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Monday, May 20th, 2019
11:05 pm - Wanderings
Today I have mostly felt a bit like a balloon which has come untied and is floating away. Hopefully some sleep will anchor me a bit...

I rushed away from work on Friday to get to Glasgow in time to catch the 6pm bus down to Tarbert - a lovely evening for views. Saturday was mostly grey and drizzly, but that was ok, because my foot still didn't feel great for walking on, and I'd brought with me all the knitted things which needed to be sewn up, and a peaceful day doing that and pottering down the street and back was very appealing.

I also ended up watching Eurovision for the first time in... well, several years - the songs, at least, because we gave up about 11 when they were running miles behind, and vililee went to bed with the radio and I went to bed without.

Yesterday is where I left myself behind - morning bus back to Glasgow, train to Edinburgh, train to Newcastle, and time for a bit of a rest before getting lost trying to find an arena which had changed its name to something no one had ever heard of.

It was a very good concert - musically brilliant, and I love the endlessly versatile band, going from pure rock to pure folk and every stage in between. But it never really moved into that thrill of excitement - I'm not keen on big industrial arena concerts anyway, to be fair, and I like a lot of the folky stuff which doesn't come over so well in that kind of setting, so maybe some of it was me, but I basically agree with the Chronicle review (although I thought Knopfler was having trouble with his voice, with some of the lower folky stuff growling away to nothing, and the sound not really keeping up).

Romeo and Juliet was damn good, though.

That makes three musical acts I've been willing to make the early morning journey back from Newcastle for - it all went smoothly enough, but by the time I got to work I felt I'd been travelling a long way.

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Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
10:07 pm - In which things fall apart
I didn't mean to go so quiet for so long - I think I've been too busy doing things to have any time to write about them.

Although at the moment I am merely busy falling to bits - I've got a crack under my heel which was sore enough yesterday that I couldn't put my foot down properly, although it's a bit better today, and for some reason I have gone properly hayfevery with sneezes, which I never really do, and now I have been poisoned, because someone put milk in the fridge at work which had gone off on the 10th of APRIL, which I only discovered by tasting the coffee which it was in.

I am cross with the Waverley, which is not sailing this year - they must have known months ago that this would probably happen, and yet they did all their advertising and let me spend £100 on going to Skye, and now they want me to pay for a *stamp* to send my ticket back, which I obscurely feel is the last straw!

However. I am going to Tarbert on Friday and to Newcastle to see Mark Knopfler on Sunday, and although the timing could be better, I cannot be very uncheered with these things in the near future.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
11:18 pm - April stats
I seem to have written an amazing amount of walk reports recently. I didn't know I'd done that, but I suppose I've been walking so much that I don't dare get behind in case I never catch up again.

Miles walked: 201.2
Fiddle days: 21/25 (but I knew it would be like that, because I was away so much, and I'm still at 100/100 for the year)
Concerts seen: Baltic Crossing, yay!
Blog posts made: 4/4 (David Douglas and Scone, Collingwood Society – Thomas Hardy, Two Bridges on the Tay, Hidden horticulturalists)
AoS books read: Part of one about highland roads
Decent walks gone on: A soggy little walk on Housedon Hill, a traverse from Buttermere to Keswick over Whiteless Pike and several other hills, lots of little hills round Wythop Moss, a great chunk of the Pennine Way, the Maiden Way from Alston to Ousby
Walk reports written: Forth and Clyde canal - the Kelpies to Banknock, A Mosspaul circuit, Trees and bridges and Birnam Hill, Housedon Hill, From Whiteless Pike to Barrow, All around Wythop Moss, Horton to Hawes via Dodd Fell Hill, Hawes to Tan Hill via Great Shunner Fell

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Wednesday, April 10th, 2019
9:39 pm - A less lovely day
I should not have started knitting hats, because it's addictive, and then I don't want to do anything else...

Not such a lovely day this Saturday - I was going down to a Newcastle dance in the evening, and decided to climb a little Northumberland hill on the way, but it was cold and damp and utterly misty, and I was ambushed by gorse, and then ended up back in Berwick where it was still damp and bitterly cold and decided not to visit the old barracks because you literally couldn't see from one side of the courtyard to the other. I mean, the walk itself was fine while I was doing it, mostly, but I did end up wishing I'd just stayed at home.

