Friday, January 23, 2009

stormy weather, the movie

With one of those bits of divine serendipity, when we celebrated my handing in of the artwork for 'Stormy Weather', it just happened to be one of the filthiest days ever on the West coast of Scotland. So - your intrepid blogger here ( also known as She Who Doesn't Get Out Much) decided to go out and get live footage of just how wet it was. The waves came up over the sea wall, crossed the street and, as you can see, half-drowned innocent pedestrians.

What the video doesn't convey is the smell of the entire sewage system of Tighnabruaich backing up, swirling all about and being hurled back into the centre of the village. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in this case, it saves you from a billion bacteria. We went home and stood, fully clothed, under the shower.

But hey. It was, as they say in movies, Real.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

what is worse than not being a nerd?

I have Mel to thank for this. Thankyou Mel. According to the Nerdtest, I'm officially' not nerdy, but definitely not hip'.

Not hip? Bloody hell. Something has gone hideously, horribly wrong. Gasp. I was so sure that having spent the better part of this evening trying to master the intricacies of uploading my own clips onto YouTube, I would have skated easily into the category of the mother of all Dweeby Nerds, but no. And then, sniff, to discover that I'm not even hip? Did I die one night in my sleep? Is there an alternative universe in which I am Forever Hip, while in this one, like Dorian Gray's portrait, I am doomed to crumble and wither into a carpet-slippered, Horlicksian nightmare of bedpans and wrinkled sagginess?

Er. Seeing as how I'm fast approaching a Significant Birthday, I'd actually rather you didn't answer that. I stood on the bathroom scales this morning and could barely hold back my shrieks of dismay. How much?That's what happens when there's not enough light to go round. I make a heroic attempt to achieve the inner glow that cometh only from the combustion of carbohydrates and alcohol. All through the dark days of November and December I kept telling myself that all the running I was doing was bound to keep the flubber under control, but five minutes before the end of my wee Winter Run, I felt each and every extra gramme I'd acquired, and all of them weighed twice what they normally did.

Until I can come to grips with how to upload video, I won't be able to share the true horror of the red blob that barely made it past the finish line, but hey - I DID DO IT. So what if I finished 1,345th out of 1,890? The most salient bit of my last sentence was the bit about finishing, not the placing or the time it took. I still pinch myself, two weeks on, reminding myself that I achieved my little goal. Proof positive that little by little, and bit by bit, if we persevere, we can achieve things that we once believed to be impossible.

As America is now discovering. A new day, and a far more hopeful feeling in the air. And as if to underline that audaciously hopeful young man's message, all around are the first shy buds of the new year. Bring on the new.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A marked lack of lumens

Lordy, but is it just me that thinks the days are getting darker, not lighter? Seems like we wake in darkness, the sun drags itself above the horizon, effortfully hauls itself up to the treeline and then, exhausted by such Herculean efforts, sinks back over the rim of the land once more with a barely disguised snore.

All I can say is thank heavens I've finished all illustrations for Stormy Weather ahead of its impossible deadline. Trying to paint pale watercolour washes in these kind of light levels would be an exercise in severe eye strain, three helical daylight bulbs notwithstanding. No. Stormy Weather the artwork is tucked in a plastic slip, zipped into a portfolio and awaiting transport with me down to London. Handing it over to Bloomsbury in three days time which is hugely exciting, but slightly overshadowed by the imminence of the Great Winter Run which is - gasp - tomorrow.

To which the only proper comment is YEEEEEEAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH, what the hell possessed me to sign up for it?

My dear children yawn and sigh and roll their dear little red eyes so far backwards in their heads I swear they'll cause their eyeballs to slip down the back of their mocking little throats, but for Mummy, it is a Very Big Adventure, this going for a run-thing. They are deeply unimpressed, and only the littlest one can be persuaded to haul ass out of her bed on a Saturday morning and tool into chilly Edinburgh along with her loyal Daddy to come and watch Mummy be very embarrassing,turn very pink, and, alas, probably come in very almost probably last. Speed not being one of the things I seem to be able to get the hang of, no matter how much I train. Speed, breathing, elegance and, let's not forget, discovering an inner ability to glide uphill without sounding like I'm about to blow all gaskets.

Everyone says - get a grip, it's only 5k, but I have to point out that the first 1.5k are up a hill that is steeper than a steep thing. Yup. That steep. I can hear you sucking air. I knew you'd be impressed. Heck, I'm impressed, and I haven't even seen this hill myself. If I was a mad keen competitor, I would undoubtedly have already run the course twelve times over, but I don't want to win, I just don't want to make an absolute idiot of myself.

However, my inner Dammit-I-Want-To-Win demon may well rear its ghastly head tomorrow and give my feet wings, but somehow I doubt it. I suspect halfway up that hill I may just settle back into the gasping and clammy embrace of the Bloody-Hell-If-I-Get-Out-Of-This-Alive-I-Swear-I'll-Never-Do-Anything-So-Dumb-Ever-Again demon. This demon and I have met before on Scottish mountaintops when, confronted with a horrible, horrible vertiginous ridge, my legs turn to overcooked linguine and I begin to plea-bargain with a divine being that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist. At which point, that demon surfaces. I'm told it hangs around A&E wards too...

Anyway. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? With luck, a healthy glow of cardiovascular virtue and that glorious feeling of a fear vanquished. And possibly, a photo to scare the children.