Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hogmanay 2016

Gone is another tough year in what seems like an endless parade of tough years. Perhaps 2017 will be better (remembers Trump and Brexit), perhaps not.

Before Rabbie Burns wrote "Auld Lang Syne", before it became the go-to song to sing as Hogmanay made way for the new year there was this -

The Parting Glass is still widely sung in Ireland apparently, or at least in this video it is. That's Celtic culture, though, it wavers between the two countries and for as long as we in Scotland are befuddled by what is our history and what is not then it remains Irelands to claim.

Despite the daft dresses and the obligatory appearance of bagpipes, it is a beautiful song.

Of all the money that e'er I spent 
I've spent it in good company 
And all the harm that ever I did 
Alas it was to none but me 
And all I've done for want of wit 
To memory now I can't recall 
So fill to me the parting glass 
Good night and joy be with you all 
If I had money enough to spend 
And leisure to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in the town 
That sorely has my heart beguiled 
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips 
I own she has my heart enthralled 
So fill to me the parting glass 
Good night and joy be with you all 
Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had 
They're sorry for my going away 
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had 
They'd wish me one more day to stay 
But since it falls unto my lot 
That I should rise and you should not 
I'll gently rise and softly call 
Good night and joy be with you all

Good night and joy be with us all in 2017, we desperately need it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Still Raw

Time to lose myself in her books again.

It feels so unfair.

There is an imbalance now, with all these good, iconic, talented people dying before their time. Next year must step up to the mark. And I say that not glibly at all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Drowned in Moonlight, Strangled By My Own Bra

This year has seen far too many good people die far too soon. Not only did one of my teenage crushes die at Christmas (George Michael) but another hero died today - Carrie Fisher.

I've probably said it before but it bears repeating today but for little me Princess Leia meant everything. Consider the world of the late 70s. Princesses were blonde, pretty, sweet, dainty and in need of rescue.

Along comes Princess Leia. Brave, fearless, rescuing her rescuers and handy with a blaster. Not only that but for once the princess had the same hair colour as me (okay, she was still pretty and there's not much I could do to achieve that but nevermind!) I was constantly hearing how I couldn't possibly be pretty or noticeable as, unlike my younger cousin, I wasn't blonde.

Yes, my mother's family had a lot to answer for my lifelong lack of confidence.

Add to this mix the fact that Carrie Fisher was a witty, underappreciated writer, candid in discussing her mental health and it all explains why I am genuinely sad that she has gone. She was only 60 for god's sake, and George Michael was 53. These are not people whose time had come.

Princess Leia became General Organa in the new film, please let young girls see her as a role model rather than some of the vapid, dead-eyed "celeb". Be tenacious and know everything is possible. 

And now there will be no more Leia.

This year has been terribly depressing and for someone with depression anyway it has meant a change in medication! Not quite working as life has been so bad and we've still got Brexit and President Trump to look forward to.

Has this year been an icon rapture?

