So here I am in the Costa coffee shop in Stockbridge,sipping from a cup big enough to pee in and munching a chocolate pastry with a fancy French name. And listening to the muted tinkle of the middle classes at play.
A woman opposite starts bleating into her mobile, for all the world like a schemie twat on a Princes street bus. I silence her with my scariest Leith look. She turns it down a little, at least.
So what are we doing, spending our hard earned on drinks containing NO ALCOHOL? Well, I can tell you.
It's ten in the morning, I've just left the Western General, and I'm officially well at last. No longer patient. Off the list. It was the handsome young black surgeon again. The one who put his finger up me bottom last time. Guess it must have been a one off.
So that's my good news. Lots more, but too much for this tiny keyboard. See ya later! P x
And what a storm it's been, all yesterday and through the night. No sooner do I get brief respite from the manhole cover (below) than nature throws all her isobars at me. These pesky gales have scattered the road furniture even more wildly now, and the entire roundabout is an accident waiting to happen. Council gits. Hanging's too good for them. Stick to selling off the city's heritage to Asian landlords for hotels we neither need nor want. Who tf cares about the Royal Mile? It's ancient, isn't it? Had its day.
Au Claire de la Lune
There I was yesterday in the Village for a change, when who should breeze in and give me a big hug but Claire. "Last night I read your entire blog," she said. "Seven years of it. It was so lovely reading about all my friends like that. And so sad about Big Al dying. I read his blog too where you linked to it."
"Oh my God," I said, as we de-hugged. "Seven years. Nobody's ever done that before. And were you happy with your own mentions?" (I was thinking of the lapsed lesbian lady bit recently.) "Oh that's fine," she grinned. "At least you called me a lady."
So lovely. There are many affirmations of our little hobby, but I think that was one of the nicest. Karma. I was that pleased I bought her a drink. Some fancy rum.
Pam came in with Joyce's boy Billy and we chatted to Martin who starts his chemo on Tuesday.
Two more days slaving over the microphone, one day of hillwalking around Kenmore and Aberfeldy, then a week and a half off. Oh yes. Some rest for the wicked. I have to plot out the next walk I'm leading, in the Lauder area. Harry Lauder. Lauder the rings. This time it's the middle fitness group. Got to get that heart and those lungs in tiptop fettle!
Just sixteen days from now, so I'll have to get my bootees dancing down bigtime.
Yesterday I fought through pea-souper fog all the way to the Ocean Terminal Mall, there to trudge round this cathedral of consumerism to find a birthday gift for a young bingo lady. Eventually settling on some coconut plop from Body Shop. (Motto: tested only on endangered species, as let's face it they'll soon be gone anyway.)
Then what should happen last night but the Council put cones round my now earth-shattering manhole cover. And a big blue arrow thing, but that's already got knocked over. It's all a bit of a death trap, to be honest. But nevertheless, I slept so soundly that the only way Darling Zoe could rouse me was by jumping right on my chest, which she kens fine is verboten. Works though. You simply can't train an animal not to wake you, if you think about it.
Edinburgh City Council. (Motto: we do it, sometimes, after making you wait ten months.)
If there's a pic above this, then I've emailed it in correctly from the Nokia. If not, not.
There is a stooshie going on at The Grauny. (Stooshie: Scots for disturbance or commotion. Embrace it.) This stooshie is on the Guardian travel website, a portion I never read, due to my being constitutionally and financially unable to travel much further than Princes Street. A street which could do with its own blog as it happens, but that's another story.
Guardian Travel comissioned Max Gogarty, 19, to blog his forthcoming holiday in India and Thailand. Nothing unusual about that, I hear you thinking, as you mentally file it into the wastebin. Well, it turns out that it is quite unusual, and has become interesting beyond the Guardian and the author's wildest expectations - even reaching the pinnacle of popular publicity on this morning's BBC Breakfast, to which I am indebted.
And this public interest is not in Max Gogarty's piece, but rather concerns the sheer venom and bile from the commenters thereto. 475 commenters and closed. Scary bunch, Guardian readers... and you thought it was all organic eggs and tofu. They don't like his piece, bigtime and say so. They talk about standards.
Jumping to his protege's defence, the Grauny Travel editor responds here, which just sets off another 330 comments.
