Managed to pack almost all of my clothes into a 1950s Admiralty-pattern kitbag, plus the absolute essentials:
- Sandwich toaster.
- Two Glencairn glasses.
- Two old-fashioned glasses.
- Bottle Kilkerran sherry wood.
- Bottle Wild Turkey rye.
Found the Chinese supermarket. Five minutes walk from the flat, on the way to work, and they sell Jian's Chop Chop guo tie from the restaurant that's five minutes walk from my Edinburgh place.
I'm going to be just fine, I think.
Back up to Edinburgh tonight, two days at work, and then pack another kitbag to come back down again on Sunday. I might even bring a pan or something this time.
Had to go and pick up a package today from the industrial estate out at Seafield. I've not been to the sea since the day I broke it off with her. (Rivers don't count. Tidal estuaries do.) I was supposed to walk out to the Pentland Firth that day. Got there, looked at some waves. Quickly decided that all of Poseidon's fury couldn't compete with the turmoil in my brain just then. Had a cup of tea and walked back again. Sent some tweets.
Since I'd expensed a taxi out to Seafield, I took a few minutes for myself. I like watching the sea. Makes me feel small. None of my problems matter when you apply the appropriate perspective.
Considered taking a leaf out of Reggie Perrin's book, but only for a second.
Walked around the perimeter of the sewage treatment plant, waves crashing in my ears. Really filthy day for it, too: lowering charcoal sky, no distinction between the water and the air at the horizon, spots of rain, gusts threatening to knock me off the seawall.
Just the kind of day I like best.
Just the kind of day you don't get in Saudi Arabia.
It turns out that I went a bit mad, there, for a while. In fact I think I went quite a lot mad. I'm still working out the details. There was other stuff going on that you didn't know about, and it might even have justified my massive overreaction, but it turns out that it was all in my head.
A couple of good friends have given me a good stern talking-to over the last 24 hours, and now I'm feeling a wee bit better. A wee bit. You know who you are. I love my friends.
I was absolutely convinced that Jehane had suffered a psychotic break and had been preyed upon in her vulnerable state. I was worried sick about her, and usually that's just a turn of phrase.
Turns out that I was the one having the psychotic break. It's like ray-hee-ain on your wedding day.
In my defence, she was showing all of the classic symptoms of psychosis. The tunnel vision. The obsession. The unwillingness to discuss it. The paranoia. The shiftiness.
The single problem with my otherwise flawless line of deduction was this: those are exactly the same symptoms as are exhibited by someone who's fallen for some other bloke and is planning to elope with him. This only occurred to me this morning, after those friends (you know who you are, and I love you) had, very patiently, talked me down.
(I'm going to credit myself with just a wee bit of self-awareness, though. It's not much, but it's not bad for a madman.)
So, we're back to the dead-girl narrative. The woman I love has changed, she's gone, and isn't coming back. The relationship had been toxic for a while and I will feel better about this one day. And I hope gerbil-chops makes her happy.
I wasn't the one who came up with that name for him, so it's okay.
Sincere apologies to anyone I've offended. (Except gerbil-chops obviously.) I'm not usually nearly this unpleasant. I've learned a few lessons.
A reminder: I am a Scot, who just happens to have the gold-standard RP English accent.
SCENE: INT. PUB. YORK. EVENING
YR. CORRESP. is talking to a TERRIBLY WELL-SPOKEN BARMAN about LOCAL BREWERIES.
This one's from the Brahss Cahstle brewery, they're in Malton. Oh sorry, must pronounce it right. "Brass Cassel".
Ay. 'Appen. Brass Cassel. Oh yes, of course, I hadn't noticed. You're not from round 'ere, are ya?
I am originally from round 'ere, but I moved away.
Oh I see. Did you move to the civilized end of the country?
(Opportunities like this don't come up too often)
Why yes I did. Edinburgh.
...Well, I suppose that's south of somewhere.
Sittin in the same pub, typin this (FUCK YOU, Android phone keyboard), listenin to the same barman patiently discuss with multiple different customers:
Okay, so you want the main meal but with it you don't want pie OR mash, you want... a salad?...
There's hope for 'im yet, 'appen.
(Android autocorrect keeps tryin to make me say
- Okay so this spider is roughly the size of my hand, and it's been sitting on this ceiling beam for the better part of a WEEK now, what gives
- IT'S TOO BIG TO FIT IN THE HOOVER YOU GUYS
- okay so if I remove the wedge attachment to widen the hoover hose aperture, it also shortens the hose as a side consequence, so now I need to stand on this chair
- so now I have a twisted ankle as well as an indestructible spider the size of my hand occupying a, quite frankly, unacceptably large part of my living space
- this time I'll try standing on a non-swivelly chair
- STILL TOO BIG TO FIT IN THE HOOVER
- and it's hanging on to this beam somethign fierce against the suction, I think this spider might be part gecko
- you know what, spider? you can have the living room. this is why we have laptops
- at least I managed to make it run onto the part of the wall that's painted (inexplicably) red, so now it's a bit less noticeable
- I'm just going to go ahead and call that a win
I'm not good with hoovers.
