Tag Archives: scotland

but seas between us braid hae roared

I was going to do an epic post about the best classic rock Christmas songs, but life…okay, lazing around at the in-laws during the holiday season…got the better of me.

In lieu of that, here’s a sample from the list that’s appropriate today yet–James Taylor’s version of Auld Lang Syne.

Personally, I (heresy, I know) am not that big a fan of Robert Burns, sort of take him or leave him. I’m sure as hell not fond of Hogmanay, the Scottish take on New Year’s Eve, though it’s perhaps a bit more genuine than the Times Square Rockin’ New Years Whatever US version (both have too large of drunk crowds for my liking). And while I do love James Taylor, the rest of his holiday album is also take it or leave it, in my opinion.

But this suitably pensive limited-production take on Auld Lang Syne is far and away the best version of the song or poem I’ve ever heard. And with that–a happy new year to those on the Gregorian calendar.

So many people I know have had lousy times of it in 2012. In light of that, I hope that 2013 will be better for us all and for the world.

all painted blue, all painted white

If you’re viewing this in post form, the right sidebar may be seriously out of whack, what with the floating post info bit over the top (at least, that’s how it looks in Firefox for me). I think it’s a problem with the newest version of this theme, but at the moment I don’t have the energy to go hunt through CSS for a fix. Please bear with me.

In my defense regarding posting here more often, I’ve spent the last couple weeks negotiating the ins and outs of applying for indefinite leave to remain, which is currently occupying my mind. It’s complex (though one would expect that, for such a permanent statement), so my anxiety has gone up a little bit.

Anyway, in the interests of being entertaining instead, some other thoughts. Maybe not about the BBC Four Exquisite Cuisine season, which has also kept me entertained over the last couple of weeks. They’ve been the sort of thing that makes Matt wince and decamp to the other room but that I love–food/cookery programme and BBC Four history programme. My only complaint is that they disappeared way too fast off iPlayer. I’ll leave the amazing programmes I would totally pitch had I the invested ear of a Beeb commissioner to one side unless requested, and I’ll also only comment that I’ve also had shows playing on 4oD to the extent that ‘Buffalo Stance’ is stuck in my head permanently. (Thx Fresh One!)

We had our first snow overnight last night here in Glasgow. Not much, and sure as hell not enough to make for any pretty photographs. Instead, it was just enough to leave some slippery pavement (about which I’ve ranted at length previously, if you search my archives from winter 2009-10…I’m too lazy).

I feel more than a little nostalgic about the first snow of the year. One of the traditions at my Smith College house (TYLER: BEST OF GREEN) was to have a First Snow Party early in the morning after a snow…or in the afternoon, should it fall that way. There was hot chocolate and snacks and a wee fire in the fireplace going, and we all made paper snowflakes and had banter and it was amazing times.

To most readers this is going to sound like something out of, I don’t know, Chalet School or something. But it’s real, and it was lovely, and I don’t give a damn how twee it might sound, in a post looking back on it. (For those who might not be acquainted with me, I’m pretty anti-twee.) It was home, and I doubt any of my friends and housemates would disagree.

Don’t mind the weather when the wind don’t blow, part deux.

I know, talking about the weather is small talk and quintessentially British (also, by the way, quintessentially everywhere else I’ve ever lived). But it’s been six years since I last lived through a Scottish springtime, and I’m having a hard time adjusting.

Partially, I blame that on the fact that we had a ridiculously nice April, all things considered. It was sunny and warm and delightful for the better part of three weeks, which is long enough for you to get used to it, unfortunately. The last week and a half, though, things took a turn for the worse.

The rain’s not a problem. It’s pretty much expected, and at least it hasn’t been cold. It’s the pattern of rain that really does it, as it’s not something I’ve experienced anywhere else, a uniquely Scottish phenomenon.

It will be dark and dismal and windy, and then out of nowhere it starts throwing down rain. It might not be torrential by definition, but it feels like it with all the wind. Then, ten minutes later, it stops, and there will almost inevitably be a break in the clouds and a brief golden moment of sunshine, before the dark clouds blow back in again. And then it will do the torrential rain thing again for some time.

Really, it’s almost as if, and pardon me for getting uncharacteristically poetic and/or cheesy, the sun’s a parent poking their nose in the door after their child’s been squalling for them. Reassuring, before we, the children, are told to Get To Sleep and the door is shut.

Almost endearing, as long as you don’t get caught out in it.

Now run along before I start talking about being confused by sunrise/sunset times.