But - and this is the important bit for NB readers... only after you've got thoroughly up to speed on Max Gogarty, you can then enjoy a "spoof" blog called Wayne Type. Much better written than the thing it purports to spoof, and genuinely appealing. (There's a content advisory, but just press on through.)
This is a definite phenomenon. Stooshie. Enjoy it. Scary people, Grauny readers. And I thought the Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News bunch were unforgiving.
Some people think the whole thing is a viral campaign for the E4 programme Skins.
(Oh, and anyone apart from me and the Grauny know why it's called Max, 19, Hits The Road?)
Oh again - and unless you're a late-night bloghound, you won't have seen the one just below this...
Today was spectacular, gorgeous. In which I did the Pentland double roller coaster once again, for the first time it seems in ages. Ages. Maybe this year even. This set is the sine qua non of health. Physical health. Mental health.
So today I'm newly free of all those paranoias and neuroses that have plagued so many things of late. Plagued.
MEDITATE ON THIS
Soon I'm going to start a major series about meditation, now that Maharishi's popped his clogs. It really has to be done - not that I'm any advert.
Until then - here is the roller coaster, which today I did there and back, left to right in this pic, then right to left - 1100m ascent and five and a bit hours, mas o menos
Then to the Village and the glory of my friends. Dean has got pink hair. I said I wish I had some hair to dye pink. He said it was for Valentines, I said I thought that was already past.
The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the Firmament showeth His handiwork.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
I'm a bit relaxed now, what with all today's glory, but at least I'm putting you before Friends. Frasier too is off the boil, but Will and Grace just goes on to the heavens. "Are you workin me, Wilma?" cried Karen just three days ago. You had to be there, to be honest. Bliss is not just on the tops of mountains.
(In December extremis I often end up here, in order to wring the last drops of light from the setting sun. It is a place of teatime glory. This picture manages to be both inspirational, anti-depressant, yet strangely penile.)
(This is Innerleithen, the one-horse town featured in many recent stories. The river is the Tweed. Here the crime rate is so low it's actually negative, and the only disturbance at night is the crackle of witches and homosexuals being burned at the stake.)
In other (non-Nokia) news, Lidl are doing German fire extinguishers at 4.99. Red ones, for all types of fire. Plus there are dusk-operated electrical sockets at 3.99.
I really must start charging the Lidl corporation.
Someone has made an NB post into a blues song. They've offered to send it. You shall be the first to hear.
Don't get a Lidl dusk-operated electrical socket. Oh, they do a great job of switching on your light when it gets dark. Great at that. However, now that it's no longer dark, what do they do next? That's right. They switch it OFF again.
Your own private lighthouse.
Gits. Vorsprung durch Scheissen And I can't find my receipt to take them back.
I can only pray the fire extinguisher has better functionality.
It was fun yesterday, seeing all these butch men (van drivers) clutching bunches of flowers - with one and only one thought writ large across the face. "Hope this gets me a shag tonight." Men. Doncha just luvvem?
Me, I've never understood human relations. Went into the Village after a hard day's sudoku, and there should be Babs sitting with Beloved. "It's our fourth anniversary!" she declared. "Four years!" I gasped. "Me, I can't remember one much longer than four minutes."
They laughed. But it's true. Almost. Some people are born to be lovers - others thinkers. I'm not sure the two are compatible, inasmuch as to love you just have to "get on with it", whereas the thinker will always analyse and dissect. Slice and dice, as we say in sudoku.
It's become a serious problem, sudoku. I was warned of the addictive properties back in December when I had my first hit, but laughed in the faces of my cautioners.
Not now though.
Now I spend hour after hour sitting hunched over my puzzle book, as morning turns to noon turns to teatime and the once-rising sun drops languidly behind the distant rooftops. "Just one more - only one!" I cry, briefly considering the alternative and discarding it. No time to analyse or dissect, just straight on to the next scary grid.
I prefer the puzzles on the right hand pages of the book, due to their more virginal appearance. Left hand pages are invariably sullied by the imprint of the puzzle on the other side. Writing and rubbing. It's a good life, if you don't weaken.
Sunday's walk was disastrous, and I'm thinking of leaving the walking group and finding another. My fault, of course. Mine totally. I'd only put about 20 (non-sudoku) hours of preparation into it, to try to make things nice for them.
Some are born to lead, others to dismally follow and resent. Slice and dice. Bop till you drop. Don't mind me - I was just put here as a warning.