But the dance was good fun, and seeing DL, who had forgotten all about me despite *twice* promising to give me a bed for the night! :)

(She did.)

I don't think very much happened on Sunday. I came back north, thought about going to a concert, and didn't.

Since then, of course, the weather has been lovely. Presumably it will stay that way until Friday night.

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9:07 pm - March stats
I spent most of March working on an improbable knitting project - I started off nonchalantly thinking that it was only small, and then ended up knitting franctically. I did get finished in time, but my picowrimo reports tended to be more about how much knitting I'd done than how many words I'd written - I did get the old IOW walk reports done for it, but had hoped for more.

Miles walked: 106.9
Fiddle days: 27/25
Concerts seen: Only the SMG end of term one which I played in.
Blog posts made: 1/4 (Throwback: The Rest and Be Thankful)
AoS books read: One about historic maps, which I wasn't really expecting to count as an AOS book when I started it.
Decent walks gone on: Cademuir Hill, three little hills at Mosspaul, Birnam Hill
Walk reports written: Two Cademuir Hills, (Almost) around the Isle of Wight part 1, (Almost) around the Isle of Wight part 2, (Almost) around the Isle of Wight part 3

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Sunday, March 31st, 2019
9:57 pm - Two lovely days
I had two lovely days this weekend, although it would be a bit difficult to explain to anyone else just what was so good about yesterday. "Well, I went to the middle of nowhere, and got rained on, and my legs hurt, and I fell and sat down in some bog..."

But I did have a very nice time, despite misadventures - lonely hills above a surprisingly lonely valley, and more and more hills all around, and some very nice walking in the drier places, and the sun even shone in the end.

Today I went to Scone on a sunshiny spring day - the house doesn't open until tomorrow, but the grounds are free until the end of March. And I ate a lovely scone (they're quite proud of their Scone scones) and wandered about looking at things and seeing the first Douglas fir in Scotland, and then I sat in the sun by the river in Perth for a bit, and looked at the old bridge, and then went up to Birnam (I never quite made it to the Dunkeld side of the river) and saw the wood that went wandering off (or its descendent), and climbed a little hill with many signposts, and looked at a Telford bridge.

Actually, most people might not think that bridges would contribute to a lovely day either, but I like them :-)

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Saturday, March 16th, 2019
7:19 pm - Ouch
And if it had stayed as a 31-31 draw, Scotland would have been delighted.

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Friday, March 1st, 2019
9:27 pm - February stats
Miles walked: 106.9
Fiddle days: 24/25
Concerts seen: Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, one that sounded good (Beethoven arrangements of Gaelic songs) but turned out to be a swizz - both Celtic Connections.
Blog posts made: 2/4 plus one written in January (The Forth and Clyde Canal – Glasgow to Bowling, Music in wartime, A glimpse of the Caledonian Canal)
AoS books read: One about the Caledonian Canal
Decent walks gone on: Belling Hill and Rubers Law, East Cairn Hill
Walk reports written: Belling Hill and Rubers Law, East Cairn Hill at last

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9:25 pm - January stats
Miles walked: 111.9
Fiddle days: 27/25
Concerts seen: Allan Henderson and friends, one that was supposed to be Saltfishforty and wasn't exactly - both Celtic Connections.
Blog posts made: 2/4 and a February one written (The Forth and Clyde Canal – Falkirk to Kirkintilloch, Throwback: The Brothers’ Parting Stone and the Earl of Abergavenny)
AoS books read: The end of the one about the Mauritius campaign, one about the history of the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Decent walks gone on: The coast from Musselburgh to Leith Shore, Brown Carrick Hill, about half a decent walk at Broomy Law.
Walk reports written: The east coast: Fisherrow to Leith Shore, Brown Carrick Hill from Maybole, Broomy Law and cake

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
7:07 pm - In which it was only a little month
I was going to be more useful in February, having emerged from January's darkness, but this has not happened at all - almost everything that was on my todo list at the beginning of the month is still on it now. I will just have to be useful in March...

