Tuesday 8 June 2021


B.A. did not like yesterday's post, for he thought I was expressing discontent and (worse) nagging him passive-aggressively about the lawn. You would think after 12 years of being married to me he would know there is nothing passive about my aggression. Ha ha! 

Meanwhile, B.A. mowed the lawn this morning in lieu of peddling away on the stationary bicycle in the kitchen and, edified, I went out afterwards to cut the long bits around the edges with the massive hedge clippers. Afterwards, I carefully wiped the hedge clippers, fit the lethal points back into their orange plastic guard, and carried them back into the house. They cost a bomb, and sometimes the local thieves target sheds. 

Look, I am not unhappy with our neighbourhood. It has many good points, and before yesterday no neighbour in any of the neighbourhoods in which I have hitherto lived have come outside to give me a loaf of home-baked bread. It is just an ordinary Scottish neighbourhood with ordinary Scottish working people, and people who read this blog must be interested in what it might be like to live an ordinary Scottish life. If you have a certain baseline amount of dosh (or are lucky), it involves owning a garden shed, and everyone on our street has a garden shed. 

Five years ago, our life was a lot less ordinary, since we lived in the Historical House (and did not have a garden shed), but it wasn't necessarily better. For one thing, I was depressingly underemployed, and for another, random curators and plumbers used to come upstairs into the Historical Flat as if it were the communal property it actually was. Also, the fire alarm went into fault quite often, usually in the middle of the night, and it stepped this up when B.A. was in the hospital. Of course, it had its marvellous points, too. We had wonderful parties and pretend country house weekends. My dear friend A lived just across the fields in her own historical house. She has since died, which has very much closed a door on the most glamorous, arty part of our lives. 

So here we are, and I quite like it, and I will remind B.A. that when I first started writing "Why Seraphic Hung Up Her Gloves" (aka "The Flyer's Ring"), it was in basement of my brother' Nulli's two-floor flat in Montreal, which shared the scuzzy street with a goodly number of addicts and dealers. That said, the first house Nulli actually bought was on the same street as the house of a well-known Canadian politician, and now he has a house with a view of a lake. I do not know, however, if he would trust one of his next-door neighbours with the keys to the house or has even been given a loaf of bread by the other. 

Top characteristics of Ordinary Scottish Life

1. Almost everybody around is Scottish. 

2. Garden sheds.

3. Nobody, no matter how poor, keeps broken down cars, etc., on the front lawn. 

4. Flowers in gardens, flowers in pots, flowers everywhere----or spending the Covid savings  to concrete the whole garden over and putting in bricks or tiles because you couldnae be bothered. There is definitely a baseline tidiness to Ordinary Scottish Gardens. 

5.  Work the curse of the drinking classes. Full-time work. Part-time work. Looking for work. Hiding from work. Work, work, work. 

6. Weather as the usual beginning of a conversation. Apparently people from Anglo-Saxon countries are known for this and others find it strange. 

7. Chinese takeaway within walking distance.

8. Indian takeaway within walking distance.

9. Three or four pubs within walking distance. 

10. Tesco, Lidl, Aldi. 


  1. Nulli Secundus8 June 2021 at 13:33

    Bof, BA knows that there's no judgment on lawn care. I mow mine only when it gets embarrassing or dangerous. For the record, the neighbours have a key to our home (and occasionally my ladder) and I have a key to their home and their wheelbarrow. I would not trust the famous politician but that's more because he always looked a little post-Ottawa punch-drunk when I chatted with him than for his views. We do get piles of tomatoes and on occasion, coffee.