Saturday Saunter: Steps, love and good journalism

Good Saturday,

This Saturday Saunter is being started on Sunday night. Usually I write it during the week but I’m due to be away on Wednesday night to see the Hibs in their first pre-season friendly against Arbroath. Plus I had a whole load of ideas for this post and that’s quite unlike last week, which was quite improvised. Whether I get all of those ideas in, including talking about drag artistes, steps, Jackie Kay, wild places, love and good journalism, who can say?

Steps is the most prosaic so I’ll start there. A colleague of mine has a fitness watch which does pretty much everything except cooking breakfast. I had notions to get one to count my steps – I do a fair bit of walking in a week, including on the job – until I was informed that my phone probably does the job already. It does. I have an iPhone (other phones are of course available) and it has been counting my steps since I bought the thing a couple of years ago. Today, Sunday, I haven’t been out of the house so no data has been recorded. Yesterday involved walking the 3 miles to work then about a mile or so back (I got a lift part of the way) which was about 12,404 steps or 9km (roughly 5.5 miles). The day I walked around Cumbrae back in May was 33,378 steps or 21.2 km (13 miles). I looked out of polite interest rather than anything else. I walk because it’s an efficient way to get to work plus I actually quite enjoy it. It’s a good way to combine thinking and getting stuff done.

On Saturdays and Sundays I tend to start my morning by reaching for quite a few news sources. On a Sunday, I tend to glance towards some of the political comment articles in The Observer but mainly I read the two articles from the Scotland on Sunday by Dani Garavelli, who writes insightful articles every week about many things. Recently she has written about the social effects of lapdancing and a whole lot of politics though last Sunday’s two, about restorative justice, and the recent case of a mother being prosecuted in Alabama for the death of her unborn child after being shot in the stomach, were particularly insightful. Every week I find myself nodding along, whatever the subject. She also wrote an excellent piece recently in the Scottish football magazine Nutmeg about the lack of funding and attention for women’s football, particularly timely given the Scotland women’s team being in the World Cup recently.

Scottish Parliament (on right)

Talking of writers I love, the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay, was in the news last weekend for delivering a poem at the Scottish Parliament. The Queen and her eldest laddie were at Holyrood to mark the 20th anniversary of the legislature and amongst the speeches and the forelock-tugging, Jackie Kay delivered a poem and it was typically braw. Read it if you can. ‘Under the Common Weal, we’re taking the long view’, ran the closing refrain. I certainly hope so. In other Jackie Kay news, she also did a good interview in The Guardian having a discussion with the outgoing US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, which is particularly good to read.

Jackie Kay’s poem made several mentions of LGBTQ people and I watched a particularly good show on All4 the other day, which is worth mentioning. It was called Drag SOS and involved a group of drag artistes going into a town, gathering up some locals and putting on a show. That’s interesting enough but it delved deeper, with the people involved lacking a lot of confidence for a lot of reasons. One was a father whose son was gay and also a drag queen. It was incredibly moving to see them bond as part of the process. It is part of a series, with the first in Dover before the Family Gorgeous, as the group are known, go around the country. It hit home with me, not least as a person who sometimes lacks confidence. I’ll be watching some more.

Talking about love, I was reading some more of Underland by Robert Macfarlane the other night and came across a passage which was particularly moving and relevant in my particular stage of life. It began by talking about trees moving closer together and sharing roots. ‘I think of good love as something that roots, not rots, over time, and of the hyphae that are weaving through the ground below me, reaching out through the soil in search of mergings. Theirs, too, seems to me then a version of life’s work’. Good love is the goal for many of us, even if finding it is harder sometimes than we want it to be.

I also wanted to share a couple of good posts from other blogs I’ve read recently. Our blog pal Wednesday’s Child has written a post about statues and another about Glasgow’s High Street, both worth a read, and for dark humour, go to Cheers, Govanhill for some slightly dark musings.

I’m continuing this post on Saturday morning. It is about twenty to eight and it’s sunny out my window. I’m listening to the Hibs Talk podcast. Today is six years to the day since I moved to Glasgow. I don’t regret it, not for the moment. It’s been a rollercoaster ride but it’s made me a stronger and better person as a result.

Before I go, I wanted to share a Twitter thread I saw the other day and haven’t really stopped thinking about it. It is very difficult to convey what it’s like to be autistic. The autistic experience is different for every single autistic person but this chimed with me and my own experience. Pete Wharmby wrote the thread so salutations to him. Two that I relate to: ‘Autism can be like…Missing every implicit cue anyone ever gave you, meaning you miss out on all sorts of things’ and ‘Having a dark as hell sense of humour whilst being told “autistic people don’t have a sense of humour” and laughing at them’. Very, very true.

Finally, today I am heading away to Dunfermline to watch Hibs. Steak bridies await. Also an Intercity walk to do. In order of priorities, though, it’s steak bridies, Hibs then blog. Sorry, blog. On that subject, tomorrow’s post will be Intercity in Paisley, Wednesday Streets of Glasgow and Thursday post as yet unwritten. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one. Cheers for now.

14 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Steps, love and good journalism

  1. Alli Templeton

    You do get through a lot of good reading in a week, Kev. And it seems a good deal of steps too – that Cumbrae walk clocked up an astounding amount! How long did it take? I always think walking is good for both the body and soul, and I find it very therapeutic. Talking of walking, I’m off to start my Welsh castle trek the weekend after next, so I’ll have to make sure my pedometer app is up to scratch for then. Have a great weekend, happy walking, and good luck to Hibs!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Alli Templeton

        Oh you’d love both of those castles. I’ll be visiting and writing about both on the trek, so hopefully it’ll give you a bit of an insight. You made great time in the Cumbrae walk. Well done! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another fascinating post. Thanks for the mention 🙂
    I hadn’t heard the Jackie Kay poem, thank you for highlighting it. I remember watching the opening of the Scottish Parliament on TV with my grandparents, and my grandad telling me that I was “watching history in the making”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a very good point! I’ve been going through a list in my head. There’s been a few. It seems to be every other week right now, even leaving aside the B word.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Digest: July 2019 – Walking Talking

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