Posted on February 23, 2013

Boy did I jinx the hell out of my last posting.

The Amsterdam deal was a scam, we ended up cancelling and are now back to square one (#firstworldproblems is what you’d be quite justified in calling this issue but hey this is my venting space).

Still itching to go away somewhere (or indeed anywhere but here) as soon as possible; whether it’s a genuine lust for adventure that’s brewing within me, or simply an increasing despondence with where I live, or something else entirely, I’m really not sure. Maybe it’s all of the above.

I wonder if a “moral of the tale” can be drawn here – or if it’s simply a case of shutting up and moving on. I’ll probably just do that anyway. With a sulky face.

On Yer Bike

Posted on February 17, 2013

Dear reader (whose existence I am still somewhat doubting), some things have indeed been happening of late.

I continue to write daily, although usually in micro-doses which over the course of the year so far has probably barely amounted to a page – I. Need. Direction. Because. I. Suck. At. Creating. My. Own. Direction.

I’ve landed a paid gig creating quizzes for learners of English as a second language. The work has been a bit on the sporadic side, but it’s still something. Significant other has also landed a new job at an old workplace but in a new position. Things have progressed for both of us in that respect recently, just a matter of seeing if things continue to go swimmingly.

Having been generously bought a shiny new road bike, of course it would have been rude not to take it for a ride, so that we did today. It took some getting used to, to say the least, and there were a few definitely hairy moments, in which I came uncomfortably close to veering into the path of an oncoming car or lorry due to not being able to pull down on the brakes properly because my hands are just too tiny and I was skittish on my new bike… but that aside, it was good to be back out on the bike, and it was a rather nice day – but I’m not sure whether my beloved one would say the same thing, having not been able to take a more challenging uphill route and really get the old gears going. Sorry.

There’s the chance that we’ll be going to Amsterdam for a day in the near future. Yes, a day, and no, not for the reasons one might imagine  It should be an interesting excursion, if only to see just how much we can possibly fit in, and well worth writing about I’m sure.

But for now, a full recovery from the exertion of the day is on the agenda, along with a gamely attempt to keep up the momentum on what’s been going on.

Happy New Year. Yes I Know It’s Late.

Posted on January 15, 2013

I didn’t even bother to make any proper resolutions this time.

Either they fall apart quite spectacularly (leading me to regret ever announcing them,  like I had a chance of following through with any of them, in the first place) or indeed following them so ardently, and to the letter, that I end up turning myself into some kind of automaton gone into overdrive – which doesn’t really benefit anyone, least of all me…

Alternatively, I’ve just made an understated pledge (quietly) to just “get on”; that is, with whatever that comes my way, what simply won’t go away in the first place, and new things which latch themselves helpfully onto the back of the line.

Still being an unemployed graduate with far more free time than I deserve, I’ll at least try to return to this space every now and again and post something that differs a bit more from this one.

A Pet Is For Life. No Really.

Posted on December 20, 2012

Reading the news every day, there’s a great deal to be depressed about, though one thing in particular caught my attention, due to the sheer recurrence of the story.

The SSPCA has recently issued a fresh warning to those who would give a pet as a Christmas present this Christmas – because the sad fact is that so many of them end up abandoned in shelters, and even on the streets, as owners find that taking on a new pet isn’t quite the no-strings-attached ride they were expecting.

The Scottish SPCA has announced that they will no longer be re-homing animals during the peak Christmas period (December 20 to January 3), in a bit to avoid even more pets undergoing the ordeal of being accepted into, then promptly rejected from, a new home.

The sheer number of reasons given for returning unwanted pets – late-onset allergies and keeping the house tidy, to name a couple – all fail to disguise the real reason; that their old-timer pooch or moggy is simply not as “cute” in their old age. Furthermore, so many of the people making these excuses are the ones who ignored the plain fact that pets – whatever species or breed they are – require lifelong love and care – not to mention a bit of the loyalty that they give to their owners so freely…


Personally, I would love to have a new furry addition to the household, whether during the festive season or indeed at any other time. However, I have also witnessed the experiences of other people when it comes to pet owning, and all the potential hidden costs and time-consuming measures that need to be undertaken just to keep the critters happy and healthy.

