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.
Our wee extension’s starting soon and early signs say the plants are keen on change this summer too.
We’ve imposed new garden structure by getting rid of the decrepit shed, clearing the Krugeresque brambles and waving cheerio to 9m of mixed hedge which only ever managed to look tortured, despite optimistic pruning.
A winter project which leaked into spring was a new boundary fence. With this came unexpected clarity about divvying up remaining space. Digging awaits.
Clarity’s good in these mad Brexit times (as are friends with doors which make me smile).
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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.
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.
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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.
I’m dreaming of a non-line Christmas
Just like the ones we used to know
Where purses jingle
And footsteps mingle
And we all go shopping in the snow.
I’m also dreaming of a socio-political re-org for Scotland which ejects a Daily Mail state of mind for the rest of time. And a plan for my big writing project more cohesive than, ‘yes, I might need to change the whole thing again. Hmmmm.’
Clarity will come. Meantime, the thing to fill the void with is art, air, light and laughter. And non-line shopping.
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