Back to work

Well, June has ended and so has my little break from work. Back to full steam ahead tomorrow. I have a Dutch version of Justin Sanebridge’s ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears’ to put out first, which won’t take long because he’s done all the hard stuff and therefore I’m open for submissions.

There will be a Halloween anthology and a Christmas one, I’ll be looking for stories from the beginning of September and from late October for those respectively. September to Christmas is likely to be pretty busy on anthologies but before and after that, loads of time.

There is a short short stories book, a scientific treatise and a potential new novel on the way but I don’t have a definite time frame for those. Writing is like that, it happens when it happens.

Plus, of course, some of my own stuff.

I’ve been watching the world descend into madness this month and I am certain there are violent times ahead. Vigilantism is on the rise on all sides. The government doesn’t seem to want to even admit it’s happening, much less try to deal with the issues that are causing it. Oh they won’t deal with the issues of course. They’ll try to deal with the vigilantes and thereby make things far, far worse.

Tessie ‘Jackboots’ May is going to fuck up Brexit. It’s going to be an absolute shambles, neither one thing nor the other. Add that to the fizzing fury already on the streets and I, for one, will be glad I live way out in the wilds.

But, serious stuff is for tomorrow. My last few hours of relaxing (well, apart from dealing with a tax form that’s changed this year and confused the hell out of me – but that’s done now) are not going to be marred with politics.

Yesterday was an unusually warm and sunny day. The sky turned so blue I almost called the police to report the aberration but then they’d all be on Farcebok and Twatter so it seemed more useful to post pictures where they’d see them.

If I add one word here – Islam – it will flag this post for police attention and they’ll see the strange blue sky phenomenon and maybe do something about it. It’s causing serious eye strain.

Well, since it wasn’t raining, CStM and I ventured forth to visit something we’ve lived near for two years and never seen. Gight Castle. It’s a ruin and you have to walk maybe 20-30 minutes from the car park to find it. You could walk there in a lot less time if you don’t bother looking at the scenery but if you’re not looking at the scenery it’s a wasted walk. So we didn’t rush.

The path is pretty much a North of Scotland A-road – it certainly has fewer potholes than most of the other roads around here. Maybe because cars aren’t allowed on it.

It gets into some deep woodland. Bright and sunny day, but stray six feet off the path and you’re in darkness. I bet it’s fantastic at night.

Anyway, we got to the castle and… it’s a bit of a shithole. Could do with a gardener, could have done with one 40 years ago at least and if I was selling it I’d have to come up with something more appealing than ‘a fixer-upper’.

It does have some interesting features and it would be worth restoring – although you’d have to be a major lottery winner to even get started. Would it be worth doing?

You’d have this view:

And this:

But you probably wouldn’t get any mail delivered. No postman is going to take a 40 minute walk to drop a bank statement through your door. In winter you would need your own snow plough to get  to the main road (which is itself an unlit winding country road) so you’d probably be best to stock up with food and hole up until the snow melts.

Oh, and you’ll need a generator. It’s several miles to the nearest electricity supply. Also a well pump and a septic tank. Or get used to walking down to the river with a bucket and/or a roll of paper.

It would be a fantastic place to live. The darkness in this farmhouse is total on a moonless night but out there it would be positively primeval. But, you know, we’ve gone a bit soft these days. I recall shivering until the coal fire got going enough to melt the ice on the inside of the windows. Now I set the central heating to come on half an hour before I have to get up and do I want to go back? Well… no, not really.

We do save on our heating bills with the wood burning stove but would I want to go back to having to shiver out of bed and light it, then wait until it warms up the one room it’s in? The beauty of granite of course is that it warms up a lot more than that one room as the heat spreads through the stone, but that’s also the downside of granite.

When it’s cold outside, those stones are very cold. Sustained sunshine and it’s like living inside a storage heater. The granite holds the heat of the sun and lets it out all night.

Gight Castle is made of granite. No surprise, pretty much everything in this part of Scotland is made of granite. We have loads of it. The castle would have had huge fireplaces and plebs to light them before Lord Byron felt a hint of a shiver. Bringing it back to life in the modern world would be massively expensive and seriously hard work.

It would be great though, wouldn’t it? I think I could only do it with a massive rollover lottery win where I was the only winner and even then it would be a tight budget.

But then, since I never buy lottery tickets, my chances of winning are slightly less than someone who does buy them.

If you look this place up and want to visit you will see options for getting there by public transport. Do not fall for this. Two buses a day pass the entrance, one at 6 am and one at 5 pm. There are no other buses, no trains and the nearest taxi rank is in Ellon, about 12 miles away. You drive or walk here.

And if you walk, you will walk from Methlick (about 6 buses a day, it’s a teeming metropolis – it has a shop! And a tractor dealership) for about an hour along a winding unlit country road with no pavements that is used by Audi driving madmen as a race track.

If you survive to almost-there you could call in on CStM and me for a cuppa.

If you arrive in the morning you can wait in the garage.

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6 thoughts on “Back to work

    • Horses are the biggest thing on that road. It only goes to a ruined castle and a nature reserve, the castle gets no maintenance and the road ends at the old gates. There might be an occasional farm vehicle, but even that would be rare.

      It could well be the original ‘A’ road that went up to the castle when it was occupied 😉

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  1. Regarding Brexit, have you considered that quite a lot of the negotiation failure may lie with the EU, who may not want the UK to depart at all because they are utterly reliant on their budget staying the same?

    Think about it. The EU are the grand masters of kicking the can down the road, but there is very good evidence that they have a debt crisis of epic proportions. Back when Greece got into a right pickle, the sensible thing would have been to summarily boot them out of the Euro as an example to all the other Club Med nations of what happens when you disobey the Big Boss. However, what if this was actually impossible? What if booting Greece out would have precipitated such a banking upset that it would have triggered a chain reaction collapse?

    If this was the reason for not kicking the Greeks out of the Euro, then the entire Eurozone economy is way more fucked than anyone ever thought possible. One big push, and it’ll fall down around their ears, and the only thing keeping it all going is a steady input of a solid foreign currency, i.e. UK Sterling.

    Every other country that is pushing large amounts of money into the EU is a Eurozone country, and if the Euro goes tits-up, then they all go tits-up as well. All it would take is a banking default, or that major foreign currency input ceasing.

    That would explain why the EU are playing silly buggers to this extent, and the tolerance they are being shown is probably because nobody on either side wants to come out and publicly say “The Euro is fucked, crippled by debt, run for your life!”, or at least not until they’re well entrenched in gold.

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