The last time this happened it was with Dusty Springfield. The biggest page I ever wrote. Searched over the entire universe, back in nineteen canteen. But times change, move on. The songstress then, the teacher of consciousness now. (I'm talking search engines. There is clearly no other connection. Plus I cried for days when Dusty died.)
So much hatred, ignorance about MMY - so I have to re-evaluate some acquaintanceships. But this sometimes happens.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 1917 - 2008
You changed my life bigtime, dude. Now in Mahasamadhi, great bliss. Thank you, sir.Rocked it. And with the Beatles' endorsement you changed a species.
GuardianThe Grauny piece is fine, inasmuch as it acknowledges the validity of Maharishi's teachings, yet - as with other newspaper accounts - doesn't overlook the huge corporation he built up.
This dichotomy has exercised moi also. For thirty years just. In my Inbox will be one hundred emails from TM. I just know it. But old man dead. Cope.
Up here in Bonnie Smokeless Scotland we've been free from the curse of cigarette smoke for years. 682 days, to be precise, if you check my sidebar.
England too went smoke-free on July 1, 2007 - that is, seven months and four days ago. Yet to look at BBC television you would never imagine it.
Shameless. Main character never seen without a fag in his hand or mouth...even in the pub. Other characters too. (And I'm talking about the most recent series - not repeats.) Me I don't watch this strangely repellent drama, as I've enough of the Gallaghers in real life, but I do notice smoking when I see it.
And then what should my jaded eye fall on last night but Pulling, some new BBC sitcom. I noticed it because of a bingo hall setting, where at least two of the women were chugging away on their Bensons like the smokeban was somewhere on Jupiter.
Clearly the BBC have now sunk to promoting illegal smoking. This from the once-mighty corporation which brought you the Coronation. You couldn't make it up.
On The Beaten Track
Yesterday was busy, busy, busy... adjusting the route for Sunday's walk. Because of forestry operations I needed an escape from the regular track I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I'd phoned the Forestry for their advice in the meantime. Do you know they talk about "harvesting"? That's right. Chopping down trees is harvesting. Interesting usage.
So, in short, we have to penetrate the impenetrable. We must leave the simplicity and certainty of the forest road, and start to fight our way through the foliage. Taking a sidetrack where best we can. But easier, far easier, to start from the outside and push your way in, then noting the exact point for future use. And yesterday I found that way. Found, by using my own skill and initiative, some sort of entrance, some lacuna amongst the spruces and pines. If I could get from the outside of the forest to the track, then clearly the group could get from the track to the outside. To escape the forest with its loggings and up-to-your-fanny mud.
And yes - I found the way! Going deeper and deeper in... my tracker eyes peeled to pick up the faintest signs of trampled grass, of hobnailed boot, and there they were. Higher and higher. Trying not to slip on the soaking branches strewn about. And then there it was, up ahead... the track I so badly needed... ready to be GPS'ed and photoed for Sunday's activities.
But look! What's that? The forestry have got here before me, and already labelled my sidetrack. TRACK! it said, in big orange lettering on the grass. TRACK. With a pointy arrow. Now everybody'll be using it. All my endeavour for nought. (But it was still fun. Playing in the trees is something not every sixty-one year old gets to do.)
Naked Blog. Where even the forestry commission get their ideas.
Lunch By The Tweed
This was my lunch spot by the Tweed at Innerleithen. I've featured a couple of those earth heaps which have sprung up absolutely everywhere, in the hope that you might be able to enlighten me.
On the bus back from Peebles I had to listen to Radio 2 on the mobile because a youth nearby was sniffing. So I got over an hour of Chris Evans. He is very, very good.
My new hot water system has broken already, and I'm waiting for Robin (don't call me gay I'm bisexual) the plumber. He of the famous left nipple, as featured on a recent Leith Festival guide.
Oh, and talking of Leith, what should I see this morning but a tourist bus coming along Duke Street! That's right - beside the Co-op. In the guide seat a morbidly obese woman was bleating into a mike. You could almost hear her: "Hier wir haben Leith, wo die Leute allen shooten up heroin und end up in das Buch Trainspotting." (Forgive my German, but you get the idea...) Xenophobic? Moi?
The passengers were all gawping at me so I gave them the finger. Felt like shouting, "Take some smack yerself and lose weight yer fat cow!" Gits.
And now I must pester Robin on the telephone. He said he'd get back to me around half past ten, and now it's half two.