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.
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.
Things I didn’t know last month;
- There are jellyfish all round the coast of Denmark – my husband got stung every other summer as a kid playing in the viking sea.
- The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art was originally built as a mansion for William Cunninghame in 1778, for £10,000. Cunninghame was a Tobacco Lord who benefited hugely from trade winds, the hideousness of the triangular slave trade and the connections of his prosperous merchant family.
- For the worse or better, it only takes two people to start a movement.
Read more about #52and40 here.
I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.
The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year. It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.
As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.
Everything else is weather.
More info on #52and40 here.
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 proud to be a Dangerous Woman.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh are asking what being a dangerous woman means and providing a myriad of answers, one per day, over the 365 days between International Women’s Day 2016 and International Women’s Day 2017.
My piece, entitled The Business of Incantations is here.