22 December 2008

What's in one's nature

Last night hubby and I was at a gospel concert, Oslo Gospel Choir, very christmassy event, and they're very good! The concert hall was chock-a-block - for the third time that day ( = 1,600 x 3), so you could say they're rather popular...

Sometime in the middle of all this singing and rejoicing, the conductor told us of a "gospel church" in Chicago that he's visited on a number of occasions. And asked us to participate a little more - urging the soloists on, that kind of thing. And we weren't asked to go out there and be outrageous, or anything like this, just clap a little more spontaneously and at "odd" times  :)

Now, I will remind you, good people, that this was all happening in Norway. And for Norway, the audience was excellent - ecstatic, almost. But now - participating more? Even though I wanted to, I found I couldn't do it. I mean, really couldn't. It was impossible _and_ embarrassing. Though I was happy enough that other people were at it, wholeheartedly!

It were as if I'd been asked to walk on my hands. Naked. 
Every reason I couldn't do it... 

And it wasn't like dancing - I really couldn't dance to save my life, but secretely I wish I could - this was different, I really had (and still have!) no idea how to do it or what to do or when or... 

I guess it just isn't in my nature... 

(Drawing: Erich Heckel, Handstand (Acrobat), 1916)

20 December 2008

Me Me Me

A meme I stole from Sam. No, really, it's ages since I did one, isn't it? The basic idea is that there are questions and you have to answer them in one word. We'll say how I fare... 

1. Where is your cell phone?
Pocket

2. Where is your significant other?
Kitchen

3. Your hair colour?
Greying

4. Your mother?
Travelling*

5. Your father?
Travelling*

6. Your favourite thing?
Laughing

7. Your dream last night?
Vague

8. Your dream/goal?
Freedom

9. The room you’re in?
Livingroom

11. Your fear?
Spiders

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?
Here

13. Where were you last night?
Home

14. What you’re not?
Childless

15. One of your wish-list items?
Rufus

16. Where you grew up?
Lofoten

17. The last thing you did?
Bake (!)

18. What are you wearing?
Jeans

19. Your TV?
Off

20. Your pet?
Dead

21. Your computer?
Loved

22. Your mood?
Improving

23. Missing someone?
Sometimes

24. Your car?
Garage

25. Something you’re not wearing?
Hat

26. Favourite store?
iTunes

27. Your summer?
Crete

28. Love someone?
Several

29. Your favourite colour?
Blue

30. When is the last time you laughed?
Recently

31. Last time you cried?
Recently

*) Not together, of course  ...

18 December 2008

Help!!!

A short film made at school by my oldest son Jakob and one of his mates. Not bad at all for two 11-year olds, methinks!

07 December 2008

Seriously funny

I found it over at Josh and Josh's place!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

06 November 2008

The outcome was decidedly blue...

Luckily...! 


But on a distinctly bluer note... Amidst all voting & rejoicing for Obama, California voted FOR prop 8, and thereby making gay marriage illegal again - after it was only legalized in May this year. Though it hasn't been finally decided yet, there's even a chance this will have retro-active effect, thus rendering marriages from these past months null and void!

This morning I felt hungover. I felt sick. What if it was suddenly decided that 'all marriages from 1996 [yes, I'm that old...] are hereby declared null & void!' -- "and while we're at it, you can never marry again either, except with somebody else, whom we choose. Mwahahaha!" 

Hence the sentence that's been numbing my brain since I woke up this morning... "The outlook was decidedly blue..." I wish there was a way that this would end on a happy note, just like the song!

05 November 2008

Black to start

I play backgammon on my mobile a lot, especially going to and from work. The phone always has the white pawns, I'm black. When starting a new game, the programme will always inform me "you're black". Then, after the dice have been cast, it 99% of the time says "white to start".

This morning it said "You're black. Black to start."

CONGRATULATIONS OBAMA!!! And thank goodness for sensible Americans :D

30 October 2008

The Guys from the Caravan

New favourites - a Lisbon band:



My friend Daniel has designed their CD cover & sleeve, which is how I found them - and they're worth listening to! Proper feelgood music. You can find out more
here!

