ARLA

The most astonishing aspect of the latest Queen’s Speech was the reported reaction of the Association of Residential Letting Agents:

“A ban on letting agent fees will cost the sector jobs […]” – so far, so good, nobody wants to see jobs in his line of work go;

“[…] make buy-to-let investment even less attractive […]” – which actually promises pushing down the costs for common people needing a roof, rather than increasing the income of those already filthy rich;

” […] and ultimately result in the costs being passed on to tenants.” – and this is simply disingenuous: the middleman as a guardian of lower prices? Come off it …

 

Cola-deug beagan trang

An t-seachdain sa chaidh, b’ e Diluain le sgana PET/CT (nach robh cho dona ris a’ chiad fhear an-uiridh), Diciadain le tadhal air a’ bhan-lighiche, agus Diardaoain ann an roinn na h-eòlais-aillse. Mar a bha dùil agam, bha toraidhean a’ PhET/CT gealltanach gun a bhith deimhinnte, coltach ri toraidhean a’ bhiopsy is CT ‘àbhaisteach’ romhpa.

An t-seachdain seo, b’ e a’ bhan-dotair-teaghlaich air sgàth nòta pàighidh thinneis fhaighinn an-diugh, tadhal air mo mhàthair a-màireach (thàinig i a bhaile faisg airson greis dar a tha m’ athair ann am baile-spatha eile), agus fibroscopy Dihaoine. Mura bhios sin deimhinnte, bidh biopsy eile romham. Gidheadh, bu chòir dha seachdain no dhà gun choinneamh sam bith a bhith agam an uairsin.

 

Westminster Confession of Faith

Interesting. Basically it says, “Whether you end up in heaven or in hell is entirely up to God’s whim, but you should try and be a good Christian for His greater glory notwithstanding”. Some passages are in fact more of a horror than James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; other ones reminded me of George Orwell’s doublethink.

 

La psy

Ça a été très court : probablement, elle a été contente que je veuille aller au centre de désitoxication moi-même, et donc je ne vais pas la faire perdre son temps. Elle a même déjà écrit la lettre pour m’y adresser dès que je serai guéri (certes, si je serai guéri).

 

MQB gu MQF

Agus gnìomh eile ‘tasglannach’ air a choileanadh: tar-sgrìobhadh an leabhair leam le truaill-chainnt agus gnàthasan-cainnte èibhinn (a’ mhòr-chuid dhiubh èibhinn gu do-rùnaichte) dhan fhaidhle theacsa. Bha fiù agus an tìde agam airson am faidhle a chur chun nan càirdean bhon cholaiste ris a chumas mi suas fhathast, agus gu Rob.

Bha fhios agam gun robh mòran fhealla-dhà bhon cholaiste is bho Sheirbheis Nàiseanta ann, ach chur e iongnadh orm dè cho mòran ’s a bha ann bho na bliadhnaichean as dèidh sin. Gus deach mi dhan rehab. Tha fhios nach robh mòran ann as dèidh sin, agus mi a’ cur seachad an àm saor agam air an eadar-lìon, seach a’ coinneachadh ri daoine ann an taighean-seinnse.

 

Robert Louis Stevenson: Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

Allegedly one of the very first hiking travelogues, Stevenson’s book is a pleasant account of a twelve-day trip in his late twenties over a mountain range in southern France, accompanied only by a jenny to help with carrying his gear.

********

Quotations:

But we are all travellers in what John Bunyan calls the wilderness of this world—all, too, travellers with a donkey: and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend. He is a fortunate voyager who finds many. We travel, indeed, to find them. They are the end and the reward of life.
 

To make good resolutions, indeed! You might talk as fruitfully of making the hair grow on your head.
 

And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became aware of a strange lack. I wished a companion to lie near me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within touch. For there is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect.
 

I have never thought it easy to be just, and find it daily even harder than I thought. I own I met these Protestants with a delight and a sense of coming home. I was accustomed to speak their language, in another and deeper sense of the word than that which distinguishes between French and English; for the true Babel is a divergence upon morals.

 

Book shopping spree

What do you do when you find out the debit card for your bank account abroad will expire soon, and you have no way of preventing the bank from sending a new one to the address where you used to stay there except by phoning them – but you suffer from phone phobia?

You spend a fifth of the remaining balance on buying all the (thirteen) Kindle books you’d noted down for buying gradually in the future, send another fifth to your best friend still in that country, and transfer the rest to your account where you stay now, only leaving a token amount in the old one.

The ‘Unread’ (meaning ‘not even begun’) collection on my Kindle now contains 27 items. Enough to read not only for the rest of this year, but also for the next I guess, especially given I like rereading one of my favourites every now and than. (But I do feel like I’ve lost another link to the country of my heart …)

 

BBC II!: Queer Britain

Apparently people like me weren’t exactly amongst the target audience. I didn’t grow up in a religious environment; never cared about my ‘body image’ enough to seriously try and improve it; never actually ended up on the streets (so far anyway); I’m white, and never was knowingly a victim of racism; I found the fact the ‘porn’ episode was about 10 minutes longer than the rest … droll; and I’m perfectly cisgender.