However, these people in question have thought very carefully and for a long time before going for the plunge, and have the domestic and financial resources to be able to care for them properly. Cats and dogs can make quite a mess of the home and require endless amounts of attention, and ferrets… you’ll be very grateful for the existence of air freshener if you’ve ever encountered any.

Despite the various problems their pets can have, overall they are a joy to have in the home, and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Maybe I’ll be able to commit to a pet, or pets even, of my own some day, but for the time being, my tiny flat and limited income have meant that I’ve had to put that on hold for the foreseeable future, and restrict myself to cooing and pulling funny faces at unsuspecting pugs, danes and everything in between – when their owners aren’t looking, of course.

To re-cap – if you’re reading this, having found my site by some fluke or miracle, PLEASE do not make pet-buying or pet-adopting an impulse purchase, thinking of it as something that can simply be returned to the store.

If in doubt, leave it till you’re definitely ready.

NaNoWriMo: An Autopsy

Posted on December 3, 2012

It’s been just over a month (well obviously) since I last posted on this page, outlining my earnest intentions of finally getting my shit together and writing THAT best-selling story.

Now I feel duty-bound to let you, dear reader – whose existence still comes into question – know how I got on.

In short… it was a short story. A novella even. But, quite emphatically, a far cry from the “epic masterpiece” which was evidently expected to be lurking inside every participant, judging by the excitable and hyperbole-happy home page, and ecstatic bragging of how awesomely high a word-count they’ve reached in so little time already.

If not skeptical, well not all the time, I was, admittedly, utterly green with envy; more than a lot of people, I always wished, and even slightly expected, for my inner wordsmith to come leaping out of somewhere buried deep within me and proudly onto the page (or the screen).

Also, of course, I had my fiance (who isn’t exactly unburdened with concerns of his own), egging me on to keep at it day in and day out, and not to be satisfied with the measly word-counts which I was about ready to concede to, after a good while wracking my poor under-equipped brain and coming up with little more than vague snippets of potential storyline.

The end result; it held together, but barely. I probably could have written something far more indepth and captivating, but I didn’t feel I could do any better at the time.

However, they say that it’s the whole “mind experiment” aspect of the competition that matters more than anything. I came up with… something. A something which I may well not have written, it’s likely, had Nanowrimo not been brought to my attention at such short notice.

For those who wrote an epic novel worthy of being rated alongside the Lord of the Rings trilogy; well done. Genuinely. For those who simply wrote for the hell of it, and used Nanowrimo as an excuse as good as any to ignore everything else in life under the  belief – or the delusion – that they can write a masterpiece, but didn’t even come close, but had fun writing anyway; again, well done.

Writing is rarely a bad thing. When it is, well that’s another story.


Posted on November 1, 2012

I have just signed up for National Novel Writing Month, taking place all the month of November, in the hope of giving myself the kick up the arse I’ve sorely been needing.

Already it is tempting to envisage my failure, but I am trying to counteract that with the optimistic idea that I can see it as part of a joint effort, or even a collaboration in the act of writing.

The story you may be able to see on the scribbling page of the site is probably as much of a tangible story-line that I’ve been able to create. I have a just-barely-tangible idea of what I would *like* to see on the page, but I’m really not sure where to take it: here, there or indeed anywhere.

I want to tell a historical but human story, but the *story* evades me. I’m sure it’s somewhere in the old weary noggin, but hopefully NaNoWriMo will help me to unearth the story and bring it onto the page.

Hopefully some more stuff will come out of me too.

A Walk In The Glen

Posted on October 12, 2012

Since the folks took ownership of a lochside inn, there has been far more opportunity to explore the surrounding areas, one in particular which stands out in the memory.

A walk in Puck’s Glen is something akin to taking a stroll through the pages of a fairytale

A brief outline of the experience:

A little bridge which leads to an uphill climb into a wooded area; sunlight streaking through thickening trees; moss and fern type foliage cropping up here and there; streams trickling down the mountainside which can be heard going in every direction.

A few photos for the purposes of giving something of an impression:





(Spot Charlie in this one)

Absolutely worthwhile if temporary escape from the “routine”…

Coming And Going And Staying

Posted on September 24, 2012

Things have continued to move rather slowly since I lasted posted here. But for virtually everyone else in my social circle, it has been quite the rollercoaster ride of late.

