Posts Tagged ‘shot put’


Glasgow to Edinburgh to London to Edinburgh

August 25, 2014

My dear darling you

How are you?

I am very well.  I think I am nervous about leaving the UK for a desert full of strangers and my loony self, but survive I will and if all goes according to plan I will crawl out of it a more whackily rounded individual and one wider awake to the mechanics of the universe.

I am on a train returning to Edinburgh after some groovy evenings in hip London. What a cool town it is.  In the summer of course, with those long days and everyone cycling about happily.

This train is very, very fast, my ears keep busting apart, and the conductor just punched my ticket, confirming that the train I had to catch “between 10am and 2pm” does also include 2. It was a little risky.

My train last week from Edinburgh had a problem and never showed up, so they squashed my lot onto the next service.  I thought I’d judged my platform position quite well, and then every carriage except the last one zooms past, leaving me perfectly centered (and shocked) between the two last doors.  Damn. I gazed at the hoards as I remembered friends’ tales of 3rd class in India, and headed for the front, in the rain, fast as I could.  Miraculously I found a seat, joining 3 other women at a communal table.  It all looked quite nice about me and I relaxed into my blue lush chair. But why all the cups on the table?  First.

My innocence quickly vanished and I probably ought to have moved, but the bird opposite me was also a desperate rebel and said we were “experiencing extraordinary circumstances”, so we both stayed put. The old girls by the windows, two friends who now always travel up the front with their pensioners discount, agreed.

We drank the cup of tea, and pathetically declined the egg sandwiches, the asian noodle salad and the cake, having decided that in Great Britain everyone is entitled to a cup of tea.  The oldies ordered one of everything.

When the conductor finally did turn up, I leaped to my feet to search for my ticket.

“I think I’m going to get into a little bit of trouble here, but, well, I was on the 10.30 you see…..”

I didn’t mention my lack of a first class ticket for surely they are gold plated.

“It isn’t reserved, it’s all yours.”

I sat quietly, staring my large brown eyes at him, and watched my neighbour in confusion.

“I do not have a first class ticket.” It was not the thing to say.

“It’ll cost you”
“Really? How much?”
“A lot.  I’ll find you a seat and get back to you”.

He never returned from India, and I chased after the egg trolley to grab us a plate.

I stayed last night with my cousin Amanda and her children in Brook Green, after a few nights in Angel Islington with my Aussie mate Gerri. I do like London.

I may have aged Amanda’s teenagers a little for I had them assist with final preparations for Burning Man and showed them some photos.  I mentioned to the 17 year old that there are some drugs and the occasional orgy. She was disgusted. 13 year old Annabelle helped with my sign (I plan to be a postal service) and Patrick, whose artistic skills are 3 years her junior, decorated my camping cup with a turtle.  I now look very sweet and innocent.

We bought cheap socks at a fairly revolting store called Primark where I also bought a furry, fake lamb coat for ten quid. But a bit just fell off so I may have to leave it behind.  No rubbish allowed. None! Not even a little bit of synthetic lamb. They call it  ‘Moop’…matter out of place, and the coat may lose me all the spirituality karmic brownie points Nature Boy and the Post might win.  I don’t think I can risk it.  Shame. I’ll keep monitoring it.

I think the socks are too cheap.  5 pairs for 2 quid? Very suspicious.

And I need to soap the inside of these boots. Please blisters stay away. A woman I once worked with at SBS always slept in new shoes for one night before taking them out for a spin.  She swore by it.

And I discovered that a slurp of vinegar is the newest cure for hiccups.

So I’ve had a little city hop; Glasgow to Edinburgh to London.

They are all nice cities. Many say Glasgow is best avoided and I hadn’t intended to stay but I did, and in doing so coincided with the Commonwealth Games. Doubles squash was all that was left so I invited Pete who, in order to meet me at the train, had given away his boxing tickets. He told me after. Such a thoughtful bloke. I am secretly pleased that he didn’t take me, for I don’t really think I’d have been much into it. I like to try everything at least once but I do not like to see people punch each others’ faces. And I think it is odd that anyone does. I am told there is a fight club at Burning Man.

