Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 4 June 2009

Bill in the lead-up to the big '57'

Yesterday was my 57th birthday - so I hope you will forgive me if I call 'time', if only briefly, on the usual diet here of politics and current affairs. The main component of my day yesterday was to take my mother out from the residential home where she recently (i.e. last week) became a resident so that she could treat me and a mutual friend to lunch - you see, I am Scottish after all in that I like to mix altruism with self-interest! It was her first trip outside of the residential home since she entered it and went quite successfuly, I'm glad to say. In actual fact we had a great afternoon - lunch in a prettily-located restaurant within a few metres of the sea at Rosemarkie (where we have often eaten before), followed by a short car drive to the other side of the Black Isle (not of course an island, but a peninsula) for coffee in a rather eccentric bookshop (another favourite place), where I usually find a book that will prove a 'good read' and quite often a favourite - today my choice fell on Only in London by Hanan al-Shaykh; my cursory reading suggests it is a book I will like, but it's too soon to be certain about that; the fact that I spent many years of my adult life in the Arab world (and at one time spoke fairly decent Arabic, although I'd hesitate to claim that today) is obviously one factor in why I chose this book. Also acquired there, as a gift, is a coffee mug from a range depicting Penguin Books - I chose the one bearing the Penguin logo for Brave New World, a novel by Aldous Huxley which I first read in my mid-teens, rather more than 40 years ago; certainly one of the novels which cemented my visceral opposition to an over-weening State governing our every option and action. The coffee was good, too!

Last year for my elder brother's 60th birthday our mother had prepared a special card to commemorate the event, which I wrote about here; normally she would have made a similar card for me in three years time, but she decided that it was perhaps better to do it this year, for reasons which you can perhaps imagine, but I will not record in print (I don't want to tempt fate) - in any case the card is here:

Bill's big '57' card
(Click on the image to see an enlargement)

- where there are two boys in the photograph, I am the younger one. Warts and all, eh?!


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