Both my sister and parents have upped sticks and escaped to the countryside, the former to a village on the outskirts of town life, and the latter to an idyllic lochside inn. Other acquaintances have either already taken the plunge, or are at least talking about it, and it is something which worries the fringes of my brain ever more often.

With the rising cost of everything, and urban areas getting more overcrowded by the day, my inner hermit is not only emerging, but actively demanding more attention. However it is not entirely certain what should be done.

While it would, on paper, be excellent to abandon “real life”, it is all too easy to forget the unforseen reality of such an impulse. The trouble is that real life, all too often, tends to follow you wherever you go and to stick quite faithfully by your side. So do hordes of other people with the same idea but more on that another time.

Also things in general are sufficiently stable, for the time being, to warrant being careful about changing too much too soon.

Perhaps the real concern here is one of succumbing to complacency, or stagnating in life. I would just like to be sure that I’m making the most out of life but most of the time I’m not even sure what I want to be doing.

Hopefully as the days darken, it will have the inverse effect of shedding some light on the next move to make, if indeed any.

Been Away For A While

Posted on September 8, 2012

… mostly because I’ve not had much to report recently. But in the interest of keeping up to date with my site…

I’m going to a wedding today, along with the fiance, with whom this will be my first full-day wedding, and because of a charity cycling event tomorrow (Pedal for Scotland), it will be a relatively sober one. I’m particularly bad at these types of events, or any type of socialising en masse, but it will be good to see everyone, and to actually meet the bride!

Also there’s the fact that I’m nowhere near adequately prepared for this cycling trip, but I’m determined to do at least one such challenge, and as they go, this is meant to be one of the more beginner friendly. We’ll see.

Since my plans for postgraduate study went down the drain, I’ve been applying for pretty much everywhere else. Luckily I’ve gotten a couple more gigs in content writing, bad news is that my creative writing is still on the wane. It’s quite difficult when you’re trying.

Healthwise, things could be better for myself and my fiance, but hopefully with an adjustment here and there, things will improve for us pretty soon.

On that note, I’ll sign off once again. Hopefully by next time I’ll have more in the way of photography, but it’ll probably not all be mine :S

On Joining A Meetup Group. And Climbing A Mountain.

Posted on August 1, 2012

Since last writing, I’ve been *trying* to write, amongst other things suddenly available to me but requiring quite a bit of motivation. The one thing of note which I’ve done recently is climb Goat Fell, the highest peak in the isle of Arran.

My fiance had already done it once, and recommended my doing it too. I was somewhat apprehensive; not just of the actual bit involving mountain climbing but that our last expedition (the camping) ended up being a disastrous anecdote that we *may* be able to laugh about some day.

But if there’s something an able-bodied person with time to spare should do at least once in their life, it’s climb a mountain.

So we did, and it was quite an experience. Excruciatingly hard work throughout, lots of scrabbling, and literal *climbing*, up a mostly rock-strewn mountainside. But somehow we made it to the top, and have the photos to prove it, though I’m rather reluctant to show them as it shows me looking quite terrible. Maybe another time

The view from the top could have been better too. It clouded over just before and just after reaching the summit, and duly cleared back up on the way back down. I’m sure the view would have been awesome. But that we did it is the main thing…

Furthermore, I’m trying to expand my social circle, and the best way I can see, at the moment, is joining one of those online meetup groups which seem to be popping up everywhere. In typical style, amongst others, I joined one for writing.

I nearly didn’t go along to the first meeting. It seems that an all too frequent recurrence in my life is approaching the herd/pack/clan when they appear to have the perfect number already without me, thanks very much, and in fact my sudden intrusion would risk disrupting this perfect social balance.

Ignoring these urges to back away, I introduced myself, sat down, and just… joined in. As if I had been a member as long as everyone else.

It could have been a lot worse. I felt that merely treating it like a university seminar class, where everyone is there to discuss the specific topic in question, significantly helped my feeling like I might in fact belong there.

I won’t go into tedious detail of writers’ group stuff, as not everyone, I’m sure, is into that kind of thing. Feedback was duly passed around everyone’s work – including mine – which it is crucial to try not to take too personally. I braced myself for the worst, and took it all in the spirit it was intended in.

I couldn’t bring myself to participate in the feedback fully, but that will be my aim for next time. I would genuinely want to help others out where I can.

If I can pass on what I learned at uni onto others (apart from winging and fluffing my way through public speaking) then that would be nice.