We watched the squash through a large see-through court with the ball coming at us. Pete loved it. I quite liked it, almost a lot, and let it be known that I even shouted “come on Australia” (twice!) in the final match;  Scots versus Aussies.  Mixed doubles.  We were only just beating them and all the excited Scots were stamping and yelling and going mad mad and I couldn’t help myself.  It was very out of character for my non-patriotic self, but shout out I did.  I still struggle to join the aussie oi oi though. One step at a time.  I quite liked the old “come on Aussie come on come on” and I don’t remember when it got the boot.

Pete says more Glaswegians had taken up jogging.

We met Pete’s mates and the four of us stood in the rain under my one busted brolly as we watched a beautiful film of pieced together old Scottish footage, while a 16 piece band performed live. It was marvellous.

At the pub later there were Aussies all over the place and my boys and I kept gate crashing their conversations.

There was the gold medal hockey player from Newcastle, who changed his mind after the third sneaky drinkie and said he was a sprinter.

The big, beautiful, bronze medalist for shot put who posed with Pete and gang. I would not be surprised if they blow up and frame that photo for you’ve never seen three Glaswegian mates so happy with life.

The hammerthrower who came in 8th.

“Better than fourth” I said, lacking athlete banter and remembering a photography exhibition I saw of the Sydney Olympics titled 4th.  The photos were all black and white except for the highlighted face of 4th place. Killer. She agreed.

I wonder where that chap is with the trolley?  Maybe this train doesn’t have one.

London was fairly boozy with all those nice old mates to play with.

I saw my old pommy flatmate Hugo from Buenos Aires for yum cha in Soho.  He has given up the law and is now in cinema, as an extra, explaining that while he may be back on the bottom of the pile, at least he likes the pile he is now in.  We snuck into a brilliant underground cave/bar called Gordon’s to escape a storm then slipped into the Tate Modern.



Gerri took me to a birthday party in Brick Lane with lots of ladies and lots of birthday cards.  And that night I saw, just from the street, Lady Diana’s cat emporium where people pay to have cats walk all over them.  Unreal.

One day I hung out with David, another gay mate I also met in Buenos Aires who grew up a mile from me in Sydney.  We ate ramen and crept around Charing Cross Road book shops.  Howard’s End is his all time favourite book “it’s about EVERYTHING” and I now have a copy to start on the plane.  He helped me choose a yellow tutu (for Tutu Tuesday) and introduced me to Gilbert and George.  We drank good vino and ate fabulous cheeses after which Gerri took us to her favourite borough Clerkenwell for cocktails.  Saturday she took me to a dinner party with English mates which was super, and Sunday we bike rode up a canal by her house to the flower markets, drank beer and ate roast.



I only had Monday to myself and, as you know, I am expected to be a creative creature in Nevada.  Bit stressful, for crafty ain’t me and it is hoped, expected, not compulsory but kind of, to present gifts at Burning Man.  Not a barter system, a gift system. Nothing expected in return for your massage, necklace, sandwich, cocktail.  Just give it with lurve.

I have decided to be a poetry postal service.

I found a book of “wild” poetry by Hafiz, that Persian chap, and will ask people if I might read them a poem.  Then, because I like snail mail, I thought I’d handwrite the poem and deliver it their address. Some are a bit long so may they choose the short ones.  I have mini envelopes all now stamped with a red shiny square to match my two “Sufi Post” signs, decent paper, and some spare .38 pens.

I have a bicycle to collect in Reno and I will cycle them about the place.  Or hand them to the post office there if it all gets too confusing. There is a snail mail postal service at Black Rock City (the city being constructed as I write) so if you did wish to send me a letter, you have until Monday the 1st of September.  My address is Camp Anita. 630 and Isfahan.  Black Rock City. Nevada. USA. Not sure of the postcode.

