You’ll notice it’s been very quiet around here. The walking is still slowly happening, and that’s how it will continue to happen. Partly because I’ve now got to a point quite far from home, and partly because I’ve gone back to traditional employment this year. Big move. Big change. But good move and good change so far. Just less flexibility with holiday time.
The second half of the year was very, very busy, including running Edinburgh Lindy Exchange and handing over all my freelance clients, and starting with the last leg of the walk that I did from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh. That will appear here eventually, but here are my usual wrap-ups in the meantime.
I read a lot of absolute bangers this year, especially at the start of the year. Top picks:
- Orwell’s Roses – Rebecca Solnit
- A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast – Dorthe Nors
- Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver (I can highly recommend the audiobook version of this. The actor reading it makes an already incredible book even better.)
- The Mountain in the Sea – Ray Nayler
- Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands – Kate Beaton
- The Lost Pianos of Siberia – Sophy Roberts
The playlist got off to a slow start this year. This is the tenth year I’ve done this, which I can’t quite believe. I think everything on the list this time is on Spotify, which is rare.
I finally saw Pokey LaFarge this year, which I was so excited about and he did not disappoint. I had the beginnings of the absolute worst case of conjunctivitis ever at that show, so props to Chris for being my gig buddy and not pretending he didn’t know me despite me looking like the early stages of the rage in 28 Days Later. At least it was dark. I also saw Billy Nomates who is an absolute force, and Young Fathers, which: wow. They are great, and one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Nadine Shah opened for them, who I also like, but I unfortunately couldn’t hear her actual voice at the show due to the sound mix.
What I like about this list most though is the reminders of various trips I took and the people I got to hang out with. I went to Paris in April to see Josh and Rachel for the first time in 8 years! What a treat. Their kids put up with an impressive amount of walking. Speaking of walking, I did 2 weekends on the St Cuthbert’s Way with Migle and Holly, which was a lovely change from the coast. Then I went up to Torridon with George and Chris. We were supposed to be killing sheep and learning to butcher them, but that fell through so instead we just wandered around, had a few dips, and sat around the fire talking about music. In August I went to Sweden for a week to camp and swim and sauna and eat and drink akvavit with Kristina and Yann and their kids. Probably my favourite holiday of the year, which is saying a lot, because I also went to Greece in September with Eva, Chris, Holly and Ben to swim, eat, and sleep, and that was pretty good too.
Things I watched and loved: The Bear, Triangle of Sadness, The Eight Mountains, Empire of Light, Asteroid City, BEEF, Bad Sisters, and probably some other things I can’t remember.
I was back to swimming outside at least once a month, which I’d like to continue forever. It was trickier this year in the summer of all times. It started raining in mid-June and didn’t stop, and it was difficult to find times to get in the water in Edinburgh that weren’t plagued by questionable water quality and/or hoards of Lions Mane jellyfish. But I managed to go in a few other places, including some glorious swims in Sweden.
I’ll be trying to walk even more this year, coastal and otherwise. And I’ve got tickets to see IDLES in November. End-of-year bonus. Other than that, the theme is Do Less.