Nuggets & Gems

gold spun cocoons 

Kevin Kelly writes a fascinating article about the Magical properties of objects 

Herbert Duprat's bejewelled cocoons of the caddis fly (pictured above) are achingly beautiful (from Cabinet Magazine via Angeliska)

A different kind of clock

Bottling the Memory - I've been watching Perfume on BBC Four which features 'the Proust of perfumers'  Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume.  What a wonderful thing to be able to create scents.  If I had the money I  would certainly pay to have a signature scent created for me.  When I was last in London I treated myself to a bottle of gorgeous rosewater from Santa Maria Novella.  It is so delicate and beautiful.

I treated myself to a copy of Cabinet Magazine and it is wonderful.  So far I've read articles about the colour orange, collective nouns, mathematical models, bomb-site growing wildflowers, ideas about the centre of the world and psychedlic experiences and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  How brilliant to find such fascination and diversity in one publication.  Love it!

The rest of my non-work time has involved reading in my hammock, discovering picturesque castles and kirks, exploring a maze, pints at the canny man's, luxury cinema going at the Dominion, comedy at The Stand, watching Mum and Ray fishing, listening to jazz at a sunny mardi gras in the Grassmarket, breakfasts in my Mum's beautiful garden, sushi in Prince's Street Gardens, second hand book fairs, rambles with the dog, eating salad straight from Mum's veg patch.  

Yearning for a simpler life at the moment but not sure if it's just a reaction to stressy times.
  • Current Music
    Spiers & Boden - Jiggery Pokery

In lieu of posts - lists

Cultural excursions of late:  Scottish Ballet's Alice; Edinburgh Secret Society Event at Camera Obscura; noise gig in the Banshee Labyrinth; Farmers' Market and Submarine at the Cameo; A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Broken Records at the Caves; Kyuss Lives; The Cave of Forgotten Dreams; The Hard Man.

Travels: Berlin, Stockholm, London, Dumfries & Galloway and Angus.

This week: Pina, Frankenstein, Beltane.

Recent reads: A Confederacy of Dunces; Absurdistan

Currently reading: Cloud Atlas; A Little History of the World; The Infinity of Lists

The Turning of the Year

Strange times. So it's been a while. A very long while but in this brief hiatus between the old year and the next one properly starting I thought I should put down some thoughts. Although I'm not in a very happy place today but perhaps a bit if self-indulgent soul-searching will help.

2010's been strange one. For many I know it's been an extremely difficult one. Dave has been without employment, so have a couple of other friends, Dave's family lost Betty, odd situations with old friends, finding out very sad news about new friends, the usual bonkersness with certain family members that i seem incapable of resolving, my Grandma being diagnosed with Alzheimers and being so busy that I haven't had time to draw breath, reflect, be a good friend or girlfriend much less update this blog.

But I shan't sit and spout about the bad. It' also been a year of good. I started a new job at a place I really like, which is stimulating and challenging and through which I've made some lovely new friends. It's really making me raise my game and increase my output massively which must be good but is also quite hard. Working harder than I ever had but also have a team of people who are also incredibly hard-working and can-do people so the habit's wearing off on me.

Friends got engaged last year and Eli got married - so happy for all of them. So nice when your friends find the people they're supposed to be with. Significant birthdays - Jackie turned 40 and we all went on holiday to a lodge in Strathyre to celebrate. Dave turned 30 without much fuss and I turned 30 with quite a lot of fuss. It was a real watershed moment for me and I did panic a bit. Brought home how much better and more quickly I need to get at becoming the person I want to be - I really need to get my shit together - I'm a proper grown-up now - or supposed to be. But it also made me mourn for all of the things I never managed to do in my 20s. I didn't have half as much travel, craziness, wild nights or youthful slim body that I should have had. But I'm still childless and mortgage-free so perhaps i can squeeze some of that into my 30s.