22 October 2008

Another "dear blank"

Dear Mathias

I'm sorry I couldn't hold your hand going to school this morning, but with five children and only two hands it just wasn't your turn.

I'm also sorry I yelled at you, even though you stayed behind and made me run back to get you. There was enough time and all you really wanted was to hold my hand.
So sorry!

mum

16 October 2008

Nightmares IV

This is the classic one. I dreamt it years ago, but I remember it vividly. Now, I've read somewhere that we only ever dream in black & white, but this was so distinctly black & white - like an old movie, so different from my other dreams / nightmares - I have come to the conclusion this was an exception.
It even had a soundtrack. Cue Mafia music...

We're in a stable. Large one. (Very Godfather-like, actually, only I had never seen Godfather at that time, and had actually never even been to a stable - but anyway...) I'm not there - luckily! There are two guys there. One is just hanging around, it seems, chatting. He carries a rifle, but that seems to be part of the job. There's nothing dramatic about the scene. The other one is preparing to have a bath in an old zinc tub.

All the time they're chatting idly - possibly they're brothers. Or working partners. Or something of the sort. The bather gets into the tub, sits down on his knees. Or stands on his knees, more precisely, there's no room to sit. (The tub's on a table, just like in this photo...)

Change of angle - the camera man (who must have been there, anyway, this is my nightmare!) goes past the first man to get a good shot at the bather. His friend puts his rifle down. Picks up an axe and goes over to the tub.

Loud music. Very dramatic all of a sudden.

The man with the axe says something, we can't hear him for the music, but the bather looks a little surprised. Then his puts out his cigarette, smiles friendly (really!) and plunges the axe into the bather's left thigh. Thick, red, curdling blood trickles out. (You'd expect it to pour out, but it didn't. Was too thick.) But that's not what woke me up. Not the blood, or the shock of 'why?'.

The music died the instant the axe was lifted and it was his scream, the bather's insane cry of pain that woke me up. I can hear him still.

15 October 2008

The Aging Meme

From EllasDevil
Rules: All you have to do is either finish the sentence or fill in the blanks...

At a certain age women should: stop trying to look 17.
At a certain age men should: start shaving their ears!
When I was a kid I thought I: would be world famous by now...
Now that I am older I wish: that I'll stay un-famous!
You know you are too old to party when: there's football on TV and it's a lot more tempting.
You know you are too young to retire when: your mortgage is still larger than your house.
When I was in high school I listened to the music of: U2, Sting and de Lillos.
Nowadays I find I like the music of: Rufus Wainwright - U2, Sting and de Lillos  :)
On my last birthday I: probably had too much cake and a sugar rush, 'cause I can't remember anything...
On my next birthday I want to: be surrounded by friends and family! (Wait, I think I was last year too..?)
The best birthday present I ever got was: one of many - which one to choose!
The first time I felt grown up was: when I could admit to my own flaws without flinching.
The last time I felt like a kid was: today, around lunch. And yesterday. And ...
When I read "Roots" by Alex Haley (at 12) it changed my life.
Last year was: surprising!
Next year I hope: the world hasn't changed too much.

randoms

Ireland's President is in town - Oslo is full of Irish flags, and flowers in Irish colours - I love it!

And Monday Martha Wainwright was in town! (Yes, she's Rufus' sister, but her music is her own!) Her concert was truly amazing - what a voice! You can see her perform on her own blog, if you want a sample... And afterwards, there was a meet & greet. See, we're practically sisters ! And yes, that's an R.E.M. T-shirt I'm wearing...

13 October 2008

Quote of the day (18)

Been listening to Tom Lehrer a lot lately, like (re-)discovering a fountain of youth! Amongst his many nice and accurate quotes is this gem:
Life is like a sewer - what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!

12 October 2008

Insanity streak

Or insanity vein, rather!

Thursday the Manchester International Festival revealed its 2009 programme, which includes (to no surprise for some of us...) Rufus Wainwright's new opera Prima Donna. Friday tickets went on sale at 10 AM GMT. 

At 9 AM (GMT) there were a lot of us anxiously waiting for it to open, typing messages to and fro as we did so, and laughing hysterically at anything. Really, you had to be there! (And you were, I guess, at least had the opportunity to, as this insanity went online...) Then it turned 9:58 - lines were open!

