It won't have escaped you that winter is here. I've taken a few days off my work at the Sexual Health Clinic to write my essay. I still have commitments on a Monday in Musselburgh though, so I cycled there, despite the slushy ice. I had worn a big storm-proof coat and thick waterproof trousers and I thought I was safe but the slush splashed up the inside of my trouser legs and soaked my socks and shoes so my feet were frozen all morning. The sun looked like it might come out for a while but once I had got done what I was doing it had changed its mind. The cycle back along the prom was even colder, with a big forlorn sky stretching over the forsaken sea.
Yesterday I got down to more essay writing again. I had far too much to say and even as I was addressing more points I was aware I was going to have to come back with a scythe later and cut it back. Its kind of an obsessive process so I forced myself to get out for a run in the middle of the day. The idea was to get some light. I got some soft grey light, that was about it. At first it was so cold it made me feel sick. Too much of a shock to the system after sitting huddled over a nice warm computer in a cosy room. Then it was okay. I got a bit off-road up Arthur's Seat and remembered how much fun it can be up there following the little trails around. Especially up Whinny Hill.
For light relief, after tea we watched an episode of the Killing we had taped, left over from Saturday. We're having trouble with it this time. In the first series we thrilled as Lund became more and more obsessed with her case. We were drawn in by the eternal Danish dark, the political manouverings, the plot twists, the melancholic characters. In the 2nd series we started to stand back a bit. Yes, it does look like Lund's about to solve the case, but its only episode 5 of 12 so she can't. We began to notice the process of plot-making. which removes you a bit from the thrill of it all. We were looking forwards to another series though. But watching it last night we were positively detached. Another murder, more political manouverings. "They seem to have an election every other day in Denmark!" exclaimed Buchanan. "They have elections left, right and centre" quipped I, and laughed so hard at my own joke I forgot to read the sub-titles and lost the plot.
Sarah Lund can get obsessed in a dark, wintry country if she wants to but frankly I can do that just as well myself, here.
This morning I got up and thought I'd give the damn essay a once over for obvious gaffs and then get rid of the thing. I could imagine doing a major re-write that would take me another two days of my life and what for. Maybe I could claw back another 4 or 5%. Its fine. It'll do pig. They've introduced a new system at Edinburgh Uni where you submit one hard copy of your work, and one copy electronically. The electronic version has to be the same as your final version, so submitting it is a good way of stopping yourself from going back and tinkering. Through the ethers it went and I was free. What would I do with my day? The sun even looked like it might come out.
I thought it was time for a longer run. Maybe 15 miles. I set off for the far side of Musselburgh with the wind at my back. That was a worry. I knew there'd be a stiff head-wind all the way home. About three miles into the run I remembered that I have some wind-proof kit, and I wished I'd worn it. Usually a tail-wind feels like no wind at all, but the wind was so cold it was cutting into my kidneys. Still, it was good to be out, and the first 8 or so miles were easy. Round about when I turned into the wind it didn't seem so easy anymore. I had water along with me but it was so cold I couldn't bring myself to drink more than a few mouthfuls. My knees were frozen. "Think Happy Thoughts" I told myself. "Fuck Off!" I told myself. Nothing to be done. Keep going. A couple of brighter moments were meeting Johnny Lawson bounding along in the other direction and a little further along, Alan Aitchison.
Finally I made it home. It was hard getting my hands working to get the key in the door. Things got better after that. Fish-fingers on toast, that kind of thing. Hot cups of tea.
I think I might swap The Killing for Mama Mia. Peter would protest but after the first half hour or so he'd be singing along.