Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Absolutely no point at all

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

You would think that, in my week off after all those words, I would have a wonderful stretch of freedom. I could gently do the blog, think thoughtful thoughts, share universal verities.

Instead, I found myself doing a Google Street View tour of the Isle of Arran.

I should be able to tell you why, but I can't, really. It was something to do with wondering whether I should go to the west coast, and then thinking of places by the sea. Arran looks utter heaven, but I don't want to be taking ferries just at the moment.

Then I thought maybe I should go to Loch Lomond, which really isn't very far away. I'm rather ashamed of how little of Scotland I have seen: I know Speyside and Inverness, bits of Perthshire, Edinburgh and some of the Borders, and obviously most of Aberdeenshire. I race through Glenshee every so often. I know Oban, and spent years going to Colonsay for my summer holiday. But that's about it. I have cousins on North Uist, for heaven's sake. The Sister and I idly speculate about taking a trip to the Hebrides to see the relations, and then we sigh, and talk of something else. The Brother-in-law and I badger each other almost weekly about a mythical journey to Orkney which we cooked up about six years ago and have never undertaken.

It's very silly to live in such a place and not go and look at it. Now I am quite cross.

Perhaps I shall go to Loch Lomond after all. The hotels I looked at were either horrid and corporate, or sad and stuck in the 1970s, or would not like The Pigeon. It's very interesting, this fantasy about the British being the most dog-lovin' nation on earth, unlike those pesky Chinese, who eat theirs. Well, trying typing dog-friendly hotel into The Google. You'll get about five results, and one of those will have been shut down by Health and Safety in 2008.

You may notice that I am a bit diffuse and rambly. This is partly because of post-deadline crash. Partly because there is silence de glace from co-writer, editor and agent. They are all very, very busy women. They deal with thousands of words a week. I'm sure it's not because everyone is screaming about what a piling load of arrant nonsense the whole thing is.

I'm not paranoid. I'm not.


Now for some perfectly calm pictures, because I am perfectly calm and rational, thank you so very much:

19 Oct 1.ORF

19 Oct 2

19 Oct 3

19 Oct 5

19 Oct 6

19 Oct 7.ORF

19 Oct 8

19 Oct 9

19 Oct 10

19 Oct 11

I love this serious, questing, slightly furry face:

19 Oct 16.ORF

And this gorgeous grinning face. She has been making this rather a lot lately, and I snap it and snap it, and post it and post it, so I do apologise if it becomes slightly repetitive:

19 Oct 16

Hill, today in panorama:

19 Oct 15.ORF


  1. It will be fantastic if it is half as good as backwards. I am the "it doesn't get easier you just learn to deal with it better" reader and I was full of joy when you used that helpful phrase in your blog a little while ago - you had remembered my words which I was told when I lost my mum when I was 20 (I was an only child and my dad had died when I was 17 so all advice was gratefully received!) To touch each others lives in some small way is such a joy and your posts speak to me on a daily basis.

    So I am first in the queue for your new book, regardless of what the co- author, agent or editor have to say, bless them!


  2. Amanda - what an absolutely lovely comment. I do think of those words, often. I have been missing my dad and my dog a bit lately, and thinking of mortality in general. Do not always blog about it as too dull. But your kind words could not be more timely.

  3. Thank you so much. I'm not sure it is dull though amongst the dear readers, there is so much support I'd guess many people would still expect to hear about it, indeed would want to. The one thing about losing a parent (and I'd say a precious pet) is it is so unifying. This week my mother in law, sister in law and I were all lamenting the huge hole that the loss of our mothers had left. My mother in law lost her mum (a wonderful Scottish lady whom I had the privilege of knowing well) in 2000 when she was 83 and my first daughter was two months old, my sister in law lost her mum two years ago on Sunday (hence our conversations) when she was 67 (it was particularly hard for her as they live in Sydney, it was so sudden and no chance to say goodbye) and I lost my mum when I was twenty (she was 50) in 1990 - our grief was all so real still and similar despite the huge differences. We have all learnt to deal with it better in our own ways but it still brings you up so short - on their birthday, smelling their perfume (rive gauche for my mum...) and seeing a beautiful bunch of freesias (her favourite) for example. By way of a sign, however, I found out last week that freesias mean lasting friendship (and I venture that includes blog friendships) so please keep telling us as it holds us all up when we go through the inevitable.

    Gosh sorry what a long comment.


  4. Lovely comments Amanda, and so very true.

    Congrats on finishing the manuscript Tania, and before deadline too. Am sure the feedback from your co-writer and editor will be just great when it comes. Easy for me to calmly say, I would be just the same and constantly hovering over the inbox thinking 'well, well?'. Distract yourself by throwing ball for the Pigeon. Her feedback will be, as ever, that you are quite marvellous.

    I think you should take a little trip when you can. I am contemplating the same myself, but ideally would be magically transported to the destination without the travel hoo ha.

    Take care, Elaine

  5. Please give yourself a break - I'm sure you have produced yet another intelligent & well-written book. Having said that, I feel that you could always quit your "day job" and become a photographer...your pictures are incredible! You have such a good eye for beautiful, simple things. Your blogs, words, and pictures are wonderful, & they provide a much-needed escape from the monochromatic dustiness that is Arizona.

    Thank you for being you!


  6. Amanda - absolutely lovely comment. I appreciate your kind words so much.

    Elaine - ball advice is excellent. And so agree about the desire for magical transporting device.

    Robyn - I am always so excited to get comments from many thousands of miles away. Love the thought of you reading in Arizona. And so delightful that you like the pictures.

  7. Well, I think it's perfectly reasonable to spend time checking out the Google street view of Arran. Enjoy!

  8. Why not Arran, or Loch Lomond or anything that catches your fancy. After working as hard as you do, its ok to randomly do stuff.

  9. When I traveled around Scotland, I rented a car and bought an atlas. I'd find where I was, then look around on the atlas for something that looked interesting. I'd drive there, find a B&B, and then go exploring. Or sometimes I'd explore first, get the B&B later. I did this all over Scotland, including the Isle of Lewis and also Skye. I highly recommend it. The adventure is amazing!

  10. Loch Lomond, is it? I seem to remember my mother (a Frazier) singing to us about "you take the high road and I'll take the low road..." Didn't they all end up at Loch Lomond? And it was pretty bonny too as I recall!

    Just GO. DO IT! Take your toothbrush, a change or three of clothing, and Pigeon, (OF COURSE!), get in the car and.........

    Bon voyage! (I don't know the Scots equivalent of this.)


  11. Oh, I live in a town across from Arran. Believe it or not, it is actually possible to forget that it is there. We have a saying: if you can see Arran, then it's going to rain. If you can't see Arran then it IS raining.
    Arran is lovely, although I think you should visit The Isle of Bute, if you haven't already.


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