We are 140 people in Camp Anita and our gift is cocktails. 50% of us are from Melbourne so I will probably slip quite rapidly into conversation my Victorian/South Aussie bloodline to avoid that dull fight.  Why does a city so cool need to hate another city? I don’t get it.  Maybe this is my big opportunity to start the “Don’t hate Sydney just because we’re daggy” movement and I hope to be a splendid ambassador.

I still intend to sing Nature Boy twice a day. Quietly. On a dusty corner somewhere. In an orange dress with gold trimming.

Not sure about the chandelier piece necklace anymore…I could try to thread them on the plane to Reno.  Do you think they’ll let me board with a needle?

I met many people in London going to Burning Man in 2015.  Not very helpful but I have 140 new besties to discover so I don’t think I’ll be too lonely out there.

And I just spotted the trolley.  Wicked.  Tea.

Edinburgh has been pretty chilled out, with loads of comedy, mostly good with a few rotten ones thrown in for good measure.

And lots of walking around and admiring the place.

I can’t believe I am about to leave and haven’t walked up Arthur’s Seat or seen the Lewis Chess Pieces. I suspect they may be left for my next visit.

I have been staying not too far from the action but far enough to pretend I am a local (not with that scarf around your neck in summer you don’t madam!) in Hillside/Leith.  I found Irishman Alan on Airbnb months ago and was a little worried because not one of his references mentioned that he had any humour.  I almost didn’t grab him but he was super and every morning I have woken to “mornin’ darlin’.”

Alan is into boys and so his accent quite obviously does not turn me on, but the Irish speak such a kind and comforting melody that I have a feeling it is no longer a Scot I want whispering sweet nothings in my ear, but an Irishman.  I have found neither Scottish Henry nor Irish Henry regardless so I was thinking, maybe I am being a little too specific about the name. It is just such a nice name. Henry.  I could just call my lover Henry if I should ever meet him, I am sure he won’t mind.

I had two internet dates which makes 6 in total and now two in the same city.  I hadn’t been that keen to meet either, but one kept stalking me and I thought why not.  He was very softly spoken and quite sweet but complained about his back and reminded me of me.  Pain is best kept underwraps. He took me into the BBC tent and we laughed at the same time, a good sign, but he wasn’t for me.

The other sent me a funny message months ago, whilst I lied saying I was already in Edinburgh, and I thought he might be a little quirky.  But he was too awkward and after 40 minutes over a cup of tea I made a fairly rapid exit.  He whinged and whinged about street performers and couchsurfers and the only time his thin lips curled up a little was when he mentioned a masturbatathon in San Francisco he’d like one day to attend.

His suggestion for a first date was to take me to an island called Crammond, with high tides we’d have to closely monitor, to watch him film himself pitching a tent in the nude.  “Too weird mate” I said, and we settled for a cafe. Alan and his lover Victor agreed that he was a little handsome and encouraged me to go, though I think the photos were 30 years old and that that may be me out of the internet game.

It has been quite fascinating though for I have never been much of the dating sort and I get to go on dates if I want.  Most of them though I don’t want.  Mostly I find them pretty unattractive, or they say ridiculous things, or say hello only so I ignore them. My favourite first line was “did you poo at work today?” I didn’t respond but in hindsight, he deserved it for originality.

As I am moving back to the worst city in the world for straight single women around my vintage, I am considering getting a cat to keep the dog and I company. Perhaps I’ll become one of those creepy animal people who don’t much take to humans.

The tea is good, as is the shortbread.

I don’t seem able to eat lunch anymore without passing out shortly after, and somehow I must incorporate the siesta into my new life in the western world.  Maybe if I got others to join it wouldn’t seem so outrageous.  And it isn’t outrageous, it makes sense.

