Intrigue & Mystery

First of all, I just want to report a new dimension to my life.

Having spent the whole of my first year in Edinburgh getting turned down from even the most menial of job opportunities (washing dishes in a kitchen is apparently above me), I now have the opposite sensation: people keep offering me jobs.

It’s more a trickle than a genuine avalanche just now, but I had two interviews today, and both seemed quite keen on me joining up.  One day I’ll have to decide what I want.

Point to consider: if last year was the year of choices amidst famine; maybe this year is about learning to choose the best option of several.

Okay, so there’s that.  The other thing is that, on Friday night, I not only did I get to go to a special screening of a new film (with Q&A with the director), but on the way home, I saw this man.Jimll 

[Indeed, I genuinely think he was wearing the same tracksuit …]

This is the man my sister & I used to call Jim’ll.  An absolute hero.  And a Yorkshireman!

Heaven knows what he’s been doing in Edinburgh, but he appeared to be cowering in a doorway, probably from having so many people shout out to him.  Bless.

And the next day Maria arrived, so it’s been a nice few days really.

Busking for Matthew Kelly

So, not wishing to delay where there is embarrassment in public places to be had, I arrived back on Thursday night and went straight out on Friday (ukelele flung casually over my shoulder) in search of a good busking pitch (ie. not near traffic or bagpipers, but not too far away from humans).  I found a spot on Rose Street (where the busking competition was quite poor, to be honest), and struck up a jaunty version of ‘My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean’, followed by such melodic wonders as ‘Keep On The Sunny Side’, ‘I’m A Believer’ & ‘If I Were A Butterfly’.

It wasn’t my best set ever, but it was okay.

The highlight, of course, was singing for this man.  A man who can make you a star.Matthewkelly2 

A man who can take an ordinary shop-assistant from a Morrisons in Rotherham and transform them into David Bowie, or Annie Lennox, or Lisa Stansfield.

But not me.  Whatever ‘it’ is, I apparently didn’t have it.

Yet despite seeing none of the qualities that he usually goes for, dear Matthew did stand listening for about 10 minutes, and then went for his lunch without giving me anything.  Flipping celebrities.

And I walked past Julian Clary then other night too, on the way to football – I was on the way to football, I don’t think he was.  He’s quite tall as well (Matthew Kelly’s about 6’5), but looked less orange than normal.

So that’s my life, hob-nobbing with the stars.

I did actually get to a show though, on Sunday (I kind of felt obliged, since one half of the act had been sleeping in my bed for the fortnight before I arrived) – the War On Worry.

And it turned out to be Great Fun!  Highly recommended, for anyone in search of a free show this week.  There’s some clips HERE, but they’re not as good as the actual show, cos the actual show was FAB.


Well, after 2 and a half months, it’s time to say farewell to my family once more.  I came down to Devon in the first week of June (with a week’s worth of clothes), escaping an uninhabitable flat.  It’s been really nice to be with my family, who I love more and more.

[How refreshing is it to honestly be able to say that?!]

And now it’s time to return to the Edin Burgh.  Not without a fair degree of trepidation, of course – it’s not been the easiest (possibly the hardest) place I’ve lived, and now I start again, exactly a year from the last time I arrived.

But this time I have a ukelele!  WATCH OUT!!

[and by the way, we’re intending to be attending some of the mighty Hibs this year – hence the colour scheme.  We went to Exeter City the night before last, and they won comfortably, so the omens are good …]



Sitting on the patio: Mum & Dad, Granma, Maria & me; reading poetry to each other.  Just say, "I remember, I remember" out loud and Granma will carry on – she learned it in school.  It goes like this (it’s quite sad, by the way):

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi’lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday
– the tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heav’n
Than when I was a boy.

I also read Granma one of the letters Grandad sent her during the war (in 1943, from Ceylon).  He hadn’t written for three weeks, having had Malaria.  The letter included the line, "Darling, I’m so sorry for getting Malaria, but I didn’t mean to!"  I never really knew my Grandad that much, so I like these letters all the more.  There are probably about a hundred of them, and I’m going to have a go at cataloguing them, and maybe more.  One of my stories (waiting to be written) includes a lot of wartime correspondance, so I’m hoping to use Granma and Grandad as my models 🙂

She was really enjoyed remembering it all …

Going back/Going forward

Just to whet your appetite: looks like I may be returning to Edinburgh in about a week.

[today is my last day teaching poorly-motivated Belgian teenagers how to speak English less badly]

Ps. I was in Holland last week, and one night I went out for a meal with a friend.  We had just started our main course when a man on the table next to ours coughed, then coughed again, then started choking.  I didn’t know what to do, so I got up, went across, and slapped him on the back as hard as I could.  Turns out he was just speaking Dutch …