A Brief Respite.


Remember me? A few moments of clarity now to focus inwards again, amidst the wash of dirty tartan and threats of military execution. It feels so good and it surely is healthy to feel one’s self again. The first draft is in and I’ll get back to it when the beast is returned to me sometime on Monday. Major revision shouldn’t be necessary, but there’s still a good two weeks of work to put into it. And then it’s done, and so am I.

So now I’m a slob and everything is musty paper and photocopy ink.

In the meantime, some chums from back home have been visiting and we took this eye of the storm as a faint opportunity to shuttle ourselves northwards to Inverness once again. I might as well live there, so often am I upon the moor; perhaps I’ll carve my shape out of heather and root, and I’ll always have a homey hovel. Now every region has distinct colours and decisive shapes, and I am starting to recognise the mountains as personnas as they might have been for generations and still very much are in some places. This time we had one seriously bitchin’ car, and the trip was turbo-charged and sausage-fueled.

And there has even been some time for a few Festival events, the best of which have been the very non-event-ful simple art of walking in and around Edina and lovingly fawning over what she’s made of and the succours she demurely offers forth.. It’s certainly a love affair – most men carry pictures of their girls. I carry the pictures of a bigger, more monumental gal…one who always makes me smile.

Sometimes there’s a small light burning – a subtle flame dancing in the corner of my eye to provide warmth and movement while I work.

On the off-chance I do get out during the day, I see stone-and-mortar shells that make me want to climb…or tunnel. They are arrayed like sandstone and granite Legos, stacking ever onward, clinging to the volcanic remnants of the Mile.

This is more my room than my room. Every day for two months have been spent here in this building. Every book, article, and magazine published in Britain has a copy sent here. Sometimes I read other historians’ manuscript notes to understand how they have thought, and how they are organised. Sometimes I read newspapers that are 300 years old. And sometimes, I fall asleep on letters from the Secretary of State, and I get disgruntled looks from National Library staff.

This one here has some silhouette, eh? It’s like the curve of your favourite back, or the knotty spine running down it.

And sometimes when the moon is a Cheshire-grin in the cobalt sky, the shapes simply make you happy. See if you can trace them. I never can.

We belted up the middle of the country and briefly breathed on Perthshire, Badenoch, and Inverness before settling in to the finest room-for-rent north of the Tay. We were given the prize of the city for a frequent-boarder fee, and smiles and welcomes once again. Go here. Support them.

Inverness Street
And enjoy the lovely views. I’ve never seen Inverness with not a cloud in the sky. The people were all squinty and simply didn’t know what to do. Nevertheless, Ardross Street is idyllic, squinty or no.

Back to Culloden – once in the dead of night to hear the wind and ghosts, and later the next day where we could actually see where we were walking. My guests saw it all for the first time and I frantically perused the proposal for imminent work on the battlefield which with I was within an inch of assisting. The property manager, whom I’d met before during my volunteer days at Culloden, kindly welcomed me into her office where we talked about some of the changes taking place. I was very pleased to find out that we had similar views on social and cultural representation, and I’ll be pleased to receive some aerial photos of the moor for my own studies. I will tell you now that there are indeed some very exciting projects coming to a head down Drumossie way.

Passing back through Kingussie, we saw that Ruthven was still there, guarding the Spey on its silty promontory. I’m quite sure I stood where Gordon of Glenbucket had done just a few hundred years before. And rabbits and sheep exploded from the foliage all around us. It was quite harrowing, actually. Frightened out of the Highlands, we arrowed down to Edinburgh again.

And I wasn’t kidding about the San Francisco fog. Except we have a castle looming from the mist, and people vomiting in the streets. It always feels so good to get back here after seeing wonders abroad.

It also is nice to once again drop a few pictures this way. There will be more when my work is done…we’re coming up on a little over two weeks, and I have much to blather on. One day soon I’ll have to focus on getting packed up, and getting ready to make the transition backwards…or forwards.


And until then, we go on, and look forward – and look up.

31 Responses to “A Brief Respite.”

  1. friendsofgumby Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 12:41 pm


  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:48 am

    Ja wohl!

  3. lekvar Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 2:42 pm

    oh wow, so beautiful

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:49 am

    Want some, bitch?

  5. lekvar Says:
    August 24th, 2004 at 7:44 am

    Yes, sir!

  6. rachel_eurydice Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 4:14 pm

    The beauty in your life never ceases to make my jaw drop. Gorgeous photos…and congratulations on being in the home stretch.

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 7:42 pm

    The highs are high and the lows certainly low, but that's what makes us similar. I'll say again I'm very proud of your strength in the past months…years.
    And thank you for your vote of congratulations. 🙂

  8. rachel_eurydice Says:
    August 25th, 2004 at 12:01 pm

    *L* Peaks and valleys, that does about sum it up.
    Strength? I go through life…love the small things, ride out the nastiness. *shrug* It's what we all do, really. Thanks though.