... For about half an hour or so, noone spoke (or "spoke", as it were), then messages started trickling in, where they'd got seats and so on. Neither of my browsers (Explorer and chrome) would let me do the final bank confirmation (aaaaaaaarghhh!!) so even though I got to reserve seats a number of times, I just couldn't buy them.

Panic time.

Then ... One of the boardies had bought too many! I got just the ones I wanted  :)  And then insanity really hit - all of us ticket holders screaming (silently, online) and shouting of gleeee! 
So much joy - and then we're all meeting up at the opera - next July...

Yes. I'm planning next year's summer already, and it does not include my family - but involves almost all of my "online family". It's not just the music. Or the man. It's what he means - and that's more than you might think or guess, even. If you have a look at these posts you'll know how someone's lives have changed forever! And if that's not insane, I don't know what is!  :)

Nightmares III

This one could be (or possibly was!) cut out from an American B-movie about the civil war. It's raining... We're all outside, ploughing or some such thing. There's mud everywhere. I'm just a child, but I'm working too. We're talking about how noone will come to our assistance, it's too dangerous. Everything's a little unclear at this point...

Then a stranger walks up to us. A soldier, with a full beard. He tells us he's the only backup we'll have, no others volunteered.

Then the others appear. An enemy troop. Some neighbours scuttle off into the woods or elsewhere, the rest of us go inside. The house is quite big, and has a huge basement. Metre-thick brick walls. We go into the den. Around it, somehow (it's a dream, after all...), is thick mud. We can walk through it, breathe in it and see through it -- and so can the enemy, but they can't see us while we're in the mud. 

The downside is, our weapons don't work in the mud, but theirs will... Everyone goes into the weapon room, shut all doors and wait for the enemy to break down the doors. Everyone but me, that is. I stand outside (in that mud moat, remember?!) and watch them come nearer. There are lots of them. We're just a handful. And it's only a matter of time before they're through. 

I'm only 8. And I realise my entire family, my friends and myself will be tortured and killed, lying face down in mud and blood, before nightfall.

---

I swear, I only ever read happy books and think happy thoughts, so what are these??

07 October 2008

Nightmares II

This may not sound as a nightmare to you, but try replacing Rufus Wainwright with one of your ideals, or a family member / friend you really appreciate... (Incidentally, one morning I told the kids I had woken up early because I had a nightmare - "did Rufus miss a note?" Jakob asked. Cheeky kid ;)
------
- I'm at a gathering, a café, perhaps? There are loads of us, I think we've all just been to a Rufus concert, we're all big fans, and we're having a wonderful time. One of the other 'boardies' pull me aside and wants to tell me what he does for a living. He's been on the board for a long time, so I feel in awe he wants to talk to me.

He pulls my arm a little harder, pulls me a little closer (I know he's not hitting on me, like a good portion of the male boardies he's gay, but still it's a little awkward). Then he tells me he's a Rufus impersonator. I find it a little hard to believe, he's not exactly the spitting image, but he goes on to elaborate. And though I can't remember the details when I wake up, I know he told me how he infiltrated everywhere that Rufus goes, all the people Rufus see -- and does an excellent job at being a bad Rufus.

In short, I realise that before long, Rufus will lose his career, his boyfriend, his fans and - worst of all - his ability to compose. And I wake up in a sweat, out of breath, and literally nauseous.

---------

Why do all these mad people show up in my dreams?

06 October 2008

with feet bigger than me, but...

Jakob is almost 11. He's a big boy, tallest in his class. I inherit his shoes now... He's also big brother of four, and - when he puts his mind to it - helpful to both them and us.

So sometimes I almost forget -

- that he says 'Aaaah' when he pauses his tooth-brushing to spit - it's from we used to brush them and he had to signal us somehow.
- that he thinks about bad things at night and can't sleep. Like the dead bird we found outside (we buried it in a box, with lots of flowers, and the print "thank you for being so sweet, little birdie, fly safely to heaven!"), or a polar bear that didn't catch a seal (we watched it on TV), or anything bad that could happen to either of us...