That being said, I knew people got kicked out by their orthodoxly religious parents; I knew people ended up on the streets because there was no helping hand for them; and I knew there was more racism in our minds (yes, yours and mine as well) than an average middle-class Guardian reader is able to admit. In other words there was some boredom and no ‘revelations’.

And yet I don’t consider watching the whole series a waste of time. It probably gave me some idea what today’s young LGBTQIAPCDEFHJKMNORSUVWXYZ+++* are concerned with; and if the truth be told, there was one revelation after all: that these days, a masculine male cisgender gay probably shouldn’t call himself ‘queer’, as I’d used to do, because the meaning of the word has shifted again.
 

* You say the initialism doesn’t use all the letters of the alphabet? Just you wait …

 

Fiaclaire mu dheireadh thall

B’ e àm fada on a thadhail mi air, agus bha m’ fhiaclan-cùil clì goirt gu tric, ach cha bu dàna leam a dhol ann leis mar a chruthachadh m’ amhaich seile is lionn-cuirp. Dar a dh’fhàs seo rudeigin na b’ fheàrr, chaidh mi ann, on a dh’iarr mi deit fhaighinn roimhe biopsy eile nam biodh fear ann. Ach ’s ann cha mhòr sa bhad a bha mi nam shuidhe sa chathair, agus as dèidh dham fiaclaire dà fhiacaill a chàradh, thuirt e nach robh a dhìth orm tighinn a-rithist ach sa gheamhradh. Bha sin cho luath nach robh àm agam fàs mì-chofhurtail. Ceum beag eile air adhart …

 

General election 2017

Ten nights after the one following the polling day I should be able to write this without being too verbose. Even though my attitude towards the results remains rather ambivalent …

At first sight it’s great that Tories lost the overall majority. But one wonders whether a situation where Theresa May can only continue as the PM (which is by now obviously her primary, if not only, concern) by making a deal with the DUP isn’t actually even worse. Both on account of Northern Ireland, because there’s no way anybody could stay neutral in the current negotiations while being held in power by one of the two main opposing parties – even a Tory can see this; and on account of the rest of the UK, despite whatever Ruth Davidson may think (it seems this picture needs some retouching).

Likewise, while the UKIP failure looks fine, one mustn’t forget they only failed because Tories began emulating them.

Also, while I don’t mind the SNP’s loss of seats per se (in fact, I wouldn’t condemn them if, given what they stand for, they followed Sinn Féin’s example and never went to Westminster at all), I’d like them to either keep their seats or lose them to Lib Dems, as they did in the ‘Gaelic’ areas. The fact that not only Scotland’s south, but most of the area between Stirling and Banff & Buchan was gained by the Tories (thus helping to keep May in power) I can only call by the old phrase ‘a fucking disgrace’.

Much less importantly, it was fine to see Cable retake his seat and Carmichael retain his, but sad to see Salmond, Robertson and Clegg go (the first moreover with the biggest swing of the election).

And so on. With all that it was no wonder the sterling fell. With all that I was quite glad when the stream of menacing updates on the after-election day was interrupted by this pleasant tweet, reminding me that after all we were still only talking a peacetime UK general election, and while there were casualties, there were no fatalities.
 

PS The BBC usually makes a page with several interesting maps: this election’s one is here. And incidentally, there was also a Holyrood by-election taking place.

 

Leo Varadkar

Feumaidh mi aideachadh nach urrainn dhomh tuigsinn ciamar a thionndaidh Èirinn bho dhùthaich anns an robh feisen gèidhe toirmisgte gus 1993 gu tè far an do thachair ann an 2015 reifreann soirbheachail às leth phòsaidhean ghèidh, agus a-nis eadhon tè le prìomh mhinisteir gèidh. Ach chan eil sin gu diofar. ’S e an rud cudromach gun do dh’atharraich i ann. Agus an rud nas fheàrr gu bheil coltach nach robh ùidh mhòr aig daoine gun robh e gèidh no gun robh athair air tighinn bho na h-Innseachan, ach dè a dhèanas e le eaconomaidh na dùthcha. Sin mar am bu chòir cùisean a bhith.

 

Kim Knott: Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

It did give me some basic information I hadn’t had; it did have a few surprises for me (for instance that Hinduism can be perceived as both polytheistic and monotheistic; that January is a harvest time in India; and that the Hare Krishna movement is in fact a Hindu one). Still, one of the weakest of those in the Very Short Introductions series I’ve read. Given that these are really very short books, primers as it were, there’s a lot of wasted space. One would prefer, for example, a little more detailed information about Bhagavad Gita to recurring questioning whether Hinduism can be called a religion, despite its not fitting a rather narrow definition of the term based on the Abrahamic ones.