I think February has vanished so fast partly because it was full of things - the Newcastle Festival and an adventure to play the Barrowburn reel at Barrowburn and stand with one foot either side of the border, and the Feis at Fort Augustus, and a lot of walking this weekend because I hadn't managed to go for a proper walk for a whole month and I was pining away.

I may actually be more useful in March, because picowrimo is starting again, and I'll have to admit when I haven't done anything. Or I might get some old walk reports off the list, at least!

current mood: tired

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Sunday, February 3rd, 2019
11:50 pm - A conundrum
Why is it that I always struggle to find talks I want to go to in the Edinburgh book festival, which is large and nearby, but given a programme for the Glasgow book festival, which is small and far away, I suddenly want to go to about a dozen things on half a dozen days?

Oh well. It may just be Glasgow's year, as the best contender for March's concert is also through there - or at least is one of those classical things that happens in Edinburgh on a Thursday and Glasgow on a Friday, and I'm always busy making my own music on a Thursday.

I also now know what April's concert will be - Baltic Crossing returning to Scotland for the first time since my first encounter with them, which was a Celtic Connections long ago.

Anyway, I have survived a weekend which seemed to keep gaining things I should do, when all I really wanted to do was go for a walk - to the extent that (combined with general Januaryness) on Thursday afternoon I burst into tears just thinking about it. I didn't manage to go for a walk, but I also didn't do any dancing - I did go to two concerts and tigger_boing's birthday party, but I spent Saturday being thoroughly lazy. And I didn't burst into tears again. We'll see if it helps...

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Saturday, January 26th, 2019
5:52 pm - In which there is some cheerful news
I thought that my memory card had eaten a lot of photos from the Christmas holidays, but on investigation with a file recovery thing it turns out that in fact it has only lost them. It has even helpfully put them into a folder called LOST.DIR, only I didn't know that was what it meant!

There are a handful of people I often hear from over the holidays and didn't this year, which left me feeling very slightly forsaken, but yesterday morning my traditional birthday present from cblgg1 turned up a bit belatedly (Haribo peaches, which you mostly can't buy here). There is no reason why he should go on remembering me, but it is nice :-)

I was also immensely cheered through the week by Miss B on Get it On refusing to play 'Don't Pay the Ferryman' as part of a theme on advice, for fear that all the Calmac folk down the Clyde coast would come up to Pacific Quay to complain.

current mood: pleased

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Thursday, January 24th, 2019
6:40 pm - Waiting for the light
The first hint of a change has arrived - I have been waking up in the not quite dark (although definitely the not quite light), and leaving work with the last blue glow in the west.

I do know, in a theoretical sort of way, that a tipping point will arrive and the light will start to rush back, but it is a bit hard to believe it now.


In the meantime we are suffering under a great darkness of exams. Nothing seems to be done, everything is everywhere and there are always half a dozen things which need to be done immediately. And then this afternoon one of the printers stopped scanning and the other one stopped printing, and you couldn't even use them for the thing they would do for people arguing with them about the thing they wouldn't.

Plus I keep getting called away to fix other people's problems and therefore have no time to fix my own, and this makes me cross. I suppose if I get cross enough the problem might solve itself.

current mood: grumpy

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Sunday, January 20th, 2019
6:16 pm - Musical interludes
One thing I have finally managed to do this weekend is sort out Celtic Connections tickets, after letting it loom over me for ages - I don't think it was really that I didn't want to go to the concerts, more that I couldn't face hunting through the sluggish website to find out what was on, and hadn't managed to get hold of a paper programme.

So Allan Henderson and random friends (and random songs) last night, and Saltfishforty tonight. I'm mildly regretting booking a Sunday night concert after a late night on the Saturday, but if anyone can keep me awake they will - and I missed them by a day in Skye last summer due to rushing back south for Runrig, then missed them at the fiddle festival due to the clash with the Dunedin ball.


I'm pondering a resolution to go to some kind of concert or theatre show every month this year. It shouldn't be all that difficult - there's already Celtic Connections in January and February, Mark Knopfler in May, Charlie McKerron in August and the fiddle festival in November!

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Saturday, January 19th, 2019
11:38 am - In which the darkness continues
Oh, January. You are dark and dingy and difficult, and nothing ever gets done.