- that he needs to sit on my lap and cuddle too, even if he's big and strong and the others beat him to it...

Still he reminds me of these things, still he tells me what he feels and what he needs. I hope he will always do that!

Life wouldn't be half as much fun without!

It's half time. Liverpool's 2-0 down. Hubby's away, but Jakob (10) and I have been 'watching' the game**). We're really grumpy... Jakob half blames one of his brothers for the defeat that seems to be unavoidable - after all, didn't the brother just laugh? Unrelatedly, possibly, but still - laugh, at this hour?!! 

"Why did I become a Liverpool fan?!!!" Jakob exclaims - in real agony!

As if it wasn't enough, Ronnie just played the final of Shanghai Masters and lost. Just. It's that kind of day.

I yell at the kids for making too much noise (they're not, not really) and decide to start changing the linen. Only I can't, can I, I have to hit the refresh button every two minutes (or more) to see if there could be hope, if a text won't just ...

55 minutes - it's a goal! Torres! That wonderful Spaniard... Jakob and I look at eachother and hold our breaths. More breath-holding as City (today's enemy!) has one player sent off at 67 minutes. 73 minutes - another goal! Torres again!! I have to go down and get towels for the kids in the bath, but my mood is better and I don't tell them off for yelling (they are!)...

Skrtel (our man) has to be carried off the pitch at 86 minutes and we're down to 10 man as well. 6 minutes added time - and then Kuyt!! WE WIN!

"That's why I'm a Liverpool fan!!!" Jakob cries with glee, as we embrace eachother. 

How dull must life be if you don't like football?

**)We haven't got the right TV channels for it, so 'watching' means following the live text on bbc or the Guardian or some such place!

01 October 2008

Nightmares I

I'm in a big city. (Probably American, and inspired by all the police series I actually don't watch, but that are inevitably advertised in between the football matches I do see...) It's late, I hear sirens, and I'm thinking of the number of recent murders in the city. Evidently I'm some kind of detective. I turn a corner, and there he is - the serial killer we've been hunting for weeks! A woman in his arms still, dead no more than a minute. Strangled by him. Then he turns to look at me, slowly. It's my father! He smiles at me and says "this was no. 40. Happy 40th, my dear!"

- I wake up with a pounding heart, and for 10 minutes I can't think straight. My father, though no saint, has always been nice to me and a good friend. And now, a raving lunatic... I see my whole life go to pieces! Eventually I realise it was just a dream.

Gee, who'd have thought turning 40 would be that scary, huh?

Hilarious!

And sadly, rather accurate...


04 September 2008

R.E.M. in Oslo!

And I was there. More importantly - Mike, Michael and Peter were there, without whom it wouldn't have been so much fun. And it was great! But first there was The Disciplines. Norwegian band with Ken Stringfellow added. They were playing as we entered and may have been good, but I wasn't really paying attention.

The Editors followed. Now, I might have gone to see The Editors even without R.E.M. - they've got some great songs - and a very cute drummer (Ed Lay) ...
(I digress, as usual...) As it were, I couldn't quite lose myself to (or in) their music, the fate of any support band, I suppose!
And then R.E.M. entered the stage... It was a grand night! I have no great zoom lens, but rather sharp elbows, so managed to be as close as 2 ft away from Michael (Stipe!) at one point... Their setlist, and a rather excellent review of the whole evening - provided you read Norwegian - can be found at Helene's blog, where you can also see snippets of songs. I recorded some too but have been too lazy busy to upload them so far.

A fabulous mix of new and old songs, an excited crowd (for Norwegians, ie. there were even hips moving) and a little banter in between songs ...

- "I know you hear this all the time, but you really are such a beautiful people!"

- "I heard you've got gay marriage over here, that's great! You get gay marriage, we get ... John McCain... We really, really, REALLY hate our government"

But we love you, R.E.M.! Can't wait till you get back next time!

15 August 2008

Our view




for three weeks.
I wept like a baby when we were leaving. Can you blame me?

14 August 2008

Meet Humphrey

He may well be my new best friend. He's a week old today, and he already recognises me by my fingerprint. (Which possibly everybody else have been doing for years already, but I just love it!) Summer came, I quit my job, and our old computer died. That being said - we left for Crete shortly after (posts will follow...) and I'm realising I haven't really missed online life (!). Sure, I've checked emails on my mobile. Emails, and the gossip & transfer columns from English Premier League...

