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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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Saturday, December 22nd, 2018
10:13 pm - Day 22
I forgot to open the advent calendar this morning, being too busy rushing off to Glasgow to walk the last section of the Forth and Clyde canal, which took up rather more of the day than I expected.

I got to Bowling not too much later than I hoped, just as it got dark, and just a bit too late for the half past four train - but back in Glasgow there were Christmas markets going on in both George Square and St Enoch Square, meaning that everywhere I tried to get something to eat at that end of town was packed out the door, so that eventually I wandered off to Pizza Express at the far end of Sauchiehall Street. It was quiet, but it was sevenish by the time I got there, and by the time I’d eaten and walked 15 minutes back again it was the 8.30 train I got home.

A nice walk, anyway, if a bit urban - and I have not yet got over the sight of a heron sitting in a TREE. This is not what herons do.

Once opened, the calendar turned out to contain plastic fish shapes - helpful in that they reminded me that I have some gummy fishes from Tarbert somewhere and must consult with vililee about the eating of them before they melt and stick to the bag (which has happened to us before), but once again I have no idea how they are supposed to help with knitting.

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Friday, December 21st, 2018
6:35 pm - Day 21
This morning the advent calendar produced the strangest thing yet, a vaguely thimble shaped object which seems to want to be a stegosaurus, with bumps along its back. I have no idea what to do with this.

The end of a long week, and a long month - having to concentrate hard in court didn’t help, but then neither did rushing off to Newcastle and Austria and Keswick whenever I could have been resting!

The exams ran on right to the last afternoon, which I don’t think has ever happened before - not very helpful, because we won’t have all the scripts in our hands until the new year, and also we generally get chucked out of our building shortly after lunchtime - I was there later than usual, until about 3, sorting out scripts from the morning, and then took myself off to Peter’s Yard as a treat.

current mood: tired

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Thursday, December 20th, 2018
11:18 pm - Day 20
I forgot to open the advent calendar this morning, because I was in a rush - all this week I've had to be at work early to deliver exams, at the worst time of year for it. I don't quite seem to have reached the final stage of Too Tired To Knit yet, but it's close - I'm definitely too tired to think.

Once finally opened, it contained a thing like a knitting needle fishing hook.

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2018
11:44 pm - Day 19
Lots of pins today, with flowery heads. Apparently these thin ones are marking pins, but I don't know what I'm supposed to mark.

I thought I was too tired for the last night of dancing, but I enjoyed it once I got there. I am tired, though - too many exam scripts to sort, and I still seem to be spending half my time solving other people's problems.

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Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
11:57 pm - Day 18
Today, rubbery cone things to go on the pointy ends of your needles. I'm sure there were some of those already.

I meant to do lots of useful things today, but I did not. I'm a bit worn out from wading through a sea of exam scripts.

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Monday, December 17th, 2018
10:37 pm - Day 17
Today, more stitch markers, this time like small fat plastic safety pins.

Nothing in particular has happened today, but I'm worn out just the same.

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Sunday, December 16th, 2018
10:34 pm - Day 16
Yesterday's advent calendar - more pins. These ones were thicker and had even fancier heads, so presumably really are blocking pins, while the last ones were more like normal sewing pins. But only three of them.

Today, more mysterious objects, shaped like small plastic socks. A bit like the things you used to get to sit on the end of your pencil when you were little, but they didn't look quite the right size to be for putting the ends of your knitting needles in.

I went out today to carry on walking the Forth and Clyde canal - slightly more of an undertaking than I had realised, because of the bit I missed out the last time. A nice day, if very cold, but quite often a thin layer of slush or snow underfoot.

In the end I just missed a local train at the Glasgow end, and had to find my way down to the main road to catch a very slow bus into town - I had meant to go out again to sing carols on the steps of Barclay's with tigger_boing and MM, but I was too late and too stiff and too cold through to the bones.

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Saturday, December 15th, 2018
9:49 pm - Day 15
I forgot to open the advent calendar today, because I was having a slightly hectic small adventure to Keswick and Carlisle, in spite of the weather forecast - mainly because every time I dash through Keswick I wish I had more time to potter round the shops, so I thought I might as well go back at shopping time. A grey morning and a wet and windy afternoon, but they're still nice places to be.

I ended up mostly buying things that were my own heart's desire, but since I have a mother who thinks I'm difficult to buy for, and a January birthday as well, this is not necessarily a bad thing. And I did buy some things for other people, and generally have a good time.

And I'm happy because I've managed to buy a Perfect Fleece - for about a year after I tore a small hole in my old one you couldn't seem to get full zip fleeces at all, and then when they came back none of them had zippy pockets to stop your things falling out, and when I did finally buy one like that, it didn't have pockets inside for putting your map.

But this one has zippy pockets on the outside, and rectangular pockets on the inside, and long sleeves to keep your hands warm in the cold, and is basically exactly the same as the old one only More Purple, which is possibly the only thing which could have improved on perfection. So I am pleased.

And although I did get mildly wet, neither I or the trains were blown away, so that was fine. I got more wet by managing to throw a pint of beer all over the pub table instead of drinking it!

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Friday, December 14th, 2018
7:41 pm - Day 14
Today, some pins, with fancy coloured heads - possibly for blocking, but you couldn't block very much with five pins.

All week I've been feeling like I might be coming down with a cold - misbehaving nose and general sat-on-by-an-elephant feeling - without it really getting anywhere.

As far as I can tell I haven't had a proper streaming cold since last autumn, so I'm a bit worried that when I finally do it will be some kind of looming Megacold. But I have had occasional fits of sinus grottiness, which hang around for a while and then fizzle out, so maybe this is finally turning out to be another of those, possibly brought on by dry air in a) courts and b) planes. Or maybe not.

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1:59 pm - November stats
Miles walked: 102.7
Fiddle days: 26/25
Blog posts made: 5/5 (Book of the Month: October – James Hutton, Collingwood Society – Pickle Night, Collingwood Society AGM 2018, Telford in northern Wales, Falkirk and the Dundas family)
AoS books read: One about William Smith and the first geological map, rereading one about the history of science from earlier on.
Fic written: None
Decent walks gone on: A fairly little one at Hareshaw Linn, another fairly little one at Cramond, along the Forth and Clyde canal about as far as Kilsyth.
Walk reports written: The highest Dragon in Wales, Moel Eilio on a misty morning

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