Thursday, 26 April 2012

Rainy Day Play

The sun comes out sometimes in Edinburgh- really it does. And when it does I usually take lots of pictures- because I am so excited to see the blue. I often post those photos on Facebook, which may have led to a rather out of kilter view of what the weather is actually like at the moment.

The Meadows on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  

But more often than not lately we have had little bursts of sunshine and a lot of rain, hail and snow. I am learning that there are all sorts of great local words for damp weather. 'Dreich' is good for general wet and dismal weather, 'haah'- is the name for a great mist that comes off the sea and settles on land.

National Gallery of Scotland- in the haah

However in an effort to keep up a fiercely optimistic view on the world I thought I would write a blog about fun things to do on rainy days.


-Hang out in the library- here in Edinburgh I am lucky to have two very inviting libraries over the road from each other. One I use as a toasty little bubble of a workspace. There are nice big tables, walls lined with books and lots of studious brains about filling the air with brainy thoughts. So even if you sit down without a thought of your own there is a good chance you will catch hold of some idea or other to run with.

-Over the road is the library they let you take books home from. It is easy to while away a rainy afternoon browsing the shelves and although they seem to be lacking some of my favourite Australian authors* I always manage to go home with a back breaking selection. 

-Stay in bed with your hot water bottle and read some of your library books.

-Do your mending- I spent a very productive rainy morning taking up my over-long trousers and mending my travel worn wardrobe.

-Knit yourself a knee rug or a balaclava.

-Find a buddy and go to your local cafe for afternoon tea- or red wine- nothing better than a filthy rainy day outside and a tasty warming drink inside to make the conversation flow.

If it is still raining and you have indulged in all those sedentry pleasures untill your brain and your body have atrophied there really is nothing for it but to get outside:

-Go camping, pack up your tent in the rain and then ride a too small bicycle up some very big hills. Over Easter I found myself cycling in the English countryside along Hadrians Wall in a fund-raising effort for the Luke Day Adventure Fund. We went up hills and down hills in rain and shine. I've often been in cars watching pityingly as cyclists wearily pedalled through storms. You may not believe me when I say this but is is not actually as bad as it looks!

Grey skies and the brave cyclists

-If the cycle option daunts you you can always put on your waterproofs and go for a hike. If it is springtime where you are, as it is here in Scotland, it is possibly best to avoid going through too many paddocks filled with randy cows.

If you can possibly find a pub on a hill or a whisky distillery in a paddock park near there and take yourself for a ramble in the surrounding countryside. Drinks and food always taste miles better if you earn them by taking a stroll through some muddy bogs during a hail storm. Try to get lost if you possibly can- this always makes food even more tasty. Try not to get so lost that you get back to the distillery after it closes for the day.

hail falling in the Scottish lowlands

Go to the beach- as long as you have not been silly enough to drop your Christmas present gloves in a puddle -strolling along in icy wind as storm clouds gather and waves crash is a pretty perfect way to end a day. 

Wind and waterproofed at North Berwick

If you are very lucky the sun might break through the clouds at the close of the day and you can eat your chips on the beach in a glimmer of sunshine. 

North Berwick as the sun shines down on the bay

*They do have Tim Winton, but I miss my Kerry Greenwood collection. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

I. Am. Doing. It.*

rover in library- possibly procrastinating- in Flamingo jumper

Before I could get out of the house this morning to come to the library and get my fiction project finished off I had to:

Have a Skype chat with my mother in Australia.

Wish my boyfriend a happy birthday via Skype and Facebook because he is in Norway- and I had a chat to his Norwegian buddy as well.

Chat to relations of my German house-mate who are staying in our flat.

Parcel up and post said mother her 60th birthday present.

So I am reminding myself not to resent all these intrusions into my writing time with a quote from Fay Weldon:

'As for disturbances, some writers thrive on them. For many, if life provides uninterrupted leisure for writing, the urge to write shrivels up. Writing, after all is part of life, an overflow from it. Take away life and you take away writing.'

from 'Letters to Alice, on first reading Jane Austen'

Nevertheless I am pleased all my loved ones are far away by riverbanks and snowy mountains so I can get on with it...**

* title borrowed from a loosely remembered quote from one of my favourite Helen Fielding novels, 'Olivia Joules'- Olivia being a journalist prone to procrastination who gets distracted by shiny things and suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists.  

** and yes I am aware that I created a distraction for myself by writing this blog, but as I wrote it in my head on my walk into town it hardly counts.