Things I've had to get used to very fast:
- Buying single pints of milk.
- A relatively tidy flat. Holy crap she had a lot of shit lying around.
- No longer being able to say:
here are your photos, please just let me know if you'd like any of them touched up. My photoshop expert has disappeared.
- No more cooking. There's no point putting on an epic spread for just one person. My shrink said:
why not just do it for the fun of it?and I said:
there's no point if you're not showing off to someone. I mostly live on ready meals these days.
- That said, I am now allowed to own proper vinegar instead of that balsamic shit.
- And I can have the radio on now.
- Bookshelf space!
- Fridge full of beer!
I was in the shop today, buying individual-person supplies as I am now wont to do. Single pint of milk. One of those mini-cartons of four eggs. 400g loaf of bread. Cigarettes and a couple of bottles of beer to numb the pain. Scanning it all, the checkout girl said:
you live alone, don't you?
Why yes, said I,
how could you tell?
Because you're an ugly bastard.
For those of you who don't know, Jehane and I are no longer a couple. We met on 24th April 2003, and I ended it on Thursday, 9th July, 2015. I love her to bits and I always will, but she's got stuff that she has to do that doesn't include me.
Also, twelve years of performance bickering finally took its toll, and now she thinks I'm a bit of a dick :)
I'm a bit of a mess right now, and no doubt there will be further whining under access lock. Probably quite a lot.
I miss her. It sucks.
I am a fucking genius.
The downsides of living in at work are many and multifarious. For a start, I don't get a day off unless I unplug the phone and refuse to leave the flat—when I will invariably be faced by staff on the way out who have questions. Most recently I spent 42 days at work without a break, and while there were technically one or two days in there when I was not on the rota, I don't count it as a day off if I get eight phone calls within three hours. Just now I had a longish weekend that I took seriously, and today it was back into the fray.
(That worked well. Rocked up all refreshed and ready to go at 9am—okay, 09:20, but I was aiming for 09:30 so I STILL WIN—and relieved
$DM so she could get her breakfast. She'd been at work since 3pm the preceding day. (When I take a weekend seriously, I take it seriously.)
I'll take the phone, said I,
no need to fear, daddy's back. I may or may not have said the last bit out loud. Within thirty seconds I took a phone call from guests who'd just checked in, which went thuswise:
Hello, we booked a Yes. We do. But you didn't book one of those. Welcome back to work, pajh.)
small double room online, and we've just arrived and are surprised to find that it's quite small. We were told that you had big rooms.
On the other hand, the benefits of living at work include, but are not limited to—actually no wait, they are pretty much limited to—that between the hours of 7am and 11pm I have a captive audience upstairs (also known as "my direct employees") for whatever I choose to rant about, or, once or twice a week, as guineapigs.
I may or may not be a good hotel manager. But I'm the kind of hotel manager who will (frequently) run up to his staff with a glass of booze in each hand, and cry:
QUICK, TASTE THIS—WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
Anyway, I pulled this on
$DM last week with the experimental jehane, and it must have gone pretty well, since I let her organize the staff social for this coming Friday, and she wants to bring everybody back to my bar so I can make them cocktails. We don't even serve most of this stuff in my bar, and I'm damned if I'm bringing everyone down to my kitchen.
Anyway. I invented the jehane, and I have since (not because of peer pressure or anything) perfected it. A post like this really deserves pictures, so I apologize for there not being any, but this can be remedied if there is sufficient demand. This is how you make a jehane:( Recipe, with occasional digressions )
It is marvellous and I am a genius.
I'm calling it the jehane because it's sweet, it's refreshing, it involves a little bit of fire up top, and it's never bloody available inna bar when you want one.
We did what we set out to do: punish the Lib-Dems and Scottish Labour for siding with the enemy. Democratically, of course. And we got exactly the worst possible outcome as a result: trounced Labour and handed a majority to the bloody Tories.
It's a pretty slim majority, and I understand that the Tories have a long tradition of backbench rebellion, so a coalition of the Left still has a chance to keep the bastards on their toes. For that to happen, the Lib Dems and Labour need to demonstrate that they've learned their lessons from last night.
