Good morning to you,
This Saturday Saunter is being posted as I’m probably easing into the world gently after a lie-in. No football today so I’m planning on going to a couple of exhibitions in and around the city.
My travelling book today might just be Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, which I haven’t got round to reading yet. It did come with me to Lochaber a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t get round to it. What I did read last weekend was the superb Constitution Street by Jemma Neville. It’s quite hard to describe, various parts social history and political call to arms. Despite ostensibly being about Constitution Street in Leith, it goes far beyond the top of the Walk or the docks in its content, going deep into the lives of the people of the street, their successes and hardships. I finished it feeling a little inspired, a little more hopeful about the world and the people in it.
It’s now Wednesday night as I write this as I completely ran out of words on Monday. Runrig is on in the background.
I was thinking earlier about Halloween. It leaves me a bit cold. It always has done so I really don’t care about it. I don’t go in for the cod-spooky Twitter names and guising and everything else. Halloween and Bonfire Night can bolt for me. I saw a story in the news last week that quite a high percentage of Scots would like to ban the sale of fireworks and I wholeheartedly agree. My earphones go in and music or Netflix goes loud. In my part of suburban Glasgow, there are a fair few folk letting off fireworks in the weeks before and after 5th November and they put me on edge. I don’t have anything against Halloween, however; I just don’t like it. Plus the oncoming of Halloween and Bonfire Night means darker nights and I don’t welcome them.
What I do welcome are the autumn colours of the trees and I just saw a beautiful picture of a very yellow Katsura Tree on Facebook courtesy of Dawyck Botanic Garden, down near Peebles. I’m off soon for about ten days and I’m going to make sure there is some autumnal garden walking over that time, maybe not at Dawyck but probably in the Botanics in Edinburgh. It feels like I haven’t been there in ages. The Edinburgh Botanics (as shown above) are special, a place I’ve been to think and celebrate the wonder of trees and whatever I’ve been reading or studying at the time. I haven’t been able to linger much in Edinburgh lately so a day or two in the capital might do the trick when I’m off.
Thursday was World Mental Health Day and I thought a little bit about what I could share to mark that event. Self-care is vital. Sometimes I’m crap at it. I find visual stimuli helps. My screensavers are useful for that. My work computer usually has a picture of Tranter’s Bridge at Aberlady Bay (above). I just changed my iPad tonight to the view from the campsite I stayed at the other weekend near Arisaig, looking towards Skye and the Small Isles. Before it was my favourite Glasgow view, from the flagpole at Queen’s Park. My phone screensaver was taken not far from there, the Time For Heroes banner displayed before the start of the 2016 Scottish Cup Final. I often look at pictures. I’m a very proud uncle so my favourite little people are often among them. It’s about conjuring up good memories, the best of those days to carry us forward.
Lately I’ve been walking to and from work, about three miles each way, and despite the heavy rain showers this morning and tonight, I get a lot of benefit from it, emotionally and physically. It gives me space to think plus it gives me exercise. My walk isn’t exciting – it involves crossing a railway and a motorway as well as another busy road – but my spirits usually lift on the way back when I look east and I see the Glasgow city skyline along the curve of the M8, towers, houses, hospitals and all life. I don’t linger long as the traffic is constant under my feet. But it helps me keep perspective and that can’t be underestimated.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 12th October 2019. The blog will take a pause after Wednesday’s Loose Ends post, which features Leith Links. I will be off and it has become traditional to take a blog break too. The Walking Talking blog will return on Wednesday 30th October with another Loose Ends post, which will again be in Edinburgh. Tomorrow sees another post from up north, featuring the Isle of Skye and some cows and sheep. In the meantime, be good to one another, have a good weekend, and remember these words, not far from Constitution Street by the Water of Leith:
‘So with the darkest days behind
Our ship of hope will steer
And when in doubt just keep in mind
Our motto ‘Persevere”