Friday, February 29, 2008

Heaney meets Joyce in a carpark, after a fast and pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s Purgatory in Lough Derg. The tall, older man on his ashplant, holding Heaney’s hand with his boney own, gives him this parting advice that ends the poem:

and suddenly he hit a litter basket
with his stick, saying, “Your obligationis not discharged by any common rite.What you do you must do on your own.
The main thing is to writefor the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night
dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest,
so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes.Let go, let fly, forget.You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.

You lose more of yourself than you redeemdoing the decent thing. Keep at a tangent.When they make the circle wide, it’s time to swim
out on your own and fill the elementwith signatures on your own frequency,echo-soundings, searches, probes, allurements,
elver-gleams in the dark of the whole sea.”The shower broke in a cloudburst. The tarmacfumed and sizzled. As he moved off quickly
the downpour loosed its screens round his straight walk.
Seamus Heaney, Station Island (1984)

from Do Buddists watch telly

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Holga of Bloomsbury red phone boxes.

Monday, February 25, 2008


between The British Library and the Sir John Soane Museum January 08

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the HOPE revolution

off to Glasgow tomorrow for an artist date - enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

David Byrne of Talking Heads has a blog

Knitting News

Just been past HK handknit on Bruntsfield and its closing down - last day of sale this Saturday.

Also a knitting conference on the history and art of knitting in Edinburgh.

Oh the joy of cancelled plans and everyday miracles!

Server down at work so at home being paid until 11.30 when I have to go back. So am making an orange/almond/pinenut cake for a trip to the turkish baths tonight at Portobello. Thats the miracle my friend H is venturing out of the house for a seaside adventure.

Despite this being a made by me cake it smells so delicious I'm going to have to restrain myself from having a go at it before tonight.

Monday, February 18, 2008

You don’t have to work so hard at this. You don’t have to do so much. You don’t have to endeavor to be natural, normal, and good. It happens by itself when you least expect it. If you are confused about what you should be doing, try this. Stop what you are doing. Take care of what is in front of you, when it is in front of you, and the confusion will pass. This is called the effort of no effort. No effort is what powers the universe.

With time, your roots grow deep and your branches long. You lean a little less backward in fear and a little less forward in doubt, resting solidly right where you are. When the wind blows, you bend. When it stops, you straighten. Your boughs provide shelter and shade. Your strength supports the sky. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

Karen Maezen Miller

via Jen Lemen

Sunday, February 17, 2008

s l o w

I was supposed to be meeting some friends to go to an exhibition this afternoon followed by Dim Sum. One friend cancelled due to being ill so we put the outing on hold.

Instead I sauntered across to the supermarket walking along the park and admired the spring crocuses which are blooming. I bought a kitchen timer at Woolworths and then browsed in a clothes shop. Finally I did some food shopping bought a sunday paper as I had an article on my filmmaker hero Derek Jarman.

Back home I got out the timer set it for 15 mins and did some of the washing up and cleaned the grill. Then I hung out the washing in the cold clean February air. I sat for a bit and sewed up squares, drank coffee and read the newspaper. Then I went outside and planted the snow drops and foxgloves I'd brought back from the country last weekend. Finally I started a batch of bagels. I haven't made any for at least 6 months.

I would have thought this a very unproductive day about 5 years ago but I'm slowly learning that I need time, time to mull over things, time for creativity to grow slow roots underground, time to center myself, time for noticing. I think more of the pleasures of slow than I used to. I'm less admiring of people who perhaps 'achieve' a lot but skate past on the surface of life. I have to re-learn the pleasures of slow over and over again. Occasionally I start thinking I'm too 'slow' I 'should' be doing this or that but as soon as I get onto a timetable that is not right for me I can feel that giddly out of control unconnectedness that dominated my life for far too long.

On a related note we never give ourselves the leaway for processing life changes - a student will appologise for not writing in many months, then will elaborate on a job change, a family situation and a third stressful event. Regaining our equilibrium takes time.

On a related note slow & idle parenting by Tom Hodgkinson

I'm off to check on the status of my bagels.

Friday, February 15, 2008

How to cook without using recipies

article at the Independent.

