Friday, October 31, 2003

bygone postal?

With the effects of the Royal Mail strikes starting to spread beyond the confines of London (or "the center of the known Universe" as the British media would have it,) it's occured to me just how irrelevant the postal service is to me these days.

Like most people I know, any transactions I don't make in person are either handled over the phone or the internet. Most of them are automatic too so I don't really need to see the paper bills which form the majority of my post each month, (not including junk mail of course) all of which I can get virtual copies of one way or another anyway. Deliveries to or from me of anything substantial are usually handled by any one of a handful of private courier companies, and now I come to think of it, all of my personal correspondence over the last six months has been electronic, as has the vast majority of the rest for a long time before that.

Is it possible I wonder, that the spreading industrial action by the members of the Communication Workers' Union will only serve to highlight the waning relevance of the service in most people's daily lives? or am I the exception that proves the rule?

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

counter-top-trol freak

last night I re-organised my kitchen: I moved the all contents of the cupboards, and the stuff on shelves and worktops about, because they were all messed up and it was annoying me (I'm told that it's a Virgo thing but since I think horoscopes are horse-shit I'll freely admit to it being a Patrick thing instead and let you judge me rather than my birth date.)

For the first time it feels like my kitchen is being used the way it was designed to be... which is odd really considering that I designed and built it... you'd think I'd have been using it properly from the start really wouldn't you? well OK probably not if you actually know me but you see my point.

All the same there's something very satisfying about 'getting it right'... it's good to take control of the things that you can sometimes. Perhaps just to remind yourself that life isn't all some elaborate game cooked up by some screwball higher power (or the alignments of gigantic balls of exploding gas and huge rocks in an unimaginably large vacum for that matter) I'm in control: I decide where the tinned tomatoes are kept. OK so it's a relatively small power but you have to work with what you've got.


Monday, October 20, 2003

Sometimes it's easy...

Sometimes it can get hard to smile. It's been one of those days: it's been hard. Sometimes things just seem like they're never going to come together no matter how many breaks you get, or how many chances fall into place... and sometimes it's easy: sometimes, all it takes is the right song, a stray thought, and a memory.

I was just feeling low. I decided to put on a CD, found an old lighter left behind by a long gone love, set the oil burner diffusing the scent of Bergamot through my house, sat back in my sofa, and smiled like I haven't done all day.

Friday, October 17, 2003

flaming shoe box?

Among other things on my way in this morning, the iPod threw out shoe box by the Barenaked Ladies, which is a really good bouncy morning song, but as I listened I couldn't help thinking that if (as the song says) you put all the lies you ever told into a box somewhere, it would have to be a pretty damned big box! I mean I used to keep my photos in shoe boxes, and I don't really take that many but by the age of 26 there are far too many for a single shoe box!

So a shoe box of lies? all of them? If they were all written down, little ones and big ones, and put in a box? I think we're probably talking about a sizable suitcase at least, if not a tea-chest! Which is not to say personally that it's customary for my pants to be on fire, just that when you stop and think about it in the every day business of living we seem to lie an awful lot.

As an interesting side note, my friend Hamish and I have what you could call a total disclosure friendship. This hasn't arisen out of any high minded ideals you understand, it's just that we're each the sort of person you might say 'thinks too much' (I don't think that it's possible to think too much, but it's an expression I've heard used to describe both of us) and over the years we've just worked out that it's ultimately easier if we each just tell the other what we're thinking feeling and doing in an unvarnished and upfront way.

That's often a lot harder than it sounds, but it's also well worth it, even if only to keep from using up all the available storage in your mental attic ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2003

low sun, mist and frost

I love Autumn. Have I mentioned that yet? ;)

There was frost on my car this morning, the kind that's formed by freezing fast after it settles as dew, leaving little glass droplets all over the surface of the metal - Bags (that's the car) is pretty clean for a change too, and so the over all effect was really very lovely, almost enough to make me not mind having to stand outside in the cold with the scrapey thing... almost.

Like most frosty mornings the sky was mostly clear. There were just a few light fast moving clouds reflecting the last of the sunrise as they scudded overhead. Happily the roads seemed to be free of ice because there's no sign of any gritters as yet and I have to leave early enough as it is to beat the traffic in town without adding a speed drop into the equation.

The best bit of today's Autumn-morning-magic came as I reached the very outskirts of Edinburgh: just before the first outer suburban edges of the city I drive through a small wooded area broken by fields, and in one of the smaller ones shaded by a small bluff and the surrounding trees there was a sleeping cloud. I only caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye as I sped past to the appropriately soulful strains of Shawn Colvin's monopoly, but a mist swirled over the frosted grass, shifting and catching in the light and shadow through the vivid yellow orange leaves as if it were stretching and rubbing its eyes having woken up late.

Monday, October 13, 2003

cleared for take off

I am in such a good place just now, the past couple of weeks I've just felt things clicking into place, as if the last three years I've been in a holding pattern here, turning circles on the runway, and now I've finally got clearance for take off: that's what it feels like: I've been trying to put my finger on this all day and it just this second struck me - the silly scared excited happy feeling I'm carrying about inside is almost exactly the same rush I get in an aeroplane just before take off... my soul's pressed back against the seat back with its stomach in its mouth... I know I'm speeding off somewhere, but not where: I didn't buy the ticket.

Thursday, October 09, 2003


hmph. I'm in a contradictory mood today, I'm feeling simultaneously content and restive, bright and downcast... a whole heap of opposites all crammed into one little heart and it's most... well i can't use an emotive adjective because it isn't just any one thing, that's the whole point, so I'll borrow a made up one and say it's making me floopy.

Monday, October 06, 2003


I was going to write a mardy blog entry about my really spectacularly bad morning: events in the small space from getting up until getting to work were many, and serially bad in the kind of way I probably wouldn't have believed possible outside of a farce if I hadn't been living them... however shortly after I got to work good things started happening: a new toy I hadn't been expecting for another week arrived early and better still Hamish emailed out the latest chapter of his new book.

So this has lifted me from feeling really grumpy to being decidedly happy in a rubber-ball-esque kind of mood bounce.


PS my old phone broke down last week, hence the new one.