I started off in a fit of new year enthusiasm, writing a great to do list for the month, and I even did some things of the kind which hang around for ever - mending the tape on my waterproof jacket and sewing the buttons on my good walking trousers and taking my fiddle case to be mended - and felt so virtuous.

But since then...! The list seems to be growing rather than shrinking, and anything which takes any kind of thought my brain just refuses to settle on - unless it's planning imaginary (or at least hypothetical) trips to Harris, which it will happily do at any hour of the day or night.

I really am going to go to Harris this summer, probably, but I don't think that's what I'm pining for, exactly. I think the problem is that I want to go and visit the summer, and I can't!

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Saturday, January 5th, 2019
6:13 pm - Birthday adventure
It's not properly my birthday unless tigger_boing has been made persuaded to drive down some tiny wiggly roads...

To be fair, it started slightly more conventionally with cake and champagne at midnight, but continued a few hours later with a lot of random moorland, a middle of nowhere border crossing, a very impressive castle, and a private ride on a train. Only for about a quarter of a mile, but still, train just for us :-)

It wasn't as bad as some years, really - a very circuitous route home, and one short stretch of road barely wider than the car, but no signs warning of tanks, grass growing in the middle of the road, or gates which I had to get out and open, all of which have been encountered in the past.

I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to another dance, but I'm slightly lacking in energy...

current mood: grateful

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Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
8:54 pm - The land is all too shallow...
I had a specially odd dream last night, about a bus journey north through the Yorkshire moors while the land which is only painted on the sky began to unravel around me. It woke me, but not with fear - only fascination, and regret that I wouldn't find out what would happen next.

I haven't even been reading JS&MN, unless maybe it was some of the Yuletide fic I only glanced at - although I did find myself thinking when I was in York that although I might have been to the minster, I certainly hadn't been since I knew it as the place where the magic returned, and should go back.

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8:44 pm - December stats
Definitely mixed results on last year's resolutions.

I ended up playing the fiddle on 299 days, simply because I forgot on Hogmanay, which is a bit silly.

Walking was more successful - I went easily over the thousand (1717.6 miles, although that number is not nearly as exact as it pretends to be), and also managed at least a mile every day and 100 miles every month, which are harder. Best month April with 250.4 miles, worst May with 100.3 - I think that was just reaction, as generally the lowest months are the winter ones! I never really got round to posting in the facebook groups, though, and haven't done very well at keeping walk reports up to date, although I get there in the end.

My blog post total isn't too bad, but I certainly haven't written them at a rate of one a week...

Anyway, December:

Miles walked: 156
Fiddle days: 23/25
Blog posts made: 3/5 (Collingwood Society – The Boats that Collingwood knew, Siegestor, Munich, Nelson Gate, Sproxton)
AoS books read: Started one about the Mauritius campaign given to me years and year ago (I think I must have been reading something else earlier in the month, but I can't remember).
Fic written: None
Decent walks gone on: Two trips along the Forth and Clyde Canal - from Kilsyth to Stockingfield Junction in Glasgow, and then from the basin at Port Dundas to the end at Bowling. A little one at Helmsley, then along the coast from Filey to Flamborough, and from Flamborough to Bridlington.
Walk reports written: None

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Monday, December 24th, 2018
5:52 pm - Day 24
I thought the last day might be another big box, like day one, but it was a little one - more stitch markers shaped like round safety pins (or possibly safety pins shaped like round stitch markers), this time coloured gold.

I was out early enough this morning to see the sunrise - at the Gyle just as it opened at 9 - thick frost, and one of those delicately tinted pink and blue mornings, and later on white cloud lying over Fife, with the tops of the Lomond Hills showing above it.

I always finish off my Christmas shopping in a mad campaign at the last minute, partly because I quite enjoy it, but more because I never like buying things until I know I won’t see anything better. The downside to this is that sometimes things vanish before I’ve realised I want them…

But it all got done in the end!

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2018
7:23 pm - Day 23
Back to something I could recognise today, in the shape of plastic darning needles.

Otherwise not a very productive day - I went shopping, or at least wandering all round Edinburgh, but didn’t buy anything.

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