Though I hardly ever use recipies myself. Usually when I try something for the first time though often from the first go I'm experimenting or changing stuff depending on what I have to hand. Lamb shoulder in the oven with garlic stuffed in crevaces, sweet potatoe, potatoe, and butternut squash cut up around it - a mixture of chili oil and olive oil sprikled on a afew garlic cloves still in the papery covering to roast.

Yum.. can't wait retreating to sofa with magazine while I wait.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love yourself day

May I direct you towards the link on the side bar? In previous years I've organised mass outings to the Turkish Baths for friends and massages. This year its been too hectic to do so but I will be at the Baths next week. However in celebration of Love Yourself Day tomorrow I'm going to buy TWO bars of Green & Blacks Dark Cherry Chocolate and have lunch out.

You Can't Always Get What You Want ... But Sometimes You Get What You Need

words of wisdom by the Rolling Stones

Today I went swimming 2nd time for a few weeks and before that it was a year or so since I dipped my toes in water. My swimming friend stormed up and down and did 45 mins of lenghts I did about 35 mins. Left and went off to my afternoon shift feeling somewhat tired. When I arrived I couldn't find my name up on any of the job boards. So I asked. It turned out that I was only scheduled to work this evening. They offered me the option of signing up for an afternoon sift but I decided it was a sign ! left went home napped for an hour (Frida the cat enjoys co-napping). Slowly made coffee, knitted a bit and then actually made a small in road into the washing up. I felt so refreshed - was just what I needed. Sometimes life does conspire to send what you need.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm currently desperately knitting squares for a blanket same as above but all squares will have some black in them. I have 3 babies to knit for - one arrived and two on their way. I feel like a belegured worker on a collective farm with my 5 year plan of productivity doubled. I take knitting to work and everywhere I go incase I can do a few more rows.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

out of the mist

Edinburgh was wreathed in mist when I got back on Sunday - it hung about on Monday. I went for a walk at the beach and it was strange not being able to see the far shore - but I saw a seal ! only the second in 8 years of going there.

Went to a women & business networking event - much much more interesting than I thought it would be tonight. Thank you H!

Got a good idea for marketing my classes from a woman I spoke to afterwards - thank you unknown lady !

Just shows its really good to push out of those comfortable ruts we line with duvets.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"How soon not now becomes never." -Martin Luther

quote from Sparkletopia

Right I'm back from my 3 1/2 day trip to the country. BAFTA awards going on the background - cat sleeping on a shelf beside me. Feel I've been away for about 3 weeks.

Just before I left I heard that the Planning Application I'd written 22 letters and emails to politicians about had passed. So I left the city pretty downheartened. Its very easy to see life as a slide towards things getting worse.

But it was wonderful to connect with family friends who live in Dumfries & Galloway. I realised that I'd last seen some of them last May ! too long ago... The trip down through the Borders was beautiful, snow drops out, the Devils Beef Tub as dramatic as ever. Our friends had a new addition to the family a black labrador puppy called Jock (after Jock of the Bushvelt) but I renamed The Hound of Pipercoft. SIMPLY ENORMOUS PAWS and the 5 cats of the house cowering in their porch after being bounced upon. I walked the 'policies' seeing the hens (who are a drain on the rural economy producing no eggs for months and necessitating their masters to 'buy' eggs!) and the new 'bothy' which as its being designed by a South African architect has its own stoep.

On Sat we went into Castle Douglas for shopping and I went to Hazel's a secondhand sort of shed. A great favourite of my hosts. I wasn't planning to buy anything but got seduced by a Millers Cine Camera which might be useful for a rather distant project for a documentary. I thought it was a 16mm film cine but I'm not so sure after doing a bit of googling I think it might be 9.5 mm - not sure if I can get film for it but a beautiful leather case and clockwork mechanism.

I'm delighted to be returning with a recipe for babobtie and yellow rice which I will try out on friends soon.

The two most beautiful things about this weekend were spending time with people and having those conversations which are missed by phone calls but arise out of time. The second was our last walk into the village this morning a soft mist across the landscape - ghost trees on the horizon - cows in the mid horizon - 3 pairs of geese flying over and then grazing in the field.

I didn't have a camera with me but I didn't need it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

off to country to recharge batteries - sending you the same

Saturday, February 02, 2008

snow! & activism

Went out for brunch today as I was up early to take the cat for a check up. She is fine but not happy about the cat carrier and my slekit ways of getting her into it.

