There are times when writing this blog feels beyond me. No matter how much I promise myself that I’ll start mid-afternoon on Thursday, it’s invariably 5.00 pm before I get going and then, on a normal Thursday, I’ll go for a swim at 6.30, drop in on my mother in her retirement home on my way back, bolt down some food, then head off to the pub for the traditional music session, before getting home at around 11.00 pm to tidy up what I’d written earlier and prepare to post it first thing next morning.
It’s a breathless evening, and the musical part of it is a physical workout. There’s nothing sedate about jigs, reels and marches, and even less about making their accompaniment heard on a pub piano in a crowded bar. But in a perverse way I always look forward to it and somehow it all seems to work. The writing and playing feed off one another, and although I tend to feel pretty wiped out on Friday morning, I’m always reinvigorated by the emails and comments, if there are any, that come in response to the blog. It feels like a good way to end the week.
Which is really why I’m persisting now, even though I’m having to summon the energy from somewhere near the bottom of my boots. And this is not a normal Thursday evening. Any minute now my oldest daughter Sophie, granddaughter Zoë and son-in-law Moff are about to arrive for the night. Hot on their heels will come Seattle’s lone Dark Angel, Richard Pelletier, with his wife Linda, visiting Scotland for the first time. It’s going to be a jolly evening.
This is summer in Scotland, although one wouldn’t know it from the temperature – a breezy 10 degrees. Summer is when people are on the move, and being just a few hundred yards off the main road, and at the gateway to the Highlands, we tend to be on the itinerary. Not that I’m complaining. Visits from friends or relatives one seldom sees are one of the great pleasures of life.
This week I’ve been writing fund-raising literature again for a religious community, and the word ‘commensality’ is rattling around in my head. It means sharing a table – one of the simplest but most profound acts of hospitality. And in sharing food, drink and ideas with others one shares oneself. It’s a simultaneous giving and receiving of the most connecting kind, and it more than makes up in inner warmth for what the Scottish summer lacks in sunshine. It even helps me complete this short and rather rambling post!
Did you play and sing ‘come in, come in! It’s nice to see you …
Och, away wi ye, lassie
Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my week so I am glad you make the effort Jamie. Theme chimes with me as heard a talk about what builds a strong community this week and hospitality was one of the key parts of that. I am not very good at it myself but I do appreciate receiving it – its a very special gift when someone is hospitable.
Good to know it’s not easy, Jamie! It would make me feel bad about my own struggles to communicate if you somehow let it slip that your blog is as easy to write as it is to read.
Jamie. You have had a lot on your plate. Books launches galore and two American Dark Angels ldescending on you in a Matter of weeks. It is enough to reach for a double shot of Cappuccino at your beautiful Arts Center. All I can say is that in spite of the weather, Angel Pelletier is in for an absolute treat visiting your neck of the woods. It left a lasting impression on me. The combination of words, new friends and stunning countryside together with your nectar of the Gods, Ennis and Gunn, are enough to drive the hardened of skeptics to your fair land.
Enjoy your paucity of flowing prose and embrace ambiguity. Perhaps with a rum infused Ennis and Gunn.
Editorial correction. I got so “enthused with the infused “that the brand is inappropriately represented. It should be Innis and Gunn. The rum infused or the regular are to die for. First tasted on the sleeper up to the laird of Jauncey and latterly tracked down to Bethlehem PA where it is on tap. How wonderful.
I often find a physical workout gives me energy, even when I feel bone tired. Just as reading your regular Friday blogs are a pick me up, a sign that the weekend approaches, promising greater freedom to do what I want.
Today you remind me of tables I’ve shared with the very best company, exchanging ideas and sharing ourselves freely and honestly. Sweet memories and fine company. I hope you’ll toast to that in your gathering.
Jamie, you DARLING man, don’t ever get too stressed about this blog – we readers take you as you find yourself and I love your honesty. Sometimes things flow when you sit to write and sometimes they just bloody don’t – but you stick with it nonetheless and show me that writing can be as painful as it is pleasurable. Keep being the wonderful, open, accessible and vulnerable being you are – you inspire me so much.
Dear Jamie, I hope you’ll take encouragement from your efforts inspiring not just one blog, but two as I continue on the theme of sharing tables today: https://thescribbler.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/sharing-tables/
Dear Jamie – as an old fan of yours – and of your music and musings – I love your weekly blogs which keep me entertained and lifted during mundane moments – and especially a ramble through a gloomy Scottish summer evening conjured up ‘from the bottom of your boots’! a question; do you take your swim in the bracing wild? This would complete my childhood memory of a summer’s evening in Scotland!
Sadly not Shona. Dunkeld has a Hilton wherein lies a large swimming pool!