Tag Archives: travel

Interrail day one – Glasgow to Brussels via London

28 Apr

This is the first of my posts about my big, much-postponed interrailing adventure. If you’re following the WhatsApp group, this is more or less live for you. If not, this is in the past (as it is unwise to advertise on the internet that your house is empty), so consider it a historical document.

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My Year in Review – 2021

29 Dec

It’s been an up and down sort of a year. It started during a miserable winter lockdown and has ended with lighter-touch restrictions back in force and the threat of more (thanks, Omicron), but there has been quite a lot of good stuff in-between. I found a lovely wee flat and moved back to Glasgow, which was great (because however nice East Kilbride is, it’s not Glasgow) but then got new neighbours with some seriously anti-social dogs. The year was bookended by failing to get two writing/editing jobs that I wanted and that would have paid decent money, but on the other hand I finished the novel I was working on and had a few smaller pieces published.

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Eleven Questions

4 May

I was looking at Peggy Strack’s blog and saw this “chain letter” style set of questions. I decided to copy, paste and answer them myself since I enjoy these things and they can be very revealing (in a good way, usually). Nothing is as revealing as “Do You Really Know Me?”, the very long and involved one that was circulating when I was a student (and had more time), but eleven questions is a manageable number, so feel free to copy, paste and join in.

1. What is your favorite color?
Blue. A boring answer, but not a boring colour. I particularly like the sky above North Street in St Andrews at near dusk when you can look from the pale, pale blue – almost white – where the light lingers in the west, right down the spectrum to the deep, inky blue above the ruined cathedral in the east.

2. If you got a plane ticket – for free – to go anywhere you’d like – where would you go?
Cuba. Sizzling hot, beautiful buildings, great cocktails, the best dancing in the world.

3. Is there anything in your life you always wanted to do and never had a chance to?
I have a strange desire to travel the length of Italy on a motorbike, with my husband, stopping whenever we feel like it and discovering places to eat and stay by pure chance. We don’t have the money, and by the time we do we’ll probably have kids or be too old and creaky to do it anyway.

4. Which is your favorite old movie (let’s say older than 20 years)?
I love old films. There are too many to list so I’ll just mention a couple of overlooked ones. The Incredible Shrinking Man (does what it says on the tin, basically, but has real pathos, a great leading man and a scary fight scene with a spider) and Q Planes, a thriller with Laurence Olivier. I LOVE this film, but no-one has seen it! It’s Olivier in one of his more light-hearted roles, and it’s all terribly, terribly British. “Goodbye, darling.”

5. If you were a blonde – would blonde jokes bother you (and, of course, if you are a blonde, do you mind them? )

I’m an ex-blonde, and I am stillĀ  blonde in my mind. Blonde jokes don’t bother me. I particularly like the one about the river:

Two blondes, one on either side of the river. The first blonde spots the other and calls out, “How do I get to the other side?” The second blonde looks puzzled and then replies, “You’re on the other side.”

6. What is it that always and with 100% certainty makes you laugh?
The Four Yorkshiremen sketch from Monty Python. It literally makes the tears roll down my cheeks.

7. Where do you usually put your clothes?
If I’m wearing them tomorrow, on a chair. If they’re dirty, in the washing basket. If I’m not wearing them tomorrow and they don’t need washed, in the drawer or wardrobe. Where does my husband leave his clothes? Everywhere!

8. Does wind bother you or do you like it?
Usually I like it and find it exhilarating, but I do hate what it does to my hair, and I particularly hate it when it blows the hair into my eyes and mouth, making me blind and unable to breathe. We had a couple of really bad storms in Scotland this year. One of them, Hurricane Bawbag, trended on Twitter. I was safe and warm indoors for most of it and I have to admit that I actually quite enjoyed them!

9. What is it that you hate most about high school reunions?
I’ve never been to one. I’ve got my university reunion coming up (St Andrews). I’m a wee bit nervous but I think it will be fun. It will also be my last chance in a while to wear a ball dress!

10. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Cat. Don’t like dogs.

11. Can movies/TV make you cry easily? When was the last time?
Oh yes. It’s quite embarrassing. My husband loves making fun of me as I blub away. I even cry at books.

An example: I was once reading a library copy of Gone With the Wind and noticed little roughnesses on the final pages. I didn’t know what they were, until I read a bit further. Then my tears started dripping on the page, too, and I understood. It was lovely to have that weird, distant sort of communion with other readers of that fantastic book.