Quite a weird experience. Half the time I had no idea what the author was on about – and yet I read on. Because the brazen playfulness with which he treated (some might say mistreated) the format was amazing. There were features I thought to have been ‘invented’ in the second half of the last century by writers like Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut – yet this book was published in the second half of the eighteenth.
Some tricks I even never saw before. Example? How about just giving two following chapters numbers, leaving them otherwise completely blank; later mentioning (but not explaining) “the necessity I was under of writing the 25th chapter of my book, before the 18th” and then having the two chapters ‘bona fide’, as it were?
Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading!
Après plusieurs mois (neuf, moins un jour), j’ai osé aller à la coiffeuse. Et même si, vers la fin, mon nez (qui voulait couler) et mon cou (qui voulait tousser) m’ont plutôt ennuyé, j’ai survécu. Comme toujours, après un temps tellement long il est agréable d’avoir soudainement les cheveux courts qui … rétrécit ? je pense une coiffure comme celle-ci, au lieu des cheveux qui atteignent les épaules.
An rud mu dheireadh a thachair sa Mhàirt mu nach do sgrìobh mi ri linn na daoraich: shiubhail Ray Collier, fear dhe na h-ùghdaran Country Diary a’ Ghuardian. Nise, is toil leam cha mhòr a h-uile sgrìobhadair a’ chuilbh, ach tha fios gum b’ e Mgr Collier fear dhiubh a tha as fhaisge air mo chridhe, oir bha e stèidhichte ann an Alba. (Agus ’s ann tric a luaidheadh e ainm Gàidhlig an ainmhidh no an eòin mu dheidhinn a sgrìobh e.) Cuideachd, b’ e dìreach Christine Smith a lorg mi na bu thràithe agus a bha mi a leughadh ùine nas fhaide. Bidh mi ag ionndrainn na cuilbh leis-san gu mòr.
I’ve had an occasion to mention him several times in my blogs. After all, he was one of the people who gave me – however unwittingly – the biggest push to try and go to live in Scotland.
Later I stopped following his blog; the car and aeroplane circumnavigation attemps looked more like a desire to be ‘the first’ again than ‘living a dream’ to me. And his posts were often sooo optimistic it made me wince.
But his book still gives me strength now and then when I’m down, so before his March birthday it occurred to me to look up what he’d been up to in the past few years.
To my great surprise – and uneasiness – I couldn’t find nothing. Not only is his last blogpost dated 11/4/15 (with Google warning that “This site may be hacked.”) and his Twitter account ‘protected’; I couldn’t even find anything about him by anybody else.
I just hope he’s decided – for whatever reason – to break with the past and make a completely new start. I just pray he didn’t have a flying accident or something. I just pray that whatever’s happened he’s alive.
Incroyable. Ces jours-ci, je mange généralement juste des soupes, des petits pains (avec beaucoup de thé) et des œufs. Mais aujourd’hui, j’ai acheté neuf mini-pizzas (270 g en tout) et je les ai toutes mangées. Bien sûr, avec beaucoup de thé; néanmoins, je les ai mangées d’un trait et je les ai même appreciées. Peut-être que je pourrai aller pour manger dans un restaurant bientôt …
Not bad as a 19th-century semi-historical adventure book for boys. No match for, say, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Black Arrow, but no worse than George Manville Fenn’s novels, and better than his own The Black Douglas.
My only complaint is about the first, fairly long, scene in Sawny Bean’s cave. Quite ‘Gothic’, but as of course it was obvious the heroes would survive so they could marry and live happily ever after, it was almost unbearably boring, rather than thrilling.
Last Wednesday I was finally strong enough to visit my GP: somewhat to my (pleasant) surprise she prolonged my sick leave notwithstanding the delay in my getting there. The next day I visited oncology, but was told to come today; on Friday I went to the shrink’s, where I’ve got an appointment, albeit only for 1 June.
And today I finally paid a ‘proper’ visit to the oncology department. The direct endoscopy (which I’d missed, boozing) was rescheduled for 18 May (incidentally, the second anniversary of my leaving of Scotland, hope it’s not a bad omen), with the next meeting at oncology on 22 June (where they should also decide whether they should send me for the PET/CT scan I’d missed as well).
