Daniel Freeman, Jason Freeman: Anxiety: A Very Short Introduction

Needless to say, I knew a fair amount already (or suspected, like the role of having had “overprotective or controlling parents” – I had overprotective and controlling ones). Needless to say, I learned a fair amount of what I didn’t know (eg that environment is generally more to blame than genes). And needless to say, the book hardly gave me any advice except the obvious “maintain a healthy lifestyle; if this doesn’t help, find a CBT therapist or have some pills prescribed”.

The only thing which really surprised me was my results from the self-assessment questionnaires. Not the social phobia one (19 out of 68 possibly indicating the condition: I scored 35). But the fact that I scored much higher for OCD (21 out of 72, me 33) than for generalised anxiety disorder (60 out of 80, me 60). I pondered this and concluded it’s probably correct. While I’m definitely a worrier, and while I’m not know for exceptional cleanliness or ‘hoarding’, I’m probably more prone to obssessive-compulsive ‘checking’ and ‘ordering’ than I’m willing to admit to myself. Now, there’s something I might probably work on …



Tha sreath phrògraman The Birth of British Music (le Charles Hazelwood, BBC 4) air iPlayer an-dràsta. Cha tuirt an dà chiad phrògram, mu Phurcell agus Handel, cus dhomh nach cuala mi a-cheana o chionn ghoirid ann an sreath eile, David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy. Ach chuir an treas fear, mu Haydn, iongnadh mòr orm gu dearbh.

Sa chiad àite, cha robh fhios agam idir gun deach Haydn a Bhreatainn riamh, gun guth a ràdh gun robh na daoine glè mheasail air agus air a’ cheòl aige, gun do sgrìobh e dusan simphnidh agus iomadh rud eile ann an Lunnainn, an Gypsy Rondo ainmeil nam measg.

Ach ’s e an t-iongnadh as motha dhomh a bha ann gun do grìobh e (air ais san Ostair, ach a-rèir coltais fo bhuaidh fhaighinn a-mach gun robh laoidh Breatannach ann) laoidh Ostaireach, Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, agus gur e an aon phort sin – le faclan eile – am fear air a tha sinn eòlach an-diugh fon ainm Deutschlandlied: an laoidh Gearmailteach!


Pierre Véry: Signé : Aloutte

Un « roman policier » pour les enfants. Je dois admettre qu’il est un peu médiocre, mais j’ai un faible pour le livre : je l’ai lu la première fois quand j’était environ aussi âgé que le héros – et aussi petit, fluet et seul comme lui. (À vrai dire, il était un des amis imaginaires de mon enfance.)

Alors, jusque-là j’ai lu – en français – trois livres pour les enfants et une bande dessinée*. Ils me plaisaient tous les quatre, mais le temps est venu de lire un pour les adultes. Ainsi, j’ai commencé La soupe aux choux. Et après ça … finalement quelque chose que je n’ai jamais lu même en traduction ?

* Extraordinaire : je n’ai lu que quatre livres en gaélique écossais …



Chnuasaich mi an nòisean gum bu chòir dhomh tiomnadh a sgrìobhadh a-cheana san t-Sultain an-uiridh, ron chiad àm a chaidh mi dhan ospadal airson endoscopy fon an-fhaireachdair fhaighinn, ach cha robh an t-àm agam air a shon. Tha mi a’ dol a-rithist Diciadain agus an turas seo, sgrìobh mi e: cunntas-banca Seiceach gu Rob, cunntas-banca Albannach gu Tommy, leabhraichean-latha gu Jamie no Falcon (am fear a lorgadh iad na bu luaithe). Tha mi ’n dòchas a-nis gun lorg mi cybercafé airson ga chlò-bhualadh.


Poca-droma ùr

Cheannaich mi a’ chiad phoca-droma agam ann an 1990, dar a bha mi ri dhol dhan Rìoghachd Aonaichte a’ chiad thuras. Bha e agam rè nam bliadhnaichean a lean: ghluais mi mo chuid seilbh iomadh uair annsan bho àite-còmhnaidh gu àite-còmhnaidh eile. Ach chaidh sgrios a dhèanamh air mu dheireadh thall, agus b’ fheudar dhomh ga leigeil dhìom.

Airson deagh ghreis, cha do dh’ionndrainn mi e. Ach o chionn ghoirid, chuir mi romham gum fàg mi am baile seo (gu dearbh, an ceàrn seo) cho luath ’s a thèid agam. (Tha an gràin agam orra a’ sìor fhàs nas làidire.) Mar sin, cheannaich mi poca-droma ùr, agus fhuair mi e Disathairne.