We are going over a brodge my grandfather heleped to build.  Right now.  HOrrray.

Yep. Touch typist. Excellent at it.

Berwick Upon Tweed.  Back in Scotland.  Hello Scotland.

I had two non-lover couchsurfing dates.  One with a big German girl who had been a thin Swede on her profile.  I hadn’t looked at the fine print.  She was ok but pretty serious and I’d say she found me as boring as I did her.  We went to one show together, and it was the worst show I went to all festival.  I was almost angry with the performer, which is very poor form on my part because the Fringe is for everyone, no-one gets knocked back. , This girl had come up with some original ideas to be fair, they were just really, really, awfully cheesy, unfunny, dreary and slow ideas. As was she.  At the end of the show as we all put money in her hat, I heard an old girl telling her she was great and to keep it up.  Encouragement is a good idea, but she should be told at this stage of the game to give it up.  Even her skits talked about how boring she was.  I blame the German for choosing it and should have trusted my instinct.

One of the best shows I saw, I accidentally found on my way home on my last night. A game show run by a couple of drag queens called Still Misbehaving. The two teams were ‘iphones’ and ‘others’. There were not too many ‘others’.  And it was just silly.  First to text, first to take a selfie with Miss Behaving, smash that phone, we threw rubbish at the stage while she danced in her gold sequined onesie and the winning team was that which had the heaviest bag so my lot put a chair in with it, and won.  It was all really very funny.



I saw a few Aussies perform.  All excellent. And they were the only performers who suggested other performers worth seeing. My favourite was a Sydney bloke called Steen Raskopoulos who was young and talented and cool.  I tried to be his new bestie with a facebook message but no response.  I am sure the last thing he was searching for in Scotland was an Aussie mate so I’ll stalk the lucky fellow later.

It is probably boring to talk about shows you are unlikely to ever see so I shall not go on about it.  But I saw lots. And lots.

What other tales have I for you?

Archie, the other couchsurfing hangout, was a winner.  Met him in a teeny pub called Sandy Bell’s. Great place if ever you end up in Edinburgh.  Teeeeny.  And there is a tradition that folk music always be played at the end of the bar so there were 5 old blokes tinkering away. It was very understated chilled out old school cool, if you know what I mean.

And I met one other chap through the net, Alvaro from Madrid. I was reading about Burning Man global communities and wondered if maybe there was a Scot who’d been.  I sent an email to the Scottish group and received word from a bunch of people mostly not living in Edinburgh nor going to Burning man.  Except Alvaro. He says I need not one pair of goggles for the dust storms but two (daytime/nighttime).  It is all madness really. Wonderful mad madness.

The night before last, I met up with my dear old Roman/English mate Francesca who I lived with in Santiago 15 years ago when I was in love with FiddyD.  I knew Fiddy was still living in London because I looked him up 8 years ago, when I was last in town, and hung out briefly with he and his Croatian wife.  I was very in love with him and it tested my skills in strength and maturity to see him then so I decided not to call in this time ’round.  So what does Francesca do? Surprise me.

I was indeed very surprised to see him, particularly because he’d phoned on our way to meet him and when I asked who was joining us she spun a tale about wishing to introduce me to her new lover. When I saw him I truly believed, just for a split instant, that they had incredibly and coincidentally met recently and started bonking.  What were the chances?  I broke out into a feverish sweat, they said ‘surprise” and then I remembered we’d all been flatmates. Then I had a beer, and then I relaxed. It was actually lovely to see him, he is still the most beautiful man I have ever kissed.

I have to wrap this up.  The train is about to land in Edinburgh and I’d better get all my kit together.

You may not hear from me for a while as I need to make my way from Nevada to Arizona where I am getting a ride down to Hermosillo, Northern Mexico. I think I might have mentioned in an earlier letter that I will be picking apples for one month and I am told internet is scarce.

All my love to you and wish me luck in the desert

Kirsty xxo