I’ve found so much in the Pentlands since moving to Edinburgh. Beauty and calm, mostly. Birds. Space to walk and run out problems, too. Places to be with the kids, to eat and talk. The city’s wonderful but if I didn’t have something opposite to frame it, I’d appreciate it much less.
One 2016 day I found the remnants of a Nazi Training Camp in the Pentlands. My intuition had told me something wasn’t right, I didn’t realise exactly what till I saw this, two weeks later.
Take nothing for granted, I guess.
I’ve been working on a new project called The Grantidote. Last week it took me west, to where I come from.
The Grantidote’s centering women, pausing to understand how a woman’s wholeness is made up of fragments big and small, some chosen, others delivered by circumstance.
The Grantidote’s about acknowledging the marks women leave on our world. I believe by fully registering women’s impact we begin to rectify an error that’s made how we organise, experience and understand humanity feel ill-fitting and wrong.
Toxic masculinity needn’t control the whole narrative, after all.
Hop on my hashtags too, won’t you? #52and40, Instagram and #TheGrantidote
Years ago, while reading about dog training, I learned the phrase, ‘pressure creates counter pressure’. I was struggling with our then enormous puppy pulling on the lead. The phrase underlined my feeling that yanking back was only making my arm hurt more and my stress levels soar. So I stopped yanking back. Disengaged from negativity. Got used to standing, waiting for fresh eyes and curiousity. Eventually, it worked.
Scotland’s at a crossroads about whether, among other things, we value evolving multi-culturalism over a United Kingdom. Yes or No.
Pressure and counter pressure.
What’s all this #52and40 malarky about then? Find out here.
A treasure trail of research lead me to Jessie Kesson and now I can’t believe her name wasn’t always part of my frame of Scots reference.
Jessie was born in 1916 Inverness to a loving single mum who worked as a prostitute and knew challenge intimately. At eight, Jessie was relocated to a children’s home in Aberdeenshire and denied further education because of her background. By the end of her life in 1994, Jessie was a London novelist, playwright and producer of Woman’s Hour.
The bits in-between? She told her stories.
More on #52and40 here and on Twitter.
I’ve wondered who this guy is a lot.
Turns out he’s Everyman. He’s Joe Public, apparently, the work of German artist Stephan Balkenhol.
There are more women than men in Edinburgh (and Scotland). How about a sculpture of the city’s Everywoman, instead? Or perhaps alongside?
According to population data, she’d be between 16 and 29, living in a flat with a council-tax banding between A and C and as likely to be single as she would to be married. Her life expectancy would be longer than Joe’s, too.
So where is she?
More on #52and40 here and on Twitter.
The zombies are calling me.
People who refer to other people as ‘they’.
‘They’re all the same’, and, ‘that’s what they want you to think’.
People who’ve given up on hope and change and hunkered down, rolling a boulder called fear into the cave doorway and frowning about how they’ll get the smoke from the fire to vent in a closed space.
I feel the temptation.
It’d be easy to sign up for the Daily Mail and play Loathe My Neighbour.
But, goddammit, I’ve no experience of easy ever feeling worth it.
Read more about #52and40 here and follow the hashtag on Twitter.
Internalised misogyny’s kinda like the rat who lived in our back garden. Every now and then it poked its head out of a small hole in the dry stane dyke and scared the living shit out of me (but thrilled the dog).
For soooooooo long I believed the rat was simply a large mouse. Then, faced with faecal evidence to the contrary, I spent some time simply telling myself the rat was a large mouse and willing away memories of the enormo-shits by the bird feed in the shed. Denial can be a really handy part of adjusting to an unpleasant reality, can’t it?
I did not want the rat to be as big a problem as it was – so I simplified it away and mentally minimised it to make it easier to think about. La la la la la la.
Meantime, the rat had babies and I grew unable to continue deluding myself that the big pink semi-ropes intermittently hanging out the wee wall in the garden were anything other than rat tails. Then, the sight of a rat climbing the 7ft clematis trellis turned out to be a moment even Instagram filters & wine couldn’t soften.
We are now minus a shed and a rat colony. We found out the rats were living under the decrepit, old, rotting shed (very low air miles to the bird food) so it was time for the lot to go.
I’ve talked a lot about the rat now and not so much about internalised misogyny, haven’t I? If you’d like to read me talking about internalised misogyny for reals, I’m chuffed as a rat in a slop bucket to say you can do just that on Bella Caledonia this festive season.