I suppose we got exactly what we deserved: more work! It's the SNP's job just now to speak truth to power, as the largest effective voting block of human beings currently in Parliament. Labour have more seats than the SNP, but they'll be a complete waste of space until they decide what the point of them is—and that's assuming they even decide to be on the left. They certainly haven't been for the last twenty years. And the Lib Dems are dead for a generation.
Also—let's be honest—some of these new SNP MPs are going to suck, at least for the next while. Nearly all of them are brand new and most of them, when they were listed as candidates, were in seats where they didn't have a hope. That all changed and now they're in charge. Nicola will sort them out; I've met her and she's awesome.
Gotta say, I am amused at the huge amount of nothing that was eventually signified by all of Ukip's sound and fury. I am willing to put good money on the fact that not a single one of those 3,881,129 Kippers voted Yes in the AV referendum. One seat they managed under FPTP: no pasaran.
Yesterday was a 33-hour workday that started at 1pm on Wednesday and continued through until 10pm on the Thursday: the ninety minutes sleep I got in the middle doesn't really count. I finally got off to sleep at 3am and then the bloody taxi driver rang the doorbell at 03:30. Got back to sleep at about fiveish and then was up again for work at six. At some point on Thursday, I got to see Jehane for a whole ten minutes and I managed to make it around the corner to vote. During that 33 hours,
$CHEF had made me a bacon sandwich. It wasn't a good day.
I'm still not keen on the SNP. They're too authoritarian for my liking, too nanny-statish, and I disagree with a hell of a lot of their policies. I don't like the way they cosy up to people like Murdoch and Souter and especially—euch—Trump. (Maybe they'll stop doing that so much now.) Ideologically I appear to be a Green— but only a Scottish Green because the party in England and Wales is still stuffed full of anti-science nutjobs. Yesterday, the SNP were the only left-leaning party with a hope in hell, so my vote was obvious. Also I did it to piss off everyone in England. I'd had enough of all the hysterical pearl-clutching anti-Jock media coverage. You're welcome, England. You brought this on yourselves.
So, having cast my vote for the SNP and finally able to tear myself away from the desk at 10pm, it was off down the chippy for a haggis supper, salt an' sauce, anna boatil ay the Bru. I had no particular political motivations for my order—sometimes a man just needs salt an'sauce—but it seemed appropriate. I think I might have gone native.
Yesterday was the first time I've ever voted when the result has actually gone my way. I suspect I shouldn't get accustomed to it.
The next five years are going to be bleak. Look after your loved ones.
Damn right I looked directly at it. This happens once inna generation, I'm not passing that up. The photos are here (updated with some new ones, if you saw them go by on the Twitters earlier).
I remember the last one, in August '99. I looked directly at that one too, through the net curtain in my then-girlfriend's flat. I still remember the sight of a crescent Sun in the twilight down at the end of Gorton Road. That girlfriend was the insane Christian youth leader who wanted to break into the church at midnight and do it on the altar. I was the one who chickened out. But seeing a crescent sun... that was something special.
But back to the present. I had constructed a cardboard-box pinhole camera obscura, and it actually worked—but I left that downstairs in case any of the guests tried to blind themselves. For me, it was up to the roof. I had a brand-new variable neutral-density filter and I wasn't afraid to use it.
Maximum occultation at my location was set for 09:36. It was a glorious clear day at 09:20, bright blue skies with occasional fluffy white clouds. By 09:30 it was coming over a bit grey. This is probably for the best, since a couple of cubic kilometres of water vapour between me and it probably shielded my delicate retinae from some of the horrifying UV radiation. Also it lent the photos an eerie, atmospheric quality. Moody. Dramatic. Ethereal. Outlander-ish.
I stood and clicked and I watched as the huge black globe of the Moon rolled lazily in front of the Sun's disc, like a slow-mo snooker ball. Just exactly like a snooker ball, except a ball of 7.35×1022kg in mass, a ball a quarter the size of earth. She felt round. I sensed her bulk, her incomprehensible mass, as she slid leisurely-like inbetween us and daylight itself.
The Moon has a 7% albedo, you know. She reflects about as much light as coal. Think about that the next time she's full. Above our heads, neatly slotted inbetween the squat block of Edinburgh Castle and the airy spires of St Mary's, the eternal celestial ballet executed a perfect adagio.
It got bloody freezing up on that rooftop, but that's probably rather more to do with standing onna rooftop in Scotland for an hour onna cloudy day. By about 09:39 the cloud coverage was total. Show's over. It's time to go home.
But I won't forget spending a few minutes watching Space happen right above me.
My retinas were a wee bit itchy for the rest of the day. I consider that a totally acceptable trade-off.
More eternal celestial ballet.
Oh yes, and the vernal equinox was at 22:45 tonight. Happy Spring, everybody!