Monday, 28 December 2015

New Year Resolutions

It's New Year Resolution time again!

My big thing for this year is that, now my foot is finally improving, I will go back to an exercise class. Probably pilates or yoga. It will be tough after nine months of very little exercise but I need to get fit again. I am also starting the year with a full body deep tissue massage, courtesy of my Secret Santa voucher. Cue one hour of pain, but in a good way. I will heal my body.

I will also continue to attend the Storytelling Group sessions and maybe aim to tell a story at one. I find it really enjoyable and have met loads of interesting people there.

My reading project is America; history, culture, art, food whatever seems interesting. 

This has been quite a gruelling year. 
Best thing: trip to USA to see my lovely bro and sis in law and her family and go to Boston, and a fantastic anniversary trip to Venice. Also, I feel my art is really coming on and my annual calendar was well received by all in spite of my trepidation. 
Worst thing: longterm foot injury and endless pain, physio, weight gain, work issues, demoralisation. Work has been very wearing with chronic staff shortages and absence and low morale. Next year looks more positive though. 

On a wry note, my stepmum tells me in order to avoid bad luck next year I should wear more red. A good excuse for some shopping perhaps?

What are your thoughts in the year past and the year to come, readers?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Bus

Another Seen from the Road, as I drove through Broughty Ferry the other day, I saw this wonderful bus , as if it had travelled from another time. This is the Dundee Christmas Bus, which plies route 73 during the holiday. Usually the 73 (which was my favourite bus route) went all the way to Arbroath, but this veteran bus stops at Monifieth. In the 1990s, Dundee Council ran old London buses, which were brilliant as you could jump on at traffic lights and even if the bus was going slowly enough. The romance of bus travel is all about sitting upstairs at the front of a noisy, tinny old bus for me.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Big Bunnies

Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen is currently home to these gigantic inflatable, illuminated bunny sculptures as part of the Christmas Market! Person shown to scale.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Storytelling in Stonehaven

I have recently joined GAS or the Grampian Association of Storytellers. I am not a storyteller, but I am a lover of stories, fairy tales and legends. And am hoping to learn some storytelling and communication skills. The picture is my friend Pauline, telling Arabian Nights stories at the John Briggs Carpet Shop in Stonehaven. There is an annual storytelling meeting in the shop, which is an exotic treasure trove of textiles, furniture and jewellery.   

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Beautiful Boston

One of the highlights of our time in Boston was The rather cringingly named  (as a British person) Freedom Trail. You follow a red brick trail in the pavement around the old city centre, visiting various sites associated with the Boston Tea Party and the struggle against British rule (sorry about that).This is the Old State House (complete with lion and unicorn) from the colonial days. The typical buildings of old Boston are classical style in red brick and there are many gracious neighbourhoods, old churches and atmospheric graveyards. It was really fun following the trail and I would recommend it and Boston very highly. The whole city was compact, friendly, attractive and quite European.

A Final Reading Project update for 2015

So, what news of my reading projects?

The Romans will roll over into next year, as I am hoping to get SPQR by the fantastic Mary Beard for Xmas. A chunky volume that should keep my brain busy over the holiday. Mary Beard is a wonderfully witty and acerbic Oxford don, classicist and feminist. She also has a blog which is a great read.

Romans-wise I'm enjoying FR Cowell's Everyday Life in Ancient Rome, a fusty volume from 1961, but a fun read and with great line illustrations and slightly odd photos of some kind of big model of Rome. Does exactly what it says on the tin, in a readable and informative way.

For next year, I will be getting to grips with another great nation of power and empire; the USA, inspired by my recent trip to St Louis and Boston. I Realised I knew very little about America and it's history. My first book lined up is Made in America by the always excellent Bill Bryson. Recommendations appreciated.