Three more nights. Monday being the last day of my internet subscription, I’ll have to temporarily cover most of my online activities (smartphone is just a meagre substitute for internet access as far as I’m concerned); on Tuesday I’m going to pack my possessions and so on; and on Wednesday I’ll hand over the flat and leave for the rehab.
Leaving this town, hopefully, for good. There are places you love the more the longer you stay there (the city where I went to college or Glasgow), and those you hate the more the longer you are stuck there (the town where I was born or this one). Of course, there’s no way I’ll be able to return to Scotland, but at least getting closer to my ex-college-mates would be fine.
What I said last night holds, but it’s quite possible that years from now I’ll reminisce about these last few months a little wistfully. That I’ll mostly remember all those iPlayer documentaries I saw while having my meals . . .
I even have new favourite presenters, Dougie Vipond and Neil Oliver having been joined by Chris Packham, Dan Cruickshank, James Fox . . .
So, on Wednesday to the rehab. And then hopefully to some other town, as I’ve learned to hate this one. Anyway, I’m certainly not returning to this gaff, which I never liked in the first place. Because of …
A floating floor and no carpet in the bedsit. No door between the antechamber and the bedsit, making old women blethering on the staircase all too audible. A washbasin so tiny one can’t even wash a pair of socks in it. Bathroom walls so dark it’s hard to see one’s face properly when shaving. A microwave oven and an electric cooker but no fridge. And so on.
But most of all the sod staying above me, stamping like a hippo from wall to wall and back again, quite often for a few hours in a row. God knows what the arseheid is doing that for. Even worse than the bitch in Wester Common. It’s been years since I last went – sober – to my bed with a pleasant expectation of a restful sleep. I go to sleep anxious that noise will not let me fall asleep, and certain it would wake me up.
So in a sense I can’t wait to leave here. Who knows, perhaps I’ll yet get a chance to relearn going to sleep without this anxiety. While there’s life there’s hope.
Dimàirt, b’ e an t-uachdaran agus am fiaclaire; an-dè, an oifis airson tèarainteachd shòisealta. Ach, gu neo-chumanta, tha mi beagan ro làimh, seach air dheireadh, ron cheann-ama a tha ann an Diciadain an ath sheachdain; bha fiù agus àm gu leòr agam a’ tilleadh bhon oifis ri dhol ann an taigh-òsta agus biadh sònraichte a’ cheàrna seo a ghabhail. Ma bhios mi soirbheachail, cha bi teans agam a ghabhail a-rithist.
The flitting day is nearing; the day before yesterday I eventually tried and found out which of my possessions I’d be able to cram into the rucksack and laptop case and which I’d have to discard.
The result was satisfactory: as expected, I’ll have to throw away all my books but Monte Walsh, including Colin Mark’s Gaelic-English dictionary (which is why I’d bought the Kindle version), as well as my winter jacket, but somewhat unexpectedly I’ll be able to keep my fleece, and my diaries can be distributed so that the rucksack presumably won’t break like my old one did two years ago.
Maybe one day I’ll reach the ideal of only having as much as can be carried in a rucksack alone.
Incidentally the twenty-second anniversary of the last time I had sex, but that’s irrelevant: what made it busy was all related to the near future, rather than to distant past. First the landlord came for the rent and I had to disclose to him I was about to leave soon: he took it surprisingly equanimously. Then I went out myself to the office of my internet provider: although it took some time, I finally did make the lady behind the counter fill in the contract termination form. After which I visited the local branch of the state department responsible for pensions and mined them for information about the possibility of getting some income on account of the consequences of the cancer and the cure: I even got the necessary forms, even though in the end we concluded it would be better to apply after my rehab stint.
It’s been like this for some time: days or weeks of having no appointments alternating with days or weeks of having several. But I was quite satisfied at the end of this one, because I did follow all the negotiations through without bottling out of anything. Rather unusual for me to be honest.
Bha mi airson gam fònadh leam fhìn, ach mus do dhùisg mi, sheirm boireannach air choireigin bhon ospadal leighis-inntinn mi, agus dh’aontaich sinn gun tig mi ann air an dàrna latha dhen Lùnastal.
Sgoinneil. Mu dheireadh thall, tha fios agam dè an uimhir ama a tha agam gus an latha dar a dh’fhàgas mi am baile mosach seo, an dùil nach biodh agam ri tilleadh a-riamh. Thòisich mi cha mhòr sa bhad air cnuasachadh air dè as fheudar – agus as urrainn – dhomh a dhèanamh tron àm.
(Thuirt i cuideachd gum bi mi ann mu mhìos: bha mi ’n dòchas gum biodh sin na b’ fhaide ach ’s dòcha gum bi aon mhìos gu leòr. Bu chòir dha a bhith nas saoire mar an ceudna.)
This is becoming ridiculous. Every day I stop ‘following’ another website or two, every night I tell myself the next day would be primarily dedicated to cutting down the number of ‘to-read’ article bookmarks, yet the following night I find out there were so many new ones the number is only slightly lower than the night before, if it’s not in fact even higher. If this was my first year on the internet I could put it down to beginner’s infatuation with it, but I have recently begun my tenth …
Occasionally I treat myself to some moderate profligacy. Having read an article about rosemary smell possibly enhancing memory, I bought a bottle of essential oil, and an aromatherapy candle holder or diffuser or whatever it’s properly called. Despite the fact that normally I would snort over a research carried on only 40 participants.
(I did snort when I later learnt I was one of a crowd. The mitigating factor is that one of the reasons I succumbed to the whim was the fact that rosemary is mentioned in the title of one of my favourite Simon & Garfunkel albums.)
I burn a candle under the oil bath daily, usually when working on my languages’ vocabularies and/or when meditating. Sure, I’ve no idea whether it actually has any effect, there are too many other variables. But the smell is pleasant, and I’ve always had a soft spot for candles anyway; somehow this makes burning one even more gratifying.
Uill, chan eil an àrd-dhotair buileach cinnteach fhathast, ach cho-dhùin e mu dheireadh thall gu bheil coltachd mhòr ann gun deach at na h-aillse à sealladh. Dh’aontaich e cuideachd gun urrainn dhaibh a’ chuisle PhEG a tharraing às mo stamag.
Drochaid-choise thar Allt a’ Choire Odhair Mhòir
Chan e seo toiseach ùr. Gidheadh, ’s e a’ chiad cheum air slighe ùr, as dèidh nam mìosan dar a bha e coltach nach biodh tèile ann tuilleadh; ’s dòcha gu bheil beagan ama ri teachd romham fhathast.
Feumaidh mi a-nis faighinn air ais dhan rehab agus an uairsin, nas fhaisge air mo sheana-charaidean. Bha mi a’ grodadh san bhugair bhaile seo ro fhada.
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.
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.
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?
Another long-term ‘project’ finished last week: all the letters, tourist guides, magazine pictures and so on and so forth either turned into digital form and discarded, or simply discarded; another step towards the ideal of only having as many possessions as can be carried in a rucksack and a shoulder bag.
(This is not strictly true: for instance, I still have the Oxford panorama bookmark I brought with me from the UK back in 1990. But then I’m still using it as a bookmark, it’s not gathering dust in a drawer with the sole purpose of reminiscing when maybe once in a blue moon coming across it.)
Of course, what remains is my diaries, and these would take years to transcribe, even if brutally edited; in fact I may not manage it at all. But I’ve started – with the notebook which isn’t really a diary: apart from slang expressions used by people I knew there are their (mostly unintentionally) funny utterances.
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.
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 …
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.
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 …
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.