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. " 
— Carrie Fisher

Sunday, December 18, 2016

45 at 45

  1. I have synesthesia, in particular when I hear classical music. I have to tune in to it more than I used to and I don't often tell after getting odd looks when I'd describe the colours and shapes.
  2. Reading has been my saviour.
  3. I'm disappointed that I have never taken to opera and don't find it as moving or entertaining as many do. The storytelling alone should be the hook but maybe I'm not cultured enough.
  4. As much as I love the views a fear of heights means I'll never climb a Munro. And I'm okay with that. Sort of.
  5. My first name is not the one I started out with.
  6. I love walking along beaches but absolutely hate sitting for any length of time on the sand.
  7. I would have liked to live in a few different countries.
  8. I can spend so long staring intently at a painting I make the security guards at the galleries nervous.
  9. I have an addiction to Pinterest but it's an addiction I can happily live with.
  10. I also have an addiction to art and stationery supplies and could easily blow a fortune on them.
  11. I don't have a fortune and while money isn't a driving factor it would still be nice to have some.
  12. For longer than was necessary I truly believed that tv Christmas specials were filmed at Christmas.
  13. Although I daydream of sunnier shores I adore crisp, frosty days.
  14. I sometimes forget to say thank you and it bugs me for the rest of the day. 
  15. Little Red Riding Hood gave me a fear of werewolves that I didn't get rid of until I was older than I should have been! (Yes, I knew they weren't real but the human element...)
  16. I'm not too keen on crime fiction but adore Nordic noir. In fact, anything Nordic will do. I watch so much of it I really should be fluent in at least Swedish by now.
  17. My tolerance levels have dropped alarmingly.
  18. The background scenes of traditional ballets, especially set in forests, have always captured my imagination to the point of distraction.
  19. When I was 25 I threw out all my diaries and stories I had written.
  20. I gave up drawing and sketching after school and only started again a few years ago.
  21. After my dad's death, I found he'd kept old school jotters of mine and a poem I wrote aged 7.
  22. I like being part of Europe and hate the thought of where we're headed outside of the EU. In fact, I feel more European than Scottish and I don't feel British at all.
  23. I wish I wasn't interested in politics.
  24. Knowing that I've made an almighty mess of things I'm hyper-vigilant that my sons do what they want - they just tell me to chill out.
  25. I find chilling out impossible sometimes.
  26. Being an only child meant I had social quirks that led to bullying because I was different.
  27. If I could travel back in time I'd like to redo the 90s and make some changes.
  28. The one thing that absolutely sends me insane is being accused of something I didn't do.
  29. Sometimes I wish I had done it. Might as well.
  30. I want to travel more, a lot more.
  31. I'm partially deaf due to two bouts of measles, followed by mumps and then chicken pox at age 8. Any background noise and it's a struggle to distinguish voices so lots of polite nodding goes on. 
  32. I missed most of that year of schooling but read an enormous amount of books. School wasn't my favourite place to be so although I was sick, I got to spend my time reading books and comics and watching tv so was happy.
  33. For this age, I am nowhere near as successful as I should be. 
  34. I am my own worst enemy.
  35. When we were 9 one of my friends and I wrote to Jim'll Fix It - so glad we never got a reply!
  36. My eldest and I both like to win an argument, this makes for some interesting debates.
  37. Saturday's child works hard for a living - don't I know it.
  38. My favourite colour is the deep blue of a winter sky when the full moon is out.
  39. That's hard to describe so I usually just say purple. (Yes, indigo is close but not quite).
  40. I do my best, it's often not good enough.
  41. Once upon a time I was a terrible optimist, I must have been so annoying!
  42. I will always regret never having another baby but I am happy with my two so maybe what I mean is I wish I could time travel back to spend time with them as babies again. Actually, that is what I mean.
  43. I have dyscalculia but didn't find out until my mid-twenties, I thought I was just stupid.
  44. I despise people who put others down, who make others feel inferior or worthless.
  45. Even if you've been patient enough, or mad enough, to read this list - no one really knows me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sinterklaas by Rie Cramer

December, wintermaand (1938)

Marie "Rie" Cramer was born in the Dutch East Indies, October 1887. Daughter of a ship's captain the family first settled in Arnhem, the Netherlands, where she began to study drawing. Continuing at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague when her family moved there, she published her first books.

Known best for illustrating children's books she also provided illustrations for adult literature.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

End of Days

I recently joined in with the mass panic attack as America voted in possibly the vilest man they have as President. No, seriously, it's not hyperbole, he truly is vile.

Of course, you would need to have been on the Moon not to have known this yet enough people were content to elect that as their representative, the head of state of their nation. Well, when I say enough the vote broke down thus - 25.something% for Hillary Clinton, 25.slightly more% for Trump and 49% didn't vote. Hardly 'the nation has spoken' and I wonder how that 49% feel today. (I'll ignore the two million plus votes for Hillary over Trump that has appeared in recounts and found down the back of the sofa, as that brings in the argument on the US Electoral College and no one has time for that).

After over two years of frustrating votes (indyref, Tories, Brexit, this) I am about done with democracy. Watching pompous assholes have their over inflated egos pumped further by an electorate pulled along by blustering rhetoric is galling.

Then I remembered. We survived (just) them voting in George W. Bush. Twice. This is not new, this selfish vote. We hope to grow in emotional intelligence with every generation, to evolve into better human beings. But we don't. We just go round in circles and this one has taken us back to 1933.