We’re at the fag-end of August, almost six years after the moment that set off the series of events that would change Mrs Stroke Bloke’s and my life forever. But no doubt we’ll get to that in due course.
For now, the Edinburgh Festival has just finished and the smell of sulphur from the massive closing fireworks display that rattled our windows last night is fading.
On the bus into Edinburgh’s New Town yesterday, I was reflecting on a short story I’ve been working on, a historical fiction about the Ross-shire Sheep Riots (also known as the – ten-day long – Year Of The Sheep). As the name suggests, it’s set in Scotland. My work tends to be set most often there, or in NYC, or in some imagined hybrid of the two.
After chatting about shiftwork last week, I planned to spend this week talking about why we’re working longer and later hours. But then some stuff cropped up, and there’s going to have to be a change to our scheduled programming.
First, here’s LongSufferingReaderOfTheBlogPaul’s favourite track of 2018 [sic], regardless.
I haven’t been able to get to much on the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, for reasons. After seeing Tariq Ali discuss Lenin, I managed to miss Stuart Cosgrove returning to the subject of Detroit ’67, and 404 Ink marking their epochal Nasty Women with Nadine Aisha Jassat, Joelle Owusu & Laura Waddell.
Mrs Stroke Bloke and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past weekend.
And what a pleasant day our anniversary was. We started off at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, which was featuring a Bridget Riley exhibition. I found that some of the impact of seeing her work for the first time in New York many years ago had faded. YMMV, obvs.
For more uninformed opinion, check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter. Or BBC politics correspondent Norman Smith trying to talk about Scottish politics on the PM show.
On Tuesday, I was invited to an event run by The Open University’s Reading Communities team in association with The Scottish Book Trust’s Book Week Scotland and the Being Human festival of the Humanities. It was called Edinburgh: A City of Readers. As well as my story Valhalla, I was asked to read an extract from an 1830 letter written by the actress, writer, and abolitionist campaigner Fanny Kemble in which she talks of breakfasting with Walter Scott and a small party of other Scottish luminaries of the time.
Apparently, she found it
strange that so varied and noble an intellect should be expressed in the features of a shrewd, kindly, but not otherwise striking countenance.
My love for BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, as hosted by Eddie Mair, is well-documented on this website (1, 2). During #indyref the first, I remember him conducting one of the better interviews I heard with Scotland’s First Minister.
If you’ve ever visited the About Me section of apoplectic.me, you may recognize this picture:
(Actually, it could do with a bit of an update. I’ll do that when I’m done here.)
That’s four years ago, and I don’t really remember anything about the circumstances. Well, y’know, I had recently suffered a catastrophic haemorrhagic stroke. I’m pretty sure about that. But, other than that….