Funnily, my throat seems to have improved a bit once I was through with it today. But then I did suspect it was, like most of my medical problems, at least partly psychosomatic.
Tolerably captivating, and featuring some favourite Hawes themes like the post-Soviet East or the main hero’s fear that his life passes too fast, but nowhere near the geysers of hilarity and ordinary-life observations that were A White Merc with Fins and Rancid Aluminium. The best feature for me was one of the characters explaning something I had long been convinced about myself: you can plan your life as you will, but something brutal and quite unexpected by any average citizen (in his case the Yugoslav Wars, incidentally my favourite example) can always be just around the corner.
Il était drôle. Après l’hôpital, et quand je pouvais manger de nouveau, j’achetais souvent des choses que je n’avais pas eu l’habitude d’acheter avant pendant des anées, bien qu’il était souvent assez dur les bien apprécier. Du camembert, des spaghetti, des aliments sucré pour bébé (goût de fraises ou d’abricots), … J’ai même acheté une poêle et j’ai pris des œufs brouillés, du SPAM et des saucisses de hot-dog poêlées …
Bien sûr, après ça la beuverie a commencée et je ne mangeais pratiquement rien …
Been there for a few months in 2012, then deleted my account. This February, on the spur of the moment (probably out of boredom), I created a new one. Like the first time round, I began by adding followed accounts, till I had hardly time for anything else than following them, then began gradually unfollowing those with too great tweets:interesting tweets ratio. I got almost to a ‘desirable’ number.
Then came the bender, then catching up on the consequent backlog and now I sort of regret I don’t follow a few more, I seem to have too much time on my hands. I even began considering contributing to Gaelic Wikipedia again, or rejoining Fòram na Gàidhlig. We’ll see.
PS Incidentally, the day after creating the account I was made aware via some account I followed that it was World Cancer Day. As I had had and possibly still had cancer, this was somewhat spooky.
Dimàirt, dh’òl mi sa mhadainn aon leann (as dèidh 10 tro Dhisathairne, 8 tro Dhidòmhnaich na Càisge is 4 tro Dhiluain). Airson greis, bha e coltach nach òl mi tuilleadh rè ùine fhada.
Ach a’ tilleadh, Dihaoine, bhon oifis lighiche-inntinn, bha aig an aon àm a’ ghrian a’ dèarrsadh agus gaoth làidir a’ sèideadh. Bha mi gu math sgìth agus shuidh mi sìos san ‘Liosan’. Dh’fhaod mi deoch gun alcol òrdachadh, ach cha tàinig an nòisean dha m’inntinn. Co-dhiù, cha do dh’òl mi ach aon leann agus chaidh mi air adhart, mo neart air ùrachadh.
Agus an-dè, bha mi sgìth fad an latha. ’S mathaid gun robh an cnatan agam as dèidh nan trì làithean agus a bha mi a’ dol gu dotairean ann an sìde gharbh. ’S mathaid gun robh cleas nas motha a dhìth orm (cha do dh’fhàg mi am flat tron dheireadh-sheachdain ach airson smocadh). ’S mathaid nach robh mi fhathast cleachdte a-rithist ris an aonaranachd, as dèidh nan seachdainean ann an taighean-seinnse. Co-dhiù no co-dheth, ruith mi a-mach dhan ‘Reul-chrios’ sa chiad àite airson teicheadh bho stampadh mhic na galla a tha a’ fuireach os mo chionn.
Agus abair iongnadh! Ged a bha e mu chuairt air aon uair deug air an oidhche, bha an donas jukebox sàmhach! Bha mi airson dà leann a ghabhail, ach on nach do thòisich e air cluich fad na h-ùine agus a bha mi ann, ghabh mi trì is bha mi nam shuidhe ann mu thimcheall air ceithir uairean a thìde, a leughadh The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. le James Boswell.
Oidhche ciùin, tlachdmhor. Nuair a dhùisg mi an-diugh, tha fhios nach robh mi gu math buileach, ach bha mi fada na b’ fhearr na bha mi sna làithean roimhe.