Now I'm back online I'm scaringly indifferent. Still... This is the 8th week of holidays, though, I'm sure next week's return to school (kids) and work may bring out the need to yet again stay up half the night to hammer away at a keyboard. Right, Humphrey?

12 June 2008

Not quite dead...

Today I've been baking. A lot. And will do some more baking tomorrow. I haven't decided to become a baker, but tomorrow there will be 4 brand new 8-year-olds in the house (and in the world, at that!), so naturally - there will need to be a constant flow of cakes! And lots of family coming to celebrate with us.

Saturday we'll be "celebrating" by going to a music festival in Oslo and see Rufus Wainwright (and others) - first time for the kids! They're quite looking forward to it, actually - to see this strange character that has their mother going all gooey... And to celebrate Rufus (?) - or life, actually - Norway has just passed a new marriage law, finally establishing equal rights for everyone, no matter who you love!

That's all folks, I'm off to finish my baking session for the night...

17 May 2008

Norway's national holiday today!

Today was 3 degrees C and rain. We didn't stay outside long after the parade... Even the smallest town has a children's parade like this - Oslo has a big one, walking past the palace (the royal family waves at the passers-by for hours on end...) - and the weather is no excuse! But last year wasn't too bad, here's a sample :)

video

After the parade this year we went home, put all the kids in the new tub (kingsize...) and had cakes and ice cream at home... Same, same, but different ...

06 May 2008

Perspectives

My friends were beyond themselves because I picked them up at the airport, took them through Ikea and other shops and on to their new home in this country.

I just felt honoured that of all their friends, I was the one who got to do all this!

My friends tell me I'm brave, courageous even, for quitting my job and "roughing it" as a freelance translator.

I just feel a coward for not being able to stay in a 9-4 job...

My family tells me how great it is I signed up for this exam, and how well I will do!

I just feel apprehensive about the whole thing, and a little bit ashamed too, for leading people on to thinking I will actually stand a chance.

My friends and family tell me how great I look after losing so much weight!

I just glance in the mirror and can't picture that posing in a bikini in a few weeks time...

My common sense tells me that blogging, facebooking, groupie-ing (read: Rufus!) are for kids.

I'm too busy blogging (ok, maybe not lately...), facebooking and groupie-ing to notice.
But my friends and family seem to agree that life's ok! And knowing that in a few weeks time THIS will be home - even if only for 3 weeks - who am I to disagree?

29 April 2008

Apparently this is what I like to do!

I stole this off Sam's. The only rule is - google "[your name] likes to" and see what you get! "Scholiast likes to" didn't have any hits, though, so this was originally with my (other...) name :)

Scholiast likes to show off and spend money like she has it
Scholiast likes to crack the whip when it comes to rehearsals but at least she's making sure you look like professionals
Scholiast likes to have a manicure, pedicure and facial with skin care
Scholiast likes to play long flowing lines, but Chicago's fans would hardly know it
Scholiast likes to take a well-earned break and perform for large crowds of "grown ups" at the Big Hoo-Haa!
Scholiast likes to shop for England And loves wine
Scholiast likes to curl up with a little cider and her address book for some correspondence
Scholiast likes to write stories
Scholiast likes to do all of the big stuff and then when it comes to the aftermath thinks its ok for the characters to fade into the background
Scholiast likes to call me


I wonder who "me" is...

25 April 2008

sick, but not tired

I'll admit to it straight - I'm no big fan of vomit. Usually it's hubby does the dirty work, I clean the kid and find a new pyjamas (this kind of thing tends to happen at night).

Wednesday night it was Filip. And Thursday morning... Thanks to the wash-hands-every-second/stay-away-from-Filip/change-every-towel-Filip-has-touched-regime, the others seem to be unscathed. Yet... Thursday night he seemed fine, though, and Friday morning he was up with the others, breakfasting. Then...

For your tender hearts' sake I'll skip the details, let's just say it involved a great deal of detergent. And yes, another clean pyjamas. Moreover, hubby's away with his job and I had to do all the dirty work as well...