Cha robh cothrom agam ga chleadadh fhathast, ach tha e coltach gu bheil e cho math ris an t-seann fhear, leis an ìre mhath an aon tomhas-lìonaidh. Seadh, chan eil ach toll-mullaich aig a’ phrìomh roinn aige (b’ urrain dhomh cuideachd faighinn a-steach dhan fhear shean tro spèirr air an taobh aghaidh); ach air an làimh eile, tha barrachd pocannan ann, agus iad seo nas motha.

Co-dhiù no co-dheth, dar a thigeas àm an gluasaid, bidh poca-droma agam anns an tèid agam air mo chuid seilbh a ghiùlan a-rithist.


Mess tin set

It seems incredible, but apparently I’m unable to find one which would suit me.

Those offered by Amazon are mostly rectangular. Probably not a good shape for somebody who mostly cooks soups. The few cylindrical ones I found there were either sold by companies which don’t deliver here, or rather on the small side. If you go to a local shop, the ones they sell have a warning they’re not – for some reason – meant for cooking, only for serving.

I did find one which would be all right, but it had ‘Czech Republic’ engraved on both pots. I don’t want to be reminded I’m an exile each time I’m cooking. So I bought one of the small ones. Minute, as it turned out. Allegedly for two persons – well, maybe if they have the time to cook another meal every waking hour …


FnaG a-rithist

Aig a’ cheann thall, thill mi dhan fhòram as dèidh trì bliadhnaichean. (Bha mi air sgrìobhadh am post mu dheireadh san Dùbhlachd ’13). The e coimhead gu bheil nas lugha dhen trafaig ann na bha anns na seann làithean, agus gu bheil feadhainn dhiubh a bhiodh a’ postadh a bu thrice air fhàgail cuideachd (chanainn gum bi mi gu h-àraid ag ionndrainn Seonaidh), ach cha robh iadsan a tha air fhàgail mì-thoilichte leamsa, ged a thill mi leis an fhar-ainm ùr agam, agus ’s e sin an rud a tha cudromach. Tha eadhon Akerbeltz còir deònach rim bruidhinn.



My mother once served me and my sister with porridge when we were kids. We found it absolutely inedible and, somewhat untypically, she never tried to impose it on us again. Since then this was one of the meals I only needed to look at to lose appetite. Then in 2014 in Argyll I noticed that many Scots my age apparently still perceived porridge as a common starter to a ‘full breakfast’ and that in a sense this tradition was still kept by the young ones, although these seemed more usually to opt for cornflakes.

Walking in the local Tesco on Monday I noticed they sold not only cornflakes, but indeed oatmeal as well. This set me thinking whether I shouldn’t, after all those years, give it another try. Either I’d find out that in fact it wasn’t so bad, or I’d know for sure it was. A look at the sachet told me that – contrary to my knowledge – there was no half-hour to be spent at the hotplate, no milk involved (I don’t have a fridge), simply preparing it like an instant noodle soup. That decided.

Upon opening the sachet the following morning the contents actually smelled good, and although the taste definitely wasn’t such as to make me look forward for the next time, I concluded that a next time there would be. Everybody claims it’s a healthy meal, it’s a traditional Scottish meal, it’s not particularly expensive and it can be made thin enough for me to consume fairly easily despite my current throat problems. All things said and done, it’s a no-brainer: I intend to breakfast on it a few times every week.


Laurence Sterne: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

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!


Coupe de cheveux

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.


The disappearance of Mike Perham

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 …


S. R. Crockett: The Grey Man

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.


Threads picked up

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.


James Hawes: My Little Armalite

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 …


On Twitter again

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.


Ag òl fhathast, ach chan eil e dona

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.


James Robertson: The Fanatic

I can’t say I was bored, but of the three novels by the author I’ve read so far this one was the weakest. The ‘historical’ hero doesn’t seem able to decide whether he wants to be a martyr for his faith or to save his skin at any cost; the reasons for the interest a particular contemporary of his takes in him are unclear (they were to me, anyway); and although I could find some similarities between the ‘modern’ hero and myself, there were not enough to enable me to really relate to him. So while not bored, having finished the book I didn’t even look the main characters up to see which, if any, were based on real historical persons, as I would normally do.


Printemps ’17

Bon. La beuverie est terminé, et bien que je sois toujours quelque peu faible, je relève. Et parce que j’ai raté à la fois 1er mars, le début du « printemps météorologique » (il faisait encore assez froid ici) et 20ème mars, le début du « printemps astronomique » (la beuverie), il était grand temps que je remplace mes économiseurs d’écran: l’hiver par le printemps. Alors, je viens de le faire.