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Monthly Archives: September 2019


With migraines you often get what’s called a visual disturbance, or an aura. This can be jagged, broken lines of colour, or it can be spots or smears of light, it can even be blind spots that move across your line of vision. One time, when I was out running, I got a blind spot in both eyes that crept across to meet in the middle, and I had to run for ten minutes with only peripheral vision.

I have chronic migraines and often get them while I’m asleep, and the visual disturbance can appear in my dreams as a sort of curtain of coloured lights, and when that happens I’m amazed that my brain can create such a perfect, uniform grid of colours. Other times it takes the form of complete blindness while I’m dreaming – it’s like someone has switched off the light. This darkness is often accompanied by nightmares.

Last night I dreamt I was blind and someone was standing on my neck trying to kill me. In my dream I played dead, hoping they’d go away. Then a vampire lady appeared beside my head, singing softly to me, the song was lovely, I remember, and at first I thought, keep on playing dead, then I thought no, she’s going to drain me so better to go down fighting, and I leapt at her.

I leapt out of bed cursing and throwing punches at thin air.




two wheels good

I injured my leg last year and my usual walking jaunts have had to end, but I’ve recently discovered the joy of cycling. Got a couple of routes planned for October. The first is up the Northumberland coast, tracking the beaches as close as possible. The second is the Forth/Clyde canal.

Both about 70 miles return.


all good

Sometimes I find myself unaccountably in tears.


It’s that  good.


I’ve written of Odysseus before, in the short-story Kalypso. He’s one of my favourite literary characters and of all the heroes of Troy he’s the most real to me – there’s something so essentially human, so fragile and changeable, about him in particular.

So I sought out this poem, which I haven’t read for a number of years, and it moved me to tears.


I always thought the winter solstice was on the 21st December, every year, but sometimes it’s on the 22nd. And about once every 300 years it lands on the 23rd – my birthday. The last one was in 1903 and the next one is in 2303.

Might give it a miss.



Darkness creeps forward.

Leaves fall; the air feels like rain.

My scarf: college nights.


Woke, got out of bed, washed, coffee, radio, open laptop, check emails and… nothing. No messages from friends, no ads from gumtree or eBay, no bills form utility companies or anyone else, no job advertisements, not even any spam.

I think the internet has deleted me.



While listening to Tim Pool on Youtube tonight an advert kicked in. I was too busy for a few moments to click it back to the podcast and then another advert came on, some really horrendous soft-rock/travelogue thing for a product I didn’t catch.

And I had a Facebook* moment.

I suddenly realised that while I really enjoy a lot of the channels on YouTube, I really dislike YT as a medium.

It has a near-monopoly in the file-sharing market and it offers a huge range of channels, but now, just like happened with Facebook, turning on YT makes me shudder. I don’t like the feel of it.

I don’t watch TV. I don’t watch much Netflix either, though I do try, because it all feels like the same, glossy, dark-edged tripe. Movies are mostly unwatchable. But alternatives are out there. I have simple tastes, I like podcasts, background chatter while I do other stuff. I will investigate and move across.



*I really hate Facebook, came off it almost as soon as I went on it, but I feel same about nearly all social media**. As someone said, if you’re looking for human connection, the internet is a desert.


** this blog is just me talking to myself. It’s my outtakes.




My favourite books tell stories that I want to be involved in, they create characters I want to know and describe places I want to visit.

When William Gibson turned the Golden Gate Bridge into a shanty town in Virtual Light, I really wanted to live there, up on the wires, maybe find a shack near the top, next door to Skinner and that biker girl he adopted. When I read Elmore Leonard’s Swag I wanted have a beer or maybe eight beers with Ernest Stickley Jnr. in the Prancing Pony in the village of Bree, then fall out of a car, drunk, with Terry Lennox.

I still want to stand in the forests of the north alongside Rudd Threetrees against The Feared, brawl with Henry Chinaski on skid row, spend a morning studying the creatures washed up on the beach with Doc. And if we’re talking beaches, I want to visit Lochdubh.

Stories take me places that I really want to be.


Been spending a lot less time online.

I’d forgotten how interesting real life can be; I’m rediscovering stuff.