And tonight... This is what made me sad. The 2nd graders have THE night of the year - they're staying over at school! Without Filip, that is... I've baked a cake, the other 3 are safely there (and thrilled about it!) - and the boys in Filip's class had unpacked their sleeping bags under a huge table... I know Filip would have loved to join them. As it is, he said "we also get to stay over in 4th grade..."

Makes your heart bleed, doesn't it?

April meme

I've been tagged (well, sort of...) by EllasDevil for this meme, and why not.

These are the rules:
1. When tagged, place the name and URL of the tagger on your blog. Check
2. Post the rules on your blog. Check
3. Write 7 non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself. Ok?
4. Name 7 of your favorite blogs. I'll give it a go...
5. Send an email/comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged. We'll see...

Write 7 non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
1. I check my emails first thing in the morning. Before I shower... The beauty of mobile phones :)
2. I now consider 'ruphoria' and 'rufoxicated' part of my everyday vocabulary
3. I have birthday autism. I don't think that's a word, but if you've told me your birthday, I'll remember it. Or - I would, if you told me before I joined facebook...*)
4. I'm always early - even if I know the person I'm meeting will be late for sure!
5. I can fall asleep even if I just woke up after 8 hours straight. It's a gift...
6. I have a nasty fear of wrought-iron fences. I somehow seem to think that walking alongside one will make me go temporarily mad, and thread one eye down on the fence...
7. I will laugh out loud in public if something's funny, I'm not one to be embarrassed easily!
8. I have a tendency to always think of something else I need to add. To every finished list.

Name 7 of your favorite blogs
If they're in my bloglist, they're excellent! And they're more than 7... Look right!
But this week, look especially to Slap Upside the Head - you figure out why ;)

Now tag someone ...
Yeah, right... Ok, tag, you're it!

15 April 2008

Another German invasion!?

There are German soldiers in the street... Looking strangely familiar - but then I have seen a lot of films from & of the war... (Incidentally, the white building at the top of the photo is where I work.)Now, I'm not that dumb... I realise they must be making a film of sorts (some streets were blocked and parking only by permission by the police - besides, the cameras sort of gave it away...) - but this still gave me the creeps... Closer up ... This is the Norwegian Storting (The Parliament) - and except for the crane, this is just what it looked like back in April 1940...
And a jolly good morning to all of you too! Or should I say - Guten Morgen?

10 April 2008

Lately, I've

- taken to thinking in English. All the time. Which is fine, I'm a trained translator, I can translate it into Norwegian before I speak, so my kids understand me. But it's still sort of ... odd. And I daydream in English. Dream too. I even reason with myself in English. Surely it's not because of this person? - resigned my job. My dream job, remember? It sort of still is. And isn't, because I had to give up my home office. And there's more admin and marketing related stuff to do, less translation. Come summer, I'll be sat at my home office all day long, waiting for something to do. And humming to myself in English, probably...

- started listening to Renoe Alexander, a pastime I can recommend!

- found that I'm not really obsessed at all! I've wasted hundreds of spent a few hours on the RWMB lately, and realised that since I don't travel to four countries in one week to see Rufus I'm not that much of a fan. Really...

- decided to go for an exam that really is way out of my league, but - here's to trying :)

- watched Liverpool march on towards Champions league glory! (I swear, I almost had a heart attack during the last match - with hubby as my witness!)

- missed you guys! I keep thinking of blog posts (thinking in blog posts, even!) but to actually post...

25 March 2008

Rufus' English school - part I

Filip has been listening to Release the Stars a lot lately, and although his spelling leaves something to be wanted, you can't say he's not trying! :) Found this after he left the blackboard the other day.

22 March 2008

Life does go on

I'm not talking about my life, it goes on quite well and there may even be news to follow, but nothing much to blog about (yet).

No, I have been thinking about the couple I wrote about a while back (November?) - where one (50+) seemed happy to be fussing about his husband (60+)? Who seemed to be on his last legs.

Well, he was. He died in February. The obit read:

My dearly beloved husband
and the love of my life,
(...) died peacefully, quietly and
beautifully at home


50+ was back on the boat, commuting, within a week. And this week I saw him smile again...