 

BBC II!: Rehab: Lives Addicted

During the time of my own cure one of the therapists contemptuously remarked that abroad there were ‘no real rehabs, just detoxes’. Reading Norman Maclean’s The Leper’s Bell didn’t disabuse me of this misconception; watching this programme did. There were definitely more similarities than differences between Broadway Lodge and ‘my’ old rehab.

That the people, the stories and so on, were similar, goes without saying. The moment that touched me most was when ‘Big John’ says ‘Some people, when you ask them what their primary drug is, or what their drug of choice is, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s crack, it’s heroin.” Mine was “more”, and a lot of people will say that – “more”.’

Absofuckinglutely.

 

Galettes de pommes de terre

Le goût a été bon, mais la portion a été trop grande, et l’odeur, l’air lourd, cela restait dans la garsonnière pendant deux jours. Je les ai apprécié, mais je n’ai changé l’intention : utiliser toute l’huile qui reste, et après ça ne poêler plus jusqu’à l’hiver.
 

Ajouté 18/5: Fait. Dès lors, j’ai poêlé pour la dernière fois (Spam, bien entendu) et j’ai jeté la poêle. Un autre bric-à-brac moins.

 

Rangers no Celtic?

Chuimhnich am post-bloga seo dhomh air duine leis a bha mi ag obair uaireigin. ’S ann à Glaschu a bha e fhèin, agus cha do dh’agair e gum b’ fheudar dhomh taic a thoirt dha fear dhe na sgiobaidhean seo is mise nam in-imriche. Fiù ’s dar a thuirt mi nach robh ùidh agam ann am ball-coise san fharsaingeachd, ghabh e ris. Ach dar a thuirt mi nach tug mi taic dha sgioba sam bith, eadhon san t-seann dùthaich agam, cha b’ urrainn dha sin a thuigsinn. “Feumaidh a h-uile duine sgioba air choireigin a bhith aige.” Cha robh e gam choiteachadh tuilleadh, ach bha e a’ coimhead orm mar gun tuirt mi nach do rugadh mi, gun do thachair mi dìreach, no gun robh mi air tighinn à planaid eile …

 

Neil and Alfred

I quite like watching Neil Oliver’s documentaries: occasionally he seems to exaggerate to make them more interesting, but always manages to stay safely on the ‘documentary’ side. Nevertheless, when the other day I watched him enunciate in his unmistakeable Scottish accent, “if it hadn’t been for Alfred, we would probably have a different national identity, we might even speak a different language. Alfred the Great was a hugely significant leader in our history”, I couldn’t help it: a broad grin appeared on my face and stayed there for a couple of minutes.

 

Trois-huit

J’ai remarqué se mot et je me suis rendu compte que j’avais, si je compte bien, quinze travails (à temps plain), dont dix étaient vraiment par équipes, mais dont seulement quatre étaient des trois-huit ; les six autres ont utilisé des systèmes différents. Une découverte intéressante : je pensais qu’ils étaient plus fréquent.

 

Claon-bhreith nàdarrach

Leugh mi aiste car neònach mu “implicit bias” an latha roimhe. Bha an t-ùghdar air IAT test a ghabhail agus chuir e iongnadh air gum b’ e an toradh “slight automatic preference for white people over black people”. Air dè bha e an dùil? An robh beachd romansach aige gun robh e gun chlaon-bhreith buileach?

Dh’fheuch mi aon dhe na deuchainnean cuideachd; b’ e an toradh “strong automatic preference for Gay people over Straight people”. Chan eil sin buileach ceart: tha e gu math follaiseach gu b’ fheàrr leam, ceteris paribus, fireannaich gèidh na fireannaich dìreach, ach ’s ann eile-sheòrsach a tha na càirdean as fheàrr agam uile, agus cha chreid mi idir gum b’ fheàrr leam boireannaich gèidh na fireannaich dìreach.

Ach b’ e an seantans a bu chraicte na leanas: ” In popular culture, it is hard to think of a female equivalent to Sherlock Holmes, for example, a detective whose astonishing deductions were a product of his singular genius.” Nach do chuala an sgrìobhadair a-riamh mu dheidhinn Bana-Mhaighstir Marple?

 

Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow gay marriages

The results of the general election have only begun to trickle in, but another vote took place yesterday, one whose result was known while the polling stations were still open: the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow those of its priests who opt in to conduct gay marriages in its churches. Given that this approval “required the backing of at least two thirds of each house of Bishops, Clergy and Laity”, I’m pleasantly surprised it really did go through and Scotland’s Anglicans thus joined American ones.

 

North Korea: nothing has changed

Years ago I wondered how long would the world let the country play cat and mouse with it. So far, we keep seeing the same scenario: North Korea conducts another test defying the sanctions imposed on it, the US, Japan and South Korea call it unacceptable, China urges everybody’s restraint, sometimes there are more sanctions … and North Korea keeps doing what it pleases, all the time getting nearer the point where it will be able to start the third world war. Even when the US try to bring it down a peg, South Korea gets a new president who stops the effort, allegedly concerned with its possible environmental impact. And the North goes on stretching its wings …