Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My father-in-law

It was a year ago yesterday that J's dad died. Obviously the perspective on things is different for me than for her, but even from my point of view it seems like a long, long time since I saw Sandy and yet only yesterday that he died.

Sandy was lovely man, one of those type of men in my parents' generation who could be fairly described as real family men - men who worked every day of their lives, were never ill, never unemployed (God forbid) and who gave all of their wages to their wives to bring up their children. Quiet amongst strangers, with a fondness for a decent pint and a bet on the horses, I used to know dozens of men just like Sandy - men who seemed big when I was a child and who proved to be no smaller when I grew physically to be the same size as them.

The last time I spent any extended time with Sandy, we went through to Hampden to see Hibs (his team, though certainly not mine) play in a cup final - which they unexpectedly lost. With the Hibs' team having just played very poorly, Sandy spent the entire trip back extolling the virtues of Hibs' players from forty years ago, we had a few pints at a working men's club in Lanarkshire and by the time we arrived back in Edinburgh he had recovered his good humour and was philosophical about things. It was a very good day and I do wish we could have done it again.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Driving in a winter wonderland

Just spent two hours covering the 25 miles from work along a country road at 20 miles an hour in a virtual whiteout, passing crashed cars in ditches the entire way.

Not pleasant, no sir.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Leaving the Land of Fiction behind...

I appear to have lost the ability to read fiction - or at least I've unexpectedly lost the inclination to do so.

Having finished all of the Charles Williams books I own a couple of weeks ago, I've tried to get into book after book, ranging from the joys of easy reading TV tie-ins (Rags by Mick Lewis), through sf giants (White Mars by Brian Aldiss, which I'd been looking forward to since I bought it) all the way to 'proper' writing (Emma by Jane Austen).

Add in the latest Jasper Fforde, a smattering of Flashmans, Merens and, eh, Liraels and that's a fair pile of books now lying round my house with bits of paper sticking out of them in the region of their respective pages ten.

Fortunately, my final birthday present arrived yesterday - Dusted, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer programme Guide by Lawrence Miles (one half of the excellent About Time writing team) and Lars Pearson (publisher of the Faction Paradox range of novels). And I'm enjoying it so far - maybe I just needed a break from fiction after 30 years of reading constantly?

Also in the post recently were DVDs of School for Seduction, War of the Buttons and Greatest Store in the World - all of which will nicely feed my Dervla Kirwan obsession...
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Monday, November 14, 2005

Up and Down I Go

It’s been a strange week or two.

For no readily identifiable reason, I seem to have spent the time fluctuating between a crushing sort of generalised almost-depression and an unexpected, sudden and rather frantic obsession with the work of the Irish actress Dervla Kirwan. These two behavioural poles have expressed themselves in (a) an unwillingness to speak to anyone about anything and an overwhelming desired to be left by myself and (b) the purchase of two movies on ebay, ordering of the first three series DVDs of Ballykissangel and watching the entirety of the 90s time-travel romcom, Goodnight Sweetheart.

In an effort to gee myself up I’ve dumped all the Jandek cds which I’ve been playing incessantly in the car recently. Maybe that’ll help…
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