Edit: Yes, DevilMood, both men :)

07 February 2008

Last post from Scotland

I promise - it's the last for a while... (With facts from our excellent guide.)
The cows, now also in Edinburgh!



The thistle, as you may know, is Scotland's national flower. But did you know it's the Norwegians' fault? This happened a long time ago, and the Scots and vikings were at war. (Well, the vikings were at war with everybody, so why discriminate the Scots?) The Scots had made camp and had gone to sleep, ready for battle the next day. But those sleezy vikings ... they planned to attack at night! Such ungentlemanly behaviour!! The Scots were in luck, though, for two reasons: 1) The vikings didn't wear proper shoes, and 2) The Scottish camp was surrounded by thistles.


You do the maths...



This, though it may look like one, is no window. In the 1690's William III issued a Window Tax, and so people started bricklaying the former window openings - but were made to keep them look like windows for architectural purposes. Many places these have survived!



Leaving Edinburgh - heading north! If you've found your spectacles by now, you may see the Firth of Forth waaaaay over there...



The railway bridge. Quite a few workmen were trapped in one (or more?) "leg" of the bridge during construction. Due to structural defects, perhaps, and possibly the fact that water was so polluted, the workmen would only drink whisky and beer... There was no way of bringing them back to the surface, and in the end, the queen ordered that there be poured poison down the "legs" so the men could die peacefully, rather than starve to death. (Apparently there was enough to drink.) Think of that the next time you pass the bridge - there be bones underneath...


Stirling Castle. Which you may know from Braveheart. (Apparently, there is some historical correctness in the film...)

Up there - and beyond! - that's where The Highlands begin...



Ewan McGregor's home town Crieff. Or the main street, at least.

- And thus ends my Scottish tale!

02 February 2008

How do you do, PWP?

Or, more intriguingly - how do you do it? I know you're out there. I've met a few of you. But I can't for the life of me understand what drives you. Or not, as it were.

Passionately posing for a picture, 1985

Now, I would walk 10 miles afoot, to look at the house of someone who once met Rufus Wainwright's neighbour. I admit it freely, I'm that sad obsessive interested. I would refrain from all other forms of shopping (that used to include food - before I had others to care for...) - for life, if need be - if that enabled me to get tickets to every Rufus, de Lillos, Sting or U2 gig there was - or to as many visits as I'd like to Berlin, Lisbon, Crete... I would give my right hand (and left arm!) for Liverpool to win another cup - let alone the premiership!


Passionately back in Greece! (I was 14 - what can I say...)


I would (and I have, in fact!) spend 8 months passionately wooing my chosen one until he broke down and promised to marry me...

But you, People Without Passion... You wouldn't even go next door to see the first alien-human offspring, would you? You like all kinds of music, you say. Any town you visit is as fine as the next. And caring about football is just plain silly...



I can't help but wonder - do you [not] have fun in the same way? Polite ha-has, no guffawing or even small giggle fits? And relationships, do you really care? "Sure, I loved him, but hey, I'll meet somebody else." Are you for real? Or are you lurking somewhere underneath, quenched by real life, chores and routines, and too weak to find a way out? Are you living, or are you just ... alive?

Being artsy in Edinburgh II

I was in Edinburgh with my job (easy to forget, as I had plenty of time to roam around on my own!) and one night we were all 'cordially invited to Scottish Evening'. Which was basically a room crammed with people from every corner of the world - including England (they were mockingly insulted all evening)... It all started off with a bagpiper and then a few Scottish songs from the band. The food was nothing to write home about, and so I didn't. After the meal, and after the concert, though, we were finally given haggis to taste. The waiters looked mischievously at eachother while serving, but frankly, that was the best part of the whole evening.

See? I liked it :)
What I didn't like... This probably very nice and charming lady unfortunately didn't join the crew that night to be nice and charming, but to sing... I'm sure she'd been told she had a beautiful voice, and to match it, she changed dresses for every song!

Not that it helped. I was severely disturbed and had to stoop to playing backgammon on my mobile with a colleague to calm my nerves (and hers)... You can hear for yourselves!