  9. spiffington Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 7:20 pm

    *You* always remember to look up…

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 7:40 pm

    It was a strange coincidence indeed that we'd both posted this phrase at the same time, without knowing the others' intent. I think I meant it in a different context than yours, but it applies to both, doesn't it?

  11. spiffington Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 8:12 pm

    Wasn't it?
    But yeah in both senses of the word, I think we always will.

  12. bratty_princess Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 8:07 pm

    Breathtakingly beautiful.

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:27 am

    Hey stranger; good to hear from you. Be seeing you around rather soon…

  14. bratty_princess Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 11:07 am

    And you'll get a squish when you do.

  15. fanboyextream Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 8:17 pm

    Great pictures, the top one reminds me of… *sniffs* history work, just seeing another room turned into a malestrom come libary make me remember my time. Good luck with it!

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:29 am

    My brother, if you are in any way missing the workload, by all means come on up! I could use a copy editor/research assistant right about now.
    And you can fan me, and feed me grapes, as well.

  17. fanboyextream Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 6:42 pm

    mmm… grapes. Fanning in scotland, you'll catch a cold! As for the assitance i might be tempted should you know i be foolish enough to forget just how much work goes into these things but my place of employment is demanding i get on with work.

  18. angledge Says:
    August 22nd, 2004 at 9:20 pm

    Hi. Remember me?
    Of course!
    I'd love to see the aerial photos of Culloden when you get them. I've never actually been to Culloden.

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:30 am

    Hey – how about COMING UP to Culloden some time…considering you're right around the glen from it.
    I'll be your guide…

  20. dichroicynosure Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 12:26 am

    Congrats! I had been thinking about you this weekend, wondering if the thesis was done or not. I had imagined that you were done and were spending your time in a "post turn-in splendour"– drunk on the moors 😉 So that was draft 1? So fantastic! Keep up the great work.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:35 am

    You're a doll for your kind thoughts; thank you very much. Not finished yet but should be in good time. The first results are positive and I'll look forward to catching up with you via AIM very soon. You've got a half-dozen recent posts to which I'd really like to respond…bear with me for a short time more…
    And 'drunk on the moors' sounds good to me. Good name for a band, as well.

  22. marasca Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 5:13 am

    Lovely! I wonder if your photos of SF will be so poetic?
    While America may have great wide open spaces and stunning natural topography, there's something about European cities that ours just can't seem to live up to.
    Congrats on the thesis draft too!

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:44 am

    A good wonder, indeed. I'd be interested to know, as well. 🙂
    I think that 'something' is Time. The years build up like layers of mortar and harbour a certain resonance in the stonework and in the streets. It's the history that we're devoid of back home, and over here it oozes out of the buildings themselves. That knowledge of many lifetimes within one's surroundings really contributes to a person's world view…and their place within it. It's both humbling and bolstering.
    Thank you for your congratulations and felicitations. Do you think it's time we added each other, then?

  24. marasca Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 2:26 pm

    Time is definitely the thing. For all the US history that DC or even NYC embody, they can't hold a candle to anywhere in Europe. I think that sense of connection to the past is part of why I like cemetaries so much. That, and the quiet.
    Good idea, just friended you. 😉

  25. evilfb Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 7:17 am

    Lovely mess
    Reminds me of a hovel we once shared. Books everywhere and a Cranes poster to watch over it all.

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:46 am

    Re: Lovely mess
    Heheh. Hope I wasn't too messy. 🙂
    Just like the old days, eh?
    How's the ol' tushie doing?

  27. inkbot Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 9:29 am

    *we* have people vomiting in the streets…

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 23rd, 2004 at 10:45 am

    Dear, there is *no* comparison.
    Not at all. In any sense.
    And I've got the shoes to prove it.

  29. dougygyro Says:
    August 25th, 2004 at 1:43 am

    I hope that Kathy and I didn't distract you too much from your studies, although it was truly magical hanging out at Drumossie with you.
    Thanks for helping me to actualize one of my dreams.
    More to follow…

  30. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 25th, 2004 at 3:38 am

    It was completely my pleasure, and completely wonderful. Thanks so much for coming out and choosing to spend some of your time with me. It was a blast, and a very special week, indeed.
    We'll make sure to hook up in October; we have much to talk about and much yet to do. And my friends over here love you, so you really have no choice but to come back with me in a few years and slog through the moor once again.
    Until then, brother…

  31. dougygyro Says:
    August 25th, 2004 at 4:28 am

    "…you really have no choice but to come back with me in a few years and slog through the moor once again."
    It's a deal.

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