Dave and I are making travel plans - doing what we should have done at uni and going eurorailing. And in 2010 I did manage to go to two places I've longed to got to for years - Vienna and Budapest, with an imperial train taking me between the two! Not half bad. And I went quad biking, tree zone walking, bell-tent camping, had a private afternoon tea in a stately home, went to a fantastic music festival, did Russian History and epistemology courses, and I spent New Year's with Dylan Moran!

And I've seen my Grandma more this year which I'm glad about but other than that I'm not sure that this last year has seen me progress much. Professionally probably although I still feel hopelessly inadequate. But I've not been able to be as good a friend as I would like, as good a correspondent to friends far away, as fit and healthy as I intended, I've not read enough, studied enough, heard enough new music, learned new skills, become anything new at all really. So today I'm wondering what the point of Lucy is. Do I just keep plodding along with little diversions like gigs and parties and courses and job. Shouldn't I be affecting the world in some positive way, or at least those around me? Shouldn't I be a well of deep knowledge and possessor of skills? Shouldn't I be doing those kinds of things that people film documentaries about and write books. Why the hell aren't I doing those things. It comes to a point in your life when you've got a lot of your shit together. You have a job and a social life, a partner and a home. You also don't have the excuse of being too young - life is no longer a thing that happens in the future that you're preparing for - shouldn't I be in amongst it right now? I think cowardice and laziness are the only excuses I have left now and they're not even excuses. My life is full of busy-ness to no real end.

So whilst I have all the usual resolutions of losing weight, keeping in touch with friends better, reading more etc. I want to keep the following things in mind:

  • Love the life you've chosen - which essentially means I need to take responsibility for it, have more purpose, and shape my own life.  View life as a choice rather than something that happens to you
  • Be effective - in all aspects of life - health, relationships, job
  • Prioritize the things that matter most - my partner, family and friends are much more important to me than work, and gaining knowledge is more important to me than watching tv - sort it out!
  • Become interesting - toughie but I have some ideas.

So I'll finish my pointless rant and whiney rally to myself to get off my arse with a picture of Edward the Eagle Owl and I sharing a moment in the hope that some of his owly wisdom rubbed off on me.

Lucy & Edward

Here's to a year of love, laughter, health and hope to all those who need it. And to journalling again!
  • Current Music
    Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

A Mixed Bag

Quick update on another busy week: Last weekend Dave and I tooks ourselves off to East Lothian and had a very windy walk from Gullane to Aberlady. Dave wasn't impressed but I love coast walks - bracing! I also spotted some fab tucked away coves for picnics in summer. We warmed up in a little pub with a Sunday roast, Guinness and a muffin. Oh yeah.

That same weekend I worked in a Brewery for a couple of hours which essentially meant sampling various ales and trying to guess the secret ingredients. I never thought the day would come when I would ditch cider for beer but I think it fast approacheth!

On Wednesday we went to see Jerry Dammers A.K.A Spatial Orchestra at the Usher Hall. Amazing 1970s futuristic ancient Egyptian jazz musicians from outer space! Incredible! They are a tribtute to Sun Ra and when the concert was over, kept right on playing out on the street! Nice chats with Barry and Neil in the pub afterwards.

This weekend I headed homewards to Newcastle to stay with Jo for the Mayfair reunion (the Mayfair being a fantastic rock club I used to frequent). Needless to say, the night involved vast quantities of alcohol, much headbanging, red false eyelashes and we also ran into a couple of old school friends. The next day was illness, followed by slightly more illness, and then a lot of illness with poor Jo having to put up with my dying throes. Never mind - all in the name of Newcastle nights out. I also managed to fit in seeing my brother's new place and stayed with my lovely Grandmother who gave me egg cosies and a liberty purse for Easter.

My Mum and I took her out for lunch to The Fisherman's Lodge in Jesmond Dene where she used to go with my Grandpa. Slap up meal and wee walk along the river then it was back home to spend Easter Monday with my man, which mostly consisted of watching Dr Who, lounging on the sofa with the duvet and stuffing faces with chocolate.

I'm on my own this week as dave is off in Spain and Portugal, but my mother arrives on Friday for belated Easter celebrations.

Come in for a stiff one!

