if I do: "My Life in Blah" has previously been the near-exclusive property of the already famous, often through TV. Sleb-biography. Pete Doherty. Russell Brand. Now for the first time "unknowns" can also do "My Life in Blah". But how are the sales? Does anyone know? I might be one thousand times more interesting than Graham Norton, but still his book would outsell mine galactically.
I tend to think the present wave of blogbooks won't endure, so good luck to those who've got in at the right, possibly only, time.
No, the real impact of blogging continues to be on feature writing. Jon Ronson, my own hero and inspiration, is to all intents writing blog in his Grauny Weekend column. He just does it so much better than most of us, hence deserving the moollah. His nineties column "The Human Zoo" was bound-breaking, and I've urged him to publish those.
Blogging. Is it over? How much of the joy was due the small size, now for ever gone? Witnessing your own blog slipping behind other, newer and better models.
Commercialisation. Including NB. So much food for thought. Only so many readers to go round. Only so many hours in the day for blogreading.
(These notes might suffice, saving the time of polishing. Leaving more time to write about me. Blog is truly of ME-ME-ME, NOW-NOW-NOW.)
Last Sunday's hillwalk was different, unusual, a personal first. Reason being there was a near total whiteout. (We even ended up on the wrong peak! Where's that damn trig post? Hehe.) But quite quickly we remedied that and reached the correct peak along a smallish ridge. Twin peaks. Less than a kilometre away, and completely invisible! This was new, and very exciting for this fair weather walker.
The general area was south of Aberfeldy. Meall Dearg. Pronounced Meall Jerrag. Red Hill. So noo ye ken.
After the whiteout turned to greyout and the odd natural feature surfaced from the swirls, we sat down for lunch and then heavens opened. Opened. You haven't truly lived till you've sat on a clump of heather eating chicken sandwiches in the pouring rain. Nice moist sandwich.
Here, the writer in me wants to start umpteen clauses with, "Rain was in the blah. It was in the blah blah, and also in the blah blah blah." But I'll spare you that silliness, and simply say that rain was fucking everywhere. Especially in my rucksack, as I discovered on arriving home.
Rain was in my wallet. It was in my clothes, and on my chequebook, but only a bit. There were hints of rain on the GPS (lifesaver in the whiteout, btw) and camera, but they were in zip bags and survived.
But not, oh no not, my lovely NOKIA. A classic. The grey one that's already in design museums. Pressed the ON button on top, and nowt. Nada. Zilch. Incommunicado. Kirk to Enterprise I don't think so.
Oh My God. I'm just not USED to appliances dying on me. I make a point of giving up on things before they give up on me - even intimate concepts like sex. My house is packed with computers that still - notionally - work. Even the Amstrad CPC 6128. CPC means Colour Personal Computer.
My phone remained quite dead. Resolutely. So I took it to bits and dried it out. Still nada. Shoved the charge lead up its butt. There was a slight sizzling noise then back to nada. (That was the point of Abandon Hope, I now realise.) Here's how you REALLY save a wet phone.
Depression, depression. I just can't AFFORD a new phone this month. This month's treat was to be new boots. Only money spent on outdoor activities is justified. All other a waste. (With the possible exception of Darling Zoe, of course.)
Lovely new boots I dream of, with nice deep tread - so I don't fall on my elderly ass, break a leg, go to hospital, get MRSA and die. (I'm NOT kidding. Hospitals in this country are fucking deadly. And that's NOT counting Islamic terrorist doctors.)
Phone, phone, phone. I have no idea about phones. So old, you see. Unlock, SIM card, PUK, all Double Dutch. (Are we still allowed to say Double Dutch?)
The man in Carphone Warehouse was not sympathetic, as I looked at his cheaper end and asked why they cost so much more without any free minutes. Defies my aged logic. Twenty quid if you spend ten pounds more on airtime... sixty quid for handset only. The world's gone mad. Anyway, I didn't like him. Almost all my purchasing decisions are based on personal charm. Even the occasional good look helps the plastic along.
Call Me Insomniac
Slept badly, dreaming of all the people now unable to phone me, and also of me losing my Phone Directory, which is the only semblance of modernity I possess. Hint: damn well type the buggers out on a regular basis. You know it makes sense. How can such a tiny SIM card, smaller than a postage stamp, contain my every telephonic contact? How can it? It's not logical, Captain.
Got myself all togged up this am to ignore the threatening forecast, and do a Pentland tramp come hail or shine. All togged up till the last minute when I reached for my boots and they weren't there. They were in the bathroom, still sodden from Sunday, but at least not broken. (You're not supposed to apply heat.) So there we are. I phoned Richard at Virgin Mobile.
Richard was kind, sympathetic, gave all the advice I'd already learned on wikiHow, and then set about selling me a phone. Long story short: it appears even my miserly usage has earned a twenty pound off new phone voucher. So I simply chose a 19.99 phone, Nokia 2310, and Bob's yer uncle. (Letting them off the penny change.) It's got FM radio also. Gordon would love it. Help me drown out schemies on the bus.
So there we are - a new phone for nowt. That's what I call a deal! Quite cheered up.
Off to Tiso to buy those new boots I can suddenly afford again. Have a nice day! (This has not been an ad, but rather a genuine recommendation. Honesty is my middle name, as I say constantly to my bingo ladies.)