18 April 2018

North Queensferry

... is not where I expected to end up today, but there I was, just me and a man I had never met before walking on a long, narrow and empty stone pier heading out into the Firth of Forth; oh, and two ladies who preferred not to risk the slippy stones, and another man, wearing dark glasses on a gloomy day, who eventually appeared, said nothing, but took photos of us all, then left. Strange? A little. Still, we survived the unexpected experience of this less-visited shore compared to the south side. Tomorrow is another day, if we reach it.

By Napier of logarithms (remains of)

I had ten minutes to pass before a meeting, and soon discovered that I was passing it in the company of what is left of John Napier (not much, physically, I'm sure, but still a great deal in legacy), and Henry Dewar (chemists remember him) and Henry Raeburn (painter) and Thomas de Quincey (writer and opium addict) and many more notables whom I never knew were there. "Aw deid noo," as we Scots may say, somewhat dismissively, perhaps, was what ran through my mind as I noticed the time and began rushing to what was supposedly important, but suddenly seemed less so. I was a little late for my meeting, which I duly blamed on logarithmic decay, only to be met with bemused glances by people who thought they had significant things to say.

11 April 2018

Prelude to Coda

The watercolour was called Prelude, and depicted a clearly beautiful young girl, maybe nineteen, although only glimpsed in side view, playing her flute by a window... and yes, I got the double meaning as I viewed it alone one night in an American hotel room while preparing to sleep before meeting a publisher; and on that lonely night it made me feel rather sad... and now, many years and more than a million words later, here I am sleepless again in a hotel room and contemplating another random painting of a river running to the sea, as rivers do, and remembering my long-ago evening with the Prelude and wondering if I have now already embarked upon my coda... for such is the way that thoughts can go, late at night, in a hotel room. Goodnight weird, wild, wonderful, worrying, wasted world, goodnight.


Mixing work with wandering