I want this sign so bad! Brilliant.

I am hoping to recruit my less brazen lady friends to go to a 1920s tea dance at this fantastic new venue: Ghillie Dhu

Sounds amazing: "It's 1927 and you're invited to the most decadent of houseparties where the wildest members of the upper set mingle with the jazz babes and beer cats of the city's hedonistic party scene. Miss Fitz-Poste's Modern Mixers bring you Deco Dance - a tongue-in-cheek romp through the decade which saw the birth of the modern and the demise of the old order. Learn to Charleston and dance the night away with Lord Holyrude on the gramophone, shop for the chicest of vintage accessories, partake of tea and cake or hit the cocktails and experience performances from the best in 20s flavoured Dance, Burlesque and Cabaret."

I'm so glad that something like this is happening in Edinburgh. Excepting the festival, Edinburgh sometimes lacks a bit of imagination in its events and venues. Here's to the sea change. I've already been obsessing about an outfit to wear - fur stoles, tarnished sequin dresses, t-bar shoes! Getting inspiration from these lovely ladies (Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, random flapper ladies).

Coincidentally, I've just ordered this book - The Banquet Years about the avante garde in France between 1885 and the First World War. I've been treating myself rather a lot lately actually. Other book purchases include another feast of the 1920s Before the Deluge:Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, and All of the Women of the Bible. And as a result of some winnings on the horses at the Cheltenham Festival I acquired a new bag, perfume, jacket and make-up - all essentials you understand.

Last night dave and I went to see The Hobbit at my new place of work, with a couple of pints before hand and a delicious meal at Susie's Diner. Tonight I'm going to Becky's for a craft evening with Maureen, even though I've forgotten to bring half of my project along with me. Shucks.

Happy weekend.
  • Current Music
    Jill Tracy

What Lucy did

What a busy couple of weeks! I now have a new job - I'll be working for a theatre daaaarlink and shall be very artsy fartsy. Oh yes. Big challenge but should be fun.

The Ian Rankin Event went well. It was wonderful to hear a brand new Rebus mystery before the rest of the world and we raised over ten grand. Dave had his 30th birthday - this time a fundraiser for the Back Up Trust. We had a gathering at the fabulous Rivage restaurant complete with naff tombola and 2 birthdee cakes.

In addition and in summary the last couple of weeks have been: Indulging in the most amazing churros with Eli at The Chocolate Tree and then burning my mouth in my eagerness to drink the complimentary hot chocolate they gave me to take home; pints in the Peartree courtyard; making banana cakes and peppermint creams; dinner with the girls; free food and drink at a swanky Irish Consulate reception at The Gateway with Jackie; eating scrumptious veggie curry on a bench in the sunshine with Zeb; cocktails, burgers and MicMacs; pink wine, dinner and girly film with jackie; homemade bread, soup and carrot cake at Maureen's and then a stroll in the sun round South Queensferry, sitting on a bench in the harbour and rummaging in antiques shops.

Last weekend we set off for Loch Lomand where we stayed in a wooden lodge for the weekend which had a hottub. Oh heaven! We spent HOURS in there and went so pruny that my hands are still wrinkled and sore! The woods behind our lodge concealed a witch house.

The more I explore Scotland the more I love this country of lochs and snowy peaks

rainbows and highland coos!

We wandered through forests finding quaint wee bridges and tiny houses

and explored deserted boatyards

and spied on the local wildlife.

Really hoping that the boy and I can escape to the wilds more often this summer - throw the tent in the car and just go. The wonderful thing about Scotland is that you have the right to roam and can camp pretty much anywhere. Looking forward to camping on beaches, canooing on lochs and exploring dark forests.


Pure decadence at The Witchery, slagging off Avatar over pints in the pub, reading Everything is Illuminated - love!, charity shop finds, running with Dave, QI, photographing samuri swordsmen, present buying, haircut, baking, drinking wine in bed whilst watching Sex and the City. Coming up is Ian Rankin event, Dave's 30th birthday party and escaping the city to stay in a lodge by a loch.