As I sat in the cafe I looked out on Broughton St and saw the snow coming down. Its been doing this over the past 3 days but not lying - we are too near the sea here.

I had to go to the post office to stock up on stamps - I'm about to settle down and write to all the councillors on the Edinburgh City Council Planning Committe. On Wednesday they meet to consider a plan to demolish a swathe of the High St of Edinburgh to replace the serviceable buildings with horrible modern offices, flats and a 5 star hotel in a World Heritage Site. Even Prince Charles has condemend this development. The planning department of Edinburgh Council has recommended this development but it will not necessarily be passed by the committee. They don't always go with the recommendations. PLEASE write to the concillors and ask them to vote against the proposals. You don't have to live in Edinburgh to do this - as this is a designated World Heritage Site anyone has a vested interest in these plans.

If you live in the UK please write letters to the concillors at City Chambers High St,Ediburgh. If further abroad then write emails but some councillors are known not to read emails so letters are better (hence stocking up on stamps today!)

People in Ediburgh have been fighting these proposals for 2 1/2 years please give them your support - the last round of proposals generated 1800 letters to the Head of Planning in Edinburgh. For more information go to

They are also looking for a civic minded Advocate to bring a legal case. If you know of one please get in touch with them!

WRITE/EMAIL YOUR Local or even all 58 AllCECcouncillorsemails
Find your councillors by your ward at this link

PLANNING COMMITTEE MEMBERS (Sld) Planning Committee Leader (Sld) (Caltongate is in his ward) (SLD) (SLD) (SLD) (SNP) (SNP) (SNP) (Labour) (Labour) (Labour) (Con) City Central (Caltongate in her ward) (Con) (Con) (Green)

Also write/email your Msp regional and List ones, you can find their details by this link You can find details of Mps and Meps here (Scottish ones are listed even although it doesn’t say on home page, you just enter your postcode and they will appear) Points that you can include in letter along with your own views on The Caltongate Proposals -
ask them to oppose the sale of Common Good Land – which could provide some of the community facilities deficient in the Old Town
ask for protection of the existing community and the World Heritage Site from insensitive and inappropriate development
ask what their commitment (or not) is to the Edinburgh Community Plan, which promotes a cleaner, greener Edinburgh
ask what is their commitment to World Heritage Management Plan
And WRITE to
Head of Planning Division,
Development Department,
Scottish Executive,
Victoria Quay
The Director of Historic Scotland,
Longmore House,
Salisbury Place, EH9 1SH
requesting refusal of the demolition of buildings in the World Heritage Site and Old Town Conservation Area as proposed in the Mountgrange Masterplan
requesting the masterplan be referred to the Scottish Executive as it involves a significant departure from the Development Plan and the Council have a financial interest in the proposed development.

Write a letter to John Swinney
Who is Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth
We all need to write to Scottish Government Minister John Swinney, as it will be him who will have the power to call in Mountgrange`s Planning Applications. We should all do this as soon as we can. It is on the 6th February 2008 that they are to go before the council in a special hearing. He should be made aware of the importance of calling in the applications.
Points you could include
· Many in Scotland feel that, under the previous administration, HS was "leant on" not to put the conservation case too strongly (i.e. to oppose demolitions of listed buildings) if that could stand in the way of economic development - such as the jobs and tourist boost promised by Mountgrange for example. Many believe a similar view was taken by the previous Edinburgh planning committee (especially the convenor, Trevor Davies).
· It is hoped that the Scottish Government can review this policy and strike a better balance between economic development and the conservation and celebration of Scotland's built heritage. It is therefore hoped that if the Caltongate applications are called in by the Government (as the City Council has a financial interest in the development, and has appeared to have mis-handled the application process) the Minister will not devolve the decision to HS but will take advice from a wider range of sources, and will listen to the well-argued opposition from heritage bodies, conservation experts and the local community.
· The development is of strategic, national and historic importance. A World Heritage site is a national responsibility - WH sites are submitted for designation to UNESCO by the national government of the country concerned, and UNESCO expects that government to take responsibility for the protection and care of designated sites.
It’s would mark a significant change in conservation planning policy and set a dangerous precedent
Write to
John Swinney MSP
St Andrew`s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

or email him marked for his attention to -