New Lanark Primary School ‘Highland Games’

The kids had great fun yesterday! Throwing the welly…tug-of-war…highland dancing…tossing the caber…

All in the grounds of the school…
Heaven is…


last night the birds sang clear and strong-voiced in the quietness of the valley…the pipistrels swooped from the house eaves and amongst the darkening trees…the air was laden with promise of a good tomorrow…

and today is wonderful

the street has been busy with day-trippers and neighbours car-washing and grass-strimming. The kids are running wild at the top of the garden. They’ve built themselves a ‘den’ and have been busy all morning ferrying goodies from the house to furnish their sweety larder…I can hear their laughter and squeals. Evan has a water gun and has Ana and Jamie soaked.

I’ve swept and polished and am preparing for tonight’s theatre (Ibsen at the Citz) and meal and clubbing (gay gay gay all the way!) and night spent at E’s house. Oh freedom!!

I could not leave this countryside home – but the prospect of a night in the city is so exhilirating! Adult company and fun! The smell of baking tarmac petrol fumes and kebab shops and the bedazzling spectacle of youth displaying in all its finery.

My own serious earnest youth is remembered with irony now. The 18 yr old me was studious and beset with self-consciousness.

Oh! Being forty+ is liberating!! I have no desire to prove my worthiness now. No hang-ups about appearance (I’ll never be better than I am just this moment in time!!). I just want to laugh and be happy! To hell with it!


It was one of those days when the truth winds you. Like a door being opened into a room you feared existed. Or a too strong light illuminating all the dark corners just too starkly.

Heiddeger, Nietszsche, Kierkegaard…I should know better than to imagine that the comfort of ‘everydayness’ is ‘real’. Real is rememberance of mortality – that should focus the mind and action.

So, today I saw – full on – the horror of just how inconsequential my working life was. In fact, my life was.

My friend has just asked himself what it is he wants most.

His changed-ness opened a door. It forced me to confront the nothing-ness of what it is I ‘do’ or ‘am’ – and forced me to face the question: what do I want most?

And as a result today has stunk of my fear and distress.

My life is not what I thought it would be… If I thought at all of the future – when I set about making it through my present – it was of contentment, peace, love. It was of contribution. Doing something of worth. I didn’t countenance unhappiness and un-ease…

I need to start again…

Children are not easily impressed…

I managed to play Debussy’s ‘Syrinx’ tonight. All the way through. Without stopping at that awkward twiddly bit. And without splitting a note. Not quite at the standard of my 15 year old self but still…the flute’s old…

A, who had sprawled on the floor at my feet, fixed me with a concentrated stare throughout the ‘performance’.

When I’d finished. Breathless (smoking and the flute don’t mix well). I looked down at her and (mistakenly) said ‘Well? What’d you think of that?’

Cool as the icelolly she was holding she said ‘It was good’.

‘Why, thank you, Miss Generousity’ I responded.

To which she said: ‘But it sounded like a strangulated (sic) cat’.

And then she ran off laughing hysterically at what she thought was a fabulous joke on Mum, shouting ‘strangulated cat, strangulated cat’ all the way upstairs.

Serves me right.