As is apposite at this time of year, I have decided to blog about some bits of the last year, good and bad, happy and sad.
Oh and scary!
Weirdly scared face
La Gomera. Midnight. Sailing through the still night air, mid-December pitch darkness. It was an unscheduled stop as we had to keep ahead of the storm that was terrorizing the Canaries.
Then the noise started, a screich as we would say- like something being castrated without anesthetic or consent. It screamed through the silence, it cut to the core. Munch heard that noise and did that painting. It was rhythmic and awful, it filled the bay and echoed round the hills. It was like listening to the soundtrack of torture. It went on for hours.... suddenly stopping when the ferry sailed out past us.
The noise started again the next morning, just after the ferry arrived. We were very brave in the daylight and investigated. It was the noise of the heavy metal wheels of the vehicle ramp dragging on the rough concrete slipway.
Mildly scared face
Two armour plated rhinos giving each other malkie at Edinburgh zoo. The ground was shaking as they charged and battered, ramming and head butting, and generally trying to mutilate one another. The visitors to the zoo, (loads because of the presence of a panda pregnancy alert) were getting concerned. Some wee cheery chappie came on the loudspeakers to explain that this was the equivalent of two eight year old boys having a barney and we should just ignore their naughtiness. One rhino had been caught bathing in the other rhino’s part of the bathing pool and this was the result. It had been going on for three days. To prove the point, the keeper - a tiny woman - went in and waved about some green and leafy rhino treats. The boys ceased fire immediately to have a nibble, a wee scratch on the nose and a little talking to. As soon as the keepers back was turned, hostilities resumed.
Samir and Bertus being pally
Saying goodbye to my publisher. My editor had wanted to continue and I was really touched when she resigned! (Not over me I hasten to add but certainly dropping me had upset her very much).
The new book deal, happily signed and sealed, and for the first time since Absolution I’m going to be published in America…. And as for the pennies- it’s all rather sweet. The Night Hunter should be published in the summer, The Tears Of Angels in the spring of the following year.
Happy face addendum…. going to America soon to do publicity for the book and catch up with the MIEers!
Very teary face
Saddest moment of the year was losing the faithful family dog. She was over 16 and in good health up to the day she died. She passed away, surrounded by those who loved her, in no pain. If there is a good way to die, that had to be it.
Worse was telling the patients who had adored her. Folk who can't have a dog of their own due to ill health had Emily as their surrogate pet. One wee tough guy, in his 80’s, sat in the waiting room with tears streaming down his face so feeling rather rough about it we gave him a framed picture for his Christmas present. His wife said he opened it, stood up, walked to the mantelpiece and moved all the other photos along, giving Emily centre stage. He even moved his wedding picture. His wife and I had a titter about that, Emily would have had a doggy snigger.
Living in a house with no dog is awful so two weeks later we were back down at the dog home, reserving a little staffie called Matilda. She has been a very naughty dog, running around with the boys dogs in Glasgow for most of her youth, getting into trouble and acting like a slapper. We are not allowed her home until she mends her ways.
Mathilda- a good time gal
Walking through Glasgow, on Boxing Day, a cool crisp day, the air was icy clear but all was rather chilling and bleak. We turned the corner to Nelson Mandela square to meet a carpet of brightly coloured flowers.
Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. We can stop worrying. Even happier to see that he lets his guard down a bit now, lets us see that he is a good bloke with a great sense of humour. Standing stony faced as he won the bbc sports personality of the year, he joked in that dure monotone voice of his...'I know I don’t sound thrilled, but I am really, honestly!'.
Scottish Independence and the financial utopia the independents seem to be promising us. There are rumours that every child under 18 is to have a designated social worker. And that every dog should be chipped ( good owners do anyway) with a further contemplation that all dogs should be muzzled. At all times. Really?
Pulling face at book
Inferno…. I wish Dan Brown would write a book where Robert Langdon went to the loo - at least once.
Sitting in a self-serve restaurant having a coffee ( well people watching!). I noticed a guide dog doing his stuff, gently taking his person along the queue. The blind man refused all help, happy to push his tray along the track. He dropped the metal harness onto the dog's back so he could reach the cakes, as the server explained which cake was which. (My blind friend since told me that her dog takes the 'harness down' signal as a sign to be off duty.) So did this dog obviously as he went from faithful working guide dog to greedy black lab in a flash and nicked a couple of biscuits off a display plate that was too full of tasty temptation. Many of us saw it, nobody said a word.
Future Biscuits Thieves Practising Innocent Faces
Here's message from me to you all. followed by a link to somebody a wee bit more famous but very similar sentiment.
Caro GB 03 01 2014